MAGGOT HEART

– Hello Linnéa, thank you for taking part of your time to answer to our questions. You are now working on the first release with your solo project, how does this new era feel like?
Thank you, Tania! I am very happy to get my new project off the ground, and it feels like everything I’ve done in the past has prepared me for this. I couldn’t have done this a few years ago, I needed the experience – both the good and the bad – of my previous bands in order to get to the point where I could shoulder a solo project along with everything that entails.

 

 
– This project is named MAGGOT HEART. How did it come to be?
The “Maggot Brain” LP by Funcadelic gets played a lot in my house. And the title track is a big favourite of mine. The word “maggot” has been used by favourites like Plasmatics and Repulsion. “Heart” is one of those words I keep coming back to – you know, matters of the heart. “Having a lot of heart”, etc. A Maggot Heart is a polluted, infected, infested heart. Sometimes it feels like that’s what you got beating in your chest.

 
– You have also been involved in several other bands, from THE OATH to SONIC RITUAL or BEASTMILK/GRAVE PLEASURES. After having played music with different individuals and into different music styles, what does MAGGOT HEART provide you on a more personal level?
It’s my most personal project to date, for sure. The Oath meant a lot to me at the time because it was the first time I trusted myself fully as a songwriter enough to write a whole album. Beastmilk was not my band, but it provided me with a lot of valuable live experience. In hindsight I can see that Grave Pleasures was just a stepping stone to get me to where I am today. With Maggot Heart I can finally be in charge of my own destiny, as corny as it sounds. I am a strong-willed person, and it is very important to me that I don’t sign away my art or lose it at the hands of somebody else. I have been there and it’s heartbreaking. This time, I really wanted to do it my way.

 
– In fact this is the first time you are handling vocals yourself, that I know of at least. Has it felt like much of a change?
It’s a big challenge. Or it was a big challenge. It took me over a year to get used to the idea,  but now it feels strangely natural. I sang in a choir when I was young – I went to a special music school where music theory and choir practice was in the curriculum – and I’ve always written top lines when writing songs, working out melodies . So it’s not completely new. But still, I never had any aspirations  to front a band. It really wasn’t on my radar – at all.  But you know, I was at this crossroads, wondering what the hell to do with my  music, how to push forward. And the only way to do it is through challenge. I could have started yet another band, having a new singer, having that person sing my songs – again. But what would be the point? I had to do this, the time was right. And in return for this challenge, I get the gift of even more self-expression at my disposal. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.

 

– Everything about it feels really personal and with a strong DIY aesthetic, from the project’s name itself to your sound so, what does MAGGOT HEART mean in a figurative sense? And «City Girls»? What is it for you?
Many things. It’s about alienation in an urban setting. About this sort of dark, concrete, lead-y exhaustion that the city both cures and provides in equal measure. The city is this huge, artifical organ that pumps out the blood to fuel our collective consciousness. It’s also about transformation – emotional, psychological, chemical – and defiance, breaking free from whatever chains you. Losing yourself in the moment. Emotional alchemy. The title track is also my own personal ode to the women that rule the night of the city.

 

– The «City Girls» EP is in fact your first release, a release that I think oozes darkness and negativity in an overall decadent vibe that encapsulates everything. Was this how this project was supposed to be from the start? Did you have a clear vision in your mind about how it should feel/sound like or has it developed itself in a more spontaneous way?


I think that if you sit down and try to map out what it is that you want to do, you are already on the wrong path. This stuff has to lead you, not the other way around.  I write from experience, from my life and from the lives of the people around me, and this is how it naturally manifested itself. I definitely had a lot of negativity that I carried around with me, and it came to some sort of culmination during the last part of recording – which I did together with Uno and this bassist kid Sam, in October last year. It was very bleak, recording in the early morning hours, going back home on the train with people on their way to work – not really sure what would come out of this music and so on. At the same time, no matter how dark it gets – there is this feeling I have of uprising, of defiance, and the spirit of rock n’ roll – if you will. I rely on this fire to never be completely put out, and somehow it also thrives in situations like this. As an underdog, you can never relax completely – you are always hungry for something. Seeing this project take shape from the corners of my mind into a full manifestation of my very personal interpretation of rock n’ roll… I’ve been as suprised and curious as anybody else.

 
– I think it mixes old Rock n’ Roll with the energy and aggressiveness/attitude of Punk and a bit of Post Punks dark atmosphere. It feels like a free expression of darkness and deterioration somehow. What does, not the music, but the ethos/spirit of different music styles bring or influence what you are doing with MAGGOT HEART?
To have a creative sense of freedom is very important, I think, and it’s something that’s been implemented in all of my bands. I’ve never been too interested in doing a band that is one genre to a T, you know? To me, the “spirit” of punk has to be present, and it’s fair to say I think it is in all the bands I like, in one form or another. You know, as much as I love a lot of 1970’s rock bands, I was never into the never ending revival that has dominated the hard rock scene for the past 5 years or more. It lacks depht somehow, like it’s make-believe “magic”. And on a very personal level, the connection to old influences still has to be tied to the present moment. And fact is that we are not living in a tambourine & tunic-kind of world. Therefor it’s easier to me to connect to, be it Dead Boys, or Amebix, or whatever – because there is a genuine darkness there that still feels very relevant.

 
– I find it has that kind of Patti Smith sense of decadence, and I’m not just talking about her music, but about her poetry also.
I wonder why Patti isn’t mentioned more as an influence by younger bands. Everybody knows who she is, but do young rock bands listen to her music? Seriously, her work is incredible. Very, very tough. Right now I’m really into “Wave”. I got into her originally from the lyrics she wrote for Blue Öyster Cult. She’s a bit pretentious, which I like – you have to take yourself and your art seriously. And she’s very wild in other ways – which I obviously like as well!

 
– In fact beyond the music fields, what does influence you?
Good question. Just life and death, I guess. I watch a ton of movies, but I’ve never been good at writing fiction. Everything that ends up in a song of mine has been a direct experience of some sort.

 
– Moreover when THE OATH was formed I was reading some interview with you and in one of them I can recall you said one of the things that made you fall in love with Berlin was its night, its decadence, its rebellious spirit somehow. Could we somehow say what we hear and what you convey through MAGGOT HEART is to some extent a reflection of what haunted you from Berlin?
I still live here in Berlin, actually. It’s a difficult city to leave. Berlin has meant, and still means, so much to me and has shaped me and my music in many ways. It’s a feral city, still – but one that is changing extremely quickly. In a way it embodies the feeling of trying desperately to hold on to the beauty of the moment, the good times, the love, the kick, and watching it slowly slip away between your fingers as everything inevitably does.

 
– Themes deal with escapism, frustration, disappointment. Somehow ethereal subjects but quotidian at the same time, almost urban. I think though lyrics can be interpreted on different ways depending on the listener (as I myself I’ve found some sense of empowerment on certain hints), it’s easy to relate to them. Was this something you were specially striving for? Or are just your lyrics a channel?
Thank you, I’m glad you like them. The lyrics are a channel, definitely, and I’ve already had quite a few different interpretations thrown my way, which is so great and interesting. These themes that you mention are very human, and therefor relate-able. But the empowerment is there, always, as a safety-net.

 
– Musically you manage to get a catchy sound still hopeless. Which bands can you relate with? It feels like blending SABBATH with JOY DIVISION, MOTÖRHEAD and THE STOOGES managing to get from the mix something unique.
That’s a really nice compliment. “Catchy but hopeless” – I will put that on my next album! I have always been very song-oriented in my writing. I like catchy melodies, hooks and ultimately I want the song to stick in your head somehow. That’s the goal, anyway. So many bands rely on a groove only, which is cool sometimes, but then you leave the gig and you can’t recall a single melody or line. At the same time, the right atmosphere is really important – but in this I have faith, I absolutely believe that if your intentions are pure and right, it will come out in the music. Out of the bands you mention, they are all in my top 5 favourite bands – except for Joy Division.  They all are magical to me and never fail to make me feel 100% alive.


– For this first release you have teamed up with people you really know, such as Uno Bruniusson on drums or Gottfrid Åhman on bass. What kind of effect do you think can have on the final result to work on a comfortable environment?
Working with Uno and Gottfrid was amazing, because they are great people and musicians and we share a certain perspective on life and music. The actual playing and arranging with them was very pleasant and rewarding, they really helped me bring these songs to life.  But the recording was not comfortable, it was a real struggle to get these four tracks down and it took one whole year to finish them. Actually, there were more songs in the beginning, but only four made it in the end. Gottfrid came down to Berlin to arrange and record, but we ended up not getting anything recorded, so I travelled to Uppsala in April and we layed down the basic tracks of three songs in a rehearsal space there. Just four hours, live – bang, done. No thought about sound or anything. Then it took until October before Uno and me could do the basics of another two tracks, plus overdubs for all the songs, together with this bassist kid here in Berlin that we didn’t know – Sam. He had one day or so to learn the songs, which was stressful for everyone. We recorded between midnight and eight in the morning, and everything had to be taken down when we left, so no guitar sound would be replicated quite the same the next day. We were drunk, wide-eyed and quite depressed during this whole Halloween-recording.

 

– The same for the record label releasing it, a new label and distro from Berlin, Teratology Sound & Vision. I bet most people still don’t know about it, so what could you tell about your experience and their work thus far?
The idea of giving this record to a label was just… I don’t know, it made me so exhausted just to think about it. All the emails, all the explaining, all the misunderstandings that will inevitably come, all the expectations, the disappointments etc etc etc. I just couldn’t do it. I had to do this on my own, with people I trust, people that care and that share my view on music. No compromise. So I asked two of my best friends if they would consider putting it out, which they did. I recorded it with another friend, and had yet another friend do the artwork. Together we have done this on our own terms and it’s been so rewarding so far. The guys  at Teratology live for music, and the stuff they have in their distro is so diverse and so interesting and always full of quality. There is no posery and there is no greed. In general, I think independent music is on the rise, and it’s probably the only way to go if you want to keep creative control of your art.

 
– As I said earlier, MAGGOT HEART feels like a totally personal and DIY project in every way. And more like a way of working or having control over a creative process, I also feel the term «DIY» relates more to an esthetic, to an ethos (more linked to past decades), something that sometimes just shines through on certain releases. Something that somehow makes them feel more passionate and real. Was to really make it feel like a DIY thing something you were consciously looking for?
I am just a bit tired of playing the game, you know? I’ve released music for a decade and I’ve done it from tiny DIY label to medium sized independent label, to a major label, and with the last two it’s more or less the same. People act like there is only one set route to go and that’s it. Everything is so difficult all the time. When I was signed to Sony with Grave Pleasures we couldn’t even put up our own music videos online, because there was a rule against that. Just idiotic things like this. What the label does for you is basically exchange ad money for interviews and reviews in the press, which feels a bit weird and insincere. You “have” to sell yourself on social media constantly to feed some sort of interest, and I just find the whole thing so exhausting, and often, fake.  If you make something readily available to people all of the time, with no needed effort on their part, they will get complacent and lazy. I feel that people are turning away from this, and looking for different routes to make and consume music. I don’t have a Facebook page for Maggot Heart because it’s lame. It just is. I don’t know yet if I can or if I will, but ideally, if I could find a way to stay independent, that would really be amazing.

 
– All this about «City Girls» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Alienation. Elevation. Transformation.

 

– This Friday you will be playing at the second edition of Live Evil Berlin, I haven’t been able to find any info about it, but I assume this will be, if not your first gig with MAGGOT HEART, one of the first ones. What can we expect to see when seing you live? Will the songs on «City Girls» get new life to you after having been played live?
First live gig was at Live Evil, yes. I played together with Uno on drums, Olivia Airey on bass and Neta Shimoni on second guitar. Last week we did a mini tour with Occvlta here in Germany and Austria. Next gigs coming up are at Chaos Descends festival, then as support to Tau Cross in Berlin. Very excited about both. As always, the songs are a bit more aggressive live.

 
– And what kind of activity do you plan with MAGGOT HEART? Do you want to play and release more material, in larger quantities maybe, or is it more like a personal project to channel part of your inner self?
I try not to rush things. Right now I am writing new material and I’m hoping to have an album recorded before the new year.

 
– Before wraping this interview up and since I guess you may be answering a few interviews lately in support of the release, as you’ve been a music journalist for several years now, is it easy to still find interviews (being the interviewed one) interesting?


It’s still very new and strange to me to be on this side of the interview! But when the questions are as thoughtful as yours, it’s a real pleasure of course!

 
– Talking about such, and using the last few lines for some self promotion, late last year the second volume of your Death Beat magazine came out. Can people still get hold of it? And for those interested, how can people grab a copy of «City Girls» when its out?
Issue #002 of Death Beat magazine, feauturing interviews with Poison Idea, Killing Joke, Hawkwind and Virus is still available and can be purchased through the Maggot Heart bandcamp page, but copies are running low now so hurry before it sells out! You can get your copy of “City Girls” on the same page, or directly through Teratology Sound & Vision – same thing tere, the EP is pressed in 300 copies only.

 

– That has been everything from our side Linnéa, our best wishes in this new chapter of your musical career. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Big thank you, Tania. Your support is much appreciated. Keep up the good work. To the Death!

 

Tania Giménez
tania@queensofsteel.com

Comparte este artículo




You can Enviar un comentario, or trackback from your own site.

Envía un comentario

Highslide for Wordpress Plugin