After the stone age
Riddarna – Helvete (video)
Riddarna – Bakom Molnen
It’s the story of a band I listened to first when they have been only existing for a couple of months back in April 2009, only released few demos and did not even have any label (Novoton wisely signed them afterwards). A funny band that made me smile cause they reminded me a lot Queens of the Stone Age, but with Swedish lyrics. Stop. It’s serious now. We’re not talking about “fun” or “cool” or whatever little English word you can find to define the fact to be “fresh”. Riddarna‘s new album called Bakom Molnen was released today (please, buy this record here or there) and it’s a fucking sonic thunder that will surprise even the ones who enjoyed their debut record (my third favourite record in 2011).
It sounds as if Riddarna experimented the Ikea style : no fuss, no coating, just build your own pleasure. This record is incredibly short, with 9 songs that last most of the time less than 2’30. Punk? Yeah. Full of aaaaargh, and shhhhrrrr, and a little bit of kkkrrrr too. Some melodies? Yes, some melodies. Because you can stay powerful without forgeting your pop side. Some hits? Well, only hits! And you’d better: with an album short like this you cannot provide any filler if you really want to make it.
So, I don’t know what’s gonna happen to this nice Swedish trio. But they enter straight away my top 5 Swedish rock bands. Cause, please tell me, who’s better? The Bear Quartet? Paper? The Hives? At least, Riddarna is at this same top level.
Mega bonus: I already did a Questions/Answers with the singer of the band, Edward Forslund, after the release of their debut album. We did it again. Oooops. It is actually a little improvised chat done few days ago, on a Sunday evening. Guarantee 100% journalism free.
AbsNoise: So how do you feel with the new record?
Edward: I really like it. It’s the best album we’ve made so far, in my humble opinion.
AbsNoise: In my humble opinion too! It is better than the previous one which was already great. Isn’t this one a little bit “heavier”?
Edward: Heavier, more direct and “compressed”. I think the songs are stripped from unnecessary parts, so the record is kind of intense.
AbsNoise, Yeah, it’s a short record. Kind of punk in the attitude, I would say…
Edward: That was our intention. We realized somewhere that the songs where really intense but at the same time straight and punk.
AbsNoise: In three words, what has this album than the previous one did not have?
Edward: Coherence, jungleroars and shufflegrooves.
AbsNoise: What have been the reactions to people who have listened to the record until now?
Edward: Daggan who runs our label, our agent Hans and a couple of close friends and such, have been listening to it every now and then since we started recording demos for this album. I remember that one of our friends listened to the whole album in the demo stage and he was like “Jesus Christ, there aren’t any pause for breath in this one!”. We were satisfied to hear that.
AbsNoise : Will you release as many videos as you did with your debut one? Was it on purpose?
Edward: Well, we like videos. That’s as simple as that. And we are a really restless band, so we have to do things all the time. In addition, with the previous record, we also had a bit of luck with the videos: our friend Oskar Palmbäck from Kvalität wanted to do a video just for fun, for example. It turned out fantastic! And we stumbled on a video production class that did our song Vi ska ut as a part of their education.
AbsNoise : Did you listen to other bands when you were recording this album “Bakom Molnen” ?
Edward: Nope. Boringly enough, we worked so hard with our own music, and so intensely, that I don’t think any of us wanted to listen to music when getting home. Of course, we are inspired by lots of music subconciously. It’s just hard to pin down what it is exactly. I think some people that write about music, like yourself, are really good at finding those bands and pointing it out. Often I’m like “oh he’s right, l love that band! And that sound might be inspired by some of that”.
AbsNoise: Tell me, since I am terrible at Swedish, what does the song “Bakom Molnen” mean ?
Edward: It’s a kind of depressing song. In English, the first verse and chorus is:
“You’re telling me I’m tired
But I’m feeling awake
You’re saying I am quiet
But I feel like I’m screaming
No god is up there
Behind the clouds
Where everything’s black
And no one’s waiting for us
Behind the clouds”
AbsNoise: Cool, it will give me another way to “get” the song! I was wondering, since you are a trio, if you thought to add one more guitar live? You know like Nirvana did when they played on stage, to be more “loud”, you know?
Edward: Yeah, I know what you mean. But we’ve never thought about it. We like the dynamics of being just us three on stage. And it’s very free when it comes to play live: if one of us wants to improvise a little and maybe change something in the song, right there in the moment, it’s not a problem ; and that’s a good thing to have, according to us at least. Limitations are sweet.
AbsNoise: Let’s end by a question I should start with, if I were just a little bit more pro : how did the band formed?
Edward: We all grew up in Gotland. We played together in our early teens in all sorts of bands. But the three of us were never in the same band at once for some reason. I and Erik are from the countryside and Patrik is from the “city” on Gotland, Visby.
AbsNoise : One last thing: you roar quite a lot on this album. Didn’t you lose your voice at one point or another?
Edward: I guess my voice is a little more broken nowadays. Also, we were rehearsing and writing songs so intensely and I was screaming and roaring like five days a week, several hours a day, in two months straight, or maybe more, that when we finally got into the studio my throat was kind of worn out.