Spearheading a new wave of post-hardcore from Scandinavia, Disembarked have just dropped their debut full length, and I caught up with vocalist Pontus C. before they head off on the road in Europe.
When your average Brit thinks of Sweden they probably think of Ikea, ABBA and the chef from the Muppets. Ask your average rock fan what they think about Sweden and you'll get a list of bands (from Refused to At The Gates) that have had massive influence on modern rock over the last 20 years.
Disembarked are the latest in a long line of bands that are keen to express themselves in heavy music, without resorting to genre clichés like bullet belts or straight edge tattoos and shaved heads. The young Stockholm band produce an exciting mixture of hardcore, post rock and emo, revitalising each genre in turn.
Their debut album, 'Nothing Wrong Here', has just been released through Dog Night productions, and the dynamic young band is embarking on a mini European tour.
I caught up with Pontus C. before they set off to chat about the album and the band's creative vision.
"Hey guys, congratulations on the release of your album 'Nothing's Wrong here'. How does it feel to get your debut full length out there?"
Thanks it feels awesome, it's our first full length, so it's a huge milestone for us. And to have a gatefold right away is kinda cool too. It's an album that has taken some time to complete due to different reasons. So it's a very big thing for us to be able to complete this instead of just doing another EP. We're really happy with how the album turned out and very thankful to Dog Knights Productions who wanted to release it.
"You're a fairly new band, how did you come together? Do you all have similar influences, or were you just a collective of friends?"
Wow, that is a long complicated story. Like really complicated, let's just say we met at the mall and just said "hey lets start a band". The forming of Disembarked is a long term thing, to skip a few years, Disembarked is a continuation of an old band Gustav, Olle and I had, that disbanded.
We had another Pontus (Pontus G.) join the band on bass guitar and after the first EP was written we also had Johan join the band.
"Would you say the band has a specific mission or ethos?"
We don't have any ideals, missions, agenda, propaganda or anything we're trying to get across. It's more like self-therapy and wanting to create something we like.
"Stockholm was known back in the day as having a very active hardcore and death metal scene, giving rise to the likes of Entombed and Dismember, what are things like on the contemporary scene?"
Things are pretty fine, thanks to Stockholm Straight Edge, they put up a lot of great shows. There are a few bands as well, I'd say it's pretty good overall. Of course, it could be a lot more active, right now it's a pretty small but active scene.
"Any other young Stockholm bands you see following in your footsteps?"
In our footsteps probably no, but there are a couple of Stockholm bands out there already. Bands such as Grieved, No Omega, Sore Eyelids. It's hard to just point out Stockholm bands, as the scene is kind of all around in Sweden. It's not a big country haha.
"Tell me a little about the process of writing 'Nothing's wrong here', did you have a concept in mind?"
We wanted to keep what we've been doing before, but also, as every other band, wanted to evolve and create something new.
We tried a bunch of stuff, lots of different instruments while writing the songs. Not that it ended up so spaced out anyway, but yeah. We don't really have a concept other that the lyrics are based on personal experiences which mostly are about the same thing. The title "Nothing's Wrong Here" is about facade family. Being forced to uphold the image of a happy family but being the opposite behind closed doors. Enacting those lies that 'no, there's nothing wrong here'.
The artwork goes along with that, having the front picture a nice house with a nice garden. But the backside being a bad side of it with the broken swings and dead trees etc.
"How has your song writing changed from your earliest material to now?"
I guess we're more focused on trying to get a red line through the track, the self-titled EP is kind of just stacking parts. Listening to it now is a big turn off for us. We're trying to get a good mix of emotions of the music and the lyrics now, fitting stuff for the lyrics. And sometimes the other way around. The actual writing process haven't changed besides that we have two guitarists instead of one now. We write 95% of our stuff while in the rehearsal space together.
"What's playing live been like for you? Any career highlights so far?"
It's been the best thing in the world, obviously!! We have had a lot of great shows, really. The one that comes to mind is Fluff Fest 2013. The show we played in Stockholm this year was so much fun as well, our first show for like a year, and the line-up was awesome, lots of friends and label mates.
But thinking about shows are more like thinking of the date, like being on tour. You remember the experience from the day, there is so much more than the actual show. Meeting new people, seeing places etc.
"Now you've released your début album, what's your next big ambition?"
We just want to tour now, that's the only thing in our mind. We haven't toured that much before, so now that's the only thing we're focused on. We would love to get over to another continent, play with amazing bands.
We'll see what the future bring us, we'll continue writing songs and see what happens!
"Any plans for visiting the UK?"
Yeah, absolutely! We've been looking into a UK tour, but might postpone it a bit to get it during a bigger Europe trip. For now we only have a little quickie tour through Europe in Jan/Feb 2015, but there's no UK shows on that. But probably on the next one!
'Nothing Wrong Here' is out now and the band will be on tour in Europe in...
Fresh from the release of their new album(s) I had a chat with, drummer, Santos Montano of Old Man Gloom about music and messing with the press.
The crossover between punk and metal music has been widely documented in the past (think Black Flag and Napalm Death). What is less talked about, and I think far more interesting, is the mix of post-punk/alternative rock and Metal which began to ferment in the mid 90's and led to formation of iconic bands like Converge, Cave In, Botch and, of course Old Man Gloom.
(Debatably) born out of the Massachusetts punk scene, bands began bringing together elements of Emo, Punk, Doom metal, Death metal, Post- rock and Prog to create a cerebral form of heavy music that borrowed as much from the bands on (legendary Mancunian Indie label) Factory as it did bands on Roadrunner.
Old Man Gloom formed as a sort of super group (a term I'm sure the band hate) in order to explore undiluted expression in heaviness away from the various members day jobs. The band features ISIS' Aaron Turner, his long-time friend Santo Montano, Cave In's Caleb Scofield and Converge's Nate Newton. Since their inception the band has cut a single minded path creating some of the heaviest (and smartest) music of the last ten years.
Ahead of the release of their latest effort Ape of God the band released a fake version of the album (actually a double album split across two volumes) to the press to make a point about the leaking of bands material by "jerk" writers. With this in mind it was with a little apprehension that I caught up with Santos.
"Welcome back Santos, can I ask what you guys have been up to since No in 2012?"
It's been a turbulent time in the band since 2012. We haven't ever been a real band, but after NO, we attempted to act more like a real band. Doing things like "touring" and playing "live" weren't things we had to work at, because we just didn't do it. We were like the Harry Nilsson of weird metal. We enjoyed making NO so much though, that we had to give it a go.
"You guys seem to like messing with expectations, I for example am not entirely sure what of the two Ape of God records I've heard , what was the inspiration for this bait and switch technique? (I'd like to state for the record I wasn't one of "those jerks" who leaked the record."
You don't seem like a jerk. But some dickweed did leak it, and it kinda justified the whole prank. The inspiration is a three headed monster. First, there is no reason to do things in any conventional way for us. There are literally no consequences. Even if worst case scenario, every journalist on earth flipped us off and vowed to never write another word about us ever again, leading to not one human knowing about our next record, leading us to never be able to play a show again, that would affect our lives very little. Not saying we don't love the shit out of Old Man Gloom, we do, but we've essentially hit the ceiling. The whole thing, more than anything, was meant to make people who are familiar with our antics laugh. Not a deep belly laugh, but a slight "those silly dicks" kinda laugh. Mission accomplished.
"Was there a lot of new influences brought to the writing, or do you stay very much true to the original ethos (correct me if I'm wrong) or making doomy, experimental hardcore?"
Hmmmmmm..... It's tough to say. The ridiculous reality of Old Man Gloom is there isn't a lot of talk. Everything happens extremely quickly, so what you hear on our records is almost entirely spontaneous. Even if a song writer spends a lot of time conceptualizing a song, the rest of us have almost no time with it before we get to the part where it's on a record.
"How much is Kurt Ballou (Converge guitarist and OMG producer) involved with the writing process?"
None. He has never attended a writing session. He does have carte blanche to say "that fill is stupid" or "that was terrible", or "can we lose the high school double bass?", which are all things said to me during the Ape sessions.
"For those who don't know can you tell us a little about how the band initially came together?"
Aaron and I are childhood friends from Santa Fe. We met in High School. We remained friends, and after Aaron went to art school in Boston, he would come home for summers, so we would do little projects together. The first one was a concept band. The idea was that we'd play one house party, and Aaron would play an acoustic, and it would be all covers that had a theme.
Anyway, the next summer, he had an idea for another concept band, and that was OMG. We wrote the whole thing in one day, and recorded and mixed the entire thing in 12 hours. That was meditations in B. I had no idea that you weren't expected to record and mix in one day until we did the next record. I think I like it better when you have to just get it done in one day...
"I know journalists love to come up with 'scenes' or 'movements', but do you think there is/was something unique about the Massachusetts sound that the band came out of?"
Well, short answer is no. The sound is very much Santa Fe, in my mind. We use a lot of that thematically, as well, the desert, the southwest, etc. Beyond the first record, it gets even murkier, as Caleb is from New Hampshire, and Nate is from Virginia. All of us getting together in Mass, and all the contributing bands obviously play a huge part in why we all know each other, and why we chose who we chose, but honestly, I don't think there's much Converge, Cave In, or Isis in Old Man Gloom. That being said, for me, and all of us I'm sure, that time, and the people who made up that scene were very special. It's definitely the most musically formative time in my life.
"And finally, I know the band don't often play live, are their plans for a tour this album?"
We have some things cooking. We'd love to find a venue in Brussels that only fits one person in it, so we can play just for that one guy. We'd also like to tour Central and South America. Someone make that happen.
Both volumes of Ape of God are out now.
You can find more information at
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