It is a great pleasure for me to interview a band that I got to know through one of the members about six years ago on a metal forum, and, throughout the years, I’ve become one more fan. Please, I’d like to ask you to introduce yourself to our readers.
Hel: Plays the bass.
JD: Guitar. Songwriter.
Rob: Keyboards & Orchestrations.
Rick: Lead guitar.
Let’s talk about about your new album, “The Sufferwell”, to be released in June, 2014. Tell us a bit about the composition/ recording process, what the lyrics deal with, and the production, if you preferred something organic or more polished.
JD: Regarding composition it most often starts with that I set up a base structure for a song and present that for the rest of the band. Everyone adds their touch and then we bang that against the wall to see what works out and not. After that we rearrange if/where needed. Sometimes when we’re in the mood in the rehearsing room I just present some riffs that I’ve thought would fit together and we arrange them together for the base structure. It also happens that we throw away an incomplete song or rip it apart to use riffs for other songs. Fun curiosity for example is that the verse on Kings of Greed we had as verse on Ur Askan for quite some time. We are now working hard on being more effective in the songwriting process. Most of the lyrics depicts the dark sides of our modern society of some sort. How some things are simply just messed up, and the anger and frustration that comes with being kicked in the nuts by stuff/people outside your own control.
Tiger: We actually went quite the opposite way with this album than what we did with “OtQ”. We all contributed much more to the songwriting on this one, earlier “JD” did almost all of that before we even heard the material for the first time. And the recording process was not like with “OtQ” where we all kind of got together during each others days of recording, had a good laugh and cans of coffee. This time we almost recorded each instrument each one for them self, so to speak. Less “fun and games” and more “get it done”. It surely felt more professional to Record this record compared to “OtQ”. I personally feel that this record has a more serious vibe to it recordingwise! It sort of became both more organic and more polished because of that I think.
Hel: Yup. On every recording yet, we’ve crammed ourselves in a studio and recorded as much as possible as fast as possible. Except “OtQ” which took forever to record. This time Tiger started out with the drum tracks and JD with the rythmguitars and as soon as a track hade drums and a guitar on it, the rest of us got to work on it. At home. Except Brute though, as we recorded his stuff in Studio Rex. I recorded the bass through JD’s Axe FXII for example. When I got some spare time, I just fired up the computer and recorded a track or two. Everything is so much more digital now and in my eyes digital equals saving lots of time.
Comparing “The Sufferwell” to “Ode to Quietus”, which was released in 2010, in your opinion, what are the main changes, musically speaking and, for those that don’t know the band and might be checking “Ode to Quietus” right now, were there any lineup changes?
Tiger: It’s probably more variated than “OtQ”. It feels more balanced and has more of everythingon it.
Hel: The only lineup change between these albums was the lead guitar role. Stefan, who was in the band on “OtQ”, left and was replaced by Rikard. The main change between these albums, in my eyes / ears, is that while OtQ has good songs, they don’t seem to belong together. The Sufferwell is a more united album and although it’s not a concept album the songs help each other out in a way.
About labels, as far as I know, you’ve had offers, but the band still remains independent. Please, let us know the reasons why you haven’t accepted signing to a label and the advantages of being an unsigned band.
JD: There has been some stray offers throughout the years, some decent, some worse. The blow away deal where everything just fit into place have yet to arrive though. Ode To Quietus we released ourselves because we had no other options at the time and we learned a lot by it. The Sufferwell we have chosen to release ourselves because we are confident in that and we like to have the control over something we put so much time and effort in. Guess that’s the real plus doing everything yourself. We have neither the muscles nor the contacts as a label for promotion/marketing/tours/gigs though and that’s very consuming. So in a perfect world we would of course have liked to sign with a good label, to be able to focus more on the music, reach out more and let the people who are pro’s at it do their stuff.
Hel: The pros we control everything. The cons we control everything. Hehe…
I guess one aspect is that we’ve poured our souls into our music and are afraid that someone will come along and tell us that this music we live for isn’t good enough and try to change it. Because believe me, our songs are not written in a day. They take a lot of time. For instance, on this record we had this one song that didn’t work out however we changed it and after a long while it became two separate songs and BAM! All peaches and gravy and other things that are tasty…
Tiger: Agreed! The lack of knowing what to do and how to do it is probably the worst part about doing it ourselves. But at least we have ourselves to blame if something GO totally wrong during the process instead of having to think stuff like “man, we should have done that part ourselves” or something. It goes both ways I guess.
Connected to the previous question, in my opinion, you’ve reached a good level of
popularity, especially being an independent metal band. I know bands signed to some well-known labels that aren’t half as “popular” as you. Tells us how you guys managed to do that and to keep it alive? I know playing good music (as you do) should be the first requirement, but, sadly, as we know, most of the time it isn’t.
JD: Good music is unfortunately just a good place to start, yes. We have always spent much time and focus to stay close to our fans and that’s how we like to have it. Besides that, being entirely independent means you’ll have to find ways to promote yourself to reach out. Spend the time, do your homework and scan the internet for zines/promotion agencies/reviewers etc that suits your product. Last but not least we really appreciate all the help we get from fans, zines and promotors, such as YouTuber Ed ‘Infidel Amsterdam’ Veter. Show appreciation and respect to those who spend their time on YOUR product. 🙂 There’s no recipe for success though, we are most of all just being ourselves and keeping it alive is simple as long as you love what you do.
Hel: We try to see and interact all those people that love what we do. Without them, we’re dust. Without the fans EVERY band is dust. So it’s all about returning the love we get.
Tiger: Getting to know the fans and letting the fans get to know you is a huge part in all the fun that is making and performing music in my opinion. It probably sounds like a huge cliche, but we don’t make music that we think others would want to listen to, we make music that we want to listen to. So knowing that there is a whole bunch of awesome people out there that like the things that we do is really cool!
I’ve read an interview with the band stating that it was, at the time, hard to get shows around Sweden. Has this situation changed for you? And also, as we’re on the gigs subject, describe to us a Meadows End concert.
Tiger: As a band alone, it’s quite hard to get playtime. Hopefully “The Sufferwell” will help us get the word out! We really want to come out and play more, but the time and effort needed to get a tour or even single shows happening has been put on the creation process of “The Sufferwell”.
Hel: Well firstly there’s TONS of good metal bands in Sweden so the competition is crushing. We’ve been focused on this new album for a while now so live shows hasn’t been on the agenda during this time. But now we’re starting to get back to “gig shape” as we’ve got gigs ahead. 🙂 A Meadows End concert is basically us giving 120% from the first second. Even though we know we’ll be freaking exhausted by the time we hit the fifth song, it never changes. And I love it!
Meadows End has released, with the contribution of the fan as well as Ed ‘Infidel Amsterdam’ Veter, a promo video for “Devilspeed Loathekill”. Do you plan to release a video for “The Sufferwell”?
Tiger: We sure want to do it! It’s all coming down to a great idea for a video and the funds tomake it happen. Who knows when but it probably will happen, one way or another!
Hel: We really just need someone to kick our butts, tell us where to stand and operate the camera. There’s so much going on right now and a video would be really fun, but we need time to get it done.
Still on the bands’ subject, are the Meadow’s End members involved with other projects? Be it metal or not.
Tiger: I used to be in various bands here locally, but you know, having kids and one band that charges headon.. If you want to tag along, you better hang on! So I had to let go on some and make more room for Meadows End. I love to play but with time and age you tend to think more realistically it seems.
Hel: Not anymore. Through the years I’ve been in several other bands, mostly metal. But as Tiger says, having a kid and work and all while playing in a band that really works hard. There’s not so much room left for more bands. Nowadays I mostly help friends out when they need some bass tracks recorded.
On your official Facebook page I can see that we share the passion for whiskies. What are your favorite brands and regions?
JD: Have had a fashion for Islay whisky for quite many years but there are so many fine brands out there. The Glengoyne 21yo and the 2010 Ardbeg Supernova are two extremely interesting whiskies.
Tiger: For me it’s Laphroaig.
Hel: My personal favourite is Bowmore, but I’ve been smitten by bourbon lately. Right now I’m sipping on Bulleit for example. Tasty!
I always ask questions about the men behind the band, so, if you want to, let us know what you enjoy doing when not working/ playing music? Movies, books, parties, family life?
Tiger: I like the outdoors and spending time in the calm of nature. The spring and higher temperatures makes me wanna run out into the forests and just stay there, zippin’ coffee. Oh! And performing live, that’s one of the best things to do during the summer!
Hel: I spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. Time rushes on so damn fast that I want to spend it with those I love the most. And try different whiskies / bourbons… Hehe..
A silly question now, quoted from Seinfeld, that I have asked a few times on my interviews: “Let’s say you’re abducted by aliens. They haul you aboard the mother ship, take you back to their planet as a curiosity. Now, would you rather be in their zoo or their circus?”And why?
Tiger: Wow… Um, the zoo maybe? No! Circus! Ah crap, I just can’t make up my mind on this one. I guess I would go with the circus, it seems like the best option escapewise. And if not, I would at least get to see the world.
Hel: Well now. They’ll build me my own habitat and bring me tasty food? Maybe I’ll start out as a circus freak and retire to a zoo later on.
To conclude this interview, as always, I’d like to thank you again for taking your time to answer it and also to wish you the best of luck in the future. Any last words for our readers?
JD: We really hope you’ll come to enjoy THE SUFFERWELL! We’re extremely satisfied with the result and we hoped for the production to be this good, but dared not believe we would pull it off by ourselves. Endless thanks for all the support we get! Cheers!May 13, 2014