Gothenburg is known as a trove of extreme music heritage and Martyrdöd will only add to Sweden’s reputation as a nation which always must be close to the tip of the tongue in any metal conversation. Mikael Kjellman (gits/vox) checks in with us to tell us more about the forward thinking musical explorer’s latest Southern Lord sonic explosion, plus working with Kajsa Grytt.
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This record is so moving, even when I have language barriers. Hope that is taken as the compliment intended.
– You don’t need to understand Swedish to percieve the absolute essence of Elddop!
One thing that sets this album apart from our previous ones is that the lyrics are much more of an introspect character and possibly incomprehensible for outsiders anyway. The essential message of Elddop is found in its emotional expression and beyond words.
What does Elddop translate as? Sorry, sure those questions get tiresome.
– It’s alright! And its a good question actually. The title Elddop translates into “Baptism of fire”! This time around I collected lots of stuff that I wrote last year. Finally the lyrics were decisively completed in a haste. Because I had lots of material layered from inside and a sharp idea of how I wanted it to sound. In the writing process I deliberately spent less time with the lyrics not to over-think but rather capture the heat of the moment, and a feeling of how Im forcing myself trough a desperate struggle. Some vocals were cried out for the first time in the Studio.
There are burts of real high energy and also waves of big, moving heavy melodic distortion. How did it feel to compose this record?
– I think your description is spot on! There are indeed bursts of real high energy and also big moving waves. There is also an transformative aspect in the music. I can play with emotions and transform pain to ecstacy this way.
14 songs. It is over too soon even with a fair amount of tracks. And yet quite a trip. Thoughts? Can you discuss the guest?
– If you are thinking about the song “Under Skinnet”. Its our version of a song by written Kajsa Grytt! She is an iconic Swedish Artist! Whos been active since the first wave of Punk. And is a wel lknown solo artist in Sweden nowadays. I was surprised when she contacted us and wanted us to collaborate. Its included as a bonus track on the Elddop cd.
How is the State of politics in your contry at the moment. I was discussing this with the Southern Lord band Gust recently and they said they feel world climate for unrest is too weak. People are beaten down by despair.
– Its been a sad decade for Sweden with rightwing politics and electoral sucesses for the Swedish nationalist/racist party. Actually our last political album Paranoia (before eldop) is mainly dealing with the problems of xenophobia and neofascism that is spreading in Europe.
Anyway nothing good can happen If people are beaten by despair. This can only make things worse. This is something Ive come to realize over the years. And Im not very impressed by self-proclaimed misanthropes or sad whining punks nowadays hehe
In a world with many huge challenges for humanity. Pessimism is just reactionary. Its neither brave nor interesting really. Come on!!
What inspired you most about the original D-beat movement?
– I was born in 1982 when Discharge ruled the punkscene. But my aunt was a punk then and some of my earliest memories being a toddler possibly around three is the impression. Of my aunt and her friends spikey hair, mascara and black studded jackets. I was often at my grandparents and I remember punks hanging out in the basement.
My grandparents also lived neighbour with Charlie, drummer of anticimex. But anyway punk made an impression on me at an early age later when I was a young punk myself I inherited my aunts crass and discharge records. This was around the time when bands like wolfpack and skitsystem was still new and exciting!
Do you think everyone needs to sleep in a sleeping bag outdoors at some point and remember the fragility of our world? Survival is the law of nature but not the name of the game, if we survive at the expense OF the world/game. Know what I mean?
– I guess, if one take things in life for granted it’s more difficult to appreciate them. Perhaps at times there can be some truth to the saying that one needs to hit some kind of bottom to realize one must rise up? We can’t hardly survive at the expense of our environment, right? What bottom do we have to reach before we realize this?
Anyplace protest your beliefs as a band? I love how Behemoth had to leave Russia but then played in Estonia as close by as possible, over the summer. And here in the USA my friend Otep Shamaya has been posting about how churches should be taxed the same as athiest beliefs. It would really solve hunger instead of food pantries and Republicans blaming things on Welfare.
– Im not sure if I get the question? Sweden is quite a secular country. And religion is not really a big issue in society compared to many other countries.
What do you think is the saddest part of WW2 we may have not learned the lesson of in society today?
– Its very very sad to hear the kind of scapegoating going on in 2014. Just like the Nazis of ww2 used to blame and incite hatred against the Jews. You hear lots of angry voices today who puts the blame on muslims. Sadly racism and prejudice is still alive in an Europe and this happens while the gaps are widening and people are divided.
Thanks for the interesting questions.