Interview: Spiritual Beggars – Per Wiberg talks Music For Nations vinyl reissues

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 9:26 AM (PST)

For over two decades (time flies, Christ!) Spiritual Beggars have been creating solid rock n roll of the stoner rock variety, showcasing the more classic influences of founder Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Carcass). These guys were riding the psych and hard blues/stoner bus long before many bands nowadays jumped on the bandwagon. Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth, current Candlemass) stops by Metal Riot to give us the rundown on the first time VINYL reissue of the band’s early records by Music For Nations (get the vinyl HERE).


It’s funny. This article is a little bit of a milestone for me, as Spiritual Beggars were a band I read about years back when I first discovered Terrorizer magazine as the first Beggars album was brewing, I believe. Honestly, I probably got into these guys BEFORE Carcass. It was a time when I was learning all about the many different, deeper sub-genres and rich history of metal and hard rock. Once you gaze down that rabbit hole you’ll not only learn more than you ever thought possble about ex-members or splinter acts associated to Napalm Death (the “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon” of metal), but fans who keep digging beyond the bullshit will be rewarded by the richer soil, so to speak, where Five Finger Death Punch is only from Kill Bill and much better bands flourish in the underground. So yeah, here’s to Spiritual Beggars for helping pull me down into the depths all those years ago. It’s been a sweet and smoky ride.


Read more BELOW.

Though Spiritual Beggars are well regarded, do you ever feel the band has been somewhat overshadowed by other projects of various members?
Not really since it’s something we’ve chosen ourselves. It was almost 15 years ago since this was a first priority band and maybe that’s the reason why we’re still here. That doesn’t mean we’re doing this on a whim, when we do Beggars everyone is into it 110%. It just takes some extra planning since all of us are quite busy with different things. We do this ’cause we always have such a good time hanging out and of course for the love of this type of music.


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How did these Music For Nations re-releases come about?
Honestly I wouldn’t know, we’re just happy that they’re being released since they haven’t been available for a while. That they’re gonna be put out on vinyl is also very cool bonus, since a few of them never saw a release in that format before.


You have worked with all of the vocalists of the band. Do you have a favorite album? And what were some certain attributes of each different vocalist you liked?
My favorite album would probably be Mantra III just because it was the first I played on. All vocalists of Beggars have had a very strong identity but Spice’s over the top energy, the authority of JB’s performance and the natural on stage diversity of Apollo’s are some of the things I like about them.



Do you feel you guys have influenced some of the push for retro elements that has since surged in bands like Sideburn, Graveyard or many more?

Impossible to know really, the mentioned bands are Swedish and the last time we played here was 12 years ago, in 2003. If we did have an influence that would of course be very flattering but my guess is that there are probably other bands that have been way more influential than us.
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This is an oversimplified question, but how do you write in this band as opposed to your approaches during Opeth? Obviously they are wildly different bands.

Beggars and Opeth work completely differently, it’s different music that relies on different qualities. Beggars music is based on gut feeling, energy and the power of the collective and we always have to jam on songs in the rehearsal room to see if they’ll work. Opeth have more of an intellectual approach to the song writing. It’s based on a lot of light and shade, dynamics and how to make really long songs have an interesting flow, like a jigsaw puzzle basically.


SO I understand you have done live dates with Candlemass since leaving Opeth?
Yes, I’ve been playing with them since 2012. I played keys on a track on their latest album Psalms Of The Dead and they asked me if I’d join them for live shows as well. This year me and Jörgen Sandström will share bass duties with Candlemass though since Leif Edling unfortunately is on a sick leave. I hope Leif will come back next year but until then you’ll see me playing bass with Candlemass.What have been some of the biggest highlights of your time with Spiritual Beggars?That we’re still a band is the biggest highlight for me, the fact that after all these years we can still release albums and tour through Europe and Japan for example isn’t something I take for granted.


Any word on new material? These re-releases have me wanting more new stuff.
Oh yes, we’re on it! The plan is to record the next album this year and have it released in 2016, if all goes well it’ll be during the first half of next year. I really look forward to this and we’ll of course try to get out and play live as much as we can as well.Is there a favourite song from the re-releases that still holds a lot of power for you?I still like all the albums and here’s a couple of personal faves, Beneath The Skin(On Fire), Lack of Prozac(Mantra III), Another Way To Shine(Another Way To Shine) & Until The Morning(Ad Astra)


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