In solitude Interview
at Kentish Town Forum
10th February 2014
Interview by Ashlinn Nash
Photos by Jo Blackened
With the excitement of tonight’s gig flourishing around back stage the commotion is apparent with constant band members running up and down the stairs with crew on hand too clad in spiked gauntlets, ash tinted corpse paint and contrasting jeans and a T-shirt alike, tonight is set to be a rich display of industry greats with a bit of every metal sub-genre on hand.
We’re ready to go into the small dressing room to interview In solitude, a raising Swedish Metal band, with a new album under their belts they are raring to share it with the audience tonight. We managed to catch up Pelle (Hornper) Åhman, the front man to the band, on first impression came across as a very insular and shy but soon opened up to the interrogation here are the results.
The band has existed in one way or another since you were younger, how do think this has shaped the band to how you are now?
It has changed a lot I mean our ideas about things have obviously changed a lot throughout that period of time, its quite fundamental to how you think in the end. I think A lot of things have happened, I mean I can look back at the first album and see how we’ve changed a lot, I think it’s important in music that you change, I mean if you do something you’ll be a different person ten years later that goes for everybody.
For anyone who hasn’t heard the band before how would you describe yourself in the current state?
I wouldn’t try to describe the music really, but I’m something very re-listenable to people and that it can sound deep with some people, that’s what I hope. I don’t know how to explain we call it rock music [laughs]
In terms of releases on the 7 inch single of Lavender you recorded a cover version of Cotex’s “Jesus I betong” what made you decide to do a cover of that song?
It’s just the band we’ve been listening to a lot for a very long time, it’s this very primitive song and we felt like we could do a lot with it and it’s one of my favourite songs by the band as well it was just very natural. Have you heard the original?
Sadly I haven’t yet, I’ve heard your cover of it...
It’s a great, great song, every one should listen to that album, that song is on, no… [pauses] that song is on a single, but also on an album by the band.
With “Sister” how do feel the band has progressed with it, do you think it’s completely different to your first album?
I mean you can still hear it’s the same band, but a lot has changed. I mean I’ve been saying this in all these interviews now but with all the records leading up to sister, they are more about us getting to know each other and too play music. Where we started so young, to me this album is the first one that I feel is completely finished. Doing the first two albums for my point of view I experienced them a bit more like a preparation to something where this album feels very much like an album…our album.
So with that is is nice to get rid of the old tags such as “the new Mercyful fate” or you sound like this band etc.
[nods] Yeah, we’re sort of done with that I think.
For the album were did you get your main inspiration from?
[Pauses] Just the way I see things; I guess. I mean I wouldn’t feel the urge to create things if it wasn’t for the way of me seeing things, so in the end anything can be inspiring to me you know even the smallest details I think they’re very important, and extremely important to how this album is. It can be anything from music to you know that bird or something.
What did you want the listener to take from the newest album?
Well my basic idea is like what certain bands make me feel like; there was more to things that you first thought of like a piece of art or when you read something or listened to something. If I can do a similar thing to somebody else then I will be satisfied. Otherwise if you’ve done something that’s urgent or beautiful you want to show it to people or something similar, giving people what they’ve done to you.
Where you’ve written the lyrics they are very personal, what’s it like to give it out to people?
I don’t think about it that much but, I don’t know if people are basing an idea about who I am supposed to be on the lyrics but I don’t think about it that much actually. Hopefully they can at least leave people with the same directions they came from.
In terms of Vocal style, do you have an influences or is it just a case of how you feel most comfortable?
Not really technically with how I sing, it’s hard to be inspired because everybody sings differently and has a voice you know. You have to use that, I mean if you want to say something important you have to use your own voice. In terms of how people influence, I mean Nick Cave especially in his early days, like The Birthday party. I suppose as well blues singers in terms of the emotion and things like that but technically it’s hard. I have a great difficulty learning what the great singers do I wasn’t a singer to begin with, so I don’t know that much about singing
Ah, so where did you come from and develop into a front man then?
I played a bit of drums I mean I guess that’s the beginning of most singers mind, somebody has to sing and then eventually its turned out I’ve spent ten years of my life singing. Not that I don’t appreciate it, it’s just not what I thought I would do.
So with the art work on “sister” it’s gone back to a very simplistic style what made you choose this?
I wasn’t very satisfied with how certain things aesthetically turned out on the others albums I wanted to keep things very simple I think our reference point was “keep it as simple as possible” like Velvet underground or a Nick Cave Album, not simple to point where you can miss it on a record shelf or something. I mean it’s important to stand out in that aspect, it creates something from the material that replicates the music as well, but there is something there that you didn’t think there was.
For the inner sleeve of the album is that artwork done by you? Where do you get inspiration from for that, or again is just something you have from you see? Or your imagination?
Pretty much, when I do things aesthetically its very much based on that I can’t really have a very clear idea on what I want to do and then just do it. Its very much things have to happen out of accident or something and I do something and eventually it sort of leaves you somewhere. A bit like music as well it’s an important thing for me I have a fanzine where I put art, all of my art.
Its good to have that kind of involvement
Yeah, I always planned to be responsible for layout and everything, this is the first time the band have been responsible for it.
Do you ever create artwork on tour?
No solemnly, I draw all the time and write but but the things for the album I think, they were made in a more focused situations. Being on a tour bus its not very artistic and you don’t get a lot of work done.
From the perspective of the internet’s role in modern music, or do you tend to stay away from it all?
In terms of music I think it’s good, I mean nobody really cared about music for a long time like in the late nineties, things just went dead and even if people are downloading most people seem to care and with underground music its generally getting a revival cause people can hear it you know. Of course there are bad sides to it too.
I mean its easier than just going to a Soundcloud page and just hearing one song and go with your first impression and say this is not my cup of tea. Whereas in the past you went and bought the record and you had to sit down and listen to it from begin to end to get the idea of what it was. I think things got missed, I mean I think its pretty good I guess.
All of people would say its like modern tape sharing?
Yeah, I mean the bad part is that everything is based on the that first impression, so I think a lot of things get lost in that. I personally buy records if I am interested you know. There are other parts of it I’m more scared of, such as Facebook and things like that, because I think it’s not going to end well, Psychologically.
Hows the tour been going so far?
I mean it’s only been four days so far, I guess we are just getting into it but it’s been good. I’m not sure we share the same sort of crowd as the other bands really but it’s the sort of situation where you play in front of a lot of new people which is good.
Its a great way to get out there do you site any of the other bands on the bill as influences on your own work?
The other bands, no I don’t think so. I mean we have toured with behemoth before and I haven’t really listened to any of the others. We really wanted to do Europe and this was a good time to do it I think.
Where have you enjoyed played either on this tour or outside of it?
Well we did actually play quite a few gigs in Sweden last month which was great as we hadn’t done that in a very long time. Headlined some small towns, which was great and it feels good to start touring with this album too we’ve done the American tour but we haven’t done Europe that was something we hadn’t.
Where are you looking forward to playing on this tour?
I’m not sure were we are playing…[checks his lanyard] we haven’t played Paris before, which will be good, Berlin of course that’s always great to play. The thing with touring on a bus you just wake up in the next town you never really know, you might have expectations of places but in the end its always the place you least expect it to be. That, that could be the best gig you know, or the most rewarding experience, you never really know actually I mean at least I don’t.
So what are the plans for the rest of the year?
In terms of playing, I think we want to play Europe on our own probably in the autumn or something, we’re playing a lot of festivals we’re playing Hellfest, I can’t remember all of them. I’m the guy in the band who doesn’t know specifically where we are going. [laughs] not the I don’t care but I think I have a different relationship to the band experience.
I image the live experience can be quite draining?
I mean it can be fantastic and I don’t really have specific places that I am really looking forward too you never know, that’s when it becomes very special.
Many thanks for your time!
In solitude’s latest release “Sister” is available via Metal Blade here; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sister-Solitude/dp/B00EC6VKCA/