Singer Emma and guitarist Tobias – The Guilt
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Johan Heller at Sound Pollution and Rob at Heptown Records for setting up the interview
Thanks to Heptown Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Promo Pictures taken by: David Möller and Kristoffer Granath
The Guilt is an electro-punk-rock duo from Sweden that recently released their second album NEW KNIVES which is jammed with some energetic lazer punk songs that will overwhelm you in the best possible way. Both Tobias and Emma participated in making the interview and read below what they had to say about the new album. The duo had a european tour planned in March/April which got cancelled because of the COVID-19 situation read their thoughts about that in the interview. Also read about why the duo refers to their music as being lazer-punk, if you’re into acts like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Die Krupps I suggest you check out The Guilt.
Hi guys, nice to talk with you today, how are you doing? Ready to kick off the interview straight away?
Let’s! It’s not like we are going on tour anymore so we are confided to our homes, baking kanelbullar.
What have you two been up to before you formed The Guilt?
Between being born and starting off making music? Emma liked to make fires and started writing her first punk songs in 1993. She was ten. Tobias was busy having really good hair and skateboarding. Actually before even knowing each other, we both went through some dark periods, having dreadlocks.
What made you form The Guilt back in 2012?
We were in a another band at the time, we’d had bands with the same team of friends since a long time. We were left crushed by the loss of our dear friend and drummer in that band. It happened very fast and in all that sadness, frustration and confusion we just had to do something. That something became The Guilt.
Who came up with the band name and does it have any special meaning?
We don’t quite remember. But guilt, well everyone has it, it’s a powerful source of inspiration. It can be destructive yet a healthy consequence of living.
How come you chose to stay a duo and not a “full” band?
Explain “full”? So all the good string quartets and brass sections were already spoken for and we had trouble acquiring working permits for the 25 retired ballet dancers we wanted to join.
What’s the pros and cons with being a duo?
More dancing-space on stage. Less people to make trouble. Less mouths to feed. Too many bad ideas and no one to stop us. Not enough people to solve all the trouble.
You Tobias play guitar and you Emma sing, are the rest on the instruments on backtrack when you play live?
Sort of, yes.
When you perform live do you ever feel that the stage is so big and that you’re only two to fill it up, is that ever a challenge?
Depends on your state of cardio and how fast you can run while singing or playing.
What did media and critics think of your EP DIE that was released 2015, the single “Dance To The Revolution” that came 2016 and your self titled debut album that came 2017?
Luckily people are nice. However we only remember the good remarks anyways.
“Dance to the revolution” official video
You call your music lazerpunk or electro-punk, could you explain a little more what lazerpunk means?
It’s punk, more technically advanced and more colorful. Also we like science-fiction and cheesy disco lights with our punk so we guessed it could mean all of that.
Which ones would you say listen to The Guilt? Is it rockers, punks or metalheads?
Eeh, we would say “Yes” 🙂
In the description of you it say you’re a punk band what do you think about that?
If we wrote it it must be true. If someone else wrote it it’s also true. Mostly genres are just a tool to sell and promote. We make music and we like to dance. Sometimes we watch TV.
When I hear The Guilt I think of your music as industrial/metal teamed up with punk music, do you agree with that or what do you think? I think that fans of industrial/metal and punk is going to like the bands music a lot. Your music has a lot in common with acts like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Die Krupps.
Thank you! That’s good company you put us in and most of all it would make a great party!
We make intense, sometimes aggressive music with “electronic” elements. We use synths, drum machines, distorted guitar sounds and screaming as well as catchy melodies. All of that we have in common with a broad range of bands.
Which bands and artists have inspired you to make music?
PJ Harvey, The Kills, Anna Öberg, Hole, Metz, Dödsvarg…
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?
We have no idea.
You’re performing quite a lot in Germany, why?
It’s a big country with a culture of going to live shows. They also care a bit less about genres compared to Sweden.
New album NEW KNIVES
When did you begin to write material to NEW KNIVES?
Two years ago.
Are all of the songs written directly to the album or did you use older material as well?
Some of the songs we hade already practiced live since a year the rest is more new.
In the bio it say that you have played the songs live already, is that correct?
Yes, some of them. It’s a good way to get to know the song before recording, producing and mixing them.
Do you write all of the material together? Who does what?
More or less. Everything goes back and forth for a very long time until someone gives up. It’s a long process.
Tobias you play guitar and you Emma sing, who plays the drums, bass and keyboard?
We produce our songs by using drum machines and synths to create all other sounds. In contrast to popular belieef, there is no tap dancing on the record.
Have you used sampled music and arrangements as well?
No. It would be quite funny if we had one of those useless “DJ, mixing and samples” kind of dude like Linkin Park hahahaha
NEW KNIVES is pretty short and clocks in on about 33 minutes, was it your intention of making a short hard hitting album or was it just a coincidence it became quite short?
In my opinion 33 minutes of more of the length of an EP. Emma clocks in at 160 cm barely, that’s pretty short too. Well, we didn’t really count the minutes. It’s better anyway to not squeeze in too many tracks on a vinyl.
The songs all clocks in on between 3 to 4 minutes, what are the longest songs “Beige And Contagious” (3,49) and “Nobody Likes You” (3,51) about?
“Beige” is about faking your normality just enough to survive but not suffocate and Nobody likes you is just a stupid song about not understanding or caring enough about anything. You are right. It doesn’t make any sense.
Who did the cover artwork to the album?
Mia Maria Johansson did most of the artwork.
How come you named the album NEW KNIVES?
Emma likes knives. She actually made the one pictured on the cover. Another band once described us as Roxette with knives- because we’re a duo, from Sweden, but maybe a bit angrier than Roxette (great band btw). It stuck.
Have you recorded any extra songs marked for single B-sides?
Do you think you have developed anything music-wise in between the releases of the EP and NEW KNIVES?
Yes. Our sound has evolved quite a bit, we think.
Do you think older fans of The Guilt are going to like the new album?
We will see! It’s difficult not to joke about our fans being of older age here, but we can’t find a clever way to make it funny so we won’t.
Have you read any review of NEW KNIVES in the media yet?
Yes, so far no one hated it, but someone will.
Are there any differences in how foreign and native media writes about you?
No, don’t think so. They don’t write enough for us to have something to compare.
I’d say the album is brilliant, I really love it, are you guys happy with the outcome?
Yes! And THANK YOU!
“ENEMY” official video
Many artists and bands thinks their latest album is their best one, is it the same for you?
It’s funny because it’s true!
Studio and production
Where was the album recorded and how long did the studio work take?
It was recorded here and there, mostly in our rehearsal room or home. So including breaks for peeing, like two years.
Have you had help from any other musicians on the album or is it just you two that handles all the instruments?
It’s just us. Those tapdancers just weren’t good enough.
How involved in the music are you Emma? But don’t you want to know how Tobias is involved in the music?
We think that you need to rephrase this question . If you check the credentials for the songs, there are some clues.
Who produced the album?
We did and Joakim Lindberg made a lot of useful inputs and put his ideas into the sound.
Joakim Lindberg did the mixing in Studio Sickan, where is the studio located?
In Malmö, Sweden.
Where did Magnus Lindberg do the mastering work?
You would have to ask him…
Label and management
How come you signed a deal with the local label Heptown Records?
We like them, they like us.
“New Knives” official video
It has taken you quite a long time to follow up the debut album which came in 2017, what does your label think of the time it has taken you?
There was no discussion concerning that.
NEW KNIVES is besides being released on CD also being released in a limited green vinyl version of 500 ex, why so few copies and why not release it on regular black vinyl?
Because we like green. If people need more. We will make more! If people want black. We will make green!
Are you both fans of the vinyl format?
Yes we both are.
Is NEW KNIVES out on Spotify or Itunes etc?
Yes, all of those.
Many artists thinks that the music industry is dead because it’s so hard to sell physical albums nowadays, and bands rely on writing biography’s and putting their names on alcohol and other stuff, what do you think of the future of the music industry?
We want to make music and play it live. Let’s hope that is possible in the future too!
Heptown Records is working with the promotion label Sound Pollution, is the co-operation working out well for The Guilt?
Yes, Soundpollution has had our backs the whole time and has done a good job as far as we can tell!
Are your albums being released in Asia and North America?
HepTown will sell it to you if you want it, but we have no promotion outside of Europe. Yet. If someone wants to work with us outside of Europe, send us an email!
Do you currently work with any management or booking agency?
Yes, Truemmer Booking in Germany and JauneOrange in Belgium.
Past present and future
Last year you recorded a cover of the Joy Division song “A Means To An End” which was being featured in the video game Wolfenstein Young Blood, how did The Guilt end up in that game?
We got contacted by the Machine Games team, they’ve heard our music and wanted us to work with them for that song.
“A means to an end” – as heard in Wolfenstein Youngblood
Was it a fun experience to be featured in the game?
Would you like to to write music for games or movies? Of course, it was different, and a lot of fun!
Do you think the band gained new fans with your participation on the soundtrack to the game?
We hope so, and we know there are some that discovered us through that song, but we can’t tell how many…
Is the song released physical?
I know it’s available on YouTube. No it’s not. It will only exist in the game and online.
The band is booked for shows in Europe during March/April and May, are you going through with the shows in these corona times?
Sadly, for everyone in this business, there are no shows in Europe until May, if we are lucky and the pandemic blows over. We are trying to schedule new shows at a later date.
Any plans on performing in Sweden or Scandinavia during the summer?
We will see…
Any festival shows booked for the summer so far?
Right now it’s a mess with booking because no one knows when there can be shows and events again.
How would you like to describe a show with The Guilt as?
S W E A T Y
I have seen you live and I’d say it was one of the most explosive, energetic and heavy shows I’ve seen, I loved to see you live.
I read that the band got some really dedicated fans that travel far to see you perform live, can you give us some example of the longest distance a fan have traveled only to see you live?
Some have traveled far. Quite far.
Do you think it’s important to be active online in order to interact with fans and so on?
Of course! Especially in these times when we physically can’t travel.
The bands Facebook got almost 2000 likes so far, do you think you’re going to gain more fans with NEW KNIVES?
Who knows.. Maybe less?
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question they ask?
“Do you really try to be as ugly as possible?”
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard of The Guilt before?
Tighten those shoe laces!
Could you give them three reasons why they should buy NEW KNIVES?
If you like it, buy it! If you don’t like it, buy it as a gift to that uncle you hate! If you don’t like it, buy it just to support your local record shop, then throw it like a Frisbee and lose it in the grass because it has the same colour as fresh spring grass!