Introducing: superbly crafted and immensely moving music from EPHEMERA

13 mins read

It’s been awhile since a new record has caused so much excitement. The EPHEMERA project came to life when HEART ON MY SLEEVE member Gabriel Bergman Lahovary saw a great potential in getting together a very unique blend of different people from different cities, countries, and bands and creating something special under a new name. The result exceeded all expectations. EPHEMERA is one of the finest specimen of this sad and melancholic breed, and their musical poetry gathered on their debut EP is among the best examples we have of  music’s ability to illuminate who we are as art-sensitive humans. Moreover, there is something really gratifying about uncovering the hidden meanings in their lyrics. This record is a true masterpiece. VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET’s “Den Sorgligaste Musiken I Världen” finally has a worthy adversary.

Scroll down to read my multi-interview with Gabriel (HEART ON MY SLEEVE), Arvid Ringborg (VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET), Vivien (RAINMAKER), Johan Dyrssén (TREMBLING HANDS), Tomas Persson (SHIROKUMA), Karl (ANEMONE / VIA FONDO), Daniel (RAINMAKER / WHILE GIANTS SLEEP).

A curio: Gabriel wrote all the the guitar-parts and each person got to do with the songs what they wanted. All the members involved had no influence on each others parts and never got to rehearse together. They recorded their part of the song and then sent it to the next musician. In the end, it was all mixed by Michael Nordström of HEART ON MY SLEEVE.

Artwork by Karl / 901000.

Stormen / We´ll find comfort in the waves
Vocals: Mattias Musikka (iisole/Feeble/Suffocate for fuck sake) / Arvid Ringborg (Vi som älskade varandra så mycket) / Henrik Dahlqvist (Totem Skin)
Bass: Emil Lundblad (Sore Eyelids)
Drums: Tomas Persson (Shirokuma)
Guitar: Karl Nilsson (Anemone/Via Fondo) / Gabriel Bergman Lahovary (Heart On My Sleeve)

Des cicatrices et des cernes
Vocals: Johan Dyrssén (Trembling Hands) / Vivien (Rainmaker)
Bass: Daniel Thorisson (ex Rainmaker)
Drums: Shawn Decker (Coma Regalia)
Guitar: Gabriel Bergman Lahovary (Heart On My Sleeve)

Darkness Within
Vocals: Johan Dyrssén (Trembling Hands) / PC
Bass: Daniel Thorisson (ex Rainmaker)
Drums: Sebastian Engström (Totem Skin)
Guitar: Gabriel Bergman Lahovary (Heart On My Sleeve)

Hey guys! Thank you very much for catching up with me and revealing more about this new exciting project called EPHEMERA. First, let’s get all the informational facts out of the way, so we can get down to the insights. Who’s behind the project, how did you decide to create it and will it last a bit longer than a usual ephemera?

Gabriel: One day in late September I remembered a cool song that I hadn’t listened to for a while. It’s one of my favorite songs and it’s a collaboration between ENVY / THIS MACHINE KILLS / YAPHETT KOTTO. I started thinking that it would be a cool thing to do a similar recording. I had 2 songs that had not been used by my band Heart On My Sleeve. So I just had guitars made and thought like, yeah! let’s contact people that play in the bands that I really like. So I started with asking the bass player Daniel Thorisson if he could record. From there I contacted more and more people. My first idea was to have one member of each band on each song. But during this journey I had problems findings so many different musicians so I had to use the same musicians on more than just one song. My idea with this project was: “Record what you feel, have fun and do what you want with your instruments/songs”. I didn’t want to decide what the musicians/singers should do. If everyone would do what they felt the sound would be cooler and more special. For me this project was like a one time project. Fast and cool. Just to make it more special and more unique.

Daniel: Well the Father of EPHEMERA is Gabriel (HEART ON MY SLEEVE). It all started when Gabriel contacted me. And wondered if i was interested in a small music project with him. The idé was for me to record bass and do it with no compromise, in other words with no influence from anyone else and just do what i wanted and what i felt was right. After that i recorded bass to Gabriels guitars he recruited a lot of talented musicians from highly influential screamobands around Sweden and i USA and from there everything just went on to become something weird and beautiful!

Well, I want to say no because of the nature of the project, but we are humans so we never really know for sure. If you look at the logistics to get 12 or so musicians to sync… yeah well thats a challenge itself! But we are artists and we can never stop creating and I’m sure that you hear from us again in some way either it’s EPHEMERA 2.0 or some other interesting project!

Considering so many recordings and undertakings presented by individual members of EPHEMERA, how do you keep the energy up? What keep you involved?

Arvid: For me it was just a pleasure to be on it and not much of an effort on my part. Gabriel has kept up the energy and inspired everyone to do their own thing. When Gabriel asked if I wanted to be a part of it, it wasn´t a hard choice. There are so many great people from awesome bands involved.

Johan: When I got the question from Gabriel I immediately said yes without even knowing who else was involved and when I got the list of people contributing to this it was definitely no problem keeping the energy up. When you know that there are so many great people involved in the project it’s just so much fun doing it.

Vivien: From the beginning when Gabriel asked me to be a part of this project, I said yes; I was excited to record vocals with Johan whom I really appreciate and then, when I heard all the other friends and bands involved, it just made sense to go for it. Though to be honest, from the beginning I thought it was going to take a lot longer time to get everyone to record their part than it actually did. I guess Gabriel has done a good job with keeping everyone on the line and record their parts as fast as possible, especially since Michael who did the mix/master was getting a child around December/January, so there was definitely a time pressure.

Was it a struggle to put these songs together and gather all your good souls in order to track the full recording? As it is powered by so many participants, how did it work? Tell us more about the writing and recording process.

Gabriel: I told everyone to record clean signals on separate files for the mixing and then also put their recordings into a listening mix, so they could send it to the next musican/singer who would do the same. I collected all files into folders that Michael would get in the end. I can tell you that there has been a lot of facebook groups going on *laughs*. One group for the whole project, one for the singers, one for each song, one for the mixing, one for the artwork and so on. Everyone was very easy to work with and it seems like everyone had fun during this project.

Tomas: Gabriel sent me a track with just his guitar. After listening to it I booked some time in a friends studio and started working with it! Gabriel did´t give me any directions, he just told me that I could do what ever I felt like with the song. Because it was no other instruments just then one guitar, i had the opportunity to decide a lot what type of feeling i could do. The hardest thing was not getting direct feedback on the way I was playing. But it went well! I´m satisfied with the result.

Vivien: For our part with Johan it was no problem at all, the only complicated thing, really, was to find a few hours to get together and record our vocals.

Arvid: When I got involved both drums and guitars were recorded, so the structure was already set. Me, Mattias and Henrik talked over Facebook and since we all live in different parts of Sweden there was no way we all could sit in a room and write together. We all agreed on a theme and set up a structure for the vocals. Mattias was first to record, then me, then Henrik. I had no idea how it would turn out, but it sounds pretty cool.

Johan: When I got the question to do vocals for the two songs i’m contributing on there were no other vocalists in the project as i remember it. So I started to write lyrics for the first song (Darkness within) and after a while Gabriel told me he wanted to have more people involved so I just wrote a couple of lines, recorded them to have something to start with. Sent it to the next guy who wrote and recorded his first parts and then we sent it back and forth until we were happy with it. After that I re-recorded all my vocals again and sent it to Michael for mixing. The second song (Des cicatrices et des cernes) was a faster process were I wrote my lines really quick, sent it to Vivien who wrote his part over night and then we just recorded it all in a couple of hours. But it was still quite challenging, at least for me, since we decided to both sing in our native languages (Swedish and French) which I have never done before.

Gabriel, did you give guidance as to how you wanted the rest of the guys to act in this collaboration?

Gabriel: No, like I said earlier, do what you want with your instrument/song. Have fun. I know that the singers had to talk to each other to decide witch part they would do alone and witch part together. But I never told them how they should do it.

So what did you enjoy about working with one another?

Vivien: I met Gabriel a couple of years ago when we played together a show in Stockholm with Rainmaker and Heart on my sleeve; after the show we went out altogether, had some good talks so we got along really well. We all kept in touch since that night and even played together some other times. Shawn has put out our first record in the US on his label, we have been in touch over the internet quite a lot even though we’ve never met so it was fun to share this experience with him as well.

Gabriel: I’m so glad that all the members that I’ve asked could be in this amazing project.
Arvid: It is always interesting to get a glimpse of how others work. In a sense you get to appreciate the craftsmanship of the others a little bit more.

Tomas: The most exciting thing about this project was hearing the song being formed after everyone´s part was added. When I recorded the drums I had no idea how the bass, the vocals and the other guitar, except from Gabriel´s, was going to sound.

What details you find as most challenging in creating such a collaborative effort?

Johan: For me it was finding the time to get things done in between kids, work, other bands and so on. When there are so many people involved you want to deliver stuff on time and not keeping everyone waiting.
Arvid: I think losing control. In VSÄVSM I am really involved in every aspect of the band, but in this project I was only responsible for my part. I am very pleased with the result, so maybe I should allow myself to let go.

Vivien: I think the best part about doing this is that we all got to lay down a part of ourselves, something real and personal, whether it was a bass line, a guitar part, a drum fill-in, lyrics or vocals. These are very personal things, and to share that in such simple way with other creative people and build something out of it without having control on the other person’s parts is fantastic. I am sure that most of us, if not all, in EPHEMERA are serious control-freaks when we write with our other bands, but this time we had no control over the final result and that’s the true interesting thing.

Lyrically, is there a core concept we can explore within “Ephemera”? What is the psychological perspective that you are adding to this project?

Vivien: When Gabriel wondered about what name the project could have, I directly thought of EPHEMERA as it defines the whole concept perfectly. Lyrically, Johan and I didn’t choose a core subject before to start writing. However, we wanted to get both our texts to go together. Johan wrote a few lines and sent them over to me, as I understood what he meant and could relate to it, I wrote lines that could describe that feeling of not finding your place in life, when you drown in the mud and struggle to keep your head out of the dirt. Then we arranged the final lyrics in the studio so that everything would work well together. I was worried about collaborating with the lyrics writing as I had never done this before but I am actually really satisfied and happy with the result. I would do this again!

Arvid: With our song ”Stormen / We´ll find comfort in the waves” we agreed on a theme and then everybody did their own thing. For me it was´t a necessity to sing in Swedish, but we thought it was kind of nice to mix languages.

Speaking in terms of the amazing artwork, how did you go about defining the looks of the record? How important is that area for you as artists?

Gabriel: I know that Karl had done some amazing covers / merch for Via Fondo and other bands. So I just asked him if he wanted and had time to do our cover. Over a night he created this amazing cover and it felt perfect! He is amazing!

Karl: Gabriel asked me if I could draw something for the release, since I have made some artwork in the past. As I designed it I had only heard one of the songs, and that one was not even finished yet. So I just kind of drew something spontanious and not to specific, and hoped that it would work out. Mysterious houses have always been fascinating to me. I want to make art where the observer can make up a story around the image. You can find some of my work at 901000.tumblr.com.

Johan: I think this cover looks amazing and Karl has made a great job with it as with all the stuff he design. In TH we always do everything ourselves from artwork to printing covers and inserts to assemble the records. It’s not that important for us, it’s just that it is a process we all love. DIY!

Arvid: For us in VSÄVSM it is really important. We want our artwork to resonate with our music. The EPHEMERA stuff looks great.

Vivien: Love what Karl did!

What do you want audiences to take away from your recordings?

Arvid: I want our music to do the same thing to others as good music do to me: to make people feel. The feelings may vary but for me it is important to get an emotional response.

Johan: I just hope some people will appriciate it for what it is and maybe inspire others to go out and start a band and create great music with total strangers.

Gabriel: That this is a project made by 12 different musicians that had a fun time and I hope that the listeners can hear and feel the joy and emotional journey we’ve taken together. I hope they like what we’ve created <3

Vivien: I hope some persons will somehow relate to these songs and enjoy them. I guess that’s the best thing that can happen to songs once they are out.

Ok guys. What further goals do you have for EPHEMERA?

Vivien: Nothing, aren’t ephemeral things supposed to fade away and end?

Gabriel; Share it all over the world  We’ve been asked to play at the “Miss The Stars Fest II” but it’s hard to gather all the EPHEMERA members there. After all, this project is called Ephemera, which means: ”Things that are important or useful for only a short time; items that were not meant to have lasting value”.

Tomas: I would like to play the song live sometime. It would be fun to actually get to meet the people I play with in real life too haha

Can we grab a physical copy of this masterpiece? Who’s putting it out?

Johan: It will be a limited 7″ with the three songs and a split release between my label Ödebygd Records and Shawns label Middle-Man Records. Hopefully it will be ready during spring since we immediately put it out on bandcamp for people to listen to before we even had the final master to send to the pressing plant. We will keep you posted when it’s ready!

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you about your core bands and projects other than EPHEMERA. Can you drop us a brief updates on your other bands?

Gabriel: HEART ON MY SLEEVE is at the end of recording our first album. We hope to release it before the summer. So it’s no rest with the music after this release.

Arvid: We are preparing to record the split with KHAYEMBII COMMUNIQUE. For the first time ever we are rehearsing before recording. Probably a good idea.

Vivien: With RAINMAKER, we are soon going to release our split 7inch with the Italians from ØJNE through Dog Knights Productions. We are also going to play our first show since we are back home from our long tour, in Copenhagen next month. We are also currently writing new songs and we are starting to talk about future tours.

Johan: TREMBLING HANDS are writing songs for an EP that hopefully will be finished this summer. We have a new song that is recorded and will be released this spring I hope. We are also getting ready to play Miss the Stars Fest in Berlin in May.

Tomas: We are currently working on new songs for an EP. And a music video is on the way! Follow us on Facebook for all the updates!

Great, thanks! Thanks so much for your time! Take care!

Gabriel: Hold on !!!!!!!! I’m so thankful for this, that people really did this! I know that RAINMAKER, TREMBLING HANDS, and VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET are playing at the awesome festival ”Miss the Stars Fest II”. You can’t miss it! Thanks a lot for doing this intrervju with us!

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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