The Swedish sludge metallers PYRAMIDO will release their third full length “Saga” on September 27th! The band’s drummer Viktor Forss sat down with me to answer some questions about their new work, legacy and plans for the future. We upgraded the name of their label and discussed a bunch of cool issues. Scroll down to see their newest video for the track “År av onåd” and read the interview in full! Bon appétit!
PYRAMIDO formed in the summer of 2006 and became a fully functional band about a year later. Since then we have done numerous tours and released a bunch of records. Although ultra heavy, Saga is best described as an album full of melodies and harmonies that scratches you here and tickles you there, it´s a recorded evidence of the epiphany that struck PYRAMIDO when they discovered that they have two guitarists who don´t necessarily need to play the same riff at the same time. You should never, ever put a label on a band, but hey, it has to be done. Saga is an instantly bangable, boogified hardcore LP, full of loveable melodies that are better described as a warm hug rather than a punch in the face!
Hey guys! How are we doing this fine afternoon? :)
Everything’s fine with me. I´m answering this from my job at the library since it´s pretty slow here right now. Can´t complain!
Cool. I’m into a couple of titles now. Can you recommend a good read for me?
Well, of ourse I can, that´s my job! Lately I´ve read alot of the Chilean author Roberto Bolano. His book The Savage Detectives is a South American rollercoaster about literature, art, life and death. Highly recommended. I also recently read some short stories by an Australian author called Gerald Murnane. A very interesting man, it´s said he has never seen the ocean, which is quite remarkable for a man living in Australia. Velvet waters is a collection of short stories that´s really good, his writing focus alot on how you remember the past and on the struggle between fiction and non-fiction. Read!
Great, thanks! You really have to find some adventure books about Antarctica. I’ve just read „The Worst Journey in the World” and really fell into Robert Falcon Scott’s story :)
Ok, never mind the books, let’s talk get to the business! ;) I love the „boogiefied” term used in your newest press release. Despite the fact of lots of amazing melodies you developed, I can literally feel the heavy magma coming up and filling my ears :) Personally, what do you think, how scary is your new stuff? :)
I wouldn´t say it´s very scary, though it´s still heavy and in some aspects brutal. The term melancholy is pehaps what some people would use to describe our use of melodies, but I think they´re better described as pensive. I´glad to hear that you think of it as magma, that´s an analogy I like, but boogiefied magma might even more truthful!
You bet! Unless you’re a shit band, an artist’s work is always changing, growing up and developing. Since you’re not an exception, tell me, what kind of developing appears on the new album?
Well, I think that our new use of melodies and harmonies along with less complicated song-structures are the two main factors that has developed. On our previous record Salt we tried to hard and the flow in the songs got somewhat lost. Saga is more like a perfect wave, to speak surfer-language, smooth and gentle. And the fact that all the lyrics are in Swedish is, if not a development, at least a change.
Exactly! Why wouldn’t you want to sing it in English? What’s your take on the language matter?
Well, I just think we wanted to try something different. Of our previous tunes only one (I grevens tid) is in Swedish, so why not do a record full of Swedish lyrics? I also think that us coming from some sort of hardcore/punk background makes it not feeling weird to write Swedish lyrics, in the hardcore world it isn´t that unusual with bands singing in their native language. It was just something we wanted to try.
Definitely! I truly support it, especially in hardcore punk scenes of all kinds.
How did Malmo influence you sound and lyrics this time? What else is the inspiration?
I think our biggest inspiration music-wise is other music. Boring answer, but that is the truth. We listen to alot of different types of music and try to steal something here and something there. I think you might say that stealing from other bands is what gets us going, cultural crimethInc! As for the lyrics, that is our singer Ronnies domain. He´s in charge of that area and I can´t speak for him. But I think the everyday grind mixed with some more personal reflections is what inspires him. Well, that and the stress of getting lyrics done before it´s time to record our tunes.
What value do you place on lyrics in general?
Hmm, tricky one. I can only answer for myself on this one. Lyrics are important to me, they are a part of our music. But none of us besides Ronnie are a part of writing the lyrics, so I guess you can say that I leave it up to him. If he is satisfied and feels that they mean something to him and that he´s saying what he wanna say, then I´m satisfied as well. In PYRAMIDO I put a lot more focus on the music.
Why „Saga”? I expected something more like „Water” or „Dust” :)
Our previous albums are named “Sand” and “Salt”, so “Saga” seemed to be a good way to go with the third. The albums don´t have any greater stories that connects with the titles, but we like to match the title with the artwork and then let people do what they want with that, and it has kinda worked. In many reviews references have been made between artwork/title and they way the music is percieved.
Ok, let’s talk about formalities. You’re putting out this record in a couple of days via a couple of various labels. Tell me ore about your idea for the distribution of PYRAMIDO’s work. How important are means of distribution for you guys?
The distribution for this record is gonna be via punkdistro.de, which is the shop that is connected with the labels responsible for the LP, La Familia Releases and Farewell records. We are gonna have copies to sell in Sweden, maybe a we will get a few stores to carry the LP here, but we do most of the work ourselves when it comes to sell it. Distribution is of course important if you wanna get your record out there, but nowadays the internet does alot of the work for you. We are making sure that Saga is gonna get reviews and such which is handled all through emails and contacts. But in the end I think the best distribution is to tour and play live as much as possible. Without that it´s impossible to get people to notice you.
I bet you’ll sell a bunch of your records at your merch table :) What shows do you have coming up in the coming weeks? Hope you’re not done with touring for 2013, are you? :)
Sometimes we do, sometimes we don´t. You never how the selling after a show will be. Well, the touring for 2013 haven´t even started yet. We have only played one show this year, which of course is best described as a catastrophy. But the same day as the record is released we´re leaving for a tour that looks like this:
27 friday – Bremen – G18
28 saturday – Frankfurt – eXzess
29 sunday – Karlsruhe – Halle14
30 monday – Mainz – Haus Mainusch
1 tuesday – Strasbourg – Molodoi
2 wednesday – Freiburg – KTS Freiburg
3 thursday – Switzerland – HELP NEEDED
4 friday – Bremgarten – KuZeb
5 saturday – Winterthur – GGS31
6 sunday – München/Augsburg – HELP NEEDED!
7 monday – Linz/Graz/Salzburg – HELP NEEDED!
8 tuesday – Wien – EKH
9 wednesday – Erlangen – Jugendhaus Erlangen
10 thursday – Leipzig – Black Label Pub
11 friday – Berlin – Kastaniekeller
12 saturday – Hamburg – Störtebeker
We are gonna share stage with the epic Finnish band CIRCLE on the 25th of October in our hometown Malmö! After that we´ll see what happens, but our plan is to do a couple of weekends in Sweden, trying to play as much as possible.
Playing live is what we wanna do, so this break from shows have been kinda crappy, but needed. We had to finish the songs for the LP and rehearse as much as possible which has been hard since we have been living in three different cities for the last 3 years. But things are looking good now, plans are being made.
So not all of you are based in Malmo?
Nope. Dan lives in Gothenburg and has been doing that almost all of PYRAMIDO’s lifetime. I lived the last three years in small city an hour from Gothenburg since I went to school there. Now that I´m done I’m back in Malmö again, so nowdays we are 80% Malmö-based, which feels really good.
How would you compare both cities, both generally and music scene-wise?
Music-wise there are a few differences. In Gothenburg it´s alot more hardrock and hardrockes than in Malmö. Malmö have a really strong hardcore-scene instead. Gothenburg being a bigger city have more places that put on shows and there´s alot more happening for people that enjoy the idea of leaving the safe haven of home. I don´t, so Malmö suits me fine. Generally I think both Malmö and Göteborg are interesting and beautiful cities with alot of nice things to see.
How often do you rehearse now when the record is ready?
Now we have been rehearsing alot to make sure that we are as tight as possible for the upcoming tour. Usually we have weekends when we try to make sure that everybody can spend as much time as possible at the rehearsing space and we play as much as possible from friday-sunday. We need to play the songs alot to make them feel natural and be tight. We are everything that defines the word amateurs.
How difficult and realistic would it be to reproduce the sounds from your new outing live on stage?
We have no idea, we have never played them live. Our guitarplayer Dan just bought a huge plastic 90’s multieffect to be able to get his guitar to sound like a shoegazer-machine, so hopefully that will work. I guess we have to wait and see, but no matter how we sound we always sound like PYRAMIDO, and I guess that´s the main thing. Live shouldn’t be exactly as on the record, I think that it´s a good thing to have one sound on recordings and one sound live, as long as we are pleased with both.
Good luck then :)
There’s been only a couple of years and you’ve already released 5 split records! Are they all still available in your merch store?
Yep, we like to refer to us as the Agathocles of sludge! We only have the 7″ split with UNION OF SLEEP and the 12″ split with AMAROK available. But I think the others can be found in various distros and on Discogs at very reasonable prices
What bands would you think of when planning another double-record?
Right now we don´t wanna think of doing more split-releases, we´re gonna take a break from that. But of course, if someone gives us an offer we can’t refuse… But we need new songs first anyways, so that and playing live is our focus right now.
Do you have some side-projects goin’ on currently?
Hmm, not any really serious sideprojects. I, Ronnie and bass-Dan are fooling around with a hardcore-band. We have rehearsed one time, so well see what happens with that. Dan also have some grindproject, but nobody knows how they sound. Wendel have a black-metal band called VANDÖD and guitar-Dan is making some music at home under the name HAUNTED TRAILS. And that´s about it I think, but there might be more that they havn’t told me about…
What’s the name of that hardcore band? :>
We call it FIST!
When and how did you bring it to life?
We have been talking for a while about starting a band that´s just fast and easy, so we thought we should give it a try. Like I said, only one practice so far, so we´ll see what happens. But hopefully we´ll get some songs done one day sooner or later. Only time can tell.
I believe that nowadays we witness lots of interesting products of a specific place in music history where the ‘hardcore punk’ and ‘metal’ worlds intersect. On the other hand, these are quite distinct groups, aren’t they? Do you find your local scene friendly for both groups? What’s characteristic of your local music scene when it comes to this matter?
I think that metal and hardcore are getting more and more involved with each other. But as you said, perhaps in other words, metalheads will be metalhead and punks will be punks. But the open minded souls of every group might be able to interact with both genres sometimes. I think the scene here is big enough for both groups, but if you ask me to name any metal bands from this city it might be hard cause I really can´t think of any. But then I´m really not into metal. I think punk and hardcore is what it´s all about in Malmö, and that´s more than fine with me!
Great! Ok Viktor, I guess that’s about it, isn’t it? What are your plans for the near future?
In the near future we plan to drink coffee and funny sodas i as amny cities as possible. Yeah, and also play in the cities. Perhaps have a good time, and then we need to start to make some new songs to keep up our average of two releases a year.
Would you call 2013 “another average year”, just like you did last year? :)
2013 will of course be an extremely average year, all years are average, and we like it that way!
Thanks so much for your time! Cheers from Warsaw!
Thanks alot for the chat, keep up the good work! Hugs from Malmö!