Fresh off their recent Japanese tour with Tokyo’s WOMBSPACE, Swedish emotional, epic post rock filled post hardcore act TENGIL sit down with us to discuss their new game-changing album ‘shouldhavebeens’, its content and plans for the future.
TENGIL is a name that many friends of the DIY European post hardcore scene have been mentioning quite a few times as of late. With a short back catalogue of single releases, one EP and a noteworthy debut full length ‘Six‘, the Borås based quartet are far from being newcomers on the ambient post hardcore scene. Their latesst LP, “shouldhavebeens” is a surprising continuation of their artistic growth, an adventurous, symphony infused, epic opus with acoustic textures that offer majestic atmospheres and interesting reinterpretations of their varied influences. Booth fans of post rock, blackgaze, stylistic contrast based styles and experimental post hardcore are encouraged to seek this album out.
“‘shouldhavebeens’ tells the story of two friends, three New Year’s Eves and one longing greater than life,” says the band. The record aims to speak about nostalgia, saudade, mental illness, decadence, the promise of tomorrow, and how our collective views of future themselves determine who we turn out to be.
Engineered, Recorded and Mixed by Kim Ruiz at Nacksving Studios in Gothenburg, mastered by Isak Edh at Nacksving Studios in Gothenburg, the record is available now via Prophecy. Art Direction & Design by Sakarias Westman, Pontus Carling and Karl Hauptmann. Photography by Jakob Ekvall.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ. It’s been almost 3 years since we last teamed up for “My Gift To You” video premiere! Time flies, huh? How are you? How have you been since then?
Hey! It’s our pleasure! Yeah, it really does, we originally wanted to have “shouldhavebeens” out in 2016, but now it’s 2018 and here we are. As people, we have done a bunch of stuff, some of it fun, some of it meaningfull, but we still feel pretty bad, hands in the air if you know how it feels. As a band, we have been making this new album (shouldhavebeens) that we just released on Prophecy Productions. Before that we did some DIY tours of europe in support of our last album, and oh, as of writing to you we have just come home from our first ever Japan tour, that feels nice to write.
‘shouldhavebeens’ serves the listener a beautiful journey, and obviously, shows you guys withdrawing from that harsh, hardcore-centric side of your aesthetic. Were these two sides of your nature paradoxically conflicting, and how did you find the movement between the two? Tell us about this sonic evolution, what influenced it and what promped you to hit mellower and more cathartic notes.
Thank you! I think that it’s not a linear transition as in we kept some of the building blocks of our previous sound, we still see our sound as explosive, loud and violent. Actually I would say that it’s mostly the chords that are different.
Besides, I don’t really think we abandoned any sound as a band. It’s a bit hard to be upfront as a young band in communicating to people that what want to do is not just how the first album sounds, but that it’s going to be the second, third and maybe even the fourth as well. Because people are going to sort of judge you on your first album. As a musician in a band, is the “art” you make as an artist going to be every individual song, every album or just the band in general? If it is the band, then how every album connects to each other is going to be determined until you have released a few albums and been around for a while.
Was the writing process and structure different on this album to your previous work?
Let’s be honest here, it has been terrible. We have never been this depressed, burnt out, and just flat out tired of existing as we have been when working on this album. We almost had no fire left in our hearts when it was finished, almost wanted to stop playing music. Almost wanted to stop, period. It’s a jarring thing, holding up the old truths about hard work and being true to yourself as beacons of persistence and shields against the flow of time and feeling them turn to dust in your hands long before you reach your destination. And then hitting roads end as a ghost. By that point to it’s hard be content with what you have done.
But I think that recovered some joy by now, probably the most after getting to tour again. Otherwise there’s too much silence. You don’t really feel, even if we are glad for reviews and comments, something as much as when you get to play and hear people reacting first hand to the it instead of getting to hear it later or from a screen when you’re sitting home by your laptop.
What was your input on the design and presentation of the artwork? Tell us about this specific photo and design and how does it connect to the lyrical concept of the record.
We want to leave the cover up for interpretation, but for a vague series of hints we can tell you that it sort of represents a friendship and the memories you collect during that. Memories that you, for better or for worse, will always wallow in to a certain degree.
‘shouldhavebeens’ ‘ gains a respectable amount of positive coverage and user reviews around the globe. How does it feel to gain more praise for your new album? Also, do you see some real new possibilities thanks to that? What do you feel the band would need at this particular moment of your existence?
I think as we are right now as hopeful as can be for the band these days, all we want to right now is tour and play as much as possible, and we get more opportunities to do so the more people talk about us. Getting praise is of course nice as well, but we enjoy what we’re doing regardless, so the real significant part is to see that people believe our music is “important” enough to write about. Then it doesn’t really matter if people like it or not.
Ok guys, so what can we expect when it comes to your getting back to the live environment? What shows do you have planned for the coming months?
Like I said we just came home from playing a bunch of shows in Japan, it not something that is still going to happen, but it was crazy amazing and I just want to tell everyone about it. Later in now in May and In June we’re touring the mainland (Europe), and probably have some more stuff shows/tours coming up this fall, but I can’t really say anything more about that right now.
Alright, so thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your thoughts through this interview. Please, if there is anything left unsaid, feel free to share it. The last words are yours.
Thank you for wanting to do this interview. You run a website that covers a very special and precious part of modern culture, and it means a lot to us to get to be a part of it.