VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET’s debut offering “Den Sorgligaste Musiken I Världen (The Saddest Music In The World”) has already assured their position as one of modern post hardcore most original voices. Built into a universe of their own, the band’s unique craft is a bold, out of the box look at well explored styles of post rock and screamo, and in many ways feels like it exists on its own, in a solitary void. Stylistically, amongst their infectious, striking and heart-rending explosions, the band’s second album “Det onda. Det goda. Det vackra. Det fula” offers an enticing, highly emotional musicality that transcends genres and captures modern virtuosity at its finest. Today, we’re celebrating the release date of “The Bad. The Good. The Beautiful. The Ugly” with an insightful interview with the band’s vocalist Arvid Ringborg.
VI SOM ÄLSKADE VARANDRA SÅ MYCKET is a six piece from Stockholm, Sweden, founded in 2012. After two EP:s and a split 7” they released their critically acclaimed LP Den Sorgligaste Musiken I Världen (The Saddest Music in the World) 2014. Though the lyrics are in Swedish they have reached people far beyond Sweden showing that emotions and music have no language. Musically they combine elements of melodic post-hardcore with early 2000s screamo, but creating a dramatic and cinematic sound that is uniquely their own. Add some Swedish melancholy in the mix and you get a pretty good idea. One of the trademarks of the band is defi nitely the voice of singer Arvid that perfectly transmits the emotions and the despair that every single song holds.
Five years have gone since the fi rst album and you can tell that the band put in heart, soul and time in the follow up sophomore album. Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula. (The Bad. The Good. The Beautiful. The Ugly) is a monumental release that marks a milestone in the bands history. With its eight new songs it delivers an emotional outburst with a lot more heavy structures than its predecessor. The bass and the drums build a massive foundation, while the balance between guitars and screams creates both fragile and heavy as fuck parts throwing the listener between emotional extremes. The band features members from Jazzbrunch, Ephemera, Youngteam, Song Of Zarathustra and Khayembii Communiqué: Arvid Ringborg – Vocals, Johan Angantyr – Guitar, Mark Shaw – Guitar, Gösta Jonasson – Drums, Tomas Brisman – Bass, and Jens Gentzschein Lager – Guitar.
Guys, where to start? Your debut masterpiece „The Saddest Music In The World” and our interview 5 years ago (https://idioteq.com/the-saddest-music-in-the-world-an-interview-with-vi-som-alskade-varandra-sa-mycket/) defined that era of music in my life and it’s really hard to express how impactful and hard-hitting that multi-layered full length was. From the first seconds of your new release ‘Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula.’, I instantly knew this was going to be a unique and incredibly touching experience. I was not wrong. With this complex, felt, and philosophically realised opus, your breadth and attention to detail became more understandable, and I am really fascinated by its multifaceted nature. Congrats on that. Tell us about the path that led you to this new chapter. How were these past five years for you guys?
Thank you so much and thank you for the work you do. This is Arvid from VSÄVSM answering your questions, so hopefully I can represent the band as a whole. We were really happy with how our first record turned out but we also know what we would have done differently. We recorded Den Sorgligaste Musiken i Världen in Tomas’ (from our band) studio and he also did all the mixing. He did a fantastic job, but we felt that we could maybe push ourselves a little bit more recording with someone from the outside.
When we started the process of this record we were looking at different studios and finding a set up that would fit us. We ended up using a studio that was connected to our practice space, run by Jonathan Lennerbrant, who had no experience with our type of music. It ended up being a great choice thanks to his understanding of music and his creative input. We all have families and full time jobs. Working with Jonathan enabled us to have a long process in the studio rather than something short and intense.
We have been writing music constantly and done some split releases since our first record but, when we decided to go for a second full length, the work became more focused. I think we also raised the bar when it comes to song writing. We have rejected a lot of good ideas for songs, focusing only on the great ones. These eight songs are boiled down from maybe 100 songs. We have set a much higher standard on our creative output.
Apart from the music we have all gone through different stages of life: The Bad. The Good. The Beautiful. The Ugly.
How did ‘Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula.’ come about, and which came first—the premise and lyrical concepts or the sonic and musical structure?
For us the record is a natural progression from where we were. We have always worked with contrasting emotions and I think this record does that in a big way. We have never been heavier and we have never been more delicate. I had the title quite early on, which is a play on Sergio Leone’s epic movie ”The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. I added the Beautiful and moved it around a little bit. The words represent different stages in life and circumstances surrounding human behavior. These are dark times and we see the bad come out in people with the growth of right wing populism and religious fundamentalism. At the same time, there is a counter-culture where people are more awake than ever and we see a lot of progression in the public discourse.
We are by no means a political band but it is hard not to reflect on our times. I think that shines through in the thematics on this album.
When you wrote for this record, lyrically wise, how do you balance your agenda toward yourself and toward the audience?
I have played music since my early teens and been writing lyrics even longer. There are many different stories to tell and as a lyricist it is up to you how much and what you want to share. I have never written in my native tongue before we started VSÄVSM and that changed how I write. I try to write with no filters and from a personal perspective. I was reading old lyrics a while back and everything I express comes from a memory, so it is very true to who I am. If the first record very much deals with losing someone I love, this record is about finding a way back to life. I would say this record is more hopeful, but I also compare it to the very dark record that is The Saddest Music in the World.
The lyrical process is not easy but it also works as therapy. It might sound cliche but I write to get things off my chest. To put my frustration into words and to scream it out is a way to deal with things. It doesn’t necessary change anything, but it changes me. I am happy if people can relate to my lyrics and maybe find some comfort in that someone else feels the same.
Do you think poetry–alike lyrics and cinematic soundscapes encourage a more subjective take on experience, inviting the listener to imagine and draw their own interpretations, rather than an attempt to read your intentions and direct messages?
I think both. We are very precise in how we write music and how the vocals work together with the instrumentation but we by no means want to control the listener’s journey. If we wanted to own the narrative it would probably be a better idea to sing in English, so more people would understand it. I think there are different ways to listen to music that will result in different experiences. We recorded this as an album that creates a journey from beginning to end. It is also a compilation of songs, where each song has its own arc. You can listen to the words or just see the vocals as a texture emphasizing the instrumentation and melodies. We do want to create a story and experience throughout our work, but that doesn’t mean that the listener will experience what we intended. Hopefully you create your own images and the record speaks to you in new ways.
This hearty, epic and monumental stylistics in heavy music seems to be considered a higher and more rarefied art form than less complicated forms of heavy music and hardcore punk in particular. Do you see it that way? Regarding this matter, do you look at yourselves as maestros of some sort?
We just write music we really like. Every band and artist have a different process and are looking for a different outcome. I think our music reflects a collection of what inspires us. I grew up with punk and hardcore of all sorts and I owe a lot to that scene, both musically and on how I view the world. A lot of our sound doesn’t necessarily stem from punk or hardcore. Music evolves constantly and we draw inspiration from all sorts of genres and artists and try to create and refine our work into something that we are proud of. We have been developing our sound since we started and we do put a lot of work into it. I personally like intricate music with a lot to be discovered, but I also appreciate a punk rock banger. There are different kinds of music for different occasions. I am really happy to be surrounded with such good musicians and song writers. When we started the band we had a strong idea of what we wanted the band to be and from that idea we have evolved into what we are today.
Have you secured an instrumental edit of the record this time? :)
We have not. We are not an instrumental band. We realize we would probably be more accessible without my screaming but there are other post rock bands that already do that well enough. We have never discussed doing an instrumental release, though people have asked for it.
The album opener ”Kärleken är död” comes with the official music video, which, I believe, marks your second music video offering (after ”Du och jag och tiden”). Can you tell us a bit about this concept and the metaphor behind it?
It is our second video and also the second one where we wear animal masks. I love music videos and I personally prefer a different narrative than the typical band video. We didn’t want the video to tell the same story as the song and also wanted to leave a lot open for interpretation. Both me and Johan work professionally as directors and we run a small production company together. We usually work with comedy, but it is not very fitting to our music. The song is called Love is Dead and as a title it is about as dark as it gets, though the lyrics, in a weird way, are hopeful. We were looking to make a video that, together with the song, becomes its own piece of art. I think there is something sad and beautiful about it.
The artwork of is truly beautiful. How did you choose it and how does it match lyrical concepts of the record?
Once again our friend Martin Jacobson did the artwork. I had an initial idea that he interpreted and we couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. To me there is a correlation between the lyrics and themes of the record and the cover art. The fighting animals represent us and what we do to each other. When we get hurt by someone we want to know why. I think everyone is capable of hurting others. It is part of human nature. When animals are cruel we accept that it is in their nature and it is no mystery why they do it. Whenever I get dealt a band hand I have obsessed with trying to understand why. This internal monologue can drive a person crazy. The title and the artwork represents an acceptance of what is in our nature. We are all capable of doing bad and good. We are all beautiful and ugly.
Do you think artwork should influence the listener’s experience?
Yes and no. I think the artwork can enhance the experience. We want everything we do to be cohesive but it is also important that everything has value in its own right. The artwork and whatever we do becomes part of our story but ultimately we are a band and I hope the music speaks for itself. We want to create something beautiful and we are really happy when our music becomes more than us. Music and art have helped me get through hard times and hopefully our music can do the same for others.
Ok, so lastly, what’s next for you guys? Give us some insights about your touring plans, other bands and projects you’re involved in and some local alt scene recommendations we should check out in our everyday quest to discover new noteworthy artists and DIY undertakings of all kinds.
We only have a few shows planned right now, so no tour in sight. We are playing Gothenburg and Oslo as release shows this weekend (22-23 November). I am going to be a dad in January so it’s really hard to plan anything right now. Hopefully we can do a few shows in Europe next year, but my main priority is welcoming a new little person to the world. A few of us play in a band called Jazzbrunch that recently released a 7” and we have been talking about doing something more with that. We will see. Lately I have been swamped in work and other projects and haven’t really been paying attention to any new music. I think the record I have listened to most lately is the new Cult of Luna. Sweden has a lot of great music and within our scene there are many interesting bands.
Thanks so much! Thanks for your time and once again, congratulations on your amazing work. Mad respect. Cheers from Warsaw!
Thank you so much and thank you for the support. Thanks to Moment of Collapse and Zegema Beach for helping us with the record. See you in the pit!