Sunday, June 3, 2018
A Sunday Conversation With Mattias Of Nekromant!
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
I don't recall when I heard heavy metal or a harder type of music for the very the first time but I do remember listening to Battle Hymns by Manowar when I was about 9 or 10, very quietly so my parents would not hear it. I remember thinking it was the best thing I have ever heard. A couple of years later my older brother took me to a Manowar show in Gothenburg which was pretty intense for a little kid to say the least. It affected me so deeply that I remain a practicing true metal Manowarrior of steel to this day. Yes, you may laugh.
It's hard to say what qualifies as a musical epiphany as an adult since I have experienced to many strong moments with music, it feels almost unworthy to single out just a few cases. I can still have very intense moments with songs that I have listened to for 15 years, it's all a matter of timing and my mood for the day.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
The riff, or the feel of the riff, will always be the most crucial part of a song for me. If the riff is bad there is no point continuing the song. That being said, I tend to come up with the song title before anything else happens. Not the lyrics, just the title. If I read or see something that appeals to me, that might trigger something like "I want a song that is called this and sounds like that". So, I guess the "feel" of the song is what sets it off. Other than that, the writing process for us is like I imagine it to be for almost every other band. You get a feel, you write a couple of riffs, you show it to the guys and if they like it we try to make something decent out of it. It has to feel easy and natural, it can't be too much work or feel too different. We tend use ourselves as quality proofers that way, for good or for worse.
Who has influenced you the most?
As a band, I will have to say Black Sabbath. The diversity in their catalogue really is mind-blowing, they opened up so much potential in this form of music. There are of course many other influences but the main one will always be Sabbath.
I don't necessarily want new ideas! Heavy metal in and of itself is far more inspiration and motivation than I could use for a hundred years, there is always another riff or another lyric that will feel good to me. As long as I am comfortable with what we are doing in the band, I don't feel that we need any crazy new inspiration or influence. So many greats bands have turned to shit because they wanted to "develop their sound" or "widen their horizons". Fuck that! We play metal and that will always be enough for me.
We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
All three of us come from the same tiny town called Vargön. This place is located on the outskirts of another small town called Vänersborg, which is placed about 50 miles from a slightly larger town called Gothenburg. Safe to say, we do not hail from the center of the universe. I think all three of us rather enjoyed growing up in a rural town but since we are Swedish, we will have to complain about that as well. As all home-blind people we tend to see the depressing industrial landscapes instead of the absolutely beautiful nature surrounding our hometown, which is probably why we play bluesy heavy metal instead of some kind of medieval folk rock, dressed in chainmail and praising Odin. You say that we are all a product of our environment, I will go out on a limb and claim that people used to be a product of their actual environment but have now receded into a sad little existence behind a screen, looking for any scrap of authenticity or encouragement. As members of this generation, I don't think that we are any different. That's some Swedish, hi-octane grumpiness for you.
Where'd the band name come from?
When we started out we were called Serpent but we had to change that because of, well, reasons. The name Nekromant is actually the Swedish word for "necromancer", but there really is no special reason why we chose it, apart from our first album bearing the same name. It sounds good and fits the music, and a band has got to have a name. Simple as that.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
Game of Thrones, because that song sucks. Could use some distorted bass.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
A long time ago we got a gig in Gothenburg as opener for a fairly big Swedish band. It was our biggest gig at the time and we were very excited and kind of jumpy about this since we never had been in that kind of company before. We had it all planned out; drive down, do a sound check, eat and then do the gig. Our guitar player Adam was not involved in the packing of the van since he went down to Gothenburg the day before, which was quite normal and did not seem to be a problem. After unloading our truck at the venue half an hour before sound check we heard Adam say: "Did anyone bring my guitar...?"
We spent the next 2 hours trying to avoid our sound check in the van, franticly calling all our friend to ask if anyone in the area had a spare guitar. Finally, a heroic friend of mine drove over 100 miles like a maniac with Adams guitar in the backseat. We did the gig and never told the venue staff anything.
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
We started to play live very early in our "carrier", which led to a couple of less than satisfactory gigs in the beginning, but also led to us being a decent live band with confidence now. Our approach towards live gigs differ very little from our approach to music overall, we want to deliver metal songs that make us three feel good. If we like it chances are that others will too, but it's always about what we want to do ourselves in the end. If we are happy with what we do we will play good, and if we play good hopefully people will enjoy it. A Nekromant gig should always be about honest music delivered from three guys that love heavy metal, no matter how elaborate or non-elaborate the stage show gets.
What makes a great song?
A good riff and a good melody line. Nail those two and you're good to go.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
The first complete song I remember writing was for a band that myself and Adam played in, called "Red n' raw" (yes, that's right). The song was called "The Beast is unleashed" (yes, that's right) and was a 5-minute, midtempo, psuedo-Judas Priest heavy metal song. The song had a almost embarrassingly simple riff complete with some tough lyrics about a demon who was "the son of the devil." Very metal indeed. Adam laid down some of his (even at 14 years old) trademark catchy solos which I think saved the song from being a complete disaster. There is really not much else to say about this fine piece of music, other than that I don't want to hear it ever again.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
I really do like both the first and the second album, but I'm going to be boring on this one and say our new, yet unreleased, record. You always feel that your new stuff is the best yet but I really do think that this album will be our strongest to date. The album offers a more complete experience, and the song material is just better. We've grown as a band towards this album and there is not one song on the record that I will not be proud to play live.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
Grand Magus is a band I've been listening to for quite some time, and they just get better and better. I can't help but buy into the whole viking heavy metal theme, it goes very well down with a case of beer. I am also a long time black metal fan and Rotting Christ just keep impressing me. They create a very clean and ritualistic version of the dirtiest form of metal which really appeals to me. There really are some good music being written today, no matter what the old guard say.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Well, vinyl is always vinyl but I'm a lazy fucker so I will have to go with digital. It's just too convenient.
Whiskey or beer? And defend your choice.
You are making me choose between two things I love. Only drink whiskey or only drink beer? I will have to go with beer, if I only drank whiskey we probably would not see another Nekromant album, to be honest. But I love them both.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
Since the town that I come from does not have a record store and since you are looking for new music, I would like to recommend not a store, but a band from our hometown: Topplock. Really bluesy, well-executed rock n roll with a heavy metal touch that works great live. Check it out!
In two months time, we will begin the recording of our new album which will be released under the proud flag of Ripple Music. That is the most important thing right now, we will play some shows in Sweden before then but all our focus is now placed in the record. When that is done, we will embark on a 10-show tour in Europe with our good friends from Cities of Mars.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
I hope you guys will find the time to check out our last 2 albums before the release of the new one, and I hope that you will find something you like in them. See you in October with our new and proud release, until then; keep riding!