Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Domkraft

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphanies since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

Oh, there have been a few. Discovering Kiss and AC/DC as a child was probably the first, and from there things escalated quickly. Kill 'em All completely knocked me out a few years later and I still remember the eerie, freezing sensation when I heard Black Sabbaths "Black Sabbath" the first time - which strangely enough was the Dio version on "Live Evil". It was like someone opened the gates to a new world. A slightly intimidating one, but at the same time extremely appealing and exciting. And a bit later in life I became equally overwhelmed when I first heard bands like My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen 3 and Suicide. That music really had nothing to do with anything I had previously experienced and felt really introvert and almost spiritual compared to the super extrovert exercises of metal in general - but it grabbed me all the same. I still experience these musical "rebirths" at rare occasions - discovering MC5 and The Stooges comes close - , but I believe those are the ones that have shaped me the most.

Talk to us about the songwriting process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Nine times out of ten - a riff or a chord sequence. Then it's all trying it out, molding and, hopefully, put it in some kind of context - or even let it dictate the context.  Lyrics come way later, and are almost always a consequence of the mood of the song.

Who has influenced you the most?

I can't narrow it down that much. The whole idea with this band was to play heavy music that combined juicy, thick riffs with the minimalist approach of the space rock/psych scene. Music that is heavy, but not necessarily metal. It's all good if it turns out to be metal after all in the end, but it doesn't have to be restricted to that. In that sense, a band like God Machine - the since long defunct San Diego trio - has probably inspired us quite a lot. When they were at their best, they sort of defied characterization - it was unarguably heavy, but there was so much more going on as well. That really appeals to me. Swans is another one of those bands. I mean, I love good metal as much as the next guy, but there is something special with bands that get the same massive, almost overwhelming, feeling from going a different route. 
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

We just live, man. Listening to old stuff, listening to new stuff. Watching films, reading books. Going to shows. We pick up good ideas and steal things constantly. And then make them more or less unrecognizable. So then it's hardly stealing, right?

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

Stockholm is, by Scandinavian measures, a big city. It's pretty hectic, over-crowded and has a sense of constant restlessness. And at the same time it's also a really beautiful city - like most cities with a lot of water. You really need to find your own thing, some kind of fuse to let the steam out, otherwise you'd be a nervous wreck. But we all come from smaller places originally. I grew up in a small village on the countryside, so my childhood was in an environment that was the polar opposite of where I live today, and have for over 20 years now. I am pretty sure I speak for the entire band when I say that the main inspiration for picking up an instrument to begin with was boredom and under-stimulation. Music brought some kind of context to our lives, but it was not really until we all moved away to bigger cities that we could get that urge somewhat fulfilled, meet  more like-minded people, see other bands etc. So I guess there are quite a few factors that shaped us. But escapism and curiosity are two main factors.  

Where'd the band name come from?

Martin, the guitarist, came up with the name before we even started playing together. It actually translates to "jack", as used when changing tires, so in Sweden, I guess the name is regarded as pretty silly. But it's also a combination of two Swedish words that mean "judgement/verdict" and "power/force". Plus, pronounced with an English it sounds pretty much like a doom spacecraft, which of course sounds way better. The name really works better abroad.

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Oh, where do I start? I could go on forever - scoring any movie is pure bucket list stuff for me. But just one....let's say the next Christopher Nolan one set in space.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Hard one. Does it have to be a heavy song? Otherwise, I'd choose Harry Nilsson's "Without You" and use those 1,000 words just to state how superior that version of the track is to everyone else's.  A lot of times when I mention my love for that song, I get the ironic "oh, yeah, such a  classic guilty pleasure track", but HELL NO! My relationship with that song is 100% sincere. It is the ballad of ballads. Heartbreak has never been so pure - and his vocals....don't get me started (at least not until I have the official assignment):

Come on, share with us a couple of your greatest/Spinal Tap/most rock and roll moments?

Sorry, dude. We've played far too little to experience anything worth mentioning. A 3 AM show at a squat in Berlin with a local drunk repeatedly entering the stage to grab the mic to sing Nirvana's "Sliver" is probably the most memorable moment yet. Otherwise it's more about gear issues and the stupidity of trying out new songs too early. Isn't everything that has to do with playing in a band Spinal Tap, really?

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

Bloody love it. To be completely honest, to me, recording albums is more or less just a means to be able to do more shows. When everything falls to place in a live setting - that connection is unrivaled.

What makes a great song?

It has to have something that moves you, be it physically or mentally. And a feeling of timelessness.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

It must have been a super primitive thrash metal tune. Probably about evil Nazis. My first band was a thrash band. I could barely play a single chord, so I was left with vocal duties. We never played live, I don't think we even knew that would be a possibility, and only occasionally had a bassist. I particularly remember this one guy who played with us for a few weeks and suddenly went out for a smoke during practice and never came back. Months later, we met him and he was like "yeah, you know, shit happens". Our drummer went on to join At The Gates, so I guess something good came out of it though.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

When we did Meltdown of the Orb, I think we tapped into something new and interesting. That one actually came from us jamming Spacemen 3's "Revolution" and then adding just one note to the riff. I think that was the first time I really felt that the combination we strive for really worked and became something somewhat unique. And it's still a blast to do live. 

Who today writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

I am horrible at answering things l like this, since I listen to music all the time but always tend to forget what I hear and like. But Nick Cave still continues to amaze me, and his last two records have been his strongest in a long while. And I love Yob. They also seem to derive from a vast and broad set of influences, plus Mike's vocals only get better with time. And as far as newer bands go, I really like Youngblood Supercult and how the Neil Young heritage is so present in all of their best songs. The latest Spiritualized is also a great comeback to form. Anna von Hausswolff is pretty much a genius even though she is borderline goth, which usually is Kryptonite to me, but the sheer force of her music somehow transcends that. A lot of the stuff Colin Stetson is doing is super interesting also. Tribulation are excellent, they are really en route to have something really unique while still firmly rooted in classic heavy metal. Slomatics!  The songs on the latest split EP are as good as Estron - which is one of my fave heavy albums ever. Kungens Män put out excellent space-psych albums in a stunning pace, Toke has some catchy as fuck riffs, Besvärjelsen  are also breaking new grounds and has one of the best and most charismatic vocalists around. Should I stop here? Ok. Ask me tomorrow and I'll add an equal amount of bands again.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

Vinyl. But I have kids. So, it's almost only digital consumption through headphones.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Oh, has to be beer. Can't mess with them imperial stouts and hard ales. Actually, I like almost all kinds of beer. It all depends on the situation. That said, I am no stranger to whiskey either, but if cornered I have to go with beer.

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?

Start with Sound Pollution for all your metal needs, then it's all about S:t Eriksgatan - Trash Palace/Nostalgipalatset and then Record Hunter. Great used sections with loads of rarities, but not necessarily at bargain prices.

What's next for the band?

Hopefully more shows and festivals to come. We also have two contributions on the Pink Floyd Redux albums; The Wall Redux and The Best of Pink Floyd Redux that should be out any day now. And, yeah, we've got a really cool EP coming out next year also. It features an epic, 13-minute track with three insanely great guest vocalists - Marty from Slomatics, Lea from Besvärjelsen and - Mark Lanegan. It will be out on the PostWax vinyl subscription service and and I can't wait to reveal that one. A super special track that we've had with us for years, just waiting to give it the right treatment.  

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Keep your minds and hearts open and all will be well. Plus, buy our records. And merch.

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