We’re incredibly proud to present the one and only Vildhjarta as our Artist of the Week! This Swedish metal unit has bent minds and shattered ear drums with their dark, forward thinking brand of Progressive Metal. This is especially true of their latest release “Thousands of Evils” (read our review here).
We had the opportunity to catch up with guitarist / songwriter Daniel Bergström and pull an in-depth interview with the band (conducted by our writer with this tattoo!). Read up, learn, and blast the music below.
DB = Daniel Bergström
AD = Arkadeep Deb
AD – Ahoy from the fanb0is at TheCirclePit. How are they hanging guys?
DB – They be 0’s are trippin like baaoows on the .66 mate
AD – “Thousands of Evils” just released. Give us a little backstory to the album, any memorable anecdote you would like to share from the days you spent writing the album and in the studio?
DB – We went through alot of personal issues this time around, very much because of the concepts we had chosen to dwell into so i guess for some members of le band it’s a pretty personal chunk of music. We of course had our fair share of haardfests (with icelandic pronunciation) too.
AD – Could you list out the gear you had used this time around and how it influenced the recording procedure for the album?
DB – I don’t know all the gear we used but we always try to keep it as simple as possible.
It’s also the first time we worked with an outside producer for the mix (Christian Svedin) who also mastered it. We’ll probably continue working like that.
AD – So how does the song-writing process unfold for you guys? Do you still compose bit by bit and assist eachother via e-mail at the same rate as before? With chops as supreme as you lot when do you realize that you have enough instrumental wizardry to rock our socks off? Do you follow the policy of “less is more”or do you keep working on a composition till it’s pushing its final form?
DB – Theres really no formula we follow. One thing we always end up doing is scrapping alot however which often results in songs being stripped to the core, this tendency sort of got out of hands on this ep which lead to some interesting songs i think. It’s like we slaughter the riffs til you end up only having a few per song that you work around. Same goes for the vocals.
This time around we cut down alot on the ambiences too, trying to keep things as sterile as possible.
AD – You must have a lot of ideas and material that does not find its way into the album, do you usually wait for a composition where the said idea would pan out better or do you just plain discard it as something that will in all probability never fit on a Vildhjarta album?
DB – We never really count things out i guess it’s just more inspiring to keep writing new things.
The idea of having an acoustic song is one we’ve always had for example, we have alot of material like that we just havnt gotten around to using.
AD – How would you describe Vildhjarta’s journey so far from the days of “Omnislash” to “Thousands of Evils”? What changed in between? How do you define the transition from breakneck mosh anthems like “When The Sky Drops Dead” to calculative, headbanger-friendly compositions like “Regnar Bensin”?
DB – Our music is more sad now then before i guess, which i like. It’s not like we rule out ever playing songs like when the sky drops its just not the type of music we are into right now.
We use alot slower tempos now and our songs mostly consists of 4/4 drums which i guess you can tell by now we are suckers for ^^
AD – “Måsstaden” was a concept album with a story that would attract the cult horror/fantasy lover in every Metalhead; guessing from the album title and artwork “Thousands of Evils” has an equally enthralling (“enthalling”) story behind it too. If so, would you narrate it for us?
DB – It doesnt stick to a red line like måsstaden did, like it has no story you follow. It’s more overworked ideas that got scaled down alot, stripping things down to the core as i mentioned before. The title thousands of evils originates from a russian drink but we dont really go into explaining the things we write about.
AD – Your music videos act as quite the thought-provoking expansion set to the concepts you portray in your music; have you planned anything as such for promoting “Thousands of Evils”?
DB – We’d like to make a video for thousands but we’ll see what happens. Theres also been interest for playthrough videos so we’ll try to get around doing some of that too.
AD – Releasing new material after a gap of almost two years to fans with such monumental expectations would be a pressure that would drive many up the wall. How did Vildhjarta handle that as a collective unit of supremely skilled musicians?
DB – We dont really feel we have anything to live up to, we’ve released music before and if people liked that they may like our new stuff too, some don’t and i guess that makes sense you know.
We arent really into spending alot of time on promotion to get our name out, or to grow something bigger. Right now theres a demand for us to tour and as long as people wants to support us doing that we’ll keep doing it.
AD – How outspoken or otherwise are you when it comes to subjects like genre-bashing on the Internet and biasing across genres or lumping bands into specific genres?
DB – We never engage in things like that i guess, theres just no interest for us to bash or hate on anyone, or to defend anything. People need to chill out and just enjoy each other instead.
AD – While we are on subjects related to the Internet, “Thousands of
Evils” was leaked much prior to its release date; how do you feel about
the impact of Internet on the music industry, besides the obvious
“helped-us-reach-new-fans”and “killed-our-business”stance; as
professional musicians do you believe that there is a grey area in this
DB – To me theres no grey area about it.
Copyright laws for music is crap for the music but i cant really get
into this. Our EP leaked because someone was interested in hearing it,
it’s pretty much that simple.
AD – How would you react to the fact that some of your fans (including myself) consider you a “Thinking-man’s Metal band” that doesn’t just depend on aggression and heaviness to get their point across? Do you usually draw inspiration from established thinking-man’s-Metal-bands the likes of ISIS and Tool?
DB – I’ve only heard a little of ISIS and they’re cool, i like some of Tools songs and i can def see why some people are crazy into their music. We do like concepts and i guess we have that in common with Tool for example. We like to think of concepts for our music especially now that we are working with rickard westman for the art whos fantastic, he inspires us with everything he sends back to us.
AD – With bands popping in every nook and corner there are tons of “one-hit-wonders”or bands that completely fail to strike a chord with its target audience. As a band that has permeated cultures and nations as far away as India and beyond in such a short span of time, what would your suggestion be to the nascent musicians?
DB – Keep making the music you feel the need to make!
AD – Did all of you always plan to be a musician once you got into touch with the Metalhead inside you or did it happen gradually with the progression in your respective area of expertise?
DB – We dont really call ourselves musicians i guess, we do music but we’re not trying to make a living off of it or have the need to show things off. Right now we are releasing music through a label and doing live shows, tours and ofc you learn alot of things how the industry works when you do that as well as how to travel. We really do like playing live at times so hopefully we can continue to do that for a bit. Planning is something we are terribly bad at.
AD – What’s next for Vildhjarta? Where do you wish to tour next?
DB – We are going to north america next week for 6 weeks after that we have some offers we are looking at so there will be more tours we’ll see when. Id love to do soviet again and perhaps another eu round. We always write music and we’ve had a concept laying around for long we are picking up again so there will be new music too.
AD – Have you given a thought to collaborating with other musicians for any of your material? Is there any such possibility in the future?
DB – We’ve done it on both måsstaden and thousands. thousands of evils. We worked with a friend of ours named Patrik Marchente who did the orchestral pieces. More collaborations on thousands were planned but failed in the end. Theres many people id like doing music with but it’s hard to find time and space for it.
AD – As a budding musician, I often face difficulty in balancing the melodic and heavy side to a composition and find myself listening to Post-rock artists or a Death Metal band, respectively, waiting for inspiration to strike. How do you balance it so easily?
DB – Inspiration is hard and i have to say im alot less inspired now then i was few years ago, it’s hard to find, not that there arent people around making music thats insanely good its just hard to find that very thing that makes you go ffffffffffffffffff you know. Meshuggah have done it many times for me and i keep coming back to them, which i know the rest of the guys in the band do too.
As far as balance go, i like keeping things so simple its silly even tho it can be a massive wall of sound, or just something soloing quietly.
AD – Will Vildhjarta always be dealing with subjects like psychosis/inner-turmoil/fantasy or do you visualize writing songs about broader topics like war, politics and even religion for that matter?
DB – We have involved all of those concepts but we havnt singled any of them out and focused on it. I dont really see us doing an album about war, or displaying some political stance or religion hatred. We just analyze it, accept it and try to leave it eventually, we try not to tell people what to do and how to think in the things we write about. Music is the dance of emotions and you have to be thoughtful with it.
AD – Which Non-Metal bands/artists would we find on your playlist at the moment?
DB – Lately theres been alot of doors and messiaen, theres a swedish band named dungen you should really check out. i also keep coming back to gaming music, final fantasy, metal gear etc.
AD – Sweden’s responsible for some of the most respectable names in Metal that always draw gasps of awe from most; how’s the Heavy Metal scenario there right currently? What about the Hardcore circuit there?
DB – Im not the right person to ask i think, meshuggah doesnt get the attention they deserve id say.
sweden seems to make alot of music in alot of genres and thats cool lovely country too come chill dawg
AD – Which new artists would you recommend us listening to? With the end of the year approaching soon, what would your Top 10 albums/EP for the year be?
DB – If you like our music you should check out humanitys last breath
AD – This is probably the part where all of us erupt in giant roars of “THALL” Would you like to add anything else to that?
DB – see you on the road. thall.