In Solitude | Interview
It’s like this: if you’re a genuine follower of the underground, you can’t have failed to notice In Solitude.
Bursting out of Sweden in the new wave of cool young bands playing achingly good and authentically old school, straight out heavy metal, In solitude have managed to come up with a sound and a look of their own.
Reports of their intense live performances are many. Their latest album ‘The World. The Flesh. The Devil’ is just out, and despite having too many full stops, is proving a satisfying meld of old and new for metallers across Europe. Vocalist Pelle Ahman took time out to answer a few brief questions for Metalireland.
Your peers, bands like Ghost and Enforcer, seem to have their tongues in their cheeks a little bit. In Solitude though seems a much more serious proposition. Do you share the same ‘fun’ view of metal that those guys seem to?
“I don’t really know how to interpret “fun view”. And I can only speak for In Solitude, you know. We all have our own different ways of approaching our own creativity and putting things together. And we also have completely different ways of expressing ourselves. So, I guess one shouldn’t put us in the same box in the first place, considering all the differences. Anyhow, both bands are good friends of ours and we wish them all the luck.”
Maiden and Mercyful Fate are surely the two biggest influences on the album. Perhaps that comes through most in the extended instrumental sections of the songs, which really help them breathe and develop, just like say ‘Seventh Son’ era Maiden. Do you think you’ll go further down this line in future?
“Maiden and Mercyful Fate are certainly not the two biggest influences on the album (and dont mind the sticker Metal Blade put on the album). There are far more relevant keys to be mentioned. Not to forget the source where music can’t live. But anyhow, I agree about what you said about the breathing, yes. The songs have a far wider landscape this time around and we all like that direction of the song writing. I think you’ll see a lot more of that in the future. Giving the songs a breath, giving them teeth, giving them a victim.”
It’s fair to say that the complexity of your songs is subtle – because of great songwriting and good tone, the technicality of the music actually passes by in a flash. Was that deliberate?
“Very few things in the writing process were deliberate actually. During this time it was as if the songs themselves took hold of us and used us as their tools, and not the other way around. Making room for themselves, in us and our album (and our listeners). Suddenly a song would have manifested itself as if it had been waiting within us for all our lives, waiting for that specific moment. It’s strange. Its always very hard to explain the process of “making” songs in retrospect. It’s a whole different way of thinking and communicating compared to anything else.”
I haven’t seen you live yet, but have heard great reports – especially about the energy and spirituality of the performance. Just what do you think you’re channelling when you play?
“It’s a place and a moment where all the personal, emotional and spiritual values of our songs gets manifested within us and is channeled through us. This becomes a very emotional experience for us, and an experience of great unravelling. Where the inner temple is teared down and rebuilt, where the bonefields of the soul are harvested and where the poison of the hidden fruits within completely takes over. Its a beautiful experience.”
A big part of why the new album is great is the drumming. Though retro music would allow you guys to be loose, in fact the drums are well constructed and punchy. Was it a priority of yours to have these at the core of the sound?
“We just happen to have a great drummer who has been exploring and playing percussions all his life. And yes, the drums are an extremely important part of In Solitude.”
Like it or loathe it, the buzz around you is very much one of ‘the next big thing’. Obviously that’s out of your hands. At the same time though, people are going to start wanting a piece of you. Can you apply the brakes with the label and the mags to make sure you keep playing what you want to play, and not what someone says you should?
“I cant see how that would become problem of ours, whatsoever. It cant become a problem, actually. It doesn’t function that way in our world. If In Solitude is going, it means that we are only listening to ourselves when it comes to what this band is and how we sound. Its very simple actually, we are in this band and nobody else. And we would never go against our own will or submit to anybody else’s ideas but our own. Thats the conclusion that lasts forever.”
How long do you think you can sustain this music as a band?
“It’s not a matter of sustaining anything. As long as we are playing, we ARE In Solitude. As simple as that.”
What was it like working with Fred Estby in the studio – what did it bring to the sound that another studio or producer couldn’t?
“From my point of view, Fred approaches atmosphere, energy and sound in the a very similar way as we do. And as soon as he heard the pre-recordings of the album, he instantly had the same ideas about sound and atmosphere as we had. And through our collaboration, we really made these ideas come true. We are really pleased with the collaboration. And I dont know what would have happened to this material if it wasn’t for how it all went down with Fred. We are really glad we recorded it in Gutter view.”
Who are you listening to at the moment – new and old?
“I’ve been listening a lot to Amon Düül II’s “Phallus Dei” lately, as well as “Under a Funeral Moon” by Darkthrone and various works of Arvo Pärt. Perfect soundtracks for the world’s end lurking around its own corners.”
Interview by Earl Grey ::: 12/06/11