Swedish Stoner-/Doom- metallers The Graviators recently released their third full-length album, Motherload. This new album gave me an excuse for having a chat with the hairy Swedes. Martin Fairbanks (guitar), Johan Holm (bass) and Henrik Bergman (drums) were kind enough to answer my questions by e-mail.
First of all, congratulations on the Motherload album! I have listened to it several times and find it a great tribute to old school Doom Metal. Was it intended to have such an ‘old school’ sound or is it a result of a fascination with legendary acts in the Doom genre?
It’s more like a fascination with the sound of the late 60’s and early 70’s records. We recorded Evil Deeds analogue with Berno Paulsson at his studio and were really happy with it. What we did differently this time around was that we recorded all the songs live, all together at once (the vocals were recorded later). No computers were involved.
Could you tell me something more about the song “Narrow Minded Bastards”? Personally, it reminds me a lot of Black Sabbath’s "War Pigs" (especially the lyrics). Am I the first person to make this comparison?
Yes! You are the first to make this observation. The lyrics deal with the state of the world and its contemporary politics. It’s an anti-war song, but it mainly focuses on the monetary system that brings us poverty and leads to war.
"Tigress of Siberia" is another song that stands out on the album. What was the inspiration behind it? Would it be fair to consider it as a statement against the horrors of communism?
No, it’s not a statement against the horrors of communism. It’s a tribute to Ilsa, her beautiful breasts and her bad behavior. We love the old exploitation movies.
I look forward to seeing The Graviators live. Any plans for a (European) tour in support of the new album?
We just came back from a smaller European tour with Conan and Castle. We had a blast and got a really good response. Hopefully we will do one more tour in November. So you´ll have to catch us then.
Truckfighters, another Swedish band, is quickly gaining popularity. Musically, there are some similarities. Do you know the band members personally? Have you ever toured with them?
We know vocalist Oscar (Johansson, pv) from his spell with Greenleaf, we toured Europe with them in 2012. Guitarist Niklas Källgren wrote some really nice words for us on the release of our latest album. We haven’t toured with them yet, but we hope to do so in the future!
Metal minded people tend to associate Sweden with both Black- and Death Metal. Does playing Doom/Stoner makes you feel a bit of an outcast?
No, we don’t feel like outcasts. There are a lot of Swedish bands in the Doom/Stoner genre...think of Dozer, Greenleaf, Truckfighters, Lowrider, Candlemass, etc. We’ve also played with Entombed, and they were incredibly nice to us. Professionals to the bone! They learned us something about the attitude and respect that is needed in this business.
Making a living solely out of (non-mainstream) music is very difficult. Do you have a job besides being a musician? Is it difficult to combine?
We all have jobs, unfortunately. It’s tough to combine a full time job with a full time band. We need the money to fund The Graviatoes, but we also need to get time off work for touring. We only get five weeks of paid vacation here. So that is fools math.
Besides The Graviators and obvious acts such as Marduk, Opeth, Amon Amarth, Katatonia, etc. Which lesser known Swedish bands would you advise our readers?
Well, we would like to acknowledge Goatess, Witchcraft and Greenleaf.
Maybe a bit off topic, but how do you feel about Sweden not participating in the upcoming World Cup? Are you into football? Any predictions for the tournament?
We love the Swedish national football team, and it sucks that we do not participate in the World Cup. We are Zlatanists! Since we are not in the tournament, we don’t care for the outcome. OK, here’s a prediction: it will be Brazil vs Germany in the final. Germany will win on penalties. Belgium is a dark horse though. They have a really strong team.
Some final words for our readers?
Thank YOU for taking the time to read this! Hopefully we’ll play at a venue near you soon. Come to the show and have a beer with us!
Thank you very much for this interview!