So, following my review of the Hell Comes Homes spilt some time ago now, well probably only a few months ago. I got in touch with Swedish doomsters Pyramido, or rather I spoke with Gad from Totalrust about the possibility of interviewing the band.
Having been a fan of the band since the release of their debut full length, Sand, I was keen to speak to the band about their past, what is happening at the present and their plans for the future too. I must say I really do think that they are one of the hardest working bands around and have released some amazing music since their inception. Anyway enough of my bullshit, here is what happened when I spoke with Ronnie and Dan from Pyramido. Enjoy and see you next time for more 20 Questions.
Q) Hey, How are you? I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at The Sludgelord.
A) R: Besides a fever and a cold I am good. Thanks for having us.
Dan: Hi, it´s a pleasure talking to you sir. I´m fine but very hungry.
Q) Where are you at the moment and what are you doing, in terms of the band? You preparing to tour or have got new material coming out?
A) R: I am sitting in my sofa, here in Malmö. We have just one more show to do this year. We are opening up for Graveyard on November 15. This year we have released two split 7”s and one split 12”. The 12” was released early September that’s the latest release from us. Now we are working on new full-length album “Saga” to be released sometime next year. So not a lot of tours or shows before that one is out.
Q) Interestingly enough, I stumbled across your band by accident, following a search on eBay for sludge/doom bands and came across you guys. (I bought the album, Sand!) I was fascinated by the name Pyramido and also that you were signed to a metal label based in Jerusalem.
For those people who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell me little bit about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from, when Pyramido first formed? Current band members?
A) R: The band started by Dan and Viktor in 2006. In the beginning it was only some sort of stress-relief for them. They went to a rehearsal room in the weekends, drank some beers and tried to write some tunes. Nothing serious. Then all of a sudden, some years later they had a couple of finished tunes and they asked me and Wendel if they wanted to join them, and we did. Shortly Dan Arne joined us on bass and Wendel move from bass to guitar. After that it turned a bit more serious and felt it was more than just blowing of steam in the rehearsal room. The current line-up, the true Pyramido, looks like this: Ronnie – Vocals. Dan – Guitar. Wendel – Guitar. Dan Arne – Bass . Viktor - Drums
Some of the other bands we play or played in are: Vandöd, Apologia, Inverted, Haunted Trails, Man in Shackles, Burst, Deranged, Murinus, Crowpath and a bunch more.
Q) Is Pyramido a full time project, or do have other bands?
A) R: I would say yes, all members except me has other bands but Pyramido is the most active band out of all of them.
Q) Probably a stupid question, but are you or would you like to be full time musicians? Presumably you work jobs too, right?
A) R: Sure it would be nice to make one's living doing the thing you love. But I enjoy my “daytime” job as well and I guess some of the other guys do to.
Dan: This is a tricky one. I´ve had my share of bullshit jobs and if I still was stuck at one of those maybe my answer would be yes. But at the end of an education I´m kinda looking forward to a future day job. Then I think working with the band full-time could be a killer of creativity. Now we do this just cause it´s so much fun, imagine if I had to write sludge riffs as a day job, with the pressure of getting money to put food on the table. Yeah, it´s a tricky one...
Q) Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment?
A) R: I would say that we are big fans of music. This last week I listened to these albums:
Graveyard – Lights Out
Bo Hanson - El-Ahrairah
Goat – World Music
Familjen – Allt På Rött
Witchcraft – Legend
Bombs of Hades – Serpents redemption
Propagandhi - Failed States
Spiders – Flashpoint
Tonbruket – Dig it to the end
Nasum – Inhale/Exhale
Chain of Strength – The One Thing That Still Holds True
Jan Johansson – Jazz på Svenska
Dan: Big music fans yeah. Always listen to a lot of rap though. I´ve been listening a lot to albums by Dave Dub, The Quakers, Danny Brown, Killer Mike, Tyranny, Swordwielder and Milk Music this last month. And I always listen to the Bad Brains, at least once a week!
Q) When you started Pyramido, What were your hopes for the band?
A) R: Dan and Viktor started the band to play slow and to get away from the outside world and boredom if got it right. I wasn't in the band from the beginning. When I, Wendel and Dan Arne joined, the focus became something different. To play live all over the world and record some good albums. My hope is to play on every continent.
Dan: Ronnie nailed it basically. My main ambition when we felt Pyramido got a little bit more serious was to tour and see stuff. I´ve always been kind of a dreamer I guess so I must´ve had a shitload of plans that I can´t remember anymore, haha.
Q) If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound? Has it evolved?
A) R: A slow, filthy sounding, boogiefied hardcore band. We all have metal and hardcore roots but I guess we don’t feel at home in the metal world as we do in hardcore world. Yes we evolve the whole time; we would be bored if we just stood still and regurgitated the same old riff.
Dan: Like a mixture between Dia Psalma and the b-side of the My War-album by Black Flag.
Q) Why the name, Pyramido? Where did the name come from? Anything to do with the scale and fascination with Pyramids in Egypt?
A) R: Pyramids are really interesting and has a cool history and a whole lot of mystique to them. The O in the end is there because of bands like Sarcofago and Vulcano. We thought it sounded cool together.
Q) What is the scene like in your home town of Malmo, or Sweden for that matter
A) R: In Malmö there is a really good hardcore punk scene with a lot of good bands like: Hårda Tider, Infernöh, Bäddat för Trubbel, Primitive Rites, Jealous Cowards, Korsfäst and Terrible Feelings. The are also some other really cool bands like Suma, Ved, Wendels other band Vandöd. When talking about the whole of Sweden you should check out these bands:
Goat: Psychrock with African influence
Walk Through Fire: Sludge and misery
Bombs of Hades: Death metal
Anatomi – 71: Crust Hardcore
Tormented: Death metal
I could go on for along time here and now I haven’t listed all the big bands like Graveyard, Kongh, Switchblade, Entombed and so on....
Dan: I actually live in Göteborg, which is about 300 kilometers north of Malmö. When I moved here about five years ago it had a really booming scene, still good but can´t really compare to back then (or maybe I´m just getting old). Ronnie named some good bands. Some other good bands from Göteborg is Swordwielder (Axegrinder/Amebix-worship), Den Stora Vilan (mix of early seventies Neil Young with the folky sounds of swedish prog), Vålnad (psychy black metal), Uran GBG (synthetic kraut kinda music) and Hills (krautrock/psych without ever getting retro-clichéd)
Q) What made you start the band? Did you all know each other before you formed?
A) R: To play slow and fight boredom and the outside world, as mentioned above. We knew of each other, had seen each other at shows and so on.
Dan: I knew Viktor and Dan Arne very well. Had talked to Ronnie at shows and knew him as a nice fella. Wendel I had met only a handful of times previously to him getting in the band. One time when he came over to Viktor, totally sober, I totally drunk and we headbanged our way through the first fifteen songs or so of the Speak English or die-album by SOD. Good times!
Q) Sweden is known for its great heritage of producing metal bands, however not specifically Sludge/Doom type bands (please correct me if I am wrong). What's it like being in an underground band in your home town or even in Sweden? Is it a struggle and is their camaraderie within the scene?
A) R: I am guessing you are right. Not a lot of bands in the history. Candlemass should definitely be on the doom metal list. But some good Sludge/doom bands nowadays are Switchblade, Kongh, Ocean Chief, Suma, Saturnalia Temple and Walk Through Fire.
It suits us fine to be a underground band. In Malmö all in the Hardcore punk scene help each other out and of course Sweden is a small country so everyone is helping out in every way they can.
Dan: Actually Jönköping had/have(?) one of the wierdest and greatest sludge bands of all times called Siebensünden. Totally underrated band. Their first album "En kula till tröst" is so good. They had kind of an Upsidedown Cross sort of thing going but with swedish lyrics. Check them out!
I wouldn´t call it a struggle, it´s the kind of things we are used to, a cramped bus, sleeping on floors, not always making ends meet etc, but we get a lot of love in other ways: meeting people that are dedicated and actually bother getting records in these digital days, getting served delicious food and drinks on tour, getting to see new places. Sure a nightliner would be nice, but we manage.
Q) What would you say are your direct influences musically and artistically? Did those influences contribute directly or indirectly to the type of music you write?
A) R:Hmm, this is a difficult question to answer. It´s nothing we talked about really. In most cases Dan Arne or Dan makes riffs and we put them together in our rehearsal space. Sorry, can't drop any names here 'cause I don’t know... And I would say that everything you listen to influences you in one way or another
Artistically, don’t know if mean artistically in the musical way or as in art. For art, we have always had a bunch of ideas we wanna do for a covers or merch and our in house artist Anna Widengård (http://annaabaquilone.blogspot.se/), who does almost everything for us, makes it come to life. Very convenient.
Dan: Never thought about it really, but yeah I think a band like Bongzilla will always be in the back of my mind when I write riffs, that slow, muddy and bluesy kind of thing. Then I really like doing these melancholic bits and pieces to make it less meat and potatoes so to speak (more interesting).
Q) What are your views of blogs such as The Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?
A) R: I like to read about music so I use every form I can lay my eyes on. As long as it is well written. We have been reviewed in a big newspaper with an edition of over 100 000 copies a day and been interview and reviewed by the biggest Metal magazines in Scandinavia. And we have been interviewed by Terrorizer, as well as small fanzines/blogs. I don’t have preference just as long as it is not racist/sexist/homophobic magazines/fanzines/blogs.
Dan: What he said
Q) I recently reviewed your recent split 7” spilt with Union of Sleep. It is an amazing disc, how does this material compare to your previous records and is representative of the direction of future material?
A) R: The song “Cleansed” is the slowest song we have ever written so in that way it stands out but it also has a classic song structure with verses and choruses and melodies like all the new songs we write. The new stuff will have a lot of melodies and a hardcore edge but it will be raw, distorted and slow.
Q) How did the spilt with Union of Sleep come about? I truly think Joel at Hell Comes Home has done something fresh and innovative in terms offering this package to the fans, what are your thoughts? What are your favourite tracks on the compilation?
A) R: Joel just emailed us and wanted us on his project and we said yes. He sent us a list with bands that was in on the project, asked us which band we wanted share the record with and we wrote down I think like 3-4 names and Union of Swas on that list. We have met them on tour and emailed with them about shows and so on. And their song is a great song so it all worked out for the best. To be honest I only heard our and Union of Sleeps songs so I don’t know, but Suma and Tellusian is on the project and they are good bands!
Q) Does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch?
A) R:Yes sometimes, but it feels good that people enjoy our music enough to be willing to spend their hard earned money on it. On the other hand we have good looking merch, so who wouldn't wear it, haha!
Dan: Sometimes it surprises us when people all of a sudden buy A LOT. Like when we played with Nasum/Black Breath/Skitsystem some weeks ago and we sold a shitload of merch and still it was all these other great bands on the bill. They must´ve saved up I thought, haha.
Q) 2 albums, 4 Splits and 1 demo since the bands inception, what are some of your highlights so far? What are your aspirations for the future?
A) R: Actually it is 5 Splits now. This year has been really nice with 2 tours, one with Gadget and Lock Up and one Euro tour in April and the great festival Heavy Days in Doomtown with bands like Noothgrush, Coffins, Kongh... plus a bunch of shows with a lot of nice bands, like
Black Breath x2
Dan: Aspirations for the future: To not make anymore splits!! Haha, no seriously I´m really looking forward to the recording of our third album, Saga. It´s gonna be awesome. Then we hope to get over and tour the coasts of the US of A.
Q) You’re signed to the awesome Jerusalem based label Total Rust, were you fans of the label before you were signed and how did that come about? Did you consider a DIY approach of releasing your music yourselves?
A) R: Nope, we had never heard of the label before they contacted us. It was really just one email from Gad of Totalrust asking us what our plans with the band were, we replied that we were doing a EP and releasing it ourselves and then he mailed back: Do a full-length album and I will release it. We said OK. End of story. And as I said we were thinking of releasing our own stuff and we will probably do something in the future, but as long as labels offer to release our stuff we are happy to do it. That way we can concentrate on our music instead.
Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?
A) Dan: It must´ve been the summer of 2010 when we toured Europe during a hot summer and ended up sleeping outside almost every night. I remember lying on the roof of a squat in Vienna with my friends beside me watching the stars. Falling asleep in Koper, Slovenia, waking up and watching lizard climbing the wineranks above our heads. I also remember Viktor telling me about him waking up in a caravan on a crustfestival in Austria with a broken back hearing two crusties fucking hours on end outside of his window and not being able to move, haha. I almost always have a hard time getting used to touring, with little sleep, much drinking and so on, but when I think back to it I always think of it like the best times of my life.
Q) Did you have any set goals in terms of how you approach writing your music? Does everyone contribute song ideas?
A) R: Everyone accept me contributes with music, I take care of the lyrics. We always finish the songs in our rehearsal space and all of us are involved in the arrangement of the songs.
Q:The goal? A: to make good songs.
Q) How do you feel about the digital era of music and people downloading music for free? Would you or have you ever considered releasing your music for free or ‘pay what you like’ to raise the profile of the band?
A) R: I like that you can bring ten thousands of songs with you when you walk out of the house. I download stuff for free but also buy a lot of vinyl records all the time. I would prefer that everyone could afford to buy records in physical or digital format and that they thought it would be worth to do so.
I think that all our music is available for free somewhere in on the internet so it feels useless for us to put it up. Just use that nifty web page Google.com. Seek and you shall find!
Dan: Sure I prefer if people buy the albums of us, but the most important thing is that people get into it. I don´t mind at all when stuff gets "illegally" downloaded.
Q) What are your plans for the rest of the year and any chance you're coming over to the UK?
A) R: The plan is to write more songs for “Saga”, our next full-length album and play one more show here in Malmö with Graveyard on the 15th of November. We have been to the UK, played 4 shows there last year in June. London, Birmingham, Leeds and Leicester. We would love to go back!
Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, do you have anything you like to say to your fans?
A) R: Thanks, Aaron
Dan: Hello fans!
A massive thank you goes out to Gad from Totalrust for setting this interview up and also it goes without saying, a big Sludgelord thanks to Ronnie and Dan for agreeing to answer my bullshit questions. haha. This band is most definitely worth checking out, so go do that how. Also as usual, show your support to the band by checking out this links below. You can buy their merch here