Friday, 15 November 2013

Interview with KOLOSS

 Empower the Monster cover art
It's been 3 years since KOLOSS first appeared on the scene with their stunning début album – End Of The Chayot. It's brutal style of heavy Sludge/Post-Metal riffs won then a few fans within the Sludge Metal scene including myself.

They were one of the very first bands that I published on the blog back in 2011. Well now Koloss are back bigger, better and angrier than ever with their brilliant new album – Empower The Monster which I recently described as:

Koloss have delivered a brilliant album to comeback with. It leaves their début album well and truly in the dust. Everything about it is better. Production, Song-writing, Vocals and Riffs. You get the idea. Koloss have delivered one of 2013’s finest Sludge/Post-Metal albums. I am very excited to see where they go from here as in the next few years as they have potential to be a very important band within the Sludge/Post-Metal scene.”

I am happy to say that Koloss have agreed an interview with me. So let's get started with this awesome band.

Q1 – Hi guys, How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this.

We're good. Sitting in our rehearsal space waiting to try out some new riffs. Really happy to do this interview. We'll try to answer your questions as honest as possible. Some tricky ones in here.


Q2 – For people not in the know can you give a brief history on how the band came about.

Well... Crisoffer and Alex met a long time ago when they were in their early teens and figured that they liked kind of the same music and they both played guitar so it kind of just made sense for them to make music together. In 2007 neither of us had been in a band for a while and Alex met Oscar through work and he brought Victor (former bass player) in to the mix. Thats how KOLOSS got started. Victor left the band in 2009 and Henrik joined at the end of that same year.

Q3 – Where did the name – Koloss – came from and what does it mean..

We'd been trying on a few different names but nothing really seemed to fit. Then before the release of "End of the Chayot" we all felt we needed a name that really described what we where all about. KOLOSS means something colossal, huge, and it suited us perfectly. Before that the name of the band was "The Chayot", hence the name of that first release.

Q4 – I first noticed you back in 2011 with your excellent album – End of the Chayot.. It's been a long time coming waiting for your début album. But it's finally here. Congrats on the album as it's a brilliant album. Was it an easy or hard album to record.

Thank you. We're not really sure wether to call this one our debut or not. In a sense we feel that End of the Chayot is our debut. But it really doesn't matter either way.
The recording process was kind of tough since we did everything ourselves just as we did with "End of the Chayot". The new record was recorded at four different locations and there were long gaps between each instrument being recorded. It kind of had to be done that way since we all had a lot of other stuff going on in our lives at the same time. But it's also been a fun experience as well as frustrating at times but we've learned a lot. And we're really happy with the results.


Q5 – Obviously there is some sort of concept behind the album. Can you explain to our readers what the album is about.

There are a few concepts going on. The main one being evolution, mainly human evolution, and personal growth and about facing your demons. It's about taking a hard look in the mirror and reevaluating your values,  who you are and what you've become, where you come from and where you're headed. Both as an individual and as a society. We're not really political in any true sense but critical about what we see happening around us.

Q6 – Is there anything you want to change about it or is it perfect the way it is.

There are always things you could do differently but it's also true that you are your own worst critic. So it's never perfect but what is, really? We've been working on it over one and a half years so we just needed to get it done. But maybe we'll have a different approach for the next album. And hopefully by then we'll be working with a label.

Q7 – How would yourselves describe your sound. As you have lots of great sounds going on at the same time, Doom, Sludge, Post-Meal and even a bit of Prog.

It's hard when you get in to discussing which genres fit our music. We really don't fit in any of them and it's really not our task to tell people what we are. When we started playing this music we really had no idea what doom or sludge or post-metal was. We listened to bands like Tool, Isis, Neurosis and Cult of Luna and we got a little bit of them all in our sound. 
We do sometimes  refer to our sound as Post Apocalyptic Metal, just for the hell of it. 


Q8 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians.

The obvious ones are of course Neurosis, ISIS and CoL. Other big influences are TOOL, Callisto and a band from Sweden called Abandon. When we were younger we listened to bands like Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. Bands like Slipknot, Mudvayne, Messhuggah, Pantera and Sepultura also had a great influence on some of us before we got into the whole post-metal thing. 

Q9 – What is the local scene like in your home town. Do you get regular gigs in your home town. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

The scene around our hometown is mostly old guys playing blues so not much going on for us here. We really don't play many shows but I guess we'd have to go to bigger cities like Gothenburg, Stockholm or Malmö. I think that this kind of music is bigger around Europe then it is in Sweden. Hopefully we'll get to go on a small European tour or something next year. 
We're currently looking into these things since we feel that we really need to be doing more shows. So any bookers who might be interested are more than welcome to get in touch with us.

Q10 - What are your favourite bands you are currently listening to. Any bands that myself or our readers should check out.

If you haven't heard Callisto (Turku, Finland) or Abandon (Gothenburg, Sweden) you should really check them out. Abandon is not active anymore since their singer died back in 2009 but if you get a hold of there music you should definitely check them out.   Other bands we're listening to nowadays are Omega Massif, Dark Buddah Rising, Totalt Jävla Mörker, Sannhet, Windhand, Pallbearer, Baroness, Red Fang and a lot of other great bands. We listen to a lot of other kinds of music as too, its not all heavy and dark.


Q11 - Do you all have regular jobs or is being a musician your main job.

Alexander and Oscar work as electricians at a factory outside of town and Henrik works at another factory in Vetlanda. I (Cristoffer) just got laid off a couple of months ago. We really don't make any money being in this band. But hopefully we'll make enough to keep it going. We all pay for our own equipment and the money we make will be spent on making records and merch before anything else.

Q12 - What are your views of bands using websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their new album releases. Some people and bands are for it. Some are not. Would you consider doing some thing like that yourselves.

We think it's a great way for bands to get started. Maybe someday we'll do something similar. We're kind of doing the same thing. except that we already have a final product. The money we make from the digital version of "Empower the Monster" will be used to make a vinyl version and anyone who paid a little bit extra for the digital release will get the vinyl version at no extra cost. I hope people think that's fair. 

Q13 – In 5 words or less describe the KOLOSS live experience.

Intense and emotionally intimate.

Q14 – What is the songwriting process in the band? Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual?

Usually it's one guy with an idea or a riff or an idea for a riff. Then we try and put the pieces together as a collective. The mood and feel of what happens when we do it together is the most important. If it doesn't feel right then it's not right and you move on to something else. Arrangements is almost always done at rehearsal. Cristoffer writes all the lyrics. 


Q15 - Has BandCamp been a big help in getting your music across.? As that's how I first discovered you guys back in 2011.

Yes, of course. I think that bandcamp opened a lot of doors for us. As we haven't been doing a lot of live shows, almost all of the recognition we've got has been through bandcamp. I think that they're really great for smaller bands and artist like ourselves. 

Q16 - What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band? Obviously, the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect

The most rewarding thing is the feeling you get when the music you're creating just fits and you all just feel it becoming its own thing. Another great thing is all the great people and musicians and bands that you get to meet when you're out doing shows or that you meet through in reactions on the internet. Negative aspects might be that you, if you have a family with kids, like Alex do, sometimes have to choose between the two. 

Q17 - If you could provide words to wisdom for people wanting to start a band – What would they be.

DONT DO IT!!! Just kidding...
You should just get together and play. Don't over-think it, just do it. Make sure you get paid what you've agreed on when you're out doing shows. Don't be naive in those cases because some people will take advantage of that. And also, being in a band is not always easy but don't give up too fast and don't make it all about you. Every person in your band should feel good about being in it. But you do have to put in some effort to make it work. And remember, it's about the music. If it's not then you're doing it for the wrong reasons and you might as well do something else. 


Q18 – You told me that you hope to have Empower The Monster released on vinyl soon. Have you had any labels contacted you to release it on vinyl as it's the perfect format for the album.

Unfortunately no. But we've contacted 30-40 labels and we've received a few really good responses but all the roosters seems to be full until 2015. So if there are any labels out there who's interested in releasing our stuff, don't hesitate to contact us. 

Q19 - What pisses you off most in music. Or do you not let the bad things in music stop you from performing and writing songs.

Talent shows like American Idol is really irritating. People judging some poor teenager who thinks that this is the way you become an artist. It's just sad and stupid. And I would say that things like these phenomenons inspire us to keep writing songs. 


Q20 - Finally do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thank you for supporting what we do. It really makes all the difference. I know that most bands say this but it's really true. If you only knew how rewarding it is to have people wanting to take part in something you've created. It's just awesome. Thank you so much. And thank you Steve for wanting to do this interview, we had a fun time doing it.
Well guys thanks for doing this. Been great talking to you. I wish you every success with your new album - Empower The Monster - as it's fucking superb. Any record labels out there looking for a great album to put on Vinyl. Then this is the band and album for you.
  
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