Saturday 26 January 2013

Interview with S:T Erik

Today I am interviewing brilliant Swedish Stoner Metallers – S:T Erik – who released the 2009 classic album – From Under The Tarn which was criminally ignored by almost every one.

I became a fan of this band from the start. I love the brutal and blistering energy of the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs on show.

From Under The Tarn was re-released on Vinyl earlier this year courtesy of excellent label – Spora Recordz – to critical acclaim amongst the Doom, Stoner, Sludge blogs and webzines.

Well the guys have kindly agreed to do an interview with me. So lets get down to business with this superb band.

1. Hi guys. How is it going today? Thanks for talking to us. Much appreciated. For people not in the know, can you give people a brief history of how the band came about.

Hello, Tomas and Magnus here. We’re fine, thanks for asking, and thanks for having us. Well, one could say that S:t Erik is an aggregation of now defunct bands from our home town Uppsala. We recorded a demo that gained some attention, played a few shows, recorded an album that sounded nothing like the demo, played a few shows and then people started to engage in other projects and the band went in to a long sleep that now has been disturbed a couple of times.

2. How would yourselves describe your sound

Somewhat monotonous, slow and quite simple rock music, relying on suggestive layers of instrumentation.

3. Which bands and artists had a direct influence on your music?

At the time of writing and recording ‘From Under the Tarn’ - apart from the apparent ones - We all enjoyed (and still enjoy) some old german music and a lot of synth based music.

4. Your debut album - From Under The Tarn - was released in 2009 but sadly was ignored by the Sludge/Stoner/Doom crowd. Was that a hard thing for you guys to go through? You had this amazing album but no one took any real notice of it.

We just established that that was the case and returned to the rehearsal space. For us, it is more rewarding playing the music than hear other people talk about it, even though that’s appreciated as well.

5. Was it a challenging album to write and record for and were you happy with the final result?

We don’t recall the writing process being particularly challenging really. The hard part was to write songs that was slow paced and still engaging and interesting for the listener. We think we managed pretty well. The recording process turned out to be quite long-drawn and time consuming with its fair share of disagreements within the band on what direction we would take the sound. To give the synthesizer the space it needed, some grit and punk had to be reduced from the rest of the instrumentation - making the record more ”polished” than the rehearsal recordings of the album.

6. Now 3 years later to 2012 and the album has been re-released on Vinyl via Spora Records. How did that come about? Bet your happy that your brilliant debut album has been re-released on Vinyl. 3 years after it’s original release.

Jason (Spora Recordz) contacted us offering to release a vinyl version of our album - simple as that! The collaboration has been great, and the possibility to give it a proper release with a new totally reworked artwork has been somthing we’ve been longing for ever since the release of the CD - which is pretty ugly to be fair.

7. Have the reviewers been better second time around. Are you pleased with the responses so far?

The ones we’ve read has been just overwhelmingly good, except from a norwegian one. He hated it, called us just another Black Sabbath rip-off. Well, they have released better records than we have so we guess he was right.

8. I think this is an album you should rightly be proud of. But if you could do things differently 3 years ago with the original release. What would that be?

We would either have gone for a more coarse sound with more punch or in a more ambient direction with even more synthesizers. The songs that has been written after the recording and release of ‘From Under the Tarn’ has tended to mesh these two directions.

9. What is the songwriting process like in the band? Is it down to one individual or does everyone contribute?

This differs from time to time, sometimes someone will have a clear picture of a song while other times it’s a matter of recording three hours of group improvisation to see if something catches on.

10. Is their a local Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal scene for you guys to perform in your hometown. Or do you have to travel around to perform on a regular basis?

As for the time being, we don’t perform live. We do have a couple of good bands here in Uppsala, we would not drift to call any of them stoner/sludge/doom though - rather punk and metal.

11. Do you all have full time jobs or is the band itself your full time job?

Some of us play music for a living, but in other projects and contexts and others work day jobs or study at the university. Not too exciting, huh?

12. Are your family and friends supportive of your music?


13. What are your views of blogs promoting your music compared to mainstream publications? Has you music reached any mainstream magazines or websites?

Mainstream publications has never showed any interest in S:t Erik. Perhaps that’s a good thing? We do think we have blogs, such as yours, to thank that people actually listened to our music. Keep it up.

14. Have you toured with any famous bands and do you have any cool stories that you can tell us?

Not really. We’ve shared stage with Witchcraft once. hah.

15. Who are your fave bands to listen to at the moment? Or do you like listening to the classic bands of Hard Rock/Doom/Stoner and Sludge in general?

Too many to mention, and do people really care? The last record Tomas bought was the Acid Mothers Temple - Glorify Astrological Martyrdom LP and Magnus bought the New Order - Temptation 12”. Variety and new perspectives are key.

16. What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band?

Most rewarding - playing music with people you like. Least rewarding - everything else.

17. Do you have any exciting plans coming up in the next 12 months or so? – Any plans for a new EP or album.

We have talked about playing a show or two in 2013, we are waiting for Roadburn to get in touch - but they never do. We’ll see what happens, we never called it quits for what it’s worth.

18. And finally do you have anything to say to your fans?

Thanks for caring!

Thanks to Tomas and Magnus for a great interview. Lets hope we hear some new material from this great band soon!!

Check S:t Erik from the following link: