From Sweden comes a new band called Griftegård, the quintet delivered a quite strong full-length debut, so I wanted to lear a bit more about them... And this is what I learnt about Griftegård!
Griftegård is a quite new band, so please tell us a bit about how everything began!
Well, I guess one can say we are a reasonably fresh band, although we as individuals have been playing heavy music for a long time, some of us, like our singer Thomas, started his career in the early 80's. Anyway, me Ola Blomkvist, and Per Broddesson formed Griftegård in 2005, both of us on guitar. We soon added a friend of ours on bass, Dennis Olsson, and the three of us tried out a couple of different drummers, soon to realize that it takes a very special personality to play Doom Metal as a drummer... Most of who were tried soon got tired of playing it slow or they didn't get 'it' and, consequently, left. It wasn't until about a year after our formation that we found our current drummer, Jens Gustafsson, that we felt things clicked. In Jens we found someone with the right attitude and feeling, and with him he brought a magnificent singer, namely Thomas Eriksson. This formation lasted intact until summer 2008, when Dennis left the band and got replaced by Robert Hylén, which in turn was replaced by Thomas Jansson (also in Wolverine) this summer 09. Today the band consists of the following individuals:
Ola Blomkvist - lyrics & guitar, Thomas Eriksson – vocals, Jens Gustafsson – drums, Per Broddesson – guitar, Thomas Jansson - bass
As far as I know Griftegård means 'cemetery' or 'burial ground'... Is that right? Why this name?
Yes, cemetery, burial ground, resting place, or simply graveyard sans a church. The name has been with me since child hood - near the village in which I was born and raised there was a griftegård and this place set my fantasy ablaze at an early age. I thought the place itself as well as the name was very eerie and atmospheric and since then I guess the name has been lying dormant in my sub consciousness, waiting for the right moment to appear. So when I started thinking about what to call the band it popped up and fit seamlessly to the themes I felt I had to express.
Your demo CD was called Psalm Bok, this indicates that there is some connection to religion... Is it?
Yes, the lyrics and aura of Griftegård are clearly linked to, first of all, the Christian dogmas and aesthetics, but really, I am intrigued by all the manifold branches on the tree of spirituality. Charles Taze Russel, the first track on Psalmbok for example, deals with the Armageddon-paranoia of the Jehovah's Witnesses, something I have first hand experience with.
What influences you musically? And what inspires you when it comes to write lyrics?
We do not consciously let any of our sources of inspiration color Griftegård. This said there's no denying we are a Doom Metal band, sharing certain distinguishing features with other Doom Metal bands, like Candlemass, Cathedral, While Heaven Wept, Count Raven, Warning, Vitus, Re.Biz etc, bands we hold in highest possible regard. On a personal level we all have different sources of musical inspiration, although I'd like to think none are clearly audible in Griftegård. Personally I listen to everything from Sol Invictus and Current 93 via Funeral Mist and Manowar to singer / songwriters like Anna Ternheim. Thomas Ericksson is a die hard 60's / 70's heavy rock / progressive fan and so is Per while Jens is into all kinds of heavy music, like Electric Wizard and Witchfinder General and Thomas Jansson comes from a progressive-Metal back ground and still plays the bass in Wolverine.
As for lyrical inspiration I can state that I, since I am the sole creator of our lyrics, find inspiration at my hideously monotone and boring day job, which has as its only extenuating factor in that it gives me time to disconnect from reality and sink deep into my self. Driving a bunker rake at a golf course craves for a minimum of awareness, thus I more often than not find myself lost in self reflection, and that's where lyrics come to me. Realizing certain truths about oneself and then trying them out on others as well as on mankind and society in general can be both depressing and rewarding, and so can expressing these revelations lyrically. Also I always carry with me a rucksack of religious doubt and pondering which keeps me constantly busy with the mysteries of life, love, death, hate, good and evil. Sometimes I feel like severing my head / mind / spirit from the rest of the body and just become the tool and empty shell society strives to make me, and everyone else...
Now your debut album Solemn.Sacred.Severe will be released soon through Ván Records. Some songs have already been at your demo. Have you overdone these?
Sorry, I'm not really sure what you mean by the word 'overdone' in this context, but perhaps you mean to ask if we have re-recorded the song that is to be found on Psalmbok as well as on SSS? If so the answer is yes, we re-recorded Charles Taze Russel for SSS and made it heavier and, at least I'd like to think, even more apocalyptic than the demo version. Also we took the chance of correcting a few things we were dissatisfied with on the earlier version, like the timing of the bells in the beginning and some other small details.
How do you write songs? As a band or did someone comes up with some finished song?
The major part of the riffs and idea's on the album are mine, but we have both arranged and put the songs together as a band. Personally I am in no way as technically skilled as a musician as any of the other members of Griftegård so they have come up with solutions as how to turn the ideas and riffs into working songs, adding bridges, guitar solo's, song melodies, bass lines and drum patterns. SSS is a collective work which I sincerely think is way larger than the sum of its parts.
There are already some shows scheduled, a little tour with The Devil's Blood. What can we expect from Griftegård live?
Yes, we go on a small German tour with The Devil's Blood, a band which we admire greatly, between the 19th-22nd of November.
Griftegård live is a reflection of the album title I'd say, and you probably will not have much of the traditional head banging and hell raising of a typical Metal crowd with us on stage, cause usually we manage to dampen the will to utterances of enthusiasm in people, and that's just as it should be. There is not too much movement on stage either, simply because we are busy reflecting the soul of our music.
Who would you like to tour with in future?
We would love to tour with our friends in Subrosa, which is a band I admire a lot for their integrity and musical beauty. Pagan Altar and While Heaven Wept would be dreams come true as well.
What do you listen to at the moment? What's the last album you bought?
The last album in my collection would be Marianne Faithfull's Dangerous Acquaintances, a great album with fantastic songs like So Sad, Truth, Bitter Truth and Sweetheart.
Beside the tour, what else is on your schedule?
We are currently in the finishing stages of a song that is to be featured on a split 7" with Count Raven, due out on Ván / Nachtgnosis sometime this winter. We are also busy writing new material for another split 7", with Lord Vicar, and then there's a follow up to SSS to be made... It will take some time before the second album will appear though as we refuse to stress things, everything must be inspired and come naturally, that's the only way that works for us.
I'm really looking forward to see Griftegård live and it seems that the guys have some interesting stuff ready for the metal fans... Keep your eyes open for this split 7"! Hope it won't take too long until they get inspired!