Skogen: The Interview




Let me start off with how honored we are to have an interview with Skogen.
Thank you very much! Always good with an interview.
What inspired  "Svitjod", lyrically and musically? Are the lyrics written from a personal perspective, or are they just simply lyrics? And what is the story, if any, of the album artwork?

Lyrically it's a mix of the dark parts of old Swedish history, like witch burnings, the bubonic plague and torture, and just cold, long winters, solitude and nature. Musically we did riffs and melodies that we thought would set the mood, and that we like ourselves. We always look for the right atmosphere.

Black metal stereotypes paint all people in the genre as Satan worshippers, who burn churches. How do you feel about that? Is black metal all evil and darkness?
Well, we do not play satanic black metal. We play the music we like, and people just categorize us. The music itself it rooted in black metal though.
The black metal I listened to, and still listen to the most, is satanic. Bands that I looked up to back in the days, are now less satanic and have stupid outfits. Take Dark Funeral for example. Their first mcd and "Secrets of the black arts" are amazing! Blackmoon certainly knew how to make evil riffs. But now it's all about speed, they're posing with their instruments in the photos and the singer looks like Skeletor from He-Man. People might think that it doesn't matter, but it does.
When it comes to church burnings, I think it just adds more feeling to the mystique. Christianity is a filthy religion filled with hypocrisy and lies, and that so many millions still worship it in 2011, is just a proof that mankind's stupidity is only increasing. I'm not against church burnings, but I wouldn't do it myself.

How important was it to maintain that raw, black metal sound?
It can't be too easy listening, but not too low-fi either. There are too many shitty bands with shitty sound out there, that can't even play their instruments properly. I think it's important to have a sound where you can hear all instruments perfectly, and that sets the mood. I have alot of cds at home with bands that have bad sound, and with one of them I actually couldn't hear if the drums were playing grind or a slow, steady beat, because of the poor sound. So to sum it up: raw, but clean and listenable.
What is the typical recording process like for you? What kind of studio or equipment do you use?
For "Svitjod", we recorded the drums in a nameless studio in our hometown. Then we recorded all guitars, bass and vocals at Mathias' studio, like we also did with "Vittra". We are pretty fast in the recording process, we just have alot of material and take our time to get it exactly how we want it to be, before recording it. All three of us can play guitar, so everyone's making riffs and stuff. As for the recording, we use Cubase 3, and the equipment we used are Gibson guitars, Engl head with a Marshall amp, Ashdown amp for the bass, and Tama drums.
Who were some major bands that have influenced you?
It's everything from the obvious bands like Drudkh and Walknut to maybe less obvious like King Diamond.

What bands/artists do you enjoy listening to in your spare time? Are there any other genres besides metal that you like?
We listen to alot of different stuff. Without revealing who's listening to what, here are some bands: Rush, Deicide, King Diamond, Drudkh, Queensrÿche, Exodus, Graveyard, Depeche Mode, Marduk, Ghost, U.K., Funeral Mist, Testament, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Walknut, Mercyful Fate, Strebers, Immortal, Black Sabbath, Possessed, Emperor, Autopsy, Windir, Megadeth, Repulsion, Watain, Fleet Foxes, Metallica, Morbid Angel, Slayer, Dissection.   
Obviously, black metal fans across the world are finding your music online. Do you see downloading as a problem, or is it helping to spread great music across the world?
I think Lars Ulrich is the only one who actually cares and fights it nowadays. We think it's great that our music is available for everyone. The genre we play is not very broad, and not every store care to sell it, so it's only good. But we also want people to buy our albums, of course!
What does the future hold for Skogen? When can we expect an American invasion?
We're rehearsing new songs at the moment, for a new release in the future. An American invasion sounds good! Maybe it's not so easy with our Swedish lyrics though. We haven't play a single show yet, but sometime, somewhere in the future we will! We haven't gotten any requests yet.