Martin from Skraeckoedlan:We didn’t want to do a rockopera
Swedish stonerband Skraeckoedlan has returned with a new album called “Earth”. I had a talk with drummer Martin Larsson about the recording and the story behind the album.
You have a new album out on fuzzorama records called “Earth”. Can you tell me a little about the recording of it?
We were in contact with writer Nils Håkansson, who has written the story for the album, and we in the band and Nils thought it would be fun to do something together. He had an idea for a story that took place in the same universe as his books so he gave us a synopsis of the story and we based our album on that. We had a few riffs we felt could be fitting but most of the music was written after we got the story and we could see what kind of songs we needed.
Did you guys know of Nils work and style before you first had contact with him?
He contacted us before his first book was ever published and he told us that he was inspired by our music and used to listen to us while writing. Eventually his first book “Järnskallen” came out and he sent us each a copy of the book and we’ve stayed in contact ever since. I can’t remember exactly how it all started but we said that it would be great to do something more than him listening to our music and us reading his books.
When you base a record on someone else’s story how does that affect the songwriting? Did it challenge you to be extra meticulous or was the process slower because of that in some sence?
We usually have concepts behind our albums so that bit wasn’t new to us but having a sort of narrative curve with a beginning, middle and end to relate to during the writing was something we had not done before. The songs must be more than just a tool to push the story forward, they have to be good songs in themselves too. We didn´t write that much of the music at rehearsal and we didn’t have all songs done when we entered the studio to record the album so we improvised a lot during recording and it felt really creative and different which we all felt was a lot of fun.
Where did you record the album and who recorded it?
We recorded it in Fuzzorama’s studio in Örebro called Bombshelter and also at Elverket in Falun. Erik Berglund recorded the album, but the band co-produced along with him. We spent about two weeks in Bombshelter for drums, bass and rhythm guitars and about one week in Elverket for solos, over dubs and vocals.
When I listen to the album and hear the lyrics while at the same time looking at the album cover and the artwork surrounding the album I can’t help thinking about H.P Lovecraft and some of his stories. Would you say that the story behind your new album is inspired by Lovecraft in some way?
In some sense sure. Some elements of the story for the new album that Nils wrote is inspired by the artwork from our older albums and then got reweaved into the story. Ideas of monsters with tentacles did come from Lovecraft to us in the band and also to Nils and then went full circle and found its way into this album.
Are the lyrics telling a clear and straight forward story like a book?
We always leave it up to the listener to interpret and decipher the lyrics. We didn’t want to do a rock opera. The lyrics are based on the story, but not in a way that the listener reads the story like a book from start to finish. One song could be from one character’s perspective and another song from someone elses and sometimes it could be from a sort of narrative perspective. In the limited boxset of the new album there is a journal included from one of the characters where you can get some more insight and information to what’s going on.
You guys are out on tour now. What are your thoughts concerning playing the new album live? Will you do the whole album from start to finish as a concept or mix it up with the older material?
We’re doing it more like a classic rock show where we mix the new songs into the setlist of older songs. We feel that it would get too stiff to do the whole album in one long run. We’ve done it before with the older albums and it’s more fun to play live if we mix it up a little.