NoCebo – About their melancholic metal
I love heavy metal and want it to be as vivid after the “old” bands have moved in to old people’s homes. (which some should have done for a long time ago….) Therefore, I watch many new bands on the Swedish rock scene. One of the bands that I recently discovered is NoCebo from Linköping. The band consists by Stefan Johansson who plays lead guitar and bass, and Daniel “Melle” Sandberg, who stands for vocals with a characteristic voice.
They came out with an album 2017 and is now ready for its second release. I talked with them when they had a break in the studio where the last fine grinding went place. The question is how long you can grind on that very last details before you feel satisfied?
– Last album was a bit well overworked. We were too picky, too far, really. On this album we have tried to be a bit more efficient. Daniel have made the foundation for the songs, the shell itself, written all the lyrics and then we have worked on them together until we are satisfied with the result.
To write hard rock in Swedish is not quite common but has proven to be really good in NoCebo’s case.
-It really started when I played in a trio in churches etc. We sang only in Swedish and it´s a little special to write songs that way. It was the first time that I was in a context like that. The hard rock that we both come from, where are all texts usually in English, and should be as cool as possible. It will only be ridiculous. So then we took this concept. We make our music, which we have done together for a long time, and make texts in Swedish that means something. So it´s all in Swedish with our own thoughts and life reflections sprung from our own experiences.
When I listened to NoCebo the first time I was struck by the fact that the texts have clear messages, often with strong opinions connected to the society we live in.
-Yes, that’s right. I think I want to put in something around it, it shall touch the society development, but then there are also many texts that are only about emotions, love and stuff.
How did NoCebo start?
-We are childhood friends from Linköping and our first band where we played together was in high school. Then we have lived in different places. We decided to do something dedicated when we came closer together again.
NoCebo is a good name for the band’s music if you know what that means.
-Most people are aware of Placebo. It is a question of believing in a positive effect. NoCebo is the opposite. Then it is a negative effect of anticipation. So the meaning is roughly that “do you think it will be fucked up, it will be fucked up”. These are dark texts and that is the feeling that we highlight, so it is a suitable band name.
In my upcoming review of the album, I will write more about the band’s music. It feels both fresh and different in a genre where there are many bands that have a tendency to sound like 20 others….
-It is quite difficult to describe our music. We say that we play hard rock, but that’s a very broad concept. I usually like to build up the songs with slower verses and harder choruses. The verses with calmer, clean vocals and choruses with a little harder vocal, almost a bit growl. It is rather melancholic songs – hard rock with a tragic undertone.
-It’s hard to put us in any compartment,”depressing hard rock”. We’ve joked and said it’s like Kent with dist, because it is in Swedish ha ha. We like the melancholic touch and the sound is therefore quite heavy. We feel that we have found a sound that is quite unique. Therefore, it is difficult to compare us with anything else. We feel that we are unique in a good way and we hope, of course, that others will also think so. We hope that there is a hole in the music map that we can fill. Then it can be dangerous to limit ourselves to only Swedish but it is quite a lot of people in Sweden also.
The language does not always need to be an obstacle if you have found a sound that appeals even if you do not understand the words. Now it’s full focus on reaching out to the audience, both through digital channels and live.
-We are only two persons who do everything really. We have said that it is great fun to sit and write music, but we want to play live of course. That is what we have done in the past, so we are aiming for it. (A week after I did the interview, it came a message to me that they tied up with both a great bassist and a drummer so now they are ready to be able to perform live) We’re working very much harder to reach out with this release than we did with the first album. We want as many people as possible to hear our music so that it will be a good base to travel around and play live.
Reaching out as a new band is not always that easy. It is a case of getting through the noise of all digital channels. Another challenge is to get people to leave the couch and Spotify on Saturday night to actually see and discover new, nice bands at all the local rock stages around the country.
-It´s very hard to see how the large old bands should be able to obtain replacement. Motörhead died a few years ago, and many bands are now adding. I have a hard time seeing what new bands which will be the new arena bands. I have pretty hard to take in new music myself. It becomes easy that I listen to the old stuff that you know is good. So I am a lousy example of favouring new bands to the have list. Then I know new bands that still managed to become relatively large. But I don’t think it will be the same legends as Ozzy or Dio, that era is probably over sadly. It is so easy to “be someone” today so it doesn’t get the same star quality now as before.
Daring to go their own way is probably at least a good start to be able to stand out from the crowd.
-We do this in Swedish, I write texts that should touch people and not just be cool, we put on much arrangement with rhythmic synthesizers in the background, etc. We are not afraid to use other instruments then distal guitars, bass and drums. We do what sounds good.
-The older you become the more influences you get in to your mind. When you just listened to the black metal it was like swearing if you said something with Europe was good but it’s not really the case today. We take the sound that we like and we are not afraid to do it. The purpose of our music is to do what we like and we really believe that others will also think that we are good. We are a bit original and unique and hope to be able to reach out.
Look out for the album that is released shortly and reviewed here at Stargazed Magazine.