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Letters From The Colony

Letters From The Colony are without a doubt one of the biggest surprises this month (and maybe even this year) – no one can deny that, it’s a fact. The gentlemen from Sweden seem to know what they’re doing so we send a raven with some questions. Guitarist Sebastian Svalland was kind enough to send his answers back. Turn out he’s quite the well-spoken gentleman.

By: Job | Archive under prog / sympho metal

Hi! Congratulations on the upcoming release of your debut ‘Vignette’ on Nuclear Blast! Times must be exciting! Before we start off; how are you doing?
Hi, Thank you so much! It is me Sebastian Svalland that is going to answer your questions. I´m doing great, we get to release our debut on the biggest metal label on the planet and I have three Ferrari F50´s in the garage waiting to be scratched by teenagers with key rings.

For those uninitiated, could you introduce Letters from the Colony and tell me how you guys got started?
Letters From The Colony is a band from a town in the middle of Sweden called Borlänge. We got started like many other bands, you play an instrument and meet people that also play and have similar taste of music.

You employ a range of influences that’s both incredibly cohesive as well as jarringly varied, going from Gojira to Periphery to Car Bomb to Meshuggah to Between the Buried and me to Cynic to The Faceless to Textures (our Dutch pride!). What are some bands you would consider to be influences and how did your sound get like this?
Well spot on with Textures, Gojira, BTBAM and Meshuggah. Some others are Pink Floyd, Lamb of God, Behemoth, Karnivool, Queens of the Stone age etc. These bands are huge influences to us and there are many more bands that have influenced LFTC. Well our sound is what it is because of trying different gear and playing. When I was a kid (and still) I learned to play the songs that I liked and that formed my playing and thinking.

I’d like to talk about a couple of songs that stood out to me, if you don’t mind, starting with ‘Terminus’, one of the more crushing songs on the album with a lot of Gojira vibes coming off of it. The lyrics hold some interesting meaning (‘Voices too weak to end it all / Waiting for what tomorrow holds). What are the lyrical themes of the album?
I did not work with the lyrics at all, our singer Alexander did all the work with the lyrics. This is not a concept album but the lyrics addresses the same topics. I will quote him here: “We´re living as if we had the recourses of multiples Earths, and it´s only a matter of time before modern society collapses. Nature (being the Vignette surrounding us) will creep inwards from the edges and completely devour the image in which we are living.”

What immediately shines is the production – everything shines and has its rightful place in the mix. I was most impressed with the bass and how blisteringly heavy it sounds. What can you tell me about the recording process and the mixing of the album?
I bought the whole equipment from a studio and found a place to have it in our home town. When Alexander joined the band we started to record the album, he has worked in studio before so he has a lot of experience. We recorded the album ourselves and Alexander did all the mixing, the only thing that we did not do was to master the album. We sent it to Jens Bogren because we wanted an outsiders perspective and we all like he´s sound.

Opener ‘Galax’ starts out as one of the more melodic songs but instantly sets the tone for the rest of the album when that disgustingly heavy riff sets in. Those blast beats sound vicious as fuck as well. What made you choose this song as the opera to the album?
I think that this will be the most liked song on the album, and it has like the song ‘Vignette’ a bit of everything of our sound so I wanted to get it out there as fast as possible.

band image


’Erasing Contrast’ gave me the strongest Textures meets Car Bomb feel and I loved it. You also show a video for the song. What was that like?
Simon Hjortek that made the music video is a friend of mine and we have seen a lot of videos that he has done before. We thought that it would be a great idea to have him make a video for a rough song. It was special to record the parts that we were in but he is a pro and we thought that the results will be good. But it did not turn that way, it went amazing! I love video and I hope that we are going to work with him again!

Your Meshuggah influences are very apparent but you tend to use them in a different way than most bands. Your sound is a lot more unique in that way. It probably comes forth most on the closing song ‘Vignette’. Do you feel that as time goes on, it becomes harder and harder to be original with so much new music coming out?
I guess it becomes harder to be original when there is so many more musicians that can do everything on the computer now. But no worries, we are the best band in the world.

I love the art of the album. How did that come to be?
My friends in the band Totem Skin (they do not exist anymore) had a guy called Chris Panatier that did the artwork for their album ‘Weltschmerz’. When I first saw it I liked it directly and I wanted to have something else than an ordinary metal album artwork. Because we are not a ordinary metal band.

What can you tell me about the gear used on the album?
Well I don´t remember it all because of that we change gear a lot. For instance it would only be a few of these things that are listed that we have left, we have replaced and improved etc.

Rhythm guitars: Woodo GS2 7-stri Deluxe (Lundgren M7 pickups), Gibson Les Paul “The Paul” (Seymour Duncan Distortion pickups).

Lead guitars: PRS SE Zach Myers (Bare Knuckle Black hawk pickups).

Amps: Kemper Profiling Amp, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. (The rhythm sound is a blend of both of them with a Tripple recifier in the Kemper.)

Guitar pedals: Strymon Big Sky, Strymon Timeline, Line6 M5, Electro Hamonix POG 2, Digitech Whammy. Voodoo Lab products to power up these bad boys.

Bass: Dingwall Combustion 5 string.

Amps etc: Sansamp bass driver.

Drums: Tama Hyperdrive kit, Sabian cymbals (he uses Meinl now), Tama speed cobra pedals and Artbeat sticks.

Some of the mics that we used: Shure SM57 for the snare and guitar amp, Shure SM7B for the hi-hat and the vocals, Shure Beta 91a for the kick drum, SE electronics OH mics, AKG C1000s for all the toms. And we used some more that I don´t remembered for the reason that we change gear a lot.

Bae 1073 Preamps
Siemens Preamps
Focusrite Preamps
Sansamp Preamps
Some clones to the 1176 compressor
Mac with logic and plugins etc.

Are there any plans for playing this stuff life? Maybe even in Holland sometime soon?
We are for the moment negotiating with other parties and try to find out the best ways to promote our debut album. So of course I want to come to Holland and play!

Final question: imagine you get to program an entire festival of amazing bands and other entertainment – a Letters-fest, so to speak. Which bands would be on the billing and what other activities would there be?
I would have Zlatan Ibrahimovic play a football match with whatever players he need. Then it will be open bar for everyone except Paris Hilton. The bands will be Dubbelkuk. That set will be an six hour set so we could not book any more bands because the fact that we only had one stage that where a kilometer wide with led display going along the whole stage. That band is amazing so everyone will be happy!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions. Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
Thank you for having the time to listen to ‘Vignette’ and write these questions! All I am going to say is that LFTC will be the thing to see in 2018, I am Sweden’s best looking man and I will probably save the earth someday. Love you.

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