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Begravningsentreprenörerna

Dat er in Finland veel metal bands zijn, dat wist zelfs president Obama. Waarom dat zo is, is een ander verhaal. Dat er in Finland metal bands zijn die in het Zweeds zingen is minder bekend. Waarschijnlijk omdat er niet veel zijn. Misschien is er zelfs maar een en die band heeft een onuitspreekbaar lange naam: Begravningsentreprenörerna. Het debuutalbum van deze band, een verrassend goed staaltje retro hard rock, verscheen onlangs bij Ektro Records en was reden genoeg om nader kennis te maken met dit trio. Hoe zit het nu met die naam en dat Zweeds? Voldoende vragen en gelukkig ook genoeg antwoorden.

Door: Jan-Simon | Archiveer onder hardrock / aor

Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions. We recently reviewed your new debut album ‘Jämna Plågor’ and were pleasantly surprised. Therefore we would like to get to know you a bit better through this interview. Let’s start with your name, you’re a Finnish band, but everything about you is in Swedish. How come?
We live and originate from a tiny island community located between our mainland Finland and the country of Sweden in the Baltic sea. Here the official language is Swedish and we belong to a so called Swedish speaking minority in southern Finland, which is a dual lingual nation with population speaking both languages.This hasn't anything to do with why we choose to write and sing lyrics in Swedish and it wasn't decided in advance. I find it easy to write in Swedish and it feels genuine and natural. The thought of doing something in Finnish and English has also crossed my mind.

Is it all part of a grand plan to conquer Sweden?
No, there is no grand plan of any kind.

Where did this curious 26 letters long name come from? Is it part of your death and black metal background?
It translates into mortician or undertaker. Even though none of us occupied in the profession, it was a spontaneous name that occurred in our minds and reflects the content of the lyrics very well and also sums up our comradeship and good taste in black humour. And no, there is no direct connection to our metal background.

Jämna Plågor’, I tried to google it, but could not get any wiser. Please tell us, what does it mean?
It is a way of speaking, and idiomatic expression. Can't come up with a possible English equivalent other than it directly translates to "Even Pains". Maybe the expression "Ups and downs" would be the closest.

We already mentioned the fact that you sing in Swedish. Are there many Finns who speak / understand Swedish?
As I mentioned earlier, there are two official languages in Finland and yes, there are many who speak both and those who only speak one or choose to speak one or the other for some reason, but all in all most understand the two tongues more or less. It is a lovely mess.

Your records are released by Ektro records, the company run by Circle chief Jussi Lehtisalo. I could not help but think there is a certain similarity between Circle and Begravningsentreprenörerna (although there are obviously as much differences as there are similarities). Is this how you ended up recording for this label?
A friend suggested us to send the tracks that would become the EP to Jussi and that he might like it. Fortunately he did so and shortly the release of the EP followed.

Two out of the eight songs on ‘Jämna Plågor’ were already on the EP released four years ago. What happened in the period in between?
Aside from being engaged in endeavours with Vorum and so on, a lot of things happened that forced things to be put on hold. Luckily it all didn't end up coming to nothing. Despite obstacles on the way we managed to get things sorted out.

From the press release I learned that you guys have a background in bands that play a very different kind of music. What made you start this band?
Since we share the same taste in rock music we want to get out our hybrid visions that are a blend of many influences, but also are very traditional in many ways when it comes to the classic rock/hard rock approach we chase, or at least I do.

I read, in the Ektro news flash, that you were a band blending 70s hard rock and proto-metal into a strange sort of NWOBHM. Personally I thought after listening to your record you had more in common with bands like Turbonegro. Where do you think we should place you, in terms of style and inspiration?
I really can't say. We're happy if we can be placed as a simple guitar oriented rock band. But Turbonegro is certainly great reference.

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There are only 5.5 million Finns. Yet Finland has the most metal and rock bands per capita in the world. Even former US president Obama noticed this. Do you have an explanation?
No not really. Some say it is because of the geographical location and the long and cold dark months that fall upon the land after the short and intense summer season. It is undeniable that there is a presence of gloom and heaviness in Finnish music in general, especially in traditional music. These things can certainly be part of the recipe.

Does the relative popularity of heavy music in your country help you? Do you have good record sales and many gigs or do you still have to keep your day jobs?
I don't think the general favour of heavy music here benefit success for a band in terms of sales and gigs than in any other country. The result is how much work and sacrifice a band is ready and willing to put to practice and what the "grand plan" might be. Music in general isn't that rare and exclusive like it used to be when there was no internet in the sense of gaining access to it. So nothing to quit the day jobs for if the heart and soul ain't burning with absolute dedication.

Is listening to music as important to you as making music? In other words are you guys record collectors?
I can't listen to music at all during the process of creating. Because I easily get to fixed on a band or song and end up wanting my stuff to sound as good or similar to the source of inspiration. But when the mind is not in the creative state, I find it important to listen of course. Not that any of us own vast amounts of records, but yes, we do, at least buy records.

Suppose that you were allowed to keep only five records, what would be the music you absolutely cannot throw away?
Metallica - Master Of Puppets
Iron Maiden - Killers
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd
Samson - Shock Tactics
Judas Priest - Stained Class

Is there anything – apart from good music – you cannot do without? Or things you’d like to get rid of immediately? Does this in any way affect the music you create?
Solitude and being close to nature. Peace and calm are vital elements I cannot live without. None of us are keen on being among people more than necessary. Modern life has become stressful in many aspects due the constant connection to social media etc. That would be something to get rid of.

Making retro hard rock and singing in Swedish kind of limits your opportunities, or doesn’t it? Have you done shows outside of Finland and Sweden or do you have foreign shows planned?
If the goal is international success in the business I believe it might face limitations. No we haven't done shows outside Scandinavia, in fact, we haven't done any shows yet. We have one show planned in November in Sweden.

So what’s in store for the future? I do hope a next record will not take another four years…
There are some new riffs and lyrics brewing and we'd like to work out another record. For the time being we will try to do some shows and see what ‘Jämna Plågor’ will do for us.

Thank you for your time. Here at Lords of Metal we wish you all the best for the upcoming tour and hope to hear a lot more from you. Any final words or wise thoughts you would like to share with our readers?
Thank you!

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