It's bands like yours that make writing reviews extra interesting. There are a lot of bands I never heard of, and Domkraft was one of them, but now I have been listening to your albums almost nonstop. There is something fresh about your music. What do you think sets your sound apart from that of any other stoner band?
Hey man, thanks. Well, I don’t really know what sets us apart, to be honest. Maybe it is a consequence of us not aiming to belong to any particular genre? Hardly an original stance, but I am really honest here. All we want to do is make music that feels good to ourselves – and we just happen to like heavy, crushing songs with a psychedelic touch to them. And we’re open to different kinds of song structures; verse/chorus/verse is cool, but it is not the only way to arrange a lasting song.
Every metal genre has a place of origin and until quite recently (and perhaps somewhat naively) I thought that bands from those places of origin played the genre best. Bands from other countries, for instance a US band playing black metal, somehow feel like taking a local dish and adding the wrong spices and herbs to the mix. My theory, fortunately, is frequently proven wrong, but I want to know what made you decide to play stoner/doom?
We never really decided to do that, we just wanted to play slow, repetitive and heavy music. Swans and Spacemen 3 have been equally important to us as, say, Black Sabbath and Neurosis. But I completely get your theory. If your music sounds like the desert, you better live in proximity to a desert, right? But then again, an open barren field anywhere could sound the same in your head. And, going back to your black metal example, the nature and climate in the Washington/Oregon area is not that different from Norway. What I am getting at is that I think it has more to do with how we interpret our surroundings and what context we put it into. A different setting can still evoke similar emotions and mindsets.
And what is your view on genres originating somewhere and then afterwards being used all over the planet? I mean, is music a universal something or does it have a certain charm to make it something place-bound?
I am totally for an as open world as possible, so to me it is definitely universal. Like you said, if something gets re-used and picks up new flavors on the way, that can only be a good thing, right? Best case, you get something completely fresh, worst case: someone doesn’t like it and can just choose to not listen to it. It’s not that complicated...
Speaking of origins, the Swedish have a lot of legends and folklore, so do you know or can you think of any decent explanation of where the mighty riffs have come from?
That one is easy - lack of sunlight for most of the year. You spend time indoors, you get bored, you pick up a guitar, you practice. No ancient gods or myths, just good ‘ol boredom that (hopefully) eventually leads to creativity in the heavy field..
I do not hear many differences between 'The End Of Electricity' and 'Flood'. Of course, there are different tunes, which are all equally interesting, but both albums sound like a relentless onslaught of powerful riffs and hooks. What is the main difference between these albums for you as the band?
I’d say there is slightly more detail to 'Flood'. The main ingredients are the same, but I think every sound has slightly more headroom here, which makes it a bit richer. But you are right, they are pretty much companion pieces.
If I am correct, you changed label, going from Magnetic Eye Records to Blues Funeral Recordings. How does a change like that happen and what are some of the differences between (these) labels?
It’s actually less dramatic than it sounds. We’re still signed to Magnetic Eye, but when our album was ready they had their hands full with the huge Pink Floyd The Wall Redux project that they are releasing. And at the same time Jadd Shickler, who also works with Magnetic Eye, was getting ready to launch his own label, Blues Funeral. So, it was decided that the album would be the first one out there instead. Magnetic Eye are cool with this, so it worked in everyone’s favor really.
There are a couple of things that seem similar between the albums. One of those things is the format. Seven songs, both albums start out with a long one ('The Rift' and 'Landslide'), and both have an instrumental short one ('Drones' and 'They Appear To Be Alive'). Is this all part of a higher plan, or is it a coincidence?
It’s actually somewhere in between. We like the idea of opening with a long track, to really set the mood of the album. And we do care about the track order in general. There should be a certain dramaturgy to it – and I think it works even better on 'Flood' than on the last album. So, yeah, I don’t know if I would go as far as calling it a higher plan, but it is definitely not a coincidence. No idea if the next album will follow the same structure though, it all depends on which songs we end up with.
Another similarity is the artwork. It looks very Dali to me! Weird and strange. Today I watched the video for the song 'Flood' and it, too, shows odd images. Please tell us why you have chosen this kind of artwork.
We work with the great artist called Björn Atldax, and we give him more or less free hands to interpret the music. He is by no means a huge fan of heavy sounds, but he has a great way of visualizing our music. He plays with a lot of classic metal/hard rock imagery and then twists and turns it into something rather unique. Which is kind of how we like to perceive ourselves also, heavy music with a twist. The video is actually Jadd’s work – he found this young video guy who also got free hands to do whatever he thought suited to song. I love how it has nothing to do with either the lyrics or the vague theme of the album – it’s just really, really cool and fits the music perfectly anyway, and sometimes that’s all that matters, right?
And how important do you think artwork is for music? Both onstage and as album covers/booklets.
I’d say it has started to become really important again in the past few years. Not only because the rebirth of vinyl, but also because of social media, where images are playing a bigger and bigger part. Personally, it has always been an important part of the experience to me, but that is probably because I started buying albums in the old vinyl heydays. I’m part of the scrutinize and sniff generation and still love the design aspect of music. And I am only talking about cover art here – as far as onstage graphics/visuals go, it really depends on the kind of music. As much as I like to have a good light show going, it’s not really crucial for a band like us.
Wait! You actually have CD's! And LP's. We are part of a digital age, and there are many bands that decide it is not worth the effort anymore to press CD's. What made you decide to do it anyway? (As a CD lover I must applaud this decision!)
Ask the label, haha! No, I don’t really find that strange at all. If you work years to write and record an album, you want it released in every format. And since CD’s are still in demand I see no reason not to do it. Still the best car format also – at least if you ride an old battered Skoda like I do.
You look like decent guys with a sense of hygiene. When I grew up, listening to metal, all I ever saw were long haired, leather clad men (and some women) with evil expressions on their faces. What happened to them?
Oh, they are still around. At least over here. But that look is not a deal breaker now like it was back then – at least to most people. And just for the record – I used to have long hair. In a different time and age, sure, but I did. Not that I really understand why it would matter, but I’ve realized that for some people, it still really does.
To certain kinds of music/metal image is very important. Glam metal for instance, and anything even remotely related to Manowar. Like I mentioned, the number of bands endorsing this image is growing less these days. Do you think there is less need for that kind of thing now?
To a certain degree, I’d say that image is still really important. But it all depends on what you want to convey with your music. I have absolutely no problems with high concept bands, but it’s not really for us.
Domkraft reminds me of the band Spaceslug. Not because your music sounds the same, but because both bands manage to (apparently quite easily) lift the genre to a higher level. Would you consider doing a split album, or some other kind of cooperation? And if so, which band(s) would you think of, and why?
Oh yes. We actually have an EP coming out sometime next year where we have a song with no less than three guest vocalists. It’s a very special track – it’s thirteen minutes long and has been around for a while, but we’ve never managed to get in on an album due to its length. It’s by far the most epic track we’ve ever done and with the guest vocals, it turned out just amazing. We bloody got Mark Lanegan to do a part as well as Lea from the awesome Swedish band Besvärjelsen and Marty from Slomatics. Can’t wait to share that one with the world. Keep your eyes peeled for the PostWax vinyl subscription series, which I think is the only place it will be available to begin with. And, speaking of Slomatics, we’re also already planning a split EP with them sometime in the not too distant future. We have a similar approach towards music and I think it could be a cool and interesting record. Just need to get the time to do it.
Finally, when will we be able to see you live in The Netherlands?
Soon, I hope! We’re aching to do more European shows, so, promoters and bookers – get in touch! We want to come and play your towns!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer this interview!
Thanks for the thoughtful questions and for being into what we’re doing!