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STALKERs Fresh Act July 2007
This Swedish band, founded in 2002, recently released their new third demo CD Miserable Endings that hopefully rather initiates a new beginning for them. At least it caught our attention, just continue reading and you can find out why...
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Who are you? Please introduce all band members with all their characteristics, spleens etc.
Martin: Well, we have Ulf on bass who is one of the founders of the band. Ulf is very intelligent and he knows it. He seems to know a lot about almost everything, which is good, except for when he is wrong. As far as his skills on bass goes... heīs truly an artist. Thereīs nothing more to be said. Big and hairy he could easily pass as being most "metal" in the band... but in truth heīs more like a big teddybear. Gentle and kind.
Then thereīs Nils-David on drums. Also a founding member. What strikes you about Nils-David when you meet him, is how quiet he is, almost bordering to shyness. He mumbles alot and I donīt think Iīve ever heard him shout or really raise his voice. There is definitely something tormented about him. A man with visions. And behind the drums he is the heartbeat of doom. All this and his good looks combined itīs easy to see whoīs going to get the most groupies.
Johan plays the guitar and is largely responsible for mixing our songs. If I were to point out a driving force in this band it would be Johan. Itīs hard to ignore how extremely dedicated he is to the band and all that goes on around it. He kicks the rest of us in the butt when we get too lazy. One thing that is funny about Johan is that heīs often very sceptical to new riffs or songs. This almost always turns around in the end, though, and he becomes the one who loves the music the most. An expert of fleshing out my ideas for riffs (something I am thankful for). Johan dresses almost exclusively in black and is currently trying to grow his long red hair back after cutting it short.
Our latest addition to the band is Erik who also plays the guitar. Itīs hard to believe he is the youngest in the band as he often acts more grown up than the rest of us together... note that I said often. There is this special kind of humour that he and Johan shares that sometimes, literally, cripples us all with laughter. Despite this he manages to stay focused. Erik is a pure source of inspiration. Im not sure itīs humanly possible to spit out as many riffs as he does each week. But he does, and theyīre all good too! Maybe heīs not human? Heīs got long black hair (sometimes purple), he is pale and skinny and he dresses in a way making him look a little like some kind of dark hippie.
And finally we have... me, Martin. I do the vocals and Iīm a founding member of the band.
Ulf: Martin, not being let off the hook that easily, is a good friend and a great vocalist with some really interesting ideas on how to create music. Like Johan, he is a somewhat demanding band-member which is something we are often in dire need of.
Where are you from?
Weīre from Linköping and Norrköping, which are two neighbouring cities in the middle of Sweden.
What does the band name mean, and where does it come from?
Martin: Sabachthani is taken from the sentence "eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?". This is something supposedly said by Jesus while he hung on the cross. It is arameic and translates to "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
What kind of music do you play, in your definition?
Martin: Well, it says on our MySpace, I think, that we play gothic/death/progressive-metal. I donīt think itīs that easy, however. Sure itīs easier to find a band if itīs sorted by genre, because you think you know what to expect and you just might get it. To truly understand the music though... no. We play emotional music aimed at pulling heartstrings. We play the rage, the beauty, and we play the bereavement.
How did it all begin?
Martin: It was me and Ulf sitting in a café in Linköping listening to the Judas Christ CD by Tiamat. This was either only the first or the second time we met... Anyway, we thought that it would be cool to play music like that - easy to listen to gothrock. Through a mutual friend we found a drummer and started rehearsing. We discovered pretty soon though, that playing "easy to listen to gothrock" wasnīt very fun, nor was it very challenging. So we spread our wings a bit and became what today is Sabachthani.
Ulf: Although Johan and Erik were not originally in the band, I have been playing with them in several constellations during the years and getting them to play in Sabachthani seemed a natural development.
Who are your musical idols, what are your most important musical influences?
Martin: Iīm not sure I really have any idols. But there are a bunch of acts and people that I have a tremendous respect for. These are (to mention a few), Johan Edlund, Björk, Nick Cave, Anathema, My Dying Bride and David Eugene Edwards (of Sixteen Horsepower).
Ulf: I have too many idols to mention (though probably less Metal than you would believe), but when it comes to composing I do not feel like Iīm influenced by any of them, in the sense that I try to make my music sound like theirs. I just try to pull the bits and pieces of music out of my own head.
I compared you with My Dying Bride, does that upset you?
Martin: The comparison to My Dying Bride is one that we more or less expected when we sent the album out for reviews. Does that mean that we think we sound like My Dying Bride? Not that much. Or does it even mean that weīre trying to sound like them. Nope. I acknowledge the fact that most people will listen to us and think "My Dying Bride", I would too if I heard us for the first time, but I think people will be pleasantly surprised if they put that thought aside for a few listenings.
Another way to look at it is this: Compare a bunch of powermetal or blackmetal-bands or something. When you think of it they all kinda sound the same. Itīs their style of music. As simple as that. When you listen to us, of course youīll compare us to bands that play a similar style. Now whatīs bad for us (or possibly very good) is that we play a style not many bands choose to play.
But to answer your question: No.
Who do you want to reach, or what do you want to achieve with your music?
Martin: There is no particular group of people we want to reach. Iīd say we want to reach anyone with an open mind for our music. I do find it extra rewarding, though, when we succeed in converting someone who normally wouldnt listen to bands like us. Personally what Iīd want to achieve, is to project upon the listener, the exact same feeling/feelings that I get during rehearsals, I close my eyes and just lose myself in the music.
Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible?
Martin: Songwriting is a burden we all share. We have very different ways to it, though. Ulf often writes complete songs at home and then when we get together he just shows us what to play and I ask "can I sing here?" and he says "sure" and we play. Johan and Erik write a lot of riffs all the time. Seldomly anything like a complete song, but a enormous puzzle of music for us all to work on. Me, I spend weeks finishing just one song, I hum it, whistle it and keep it in my head until I feel ready to present it to the rest of the band. Nils-David is perhaps the least active songwriter in the band but the few riffs heīs crafted are probably some of the best ones we have to this date. All in all we are a pretty democratic bunch. We are careful never to dismiss an idea without testing it first, and we often kill our darlings. Lyrics though, are all written by me... as are about 95% of the vocal melodies.
Ulf: When listening to Miserable Endings, you can quite easily distinguish between our different styles of songwriting. On our earlier demos I did most of the composing and we didnīt really achieve the diversity I feel we have today. Iīm quite happy with our current writing-routine.
What is the main inspiration for the lyrics?
Martin: There is no main inspiration. I find inspiration in everything around me. Inspiration could come from a picture in a magazine, from reading a good book or a run through the woods while it rains. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with an idea for lyrics in my head, often crystal clear, that I canīt remember having dreamt about or in any other way been influenced to have come up with. Then I have to write it down immediately, else it disappears. The Skull of an Angel is one of those ideas. I wrote it down as a poem first, to remember it, and later turned it into song lyrics.
What do you do if you are not in the band (studying, working)?
Martin: Me, Erik and Nils-David has jobs that we go to every day. Ulf and Johan are studying.
Create a slogan for your band!
Martin: A slogan, I think, would be a bit superfluous. Our name itself has such a meaning that itīs supposed to invoke a certain feeling in the listener. Sure they have to go search the web for it (unless they already know, which has happened on occasion), but for me it often means more if I find these things out for myself about a band that I like. Besides, doesnīt slogans have bit of an eighties-feel over them?
Would you sell your soul to the devil to become famous?
Martin: I shall refrain from making a joke about having no soul or so. Personally I couldnīt care less if Iīm famous or not. If the boys want it I hope it happens, but me, Iīm just happy being in a band making music that I like. I guess thatīs a no then.
Ulf: Since the old bastard would probably take a bottle of scotch instead, Iīd consider it a bit rash.
What would you pick if you had to choose between sex, drugs and RockīnīRoll?
Martin: Well, if RockīnīRoll really is RockīnīRoll, it would, ultimately, provide you with both the other alternatives. So the choice is obvious, dont you think?
What is your dream, where does your motivation come from?
Martin: Partly, my dream is already fulfilled. I sing in a band which makes exactly the kind of music Iīd like to listen to if I was only a listener. The continuation of that dream would be to tour the world, I guess ,and to meet all the wonderful people who listen to us and support us every day on the internet.
The motivation-part is tricky. Where does a writer get his motivation to write a novel? Where does an artist get his motivation to paint a picture? Sure, if these were normal jobs the answer would be easy. Money. But these arent normal jobs. I donīt think you can do what we do and do it for money cause that would spoil the art. Influence it badly if you may. I think itīs more about self-fulfillment... and if you reach that by patting yourself on the shoulder, being satisfied with knowing you did a great job or by listening to what everybody else thinks about it, those are both valid ways.
So... I think much of our motivation comes from wanting to perfect our sound and our songwriting.
What will you do if you donīt get to have a career in music business?
Martin: Iīll probably keep making music anyway. It doesnīt have to be a career involved. Else Iīll probably try and find a job where I can write alot, so I can get all the strange ideas out of my head.
Ulf: I would continue my career at sea and still make music.
What was the most exciting/the most disappointing moment in your band
Martin: I was overwhelmed with joy when I read the first review of Miserable Endings (score 9/10 at metal-mayhem.co.uk).
What was the most absurd thing that happened to you?
Martin: Iīm not sure it counts as absurd, but there was this one gig we had, in a small town that we shall not mention by name, that at least counts as weird. To begin with it was late autumn so it was kinda cold and dark. And on this particular night everything was shrouded in a mist that clung to the ground as if it was afraid to be sucked out into the sky. Basically, it was hard to see anything at all driving there. We passed a huge and abandoned sawmill a few minutes before we entered the town and we started joking a bit about why it was abandoned and so on.
Now this all sounds as the perfect setting for a good ghost-story, right?
Well, youīre not getting one, instead it was the feeling of this place... people there behaved somewhat strangely and seemed to avoid eye contact. There was even this one guy who wore a cap, I think it was blue, that was pulled so low that there just had to be a part of his head missing underneath. There was no way a normal sized head could fit into it. Ever read anything by HP Lovecraft? The small towns he describes in his books (Innsmouth especially I think), that is the sort of town this was. A bit like doing a gig in the twilight zone.
Ulf: Probably meeting the guys in the band. Itīs been a wild ride that never seems to end.
What happened during your best/your worst live show?
Martin: This is probably different for all of us. I know Nils-David would probably mention the time when he fell backwards on his stool behind thedrums. We were playing on such a small stage that he was more or less leaning on the back edge through the entire show, and not surprisingly he fell once.
Me, I hate it when we donīt get to soundcheck enough before a show. Since our music is so dynamic, it usually ends up with me not hearing myself at all when I do the clean vocals. So as you can tell we havenīt had any really bad live shows, cause these are only minor problems.
The best show mustīve been when I hit my head in Ulfīs bass. Again we were playing on a very small stage and I was jumping around like crazy and the suddenly... "whack"! And we just kept going and afterwards my head hurt like hell.
So whatīs so good about that you might ask? The energy, I say. The energy.
If your song is to be used as soundtrack for a panty liners commercial, would you agree?
Martin: Sure, but it had to be something very artistic and original.
Ulf: Would I get free samples?
Which song are you most proud of, and why?
Martin: Iīm not more proud of one song than any other weīve made. There are parts of songs, though, that stand out a bit for me. For example the middle part of Josephine Sleeper where Nils-Davidīs drumming overtakes the song completely. Or in The Thief and the Fallen where Johan crafted a guitar melody for the verse that is pure beauty. I think itīs these kinds of things that make me equally proud of every song. The small details and finishing touches that we all contribute.
Ulf: Every single one of them. Why? Because they are great songs and something we created with our own hands and heads. You cannot beat that feeling.
What do you think is cool/totally sucks about being a musician?
Martin: What is cool is all the friendly people we get to know all over the world. People weīd never even know they existed if it werenīt for our music. The only thing that sucks about it right now is that it doesnīt pay very good money. Not at this stage at least.
Ulf: Just mentioning the fact that youīre in a band will normally get you into conversation blending you in at almost all social situations. What sucks about it is that everybody and their grandmothers are in a band today.
Would you participate in Eurovision or Idols contest?
Martin: No. You asked earlier about selling ones soul to the devil. I believe that if there was a being somewhere that were even more evil than the devil (assuming that the devil exists in the first place), then these kinds of contests must be that beings work. If the rest of the guys wanted to though... theyīd damned well have to do it without me.
Which band would you enjoy touring with?
Martin: Something different from our own type of music. Canīt think of any one special band at the moment. But preferably not metal. Doing something like that would probably be difficult with/for the audience, though...
What do you plan in the near future?
Martin: We will most likely be entering the studio in about two weeks to record our new album, which will be a re-make of our second demo. We feel that the song material on that demo deserves more than what the production could give it at the time we made it. We will also make slight changes to some of the songs. We have developed since then and so itīs natural that the songs will, too. Other than that we will try to get out and play some gigs at the end of summer.
Oh... and we will also launch a new homepage. One that hopefully looks a bit more respectable than our current one.
Author: Klaudia Weber, photos: Sabachthani
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