Friday, January 16, 2009

BURST - Interview (2004)

Cadence Of Incandescence

Dynamics seem to get over the music scene for a long time now,but moreover bands and fans tend to notice them better.The focus on the dynamics and the intensity gave a prolific ground for the Swedes to create their latest opus,’Prey on Life’ on Relapse Records.Burst could even play soul,take a read...

• First of all congratulations for the new album!It’s awesome!Could you tell us if this is really the year of Burst and why did it take so long to be done?

B: Thank you for the heavy praise! It means a lot that this music actually speaks to someone other than ourselves. Every time we meet people who express the same sentiments about music that we have and that seem to understand what we are trying to do, it evokes a relieving feeling. Not everyone views our stuff the same way we intended, but when they do it is rewarding. To be understood is a fantastic feeling.
If this is the year of Burst or not I will leave for others to answer. I mean, sure, we´ve had great success with the response of the album and we´ve done some successful touring. But in the sense of becoming so fucking huge or having extreme commercial success, I couldn´t really give a shit. Success for us is more based in musical contentment. But going by that standard, this is definately the year for Burst. The music we´ve been making since Prey On Life surpasses every standard we´ve had before.

Now that Jesper is a full time member and left from Nasum do you think that it’s time to take the power back as far as concerns the shows?

B: Umm, I´m not really sure what you mean by this, but if you mean that we will try to put a lot more effort into touring, yeah, that will be more prioritized from now on. We haven´t really cared so much about touring in the past, but since the release of Prey On Life we have tried to give our band and our music more the chance we think it deserves. Whereas the only thing that we really cared about before was creating meaningful music full of impact, the act of performance has become cathartic, cleansing and almost neccessary for us lately. Sometimes the energy when we perform is so vibrant it consumes us. During the spring and the summer we have played a lot of festivals across Europe and done some shorter tours, and in the fall we plan to do some extra weeks in Europe. Looking forward to that!

Do you believe that Burst is a live band?Can you reflect all these emotions that exist in the album live?

B: Oh, I definately do. I mean, I wouldn´t say that we are a live band 100% and don´t really care about studio work, rather I think that 50% of what we are about is creating music and developing it in the studio environment. The thrill of seeing the albums come together and grow a life of their own is great. At the same time, a lot of the impact and energy that flows when we play live is hard to catch on tape, so in that respect I definately think we are a live band. Intensity is definitely better in a live setting. Hopefully you can judge for yourself when we come to Greece!

Explain us how a Burst song is taking form.

B: It is a time-consuming process, let me tell you. It usually starts out with someone having a riff, cadence or a basic idea for a part. It is presented and we try to play it and just jam and improvise a bit over it. Then comes arguing, discussion and more debate, then someone might get a spontaneous idea for a continuation from the initial idea, and then we try to improvise it into a logical progression. Then we scrap it all and start again, because one of us didn´t like a part. The flow is important for us, and the arranging is always the hardest part. But then again, there´s no exact method for making music for us – it might take two days, it might take two years, and it can be done in a hundred different ways. Just to give an example of how hard it can be: it has now been two years since we recorded Prey On Life, but we haven´t been able to make more than five new songs! That will change though, since everybody is really itching to work on new material. As long as there are a lot of dynamics and different elements to our songs, we will get the albums done.

The album is full of emotions and dynamics that hide a lot of inspirations.Can you name some of them?

B: I would go so far as to say that music overall is a metaphor for emotions or sensations. That sounds kind of lame, i know, but i mean that in the broadest sense of the word. Whether music is melodic, sad, aggressive, intense or just all out thrashy, that is just an extension of human expression. Our music isn´t any different. We might play music based in dynamic metal, but the inspirations are so much more than that. We want our music to be intense and powerful, but it is also important to incorporate other aspects of stuff that we appreciate. Broadmindedness is the key here, and if I was to say something in particular that inspires us, I would be talking about me personally only. We are five very different individuals, and although we agree on a lot of things, we disagree just as much. But as far as general inspirations…well, I guess we have a sort of common set of values and ideas about the world and what´s in it. Also, the climate up here in the north probably has some effect on us – when you have chill and darkness for half the year, it affects you.

My favourites songs are ‘Crystal Asunder’ which has some Ved Buens Ende singing influence and ‘Monument’.What do you think of these 2 songs?

B: Crystal Asunder is the last song we made for Prey On Life, and I guess what sets that song apart from the rest of the regular songs is the clean singing. It was made kind of quickly, and we just felt we wanted to try something different on it. Funny how you compare it to Ved Buens Ende, I don´t think any of us has ever heard that band! I am a big fan of Ulver, Emperor, Arcturus and a lot of other Norwegian black metal etc, but i´ve never heard that band. Crystal is one of my favourite songs also, although tough to perform live.
Funny that you also like Monument, since it is a song that differs in style a lot from Crystal Asunder. Monument was a song that we wanted to be a bit more aggressive and crusty, and even though it has some cool harmonies, i´m not sure it is one of the better songs on the album. But blablabla. That´s cool that you like those songs, it shows that you grasp different aspects of music.

Could you explain us the lyrics of the album as also the title ‘Prey on Life’?i think the lyrics are brilliant but they are too personal,is that true?

B: Thank you again. Being one of the two (Jonas is the other) who writes the lyrics, it is good knowing that someone appreciates them. Cause they mean a lot to me too, as most of us to an extent. However, I care not to explain the underlying meaning of my lyrics – it would spoil it for you and for me as well. If you derive something out of them, then they have meant something. I don´t want to spoil your understanding by laying shit out in front of you. 
Do you believe that a band at its first steps must pay attention to its sound?How effective is the aspect ‘sound’ for a band like Burst?

B: Developing a sound is as important as not having a sound I think. To try and create your own identity as a band is vital for it to sustain and become good, but it can also be regressive. Because when you start following rules too much – your own rules or those laid out by others – the music inevitably becomes stale and fucking boring. As far as Burst goes, well, sure we have a sound. We aren´t some holy band which does everything perfectly, we have our standards that we abide to. But there is always a will and a need to expand the sound in different ways, and we hope to do that. But Burst will always be Burst, and our band will always be surrounded by a certain mood and atmosphere, I don´t think we can change that without becoming another band.

The artwork is done by Aaron Turner(ISIS,Old Man Gloom,Hydrahead) and it’s great.How this collaboration took shape?Maybe the fact Chrome Saint Magnus was a reason?

B: Nah, CSM didn´t have anything to do with it. We were in touch with Hydra Head at the time of In Coveting Ways about maybe working together. Aaron also expressed his interest in doing the artwork for that mcd, but for some reason that didn´t happen. When the time came for Prey On Life to be released somewhere, Hydra Head wanted to do it, but then we decided to go with Relapse instead. However , Aaron still wanted to contribute to our artwork, and so it went.

‘In Coveting Ways’ was released on Chrome Saint Magnus,a record company that promotes as far as i know the vinyl.How much does Burst promote the vinyl?

B: Well, we haven´t gotten around to releasing a vinyl version yet, even though we definitely plan to. We are going to talk to some labels and see if anybody wants to do it, sooner or later it´ll be out. I like vinyl versions of albums that we do, but i´m not too into vinyl myself – I was always on the CD side of the war between CD and vinyl. Throne Records in Spain will release the vinyl version of In Coveting Ways though.

How many people that you meet everyday on live performances or anywhere do you believe that could be your friends or be useful to your life?Is friendship peculiar for Burst?

B: I don´t know, dubious question. On the one hand, I guess anybody who shows some sort of integrity and groundedness is a possible friend. But then again, you meet so many uninspiring, jaded, mindless people everywhere that it is sometimes unimaginable that you will have the strength to muster new people. But Burst are very open and welcoming to new people, we would be arrogant if we weren´t, but it isn´t always that you want people around, if you know what I mean. 
If you´re wondering if friendship is “peculiar” to Burst, I am guessing that you wonder of we get along? Sure we do, but it isn´t always smooth. As I told you before, we are all different individuals in a lot of ways, and even if we are friends and agree on a lot of things, we also live in different worlds. There´s no denying that. But between you and me, I fucking love every single one of those guys, even if I want them dead a lot of the time.
How can someone find and buy your previous releases except ‘Prey On Life’ and ‘In Coveting Ways’?

B: Well, you can get Conquest: Writhe from a bunch of mailorders and record stores, you can order them from like and shit like that, you can check out the label or I know it´s sold out of print a couple of times, but I think Prank are pressing it again. Oh, and should have the LP version of C: W.
As far as the even earlier stuff goes, well, I don´t really know, and I don´t really see why you want to get your dirty hands on that crap. Check out the shitty label that we released them through, Birdnest Records. I think their mailorder ( still have Two-Faced and Shadowcaster (along with all other releases). Other than that, I think Lifeforce records still have some copies of the split 7” we did with Lash Out, and Ritual Records in Japan released a double-CD version of In Coveting Ways/Conquest: Writhe along with extra early tracks from the 7”. Phew. I haven´t listed anything as extensive like that in any interview!

I know  a show in Athens is confirmed with Sun Of Nothing in 25th of September.What do you know for this band and Greece?

B: Oh, thanks for telling me, I didn´t know what band was going to join us in Athens, and I must confess that I have never heard of Sun Of Nothing. But I checked out their web and they have an Amebix-like logo, and that´s always cool. Are they any good? Hope so, we are looking forward to the Athens gig, as well as getting a glimpse of your country. I am a closet history and architecture freak, as are some of the others, so it should be fucking cool to see some of the earliest structures in history. We´ll be spending some time checking out the city, that´s for sure. Also, having been to Greece years ago, I remember loving the vibe a lot. Very laidback. More importantly, I know from friends in other bands that greek people are fucking insane about heavy music, so playing there should be great.

How do you feel now you are at Relapse a huge record company of our days with such great groups such as Neurosis(leaders),Mastodon,Unsane and so many others?

B: The “hugeness” of Relapse doesn´t really mean that much to us. We don´t care for big heads. The important thing for us is that they have a certain kind of musical integrity and do a decent job at promoting the records. Sometimes it can be a scurge to be with a bigger label, because the business side of it wrecks all the joy out of releasing a record. Even if Relapse has a big business apparatus, the people working there are mostly great, and they are all huge fans of the music they release.

As far as the bands who are connected to Relapse, I think that some of them are the most interesting in heavy music, for instance Mastodon and Neurosis, Nile, Unsane, etc. It is good to be with a label that doesn´t limit itself to only a specific genre or something.

• The last words are for you.Thank you for your time and your patience to my questions.Hope to see you soon.

B: Thank you too. Lux aeterna luceat eis.

Interaction by Thanos Mantas 2004

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