Besvärjelsen: Emil Interviews The Swedish Dark Doom Rock Quintet
Atlas by Besvärjelsen was released about a month ago, and after listening and reviewing it, I was given the opportunity to delve a little deeper with a few questions for the band. Musical inspirations, band formation and working with Magnetic Eye Records, read all about it here! Thanks Besvärjelsen for taking the time to answer the questions.
First of all, congratulations on a great album! In my review of Atlas I attempted to describe your sound as dark with a certain warmth to it. I’m not sure if this sounds fitting to your ears – so how would you describe what you do, and what you sound like?
Erik: Thank you! Dark with a certain warmth is a good way to describe it. We mostly describe what we do as some sort of heavy rock or doom rock but it’s up to the listener.
Dark with a certain warmth is a good way to describe it…
You’ve all played in several bands prior to forming Besvärjelsen. Was there an urge to do something different, or anything in particular, when you formed the band?
Erik: Andreas [Baier – guitars, vocals] initial idea was to make something heavy, and drawing inspiration from the forest where he had his cabin. He had, at the time, been playing grind in Afgrund so I think that was one of the urges, to do something else, a bit slower. But I think the band has evolved a lot since the first formation.
Please describe the creative process in Besvärjelsen, how you work on new material and finally how an album is made?
Erik: Over the years we have tried different approaches, like someone bringing a riff to the rehearsal to build it from there, or someone bringing an almost complete song to the rehearsal and so on.
Was this approach different on Atlas compared to Vallmo or Frost?
Erik: Yeah, this time around we couldn’t meet up due to covid so everyone shared their ideas on our drive. We narrowed it down after a while and made simple production demos of the songs that made it past the first round so we could try out how they would work with vocals. When we had a bunch of songs with vocals, we had an evening with the whole band where we decided which ones to go on the record.
I think we all wanted the album to feel as one unit but with diverse individual songs. Vallmo was made mostly at the rehearsal room. Frost was the first record where we worked more from home than before, but maybe 50/50 home/rehearsal. We also started working more with the arrangements on that record.
we all wanted the album to feel as one unit but with diverse individual songs…
How did you hook up with Magnetic Eye Records and what’s it been like working with them on the release of Atlas?
Erik: I knew Jadd from when I was in Dozer. He first put out the Welcome To Meteorcity compilation where we had a song on in 98 (I think), and later we toured together with his band Spiritu, along with Clutch and Spiritual Beggars. Many years later we got in touch again when I joined Besvärjelsen. I wanted him to check our band out and see if it was anything he was into, and fortunately he was 🙂
It has been great so far with Magnetic Eye Records, great support, and easy communication, they aren’t afraid to come with ideas or suggestions so it’s all good!
To me at least, Sweden has one of the most interesting and nuanced doom, stoner and psychedelic scenes. How does being part of that scene influence what you do, if at all?
Erik: I can only speak for myself here, but I don’t think it influences us at all in a musical way, we’re too old haha. But it is a good scene with a lot of great bands that is always great to both hear/watch and hang out with when we have the opportunity. And I think it’s great that it’s a very healthy scene where bands help each other out when possible.
Continuing in the same manner – who/what inspires you to do what you do?
Erik: We have some sort of common musical language; I know what Andreas means if tells me to do a Danzig thing on the drums for example. But everyone has their own influences as well which spill into the songwriting, and that’s a good thing. It ranges from pop, rock, metal, stoner to folk music, so it’s hard to name a specific band or artist.
veryone has their own influences as well which spill into the songwriting, and that’s a good thing…
The sound across your albums seems complex, blending doom, punk and even folk, with a lot of effects used. So what are a desert island pedal for the guitarists and bassist? With the exception of fuzz/overdrive pedals as the island has those already.
Andreas: The HM2 Heavy Metal!
Staffan: A good reverb pedal is always nice, maybe a Keely Hydra
Do you have any tour plans in support of the album? And are there cities/countries you want to play that you haven’t visited yet?
Erik: We hope to get out on the road later this year and we would love doing a European tour to start with.
Thanks for taking the time with us. If you have any closing-remarks, now is your chance!
Thank you for having us! We’re really proud of this album so check it out if you haven’t heard it!
Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Interviewed by: Emil Damgaard Andersen