Gardenian - Interview
The very first band that I ever wanted to interview for MetalBite.com was finally able to give me a little bit of their time… and man, was it worth the wait! Vocalist Jim Kjell picked up my questions and we got to touch on everything from the general state of death metal today to record labels to the radical changes that Gardenian is planning for their next album. Read on and enjoy, my friends!
How do you feel about where death metal is headed today?
I think death metal is heading in the right direction as I see it. It seems like the bands are more updated with the music that circulates around them and they accept other forms of music and bring it in to its own. That is very good for the future, especially for the death metal market.
What is it that you love about melodic death metal?
I love the complexity about it, the harsh combined with the more mellow and laid back melodies. I think it’s getting better and better. At times I might even think that it is beginning to get a bit commercial in a good sense.
What got you started in music?
I don’t have a clue really. I guess it was because I to wanted to become a big rock star as Metallica, Sepultura and Kiss. I guess every one wants to be a star at some point. I started to play some cover songs of whom ever and…
It seems that Gardenian has really come into its own with Sindustries.
Both yes and no. The songs are beginning to take the shape that we want and "Sindustries" was a very good second step to take for us. We begun to form this sound on "Soulburner" already, so I think we have gotten used to it for a while. But "Sindustries" took a dramatic turn when we decided that I should perform all the vocals on the album, that gives us an edge that we didn’t have on "Soulburner", where we got lost in the sound making it a split record with not much common sound. This we have changed on "Sindustries", making it genuine and a Gardenian sounding album as it should be.
What is it about this album that you are most proud?
I think the whole of the album is something to be proud of. The songs came out great and I must say I am proud of my vocal efforts as well. It was a big challenge. I am also very proud to give Peter Tägtgren the best words because he really deserves it! He made me sing in a way that I did not think I was capable of singing in. I think with his calm way and his great personality we all felt that we were a little bit more secure!
Which song from "Sindustries" is your favorite track to listen to and which is your favorite to perform live?
I rarely listen to our material, but I guess if I have to choose I feel like choosing "Doom & Gloom". This is the song that I prefer to play live as well. In this song, I think we really present the complexity that melodic death metal is about. That’s why I like it that much.
While we're on the topic of playing live, where is your favorite place to play?
I don´t know really! We had a really good time playing in Wrotslaw, Poland. Then we had a really great time in Stockholm together with In Flames and in Austria with Hypocrisy. It’s hard to name one single place.
Who would you most like to tour with? Why?
When are you going to be touring the US?
We are really longing to get a state tour, but it seems like nobody have the urge to book us on any tour as Nuclear Blast isn´t exactly pushing Gardenian as their main band. I guess we are quite underestimated to our own crowd. It is quite sad really!
How do you like life on the road?
We totally love it, that is where we want to be all the time. We are actually going with Darkane to Holland in May and that’s the first touring we are doing on "Sindustries".
What are you doing when you're not doing Gardenian?
I have another band called Suncase, in which we play some more rock pop influenced stuff in the vein of Van Halen and U2. And for a living I build scaffolds, that´s a really shitty job!
How and why did the band choose the name "Gardenian"?
Niclas saw it in a Kyuss lyric and we just put the N on the end to make it sound more Metal!
Can you tell me the story behind the song "Sonic Death Monkey", how did that song come about?
This was actually one of the first songs that we wrote for "Sindustries". I guess we did as we always do, Niclas or I come up with a riff or two and then we go from there. Together with Thim we arrange the whole song, then most often I write the lyrics but I am very lousy on coming up with the titles so I leave that to Niclas. Then I guess it was finished.
What would you like to do differently on the next album?
There will be a whole lot of change on the next album. It won't be death metal based at all. You will, of course, hear our trademarks, the melodic stuff and such, but it´s hard to say. I guess you´ll have to wait until it's out. We need a label for starters, as we have left the Nuclear SHITTY Blast.
As a death metal vocalist, you must put your vocal chords through a lot, does the strain ever get really hard on you?
Under the recording of "Sindustries" I was really sore in my throat. I don’t know why because I usually don’t have a problem with this at all. Its no problem live so that’s cool.
Who are some of your all time favorite vocalists (death metal or not)?
Warrel Dane (Nevermore), Philip Anselmo (Pantera) and Bruce Dickinson (Maiden).
Who do you have the most respect for in the death metal scene?
Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy) for his knowledge and for the great personality he is.
Who do you have the most respect for in all of music?
Nevermore for their fantastic musical skills and for their fabulous albums and live shows.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians who are trying to get a break in the music business?
Don’t ever give up! Always fight for your music and rehearse as often as you get the chance. Devote yourself to this and you will come out as a winner in the end!
I'm ecstatic to have done this interview with you and I want to thank you for your time. I also want to thank the entire band for putting out such a great album. Do you have any closing comments?
Thank you Tobias for taking the time to ask these questions. And to all of you out there who want to see us live stay tuned until the day we’ll be in your city to rock your asses off.
Jim & Gardenian
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