SYMPATHY FOR THE
In Solitude have
a sort of polygamous relationship with music, with a style that treads the fine
line between introspection and fury. Not only has this not dissuaded Metal fans
but the critical acclaim that embraced third album “Sister”, released last year,
provided the band’s status with a significant boost.
by all this, I jumped at an opportunity get to know In Solitude better. After
introducing myself to the members I sat down with bass
player Gottfrid ┼hman. The occasion: a Black Metal
tour headlined by Behemoth and Cradle Of Filth. The location: the
top deck of the band’s cosy touring bus.
This is not the first time that
you’ve been on the road with Behemoth, right?
We were touring with them in 2012, together with Watain and Devil’s Blood. That
was a good tour. We didn’t have much chance to see each other but I think
Behemoth are good people.
That was when you were touring the
States, I believe...
Towards the end of last year you
toured the U.S.A. again. How did that go in comparison to In Solitude’s previous
You know I think we could see more people coming to see us. We were pretty fresh
on the [1st]
Behemoth tour and the album had just come out. But it was good.
Let’s speak about “Sister”, the
most recent album from In Solitude, which has been getting some very positive
feedback. Apart from the music, how was the band mentality and songwriting
different from the run-up to the previous 2 albums?
I think we were a bit more selective. Sometime you might start with a song
because you think it has good riffs. For example with “The World. The Flesh. The
a song might have taken several months to write. This time, as soon as a song
took longer than a couple of weeks, we felt we should leave it be and start from
the beginning again, always taking things that felt fresh, new, impulsive.
Otherwise little has changed and it’s very much similar to how we approached our
other 2 albums.
“Sister” starts with an acoustic
track – was there any specific reason why you decided to do that?
No, not really. It was not planned to have an acoustic track on the album. It
was just this song that I wrote…I think it is the oldest one on the album. It
was just a great song, that’s all. The mood was perfect for opening the album,
you get the feeling that something is going on.
…the calm before the storm?
I also noticed that in that song,
the music pretty much overshadows the vocals in the mix. Was that effect
something you had planned when you were writing the song?
Actually the song had been there for a year or so but it was when we did all the
vocals in the studio on the spot that a lot of stuff came that way, almost like
improvising. In a way the vocal melody was working more like an instrument. I
think it was good to keep it low to have that acoustic feel where you can hear
every single instrument very clearly. It was a good move…I think.
From one album to the next it seems
that In Solitude increasingly sidelined the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal
(NWOBHM) element of the band’s music in favour of a Gothic sound. At least
that’s the impression I have had. This got me thinking…..what drives the
direction of In Solitude’s music?
I don’t know. I think we always had the same ideal view of what music should be
like. And that is that music can be pretty much anything. It’s never been a
choice to move away from the NWOBHM or even start in another direction. The
reason that we sounded like that was that in a way it was Iron Maiden who
thought us how to play, along with many other bands. It’s just that when we were
young, that’s what we were playing at our rehearsal place. That’s how we got to
play Rock music – it was through bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and
And I think with time you start to develop your own personality, which I think
is just a natural thing. So I can’t say we’ve ever made a decision to play that
kind of music or even to step away from it. Besides, at the time, I don’t think
we were even good enough musicians to be able to use our instruments to express
our own feelings. So instead we used elements of music from the music we
I think that’s something many bands
tend to neglect…..how to use their instruments to express personal feelings
rather than simply playing a solo or constructing a song based on a
Yes, as well as being able to think how the music sounds as a unit. A band like
Swans has been very inspiring in that regards and also other bands who were more
into creating music as a soundscape experience.
It’s always been inspiring for us
how they play like a mass, like a unit, how their sound sort of becomes one
Back to the subject of live
performances…..you’re currently on the bill of a Black Metal tour with Behemoth,
Cradle Of Filth, Inquisition and Svattjern. In Solitude’s link with Black Metal
is perhaps the least obvious from all these bands so I was wondering, haven’t
you been finding it particularly challenging to get the crowd going?
it’s very hard to tell but the good thing with this package is that we’ll be
exposing our music to people who have probably never heard us before. I think
that a lot of people who listen to In Solitude don’t listen to Cradle Of Filth
and Behemoth. So the good thing is that we’ll meet hundreds of new people every
night, people who maybe never have heard of this band.
You’ve also toured with bands
pertaining to very different music genres, such as Pentagram. Incidentally I’ve
heard that Bobby Liebling is quite a fan of In Solitude’s music...
Yes, we had toured together for a number of weeks.
But for some reason you had been
omitted from the UK dates of that tour.
It was in April of 2011, I think. I remember they did give us some options
without us on that tour.
And how did you feel playing for a
Doom Metal crowd?
It was quite a long time ago – in fact I think we hadn’t yet released “The
World. The Flesh. The Devil”
[In Solitude’s 2nd album].
So I can’t really remember the details of that tour. I do remember that we had
had a very good time though.
For me the lyrics of In Solitude
are one of the highlights of the band’s albums. Somehow Satan/the devil often
crops up within them and I was wondering from where the band’s fascination with
Satan comes from…..
Well, Rock music has always had an attachment with Satanic imagery and we got
exposed to Rock music since an early age. After a while, of course, you realise
that the music has a lot more to it than that. With regards to your
question…..it’s hard to say…..I guess we have Rock music in general to thank for
Rock music is a good advertisement for Satan, especially for a 12-year-old.
Would you say Satan is used by In
Solitude as a metaphor or as a direct invocation?
It’s a lot of things. It’s everything that you’ve mentioned and much much more.
But when it comes to In Solitude’s music I can’t really say. I mean I read the
lyrics as anyone else does and I can’t do it in any other way because they come
directly from Pelle
[Pelle ┼hman – In Solitude’s
vocalist and Gottfrid’s
I think the lyrics have a very special role in our band because it has become
Pelle’s exclusive domain and no-one of us would even think of coming up with his
own lyrics. That’s entirely his area and where he can do exactly what he wants.
I also think that he’s the best lyricist on today’s scene so I gladly leave him
the burden of writing the band’s lyrics.
I agree that he’s a talented
lyricist. The quality of Pelle’s English is excellent.
Yes, he has a beautiful language.
The city you come from seems to be
a hotbed for Metal bands, especially bands with an extreme musical disposition.
Being one of In Solitude’s founding members, what was it like to develop your
roots in the Swedish city of Uppsala?
Well, first of all I don’t think there are that many bands from Uppsala that
achieved some success. Maybe there were 5 or 6 bands that were really really
good. Of course I still think that they are the best Metal bands of today.
However I do understand why it may be seen as fascinating.
I think when we were 12 or 13, we never had good Metal bands to look up to. We
never had bands from Uppsala who had made a career with their music. There
were some bands from our town who
were successful, such as Misery Loves Company, but we weren’t really into that
kind of music. I think a lot of people formed bands because they became
restless. Now that there are bands from our area that are successful nowadays I
don’t really see many young people playing in bands. And I think that’s because
they have been fed a lot of good music from the town so there’s not such a big
need for them to start to play extreme music at the moment. But of course I
think this is all a cycle and eventually new bands will pop up.
So what you’re saying basically is
that Metal fans need to feel the hunger, they need to starve to be able to
Yes, in fact we didn’t have any Metal or Rock shows to go to so we had to put up
our own shows. And our friends at Uppsala did the same to the extent that at one
point there was stuff going on every week.
I’ve heard rumours that one or more
members of In Solitude is/are member/s of Ghost. Is there any truth in this
No. Actually we toured together many times. I would have thought people would
have forgotten about that rumour…
Through this brief interview we’ve
made reference to a wide range of Metal genres. Where does In Solitude lie in
It’s….I don’t want to be anywhere. I really just want to play and the best thing
is being able to do it with bands you like. Putting ourselves in any particular
scene is very hard but from the outset we’ve always made it clear to people that
we don’t like being categorised. Yes, in a way it’s a convenient thing because
it opens up more doors for us. I mean we’re not even restricted to Metal music.
For example I’d love to tour with a band like Swans but I know for a fact
that Michael Gira doesn’t like Metal
very much so probably that will never happen.
What other bands would you like to
I would like to tour with
Aluk Todolo – it’s a band from France which plays a sort of Kraut Rock, a bit
like Nowe and Cam but kind of with a Black Metal approach with distorted and
delayed guitars. They have a dark imagery and they’re really cool.
Well, Gottfrid, those were the
questions I had prepared for you. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Not really. Except that I hope that people will come to see us when we’ll be out
on tour for the rest of the year. We’ll be doing some headlining shows and I
think people will get something else out of watching us headlining compared to
playing support on a tour like this.
2014 (Chris Galea)