Vildhjarta's Calle Thomer On New Album "Måsstaden" And Swedish Metal Scene
Newly signed to Century Media Records, Swedish act Vildhjarta is shaking up the djent scene with the new release "Måsstaden," which just dropped in Europe and North American earlier this week. "Måsstaden" is a concept album told as a fairy tale story, which the audience is meant to interpret both through the artwork and the music.
Speaking from home in Sweden, guitarist Calle Thomer recently had a chat with me about the album's concept, releasing two new music videos, and getting signed with Century Media. Calle also reveals the band name's roots in fantasy roleplaying and offers his thoughts on the metal scene in Sweden today.
xFiruath: Vildhjarta is a fairly new band breaking out, having just recently signed to Century Media. How long has the group been together?
Calle: The band formed in like 2005 when Daniel, the other guitarist, and Johan the bass player, then they found the rest of the members on the Internet. I was actually doing the lights for a show when I got to know them and they took me in the band.
xFiruath: How did you end up on the Century Media roster?
Calle: At first we had planned to release the album ourselves, actually. Century Media had been in contact with us for like one or two years, and we kind of realized we couldn’t realize it ourselves within the next year. So we signed the deal with Century Media, and we needed a real deadline to follow, because before we broke all the deadlines. We needed a real deadline to get the album done.
xFiruath: Is there a specific meaning behind the band’s name?
Calle: Do you know what Dungeons and Dragons is, the roleplaying game? Vildhjarta is like a Swedish version of that game, it’s an expansion or whatever. Vildhjarta is a magical forest, kind of metal, huh? Even though it’s a little bit silly we think it’s pretty cool. We’re kind of sick of the generic band names with three words in them.
xFiruath: Your new album comes out at the end of the month. How do you describe the sound of the album?
Calle: The way to describe the sound of our band, it sounds like evil heavy metal with a lot of groove I guess. That’s the best way I can describe it.
xFiruath: I’ve seen djent websites talking a lot about you guys lately. Would you consider Vildhjarta a djent band?
Calle: Yeah, I can understand why people are labeling us as djent. There’s nothing wrong with that, we’re pretty proud to be a part of the scene.
Calle: No, actually the first video, Century Media wanted to release a single and they wanted to make a video for it to get the hype going for it. It was Century Media behind the first video. Then the video that dropped last, we shot it like two weeks ago. We worked with Jakob Arevärn.
xFiruath: You talked about how you broke all the deadlines before getting signed with Century Media. When were the tracks for this album written and how does the band approach song writing?
Calle: Actually, some of the songs on the album are like four years old. The album was re-written three or four times. That’s also why it took so long, it was a struggle to find the right sound we wanted to go with. As for writing, we never write a song from start to finish and we don’t jam together, that’s pretty impossible for us. We start with some random riff and try to catch the atmosphere and build around it until it’s a whole song.
xFiruath: With some of the material being that old do you already have songs written for future releases?
Calle: Yeah, we have tons of material, like hours and hours. We’ll maybe use some of it on the next record I guess.
xFiruath: What sort of lyrics are on the new album?
Calle: Actually, I don’t want to reveal that much about the story yet, because we want to the listeners to interpret the story. It’s a concept album, and it’s almost told like a storybook. You can follow the story through each song’s lyrics and the artwork.
xFiruath: What’s the metal scene like over there in Sweden these days and do you play shows in your home territory often?
Calle: I don’t think the Swedes care about us that much, we are not that big in Sweden at all. I think according to the Facebook stats our main fanbase is in the States actually. I think it was maybe two years ago that we played in Sweden. In my opinion I think the metal scene is fading out a little bit right now, the hardcore scene is more hyped right now. Metal will always prevail I guess though, it will come back again.
xFiruath: Do you have a tour lined up yet to support the new album?
Calle: Actually we don’t have anything confirmed yet. Our singer is on vacation in Australia in three months, but we’ll definitely go on the road next year. Hopefully a tour in the States.
xFiruath: With the end of 2011 coming pretty quick, what have been your favorite picks for metal albums so far this year?
Calle: Well, I think the new Vildhjarta is pretty awesome (laughs). I haven’t listened to that much music for awhile now because my MP3 player is broken. It’s hard for me to get into a record listening on the computer because I can’t concentrate on the music.
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