In a forest with ponchos, of course
Halcyon recently caught up Graveyard’s Axel Sjöberg after their American tour. Hailing from Gothenberg, Sweden, Graveyard plays psychedelic rock n’roll recalling Pentagram, the heavy riffs of ever-influential Sabbath, updated with the blues-fueled sounds of Heavy Cream. While Graveyard has been acccused of being conjoined twinsies to Sweden’s other Pentagram-inspired doom metal favorite, Witchcraft, I think they stand on their own- though perhaps in the same mystic forest as their Swedish compatriots. Graveyard, for one, has a slightly jazzier feel, with more open areas of free-spirited explorations, freaked-out drumming and bluesy, improvisational sections. Their recent album, was recorded in analog by Don Ahlsterberg (Soundtrack of our Lives, The International Noise Conspiracy, Division of Laura Lee), lending them that classic Swedish-garage grit that still manages to maintain a certain pop sensibility.
How has tour been going—what’s one of the best and worst memories so far? Which club has the best booze in the rider?
It went just fine. We’ve been playing with excellent bands and have been very well recieved everywhere. Clutch’s toumanager treated us to a tequila called Don Julio which was great! New Orleans was very boozy, our van got towed…
Graveyard's First show Opening for Witchcraft
So can you talk a little bit about how you guys started Graveyard? How did you all meet each other? Why the name Graveyard?
We all knew each other from before, some of us played in another band together. It was just time to play good rock. The name is simple and straight forward and stands firmly in a good tradition founded by black sabbath and other great bands.
You are nothing without a Pentagram t-shirt
Sweden has a great legacy of heavy psychedelic bands in the late 60’s, from November, Vatten, and beyond—and with current record labels like Dungen’s Subliminal Sounds putting out represses and new music, continues to foster next level psychedelia. How do you think the Swedish music scene has influenced you, if at all?
A lot! There’s a lot more bands than the one you just mentioned, too many to start listing. Sweden has had a very vivid and high quality music scene since the ´late 50s late 60s.
I read that after being together for just a few months, you created a two track demo, played a few shows, and pretty quickly you guys had an album released through Tee Pee- can you talk about how this all went down?
Ambition, quality and luck. Tony teepee liked some other bands from gothenburg and he liked our artwork on our myspace. The rest is history.
People have made plenty of statements regarding your sound, I,e. drawing from heavy bands such as Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Blue Cheer- but how would you sum up how you see your sound?
You can’t deny those influences but you cannot reduce it to just that either. We hope that people can hear timeless good rocking. much blues in it. blues is the foundation to everything that’s good.
What’s your song writing process like?
A mishmash. Lot’s of jamming and everybody contributing and then sometimes someone comes to rehearsal with something’s that almost finished. Then when we record, our producer Don has a say too.
I read that you recorded with Don Ahlsterberg, who also did Swedish greats Division of Laura Lee, International Noise Conspiracy- why did you choose to record with him, and what was it like working with him?
‘Cause he’s excellent. He was a friend of a friend. Has an analogstudio. Great engineer and knows everything about sound.
Why’d you choose to record in analog?
There is no other way. Warm and nice.
Cover of Graveyard's recent release
Can you talk a little bit about the album artwork?
An old friend of us did it. He had a rare form of epilepsy (check the spelling). He didn’t have fits, he hallucinated instead, but appeared to function as normal to others. The condition got worse all the time, so he killed himself. The cover is the last painting he did. It’s really big, like 6 meters wide. Great artist.
Can you walk us through some of your favorite songs on the album, your inspiration behind writing them, what you think works well, etc?
No, I don’t think so. The songs are not the same songs to me now as when we recorded them, we played them so much and some of them have changed a lot playing live. We never play right is wrong, but that might change. We all write lyrics too, so they all mean different things to each one of us. I just hope that people like what we put down and let them do the interpretation themself.
What are some other bands out there today who you admire? What’re some of the best shows you’ve seen?
Different answer on different days. We just saw one of the final shows that the Hellacopters are doing now that we got home to sweden. That was one of the mightiest experiences in a long time. So fucking tight and well played, and Nicke is a fucking excellent songwriter too. In general people should check out Horisont from Gothenburg, friends of us.
What advice would you give to other bands who want to play music full time?
Dedication, musical honesty, beer and jamming. And expect to a broke ass motherfucker that can have a lot fun if all goes well.
What’s on the horizon for Graveyard?
Writing new material, maybe releasing a song or two late winter, more touring. Hopefully making it back to the states soon.
Visit the band’s myspace HERE
Click HERE to visit Tee Pee records and pick up their album