This is one band that I did not know of before I interviewed them. But that has been corrected now. Read what BLACKSMOKER has to say. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You got a second album out now. How would you say this one differ from the first one? What is similar to the first one?
-One major difference to the first record is definitely having Boris on second guitar. He brings a lot of riffs and songs in a different style to the table and opens even more doors for us to explore. With Rupture we sort of started this exploration and we put a little bit more thought behind the album as a whole and what it could stand for. Back then, when we recorded „Origins“, we didn’t think so much about how everything works together. It just had all the songs we wrote since we formed Blacksmoker. Done. Rupture carries an overall theme. In the music, lyrics and art. Obvious similarities between both records are clearly that we don`t like to have just one style of song. There’ll always be some faster songs, some slow songs, straight rockers and some other stuff. We made a big step towards finding „our“ sound & style, also the songs are more from the same mold. The recording process was similar to “Origins”, we did the tracking by ourselves at Blank Disc Studio. This time around though, we didn’t do the mix ourselves. Mixing and mastering was done by Role at Tonmeisterei and we’re really happy how everything turned out! We don’t like overproduced, artificially blown up sound. We wanted it to be raw, natural, powerful and as close to our live sound as possible. He did a great job!
You music is being described as sludge metal. But what really is that? What differs sludge from for example doom or funeral doom or crust?
-When we think of sludge metal, we think of bands like Eyehategod, Crowbar or High on Fire. Is that the bullet proof definition of sludge metal? We don’t know and to be honest – we really don’t care. We have so many musical influences and different styles in our music, and not because we want to replicate them. Different styles of music explore and create different moods and vibes, which will reflect in anything you do – especially when they collide. That’s what makes it so interesting! People tend to like drawers and labels, which is not even a bad thing because it stems from the plain and simple need to describe music with words. Explain and share it to people who can’t listen to it in that very moment. So in that regard it’s cool be described as sludge metal with some doom and stoner elements…..cause we have all that – but we would never think of saying we’re that ONE THING only! Our music is heavy, it’s dark, smells of booze, makes your head bang in various speeds and just wants to rock the fuck out like we do. That’s something we can all commit to.
when you look at you collective recorded work do you feel that you by now have found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it?
-With Origins and Rupture we’re now in a position where we build a pretty solid foundation to start from. Finding „something“ always implies that you reached your destination. Journey over. That’s something we’re not so interested in. Each one of us brings songs, riffs and ideas to table and no matter how weird or strange they are – if we make it work as a band and everybody is cool with it we’re definitely going for it! So in a sense, we’re now ready to kick it up a notch if we go about thinking of new songs or a new record. It’ll be a long while though….. 😉
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Lyrics should definitely have a message, otherwise it would be unnecessary to have one singing it. “Rupture“ has some kind of story through the whole album. It’s not really a concept album, but then again it sort of is. We’re always trying to not write a „closed story“, but leave enough room for listeners to interpret their own version of a particular scenario. There’s a lot of personal fears, quarrels and problems involved in our lyrics as well, but described in a cryptic and at the same time very open kinda way, if that makes any sense. It’s no secret that this day and age is pretty much fucked and we tried to deal with that in our own way (with a little help from George Orwell). So yeah it’s pretty brutal, bleak and cold, but the same time we don’t want to imply a dead-end street. It’s more about realizing what the hell is going on around us, gather strength and vision, start to revolt, refuse and resist.
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
-Having a good cover artwork is very important to us. We really don`t care if it sells better with a cool artwork. A record should be a piece of art, and only a nice artwork and packaging makes it complete. It’s also important because in many cases it is the very first impression of a (new) band that you get. Like we said, we don’t think that artworks sell the music, but it certainly helps to get the attention of likeminded people or in a best case scenario: it creates interest among “new” people. Then again….a bad record with a super cool artwork is still a bad record.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
-It’s hard to say if success depends on a band’s country, but it surely can have an influence. We don`t know why some people think that bands from the US or Scandinavia are worth any more than others, but then again….that`s humanity for you. Success to us is to play and create the music we like together, have some beers and a good time – when other people start paying attention to that, listen to our music, come to our gigs to see us on stage and have a good time themselves – that’s real success. We never intended to “go big” with Blacksmoker and we’re sur as hell aren’t right now. Thing is though, we never did promo as such or anything in that regard when we put out our first album “Origins”. We just threw it on Bandcamp for free…or pay what you want. It all started spreading from there. Slow, but very organic. We’re also still blown away by the fact, that there are still people out there, which really value their music. Meaning lots of people paid way more than they had to. Same goes for Rupture. That’s another form of true success to us.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
-We don’t see the whole thing as a competition. Yes, there’s a myriad of bands and platforms, but at the same time it’s way easier for a new band to get eyes and ears on their material than it was 15 years ago. Where’s a Ying you need have a Yang. It’s tough of course, especially given the ever popular attention span of true social media addicts. Then again, if your music “touches” people, they will tell other people about it. Like they did 15 years ago, but that “new” mechanism is a whole lot bigger, faster and all around the world!
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
-Our local scene is luckily very diverse, rich and of pretty awesome quality. We have some pretty amazing bands coming out of our little town like Malm, Phantom Winter, Weg einer Freiheit, Omega Massif, Elision and much more. There are a couple of pretty cool bars and clubs, which are all about supporting the underground – so in a way we are very lucky to live in that sort of healthy environment. A local solid fan-base is of course very important, but due to the power of the interwebz everybody could be a fan tomorrow of ….let’s say a crazy doom band from Tokyo, get in touch with them via FB, buy all their music instantly via bandcamp etc. It’s not like you read something in a Xeroxed fanzine anymore, but some stamps in an envelope, hoping that you get maybe a 7” back. So in a way, being “big” in the country you are from really doesn’t matter so much anymore and to be honest…..it shouldn’t. Music is about the only universal language we have on this rotten planet….let’s keep it that way!
Rock and metal has come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
-Well, one could argue freedom of speech, democracy and being a fucking decent human being should have come a long way. Then again…..you get Donald Dumb as president of the US. There’s always a couple of rotten apples. Arguably, some of them are pretty big and smell like piss, but I refuse to think that’s the majority of the batch. I mean look at bands like Iron Maiden who can play two nights in a row in front of 60.000 people pretty much anywhere on the planet…..tomorrow! I can’t think of any other genre where you find this sort of positive energy. It’s still about the music and not about a couple of fashion moneys, covering the songs a major label, statistics or marketing told them to play. I think Finland or Scandinavia is very lucky to have a government system that actually cares and supports music and creativity. There a couple of government supported subsidize programs to get young people into music, forming bands and get their art to the people. It seems to work pretty good, since we actually always wondered….what the fuck is in that Scandinavian milk!? 😉
What does the future hold for you?
-We really want to own 2017 and play live as much as possible. Bring Blacksmoker to the people. Meet new people, have a laugh and drink with them and have a fucking good time while doing it. We’d love to do a little Scandinavian tour for instance! Give’em a little taste of our milk. We have a feeling they might like it!