SEEDS IN BARREN FIELDS has a ring of My Dying Bride crossed with Neurosis in its name. If that is the case musically too the band were kind enough to answer. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
As I am not at all familiar with your band perhaps you could introduce it?
-Seeds in Barren Fields was formed in Gothenburg in 2007. Svante, Rickard and David, who had played together in different bands, finally formed a band with the purpose to explore different styles and genres, such as crust and evil sounding hardcore (holy terror and crappy old vegan metal was in the mix), black and death metal (particularly early Gothenburg), emo-violence and neurosis-sounding stuff and let them emerge into something new. Since its inception the band has had some changes in line-up until arriving at the group we are today. Guitarists Svante and Kalle has been here since the start, so has bassist David. Jens joined the band as vocalist in 2009 and Rickard, the drummer of the original line-up has rejoined us after a few years of absence.
We are a group of musicians with our roots in different part of punk who have come together to create a kind of death- and black metal infused with hardcore and crust.
Since the start we have released a split 7″ with American death metal band Peregrine, a full-length CD called Sounding the Siren Song in Vain, a split 12″ with or friends the Czech band Marnost, a split CD with the Brazilian crusties Macula. In the summer of 2015 we released our second full-length album Let the Earth Be Silent After Ye. So far it is available on CD and online but it will be released on double 12″ some time real soon by Sell Your Soul Records.
Jens: Our lyrics explore the role of humanity in the biosphere and our failure to live in harmony with the natural world, the internal struggles we face as well as the irreperable damage we deal the world that we depend on for sustanence. It’s a kind of self-inflicted harm with the whole world hanging in the balance. It would be interesting if it wasn’t that the future of the entire biosphere hangs on our ability to stop acting like a virus and instead contribute to our biological community. The way it is now is really just fucking horrifying and that’s were we draw the inspiration for our lyrics.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-The band name is taken from the song Obession by the American band Catharsis which has served as a great inspiration to us. The song opens: “To sow seeds in barren fields, when there’s no more fertile ground, to bear the fragile worlds within, through the ruined one that surrounds”.
Svante: We had a pretty clear idea of our direction, musically and themewise, and the name should resonate that. Despair, rage, sorrow and hopelessness – that we are lost and sick and that the answers and cures wont be found in futuristic dreams and postmodern shallowness but in something very much more basic and down to earth. Something we once had and lost and that we (at least in a poetic sense) will search for and fight to regain. There’s also, in my mind, a whole lot of hatred imbedded there, we wont fucking bend. Plus – Catharsis is on the top three of our inspirations. It was a no brainer to steal the name there.
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of prog/rock/metal you play? What inspires you today?
-This is something we probably could talk about for hours and hours. If each band member would answer for themselves we would find a great diversity of all kinds of music, but of course we have a lot of bands that we all like and that have inspired us – Tragedy, Catharsis, His hero is gone, Sacrilege gbg, At the gates, Neurosis, Bolt Thrower and Satyricon to name a few.
What came first; the band name or the sound? How did you settle on a sound?
-The sound. As we mentioned, Svante and Rickard had played together in different constellations and they also worked together. During long conversations they came up with a theoretical idea of the sound. And one could say we still are exploring that idea. A lot of the music we make starts with a feeling we want to reach. And to get to that feeling there are different ways. If you listen to the songs we made through the years you can hear that there´s some elements that we use that simply is Seeds in Barren Fields. But at the same time we constantly find other ideas to explore and we try hard to develop. For instance, on our last album we really pushed the envelope.
Is digital killing the album format? Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-Rickard: Since I listen a lot to electronic music such as techno, I’m used to artist releasing tracks only. And I kind of like that the artists are able to release it so easily. But still, an album is an album. And my guess is that the albumformat will survive.
Svante: I’m ambivalent. I like physical formats, I like to be presented with a concept thought and felt out by the artist, such as the album format with its fixed track order can provide. So as to be able to build up a wholesome emotional experience. In that way I dislike to have songs ripped away from their context. We dont write hits. We dont write very direct music. I think our music is best suited in a setting that lets it spread out some. But thats me, and I guess it´s better in the long run to kill off the plastic industry than to keep a record industry alive. Ouch, its not that easy, right, computers draws out a whole lot of natural resources and energy so we didn´t really get a better solution there. It´s not so much that digital is killing the album format as to technological progress killing life then. But still, I prefer the album format.
What part does art work and lay out play when you release new recordings?
Svante: A lot. We do most of our art work ourselves, in a style reminiscent of the same way we record – layer upon layer (of borrowed or stolen material). To add a sense of complexity and fucked up-ness. Imagewise and symbolically the same themes as can be found in our lyrical contents are portrayed. Also theres some subcultural passes going on, we´ve had a long running love affair with old grim looking wood cuts stemming from old favorites of ours, see bands mentioned above for example, as well as a lot of anarchist and subversive counter culture art, crimethinc for example.
How do you best catch people’s attention?
-Svante: Make music, write lyrics, create artwork, gig, talk to people, write stuff on social media. To be honest – that´s just not our strong side. From the very start we cut out a pretty narrow and distinct subcultural space for ourselves which I guess attracts just so many people, and we will probably hold that same straight course catching limited amounts of attention. Hopefully we make up for the modest numbers with the greater amounts of sincerity.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote a cd? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Touring, word of mouth, paper ads etc?
Jens: Social media is definately something that we as a band have to relate to when trying to reach more people with our music. Especially since the death of physical fanzines. It’s also crucial when it comes to networking ahead of tours etc. Personally I would prefer not to be dependent on corporations such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft to reach out to new and old friends. Social media is not only great for reaching out to people, it’s also great at distracting us and replacing real, meaningful social interaction. One can have differing opinion on what is a meaningful social interaction but what I find alarming is how I’m increasingly becomming dependent on companies who store and sell my interactions with others to advertisers. It is a comodification of social interaction and friendships just as we has seen everything else around us comodified.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
Jens: I think that in the beginning we tried to think of ourselves as part of a local or national scene of punks and crusties. But eventually it dawned on us that the music we bring to the table doesn’t sit well with the hardcore kids, nor with the metal heads. Today I would say we have more in common with other metal punks across the world who are trying to spread a similar message.
Svante: Yea, I thought we were a part of a global scene. A scene of metal crusties and punks, and when we started out I just found this huge amount of bands that I felt appealed to me, crusties playing black metal such as Panopticon and Iskra. Punk sounding death metal such as Fall of the Bastards, death metal sounding punks as differing from each other as Undying, Ictus and Peregrine. And Wolves in the Throne Room just coming up adding such a sense of longing – for something real, phenomenological real. I dont feel that way anymore. To me it feels all scattered. Some disappeared, and the rest chose their separate individual routes. And we did too. I believe we´ve been following a very natural progression of our basic ideas and the influences we´ve spiced it up with along the way, but it´s a route thats driven us further away from others. I feel pretty alone in a musical environment that I dont care very much for these days. That whole cascadian BM thing for example, to me it feels so watered down, I just dont need more bands than Weakling, Wolves in the Throne room and Panopticon of that style.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
Jens: I think touring is the main way to spread ones music. For different reasons it’s been a while since we managed to go on tour. But we are presently working on a plan to hit the roads in spring of 2016. If anyone is interested in booking us, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
What will the future bring?
Jens: An end to life as we know it. The failures of politicians to fix the environmental problems our civilization is causing is becomming all the more apparent. After all they are not out to fix the actual causes of the problems, rather they are interested in toning down the most obvious blemishes so that the status quo can be maintained and their corporate masters continue to turn livable habitats into profit. We are living in a free falling civilization plunging towards our own doom. So far the damage we are causing the biosphere is mainly effecting the poorest of earthlings but in time the destruction will catch up to those of us who so far have been living comfortably in the West. When this time comes the ugliness of humankind we become too striking for anyone to miss. The rich have always been stomping dowards to secure their position at the top of the pile of electronical garbage that is our society.
Also we have a new song to release online real soon.
Svante: And we´ve got a few ideas for coming releases and projects. They will probably sound the way we feel and the way we picture the state of the world around us. Imagine the outcome of that pretty bitter image.