To me the band name holds a specific significance as a Swede but what does it mean to you
-The name is sort of a reflection of the dark history of Europe under the influence of a brand of Christianity/Catholicism that was used to cause wars, oppress other people and that war is still being waged to this day. Evil crusaders imposing their will close to a thousand years ago and still doing it a thousand years later. I don’t think the people waging these wars actually believe in their religion but use it as a tool to destroy and bring death to others.
There is one band’s name that will pop up immediately when people listen to your music. How hard do you fight people’s notion of you as just a tribute band?
-Yeah, of course Amon Amarth comes up as they were influential in our early material as a band, but TYW is far from a tribute band and with “Tyrants and Men” we have our own unique styling and riffing that is not Amon Amarth. Also my lyrical approach is completely different than the lyrical themes that are presented in AA. There are a couple songs that definitely have that AA feel on “Tyrants and Men” and allot that have our own feel, touch, and approach that I believe is different. Title track “Tyrants and Men” is a prime example. Now with our EP “Vulture Eyes” the Amon Amarth comparisons are going to be gone!
Dissecting your music I find that there is more to it than just plain homage. What kind of musical vision did you set out with?
-Thank you….the goal with this record was for people to dissect it more! The musical vision was to create hard hitting metal with a thick sound and atmosphere without keyboards. Creating music that even when open, airy, and bouncy has a underlying dark menace to it. Also wanted the music to be angry and pissed off, because that is exactly what the lyrics are.
I’ve managed to download (legally) what I understand is a demo too. How hard has it been to go from demo band to recording artists? Did you search long and hard to find the right people to work with?
-It’s definitely been a real challenge. It was literally a lot of hard work. For funding I went into commercial fishing to get the recording costs covered. I had not planned to put all the money I earned to fund everything. I never expected to, but I was stuck with a majority of the bill without receiving a dime back until two years down the road after going through hell and high water trying to get this record off the ground. Luckily, Fredrik (drummer) came through in a huge way and helped me out in connecting me to Fredrik Lunneborg of Primecut Studios in Sweden and Dan Ferguson of Abyss Records… As far as finding the right people to work with? It’s been the hardest struggle of the band. Luckily I have been privileged to have Fredrik on board as he has been great to work with. Although I’m thankful for the time and dynamic I had with the ex-bassist, guitarist kellen, I think about how happy I am now to have removed him from TYW and for the second time and this time permanent, severed that musical relationship. Fredrik recommended me to session guitarist Pablo Magallanes (live
Demonical, Internment) for Session guitars, bass and I am really excited to be working with him! Now I’m trying to find live members where I am at locally, and it’s a bitch, as there are not many dedicated metal musicians around here. Wish that were different!
Ancient history seems to be a very popular thing to write about in metal, be it the Aztecs, Mayans or the Vikings but most of it paints a “false” picture of their lives. Why only focus on the “war” side of the history, if you know what I mean?
-I know exactly what you mean and I completely agree with you that it’s just one aspect of their lives and doesn’t really do justice to who they are as a people. Lots of people always write about the “glorious viking battles.” But does anyone actually write about how hard they struggled as a people and the hardships they went through with their home lives. My opinion of war is that it is complete bullshit anyways. What’s so glorious about killing others and getting killed yourself? It’s always out of desperation and bad circumstance, and usually the people that are fighting the wars are the poor and destitute while the fat wealthy kings and leaders look on and smile. The vikings went to conquer, but they were struggling with their farming lifestyle that wasn’t working. It’s interesting that viking culture was having such a hard time that they needed to reach out and rape/pillage from others, while the Laplanders were thriving up in even more hostile lands hunting and gathering…….however, I’m still enthralled and interested by Vikings…always will be!
Is foreign history more interesting than domestic? America as a country has a pretty dark and violent history despite being a young nation.
-Yes, of course. European/Russian/African…ect…ect is actually history. And as a Swede you know what I mean. You can go out your door and find a building as old as common American history. Americans are the kings of being ignorant and somehow thinking that we have this grand history when in reality it’s a mere blip on the face of human civilization! And what pisses me off more than anything is that the true Americans, native Americans, have a real history here and are just shit upon and the white man’s 300-400 years of violence and offending the rest of the human race is glorified. Those racist human piles of trash that founded this country are still speaking through the leaders that are running this doomed country into the ground. You want to find a homogenized, trough fed media drenched people…come to America folks. And now that same MTV, McDonald’s devouring uninspired mindless shit is infecting Europe and the rest of the world.
In this age of digital downloads how much importance do you put on the presentation of your releases, i.e. the album covers, promo shots etc.?
-The Presentation of the release is extremely important to me, as the artwork is and should be inspired by the music and envelope the lyrics/message. Album artwork should be very thought out and passionate along with the music. I’m not thrilled with a lot of the purely digital work, has no soul to it…..I’ve always loved looking at and doing cool promo shots out in the woods, mountains, with
skulls/bones and different attire. Wanting to get out in the woods and take some weird shots. Just gives a mysterious cult atmospheric surrounding the band and other bands. It’s sort of a visual art within
What is your opinion on the change in how people consume music today? Is digital downloading the death knell of music as we know it?
-I think the change is that it’s thoughtless now. Most people’s approach to music is just finding/stealing as much music as possible off the Internet and putting it on a computer and forgetting about it. For
everyone a little older we knew a time where everything we bought was from Distros/labels with hard earned money going essentially back to the hard working artists and labels. Think about a time where you bought a CD and read the lyrics and sang along to every song…..that CD developed and sort of a sparked a relationship with that band and you became a real true fan. I don’t necessarily think digital
downloading is the death knell of music, as we as artist will do whatever it takes to continue making the art we love even if fans knowing and unknowingly are making it harder and harder for us to do
that when they just steal our music instead of showing support. The digital age helps us spread the music easier and faster……it would help out a lot if fans make more purchase digitally!
Is Thousand Year War a touring entity? What would the ultimate stage presentation be if you had the money?
-I’m trying to turn TYW into a touring entity as we speak…100%. This stems from your digital download question. In order for bands to be successful we HAVE to play live and tour. It’s not even a question anymore….and that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s just been really hard to find the musicians for it. Ultimate stage presentation would be some gigantic torches, stage littered with tons of bones (maybe even a stage made out of bones, everyone smeared with blood and blowing fire….huge TYW in the background and hopefully projectors with protests and apocalyptic scenes playing across it!
What grand future plans do you have for Thousand Year War?
-Right now I am concentrating on getting our new EP Vulture Eyes recorded and establishing a full session line up for live shows. The grand plan is getting the music and message to as many different people as possible. I would like to be doing a full length every year and touring twice a year while also playing more local shows.