WOLFBRIGADE used to be known as Wolfpack and is a very influential Swedish crust punk metal band. If you haven’t been drawn into their universe now is the time to do so. Answered by Johan Erkenvåg Anders Ekdahl ©2017
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-Even though the band’s been around for a long time, we still get a kick out of meeting up in our rehearsal space to make music. With families, work, adult life commitments etc, we seldom get a chance to just hang out. Something happens when we are in a room together, the riffs just come pouring out. Since we don’t tour so much anymore, due to the above-mentioned adult life, the records have become more important to us. And of course we try to explore new ideas and sounds to keep it interesting, even though our style of music has its limitations. But for this record, we made a conscious decision to not renew ourselves, but instead do what we do best, make ass-ripping, skull-cracking songs.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-On Run with the Hunted, intensity and energy was top priority. We wanted the record to feel like one long primal scream. One reason for that was our new drummer, Tommy, who hits the skins so damn hard that he set the tone right from the get-go. Another reason is that we were pressed for time which made writing long, epic songs impossible. I think we’ve developed the way we make melodies and harmonies, compared to earlier records. We’ve certainly put more effort into these last two records.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-What we write about are personal thoughts on society, life and the way the world is working – or specifically how it’s not working. Of course the songs can be perceived as political, as we are people who are interested in politics, but we’ve never wanted to convey any sort of message through our music. For this album, we’ve been inspired by old dystopian literature, since the world is obviously turning into some sort of crazy, horrific nightmare. But basically we want our listeners to feel the music, not think about it. There’s nothing intellectual about Wolfbrigade.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you identify with?
-Well, that’s not so strange. We’ve stolen stuff from other bands, and many other bands have stolen from us. As a band, we don’t identify with anyone. We’re five different individuals with a very broad taste in music, all combined. When we find inspiration it’s almost never from punk music. It can be anything; film scores, old heavy metal, folk music. It’s often just small bits of songs that inspire us, a bridge, a hook or a drum part. If you listen very closely you can hear snippets from Gary Moore to Europe to Pink Floyd.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-We asked four artists to come up with one design for this record. Then we chose one for the cover and the other ones we’ll use as t-shirt designs. We wanted the cover to communicate the same kind of urgency and energy as the music inside. Something striking and powerful. The cover is illustrated by the German artist Karmazid.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-Well, as the band member who is in charge of all the aesthetics of the band, of course I think the visual impact is super important. The music, lyrics and graphic design are all key and need to fit together as a whole. We’ve always had a strong visual identity and have tried to stick with it over the years. I love bands who stay true to their concept, like Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Devo, Crass, Black Flag, Descendents, etc. I’m glad that we never changed our band logo. Although we changed half the band name, haha.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-We’re pretty lazy with titles, usually we just use the whatever Micke sings in the chorus. That’s all the effort we put into it. But a good chorus needs to sound to the point and have a good rhythm, so we work a lot with that.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-It’s nothing we lose any sleep over. The music will still live on even though the formats change. I use Spotify myself and thanks to the wide range of stuff that’s available, I’ve discovered so much new music. So there are definitely advantages to the streaming services. But at the same time, the need for vinyl is still there and the sales figures are rising steadily, which is awesome of course, since no format beats vinyl.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-We used to play so much live and we kind of got tired of traveling for weeks in shitty vans. It wore us down. So these last few years we’ve only done weekend trips, to keep it fun. Don’t get me wrong, the energy that we get from playing live, traveling and meeting new people is vital to the band. But we’re fucking old men now. In this case less is more.
What lies in the future?
-We’re doing some festivals this summer, Wacken and Obscene Extreme for example, and we’re doing a smaller tour with Disfear and Cyness in September. It will be a killer summer! Then we’re concentrating on writing new material.