Interview conducted March 27 2022
Interview published May 8 2022
Brothers Of Metal is kind of in
no man's land at the moment in preparation for the third record. A new
single was however put out in March to get the word out again and as the
band came down to Stockholm for a show a few weeks later Metal Covenant
got some time with one of the band's three vocalists Mats Nilsson.
Ylva Eriksson, vocals
Joakim Lindbäck Eriksson, vocals
Mats Nilsson, vocals
Pähr Nilsson, guitars
Dawid Grahn, guitars
Mikael Fehrm, guitars
Johan Johansson, drums
Emil Wärmedal, bass
Tobbe: You recently put out a new single,
The Other Son Of Odin, and that song is obviously a taste of a new Brothers
Of Metal record.
Mats: That's our plan anyway. But when that record
comes out, we will see. But we're in the studio right now, recording
it song by song, so to say. It's takes a little longer time than what
we're used to. Well, it doesn't really, but we have to split the recordings
into lumps. So it will be done sometime this year and we will see when
it comes out.
Tobbe: So I won't ask any detailed questions
about the album, but I guess I can say that it probably follows the footsteps
of the two first albums.
Mats: Yes, with some development, I would say.
It's extremely hard to tell since all the songs aren't done yet. But
the theme and the general idea are absolutely the same as it has been,
you know. And we develop as songwriters and musicians on this journey.
It's hard to find peace in doing the same thing every time. You want
to keep the core of what you are, but still try some different stuff
out, and we will absolutely do that.
So the lyrics will be about Norse gods and party.
Mats: Yes, that sounds very reasonable.
Tobbe: Might it sometimes be hard to come
up with lyrics, regardless of you guys having a coming record or not?
You know, coming up with new subjects within the same kind of subject.
Mats: I think you can find a pretty narrow niche.
You know, strictly hypothetical you could make a whole album about,
let's say, one day in Asgaard. I'm just speaking strictly hypothetical.
So it doesn't necessarily has to ever run out of material. But of course,
there are a limited number of gods to write about.
And I mean, we have several songs where Thor
is mentioned, for example. And Odin is mentioned in pretty much every
other song we make. So there are aspects and parts that we can write
about every time. So I wouldn't say that I'm worried about running out
of material to write about.
Tobbe: So, to the single you just released,
The Other Son Of Odin. What can you tell me about that song?
Mats: It has kind of a hero theme. It's about
Vidar, who is Odin's other son. One of them actually, because he has
a whole bunch, which is also funny, and we kind of bring that up in
the title. He is the only one of the gods who, according to the prophecy,
survives Ragnarök. [This is actually incorrect.]
There is not so much written about him, besides that he is very reticent
and has a shoe, one shoe, or a boot, which is made by every left-over
leather piece from every shoemaker. So, it's special, one might say.
Tobbe: I just wonder how they landed that
story once upon a time.
Mats: Well, there might have been some psychedelia
behind it. Very possible, very possible. A lot of the stories are, like,
"How did you come up with this idea?". Very funny. A lot of
it is very humorous and you kind of don't have to do so much with it
for it to be funny.
Tobbe: About these subject that you write
lyrics around. Do they come from an old interest of yours or is it more
about that they can be quite fun subjects to write about?
Mats: That's a tough question. Well, there are
a few of us that have a pretty keen basic interest and think they are
good stories, so to speak. So we have studied that through life, in
a way. I think that's the biggest inspiration, but also those stories
work well with metal.
know, I think if our songs were kind of Johnny Cash-like it wouldn't
have been working out as good. Heavy metal and power metal call upon
a lot to the epic, and I think often the comical, in this bombastic
and exaggerated stuff, you know. And that we have to use to the fullest,
in a way.
I haven't given it much thought why we do it,
but it just started out that way. But we have some songs that necessarily
don't follow such a theme, like Siblings Of Metal, Fire Blood And Steel,
and then Kaunaz Dagaz from the new record. Well, from Emblas Saga .
They necessarily don't strictly follow a Viking theme, but we think
it fits, so "Let's go!".
Tobbe: As you don't know when the next album
is out, isn't it a little bit special to just put out a single at this
Mats: Yes, it is, I guess. But, you know, we
could definitely argue about that, but we have never cared for what
we're supposed to do, you know. We think more in a way, like, "Now
it has been two years of piss, so everybody deserves some heavy metal.".
[Laughs] It doesn't have to be any harder than that. But, you know,
it has been terrible to not being able to come out and play live. It's
really sad, so we want to release some music and make everybody happy.
Tobbe: So it's not so frustrating that nothing
is really decided yet? Some bands have been waiting for a year now to
get their album out, you know.
Mats: No, no, no. You know, we were able to do
a European tour together with Elvenking before Covid came and everything
shut down. We haven't really been able to tour for Emblas Saga. We haven't
played a song off Emblas Saga on a festival yet, so we don't want to
have an album out before this summer's festivals, for example.
This year we want to get a chance to play the
Emblas Saga songs, since we haven't done that. We will probably release
a couple of singles every now and then, and then a record will be out,
roughly, between late this year and the middle of 2023, I would say.
Tobbe: It's funny that you called Emblas
Saga "the new record" before, as it is two years old now. It's
not so hard to see that you haven't come to the finish line on that one.
Mats: Yes, exactly. We haven't really gotten
to play those songs live. We don't even know how they work. Maybe we
will be booed off stage when we start playing those songs. [Laughs]
I have no idea. We don't know. We haven't been able to play those songs.
Maybe it's hard to answer this question then: Which is the best album
of Prophecy Of Ragnarök and Emblas Saga?
Mats: Yes, of course it's hard to say. I think
both have certain qualities that I like very much. Generally seen Prophecy
is a little bit "simpler". The song building is a little bit
simpler, or whatever I'm gonna call it. There is great power in many
of those songs, like the title track, and Yggdrasil, which is very popular,
is on that record, and Fire Blood And Steel and Defenders [Of Valhalla].
They are songs with a lot of power, while Emblas
Saga has maybe a bit wider range. We have a few that are very dark,
like Hel, and then Chain Breaker, which is more a classic Judas Priest
inspired heavy metal song. So maybe a bit wider spectrum of songs and
a little bit more technical in the songwriting on Emblas Saga.
Tobbe: You worked with Prophecy Of Ragnarök
for a very long time, so maybe that record has grown into you guys in
a different way than Emblas Saga has, which on the other hand you made
when you were more experienced and had greater skills.
Mats: Yes, that was on my mind too. Prophecy
Of Ragnarök we wrote during a period where we in the beginning
of that period weren't even a band, but we were just a few buddies that
made music together. And then later, just before the recordings, we
finished quite a few songs.
And already at that point, in, like, 2016, we
had started a few songs that are now on the Emblas Saga record. We also
have kind of a back catalogue that we will probably do something with
too. It's songs that are a little bit like odd one out, that haven't
really fit the albums. There are a few of them that we like very much,
that we will probably do something with. Well, time will tell what will
have evolved over time and Emblas Saga was written in a shorter time
period where we were more experienced, absolutely. However, how that
affects the music I don't know. Maybe the songs on Emblas Saga are more
on the same level than on Prophecy, but Prophecy is more raw and simpler
in some way.
Tobbe: Prophecy was independently released
at first [On April 1st 2017] and then it came out on AFM Records later
[On November 18th 2018]. After it was released independently did you guys
started looking for a label or did they come to the band?
Mats: You know, the recording of Prophecy was
completed sometime during 2015, or maybe it was done sometime in 2016.
Then we had it for, like, 9-12 months. We sent it around, I used my
contacts in the music industry, and reached the bigger record companies,
and we were like "Because it's a hobby, it's fun, we have done
everything ourselves, it sounds good, we're happy with it, we don't
want to sign some shitty deal and if we should sign up for a deal it
has to have its worth.
The record company must see this as a good investment
and realize that we have done this ourselves. We don't need the record
company to make good music, but we need the record company to distribute
and to reach more people.". And not so many record companies agreed
on this, because we had never been tested and we have a band name that
is super stupid, in many aspects. So it took its time.
Without mentioning any names, one pretty big
record company sent a deal and he and I went back and forth with it
for 8 months, and in the end he had enough and told me "Okay, write
the deal you want to have.". So I wrote that and the answer I got
was more or less "We are not a charity project. If you ever get
this deal from anyone, take it and don't look back.". And then
we got that deal with AFM. So everything was cool in the end. And then
later that guy came back, like, "Hey! Would you be interested in
releasing an album with us in the future?" and, you know, "We're
not a charity project.". [Laughs]
As a band it's great to not be dependent, because
we really weren't depending on a record company. And that's why we released
it independent too. In the end we said "Let's just set this aside.
Let's do it ourselves. We won't sell so much. But we don't do it for
the money, but we are proud of this record and we want to get it out.".
And so AFM found us. We started to negotiate and it was actually done
probably saw our potential and I guess it was easy for them because
they had seen that we were an unsigned band that had put up music on
the internet and we had a good number of streams already back then.
They already had the key in their hand when they bought it and, like,
"We can multiply this." and that's what they have done.
Tobbe: The band has two guys named Nilsson,
two guys named Eriksson and one guy named Johansson. Might this cause
some confusion abroad?
Mats: Well, I think we notice it mostly on YouTube,
where there are many rumors. Often in reaction videos and stuff like
that. For some totally unfathomable reason, and it feels just stupid,
some people say "How can they be called Brothers Of Metal when
there is a girl in the band?" and, you know, "How can they
be called Judas Priest when there is not a priest in the band? How can
they be called Iron Maiden when there is not a
Do people think about this for real? I don't
know. Well, never mind. So when we get that question there is usually
a reply from some know-it-all: "They are actually called that because
Ylva and Joakim are siblings." and I'm like "Okay? Where did
you get that information?". And sometimes I have read that someone
corrects them, like, "No, actually they are not. It's a very common
name in Sweden.".
But I don't know. I guess everyone has their
prejudice. So it is what it is. I don't put so much thought about it
and it's just something that adds to the building of a myth. Ylva and
Jocke have also heard that they are married to each other. But I and
Pähr have never gotten to hear that we are married to each other.
Tobbe: Is there any kind of kinship in the
band? Like a third cousin or whatever.
Mats: No, I don't think so.
Tobbe: You guys have Falun as your home
base, but where are you guys actually from?
Mats: One of us is from Falun. [Laughs] Six
of us is from Malung, which is an even smaller town, and then Johan
is from Bålsta and Ylva from Falun. Then it has become Falun for
various reasons, like with schools and stuff. It just turned out to
be that we derive from Falun, because that's where everyone has lived.