Interview conducted February 25 2011
Interview published March 06 2011
Many bands from younger generations
are discovering the appeal of rock music from the seventies, or even further
back. One prime example is certainly Sweden's Graveyard, who have managed
to capture the sound of that particular era in a most impressive fashion,
while also incorporating other influences. Their debut album, simply called
Graveyard, really created a buzz on the hard rock scene, with its genuine,
appealing blend of retro rock, blues and other tasty ingredients.
In addition, their spellbinding
live shows have won wide acclaim. No wonder, then, that their second album,
named Hisingen Blues - out March 25 in Europe and April 19 in the US -
is long-awaited and is looked upon as a release which could generate a
definitive breakthrough for the Gothenburg-based rockers. An interrogation
with the band ahead of the new release was thus in order. The member who
kindly provided answers to some quick questions was bassist Richard
Edlund (Graveyard also consists of vocalist and
guitarist Joacim Nilsson, guitarist Jonathan Larocca Ramm, and drummer
Mozzy: For those with less knowledge of
Graveyard, describe how the band was formed?
Richard: We're a bunch of outcasts to Gothenburg
who formed the band in 2006. I and Joacim had been playing in the
band Norrsken in Örebro, together with Krille Sjödal (Deadman)
and Magnus Pelander (Witchcraft). We then moved down to Gothenburg
and started playing in the band Albatross with Axel. When Albatross
split up, we formed Graveyard with Trulls Mörck on guitar, who
later quit and was replaced by Jonathan (ex-Solarius).
Even though Graveyard's music is very much characterised by 70´s
rock, it's also much diversified. How would you describe your music and
what are your main influences?
Richard: We're all very fond of heavy blues
rock from ´67 to ´74, such as Black Sabbath, Fleetwood
Mac, Ten Years After, Mayblitz, Jethro Tull, Bang, Neil Merryweather,
Groundhogs, November, Bubbly Puppy, Savoy Brown, and so on. But we
also get influences from blues, such as Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf,
Lightning Hopkins and John Lee Hooker, as well as from hardrock and
metal bands like Judas Priest, Slayer and Metallica. In addition,
there have been periods of listening to traditional folk music from
all over the world, for example Ali Farka Toure, Comus, Steel Eye
Span and Fairport Convention. So you can say that if you add all these
influences, plus some other bands as well, the result is Graveyard.
Sometimes there has been periods when we've been listening to just
old music, but that is starting to change.
Mozzy: Tell us about the creation of Hisingen
Blues, the follow-up to the self-titled first album.
Richard: It has taken quite a long time to
create this record, partly because we have toured a lot and partly
because our producer Don Ahlsterberg has been working with other artists
(Jose Gonzales and Soundtrack Of Our Lives). Therefore, it's been
difficult to fit it into everyone's schedule. Also, when you've been
out on the road for a long time, you want to take it easy for a while;
whether that's lazy or a bad idea I don't know but that's how you
feel. The recording process itself starts with someone bringing some
riffs which fit together and then we arrange it together. We also
write the lyrics together. Don puts his stamp on the music as well,
by giving feedback, arranging and creating a good sound.
Mozzy: In terms of style, how does the new
record compare to the debut? Are there aspects you have changed or developed?
Richard: Well I would say it's more diverse
than the first one, we hadn't been playing together for that long
when we released that one. Also, we have a new guitarist and he has
definitely been part of influencing the sound. When we sat down to
write songs, we didn't decide on a particular direction, we simply
played what everyone in the band feels is fun to play.
You have received great response for your live shows; would you describe
them as a central part of Graveyard?
Richard: Yes indeed, that is the way we should
be experienced. We feel that we want to give the audience that comes
to the show something extra, so the songs rarely sound the way they
do on the album. For that purpose, we try to jam out a bit, something
I see as very rewarding both for us and the crowd. I remember as a
teenager, when you were looking for bootlegs with bands just to get
the chance to hear some different versions of songs compared to the
record version. I remember listening to Black Sabbath from Paris in
1970 and hearing that they'd changed the lyrics a bit, which made
you jump for joy, just a small thing like that.
Mozzy: A couple of years ago, you toured
in the US; what was the reception like?
Richard: The reception has been fantastic.
We have quite a lot of fans over there. I remember the first time
we played in Los Angeles, when we were walking down the street someone
pulled the window down and yelled "GRAVEYARD!". That said,
you might hear the words "fucking hippie" if you're in some
small town, but on the other hand you can hear that in Sweden too.
On the whole, the States has been great and I would gladly return.
Mozzy: What's on the tour schedule for 2011?
Richard: The album is released on the 25th
(March), so around that time we'll tour in Sweden, then Finland for
a bit and then down to Europe. After that we've reached the summer,
when we'll do some festivals in Sweden, and then cross the Atlantic
to cruise around in the US of A.
Mozzy: Otherwise, what are the future plans
for the career of Graveyard?