Interview with Seedna – Atmospheric Black Metal from Lidkoping Sweden

In case you missed it Sweden’s Seedna  released one of the best Atmospheric Black Metal albums of 2016. As you know if I’m into a band I have to dig deeper and want to know more about them. I spoke to the guys in Seedna this week and we covered everything from the “Lidkoping Sound” to playing in a stone cellar to 6 people in a tiny village to multi instrumentalist Olle’s departure from the band – read on.

* You guys are from Lidkoping if I am not is the music scene there as opposed to the more well known cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg? Americans talk about the Gothenburg sound – do you think there is a traditional “Lidkoping sound?
Erik – Lidköping isn’t a very big town, around 40000 people live here, so the music scene is rather small and the bands that form here are everything between Punk to Metal. It´s scattered between the genres, a typical Lidköping sound doesn’t exist I believe. Not compared to the Gothenburg sound anyways.

Max – With the internet, I think stuff like that is less present. Many parts of the world have access to everything now and get inspired from all kinds of people and places. I have this idea or impression that the local scene in different cities was more prominent and alive before the internet. It surely exist to some extent. But not so much around here, what I can tell. Definitely not in our kind of genre.

* How did you guys get into Black metal? What was the gateway bands for you guys?
Erik – The band that got me interested in the more extreme form of metal was Cradle of Filth, a friend sent me some song when i was 15-16 years old and told me to listen to them. It was nothing I have ever heard before and I was mesmerised with the evil sound. I later came across Dark Funeral and got totally sold on Black Metal for a while.

Johan – It all started with Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, but I like most kinds of dark music.

Max – Mayhem, Burzum and Dissection were probably the first bands mostly responsible for bringing me into the different areas of Black Metal and beyond.

* What inspired you guys to take Black metal in the direction that you did?
Erik – We didn’t have any particular genre in our minds when we made “Forlorn”, at least not me. The biggest inspiration i have is my own emotions and creating music is a very good way of channeling them.

Johan – What keeps me going is actually playing and performing the music. It’s so much fun to play music, that is why we do it. Atmospheric music is the best music sometimes and we needed the whole kind of atmospheric vibe to create Forlorn, not only the heavy metal parts. Kind of inspired from old school stuff too I guess. I think we all like these mood-changes, differences and happenings through the record. It connects to your inner self, filled with many different feelings. You never feel the same all the time.

Max – We don’t really think of it as we are taking a certain genre in a certain direction. It just happened to be that the outcome of our different inspirations forged together with the vision of creating something that is dark and ambient sounded like “atmospheric black metal” to most people.

* What kind of music do you guys listen to in your free time? Any surprises for us?
Erik – For the most part it is Post-Rock, Post-Metal and Doom. Black Metal and Hardcore is something I listen to as well but not as much.

Johan – Check out the records Catch Thirty-Three with Meshuggah, Land Of The Evening Star with Dark Forest , Runaljod trilogy with Wardruna, Visor Om Slutet with Finntroll, Dakhmandal with Dark Buddha Rising, Ghosts I-IV with Nine Inch Nails, Udu Wudu with Magma, The Rifts with A Swarm Of The Sun, Untitled ( ) with Sigur Rós, Drifters/Love Is The Devil with Dirty Beaches. Some of my favorites.

Max – I’m mostly into old school type metal and bands that have that special spirit and energy. It’s something that is hard to put into words but appeals to me very much. But I am also interested in other genres outside of metal like for example dark ambient, traditional and classical music. Even some electronic and experimental stuff.
With to many bands to mention I’m just going to recommend a few very dear albums from different Swedish metal bands that comes to mind. I think they are well worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them. “A Flame To The Ground Beneath” by Lost Horizon, “Sister” by In Solitude, “Wolverine Blues” by Entombed.

* Were you guys pleased with the amazing response you got from your latest album “Forlorn?”
Erik – The response we got for “Forlorn” was beyond my beliefs, it is a powerful feeling when something you have laid down a lot of emotion and work into gets so much positive critic. I am very happy for all that.

Johan – Yes it was really great for us and we are very thankful.

Max – It has been very inspirational and rewarding to see that this record that we worked so hard on is appreciated by others. Firstly, we do it for ourselves. Chasing this vision, trying to make it into an actual piece of art that we are satisfied with and proud of. Then, if others appreciate it and get something out of listening and experiencing it is just great. That is some sort of proof that we are making an impact on people and hopefully bring them to open their minds and think.

* What was your favorite review of the album? Which publication?
Johan – ..maybe No Clean Singing.

Max – For me it was this one from Angry Metal Guy when he began describing a nightmare. Later contemplating whether falling asleep to “Forlorn” was the cause of this dream haha. “Falling asleep to” can sound negative, but I see it positively. In a way, we aspire to bring the listener to another “dimension”. As pretentious as it may seem, a dream world is the perfect place really haha.

* How did you approach writing the album? Did you start with moods or was it like a traditional band – a guitar riff and then built upon it?
Erik – When we create music it usually starts with us jamming and improvising with things we have had in our minds for a while, sometimes we all get in a sort of trance and just keep going without stopping. It is in those times we know we have something good going so we start to jam and improvise more on that particular sound or riff we liked, and we lay down structures as times go by. For “Forlorn” we had a somewhat clear concept of the feeling we wanted for the album so we jammed a lot with that in mind.

Johan – I’d say that most of it was created in the rehearsal room, but of course some ideas comes even after rehearsing, when you’re home doing something else. We have tried to build on guitar riffs but it’s not our way of doing it. We often just start playing, everybody at the same time or maybe two at a time or maybe even one of us play solo for the others. Then you listen and work with what you hear. I think that is what is happening every rehearsal now. So we are very much a band that is working in different moods, modes, themes, scenery and atmospheres. And then you start answering a lot of questions that comes from within, is it dark? is it powerful? is it sad? You have to know what you want and then you try to grasp it. Find those dark tones, combined with the heavy sound, some touch of sadness, a sparkling of melancholy and a soft distant trembling earthquake, to link up with those burdened feelings you can get sometimes from everyday life.

Max – Starting out jamming on ideas that would become “Wander”. Wanting to make this massive epic song that was like a journey, a story. I think we talked about making it a “one-song EP” haha. But the story grew, as did our vision. Different events and atmospheres in the story pushed for more and different kinds of songs. Some we made with the specific mood in mind. Some ideas were written before, and we thought their feeling fitted perfectly.

* I presume the hourglass on the cover of Forlorn is representative of Life and Death – I am a great believer in Life-Death – rebirth. do any of the band hold these kind of beliefs? Odinism? the Old gods or ??
Johan – I admit that I am fascinated by the old norse religion. And of course something comes after death. Why wouldn’t it. Even if it’s nothingness, our perception of time wouldn’t exist anymore, I really wonder what would that be like. An eternity through time passing by in the blink of an eye? The world is exciting with all these questions we can’t answer.

Max – There is this mystery. Not knowing what comes next when we die. The whole spiritual world. Ancient and modern religions. Forces of nature. The meaning of life. The whole concept about the album is really up for interpretation, if you want to read between the lines and project your own thoughts. It is not about preaching and give you answers. But rather about making you question.

* I know Olle played some traditional instruments on the recording of this album. Was that something he learned just for the album or was it something he had been doing for many years now?
Erik – It was actually something he learned for live performances, we want the feeling of us performing a ritual live. So Olle started to experiment with a lot of different traditional instruments to get the ritualistic feeling and it all just fitted so well in “Forlorn”. Rainmaker, Singing bowls, Seadrum and Spring Drum is just some of the instruments that was used.

Johan – Music to me is a bit different than just being tied to one or different instruments. An instrument is a tool a musician uses to create music and to express feelings. I actually think anyone can pick up any instrument and join in and make sound to add to the music. And for us all to listen to and enjoy.

* Can you talk about Olle leaving the band? How do you think it will affect new music from Seedna?
Erik – When Olle told us he wanted to leave Seedna it came somewhat of a surprise to me, we had just released “Forlorn” on Transcending Obscurity and got amazing response and great reviews. It was a rough time for all of us when we wrote the music because we all have very strong opinions of how we want our music to sound, but I believe it is because of our strong personalities that we were able to create good music. So it was a sad day for everyone in Seedna.
We had to cancel our plans for playing live in the autumn. Me, Max and Johan agreed that all of us should do vocals from now on and it worked out great!

Johan – We still feel good, I mean, of course there will be change in how things are done. Less involved in creating means more of those involved in creating.

Max – To me it wasn’t a big surprise as he had been a bit absent in the last months following up to his departure. He wanted to take a step back, focus on other stuff in life. Ultimately he also wanted to take a different path musically, which is totally fine and understandable. This experimental approach that we have isn’t for everyone. It is kind of like a new era for Seedna. For our latest music video we made a recording of “Frozen” to show the new sound with the three of us screaming together. Seedna without Olle will definitely be something different lyrically and in the vocal part of the music. We are very excited to see what we will come up with in this new formation. So far it is feeling really good and promising.

* What can we expect musically from Seedna in 2017?
Max – We are working on new material at the moment. Talking about probably recording this year, not promising anything tho hehe. We are developing, as always, new sounds and themes. Our next release will be different from our previous ones for sure. But that has been the thing about every recording right from the start anyway haha.

* I know the band have toured Sweden and some parts of the Norway – what’s been your favorite place to play live so far?
Erik – A small village called Uddebo in Sweden. We played in a stone cellar of an old, almost a dilapidated house were 6 people lived in a collective, they were so nice and welcoming. Everyone knew each other, I guess it’s like that in small villages.

Johan – Uddebo as Erik said, we had to improvise our intro a little bit because of a faulty cable to the bass, I recall. So we jammed until Erik fixed it. And the smoke machine added an insanely amount of smoke that quickly filled the whole small room we played in. I couldn’t even see the crowd, nor could they see me. Imagine this together with the crowd already having a good time and then add dark atmospheric drone-music for what felt like more than 5 minutes just as an intro. And then we started our setlist.

* Is there much difference playing to Norwegian fans than Swedish fans?
Erik – I can’t really say that it is a lot of difference between the two, both countries like to get drunk and head bang!

Johan – No idea, I can’t really focus on much else but the performance and what the other members are doing when we are playing, keeping an eye out.

Max – If they are not drunk, and if it is not a “big” band, Scandinavians can in general be a pretty lame crowd for local scenes in my experience, sadly. Not that it affects us negatively like it could with “rock’n’roll” kind of bands.. We get a positive response from many of them anyway, as we can be kind of an introvert experience.

* Are there any plans for the band to play the USA? Also have any of the band visited the USA before and did they like it?
Erik – Currently we have no plans to play in the USA, but if we get the opportunity we will take it for sure!

Max – We would love to go there. But it seems to be a lot of work getting it all together with the visas and stuff. Since we aren’t an established touring band yet, we will most likely tour Europe first when we come around to it.

* Do the band have any “wish list” places they would like to play?
Erik – Every country is on my wish list but Japan and Russia is my dream countries to play in.
Japan because it such a crazy country and have a lot of good and interesting music.
Russia because we simply have a lot of fans there, would be awesome to meet them.

Johan – Finland and Iceland.

* Any final words to your friends and fans?
Erik – Hail Satan Worship Doom.

Johan – What he said.

Max – Agreed. And hail to all our supporters.

Thanks guys and many thanks to Kunal for making this interview happen!

Listen to Forlorn here: