Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Miasmal Interview

As someone who spent most of his teen years enthralled by Entombed and Dismember, I eagerly embraced Gothenburg's Miasmal when I first discovered them back in 2011. They helped usher in the return to prominence of old school Swedish death metal, taking the classic Sunlight Studios sound and adding a measure of their own crusty grit into the mix. 5 years on, they've just released their 3rd album through Century Media, and show no signs of slowing down. I reached out to the band to find out more, and vocalist/guitarist Pontus was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Miasmal - who are you and where are you from? How would you describe Miasmal in 5 words?

We started out in Gothenburg, Sweden back in 2007. Our intention was to create the kind of death metal we felt was missing at the time, straight to the point stuff focused on good songs and catchy riffs. We did our first demo in 2008, without even having a band name yet! The response was really good, and we enjoyed playing metal so much that we now are on our 9th year and 3rd full length release. To describe us in 5 words, well that would be: loud, shredding, riffing, persistent and probably smelly.

DoC: Around the time the first Miasmal album came out, there was an explosion of bands playing old school Swedish death metal (from Sweden as well as other countries). How did you feel about the resurgence of this style? What do you think sets Miasmal apart?

It's funny, beacuse at the time we started out I was completely unaware of this! But it seemed like the tide had turned somehow, I usually say that everything goes in cycles. I suppose it was a reaction to all the technical, glossy stuff that had taken over for a while. People wanted grit, dirt and decay instead of high-speed syncopated triggered drums 7/13 beat metal, or something like that. What I feel sets Miasmal apart is the Discharge backbone in our early stuff, also I feel that our riffs and way of playing them are pretty much our own style.

DoC: Tell me about your new album Tides of Omniscience. What was your approach for the album? What does the title refer to, and what themes does the album explore lyrically?

We usually don't plan ahead or think too much, but I think we all felt that we wanted to up the intensity this time. We felt a bit done with the mid-tempo thing that is very present on our early stuff. With that in mind, the songs came very naturally and really re-ignited my creative spark for Miasmal. I feel this is our most dynamic and varied album yet, while still being 100% Miasmal.

The lyrics are are first and foremost there to serve the song, and I also like them to be open for interpretation. However, as far as inspiration go, I think one third is inspired by stuff happening in the world, one third is more like dark fictional stories, and the final third is influenced by personal experiences in life. The title came to me when I was watching the finished artwork (not the other way around, which I suppose usually is the case). I was thinking about those figures, who were they, what are they, where are they going and where are they coming from? I ended up seeing them as a metaphor for humanity, on an endless quest for knowledge without always thinking of the consequenses. That is just one interpretation however.

DoC: You recorded the album yourselves in your own rehearsal space. Why did you choose to go the DIY route for recording? How confident were you with handling your own recording, and how do you feel about the results?
It was mostly a matter of convenience! Recording by our own comes with a lot of advantages, as being able to work whenever you want, and we don't have to worry about expensive studio time running out. We've recorded by ourselves before, and I have several recordings under my belt so I feel I have the knowledge needed. These days we also have a pretty big and nice rehearsal space well suited for recording. We spent about 4 weeks on the recording, then we took the material to renowned Studio Fredman also here in Gothenburg to mix and master the album. I'm very happy about the outcome! I feel the mix is very clear and powerful, while we also brought some grit and dirt with us from the rehersal space.

DoC: Your previous album Cursed Redeemer was very well received (and rightly so). Did you feel any pressure in writing the follow-up?

Not really. If the songs keep coming, then it's all good. Our work process is very much the same as it was when we started out, and when I write I usually block out everything else except for the music anyway, I can't bring stress or pressure into it because then no magic will happen for me. So far, I think we've improved with each release without really thinking too much about it!

DoC: This is your second album for Century Media, and your first since CM was acquired by Sony. How do you feel about the Sony deal? What, if anything, has changed for you since?

Honestly, so far nothing has changed for us. To me it's more of a technicality that doesn't really affect us, we're still dealing with the same people and so on.

DoC: I was lucky enough to see Miasmal in NY back in 2011, before you played Maryland Deathfest that year. How important is playing live and touring for Miasmal? What are your touring plans for this new album, and how can we get you to play here in South East Asia? 

Cool, I remember that show! It was hot and sweaty as hell, lots of fun! We love playing live, however I see the record making as the main thing and the most important for me, everything else is a bonus. Live is very much being in the here and now, a release of energy, while making a record is much more an emotional and mental long-time investment. That being said, right now a European tour is in the works for this fall and more info will come as soon as we have it. We will gladly come to play South East Asia, promoters/bookers/organizer should just hit us up with a plan!

DoC: In addition to Miasmal, you are also in Agrimonia and Martyrdod. How do you divide your time and avoid scheduling conflicts between the three bands?

So far, I've been quite lucky when it comes to scheduling conflicts. It usually goes in cycles, I go into Miasmal mode for a while, then it's on to the next band that's in focus for a couple months and so on. Naturally, things tend to fall in place since I don't release albums with any different projects simultaneously.

DoC: What are 5 albums without which Miasmal wouldn't exist? 

Metallica – Master of Puppets,
Bolt Thrower – For Victory,
Entombed – Left Hand Path,
Discharge – Hear nothing see nothing say nothing,
Motorhead – Bomber

DoC: What’s next for you guys?

As I mentioned before, we are in the planning stages of a European tour to take place this fall, stay tuned for more info! Martyrdöd are heading into Studio Fredman in May for our 6th album, we will also visit Russia and Iceland during the summer. Agrimonia is currently slowly but surely starting to work on new material, hopefully to be recorded before this year has ended.

Miasmal homepage

Miasmal on Facebook

Century Media Records