Friday, November 18, 2022

an interview with Sickrecy

Swedish grind trio Sickrecy recently released their debut full-length Salvation Through Tyranny through Selfmadegod and Bullwhip Records. It's everything you'd want from a grindcore album: Unrelenting and to the point, with a cynical eye cast towards the state of the world. Drummer/bassist Martin Eriksson was kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Sickrecy - who are you, where are you from, and how would you describe the music you make?

Hi Adrian - well, we are three fairly busy friends with other bands like Birdflesh, Damned to Downfall, General Surgery and World in Ruins running alongside with Sickrecy. We all live in the southern parts of Sweden. I would describe us as a Swedish grindcore unit which primarily (mostly because of our age) focus on and is inspired by the late 80’s/early 90’s extreme music underground - when grind, death, d-beat and hardcore was incorporated in many of the great bands' sound of the time. Since we all grew up around that era (when Earache was a trademark of quality), we feel that this type of music and sound are a little absent in today’s scene. By saying that, it doesn’t mean that today’s scene lacks talented and good bands, ’cos there are plenty of them around.

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band - what brought you together, and what did you want to accomplish?

It all started out as a side project of mine when I was having a beer and listened to Napalm Death’s Mentally Murdered EP. Since I heard that EP for the first time, I had always wanted to do something similar but never really got around to it. Anyhow, I started to write some songs for an EP and showed them to Marcus [Dahl – guitars], and he got really excited and wanted to join in. The project grew, and after a while we had a lot of material, so we started to look around for a singer. I came in contact with Adde [Mitroulis – vocals] through a mutual friend, played him some demos, and he immediately wanted to join the band. At first we just wanted to accomplish a good EP with some solid, old schoolish type of grind for streaming services, but it has all grown, and here we are some 2.5 years later, with our first album out on SELFMADEGOD Records and BULLWHIP Records.

DoC: Your first release was the First World Anxiety EP. How long did it take you to create the songs for this release? Why did you choose to release an EP first, instead of a full album?

The actual songs didn’t take that long to create, maybe a month or so, but the recording, mixing, mastering, cover and stuff took a lot longer. Then we passed it around to some friends and labels. Spikerot Records (who re-pressed Birdflesh - Night Of The Ultimate Mosh) wanted to release it, so to fit with their schedule and everything, it took almost a year before it came out. BTW, it is the same amount of time spent on this album release. As we were a brand new band without any followers and such, we and the label thought that an EP was a good decision to try to test the public, and try to build a ``fanbase´´ and followers with. Building up to a full-length album, so to say.

DoC: How do songs usually start for you? How does your writing process for Sickrecy differ from the other projects you have, like Damned to Downfall and World in Ruins? At what point in the process does your vocalist Adde get involved?

It always starts with the music, never the lyrics. Some good riffs getting tested, twisted, turned or forged together to form the basics in the song, and then I or we just build from there. I go for the feeling mostly, and what mood I’m in while creating. Others may do it in another way but Marcus and I have the same procedures in making music. Adde gets involved when the music is finished, but before we or I have written the lyrics. Due to his busy schedule with mostly Birdflesh but also General Surgery, he hasn’t contributed that much to the actual songwriting, but his opinion and input is vital to me as I (up to this point) am the main creator in Sickrecy.

In Damned to Downfall, Marcus is the main creator and mastermind but we always talk a lot, share demos, ideas, riffs and sketches - so even though we have different bands and projects we are very much involved in each other's work; but he takes the final decisions in Damned, and I in Sickrecy. As for World in Ruins, we share the writing process fairly equal between myself and Marcus.

DoC: On 28 Oct 2022, you released your first full-length album Salvation Through Tyranny. When did you begin work on this album? Who are the guests you have on this album, and how did they get involved with this release?

To tell you the truth, there’s actually one or two songs on the album which were made prior to our EP, but never seemed to fit the structure of the EP. We saved them for the time being, and it just so happens they found their way into the album instead. We have a bunch of songs saved for possible collaborations that didn’t fit the song structure of the album. When we do things, we want a certain structure or feel to it, and sometimes that means you have to kill your darlings.

About guest spots - there are none but one of the songs was made together with two other friends of mine (Dan Lundberg and Niclas Frohagen), and the basics in that song were made for a band we had together called Shubend (later Genesis Of Pain). I thought that it would serve well in Sickrecy with some additional riffs.

DoC: Please explain the title, Salvation Through Tyranny. Is there a theme or concept connecting all the songs together? How much of the lyrics are inspired by, or comment on, politics and current events?

We were playing around with some titles but none of them felt really right. Adde then came up with Salvation Through Tyranny and we thought that it had the right touch and feel to it. There is no theme behind that title and different people see different meanings in a title like that, and that’s probably why I like it.

I would say that all but two of the songs have lyrics that are linked to, connected to, or inspired by world politics and events in the world of today. There are Trump-like or Putin-like leaders all over the globe, globalization is showing its dirty face everywhere, causing a lot of pain, suffering, starvation and pollution. A new generation of people want to be famous for nothing, while others are struggling to get freedom of speech, but get brutally assaulted by their rulers and police. Mental illness because of the pressure we put on our kids to try to market themselves as a brand on this commercialized globe. Always "me me me" and never "we" or "us" or solidarity. We simply need a politic that benefits us all, not just the wealthy and healthy few.

DoC: Where did you end up recording the album? Why did you choose William Blackmon from Gadget to mix/master the album, and what would you say he brought to your sound?

We recorded drums, bass and vocals here in my basement. All guitars were recorded at Marcus' place. William Blackmon has done some wicked productions for other bands and he is definitely a skilled producer who we felt secure with. Even so, it took a while before we found the right direction and where to go in the mixing process. I would say that his involvement brought a lot of heaviness to our sound and we would be happy to work with him again.

DoC: How did Selfmadegod Records get involved with this release?

We were signed to Spikerot Rec, but all of a sudden they decided to break the deal. I don’t know for sure, but I suppose that they had done some less successful signings and wanted to get out before they got bankcrupt. I think that their conscience set in and that they felt some kind of guilt, so they checked with Karol at Selfmade if he could give us a listen and hopefully release something with us. I had a video meeting with Karol and he was interested in us and wanted to hear the album. Luckily for us, he liked what he heard and here we are now, ready to drop the album. In retrospect, I think that we ended up on a much better label than the one we had. SELFMADEGOD is a bigger and more well known label throughout the world and have been around for a long time.

DoC: The album includes covers of Ingron Hutlös and D.T.A.L. - two old hardcore/crust bands that may not be familiar to readers outside of Sweden. Why did you choose to cover these two bands/songs, and how would you describe the influence of Ingron Hutlös and D.T.A.L. on the Swedish crust/grind scene? If you had to cite 5 albums that had a profound influence on your own life/musical style, what would they be?

The decision to cover those songs were mine, and the main reason was to give people something extra, something out of the ordinary, to show people where I come from musically; and those two bands mean a lot to me.

You see, the guitarist and singer in Ingron Hutlös were neighbors of mine when I was 15 and a punk. I used to go over to [the home of] Janne the guitarist, and make mixtapes of his record collection and just talk since I looked up to him. I don’t know how big of an impact Ingron Hutlös really had on the Swedish punk scene but I know that they sold a decent amount of records to the US and Australia.

D.T.A.L. was for me as brutal and fast as it gets. They later evolved to a more Onslaught type of sound which I also love. We booked punk shows at the local venue and I got in touch with Måe the guitarist (later on also the singer) in D.T.A.L., and we became friends. We’ve only met once when they came to play at our venue, but we’ve talked for hours on the phone, wrote letters and traded music with each other. Their biggest impact on the punk scene was their extremely fast and chaotic first EP called Time To Die.

The reason why I chose those 2 tracks and not any others is that they fit very well after some tweaking with the rest of the songs on our album.

5 albums, hmmm, let’s see…

Exploited - Troops of Tomorrow. The first album that I bought with my own money in 1982. Classic artwork, an album that forged metal and punk.
Napalm Death - Mentally Murdered.

A game changer for me. The record that got me into grindcore. Before this EP, I hated grind, thought it was only noise. The perfect blend between grind, death metal and d-beat/raw punk with a superb sound signed Colin Richardson.
Conflict - The Ungovernable Force.

A frenzy of anarchist politics and really good songwriting. This was something extra and served as a link between punk and hip-hop for me, with its long rapping type lyrics blended with the angry punk vocals. Conflict and Crass made me more political and radical.
Public Enemy - Greatest Misses.

The song "Hazy Shade of Criminal" took me into hip-hop. Chuck D’s vocal was in the perfect pitch for a punk with radical anarchistic beliefs. Showing me that other types of music can be just as political as punk and even more.
Front Line Assembly - Tactical Neutral Implant.

Opened up another world for me. Synthesizers and computers to a monotone beat. Radical views on politics. Bringing down the system through computers instead of a violent revolution. All of these records opened up new worlds for me and suited well into my beliefs at that time. Now that I’m older, I see a lot of flaws in every political view and I’m well aware that changes take time. To change someone's political view with force only tends to strengthen their beliefs and will have the exact opposite effect.

DoC: What's next for you?

As the deal with SELFMADEGOD and BULLWHIP are for CD and tape only, we are looking around for some labels to get involved in a vinyl release of the album. We are also looking for a permanent bass player or a drummer (then I can handle the bass). When we do, we can finally set plans for some live shows and tours. As I said earlier, the release date for Salvation Through Tyranny is October 28, and all formats of the album can be bought on our Bandcamp sites.

Thanks a lot Adrian for this interview and for your interest in us.


Sickrecy on Facebook

Sickrecy on IG

Sickrecy on Bandcamp

Selfmadegod on Bandcamp

Bullwhip Recs on Storenvy

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