A few weeks ago, a new Swedish band really knocked me out of my shoes. DRÅP was the name of the band, and their self-financed debut album “En Naturlig Död” was the album. A d-beat smasher in the tradition of those Swedish heroes like WOLFBRIGADE, SKITSYSTEM, DISFEAR or M:40, yet not a copycat of the genre masters, but a statement that tears down the walls in a similar manner and with sheer energy. The album still rocks my house very often, and so it was due time to find out more about DRÅP. Singer Joachim “Joche” Lyngfelt was so kind to answer my questions…
First of all: thanks for giving us an interview! I hope all is well in Sundsvall?
"It’s all good, thank you. Right now we are currently struggling to get it to work with both the music and our private lives. All four of us have many active projects and don’t have a lot of time to work on them, but it’s what we like to do more than anything else.”
Since most people don’t know much about Sundsvall, tell us everything that is important about your hometown! Is there an active scene for extreme Metal and Punk in Sundsvall?
"Sundsvall is a city that belongs to the northern part of Sweden, most of the country consists actually of forests, but here there are a lot of factories. Quite grey here because of it and another significant thing is that our health-care and local hospital is very bad here. Aside from that, the music scene here is very active, previously Sundsvall was a real Punk city, used to be called "Punksvall" back in the 80s. But nowadays there are a lot of Metal bands from here, SETHERIAL, IN BATTLE, DECOMPOSED, CERECLOTH, SOREPTION, LEGIUM, GLUTTONY, DIABOLICUM, MY OWN GRAVE to name a few. Right now we are the only Crust or whatever band from here, but there always seems to exist a certain hunger for the d-beat over here. We hope to create interest in a new Hardcore scene. I also run the club "Spela Snabbare" (“Play faster!”), which is more geared towards raw live music. It’s the best place to be, if you happen to be in Sundsvall!"
Okay, let’s start talking about DRÅP… Please introduce the guys in the band to us!
"Guitarist Jesper Ekstål is the main songwriter in the Swedish band DECOMPOSED. The drummer Emil Leijon also plays in CERECLOTH and LEGIUM. Our old bass player Ragnar just moved to Malmö, way down in the south of Sweden, so we just brought in a new guy, Samuel Englund, who also plays in a band called DEATHBREED. Everybody is in one way or another involved in Death Metal outside of DRÅP and we actually see ourselves as more of a Death Metal band with a hint of Crust / Punk rather than a "true" Punk band. However, we have experienced the beauty of the d-beat, a tradition that we must carry on.”
So, how did it all start with DRÅP? According to your Facebook site, it was planned as a tribute to your late mom.
"Yes, it was first conceived as a studio project, possibly doing one or two live gigs, but it was very exciting to perform live and we got a very positive response. The music is very personal and aggressive. The main topic of the album "En Naturlig Död" (a natural death) is cancer. Everybody has lost a loved one at some point and it is something many can relate to. As I said before, the health care in Sundsvall is not the best, so every time my mother had a relapse, she was traveling across the country to Umeå which has better equipment for such treatment. "Man måste vara frisk för att kunna få vård" as the chorus goes on the track ‘Nekad Till Vård’ (“Denied healthcare”) means "one must be healthy to be able to get medical care" which really was the case for my mother. It hurts when you know that the boss of the hospital makes budget cuts over and over again to make more money for himself, instead of getting more staff and equipment that can save lives. We have lyrics about date-rape drugs and their inhumane use. It’s very common in this country, which we also want to put an end to. The punishments for convicted criminals are in general very low here in Sweden. The reason behind punishing someone is to make them feel remorse, isn’t it? Prisons in Sweden are more or less like hotels compared to many other countries and you get higher penalties for tax evasion than if you have raped children. No wonder that we have criminals, many commit crimes before winter just to have a warm place to sleep. There is so much more injustice to sing about than just death and stuff, and when it’s personal, it feels more real.”
What bands or people were the inspiration to play the style you play?
"During the writing of "En Naturlig Död", we listened to PORTAL and SKITSYSTEM a lot. It’s always exciting to explore the dissonance when it comes to music, not having to feel limited by musical rules, scales and whatnot and PORTAL is incredibly good at digging deep into the dark atmosphere and that is very inspiring.”
Talking about your style: would your mother have loved the album?
"Needless to say, it hurt when she passed away and to write this record was one of many ways to process pain. She would not be able to listen to more than a minute of this album, she was not a big fan of extreme music.”
Did you know about the defunct Swedish Black Metal band DRÅP when you chose the name?
"Yeah, we don’t mind that there’s another DRÅP around. If anything would ever fuck up we have all the legal rights to the name covered.”
Thinking of Sweden, it’s a very vivid and rich Crust and D-Beat scene that comes to mind, asides from the big Death Metal scene. Lots of angry and pretty pissed off bands… But Sweden is still a country with one of the best social security systems in the world. Do you have an explanation, why there are still so much angry bands?
"We are very good at creating our own problems. It’s not perfect. There is a lot of surreptitious racism and there is much more tension under the surface than you might think. I am incredibly grateful to get to live in a country where you do not have to worry about bombs suddenly raining over your head. I also think that in some case we are too well off here. Not many people are taking advantage of the certain amount of freedom we have.”
How is your connection to other Swedish Crust and D-Beat bands?
"A band that we’ve been proud to share stage with is INFRACTION from Gävle. Great guys, great band! You should really check them out!”
You did the LP “En Naturlig Död” on your own, completely independent. Wasn’t there any label that was interested? Or was it your intention to do it all your own way?
"We did not have the time to wait, we felt like we had to put the record out. It required a lot of hard work but now it feels great, it was the first time I released a record by myself. Previously, I’ve helped some friends to make a few tapes, we made some copies for INFRACTION that I mentioned a moment ago. I have no plans to invest heavily in the record business other than our own records. If I had more time, it would be an option but it is too much as it is already. You need to have some time off also beyond music to keep the interest alive.”
Where did you record it? And how long did it take to record the album?
"At Blast Beat Studio here in Sundsvall with John Henriksson from GLUTTONY as producer. It took a couple of days, the mixing process took most of the time since we used a very different bass distortion pedal for the guitars. It sounded very unique and we thought it was a coincidence, we were actually supposed to record with an HM’2 pedal (same guitar sound as ENTOMBED, ROTTEN SOUND, etc.) but the result was good. The reason why was that we simply had forgotten the HM’2 pedal at home, as professional as we are, haha!”
The cover art looks very fitting. Who was responsible for the illustration?
"Michael Norback from Raw Hate did all the artwork. Great dude, very talented!”
Will the album be limited? Or will you do re-pressings once it’s sold out?
"We will not do a second release of the LP version. The album was released on CD by EMF Records April 4, 2014, a month before we released the LP ourselves. There is a Japanese version on CD coming out soon with some different layout and stuff! It will be limited to 500 copies. This version comes with a poster with all the lyrics translated from Swedish to Japanese.”
You said you are planning on doing a tour in Germany in early December. What can we expect from those shows?
"Yes, we will go out with it as soon as we’ve got more dates confirmed. We book everything ourselves, so it also requires a lot of work of course and we still need all the help we can get. But what people can expect is nothing less than a chaotic, aggressive outburst of dark Swedish Grind and D-beat. We have a lot of new material that is even more dark and heavy, the writing process for the new album has been going on for a while and all the artwork is done, but we want to show it live before we record it.”
The show in Verden, Germany (the only one confirmed yet) will be in a youth center. Is this the kind of location you prefer for your gigs?
"It was more than what we knew about the show in Verden, haha! But that’s cool, we do prefer smaller venues. Obviously, you get more in touch with the audience and we are not some rockstars who expect to play on big stages. This is music that is for everyone and not just for those who can afford to go to the arena concerts.”
Did you play many shows yet?
"The first time we rehearsed as a unit, was about a year ago now and even though we are still relatively new, we’ve done quite a few gigs so far. Over this summer we have been forced to decline a lot of gigs to in favour of our jobs and personal life etc.”
Do you already have any plans on new records? And what can we look forward to?
"Yep, we have some new songs, we have plans for two compilation albums to which we will contribute with a song each and of course more stuff, we are discussing right now whether it is relevant to do a split or to make another full-length. It is more stimulating to focus on writing music and not feel the need to push out a few mediocre songs to fill an album. We have a lot going on anyway, that is how I prefer it too. It almost feels strange when there is nothing to do and have to force myself to relax sometimes. If you want something done, you ask someone who is busy, you know.”
Do you see any limits for DRÅP, or do you just wait and see what happens?
"It feels silly to limit yourself musically, especially when people discuss if all the good music has already been written or not. I’m a big fan of Phil Anselmo’s solo project and the whole focus on making something unique instead of just choosing a genre, in our case Crust, and just do the exact same thing that has already been done in 20, 30 years. DRÅP is a band to which everything has come very naturally, both performing live, recording music, the interaction as a band and the lyrics and we look forward to what the future has to offer.”
So, thanks a lot for your time! We’ll meet in Verden!
"Thank you! Really looking forward to it, let’s have a beer and talk about music all night. Cheers mate!” Thanks again, Joche!
All those who musically need a kick in the butt and in the head every now and then should check DRÅP at: http://drapcrust.bandcamp.com and www.facebook.com/pages/dråp/305747579538779. You might also check out the official video of ‘Preparat’ here.