Letters From The Colony recently signed a personal huge record deal with Nuclear Blast Records. They will be releasing their debut album, a powerful law breaker titled Vignette on February 16th. There are songs in this album that will floor you, with intense beat blast, infused with a saxophone sound displaying the ability to write mind bending music. The swedes have aggression to display, with math metal, breakdowns and furious chaotic guitar sounds. The vocals by Alexander Backlund are progressive, and draw you in to the maelstrom within. The content of this album is packed with sounds similar to those of Meshuggah, and the addition of a deer matting call will transport you to the forest, a place we have all forgotten about. Vignette will have you smashing, it is a defiant sound, built for those who enjoy whirlwinds of metal. The drums (Jonas Sköld) are explosive, and add a catastrophic feel to each song, being mused by the sound of polk and jazz guitars ( Sebastian Svalland –Johan Jönsegård ), this band has reinvented aggressive metal. We had a chat with Alexander Backlund and he gave us the insight on how they drew Nuclear Blast attention, and all the hard work they endure to release this influential album.
Reported By: Hostile Jo
WORDS FROM THE COLONY: A TIME TO SHINE
You will be releasing the new brutal album title Vignette, on February 16th, via Nuclear Blast records how are you guys preparing for this event?
“It has been really fun to be able to do this at the scale that we are doing, having a real label behind us, I hope they print a lot of records. Its being super fun we’ve been preparing a lot for the release.”
The term math metal is being constructed in this extreme wave of sounds played by you, among the few, what does math metal mean to you?
“Genre is just an endless mystery, we have been called progressive metal and the whole spectrum, we have been pretty busy, our debut is young and new to the game.”
This sound is taken to a different level, musically and structurally, to say the least you even have a saxophone in the mix, what brought about that idea to incorporate that instrument?
“That is something that Sebastian had his mind set on from the start, we thought on it for weeks on how to do it in the studio. I think their is a Pink Floyd flow song that he used to listen to when he was younger. We don’t want to be put to a certain compartment,if you do both you are an idiot, if there are rules we want to break them. So we added the saxophone.”
In such a saturated metal world, how do you separate your self from the rest of the bands and create such at ambitious sound like the track titled Galax?
“I guess it’s not something that we do intentionally, we don’t write weird riffs for the sake of it, it is a technique that Sebastian uses. He works in very mysterious ways, he is very detail oriented. If there is a riff he does it. Then works on details later, he starts with a bend in the middle, then works his way backwards or forward, he is not hearing the full picture in his head. He has a certain detail that he works with.”
As a lead singer and song writer what are your primary focuses in terms of subject matter for this album?
“I had a pretty interesting process for this album, I went down to the studio for little over a week. Plugged the microphone and opened a word document, I would just write what was on my mind. It would be the lyrics, most of the content landed between social commentary, some of us that are still post of the majority, with all the social media and what not, then there is the stuff people don’t think about because they are so busy with the other stuff.
For instance people do not think that smart phones have elements that we dig up from the earth elements, then dispose of it because its not new anymore. They have hurt the earth and don’t care anymore. Another example, the panda’s are gonna go extinct and people don’t care. I cant really pint point a theme but it is about the world and the anger, I need some real emotion behind my vocals. It would be very hard for me to deliver performances.”
You initially were the band’s producer for several years, as the event presented it self for you to sing for Letters From The Colony in a sudden decision, how were you able to deliver such a powerful performance without rehearsing with the guys or even played with them?
“I’ve been there from the start, I’ve worked with the band very closely. I’ve been responsible for the sound as a producer and mixing engineer. To me it’s a surprise that it didn’t happened sooner, the style I settled with this band is nothing I’ve ever done, very aggressive loud, not typical laid-back control growl. It is a scream sort of your Reign in Blood style from Slayer, screaming.”
Did you take any singing classes in grade school, or how did you learn to deliver such intense vocals?
“It is actually a combination why I ended up with this style of vocals, watched some youtube videos trying to do this. I basically had my first band when I was 17 or something like that. I thought I was a good vocalist, but turns out that I sucked. I practice a lot and got better, with screaming you have to do it right, otherwise if you do it for a year you will wear out your vocals. That band went to shit, so I didn’t do any screaming for years and years, then with left I picked it up again and found out that everything was pure reflex, my voice had changed, it sounded in a totally different way. I am not doing anything new, but my body is doing something new.”
You guys were highly recommended by Peter Tagtgren, has he worked with you guys before?
“It was actually Sebastian friend, there is a small town it is more of a village not far from here. Sebastian grew up next to him, they were friends he has his own studio (Abyss), artists would come over friends of his, it could be guys like Opeth. Because he has been signed with Nuclear Blast with his band Pain and hypocrisy I guess he always thought that Nuclear Blast was the label he needed to be in to be cool. That has always been his dream, he emailed people and throw up some hooks. He said you know some people of Nuclear Blast can you send them some samples they loved the music we were creating and we got a deal.
We are working a lot with the dynamics, you have to have something with a lesser intensity, if you are doing blast beats you need to do heavier, you need to tone it down to do something heavy. It is something we all like, clean guitars jazz, polk.”
You have a Deer mating call in the interlude in this album, I want the fans to hear the entire album to keep an ear opened for it, what brought that idea up?
“There is a titled track and in it is the mating call of a deer, the female deer, something that Sebastian picked up a long time ago. He liked the sound of it and it stuck. Maybe he watched a documentary, he said the deer sounds nice, he went on line and search it and added it to the clean guitars. A lot of stuff in the album are based in that song, the lyrics are about nature taking back the planet from us because we have neglected to take care of it. A lot of the album is based about that. The singles and art work, there is an owl flapping its wings, a fox walking among the ruins, the deer it sort of encompasses the whole thing. A majestic animal walking through the ruins of the civilization.
Christ Panatier is the artist for all the art work on the album.. he is a great dude, an amazing talented guy. So fun, you can see his work on the paper, it must have taken days to design it. “
What places are you guys focusing on touring in support of Vignette?
“Nuclear Blast can make anything happen, we want to tour the US, it has been a dream of mine for ages. Not something you start with as a European band, but maybe next year. we got a few connections with Nuclear Blast booking agencies, they are good people to talk to about this sort of stuff. They started dropping big names and we were like oh shit. So yea even if it’s like the least coolest band that they mention we are down to tour.”
How insane is it for you guys to go from singles to a full record deal with the most extreme record label out there?
“I Try to keep my feet on the ground as much as possible it is an ongoing process in my mind, rationalizing it. We are on the biggest label, we worked our asses off for this, there has been so much talking and planning. We have a pretty good album I’m told I want to feel like I deserve this because it is easy to feel like a nobody. I don’t want people to say “You are only where you are because Peter”. Now I am here doing an interview on Skype, but it is a lot of hard work both in planning stages, writing and all the hours in the studio. It is nice to finally start to get something back from it. I guess I haven’t really fully how big of a deal it is. Some friends come to us and say do you know how freaking insane is. It is.”
Reported by: Hostile Jo
Check out the album track listing below:
01. Galax (8:20)
02. Erasing Contrast (4:49)
03. The Final Warning (5:57)
04. This Creature Will Haunt Us Forever (1:38)
05. Cataclysm (4:59)
06. Terminus (6:53)
07. Glass Palaces (6:37)
08. Sunwise (4:14)
09. Vignette (12:12)
LETTERS FROM THE COLONY are:
Alexander Backlund – Vocals
Sebastian Svalland – Guitar
Johan Jönsegård – Guitar
Emil Östberg – Bass
Jonas Sköld – Drums
Vignette is now available for pre-order and you can get the physical editions of the new album here: http://nblast.de/LFTCVignette