Interview: Slutavverkning

Swedish band Slutavverkning are a bit of a supergroup, having quite a vast history in the modern music scene. As such, I expected good things from their unique brand of metal, and I was not disappointed! I reviewed their track, Grisar, recently, which you should check out if you like your heavier music.

By Jane Howkins

You’ve recently released a single titled Grisar. What can you tell us about the track?  

Pelle Andersson (guitar): It mixes a lot of our musical influences. Sonic Youth-like guitar riffs, krautrock inspired rhythms and there’s some metal in there too – but without the typical ‘metal distortion.’ Isak added a whole new level of anxiety to the sound with his saxophone, squealing like a tortured pig.

Jon Ekström (vocals): And that’s what inspired the lyrics! After hearing Isak’s solo, it was obvious that the track had to be about pigs in one way or another. At the end, all the lyrics ended up about them in various forms; actual pigs as well as human pigs. Grisar is based on a true story about a man who lived in our area, had lots of pigs and let them roam free. It caused him a lot of trouble with the authorities. 

How has the reception to Grisar been so far, and where can it be purchased?

Pelle: We are so happy that our fans seem to like it, as it’s pretty different from our earlier stuff. What’s even more surprising is the amount of positive feedback and interesting thoughts from journalists like yourself. We know that it’s far from ‘easy listening,’ so we are very thankful for everybody who is open to it.

Jon: The single is out on all major digital platforms and, of course, it will be featured on the upcoming album!

Do you plan to release any more singles soon?

Pelle: Yeah, we actually just released another one. It’s called Realisation, which translates to ‘on sale.’ Originally it sounded similar to our earlier songs, almost like traditional punk. So we wanted to do something unexpected and threw a long, atmospheric feel-bad jam in the mix!

Your album Levande Charader is coming out soon. What can you tell us about the album, and when will it be released?

Jon: The album will be out September 1st on Feral Cuts, a Vancouver based DIY label. Vinyl, cassettes and T-shirts can be purchased on slutavverkning.b… and it will be available on all the streaming platforms too.

Pelle: When I started writing the music, I knew I wanted something more adventurous than a straight punk record with saxophones. I’ve been listening to a lot of Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore’s avant-garde approach to the guitar definitely influenced the direction. I also listened to a lot of dark, synth based bands like DAF and Joy Division, and really connected with the minimalistic, pattern-based drumming they were doing. So, I asked Marcus to skip the cymbals and just play it ‘clean,’ but with the signature weird rhythms he’s so good at. He did a great job, even if I was a big pain in his ass telling him “less of this and less of that” haha! Per glued it all together with his heavy and solid noise metal bass lines and then we just let Isak improvise freely like the free spirit he is. Brilliant musician. Jon is such a unique vocalist with great technique, he just laid his vocals on top of everything. They didn’t needed any extra distortion or effects, just the plain raw power from his throat! 

Jon: We did it all during lockdown, everybody recording their own parts, but it was a really collaborative creative process. It might be crazy music, but it kept us sane during such uncertain times!

Your music has a really unique sound. What/who influences you most as artists? What have you been listening to recently?

Pelle: Thanks a lot. We always aim to do whatever feels new and interesting for us and this is why it was important to modify the formula a bit after the three EPs. We are ‘all-eaters,’ as we say it in Sweden. I’m listening to music even when I’m sleeping: the new PJ Harvey, Nina Simone and Max Richter records are great for that too. Who knows, we might do a chill-out album next! Haha.

Do you have anything else exciting coming up?

Jon: We are gearing up for some live shows in Sweden. The dates can be found on the website. We started writing a new EP, with the working title Garbage/Trash that should be out next year!

The band features members of Opeth, Candlemass, Fire! Orchestra and Dödsvarg. How did you all get together? Do you have any other side projects on the go?

Pelle: Marcus, Per and myself are old friends, and Jon and I are colleagues in our day-job. We connected instantly, and other than Slutavverkning, we have another project together called Arvsmassan. It’s calm but dark synth-based music, we have 3 albums out and more on the way. Jon has been doing Dödsvarg for a very long time, it’s a solo project where he melts everything he’s into from ambient to hardcore punk. Per was in Opeth for a long time, and he’s put out two solo albums under his own name since. Really cool mash up of rock, metal and progressive music. He also plays live with countless amazing bands like Candlemass, Spiritual Beggars, Switchblade, Kamchatka, King Hobo, and appeared on stage with Clutch, too, earlier this year. Isak, who knew Jon from way back, plays in Fire! Orchestra and also has a crazy freeform jazz band with Sebastian Murphy from Viagra Boys called Grismask. He filled in on sax with those boys too on one of their recent tours. Marcus is the leader of a band called Bongo Brains. It’s reggae and soul type of music, and I’m also a member there.

You’re from Sweden. What is the local scene like at the moment?

Jon: There are lots of great bands in more or less every genre. Dull, XIAO, and Underground Fire are some current favourites. Things have changed after the pandemic, though. There’s a lack of money. There are stages, but it’s kind of hard for smaller bands to get a gig. At least if you don’t want to pay to play…

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

Pelle: Unfortunately not, but if you get us an invitation, a venue with backline, some fish & chips and a pint of Guinness, we’ll be right there with you!

Any last words for the fans?

Pelle: Thank you for listening to these oddballs from Stockholm! Be kind, be interested.

Jon: More jazz-punk to the people!