JANUARY 23rd 2018

LETTERS FROM THE COLONY


Welcome to Metaltitans, we are here with Progressive math metal architects “Letters From The Colony”. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Interview By: Metal Mom


Hi, my name is Sebastian Svalland, I play guitar in LFTC.
Thank you for having me!

1. First, tell us how or what the inspiration was for the band name. To me, thinking Colony, a group of people together, (meaning the band), letters from .. again, thinking songs from the colony…so how far off am I 😉 ?

Haha! We wanted a name that is not typical metal name, so no "death" or "crimson lightning in the shades of my blanket". We have a folk song here in Sweden that is called "Brev från kolonien", which means Letters From The Colony. It was our first drummer Henrik that came up with the idea, and we all liked it, it was something else.

2. You are from a smaller town (Borlänge, Sweden), with about 52,000 people, tell us how the band members all came to be in the band:

Vocals: Alexander Backlund
A friend for the band since the early years.
Alexander (Backe) mixed our first EPs/demos and he had a band with Johan (Gaard) before any of them joined LFTC.
Backe was a stand-in for us at one gig in Stockholm and we all knew him, so we decided to let him be a full member.
Guitar: Sebastian Svalland
It was me Jonas (current drummer), Henrik (former drummer) and Max (former singer) that started the band.
I have a friend (Daniel) that is Henriks brother, so I met Henrik via his brother and he played music that I liked so we started to play in the school together. They had a band already with Jonas and Max, so we started to rehearse together after some time we became Letters From The Colony.
Guitar: Johan Jönsegård
We wanted to have a bass player because the former bass player did not have the skill enough to play this type of music, we knew that Johan (Gaard) played guitar in a band with Alexander (Backe) and that he was good at it. The band that they played in called it quits and we took him to us as fast as we could.
Bass: Emil Östberg
Emil is the newest member of the band.
Gaard had played bass for us for some years and he is originally a guitar player, and he missed playing guitar. So, we decided that he takes the guitar spot and that we search for a bass player instead. We knew about Emil and that he is a bass player, a real bass player. So, we reached out to him, and he has been with the band since.
Drums: Jonas Sköld
He has the same story as me, we were here from the beginning.

3. Okay, you will have to excuse me, but I am not familiar with the term, math metal, could you explain to me, and maybe some who also don’t know this term?

I´m not sure either, I heard it for the first time when Meshuggah was called that.
I think it is about when bands play metal with odd time signatures, so maybe we are being called math metal for that reason. I don´t know, I don´t see us as a math metal band but people can and will call us for different genres to fit us in somewhere.
I do not care as much about that discussion anymore.

4. Did you practice in the catacombs below the venue Cozmoz when you first started up, or where was your rehearsal rooms?

Yes, that is right, many Borlänge bands starts off from there.

5. You originally formed back in 2010, is that correct, so what made you decide to pick the genre you did, these days it must be hard to compete with the other metal bands out there?

Yes, that is correct.
It was sort of a mixture of what kind of music that we liked.
There is so many good bands, that is a good thing, competition is healthy.
If anyone likes our music, that is a bonus.

6. You have had some lineup changes over the years, do you think this might have hurt you in any way, because for me, I am sorry, but 2017 was the first year I had heard of you guys, glad I did by the way.

Yes of course, we have had some pretty rough years. We are a band that goes all in, we have done that from the beginning and sometimes that is not what everyone wants and then you have to regroup and find new people.  I have said this many times, but it feels better than ever with this lineup.

7. It must be hard to keep members of the band, as it is a very busy lifestyle, full time plus more, no real time for personal life, unless you have a very understanding girlfriend or wife, so what makes it worthwhile for you to be in a band?

Actually, me and my girlfriend broke up this day. But yeah, I told her when we met that I played in a band and that I want to play on the big stage. So, she understood that I needed the time with the band. I think that this should never be an issue, you have to talk to your partner and tell her what you want. If it doesn´t work, then it simply doesn´t.

8. At one point you were searching for a vocalist, and Alexander Backlund filled the spot, as he was familiar with the material, but were you shocked that he exceeded all expectations, especially never playing or rehearsing with the band prior?

No, I was not shocked. I knew his potential and since he had mixed the EPs/demos, he had listened a lot to the songs. I was surprised that he sounded so good with us, he sounded better than I expected, so that was a good thing!

9. You have a new album about to be released through Nuclear Blast on February 16th, titled “Vignette”, I am curious as how you came up with the name?

The album title is a metaphor for a picture where nature is a vignette surrounding humanity. We´re too focused on the center to really see what’s going on at the edges. We´re living as if our resources were endless, and this vignette will consume more and more of the picture until there’s nothing left and society collapses. What happens once we´re gone?


10. Does everyone in the band suggest their ideas for a name, then you pick the best, how does it work?

We are a very democratic band, everyone has a vote. But no, not everyone had ideas, it did not take so long time before we decided with the name.

11. How long did it take from writing the songs, until the finished product about to be released?


This album is our first and it summons our time as a demo band.
So, there is some pretty old songs in there that have had a facelift. So, let´s say the earliest song was written maybe in 2011 and the newest in 2015.

12. Did you have any problem while recording or mixing?

Of course, heavy rain weather..
The water found itself a way down to our studio and damaged the floor.
We had to evacuate our equipment temporary.
The guitar that I recorded rhythm guitar with got pretty beat up by the water, but I let it dry for a couple of days and cleaned it and a bit of service, but with luck it worked.
And then of course some phasing problems and ordinary recording problems.

13. Where was the recording/mixing done, and why that studio?

 In 2014 I bought a studio (the equipment) from a friend that had a studio next to "The Abyss" studio. I found a place to have the gear in our hometown, so we created our own studio and rehearsal.
So, we created this album ourselves, we recorded everything in that studio and Alexander "Backe" (singer) mixed the whole album.

14. I read that the final mixes were sent off to Jens Bogren of Fascination Street Studios for mastering. Again, I am sorry, but why does a CD go to different studios for the process of recording/mixing/mastering?


In our case we wanted to have a tier 1 mastering. Alexander "Backe" mixed the album and he did a great job, but we wanted an outsider’s perspective. We all like Bogrens sound so there was no argue in that decision.

15. You signed with Nuclear Blast in Germany, was it a long process to find just the right label to release it?

Nuclear Blast was the right label from the start. This is the biggest thing for me in terms of labels, my favourite label as a kid. It was a long process, it took around two years between the first conversation to signing the deal. They really liked the music, but the timing was not right. So many big releases etc. But I am happy now afterwards for the time, we learned many new things.

16. Who writes the lyrics for the songs? And where do the ideas come from?

Our singer Alexander (Backe) wrote all the lyrics for this album.
It probably comes from tinder.

17. How many songs are on the album, and do you personally have a favourite among them?

There are 9 tracks on the album. I have actually no favourite, I like the songs in different ways.

18. The artist for the artwork on the cover is Chris Panatier, what made you choose Chris to do the artwork, and how did the idea come about for the deer?


Our first drummer Henrik played in a band called Totem Skin, their artwork for "Weltschmerz" was done by Chris Panatier. It looked so cool that I had to contact him. I sampled a deer on the track "Vignette" so the idea for it to be in the artwork came from there.

19. Tell us what people can expect to hear from your album?

 
Many things, I think that it is a dynamic album in terms of not having the same structure over and over again. It could be overwhelming at first, but I like songs that grow on me and I try to write in that way.

20. Did you have a band that inspired you as you were growing up, making you decide that this is exactly what you wanted to be doing?

Pink Floyd showed me mastermind in music, It is and always will be my favourite band.  I didn´t like growl and scream until I turned around 15. When I was 17 or 18 I heard Lamb of God for the first time. It was at that point that I wanted to play guitar in a metal band. Their riffing is so playful and good sounding, so Lamb of God is probably the band that has inspired Letters From The Colony the most.
Of course, when I found out Meshuggah I was no longer the same person, I love the way they tweak things in a way that you haven´t heard in music and you think that it is Aliens that playing music.

21. What kind of music do you enjoy while not working on LFTC?

All kinds of music, I´m listening to Karnivool right now.
Very very very very nice band.

22. Do you have a band that you listen to, that is guilty pleasure? That no one would expect you to listen to.


Well it is not quite a guilty pleasure, but I really like "Emelie Nicolas". A Norwegian girl that sings so good to electronic music. The musicians that plays with her are so good, they have a lot of progginess in their songs and I didn´t think that this music existed.
She is the best female artist in the world in my opinion.

23. After your release of “Vignette”, what are your plans? A tour maybe?

What we want is to play the summer festivals and a support tour with a major band.
I really hope to meet new people and play in new places in 2018.

24. What kind of fun things would we find you doing if you were not working on the band?

Not much actually, this is my life, this is all I want to do. I play bass for another band called "In mourning".
But other than that, I don’t do so much that isn´t about music.

Tack (Thank you), for taking the time to do this interview with us, we appreciate it, and we wish you much success with your new album “Vignette”. Also hope to see you over here in North America on tour on day.

Thank you so much for having me. I really hope to come to North America as well!

Best regards
Sebastian Svalland
Sebastian@lettersfromthecolony.com
www.lettersfromthecolony.com