Monthly Archives: November 2013

NEVER SAFE: LIFELOVER

Sometimes you say more when you don’t say anything. I guess this was the case with Kim Larsen and Lifelover in this interview. In these short, bored answers lies maybe a truth about Lifelover’s situation back then – maybe all this gloom and nausea became too high and exhausting for Larsen to handle, and when a member B deceased about seven months after the release of Sjukdom, it was just a relieving reason to end the band logically. Or maybe I’m wrong. But Kim Larsen in this interview is another person compared to Kim Larsen in my Hypothermia interview from 2007, that’s for sure. 

So, Lifelover is dead and buried, but Hypothermia is rising its wings slowly. Also Larsen’s other creation, a band called Kall is finally getting something done. Let’s see what happens next. I hope we haven’t heard the last words from this cold, bloody and cold-bloodied Swede yet.

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(Originally published in Imperiumi.net 2011)

You have climbed higher and higher during your career, and the labels are bigger and bigger: Konkurs was released by Avantgarde, Dekadens by Osmose and now you are under the wings of Prophecy Records. What does this ascent tell about Lifelover and about this world in general?

– As we evolve as a band it’s only natural that we’re not staying at one label for our whole existence.

I find it a bit weird that a band which is so radical, which is singing about anguish and suicide and has included pills to their earlier albums (I have still that pill left!), is now so famous. Okay, we have Marilyn Manson, Slipknot etc. but you are still more realistic and therefore more serious with your thing in my opinion. Do you find any reasons behind this maybe your bittersweet style to combine catchy pop melodies and terrifying lyrical themes or something else?

– I see nothing weird or terrifying about anything we do. We are still calm, we’re just getting started… The reason for our way of creating songs is simply because it’s what comes as natural for us.

And is one of your goals to be a big band commercially? For example, would it be cool/shameful/something else to be worshipped by thousands and get news about people who have committed a suicide inspired by Lifelover?

– Anything can be considered success depending on what associations anyone may have to this word and how you may define it. Any of what you mention could be considered success while I honestly don’t care. We will continue to do what we feel like regardless of being in a studio or on a stage, no matter if it’s for many or few.

Your new album Sjukdom will be released among other versions as a limited boxset which includes a razor, a syringe etc. This reminds me of Watain’s decision to include tarot cards and candles to the special version of their Lawless Darkness album: after that they got accused of commercializing magick and occult. Are you doing same thing to suicidal topics or is it this just sick humour?

– Perhaps a little bit of both and something more. Or maybe they just like us or our label felt like including something that some of the listeners would have use for in their every-day life in relation to the kind of music and message they support by purchasing the product.

Well, let’s talk about more earthly topics next. You released three albums in three years, then an EP but after that there was more than a year of silence. Did you suffer of inspirational vacuum or what was the reason behind this silent year? Was Sjukdom a difficult album to write down and record?

– We strive to evolve and to do this naturally we can’t let something like time affect anything we do. Creating an album can take anything from days to years regardless of inspiration.

How do you see the nature of making albums for yourselves in general: is it easy, painful or maybe just necessary to get the songs from your hands?

– It’s all of this and much more.

I listened to Sjukdom in two different situations. At first I was going to my workplace, it was a beautiful morning and everything was fine this time I didn’t get about anything from the music. The next time was when I was returning from a bar at night I was drunk, it was cold and there were noisy and annoying people around me – this time the songs hit me harder and I found some sort of a contact with your music. So, do you think that Lifelover’s music needs a certain atmosphere? And what kind of an atmosphere fit with Sjukdom best?

– Any situation got its soundtrack, it’s as simple as that.

How about taking risks in making music? Although there have been slight variations between your albums, I find them all quite similar in the end. So what kind of experiments did you make when writing/recording Sjukdom and is progressing and variations important or necessary for Lifelover at all?

– I neither see any risks or experiments as what we do is somewhat experimental by nature while doing what we feel is right. We always find new ways to create songs even if it might not be very clear for everyone it will be evident with time. Of course progress is important.

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It would be easy to see that Lifelover has also socially critical aspects how this society is living half-life filled with affectation and hidden nausea. Also some of your album titles mainly Konkurs, Dekadens and Sjukdom can be seen descriptions of the world’s state today. Do you try to say something about this world with your music, or do you create music just for/about yourselves?

– It’s a yes to both as we’re reflecting about what we feel, experience and what is around us.

For us Finns Sweden is a land of softness easy Ikea life, not any real problems, princes and princesses with fake smiles on their faces… This kind of softness can be a double-edged sword after all though: when the majority lives their life like zombies, the renegade souls like you can turn this all to hate and disgust and power. How do you see your home country and its affection to your music?

– I don’t want to talk about this.

If we take a look on the previous big news from Sweden, one of them was about this guy who raised fear by shooting people in Malmö. Another is the suicide bomber with Islamic background. These happenings tell us that no one is safe anymore, not even in Scandinavia. So we are heading to darkness, but is this a right direction in your opinion?

– No one is ever safe, sometimes people just get reminded by this as most people prefer to forget reality. You are never safe and you will never be.

And so we can end this interview to a worn-out topic perhaps: your band’s name. Like I mentioned in the previous question, mankind is pushing itself over the edge, and therefore it feels that celebrating death and the total extinction is maybe the best option after all – more life means more suffering, more idiots and more useless continuation on this shit planet. So is it suitable to love life anymore, or should we take your band name ironically and turn its meaning upside down?

– You should do anything you want with it and make the most of it. There is meaning for anyone to find in what we are and what we do. There are endless scenarios that can be adapted to this. Celebrate anything you want.

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THE CHOSEN THREE: OCTOBER 2013

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It’s just so enjoyable to see how bizarre these trios come in the end. Like this one of October: Paavoharju and Ulver go quite well together but then there is this German bastard ripping everything apart in the middle. And that’s how it must go: you always go through different phases, feelings and states of mind, but in the end everything is in their right place – and usually there is always a song or two to give a decent soundtrack to every moment. Therefore I’m quite satisfied with my music taste and my iPod, which gets me through my daily bus trips (40 minutes) to my workplace and back. It’s not maybe the right thing to strengthen especially negative feelings by listening music that fits that feeling before going to work but whatta hell – if there is a chance to fly in the air or dwell in the abyss, I’m ready for it. You can find me from the both ends of the line.

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Ulver: Messe I.X-VI.X (Jester 2013)

These wolves seem to change their fur with every release. If the latest offering before this, The Childhood’s End was a dark hippy retrospective to the sixties, this time Ulver team up with Tromso chamber orchestra. Music is flowing from two different sides – electronic and classical – and they create a well-working dialogue where neither overshadows other. Vice versa, these sides hum and wave, like a sea or a mass (hence the title of the album?), with silence and a voice. Messe I.X-VI.X is mostly instrumental, which just adds the effect of this weird atmosphere, and there is also enough variation to keep things interesting. While a few tracks sound like modern classical music, you can also find nods to Tangerine Dream’s hypnotic monotony or Ulver’s own electronic pulses. Yes, this album is still an Ulver album despite all these new spices and solutions. Very good, atmospheric music for this autumn.

Shri Schneiderhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxwiotbnJUU

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Beyond: Fatal Power of Flesh (Iron Bonehead 2013)

This German gruesome group flashed their potential on their demo and seven-inch earlier so it was only logical to create a full-length assault next. Beyond’s brutal, chaotic but still quite dynamic death metal worked very well in these smaller doses, so it was interesting to see how they managed to run through a longer amok. Well, don’t worry: although the album loses its focus now and then, the band combines quite well the traditional elements of death metal to the more twisted and darker sides of death. For example you can get messy bludgeon which crushes you totally with its power but then the band can also throw a very simple mid-tempo section after that. It’s like floating on a stormy sea: sometimes you’re helpless and almost drowning but then you find a piece of rope which gives a second to take breath – and then another leviathan strangles you with its tentacles. 49 minutes of this kind of struggle is a lot, but still Fatal Power of Flesh keeps its charm quite well and possesses you to come back to it time after time.

Appearance from Beyondhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcURYmVfMrg

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Paavoharju: Joko sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen sinne (Svart 2013)

Paavoharju was known as a lo-fi electro folk group, which had interest in lowlife lifestyle, death, God, Devil and so on. Especially their debut Yhä hämärää (2005) was a canvas of sounds, scratches, stitches, ether and so on. Now they are here again, but new things are crawling from the shadows of dirty shelters. Drum machines. Lazy beats. Hiphop. Triphop. Rap. Paavoharju has taken a daring step and created a monster that includes the organic and obscure main character of the band but also rhythmic touches, especially in the form of a performance of rapper Paperi T. Finnish verses full of biblical references, grotesque details and pure blunt depression give the whole thing a very interesting atmosphere which might sound a bit too “out there” at first but at least in my case the whole thing started to work better and better with time. And those lyrics… I think that the line “Lempi-ihmiset ovat alastomia tai kuolleita” / “(my) favourite people are either naked or dead” includes more evilness than countless preaches of black metal. Add a few really tender moments, a couple of performances from a long-time collaborator Joose Keskitalo and a hint of apocalypse, and you are there. Under everything.

Patsaatkin kuolevathttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pzPiwNys08