Sometimes it is awesome to help friends. When being a music blog that’s not always easy, because how do you tell someone you like “I think we cannot help you, because the record is not good (at all)”? Difficult and sometimes awkward. In the case of KOLLAPS\E, the constellation of musician - reviewer is an easy one, because the band is constantly evolving and their latest record The Phantom Centre is an awesome piece of Post-Metal, full of heavy songs, brilliant dynamics and loads of atmosphere! Therefore we had to sit down with Daniel, the mastermind behind the band and talk about the band’s development, the songs, the pandemic and so much more. Enjoy!
Daniel, can you tell me a little bit about the musical background of you and your bandmates? In which other projects might we have seen you? What genres have your former bands been in?
Sure thing, will try my best to remember.
So me (Daniel) has been in bands since 1996… probably earlier but I’ll use that year since this was the first real thing, it was called Torment and we played some metallic hardcore. In the vein of the famous Belgian sound. Deviate, length of time etc etc etc. We disbanded in ‘98 and I moved on from vocals to playing guitar and screaming in a band called The Nemesis Noise Project. (Silly name, I know ; ) and this band tried really hard to sound like “Isis”. The Mosquito Control / The Red Sea … Recorded three songs and had I sent out into the world and it ended up on Rage of Achilles (Cult of Luna) but the deal fell through and we never heard from that guy again. This band was also short-lived and we mutated in 2000, recruited some members and renamed ourselves to Miss Mofet (*Silence of the Lambs). And this is where me and Johannes first crossed paths. He’s not the original drummer of MM but he was in the band by the time we went on our first Euro tour with Rentokiller in 2003. Miss Mofet took the best part of our previous band and added some new influences.. we used to say, Converge meets His Hero is Gone and Majority Rule.. kind of.
MM came to an end in 2004, and I moved back to my hometown (Helsingborg). Started a band in ‘05 called Hearts Alive.. (Metal/Hardcore/Metalcore) released three albums, got fucked by Rising Records (Bleed From Within), toured Europe twice and a lot of other crazy and fun things… this is the longest running band and we went our separate ways in 2014. And its through Hearts Alive that me and Peter ended up being friends, and he eventually joined the band for its last year.
After H.A. I took some time away from music, started to work for DHL (nightshift) and just doing other things.. but the itch to play was always there. So me and Peter had started to talk about doing something… but we didn’t know what and with whom. So I reached out to my friend Johannes (Miss Mofet) and asked if he would be interested in playing again, because I knew he didn’t have a band at that moment.
So now we were three.
We talked about musical direction and me and Peter had just been to a show in Gothenburg with a band called We dream Alone that me and him both liked a lot… think Burst… and we discussed bands like CoL, Isis and things in that vein.. Something heavy, sludgy and not as chaotic as our previous bands… so in 2018 we formally formed as KOLLAPS\E.
Time went on and in 2019 Dennis joined on bass. Me, Dennis and Johannes all knew each other from before but we have never played together, at least not the three of us, and he really wanted to join after seeing some short videos on FB. So that was a done deal.
I think we are a diverse band musically.
We come from similar backgrounds but we’ve been involved with a lot different styles of music.
Metal, Hardcore, Pop, Rock, Electronic, etc etc. So we try to put all our influences in to this to band and hopefully do things a bit different than our influences.
Sorry, might have strayed from the path on this question ;)
Now, you have been a band for several years and I know that you have been busting your butts off to get a foot in the door – would you say that the hyper-availability of music on the web is a curse or a blessing for new bands?
Hmm. I would say its a blessing and a curse.
Back when I got into the whole promoting my band stuff you copied a tape, sent it out to the world, and if you where lucky you got a reply or a tape by snail mail, let’s say 8-12 weeks later. It went on to CD-R and then came the internet. In an instant you could talk to people in Japan, the US, the UK, Germany etc and within a few minutes they could decide if they liked it or not. Trading mp3s etc etc.. So the trading tape mentality kind of crossed over to the net. But nowadays it’s really hard to get someone’s attention I think. People browse the song in 15-20 sec.. imagine doing that on a movie.. it’s like, then what’s the point? And not to mention it’s hard to pass through the eye of a needle… there’s just so many bands, artists.. “fighting” for a limited number of opportunities. And how to you stand out!? Is your stuff “good” enough? I mean, everyone in any band that makes and releases music thinks it’s good enough, of course. But then on the other hand you need magazines, reviewers and the like to get into your stuff and talk about it. And… you need luck as well.. but that usually comes with hard work. In my humble opinion.
If I were to give advice.. I would say, write, record, and be a presence online. Build bridges and get to know people and just don’t expect to get things for free. You wash my back I wash your kind of thing…
Your record is being released through Trepanation Records – can you tell us how that collab happened?
Some backstory.. after The Pandemic Sessions, we had a few “offers” if you will and we had been talking to one label more than others and the word was that they wanted to release our next offering, whatever that might be.. but, things went sideways and we had no deal.
I sent out a kit with some of the songs to various labels and Dan (Trepanation recordings) was one of the first to get back to me and showed a genuine interest in working with us. I had talked to him briefly around the time TPS came out! Just to introduce myself etc. So we signed with him for the release of Phantom Centre. And I have nothing but good things to say about the collaboration so far. And I hope we will work together in the future as well!
How must one envision your song-writing process? Is it a democratic open-for-all or is there a clear main songwriter? And if there is – how open is that person to add-ons, little twists and tweaks?
It’s a very democratic process but that process starts after “songs” or “structures” are already done.. I would say that it’s me and Peter for the most part that comes up with the riffs, structures etc. And then we do a quick demo from our “home studios”. Guitars, bass and drums.. just to get the feel for time, signatures, etc. And then we post It to our shared drive and we listen.. When the time comes and we rehearse the stuff that’s when the real democratic process begins. That is when we can discuss and add or remove things, change build-ups and so forth. And a lot of add-ons are made at home when we record the “final” version of the songs.. layering in things here and there.. a real headphone experience.. :)
Did that process change during the pandemic?
Honestly, no not really.. since year two of the band we started to write this way.. because of a pandemic and not being able to get together and practice. And in that point in time we didn’t have our own space. So we had to book in advance and see each other once a week if lucky. So to “save” time we started to do complete songs at home. Because of aforementioned things. Since we aren’t really a full-time band.. this is the way it has to be for us. Otherwise we would have had a hard time getting anything together.
Your first EP was called The Pandemic Sessions - how much were you all individually affected by the pandemic?
Hmm.. Me and my wife did quite OK. Dodged the outbreak. But we both got it just a few weeks ago… but other than that life went on as usual I think… besides being able to practice with the band and that stuff both me and my wife are a bit of homebodies… so I guess it wasn’t too bad.. :) I was able to work and my wife did school from home so our pandemic was quite ordinary.
Do you think your country handled the situation well?
Hard to say.. I tried to stay out of that discussion at work etc. Because the main problem is people and their “freedoms”. Implement all you want but if you don’t conform to the rules that are being applied it’s difficult to see any results. In this case it’s our responsibility more so than the government.
In Sweden it was a breeze If you just followed the guidelines. It was harder in the UK with serious lock-downs etc. Don’t know the situation in Germany for example but on a whole we had it easy!
Does the new record Phantom Centre have an overarching thematic frame and if so, would you please explain it?
Musically it’s written during the same period as The Pandemic Sessions actually. But not all of it was done to our liking so that’s why the first release just became that 2 song-EP. But anyways, the short answer is “No”. Or at least it isn’t written with that intent. Lyrically it’s all over the place with some texts about “society” and then some of personal reflection. The common denominator is maybe the title. Phantom Centre is the point of center in how you hear sound between two speakers. I used that thought of “balance”. That you strive to stay centered. If that makes any sense.
Correct me if I am wrong, but there is some industrial-kind of rhythm going on in your songs, right?
Never thought of it! And if it feels like it I can’t say it’s intentional. Maybe it’s just Johannes’ way he plays drums on these songs… a lot of hits on the beat. Then I guess this can be felt like an industrial pulse.
Was there any particular musical influence on you personally or on the band as a whole during the time of writing that stuff?
Good question… I would like to say “No”. But since we wrote mostly by ourselves at home the answer is probably “Yes”… I mean I listen to a lot of music and it varies from heavy stuff to Pop music. But to get into the mindset while trying to come up with riffs I would say I have my go to artists/albums. For the other guys I can’t say.. I know Peter is getting deeper into the rabbit hole that is Post-Metal…
Are there specific influences on KOLLAPS\E? Music-wise? Outside of music?
Nothing that’s spoken out loud.. but I’m a nerd and I like video-games, Horror & Sci-Fi movies, computers and that kind of stuff, so I’m influenced by those kinds of things.
Music-wise, I would say anything goes. We’ll try it and if it doesn’t fit into the world that is KOLLAPS\E we move on to the next. The biggest hurdle is to wrap your head around something you write that is different from previously riffs & songs… and that’s the challenge in my opinion. You have to dare to take it forward.
How important were bands like Neurosis, Godflesh, Isis, Mogwai, Breach, Aereogramme for you guys?
Without some of them we wouldn’t be a band I think.
I mean Breach is the first Post-Hardcore/-Metal band that I fell in love with.. I liked their earlier stuff and was a fan, but when It’s Me God came out I listened to that album every day. Nowadays it’s on a few times a week. That’s the impact it still has on me! Then I have to say Neurosis, Isis, Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor etc also played a huge part for me. But I could probably name plenty more bands that don’t belong to this genre that’s been vital to me.
But if we talk importance for us as a band, so yeah, absolutely. When starting the band we had the post-metal trinity, Neurosis, Isis and Cult of Luna as a reference. Just to get us at a starting point.
If you could come up with your dream tour for KOLLAPS\E – who would be on tour with you and why?
Elvis Presley the King of Rock’n’Roll, Michael Jackson the King of Pop…and Queen… but in all seriousness that’s an unbelievable hard question… So many great bands and artist through time. But if I had to pick for myself I would say, Breach, Deadguy, Propagandhi, Turmoil, Botch, Converge, Neurosis/Isis. That would be a bill to look forward to..these are the bands that influenced me probably more than others through the years.. (When we talk Hardcore / Metal)
What kind of music do you guys listen to personally?
I can only talk for myself but I listen to a lot of different stuff. But I will say that 70% is heavy music. It’s just what I prefer. For the other guys I’m not sure, Peter is brought up on Metallica, Johannes used to adore NOFX and Dennis listened to Black Metal back in the day… Now.. it could be anything really.. I guess a lot of toddler music ;)
Have you got any idea why there seems to be an endless flow of great bands from Sweden in so many music genres? I mean, heck you constantly win the Eurovision Song Contest AND have some of the most amazing Hardcore bands of all time, churn out good Black and Death Metal bands on a monthly basis and got so many talented Post-Metal bands. What does Sweden do better than other countries?
My guess is, and this is kind of the same place I came from: youth centers. Back in the day we had a lot of them and they used to house rehearsal rooms that were ready to go, drums, guitars, bass and etc. So you could just book a day and “rent” the room, often for free. And play. Practice or whatever you wanted.
We also have different study associations like, Studiefrämjandet, ABF etc. Where you also can get a small amount of money to finance your musical endeavors.. and all of this is free.
So I think all of this helps.. we’ve been spoiled with better opportunities than others really. And I mean back when I started it was the coolest thing, being in a band, dreaming of playing big venues, watching videos on MTV headbangers ball and saying, I’m going to do that someday… nowadays ambitions lies elsewhere.. you got all the power you need in your 10” Fruitbasket device. The quick buck is much more interesting and no one is interested in starting at the bottom.
Now one thing that we haven’t gotten from KOLLAPS\E up to now is a cover song – is there any track that you’d like to cover?
Covers you say..
Haven’t really crossed our minds. But I wouldn’t rule it out! I would love to do “Locust Star” but that’s an obvious choice. Because that song is flawless.. but if we did a cover indeed it should be something really non Metal.
And now onto our infamous quickfire round:
Gothenburg Death Metal vs Umeå Hardcore? Umeå Hardcore.. I’m more a Hardcore kind of guy.
Mayhem vs Venom? Venom
Godflesh vs Jesu? Godflesh
Isis vs Sumac? Isis
Writing & Recording vs Touring? Touring
Roadburn vs Psycho Las Vegas? Roadburn
The Baltic Sea vs the Mediterranean Sea? If my pale ass is ever going in the water it should be warm, So, the Mediterranean for sure.
Springsteen vs Neil Young? Neil Young.
Tattoos vs Piercings? Tattoos
London vs Northern England? Northern England