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One of the best surprises of 2010 in my opinion, a new doom-death metal band based in Sweden: I'm talking about The Gardnerz and their debut "The System Of Nature".
Welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine, how are you?
Wilhelm: Hello and thanks for that warm introduction. I'm great, I just came back from a holiday in Egypt, nothing makes you relax more than an uprising and some sunshine.
Let's begin giving some info on your band, please tell us your story.
Alright, let's go: It all started in the summer of 2008, I had spent some time in the US studying and when I came home I felt that it was time for a new project, I had almost not touched a guitar for six months so I was really pumped. I started writing songs and trying to find some members, I relocated to the south of Sweden and got in contact with Francisco (the bass player) and we started to slowly put the record together.
After having received your album I discovered that you signed a deal with Abyss Records, how did you come in contact with them?
Dan from Abyss records found our MySpace and liked what he heard, so he asked if we could send him the entire CD, which we did. Then he got back asking if we would be interested in working with him, and we happily accepted.
One of the parts with made me appreciate the album from the beginning is your ability of creating a melodic sound in tracks like "Shift In Thought" and another, heavier sound in the dark "Lady In The Grave". How much did you feel the influence of your other bands? If I'm not wrong, you all have different backgrounds.
Thank you; well, since I'm the one writing the music the main influences are from me I guess. With The Gardnerz I decided that I would do whatever came to mind without any restraints, this would be my playground so to say. I just kept doing what I have been doing in different bands but just slower [laughs]. I have actually played more bass and drums in bands than guitar, even though I consider myself more a guitar player than anything else. Yeah we are all from different places in the world, different ages and so on. And when it comes to music we all have different taste, of course we have some common places. We all like Bolt Thrower, for example.
Besides some little defects which we can ignore since it is a debut and the too raw production, "The System Of Nature" is a great album. How were the songs born? Who wrote the music and who the lyrics?
Once again, thank you. I wrote all the music and the 8/10 of the lyrics, the songs start their life in different ways, sometimes I come up with a riff and then write a song around it. Sometimes I have gotten a title stuck in my head and I have had to write a song for it ("Your final solution"), for "Incident" I read an article that made me write a lyric around it and then I put music to it. Sometimes I just get a musical idea in my head and want to try to make it come alive.
I found the guests good, both the background vocals of Joel Sundin and the solos of Thomas Algren give something more to the tracks. How did you come in contact with them?
Joel was actually the first singer in the band, so the lyrics and vocal pattern for "Lady in the Grave" is his working. When Niclas was redoing the vocals for that song he said that he wanted to keep that part of Joels vocals since he thought that it was great the way it was. Thomas and I studied history together at the university, and now days I play bass in his black-death band called Pandemonium.
Unluckily I couldn't read the lyrics, may you tell us which are your main lyrical themes?
The lyrics deal with philosophical ideas and random rants about the strange ways of man, talking about the fallacies of religion, the rat-race of our over-consuming life style, the hypocrisy found in the writing of history, how a seemingly insignificant event shapes a man's entire life.
The artwork of the album is really beautiful, Daniel Johansonn did a great job. Did you want something like it for your work? How does "The System Of Nature" of the title work?
Yes, indeed, I can only agree, I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Yeah, he took my main idea and made a very nice creation. I wanted something dark and with fire and something with a tree. His name is actually Daniel Johnsson, I made a mistake in the promo info. The title is taken from Baron D'Holbachs book with the same title. It is a long discussion about the impossibility regarding religion. It is considered to be the Atheists bible, and when it was released in 1789 it made a lot of noise. It is a very interesting read and I wrote my graduation essay about that book when studying at university so the title stuck with me.
You're a band made by well experienced musicians: what changed from when you begun making music to now?
For me one of the biggest changes has been learning to work with people, not getting upset when someone wants to change small things. Not becoming blind by small things instead of looking at the big picture. I have been a real pain to work with, in the past, I'm not saying I'm the easiest person still to work with, but at least I hope I'm not a total ass anymore [laughs]. And of course everything gets easier and faster to do when you get more experience. And also the fact that the more different stuff you play the more things you can do, and the more people you play with the more stuff/ideas you can steal from them. I'm very happy that I have such a bunch of assholes, I mean talented musicians in my rank. It is fun to know that whatever I think of these guys can pull it off. And today I know my boundaries, in the past I wrote a lot of stuff that I simply could not play.
Which are the ups and downs of these years spent into the metal scene?
What always have been the most fun part is discovering new music and the feeling you get when you hear something that you know that you will keep with you for the rest of your life, for me for example the day I got to hear Broken Hope for the first time, it really changed me. I guess the downs has been when your heroes start to fail. As a musician in the metal scene here in Sweden, it has been hard, since the scene is not what it used to be. Finding members is a real pain in the ass, finding shows is not very easy. And also going to shows is a real hit or miss, I remember seeing Vital Remains in Gothenburg with around fifteen people in the audience. But then on the other hand seeing Bolt Thrower in a packed venue was as close to a religious experience as I will get, I think.
The musical world is globalized, communications are very fast due to internet. There are so many solo-projects and many formations created as studio projects. Isn't this situation dangerous for the metal scene which on stage express the satisfaction of the studio work?
Well I guess it is a double edged thing the entire internet/technology issue, on the one hand it allows bands like us to work on different parts of the world, but it also makes the entire scene so crowded since everyone with a computer and some time can post stuff online. And for many the live experience will get lost, but this makes me think of Darkthrone who has been doing the same thing but more oldschool. I remember seeing Nocturno Culto with Satyricon backing him billed as Darkthrone at Wacken Open Air, such an amazing show. Never thought I would see that.
Did you make any live shows? And will you make a tour to support "The System Of Nature"?
We haven't done any yet, hopefully we will do some this year, as I wrote earlier it is not exactly easy to find members here in Sweden (we're looking for a drummer). But we have some on the horizon that hopefully will work out so we can start our live Gardening show.
How do you keep in touch with your fans? Do you prefer to use social networks and reading comments or maybe you'd like to talk personally with them?
For me it is all good, just reading a positive comment can make me walk on clouds an entire day. Of course it is fun to meet people who like your stuff and talk face to face, but I'm not a very social person, in the sense that I very rarely go out to nightclubs (I do arrange some shows oddly enough) or so, so I don't meet a lot of people out.
Paper zines vs webzine: which are their ups and downs? How did they receive "The System Of Nature", how are their opinions about it? (Mine is positive of course).
To be honest I haven't read a paper 'zine in a very long time, nowadays I stay in the www. But of course you lose a lot of the feeling when just staring at a screen. The problem with www is that anyone can be on it, no quality control at all. In the printed media the quality imo is more often higher. It has been generally good, we have gotten some really nice reviews, of course some people didn't like it, saying that it's too slow and things like that.
How do The Gardnerz do when they don't play? Hobbies and passions? How is your everyday life?
I work as a personal assistant, and I also teach guitar. Music is obviously a big part of my life, playing it, listening to it and so on. Passions, hm, well I hope this doesn't sound too sad but: my cats, I have two Persian cats, they are my rays of light. I guess I should mention my girlfriend, I don't know if it is a good thing that I mentioned the cats first. Besides that I am a big fan of taking long walks while listening to music. And as I mentioned above I and a friend arrange some shows he in our home town of Landskrona.
What would you say if I asked you five metal listenings and five non-metal ones which you'd like to recommend us?
Then I would say that these are some of my fav albums of all time, albums that have influenced me greatly.
- Acheron – "Satanic Victory"
- Blazing Eternity – "Times And Unknown Waters"
- Bolt Thrower – "Those Once Loyal"
- Broken Hope – "Loathing"
- Katatonia – "Dance Of December Souls"
- Blaze Foley – "Live At The Austin Outhouse"
- Bob Dylan – "Time Out Of Mind"
- JJ Cale – "From Tulsa And Back"
- John Prine – "Fair And Square"
- Salif Keita- "Folon"
Do you have any projects for the immediate future?
Right now we are putting the last touches to the layout of the album, that is the main thing now. so we can send it to the label and finally get our album released. When that is done, the big thing is getting a full lineup so we can do shows, I'm really longing for that.
Are you working on new songs?
Yes, I have written eight new songs, of which Niclas has done vocals for two. What will happen to these songs we will see. Another album would obviously be nice.
Thanks for the time spent with us, the last message for our readers is up to you.
You are welcome, and thank you for letting me blabber on. Hello Italy, hope you are doing well and that you are enjoying our art, and that we one day will be playing our doom close to you. Cheers!