Where are you from and what kind of music do you play?
Originally we are from northern and middle parts of Sweden, but we are at the moment residing on the west coast. We suppose that you could say that we play some sort of black metal, but that we do not dread experimenting with other genres every now and then. This might not be as evident on our first release, “På förtvivlans krön” but it will be more noticeable on our upcoming follow-up, “Sepultus”.
Why do you play this kind of music? What makes it fascinating for you?
We have been avid listeners of black metal for quite some time, but we have, with time, exposed ourselves to other genres of music. Music in general is fascinating in the sense that it has (and still does to some extent) gone through gradual changes as time has passed. As far as black metal goes (since it’s probably the musical genre which would best describe our sound), it has always had this feeling of familiarity mostly due to the fact that the “second wave” of black metal has it’s roots in Norway, but also other countries located in Scandinavia. You also have the aesthetics and the visual aspects that (for most) play a vital role in the genre itself. Black metal, is one of the genres that fall under the “metal framework” where imagery and the visions conveyed by the music itself, is still of utmost importance. However, it seems too often that many bands go the easy route by following a certain set of rules and regulations in order to reach “instant success”. It is quite obvious, especially when you will hear our newer material, that we might do not do things “by the book”, but that suits us just fine.
What does your band name refer to? Why did you pick it? And how does the title of your first demo “På Förtvivlans Krön” translate?
Not a whole lot of thought went into deciding the name. It just felt “right” for what we wanted to do. However, we did have a different name under a very brief moment before we started writing and recording the music for our first release. Looking back, the name, “Svärta” (which means “blackness”) is a quite suiting name for our cause. The title of the first demo translates to “On the heights of despair” which is a direct reference to a book by E.M. Cioran, a Romanian author who wrote about such subjects as death, suffering and suicide.
How would you describe the current state of the Swedish metal scene and the black metal one in particular?
It would be unjustified to give our opinion about the Swedish metal scene since we are not really connected to it in any way, shape or form. True, we play some sort of metal that can easily be defined as being “black metal”, but our ties to the “scene”, are very vague if even existent at all. However, as far as we know, the Swedish metal scene is alive and well if you want to buy into how popular it is among people not residing here. People here are quite devoted to their craft and we think that we have a long tradition of skilled musicians, but also writers and other kinds of artists. But at the same time it seems as if people are too obsessed with the urge to feel that they “belong” somewhere, be it a tight-knit group of elitists or to be a part of the “grey mass”. Then again, it is quite natural and we suppose that you could say that it’s a part of human nature.
What are the core essences of your music?
That is a rather difficult question to answer to be completely honest. With the risk of giving you a rather “cliché” reply, we base everything we write (at least lyric-wise) on personal experiences and our own philosophies concerning the present and what might dwell beyond (or what might not dwell beyond). Something that is keeps returning, however, is the notion of death and everything that falls under the concept. We live in a society where death is simply ignored, while we personally feel that it is healthy to keep reminding yourself of the notion that Death is always by our side. To quote (and translate) a line from one of our songs:
“The poor and the rich
The hand of death makes everyone equal”
This first demo of yours is quite raw and cold. Is this how black metal should sound like? What would be your opinion in the evolution of the scene?
No idea how black metal “should” sound or not. You have many opinions concerning how some things should or should not be, but personally, these, so called “musical principles”, have grown into something that is quite restricting. When you first experience something (let’s say your favorite band), it is quite common that you create this archetype that you later on try and apply to other things that you come across throughout your life. However, more than often, this is a result of not being willing to let go of nostalgia or something that feels familiar and that brings you back to a point in time that you miss for one reason or another. Concerning the evolution in the scene: it is quite fascinating to observe the ongoing changes (but also regressions that at times can turn into some sort of renaissance), but it is also quite time-consuming and not that important anymore even though music plays a big role in our lives.
Återgång has some interesting vocals; clean ones as well as chants. Is there a chance that these will play a larger role in the future?
Indeed. We do not want to give too much away at this current moment, but there will be more experimentation when it comes to the vocal department on the upcoming material that we’ve had in the works. We feel that there is no point in holding back and that is one of the things that we decided very early on when Svärta started to take shape.
What bands or albums influenced you? This first demo does not come over as overtly modern or as being influenced by the current state of the art.
No specific bands or albums have influenced us as far as Svärta goes. Sure, there have obviously been bands (and albums) that have meant a lot to us when we grew up and first started listening to this kind of music. However, are too many to mention in this context and it’s difficult to say whether they have played a major part in how we sound. The first demo was written under a rather short, yet intense period of time and it is a direct result of ideas that we wanted to manifest both lyrically and musically during that short timespan.
The lyrics on the first demo dealt with death in general, but also philosophical discussions that we’ve had within the band and that we then turned into lyrics. It might come off as sounding very abstract, but we like to keep it that way. The lyrics most likely make the most sense to us and thus it would be futile for us to go into great detail concerning what they are about, but we suppose that it is quite obvious what they could be about if you know a bit of Swedish and look at the imagery that we utilize. Concerning writing in our native tongue, it just felt natural for us to do so although we are not completely against English lyrics.
How have the responses on your first release been so far?
The response has been quite moderate. Going into this, we did not really have any expectations as to how “well” we would do. We solely do this for our own personal gain although the feedback is a bonus.
A peagreen colour for a tape? That is unconventional. Why did you pick it?
We wanted to try something a little bit different and unconventional (plus the pea-green color attracted us when we discussed what the first release would look like). There is no deeper or “hidden” meaning behind the reasons other than that. We could have “played it safe” and gone for something that would have been more predictable, but we simply decided not to.
Judging from your Facebook entry you have a release forthcoming. What would be the status of it and when do you plan to spread it? How will it differ form your first demo?
Yes. The upcoming release goes by the name of “Sepultus”, which can mean a number of things such as: “buried, interred or having been buried”. At the moment we are in the finishing stages of the recording and mixing the music. We are hoping that it will be available for purchase via Misanthropic Generation Media sometime by the end of this year (November or December).
“Sepultus” is more fast-paced than our first release, but it is also a bit more diverse. You still have some “traditional” moments, but there is also more room for more atypical influences here and there. Lyrically, it is not that different other than we have decided to expand upon the lyrical and philosophical concepts that we started off with.
Who has been responsible for your artworks so far? Especially the cover for the forthcoming release looks simply great.
The artwork for “På förtvivlans krön” was created by one of the members in Svärta and that also goes for the logo that we are currently using as well. The artwork for the upcoming release was created by Luciana Nedelea, who we have been corresponding with for a couple of months now. We are extremely satisfied with what she has created for us, but we would also like to recommend her for anyone looking for artwork to accompany their music: https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt
What are your plans for the future?
We plan on having “Sepultus” released as soon as possible via Misanthropic Generation Media. Other than that; write and record more material, but we have also started to look into the possibility of eventually playing live at some point in time. We have, however, no idea when or if that will ever occur anytime soon.
Closing comments if you like
We would like to thank you for showing an interest in Svärta and for giving us the opportunity to express ourselves through your medium.
Other than that we would like to direct your attention to Misanthropic Generation Media – http://misanthropicgenerationmedia.bandcamp.com who released our first release and that will release our next one.