The Swedish band Skallbank are about to make a world wide release of their first physical EP, a 7” EP with four songs in Swedish, named Grav Efter Grav. Svip.se raised our eyebrows when we heard about this news and decided to have a chat with Mats Lindström in the band.
Are you guys as tough as your music sounds?
No, absolutely not. We as many hard rock band, are a group of very normal and relaxed guys.
So it’s more about taking the lid off your frustrations when on stage?
Yes the classic reason. It’s a good forum where we all have been in the music. Nice to just hit it and then go back to the normal again.
You are about to make a world wide release with lyrics in Swedish. How is that suppose to work out?
We do wonder a bit ourselves. The success we have had it just a substantial in Germany and the US, as in Sweden. The language doesn’t seem to make any difference. People seem to listen more to the whole. It is fascinating that it’s an American company behind our 7” EP. They have signed us without understanding a word of what we are singing.
So there won’t be a lyrics sheet with English lyrics?
No it won’t be. Although we’ve talked about that. If we were to translate our lyrics we would have a fan base reach a long way outside of Sweden. We do believe that our lyrics are good so it would be fun to publish them.
The band has played together since 2014, are you guys old school mates?
No I don’t think any of us knew each other as kids. Most of us got to know each other at a relatively old age. We’ve known one another for about ten years and that’s through music. That’s how the band got started; we used to play in different kind of bands.
And then you found one another?
Exactly. We asked ourselves: why not start a band together and then we did.
So then you know many other bands?
Yes we do. Absolutely. We’re quite deep-rooted in and on Karlstad and Värmland’s hard rock and metal stage. We know a lot of musicians, that’s who we hang out with.
You call your sound rock´n´roll with scream vocals…
We mix the classic rock´n´roll riffs with an aggressive singing. When we write music we always write the music before the lyrics. And often we feel it too posh and a bit too much rock´n´roll-ish. Then Tomte will put his singing on top and it becomes Skallbank. That’s the concept for us.
Your music has reach outside of Sweden, have you had gigs across the boarder as well?
No not yet.
But you have thought about it?
The thoughts are there together with the enquires. We do get enquires from all over, it about putting the two together. We will be playing outside of Sweden eventually.
So the 7” EP will pave the way?
Something like that. We have released a few digital singles but this will our first physical release. We feel this will bring things up a level and some more gigs ahead.
Are you booked in Sweden yet?
Just the one this summer, during Putte i Parken. If we are going to play we want it to be really good, we don’t chase after gigs but just keep our ears and eyes open for the good ones. We are more focused on going as an opening act on a tour abroad. This is how we are trying to work, going out to play at some random place; we’ve been there and done that with our previous bands so now we don’t anymore.
So previously you’ve banged your heads bloody so to speak?
Exactly that’s how it is.
Do you write your songs as a band or are there just a few of you doing the writing?
We write songs straight in to the studio. We meet up and make our songs there. It varies, sometimes it’s all five of us and sometimes it’s just me and Rickard Fäldt (the guitarist). Me and Rickard are always there, him looking after the riffs and me with the technique in the studio. Rickard’s the first father to all the riffs and then we put the songs together altogether. He delivers guitar riffs and the rest of us are cheering on the side with ideas and suggestions. After we shape the songs as a band.
Your 7” EP is produced by Mr.Chips Kiesbye and Mr. Henryk Lipp; do you know these guys from before?
We didn’t know them at all. We thought about what to do next since all our previous songs have been recorded in my studio and it would be nice to have someone from the outside as a producer. So we asked around and gave it a thought and that’s when Chips came up. That would be perfect as he’s worked with the Hellacopters, so he should have some clue about the sound. We got in touch with him and he said yes and also suggested that we’d work with Henryk.
You produced your earlier songs; didn’t you want to be a part of the producing this time?
No I kept in the background. The idea was that I was going to be there as a musician instead of a producer which I am normally. They are very good and know what they are doing so we felt we were in good hands and we wanted their input.
Will your previous digital singles be released in physical form?
You never know. It has never been the idea to do so. We started out with releasing a single and a video together. After that we have had the strategy to release digital singles. After the fact that the record company wanted to release our 7” EP it became a thing, but we will release the four songs on the EP in digital form as well If someone would turn up from out of the blue and really wanted to release our previous music in physical form, and with a great offer, then perhaps we would consider it. But there is no chasing actively.
So you are building your fan base by releasing singles now and then?
Right. We feel that making an album with say, ten, twelve song all at once is incredible hard work and people doesn’t consume music in that way anymore. These days you listen to song by song at Spotify for example. You are as active releasing a single today as you are releasing an album. But behind an album there’s like a whole year or more of work behind. So we feel that releasing a single is a good way to stay up-to-date all the time. We have heard people call us a demo band because we don’t release a full album, but that has never been our main goal.