The Moth Gatherer released one of the best records of 2013 (in my humble opinion), so I was thrilled to have the chance to ask them some questions.
I believe that The Moth Gatherer will be hugely important players in the metal scene’s near future: A Bright Celestial Light was the young duo’s début record, and it’s almost impossibly good for a first release. Bring on the second!
Alex Stjernfeldt kindly picked up my questions to talk about the project’s future, their new member and their fantastic début…
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time out to answer our questions!
Thanks for asking them!
Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your spectacular 2013 release A Bright Celestial Light. The critical consensus appears to be extremely positive – you must be pleased?
It feels a bit surreal. It’s hard to grasp that people actually seem to like our debut. We are really pleased and thankful! We will try not to let anyone down with the next album.
Since that release, The Moth Gatherer has expanded to become a trio; Svante Karlsson is now your drummer. How are you finding the transition?
I think it’s good for us. It’s the end of an era, of a theme sort of. The next album and era will sound a bit different due to the fact that we want to expand our sound. So now we have a new member with his vision and together we’ll start this new journey.
One thing that I haven’t actually been sure about so far is which instruments [you] and Victor respectively play?
We all share the duties. But now that we have Svante in the band, he takes care of the drums while me and Victor switches between the remaining instruments, including vocals. We all play what’s needed more or less.
Is the expansion of your membership also a hint that live performances might be around the corner? I figure that playing your material live as a duo wouldn’t be feasible, but with three members it might be?
We have some plans, I hope that we can make them work! If we take The Moth Gatherer to the stage we will be a quartet and it will be immense!
So get a promoter in your town to book us!
Will you be actively looking to expand the band further or are you just seeing how it goes with Svante for the time being?
I don’t think so. As I mentioned earlier, if we play live we will have sessions members but the core of the band will stay a trio.
Do you feel that working on the first album with just the two of you help you keep your focus?
Maybe, we never thought of it. We just played. It was probably good since the album was a way for us to deal with loss of family members. But today I really look forward to move on and write/record a new album with new themes and members!
A Bright Celestial Light is something quite unique; could you tell me a little about your influences, how you came to devise your style, and what inspired the use of both metal and electronic genres in your album? Whose music do you draw on and where do you see those influences fitting in to your music?
A big part of the sound comes from within us. We were influenced by our own lives. But of course there have been bands that has paved the way that we’re walking on. Bands like Neurosis, Breach, Misery Loves Co., Cult of Luna, Murcof etc.
Victor was the one to incorporate the electronics. [We both listen] to a lot of different music, and when we play together it kind of all melts together. But I guess that I’m more guitar driven while Victor is more electronic. I was growing listening to a lot of metal, my dad took me to Metallica when I was 9 years old, my teacher in grade school used to play in Tiamat during the death metal days and he showed me that world so it’s not that strange that I love down-tuned music 🙂 Victor came from another world, Coldplay and bands like that. When we met 10 years ago we bonded over Meshuggah and Breach and Coldplay. 10 years later we play this mix of everything that we like. For me, The Moth Gatherer is musical freedom. That was a long answer, haha.
Your music has a real emotional intensity, and you’ve said that it’s about losing hope in mankind; is this a reflection of how you feel about the world, or does this musical outlet bring a resolution to those feelings?
Both yes and no. I’m trying to have faith in humanity but sometimes it’s hard when you see the stupidity of mankind over and over again.
When we wrote A Bright Celestial Light we had both lost family members to cancer, when that happens your entire world turns upside down. To write together was a way to move on, to put our thoughts into music and words. It became like a sort of therapy. I am so thankful that I had Victor to do this with. We never wrote this album to any others than ourselves, but now that it’s out there it feels like people can relate to the themes.
The next album won’t be as personal as this one, we feel that we’re done with showing our most personal feelings with the world. But don’t be alarmed, the next album won’t be happy-go-lucky.
When I reviewed the record back in April of last year, I was struck by the hypnotic effect of the music – when you surface from the bleaker parts it seems like (to quote myself, so sorry) “you’ve been away for hours.” Did you make a conscious effort to make your listeners feel this way?
No, not really. We had a vision and wanted to treat each song like a journey. We wanted to try to get the complexity and contrast of life into the song. So, when a song was finished we had all these different parts and roads. For me, good music is when you just dream away. It doesn’t matter if it is metal or electro or pop, some albums just have that nerve, so I thank you for those words!
I ask the question partially because of your use of electronics; dance music is designed to get into people’s heads with repetitive refrains and it’s something I’ve always thought post-metal has picked up on in a way – it really drives itself into your skull and gets inside you. Do you think there’s any truth to that?
Yeah! Many “post-rock” bands share the same feeling as many “electronic” bands. If you hear a melody or part over and over again you’ll sooner or later enter like a trance-like state. I love that. Though you can’t listen to that kind of music anytime or anywhere. But if you lie in bed with the lights out that kind of music can be transcending.
I mentioned the words ‘post-metal’ in the last question, but I know that it’s not a completely accurate description The Moth Gatherer’s sound. There are a lot of other influences at work there…
People can call us whatever they see fit. We just play what we like. If it is sludge, post-metal, pop, death metal or polka is in the eyes of the beholder.
Have you considered remixing any of the tracks from A Bright Celestial Light? I’m wondering because Justin K Broadrick did a fantastic remix of Cult Of Luna’s Vicarious Redemption on their Vertikal II EP last year, and wondered if this might be something you’d be interested in – again because of your electronic influences.
We have talked about it, yeah. So if anyone want to give it a try, just contact us!
There was a guest appearance on the album; Member 001 of The Konsortium – I know you’re not going to tell me who he is, but was 001 good to work with? Which track(s) did he contribute to?
Haha, no, even I don’t know who he is. He’s like a phantom.
He was great to work with, I really love his voice! He lends his eerie voice to the song Intervention. He sings the first part. The second part is sung by Jonatan Sandström, who me and Victor played with back in 2005 with a band called Oceanlift.
Fairly recently, you started giving away the previously unreleased track Ascend as a free download. Do you have other similar material that will eventually be made available the same way?
We might have some songs hidden away somewhere. But I doubt that they’ll ever see the light of day.
We released Ascend as a sort of thank you to all the ones who have supported us!
And in terms of new albums or EPs, can we expect anything for 2014?
I hope that our next album will be finished and released during 2014. We have been working on it since early last year. But as you might have figured, we’re not a fast working band. We want the next album to be better than A Bright Celestial Light so we will give it time.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans or let us know about?
We want to thank all of you for all the kind words and for the immense support! We hope to see you all on the road sometime!
Thanks so much again for your time… hopefully we’ll be hearing new material soon!