Here’s the interview with the legendary Kim Carlsson(Lifelover, Hypothermia, Life is Pain, Kyla, etc.) that I’ve long been promising! I was pretty honoured when I got the interview, with Kim being one of the main men in depressive black metal. Enjoy.
1) When somebody mentions “depressive black metal” as a genre, some of the first bands to be named are Lifelover and Hypothermia. Why is it that your bands all under this category as opposed to orthodox black metal? Is there something in the depressive sound that resonates within you?
What we have been doing over the years is very specific while at the same time highly adaptable to the various moods and ideas that flows through people on a constant basis. As you know a lot of people are either depressed, got difficulties in their life or have someone in their surrounding that are affected by such things. This leads to that people are associating sounds of a bleak nature to their mood and finds a way to categorize things accordingly. In other words it’s music that people under strained conditions are associating with which leads to such categorizations for others that are drawn to music with such or similar characteristics. People also tend to have a need of identifying themselves with different movements and beliefs.
You can essentially find something depressive or depressing in anything, you’re just finding what you’re searching for and it makes it easier to find something to be bad for you when others have decided it for you. We haven’t really done anything different from what we otherwise do and simply doing what we feel is right and worthwhile. But it happens to be different from the generalized idea that defines what is good or happy etc. When you see someone with a cut up body the first thought in your head is usually not that the person is having a good time, so you associate it with something bad, and for someone that isn’t getting something constructive out of their depression anything that is associated with it’s something bad rather than good. Self-harm can be fun!
2) All of your projects are very distinguishable and unique. Who are your biggest influences when it comes to music?
I tend to get more influenced by talking a walk for some hours and/or hearing various sounds than any artists. I believe that every artist is acting as a vessel for the devil be it consciously or not, it’s a very potent form manifesting an energy in a way that everyone can be affected by. This is why so many people have their own or someone elses idea of what my projects are because it’s made to be adapted to the conscious and subconscious of individuals.
3) Do you listen to much music outside of metal? If so, can you give us some examples?
I don’t listen to much music for the reason that besides having a constant flow of sound in my mind often consisting of Hypothermia in progress, there is more interesting sounds occuring in the nature around me than what most composers won’t get near in beauty or complexity.
4) In 2010 Hypothermia realeased the amazing Skogens hjärta. In my opinion it’s your best piece of music to date, but what lead to the decision of the song being 1hr 8 minutes long, instead of a few different tracks?
When I started the process of putting SH together it was initially two parts, the fourth riff in the middle of the song is what ties the parts together. It’s merged because I want people to listen to it in its entirely because it’s then that you get the most out of the song. Hypothermia is not some mere audial entertainment but ritualistic meditative soundscapes that can be used in many ways which benefits from a longer timespan.
5) Skogen’s hjärta is very different(but even better, in my opinion) from your previous releases. Did you intentionally opt for the change in style, or was it something that just happened as you wrote it?
Before the recording of SH we had been rehearsing and performing our other album “Svenskt Vemod” for a long time which was manifested before SH, with the difference that it consists of individual tracks composed as A/B/C/D sides of two vinyls. The A side being instrumental, the B side featuring vocals and a bit more variation in songstructure (it’s this part of the album that we so far have shared online), the C side features a longer more repetitive ritualistic song of minimalism and the D side features our first interpretation of a song by another band. This so that the different pieces can be adapted to the needs of the user, and it is from this way of making arrangements in songs that the form of SH was decided when I was putting its pieces together. So it’s a very conscious decision.
I don’t really consider any of these compositions as any change in style and you can notice this evolving in the previous album “Rakbladsvalsen” where the first song is performed in a very specific way for an A side while the second and third song are much different and the last song only being an acoustic jam-session of the first song. This was seven years ago, which by most means wouldn’t be considered new and it’s certainly not any change of style in composition, but a natural course of evolving in terms of composing sounds.
6) For you, what is the appeal in writing music? Is it kathartic or is just something that interests you(a hobby, in a way)?
It’s something I’ve been chosen to do.
7) Out of all the different artists you’ve worked with(Trist, Ondskapt, Nachzeit, etc.) who was the most interesting, and did you learn anything from them?
There has been many interesting times with all of them which is why we work and/or have worked together. It wouldn’t make any sense to work with anyone that wouldn’t further my progression as an artist, so I’m somewhat picky about who I work with to make sure it leads to something mutually useful.
8) Will there ever be another release from Life is Pain? If no, why not?
We got something waiting for the right moment, but besides that it is what it was and we want to leave it at that- We have talked about doing something together in the future with another name and when we got something ready I’m pretty sure that you will notice it.
9) What is the status of Horns Emerging? I remember you were looking for a female vocalist in early 2011, but I’ve not seen any news since then.
Since it’s beginning in 2009 it’s been something that I’ve been working on from time to time and I let it take the time it needs for everything to turn out as good as possible. The more vocalists that I’ve been in contact with has only lead to noticing that my ideas require several vocalists for the atmosphere to be right, so I’m negotiating with some choirs. Later in the year when some more progress is made the first single will be released while finishing the vocal work for the rest of the first album which was recorded 2010. I have since then written the material for the second album which I will try to record at the end of the year if the work on the first album gets finished as intended.
10) What are your plans for the future? Not just musically, but in your life. What do you hope to achieve?
This year we will record and release a series of ep’s entitled “Rituell Minimalism” which translates to “Ritualistic minimalism” and they will be recorded somewhere special that will be revealed when the time for the recordings are decided.
Next year I will begin an education in pottery and start searching for a house in the woods where I besides making chalices and other ritual tools will be able to put together a little studio with a intimate atmosphere designed for live-recordings.
11) And a philosophical question for you to end the interview… for what do you live for, and for what would you die?