Interview: BESEECH
Title: Fresh thinking

Since the 2005 release „Sunless Days“ the fans of the Swedes had to be very patiently to another studio album.

More than a decade later, Beseech now finally come back. And that the sound-image on the new work „My Darkness, Darkness“ is so reminiscent to the very best time of the group while the turn of the millennium, has its reason. After all, the return of the band's founder, guitarist and main composer Klas Bohlin in 2012 brought back exactly the very special spirit that once provided the typical, dreamy-melancholic Gothic Rock sound with a discreet Metal touch.

In the meantime, the bearded Bohlin acts purely as a singer, while the second main composer Robert Vintervind, who has also returned, once again caught his guitar. For the new dark-romantic tracks, they have introduced whole waterfalls of feeling, passion and longing.

I am talking to Klas.

How do you feel now, after having finished these new collection of songs for „My Darkness, Darkness“ finally?

„It feels great to finally be back in business. It took us a some blood, sweat and tears to get here though. I don’t think that we ever have spent so much time in making a record.“

Three new members came in - Johan (bass), Angelina Sahlgren Söder (vocals), and drummer Håkan Carlsson.

What is to tell about the collaboration and how does it feel to play with them?

„When me, Robert and Manne had the new direction of Beseech figured out, we knew at once that it was time for me to take the position as the lead singer. We were also aware of that we needed to do some more changes within the line-up, to make everything fit along with Beseech 2.0 profile. During the years when Beseech was put to rest, there was a special afterlife where StudioMega came to play an important role for Beseech. At the time we just didn’t know it yet. During these years the three of us somehow continued with making other recordings with several bands in StudioMega. So we took it from there and based our choices concerning the new members with experience from that... so we knew who they were and that they weren’t far away. Besides Christian Silver (our producer trough out the years) there was a new extremely talented young guy called Johan Örnborg (Bass) who joined StudioMega. He developed into a great producer just within a few years. I also got the chance to work with Johan for the very first time with my new band Depressive Art (R.I.P). I was extremely satisfied with his ideas and skills in the studio. Also Robert and Manne involved Johan during recordings with their new bands as well. So Johan also became our first guy to call, when we needed to make our first demos with the new Beseech, later on we also asked him if he wanted the job on bass, and he accepted. Our new drummer Håkan and Angelina (vocals) I had the pleasure to get to know through the progressive band The Fantastic People, also for this band we made an album that was mixed by Johan at StudioMega. Besides the background story, it feels great to have them all on board. Angelina contributes with a ”trippy” fragile kind of harmony voice that is quite unusual in gothic music. Johan is a multi musician (with studio ears far beyond mine), that we could have asked: - Johan, what would you like to play? But bass was probably our best choice. Håkan is rounding up the new line-up with a more intense and rapid way of playing drums.“

You and Angelina behind the microphones as singers - there's much space now for harmony vocals. How did you two developed the new dual style?

 „From time to time I hear people saying that I have a quite unusual voice, which might be true, but I also believe that Angelina‘s voice is really special. Together I think that we contribute with something over the ordinary within the gothic scene. Together we are like the gothic ”John and June”, whom has brought elements of country and late 1960’s into the genre. To be frank, our voices has not much to do with the book of ”Gothic Rock singing for dummies”. During the writing and recording process, I recorded and produced almost all my vocals at home. I also spent a lots of time experimenting with harmony vocal background layers, doing both falsetto and baritone singing. This some how added a dreamy all over feeling, like a gothic version of The Moody Blues. Me and Angelina also sent lot’s of demos to each other with ideas how to make her voice fit for each song and then we recorded the complements with Angelina in the studio during two sessions. Over all it was a damn hard mental process, that took a lot of time, but in the end I’m pleased with the results.“

The new material - be so kind and tell the 3 most important facts about it!

„1. The music today is written by me together with Manne and Robert. The three of us are the solid ground when it comes to the writing process. This is also the first time for me and Manne being in the band together at once. So now I got my self another songwriter partner in crime. In the end, all members were of course welcome to present ideas and changes during the creative process. 

2. To make space for the third generation of singers. This time all the lyrics are written by me. It just happened and I’m proud of getting this confidence from Robert and Manne. After all it is unavoidable, that there is a special relation between the writer and the singer. Therefore, it also became my responsibility to produce and record the vocals.

3. The new direction of the band also became a natural way back to our roots with delivering the characteristic melancholic Beseech-feeling that you can hear on our early albums, but in a new mature way. It can also be described as a continuation to the highly critically acclaimed album ”Souls Highway”, but with a modern twist and a vintage oriented sound.“

Which noteworthy small differences to the previous album(s) are waiting beside now for all the curious listeners? 

„As you can see the old logo is back, which means that we are serious about going melancholic again. Also for this album we invited Christian Silver to be the master mind during the mixing process for our last session. We also invited two guest musicians, Jörgen Cremonese (mostly known from the band ”Whipped Cream”) who recorded additional FX and some guitars. Then we are also pleased with the gloomy accordion in the song ”Darksome” featuring Torbjörn Georgsson from my previous band Depressive Art.“

Long-year followers of Beseech will surely enjoy the made return to the earlier style of the band!

Did it happen simply by itself or was it planned this way?

„Robert and I have always been great friends through out the years. From time to time we also talked about doing something creative with music. Since we both had written some new material which we wanted to present to each other we decided to meet again. So we were both quite excited about doing something serious. At that point I thought that we should probably do something else, under a new name, but when we started jamming, this time with me on lead vocals, it all came out crystal clear. It sound’s amazing but... it sound’s like Beseech... so Beseech it is.“

Please describe the main musical character of the new album release with your very own words!

„It’s not a party record, that’s for sure. It’s like a deserted borderland where we live in symbiosis with the darkness and the light. To be able to capture that feeling we tried our best with adding soft and dreamy elements into a heavier sound. So we have used lots of background keyboards, sound effects but also much acoustic and clean guitars.“

For which musical ideal does stand the new release primarely?

„First of all, we have developed more towards Rock than Metal. I also believe that it is a good thing that we don’t know much about trends or what’s going on within the gothic genre. It is actually to our advantage and a good thing that we have been living in a bubble during the last 10 years and therefore not been affected so much by other bands within our genre. If we were, it would be hard to come up with something new. After all, to explore new ideas and directions has always been important for Beseech. When it comes to musical ideals, it is difficult for me to compare our new album with other music. There are probably some elements from: Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western (the cinematic and dramatic over all feeling), emotional and gloomy country music, but also from specific bands and artists like Pink Floyd, Blackfield, Johnny Cash (the later Rick Rubin material), Kent (Swedish band), The Soundtrack of our lives, The Moody Blues, The Cult, Tea Party, Perfect Circle etc. In general I listen to lot’s of different kinds of music. In my ears at the moment: David Gahan & Soulsavers and Jackson Brown.“

After all these years, what counts most for you in making music with Beseech?

„The people within the band. I love the whole band thing, the ”laughs”, to ”hang out”, sharing joy and sadness. It’s almost like a second family.“

Who wrote most of the new songs? 

„When it comes to the music, I have been involved in every song, except for ”Highwayman” which is a cover written by Jimmy Webb. So I guess I am back, being the main composer in Beseech again. For the album I have written two songs with Manne and three songs with Robert.“

And how difficult was it, to collect all to an good fitting, homogenous experience?

„It came out quite natural. We also used the same equipments and instruments when we recorded the basics. To our advantage it was actually a smart thing to do the album in two sessions, cause then we could add more variety within the sound without doing anything. Then during the final mixing sessions, Christian Silver added some of his creative black magic to make it all fit.“

How long did songwriting last?

„Well, it took us a couple of years to finally get satisfied. The work we did in the Studio is one thing, but then it became a lot of individual work from home. For the first session, which mentally probably was the hardest one, since the new members joined the band at the same time. For this session we recorded 4 songs (The Ingredients, One Last Call, The Symbol & Darksome) and then we moved on, wrote more material and scheduled for a second session and recorded 8 more songs.“

Do you want to talk about musical influences which led maybe to the new Beseech songs?

„Recently I have realized how amazed I am by the legendary songwriter Townes Van Zandt, damn he is really good at delivering feelings, both within his music and from the depths in his great lyrics. Normally I don’t listen to music within the gothic genre, somehow it becomes to much with both writing and listening. It is like eating a cake, it taste good to start with. During the really late nights in the studio we are always getting anxious and nostalgic while drinking beer and listening to death metal from the late 80s and early 90s. Death Metal is also an important piece in the Beseech story since we started within this genre. A while ago Manne told me a funny story from the mid 90’s, when Robert and I met Manne for the very first time. It was in the corridors at StudioMega. Manne was there recording with his band Fatal Embrace. They were quite surprised that we looked like ”Death Metal guys”, but were using flute, violin and even a ”girl” on vocals.“

What’s your very own personal view about the ‚artistic spirit‘ of the upcoming release? 

„To me ”My Darkness, Darkness” is the best Beseech album so far. It is the kind of a record that I could put on in ten years and saying: ”- Well, not bad guys. We did pretty ok on this one.”“

What is behind the album title „My Darkness, Darkness“ and who had the idea for it?

„It summarizes the lyric theme of this album, which deals about tragedies, losses, diseases and eventually… death. One thing we know for sure, is that the Darkness is waiting for all of us. So you could say that there is a balance between the darkness and the light in your daily life that you have to deal with everyday. It is always easy to tell others about the things that makes us proud, like progress, lucky relations, increasing income, while we are silent about the uncomfortable things that occur to us. For me I had during the years have had problems with talking about cancer, because of some really close events within my family. A few years ago I also organized a fundraising concert against cancer, playing songs from my entire career. Otherwise cancer is like a fragile thread and the song ”Mr Uninvited” is about that. I do hope for a solution to all this. If we could visit the moon in 1969 ... how hard could it be to find a cure?“

Please tell a bit about the main content of the most important or representative lyrics of the new album!

„I think that our third single from the new album – ”The Shimmering” gives a pretty good introduction to the new album, if you like it, you would probably enjoy the album too. It’s a song dedicated to those people that are going through hard times when our destiny goes wrong.“

© Markus Eck, 20.02.2016

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