Following his review of Aktaion‘s really rather excellent recent release, the Swedish lads got in touch to thank Rick (who wrote the review, which you can read here). Which was nice. Since we at The Wyrd Ways Rock Show webzine aren’t the sort to look a gift horse in the mouth, Rick did an email interview with band leader and guitarist, Francis Larsson and vocalist Jonas Snäckmark.
Rick: How do you pronounce your band name and what is the significance of said name?
Francis: Well. This is a hard one. It is not quite as the English version of the name “Actaeon” But we are in luck, there is a 30sec clip on YouTube which comes close (although we like to go hard on the second A):
I found the name in a book while recording vocals for Seven and we were looking for a band name which didn’t sound like a description for when a person would die. But still there is a legend behind the name, as old as the Greeks. Old story short: A hunter, Aktaion (or Actaeon) is transformed into a deer, by a naked woman, for spying on the naked woman and Aktaion, being a man, is then killed by his own hunting dogs, for now being a deer.
Although we don’t take anything from the legend with us in the music as of now, you might catch some of it in our soon-to-be-released artwork for our next album, The Parade Of Nature!
Rick: Besides you guys, what is your home town of Halmstad known for?
Francis: We got Gyllene Tider, Roxette, Per Gessle, beaches, two weeks of summer every other year and Halmstad is where the Danish realized they should just have stayed home, around 1676. And of course Arch Enemy.
Rick: Would you rather growl (shred-style vocals) or use straight, cleans vocals?
Francis: Can’t have one without the other. Hard to formulate a complete song without seriously consider adding both. Although if one has to go, in regards to our upcoming album, I’d delete the cleans first.
Jonas: Well I prefer to sing clean, although my strength is in the growl. But then again I feel that it is an unnecessary question, both have a unique standpoint and the rule is that if both styles complement each other, there is no need to take away one or the other. We write the lyrics with basis in emotion to bring out the whole picture and when the framework shifts, then we will see.
Rick: Is progressive metal still a viable genre?
Francis: Hard to answer. A genre is mostly a construction by the listener, and while writing music I never ask myself what genre it fits into or that I should take it in another direction to please a certain genre. So for me, and I hope, many others, genres are not decisive for if the music should be considered relevant or not. Progressive metal will be viable as long as we like the music we label progressive.
Jonas: As in all stages of evolution we need to progress, so do metal. No Metal is the same. So I feel that it’s needed and therefore still a viable genre.
Rick: How do you stand out with all of the other many, many Swedish Metal acts?
Francis: Hard to say. Most of them are acts we look up to, we just believe that we are able to fill a void between all the amazing tunes they put out, and keep releasing. We are relevant in addition to the other acts in regards to our choruses, the way we build our songs and explore our riffs!
I write music mostly to please myself, and I like to listen to what I have written. And I don’t write from what I hear from others. There is no reason to write what Soilwork or Arch Enemy writes because I can listen to them if I want to hear just that. And I’d rather not mention Meshuggah, but Meshuggah…
Rick: Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Iron Maiden?
Francis: Why choose when you can listen to Led Zeppelin?
Rick: Favourite band(s)?/books/Television shows?/Movies?
Francis: Right now, Baroness and also starting to get into the latest Machine Head, but always and always: Ulver. In regards to books, haven´t felt anything special since reading the Foundation series. And lastly, just give me more Kung Fu Panda.
Rick: Favourite female singer?
Francis: Can’t speak for the whole band, but Sia.
Jonas: Regina Spektor or Linda Perry
Rick: Thoughts on ISIS/Syrian refugees?
Francis: Daesh are fucking idiots and the refugees are not.
Rick: Where is the world heading?
Francis: To a place where regret will be the only relevant topic.
Rick: Vampires vs. Werewolves?
Francis: Come on, hailing from Sweden: Alexander Skarsgård in True Blood. Do you even need to know anything else?
Rick: Fair enough! In a similar vein, what’s your fave video game?
Francis: Well 3/4 of the band plays CS:GO quite a lot. Other than that, World of Warcraft and Heroes and Generals. What I can remember Jonas likes Mass Effect but he can’t join us when playing video games…
Rick: Fave vehicle(s)?
Francis: Bicycle and bicycle.
Jonas: Millennium Falcon
Rick: Desert Island disc (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray)?
Francis: Lord of the Rings trilogy extended edition, will not even ask the other guys about this one.
Rick: Desert Island magazine subscription?
Francis: Donald Duck, pocket version!
Jonas: Cosmos, Australian Magazine.
Rick: Candy/chocolate(sweet) vs. Sour/salty?
Francis: Coffee and fruit please.
Jonas: Sour/salty, at least it doesn’t feel like you are getting diabetes.
Rick: Fave fast food/junk food?
Francis: Anything, just give me something without meat.
Jonas: Veggie sandwich, despise the fast-food world.
Francis: Give me a pig and I will keep it forever.
Rick: Crazy fan stories?
Francis: Still looking for that first one…
Rick: Fave super hero (comics/TV/movies)?
Francis: Wolverine and/or Batman.
Jonas: “I eat the uncertainty principle for breakfast. I was born the original loose cannon. — and I am one unpredictable feather-plucking’ walrus! Koo-koo-ka-freakin’-choo!”
-Deadpool, the one true antihero!
Rick: Where have you been?
Francis: As a band? Ask us again next year. As a person I’m quite weak on the travelling side. Lived in Oslo for a year, visited mainland Europe and Great Britain. Been to Denmark and Germany for cheap “water of life”. Looking into East Asia this spring. Have to get away from Sweden for a while where everything is insulting to everyone, all the time.