DATE OF INTERVIEW:
11th September 2013
METAL DISCOVERY: Hi there. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us here at Metal Discovery. Firstly, I would like to ask about the band name, which means 'Bumblebees'. Who came up with the name and was there a particular reason why it was chosen?
FEFFE: Hey, thanks for having us. Yes, Bombus means “bumblebee “ in Latin. We came up with the name pretty instant when we started the band more or less because, as a band, you have to have a name and we kind of liked the sound of it and we didn’t want a long name consisting of a bunch of words put together. We wanted something short and sweet that would be easy to remember, hence Bombus. You know that choosing a name that you will be stuck with is actually the hardest decision you have to make being in a band.
(Feffe on Bombus' diverse, mixed-genre, approach)
"A band true to a genre can be awesome if the band is good. We just never had an interest in belonging to a certain genre club."
Interview by Rick Tilley
Official Bombus Facebook:
Spawned from the musically fertile Gothenburg scene, Bombus cunningly fuse a heterogeneity of metal/rock subgenres that, coupled with a twin lead vocal attack from guitarists Feffe and Matte, engenders something of a refreshingly unique sound. Releasing their eponymously titled debut full-length on their own label, Mourningwood Recordings, in 2010, two years after forming, it is only now that they're garnering wider recognition following a deal with legendary label Century Media which, this year, has seen the release of their sophomore album, the ambiguously titled 'The Poet and the Parrot'. Fredrik "Feffe" Berglund provided Metal Discovery with an insight into the world of Bombus...
Bombus - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2013 Patrik Vincent
FREDRIK "FEFFE" BERGLUND
Official Bombus Website:
The Poet and the Parrot (2013
Thanks to Nina Potthoff for arranging the interview.
MD: While we are on the subject, your new album, 'The Poet And The Parrot', also has a very intriguing title and artwork. Could you also provide some insight as to how that came about?
FEFFE: Ulf, our former bass man, who still makes a lot of our more “important” artwork, has done the cover artwork. It´s all actually made in clay, and burnt in an oven and then photographed. So it is an actual model. He´s a true artist and is pretty much still like a fifth member of Bombus. The title “The Poet And The Parrot” is also the name of a song on the album and it refers to “The Poet” as a creator, someone who makes something new, and “The Parrot” as someone who repeats what others have said without knowing what it really means. Also, it sounds good on its own.
MD: Now that the album is upon us, how happy are you with how it turned out and have you been pleased with the reviews and response to it so far?
FEFFE: Oh yeah! So far, pretty much everyone has been positive about the album, and that’s great! I mean, as you state on your webpage a review is one person’s views on an album and if not everyone buys our concept hook line and sinker it´s all still good. Everything is not for everyone (thank god) and, just like karate, hot food and other cool stuff, maybe Bombus isn’t either. But, as I said, pretty much all response has been positive so far!
MD: Sound-wise, you aren't an easy band to categorise. Obviously, Motorhead is a big influence , but there are plenty of other references including punk, trad. metal, stoner, doom and even black metal. What is your approach to song writing?
FEFFE: Our approach is pretty much not to limit ourselves to anything just to fit inside the narrow frames of a specific genre. We just write songs that we like and if it´s a Bombus song it´s a keeper. We get inspiration from a lot of different stuff and it all adds up to a Bombus cocktail full of flavour and a high alcohol content.
MD: Your name and artwork perhaps give the impression that there is more of a traditional prog rock element to your music than there actually is! Do you know if some people are surprised when they hear a more stoner influenced rock band, albeit one with occasional early Mastodon influences?
FEFFE: Hmm… maybe, I don’t know really. Our artwork might not scream out what we do but that´s not really necessary either. It still goes hand in hand with what we´re about I would say. But since our music is not easy to categorise, our artwork isn’t either. We like it that way.
MD: Nowadays, everything seems to need a genre tag, and it is somewhat refreshing to see that idea doesn't really bother you. Bearing in mind my previous two questions do you find it frustrating that everyone wants to categorise your music or is it just a sign of the times that you are happy to accept?
FEFFE: No, not really, it´s the way it works for good and for bad. A band true to a genre can be awesome if the band is good. We just never had an interest in belonging to a certain genre club. We play with a lot of different bands that we like that are not close to each other and we like that, to be able to swing with different partners. So I suppose we accept it but we don’t adjust to it.
MD: Now that you have signed with Century Media, I was wondering how happy you are with how things have gone so far. Your name certainly seems to be popping up everywhere, which can only be a good thing?
FEFFE: Hell yeah! Century Media is a great label and we are happy to be a part of it. As you say, they have made people open their eyes for us and helped us reach out to a bigger audience, so it´s all good. Then, of course, people can say what they will about big labels, and we get that but, for us, it´s been great.
MD: I'm pleased to see that not only is the new album available on vinyl, but you have had several 7" vinyl singles released in the past. It is obviously an important format for you. How successful have these releases been and is it something you will continue to do in the future?
FEFFE: Yes, we like vinyl. We like all formats really, but sure we got a soft spot for vinyl. All our releases are pretty much sold out, except the new album, of course, so it has worked out for us.
MD: One thing that I really like about your musical approach is the twin (in unison) vocals which adds something 'unique' to the songs. How did the idea come about for both vocalists to sing at the same time?
FEFFE: It came about from the beginning when Mattias and I found out that our voices were pretty similar. In the studio, when recording vocals, you often overdub your vocals to make it sound better and that idea we brought to the rehearsal room as well. It sounds cool, we think, and it adds to giving us our own sound, I believe. And, then, if one of us forgets the lyrics during a live set no one notices.
MD: You have released two promo videos so far from 'The Poet And The Parrot' and, whilst the one for 'Apparatus' (great song) is a more straightforward 'band in bar' affair, I would like to find out more about the, quite frankly bizarre (but excellent), video for 'Enter The Night'! Who came up with this concept because it certainly stands out?
FEFFE: Once again, our former bass player Ulf is the one to blame. We love the video for ‘Enter The Night’. People seem to love it or hate it really, and it has stirred up a bit of a love/hate thing on the interwebs, which is kind of cool. The ‘Enter The Night’ vid was supposed to come out first, but Century Media really wanted ‘Apparatus’ as a first single so we had to make a video really quick, and it ended up being just that “band in bar” video. But we like that one too, for what it is.
MD: You have a very healthy online presence with website, Facebook, Twitter etc. How important has the growth in popularity of social media been to you as a band?
FEFFE: Yeah, we have all that stuff and it´s great for getting info out quick and easy. I don’t think any of us have a personal Facebook but, for the band, it´s good. I mean, social medias is where people get most of their information from nowadays, not papers, so if we got a show/tour/album/whatever coming up it´s great just to write-click-post and it´s out there, just like that.
MD: I've noticed you are playing the Close-Up Båten Cruise later this month (September) with Meshuggah and Dark Tranquility. In the last five years, metal and rock cruises have become ever more popular. How do you view them and how much are you looking forward to playing?
FEFFE: Yeah, they have. None of us have ever been on any of those cruises, and I see it more of a social experiment - locking a couple of thousand hard rockers on a boat with a never ending supply of alcohol - than anything else. It might go haywire. But yes, we´re looking forward to it, it will be great - I mean playing live is always great.
MD: Your touring schedule for the rest of 2013 is almost completely full and it includes dates supporting Danko Jones. This is third time you have been out tour with them so is it safe to say you enjoy a good working relationship?
FEFFE: This is the third leg of their Euro run and we´ve been on them all. After the first one they wanted us back for the second and third. We get along well, both with the band and the crew; great guys, all of them, and even if we don’t sound like them their audience is pretty open minded and kind of like what we do, so it´s a great support slot.
MD: You are due to play a UK date in London on 20th November at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch. How important is it for you to get back to the UK to play larger and more recognised venues in 2014?
FEFFE: UK is important for any band. Big market, big music scene; it´s like, if you make it there you make it anywhere, and it reminds a bit of Sweden in the way that the audience really checks you out 360 before they decide to like you or not. In both Sweden and UK you have to work hard to get the love.
MD: Talking of 2014, are your plans based around touring as much as possible to promote 'The Poet And The Parrot', or to get back into the studio for more recording?
FEFFE: 2014 we will pretty much dedicate to touring and playing live, but it won´t take us another three years to get the next album out as it did with ‘The Poet And The Parrot’ since our first album. So we will tour a lot but our next album is already in the making and actually has a working title.
MD: Lastly, is there anything else you would like to add for the readers at Metal Discovery?
FEFFE: Yeah, take ‘The Poet And The Parrot’ for a spin, and if we come to your town, get your ass down to the show! Who knows, you might actually enjoy it!
MD: Once again, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions and wish you good luck for the upcoming tour and continued success with the album.
FEFFE: Thank You!