DATE OF INTERVIEW:
29th November 2012
METAL DISCOVERY: After the release of ‘The Second Wave’ in 2006 it seemed the band was on a high with the Roadrunner deal and the masses of positive press attention you received but how do you look back on that part of Khoma’s history now?
JAN: It was really great. As I said, thanks to Roadrunner, we got the chance to do a lot of fun stuff. Everything was not perfect… we were not perfect and they were not perfect and some things could’ve been done differently but I still treasure those years when we were working with them. But the experience from those years made us want to move the entire setup closer to Sweden, closer to home, where we felt that we could have more direct control over Khoma where the band, once again, became less bureaucracy, less planning and less administrating and focussing, instead, more on the music and the creative process and working together with people that you know really well and that you feel everyone is on the same level. So it was a very good and rewarding experience that I treasure but it also made me learn something about myself and about Khoma and the way we should operate to be able to do what we do. We’ve had some great years here in Scandinavia. The last album went really good and it got a great response both from critics and the audience but we’ve not taken it out into Europe again. That’s something that we’re thinking about actually, right now, how we want to proceed.
(Jan Jämte on the future of Khoma)
"...that is what’s exciting about trying to start writing a new album within a new context. It’s not trying to renew yourself just for the sake of it but it’s also trying to think in what directions we can take Khoma without losing what we feel is the essence of the band."
Khoma - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2005 Uncredited
Interview by Mark Holmes
Khoma Official Website:
Khoma Official Facebook:
The Second Wave (2006)
A Final Storm (2010)
All Erodes (2012)
Thanks to Patrick Häberli for arranging the interview.
MD: After the release of ‘The Second Wave’ and that whole period, the band seemed to be riding high but then Khoma completely disappeared from the public eye for almost three years so was that a conscious move to step out the spotlight and, like you say, move the whole thing back to Scandinavia?
JAN: Exactly, that was a very conscious move from us. I mean, it’s just trying to figure out what we want to do and how we want to do it. We haven’t decided that Khoma will be forever, that we will keep doing this, but we’ll do it as long as we feel the urge to create this kind of music and express these kinds of emotions and ideas. But that is something that we have to question after every release, I think, to never go on autopilot because that is one of the things with not being dependent on music as your main source of income. Now we’ve all made the choice to have other stuff as well that we can pay our rent, we can pay our own bills and whatever and then we can feel total creative freedom when we write. We don’t have to worry about if the album is going to sell one hundred copies or ten thousand copies or fifteen thousand copies. I mean, it’s fun if we can play in front of a lot of people and meet a lot of people but we’re not dependent upon it.
MD: It takes off the pressure, I guess.
JAN: And it doesn’t matter if it takes one year to produce a new album or four years. We decide.
MD: That’s the best way to be. So when you actually returned with ‘A Final Storm’ did you have to work hard to regain some of your previous fanbase or did you find people had generally stuck with you despite your long absence from the scene?
JAN: I’d actually say the latter. That was actually incredible. I mean, we thought that people would’ve long forgotten Khoma and they wouldn’t care at all but as soon as it started leaking out that we were actually doing something again, here in Scandinavia it was a great response. Obviously, people in England… actually, with ‘The Second Wave’, we sold most of our records in England, not in Scandinavia… unfortunately, maybe that news never got to all our friends in England but here in Scandinavia it was a very good response and the shows we went out to play were really good.
MD: Do you have any plans to hit the road for some live shows in 2013?
MD: Brilliant. And I’d say more brilliant if you could make it over here to the UK!
JAN: We’d so much like to. As I said, we did one tour in England on ‘The Second Wave’ and that was really, really nice. We’d love to come back and we’ve been discussing coming back. Actually, we had some ideas for coming back in December and we’ve also had some ideas for trying to release ‘A Final Storm’ in England just before we come. Our first goal is to release ‘A Final Storm’ and be on the road at the same time in England. The plan for that had gone pretty far but, unfortunately, it fell… not because of us. What happens now is the thing that… our problem right now is Cult of Luna…
MD: Yeah, I gather they have a new album due in January and a lot of shows planned already.
JAN: Yeah, and now Khoma has to squeeze in between those touring schedules. That is always the case as Cult of Luna has to stand back when Khoma releases and Khoma has to stand back when Cult of Luna releases.
MD: The perfect solution would be if Khoma became Cult of Luna’s support band on their European tour!
JAN: [laughs] Yeah, that would be good!
MD: That’d be the perfect solution! Has that been talked about at all?
JAN: Cult of Luna is a much bigger band in Europe; they’ve been touring Europe for a long time and as Khoma has been focussing on Scandinavia… we’ve been discussing about doing a lot of summer festivals together, this summer, going out as a package. We don’t really know how it would work out yet but it’s a plan of ours that we hope that it will click. It would be great fun.
MD: That’d be great. That’d be double shifts for Johannes and Fredrik though!
JAN: Yeah. They need to work out anyway!
MD: The final thing I was going to ask - now you’ve closed a chapter of the band’s history with ‘All Erodes’, what can be expected musically from Khoma in the future or is it too early to say at the moment?
JAN: We’re having an intense and rewarding discussion right now actually about what’s gonna happen in the following year. We’ve started to work on some ideas and we’ve started writing but it’s a process of integrating the new members into Khoma and I don’t know how long that will take. As I said before, they’re really, really good and I have no hesitations that they will write really brilliant stuff but it always takes some time to get to know people, not just playing live but also writing. So, right now, we’re exploring new grounds and trying to think about different ways of working, different instrumentations, trying out some ideas… nothing’s set.
MD: So keeping it very open and seeing what transpires…
JAN: Yeah, exactly. That is also what’s really exciting about the creative process. I mean, that is what’s exciting about trying to start writing a new album within a new context. It’s not trying to renew yourself just for the sake of it but it’s also trying to think in what directions we can take Khoma without losing what we feel is the essence of the band. It’s always fun to develop and find new ways of expressing yourself.
MD: Cool, and with a far easier creative process this time around, hopefully!
JAN: Yeah, definitely and I definitely think that it will be and the quarrels that we have had through the years has almost gone to the brink of not giving a shit about the band. But the last few years, and all the success we’ve had in Scandinavia and, as I said before, the reception of the last album here, it kind of made us stop for a while… just stop nagging and appreciate what we have and try to appreciate each other and what we can create together. That has also led to a new way of communicating.
MD: A new way of calm!
JAN: Yeah, in some ways. I hope that this process will be less frictional.
MD: As I’m sure everybody hopes every time!
JAN: Yeah, exactly!
MD: Well, thank you so much for your time. It’s been very interesting chatting to you and best of luck for the future of Khoma. And hope to see you over here soon!
JAN: Yeah, we’re gonna plan on it. And thank you for your time. Take care.