Some time ago, I thought of writing a post half-jokingly called "The New Wave Of Blackened Indie Rock". A lot of this vibe has been floating around (usually with "post-" in descriptors), and trends can be fun to discuss. Then I realized I didn't like any of this stuff - Amesoeurs is the only exception - and I try these days to write only on music I like. By "Blackened Indie Rock", I mean music that comes at black metal not from metal roots. I'd wager it stems from kids hearing Burzum and thinking "that's mellow but edgy, I'll give it a go".
I don't know what Srodek's roots are; I asked band mastermind Jon Bäcklund in the interview below, and he didn't say. But I hear great things in his guitar playing: alternative rock before it became "indie rock" and ruined by Pavement. Early R.E.M., Bob Mould's open strings in Hüsker Dü and Sugar, and the thin crackle of early Jesus & Mary Chain (probably the precursor to black metal's bees-in-a-bucket tone) come to mind. Bäcklund's yowls are standard issue for one-man black metal; they and his guitar tone are the only things that peg Förfall (ATMF, 2011) as "black metal". Yet the record doesn't feel like Blackened Indie Rock. It feels like Burzum recast as "college rock". Maybe that's splitting hairs. What I really mean is that I don't hear Srodek and think "stovepipe jeans". I think, "Wow, some guy unwittingly recreated the sounds of my childhood in an alien framework". Metal as portmanteau doesn't have to suck.
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"Srodek" and "Förfall" - what do these words mean?
Srodek is actually a Polish word, meaning in center or middle. A friend of mine named a song he did "Srodek", and I thought it sounded raw and grim, so I took it, not knowing what it meant. It wasn't until some years later a Polish guy wrote to me on MySpace and explained to me what it meant.
"Förfall" can be translated into decay, just like the house on my cover.
What did you wish to accomplish with Förfall?
To make the best fucking album in the universe of all times! Haha! No, I did it mostly for myself. I really didn’t have any great ambitions for the album. I made some songs based on the emotions and feelings I had then. I didn’t care if any one liked them or not. It's just a bonus that some people seem to enjoy what I do.
The promo to your album did not come with lyrics. What are you talking about on this record?
It’s mainly about the nature and times that has passed. It may seem a bit odd on a supposed-to-be-depressive BM record. But I have a small fascination for the nature and old times. Everything with nature is so raw, wild, and beautiful at the same time. For example the song "Förfall" - it's about the house on the cover picture, how nature is slowly taking it over, and how you still can feel the presence of those who lived there a long time ago.
Your guitar playing seems to have many non-metal influences. Is this true, and if so, what are these influences?
Yeah, that's true. I get influenced from many different ways. I listen to basically everything, except hip-hop and dancefloor shit music. So it's hard to pinpoint any specific influence on this album.
The cover of Förfall is a wintry scene. How important are your surroundings to your music?
Not important at all. I’m not that kind of a guy who needs to be in a depressive environment to make this kind of music. It just so happened to be winter when I took that picture.
One-man depressive black metal bands were quite popular about five years ago. What future do you see for this aesthetic?
I have no idea. I'm not up to date with these kinds of questions. I don't keep track of old and new bands nowadays. Not in this genre, anyways.
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"Vågtjärns Svarta Vatten"
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