Feared – Vinter is ComingTuesday, 19th November 2013
While most bands aim to record an album for a one or two-year cycle, Sweden’s Feared have loftier goals. Rather than fare the traditional course, Feared instead chose to bookend 2013 with Furor Incarnatus at the beginning of the year and is set to release its successor, Vinter, at the close of November. If this wasn’t enough, between albums Ola Englund joined the ranks of The Haunted and Kevin Talley jumped behind the drumkit for Battlecross, all while welcoming in their new bassist (and producer) Jocke Skog.
While two albums in one year is impressive enough, the biggest factor is the quality of the material. While Furor Incarnatus showed the band at the top of their game, Vinter truly takes them to the next level. With a busy 2013 under his belt, and an undoubtedly busier 2014 to come, guitarist and founder Ola Englund was able to share his views on the band’s latest output, the outlook on future touring, folklore, and even the value of reflective vests.
Dead Rhetoric: To start, could you describe Feared’s sound to someone who has never heard the band before?
Ola Englund: Think of the most un-original band ever and complain about it, then get punched in the balls. We’re not striving to make something new; we just want to make people headbang in their cars.
Dead Rhetoric: With all of the elaborate band names nowadays, it’s nice to see something simple, like Feared. Was there any purpose behind this?
Englund: Yes, I’ve always liked simple band names, something that sticks in your mind. I have a problem with remembering names of people and bands myself, so I know the importance of a simple and strong band name. When you see the name Feared, you know it’s about metal.
Dead Rhetoric: Most bands are lucky to produce a great album every year or two, where does the creative drive come from to create two albums in one year?
Englund: The power of work ethic and planning! I really wanted to put out this album before starting with The Haunted for real, so I just worked my ass off. Also, a bit of experimenting to see how quick I can do a whole new album.
Dead Rhetoric: Given the short span between the two albums, how does Vinter differ from the previous effort, Furor Incarnatus?
Englund: Furor is a mixture of old and new songs, some of them as old as five years. Vinter is all new material and in my view a lot more mature. More grown up, more manly. Less pretentiousness but not in a lazy way. It feels like a natural progression.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that Feared has benefited from some increased exposure with everyone also joining other bands?
Englund: Some, but not as much as I thought it would. People listening to the other bands aren’t that interested in hearing a side band I guess. Cause for a fan of Six Feet Under, Feared IS the side band. While it’s actually the other way around for me. I think I contribute more new fans to the other bands than the other way around. But what do I know…
Dead Rhetoric: With your current following, is it a more of a personal choice to stay an independent band rather than get a label backing you?
Englund: I don’t feel that a label can help us out much more right now; sure PR and legal advising would be something worthwhile, but other than that, I think we can do a lot ourselves. Also, I like being able to do whatever I want without anyone interfering or having dollar signs over their heads.
Dead Rhetoric: How did your partnership with Jocke Skog come about?
Englund: I’ve known Jocke for a good while and he’s just an all around awesome and nice guy. We can talk on and on about nerdy production or guitar amp stuff all day long. I wanted to step aside from the mixing duties for this album to concentrate on the music making, and Jocke was my first choice! Then I asked him if he wanted to play bass on a gig and that led to him joining the band. He’s really talented and has contributed a lot to the vibe of Vinter with backgrounds, orchestration, etc.
Dead Rhetoric: “Mylingen” draws influence lyrically from folklore of the souls of un-baptized children that jump on the backs of others and forces them to carry them to a graveyard. Are there any other interesting stories to be found within Vinter?
Englund: Yes, “Huldra” is about another folklore character, which is basically a lady who sucks the life out of a man. Huldras still exist today in our everyday life; I’ve seen it happen myself. The cool thing with all these folklore stories is that wherever you go the stories are different. While your depiction of a Myling is pretty accurate, there are other variations of it. Back in time and poverty when unplanned babies were born their parents sometimes killed their own baby (instead of bringing it up and having one extra mouth to feed).
The “myling” could haunt that place as a shimmer of light (called “Irrbloss”). Usually around lakes [is] where the parents drowned their baby. Between regions, these stories vary and to me, they are timeless. Mysteries like this definitely inspire me. The actual song “Mylingen” relates to something that has happened to me. There are other different stories on Vinter but I advise you to take time and analyze the songs and lyrics. They do have a lot of meaning to them that I can’t explain in an interview.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you have a personal favorite track on the album?
Englund: “My Shadow World” is probably my favorite one. Just because it’s not like the other songs; it’s dark, beautiful, disgusting and elegant at the same time. That one and the song “Vinter” remind me of the Swedish winter, people going into their own depression, into their own world. It’s something we experience every year and it’s as natural to us as sleeping. We’re all going into some kind of hibernation. So I would say those two songs are the perfect ending to an album called Vinter.
Dead Rhetoric: Between all of the other bands that you and Kevin Talley are in, will Feared be doing much by way of touring?
Englund: As of right now I don’t feel that touring will help us that much. It’s a costly procedure for bands, and unless we can make a little money of it, I rather stay home and write more music instead. This does not mean that we want to tour. I would love to! We’re starting to play festivals here and there and hopefully we can be big enough to play around the world, maybe opening for a band like Meshuggah or Lamb of God. But as it looks now, I have to stay focused on what’s best for the band in the current situation we’re in.
Dead Rhetoric: I was looking at your website and saw that you sell Feared reflective vests. It’s an innovative idea for merch, where do you suppose the most extreme place to use them would be?
Englund: Swedish winter. The forests of northern Sweden in November are a dark place many hours a day. Keep your vest on and you won’t get hit by a car, or a moose!
Dead Rhetoric: Anything going on with The Haunted or Six Feet Under?
Englund: I’m currently writing songs for the upcoming The Haunted album and planning some shows and touring with them. Really looking forward to play with them. Also the songs that we’ve made so far kick all kinds of ass.
I’m not in Six Feet Under anymore; it’s just a logistics issue, being a Swede in an all American band. Just to fly me over for a one-off gig in the US, cost a lot of money AND a lot of my time. I rather stay home writing music a full weekend than travel for 30 hours to play a 45-minute show. It was a mutual decision and no drama whatsoever around it. I might even jump in for a tour in Europe if I don’t have anything better to do!
Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what have been your favorite albums to come out this year?
Englund: Carcass – Surgical Steel and David Maxim – Micic – Bilo 3.0. Carcass is doing something really uncommon by bringing out a 5-star album for their comeback. The album is a masterpiece. Bilo 3.0 is the product of a guy doing everything himself, just like me. And the outcome is probably one of the most epic albums I’ve ever heard. He’s all about the music and playfulness. A truly inspiring album.