If you haven’t heard of Svartsot yet, then where have you been? Hailing from Denmark, this six-piece makes mindblowingly awesome music and also knows how to have a laugh (have you seen their facebook statuses?!) We caught up with lead guitarist Cris and bassist James ahead of the band’s first ever UK show in York for a chat – you can read our review of the night here, if you haven’t already. Read below to find out about new material, Svartcakes, guitarist fill-ins, Huff The Tragic Dragon and much more!
First things first, this is your first show in the UK – how are you finding York so far?
James: Awesome. I’m fairly local anyway, all my family are from Harrogate. It’s our first UK show, so I’m extremely stoked about playing up here in particular.
So today is the day of Ragnarok, the apparent Viking apocalypse – have you got any tips for survival?
James: Heavy drinking! That’s all you need.
What can fans expect from tonight’s show?
James: Well first of all, we’re going to play a few new songs. We’ve just been in the studio in January to record our fourth album, so we’re going to play three new things off that – two of which, nobody’s ever heard before!
Cris: Not even me.
So you’re just making them up as you go tonight?
(At this point, Jaldaboath begin their soundcheck and it becomes quite difficult to hear what we’re all saying!)
Cris: That’s Jaldaboath!
James: It’s their first show ever as well.
Lots of exclusive first appearances tonight then!
James: We were drinking with them last night and the singer – he hasn’t invented that stage persona, that is actually what he’s like!
Cris: Well, at least when he’s drunk.
Have you ever received a cake before?
Cris: No, that’s the first cake we’ve ever been given!
James: We played a show with Alestorm on Paganfest once, and we went to stage invade them during their last song but our drummer got extremely drunk beforehand and couldn’t wait, so he ran on there about four songs before the end by himself, dressed in a bright yellow t shirt and glasses, and started throwing pints at the crowd!
Did it go down well, or was it just embarrassing?
James: I don’t know! We were just standing backstage with our mouths open! (laughs)
Cris: We seem to have a lot of strange stories about him!
James: That whole show was quite bizarre. One of our guitar players…we only got two weeks notice but he was in America at the time so he couldn’t play because it was in Southern Germany. So we had to hijack our producer – he was well up for playing, but as time got closer he kept going “I haven’t got time, I haven’t got time”. Then we eventually got to Lubeck, had a rehearsal and realised he hadn’t actually learnt any of it!
Cris: Well, he’d learnt one song!
James: We got him really drunk during the evening, and we got him drunk to the point where we managed to persuade him! We set off at half past nine in the evening, and then it started snowing really heavily. And he had the shits really badly, so we had to drive for thirteen hours at night in the snow…we passed a crashed tour bus from one of the other bands that was going there and we kept having to stop every ten minutes so that he could take a shit!
Grim! So, as mentioned earlier, you’ve just finished working on your next album – how did the recording go?
Cris: It went really well. It wasn’t as difficult to record as I thought it was going to be. Which is excellent! I was expecting the album was going to be really complicated to record but it went really well.
James: You get some bands that play the same music over a really long period of time. For example, you have Metallica, who started off one way and then changed with each album. Whereas Iron Maiden have just continued to make Iron Maiden albums the whole way through their career! For us, the music-writing process has changed quite a bit for this recording – just the quality of the melodies, riffs, the song-writing structure and the way all the songs have been put together.
Are there any interesting stories from the studio?
Cris: Not really! We were all in the studio at different times, so we weren’t really there together to get up to stuff!
James: Our producer had this room in his garden, with sofas and stuff, but it didn’t have any heating and because it was January and really cold, we wanted to warm the place up, so we made a fire…but forgot to unblock the chimney, so we just filled the whole room with smoke.
If there was going to be a movie released about Svartsot, which actors would you want to play yourselves?
Cris: I don’t know who could play me.
James: Do we know of any magnificently bearded actors? Maybe Brian Blessed could play all of us! (laughs)
If you had a pet dragon, what would you name it?
James: Dave. Actually, I’ve got a little stone dragon that I bought from Cornwall. It sits outside my front door and is just there looking really grumpy, and it’s called Huff The Tragic Dragon.
If Svartsot could put their name to any product, what would it be?
James: A beer that could double as a beard conditioner?
Cris: A shampoo with beer in it.
A beer that’s also a beard conditioner? Wouldn’t you just drink it all? You wouldn’t have any left to put on your beard!
James: “You’ve drunk all the beard conditioner? You bastards!”
What animal best represents the band?
James: Well, my favourite animal is a pangolin. It’s covered in armoured scales and can roll up into a ball! But do you mean for the whole band, or for each individual? Because our drummer is called Owl, so that’s him sorted!
Cris: But what would represent all of our band?
James: Well what animals are complete bastards?
And what are your opinions on Marmite?
Cris: I like Marmite, but James doesn’t like Marmite.
James: I respect Marmite. I’m not going to dismiss it, because it has strength and character. It’s good as a cooking ingredient. It’s like jazz music, you’ve got to respect it but you don’t have to fucking listen to it!
Photos and supplementary questions by Lisa Blanshard.