The War Inside My Head: An Interview With Speglas
A few years back, still very much under the influence of what had been then a recent AOTD interview with Robert Andersson of Morbus Chron about that band's final masterpiece, Sweven, I was sitting bored in front of a computer. And did what I do when I'm bored in front of a computer: digging. Since Andersson's work as on my mind, I went ahead and tried to find some more Morbus Chron-related stuff (other than the thrashy Tøronto, of course), and stumbled into Speglas' debut EP Birth, Dreams & Death, which Andersson had produced. It wasn't Morbus Chron, but it seemed to share many of their progressive, melodic influences and I was immediately taken (pretty sure I picked up the CD).
Not soon after the Morbus Chron semantic universe was set, unbeknownst to me, to expand with the creation of Sweven, the band named for that magical final MC album, and its debut The Eternal Resonance, the first great album of this current decade and my AOTY for 2020 (interview here). The band would be made up of Andersson, naturally, and two Speglas members, Isak (guitars, Vocals on Speglas) and Jesper (drums). All of which is to say, that there's a very magical, very personal circle of music up there in Sweden that means a very great deal to me, and in which Speglas plays an essential role.
All this matters, but even more so now that Speglas is (finally) set to release another EP of magical music. It's named Time, Futility, and Death, it's coming out next month via Pulverized Records, and it's yet another star in this wonderful constellation of progressive, atmospheric, creative, and Autopsy-tinged death metal. So, given the very happy occasion I decided it might be a good idea to probe Isak's musical mind for some of his influences and musical inspirations. Here are the result of that probe.
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What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
I can’t remember to be honest. But I do remember that my mom used to get me CDs as a kid. She liked Metallica, so she bought me St. Anger when it came out. Not really the same Metallica she was used to, but I remember liking it, until I discovered the other albums. My guess is some thrash metal album, perhaps Forbidden, Nuclear Assault, Kreator or something like that.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
There wasn’t really a whole lot of music in the house when I grew up. But if something was played it was probably from my brother. He had CDs of Britney Spears, Nsync and a lot of other 90s stuff. So I heard a lot of that growing up, for sure. But my mom did play some Hendrix, Cream and The Kinks occasionally. Which I remember really stuck to me. But later on when I got interested in music it was all about Metallica for a good while. So I’d have to say I heard; The Kinks' Kinks, The Black Album and Britney Spears Oops!…I Did it Again the most growing up.
What albums taught you the most about the technical aspect of making music?
I was playing in a thrash metal band called Conflagrator when I first started (seriously) recording music of my own. It wasn’t until then that I thought about the technical aspects of making music. During that time I think I compared everything with Metallica, Sepultura and other thrash bands. So through that I realized some things about recording that I previously didn’t. I think albums like Sepultura's Beneath the Remains and Metallica's Master of Puppets were really something we strived for sound-wise. So those two were definitely studied up close, which taught me a thing or two perhaps.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
I don’t know if it shocked me, but it touched me at a very profound level; Music for People in Trouble by Susanne Sundør. I hadn’t heard any song from the album until I saw her performing the whole album live in Stockholm in 2017. The live experience itself made the album one of my favorites, which doesn’t happen very often at all. After the show I listened to the album and still to this day makes me shiver. All this thanks to my significant other Maria, who bought the tickets to the show as a birthday gift.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
I’d have to say Music for People in Trouble, again. There’s something about her voice and the music itself that is calming, beautiful and also very powerful. Great music if you’re in trouble and need to relax (pun intended).
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
I’ve been listening to a lot of new stuff. Most recently God’s Favorite Customer by Father John Misty, Ribbon Around The Bomb by Blossoms, Age of Excuse by Mgła and just to sneak in another one; Sersophane by Gösta Berglings Saga.
What album is grossly underrated?
I think the album Doppelherz by Reveal! is very underrated. Actually most of their music is, I think they deserve way more attention. Doppelherz in particular is a really insane piece of music full of despair, wit, musical sophistication and catchy songs.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
I’d recommend the self-titled debut album from 2016: Temisto by Temisto. I feel like you rarely find this sort of Death Metal these days, really great stuff.