Like hell’s harlequins with dark intent entangled in pestilential rage and humour, Swedish extreme metallers SKITARG is an encounter which violates the senses at every turn and pleasures an appetite for “heavy, violent and evil metal” just as eagerly. The evidence is open in a live presence which devours the its audiences and four acclaim garnering albums; the fourth in Los Pulkerz released earlier this year. We grabbed the chance to brave the band’s blackened death bred clown metal trespass with vocalist Barnet, exploring its origins, that new album, and the Swedish language….
Hi, can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and how you all came together?
Sure, the band started waaaaaay back in 2005 when me (Barnet, which means “The Kid”) and the other singer Necrofilip (which means…er…”Necrophilip”) were checking out some porn on his balcony, as one is want to do. We were talking about starting a new band – we had been playing in a band called HEAD for the last six years but ended that band – and we wanted the name to sound super pissed off. And so it came to be, this year of the unlord 2005, that we named the band SKITARG (which literally translates to “shit angry”, but more idiomatically aptly translates to “pissed off”. It also translates to “free sexuality”, “social security” and “Volvo”, but then again EVERY word in Swedish means that too.).
Have you been involved in any other bands before? If so how has that impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe style or direction?
You bet, I have been in about 15-20 bands and Necrofilip about the same. The other band members (who seem to change every now and then) also play in a lot of bands.
Playing with Necrofilip in HEAD was a great learning curve since we´d come to rehearsals with a new song and that song could have a musical element that we hadn´t known yet up to that point. It could be things like playing parallel thirds to a melody, or playing triplets over straight eights or stuff like that…So we´ve definitely grown up musically together.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer and do they still continue to steer the ship?
Yes, to sound pissed off. I think this might have been covered thus far.
You can only stay pissed off for so long before you need to have a laugh, and since me and Necrofilip love laughing more than we have the energy to be angry, the band soon started introducing comedic elements. I wouldn´t say we´re comedians but we definitely have a dark sense of humour and kind of need that perspective to get by in everyday life.
Since its first days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
We started out pretty raw and still have that in us today, but rather than just beating the shit out of the drums and guitars, we put a little bit more finesse into it these days.
The first album was pretty direct and simple, the second album had way more harmonies and layers, the third was more melodic in the riff structure and the fourth album is a sort of return to the original simple sound with sprinkles of off-beat songs. One song sounds like Tom Waits, another like orcs raping The Prodigy and a third one is an excerpt of the tapes that Necrofilip recorded on his small tape recorder when he was nine years old. We really don´t have any kind of regard of what we put on our albums to be honest.
Has any evolving in sound and ideas been more organic movement or you deliberately wanting to try new things?
No, we´re pretty aware of what we want to do with our songs. Of course most songs start out with an inspired idea but from that we usually have a pretty clear vision of what needs to be added.
Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
As you say, there´s too many, but I can tell you what bands we are NOT inspired by: Slipknot and Insane Clown Posse. We sound nothing like them! (Ok, I´ll admit we kind of look like them, but hey, doesn´t every band?)
Is there a general process to the songwriting within the band?
Yes. We start out with some cabbage, add some salt, dance under the moonlight of a disco ball, choke each other until we laugh and then send the master to pressing.
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
Mostly it´s everyday stuff that pisses us off, like people walking too slow in front of us, dealing with jealousy, seeing animals and babies in peoples Facebook feeds and stuff like that.
Would you give us some background to your latest release, Los Pulkerz?
Our fourth album is a return to the original sound…actually, it´s just songs from when we started the band. We had been playing for 10 years when we started listening to the really old stuff that didn´t make it on to the first album. Some of the songs would probably work on a new release as long as we updated the sound and some of the riffs. I think we managed pretty well and even added some things that we haven´t had on our albums so far, like the song Sverige Facking Fosterland.
How about an insight into some of its themes and the premise behind it?
The premise is basically that the first 10 songs are songs that didn´t make it to the three first albums. The rest of the 15 songs are random tracks we recorded on our own as stand-alone songs or as in Rosmarie och Idioten where we get to hear an authentic conversation between 6-year old Necrofilip and a 5-year old girl called Rosmarie that he knew when he was little. His mom recorded the conversation on his tape recorder from another phone in the house and we found the tape years later (for all you kids: back in the day, people used to have land-line phones. That means that you could have several phones connected by lines to a socket in the wall in your house and if you picked up one of them during a phone call, you could listen in on the conversation between the person making the call from outside and the person taking the call in the house. Sneaky 😉
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
Since we never hire a studio guy or rent a studio we´re creating up until the very end. We do everything on our own, so there´s never a cut-off on adding new stuff.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
Oh yes. We´re dressed as black metal clowns and use dildos as our main stage prop. I think that´s a selling point as good as any.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?
We´ve done very well during these last 12 years in Sweden so I think we could do just as well abroad, if not better. Swedes are a pretty socially inept bunch and we (Swedes) don´t usually like to get too close to each other. So, since we manage to attract plenty of people to see us live in Sweden, we would probably do even better internationally. I mean, heck, if Rammstein made it with German lyrics, why can´t we with Swedish lyrics?
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive?
We are very much a band that owes our thanks to Facebook…it´s been imperative for us to reach our audience so the Internet has been great like that. It has, however, sucked all the money out of the business, so there are fewer venues in Sweden and fewer companies that want to risk financial backing for their band. We didn´t want to wait around for the record labels to get their money-grubbing heads out of their asses so we just went ahead and started recording, financing and promoting our albums on our own.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
There is no afterlife. Life is meaningless. Entropy will win, and your mom and dad probably had anal at one point. Sleep tight!
Pete RingMaster 03/11/2017
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