New furies and raw bruises: Talking Riwen with band founder and Cult of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson

Riwen Johannes Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

 

There is little to compare the sound of Cult of Luna and hardcore band Riwen but they are both soaked in the craft and passion of vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson. His new project prowls a whole new landscape of sound and invention, creating an intensive and brutally imposing provocation unique from but no less gripping and impressive than those cast by he and his Cult of Luna band mates. Having the chance to look into the heart of Riwen thanks to Johannes himself, we asked him about his new exploit’s seeds, approach to writing and recording compared to his ‘day job’, and much more…

Hello Johannes and thank you for sharing time to talk with us.

Can we start with the spark which brought Riwen into existence and what inspired the exploration of the hardcore bred sound of the band?

I love what we do with Cult of Luna and that we have spent a lot of effort to make our live show what it is but it can be frustrating with all the hours of preparations each day on tour. I felt like I needed something less complicated than the Cult of Luna Juggernaut. I just wanted a band where I could show up with a guitar, crank up the volume and just play. So last fall I wrote 14 songs in 14 days, inspired by bands that I listened to during my teenage years such as Judge, Integrity, Battery, Chain of Strength and so forth. When I had the music I started to call a bunch of friends. The end result is Riwen.

Hardcore is a style which has gripped personally over the years?

I wouldn’t say that. I listen to all kinds of music and I haven’t kept any track on what is going on in the hardcore scene after the 90’s. Everything I hear that I think is what hardcore is today sounds like over produced pro tools cut and paste start/stop metal and does not appeal to me. But the punk/hardcore bands that I got into when I was a teenager still sticks with me and I still love that kind of music.

riwen1

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

What have been the inspirations which fired up your taste for hardcore and which maybe tipped some influence into Riwen and a sound which is more than simply hardcore in many ways we feel?

I have always had a leaning to band that took it seriously whether they were writing about political or personal stuff. So there are too many bands to mention (more than in my answer above) but the important thing is that I never got a vent for my love of fast and aggressive hardcore and that is why Riwen is what Riwen is. I know we are bringing something new, or at least, unconventional to the table and I am who I am and my personal writing has probably bleed over the classic hardcore that I wanted to write. For good or for Ill, that’s for the listener to decide.

You have just released your three-track self-titled EP; did you have any specific hopes for it?

No, we just wanted to get a few tracks out there so we could start playing shows.

You are joined in Riwen for the EP by Christian Augustin and Fredrik Lindkvist. How did you all originally meet and was there much persuasion getting them on board for the band?

I have known both of them for many years since they were playing in a band from my area called Totalt jävla mörker. Christian has been playing live as a stand in drums for Cult of Luna for the last couple of years so we know each other very well. I actually didn’t plan to ask Fredrik since I knew he quit Totalt Jävla Mörker and I thought he didn’t wanted to do any more screaming vocals but Christian convinced me to ask and I am so glad I did.

I am right in thinking that the line-up is different now?

Since we recorded the EP we have been joined by Christoffer Röstlund on bass and Marita Jonsson Mätlik on guitar.

Your sound and release is obviously something very different to Cult of Luna, did this make or dictate a different approach to songwriting and the recording of the EP to that general with the ‘day job’?

It is totally different but it is hard to explain. This might sound strange but with Riwen I have much lower standard of what I let slip through the riff writing conveyer belt I have in my head. With Cult of Luna I keep 1 out of 100 riffs but with Riwen I just write and whatever comes out I keep. The music is no less important to me but it is a very different outlook on the writing and a very cleansing experience.

The EP is raw and aggressive, brutal at times with an energy and primal intensity which suggests it was recorded live in the studio. How were the songs recorded?

We recorded the songs in a small mouldy DIY studio in Umeå. We recorded it during 6 hours in a cold and dark winter night. I told Fredrik (that recorded the whole thing) that I was going to give him two takes on each instruments. If I screw up then that is what is going to end up on the record. A few of my favorite albums of all time are a few of the worst recorded and played records of all time. If you play with sincerity it will come out on the recording even if you do some mistakes. I also love the idea of catching a moment. If you do something wrong and keep it you have caught the moment in where you recorded the song. If you spend days on a song and make sure everything is perfect you have killed the emotional life of it. If everything is fixed so it sounds spotless there is no way you can tell if the recording is 10-20 years old but if you keep the mistakes you have recorded a ”now” moment.

riwen coverDid you go into that process with specific goals or rather it was letting something new for you evolve organically?

My only goal was to write music that interests me. Whatever happens here on is totally unknown for us as for anyone else.

The caustic sound which ignites the release has an honesty and personality which for all its raging also seems to fuel songs with an intimacy or personal connection to the band. What inspired the songs and their lyrical premises?

It’s a hard question to answer since I have only written the songs for myself and no one else. So of course they are very personal but that is the nature of song writing. When it comes to the lyrics it is Fredrik’s contribution so I don’t have much to say about that.

How has the EP’s release been received and looked at by especially Cult of Luna fans?

I honestly don’t know. It hasn’t been reviewed in any major magazine as I know but that is nothing strange since EP’s doesn’t usually get that much attention. Haven’t heard anything from any Cult of Luna fans yet…but this is very different music than CoL and I don’t expect that people will like Riwen just because they like another band I’m in.

Do you think it took them and the music world’s expectations by surprise, their assumptions coloured again by your Cult of Luna successes?

I don’t think it is a secret that we came from the Umeå hardcore scene but I have no idea of what people expect from us as musicians. I am a very diverse person and I want and need to do a whole lot of different things to satisfy my creative lust and this is one of them. Next time I might turn 180 degrees and do something completely different.

Being just a trio initially, is there a form of freedom and maybe even excitement live and creating music which is especially for the former of the two things more restrained by the bigger size of your other band?

We are not a trio anymore even though we were at the time when the EP was recorded and I must say that it was very tempting to keep it that way. Creatively it is much easier but in the long run I think that it is good for a band to have many members. Tension is always going to be created and I think it is better to have many people to be able turn to when you feel aggravated. If you only are three and somebody is getting on your nerves it might create an infected situation for the group. The more people the more diluted the conflicts are.

Tell us about the live side of the band, again it is a different beast being just the three/five making a vat full of compelling and furious noise?

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Pic by Henrik Wiklund

Again, we are five now and we have only done one show so far and to be honest I didn’t feel it any different from Cult of Luna. Even though a live situation is a collective effort en responsibility I always play for myself and hardly know that the other members are there, except for the drummer.

Can we expect Riwen to be an on-going presence when other commitments allow?

I don’t know. Cult of Luna is always going to be my first priority musically and I have many more things that I want to do. Apart from that I am a parent and my family comes first. But it feels great to have this vent and even though we will not keep this pace of writing 20 songs in a year we will be able to tour and do shows every now and then.

What is next for the band and yourself?

We are just about to go into the studio to record our album. Hopefully we’ll be able to record about 15 songs but we need to have some bar of quality so I don’t know how many that will end up on the album. We have a few shows coming up but nothing booked outside of Scandinavia yet but I hope that we can get out in Europe next summer for a couple of shows.

Thanks again Johannes for taking time out to chat with us.

Thank you for the interview.

https://www.facebook.com/riwenhc/

Read the review of Riven’s debut EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/riwen-self-titled/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 03/12 /2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

Fleshworld/Gazers/Viscera/// – Split CD

Split_cover art

This October seems like it is the month of split releases, many compelling link-ups sharing some striking sounds and bands. Unquiet Records are releasing one of the more notable encounters in the shape of a split release between Polish hardcore bred post metallers Fleshworld, French blackened post-hardcorers Gazers, and Italian psychedelic metallers Viscera///. It is a gripping collection of songs which come from different angles of sonic consumption but unite in a mutual heavy and depressive examination of senses and imagination. It is an enthralling proposition, a release which can devour ears and emotions in a nihilistic landscape of intensity and sound but also treat them to contagious and just as toxic refreshing enterprise.

The first three tracks are provided by Kraków quintet Fleshworld, a band drawing on inspirations from the likes of Opeth, Neurosis, Cult Of Luna, and Deathspell Omega in their sound. They have already awoken attention through previous 6-track release Like we’re all equal, also released on Unquiet, and here get the split off to an imposing and potent start. Their first track Krąg grips ears with a sonic lancing before bulky rhythms twist over the senses. It is a tasty start added to by the melodic groove wrapping around the initial bait of the song. With a vocal sample adding to the emerging shadowed drama, the track flirts and intimidates with equal success, the guitars of Mateusz Szczurek and Kuba Leszko sculpting a captivating design within the increasingly darker and oppressive rhythmic provocation bred by drummer Szymon Łuczyński and bassist Łukasz Klamiński. The song continues to threaten and seduce, as the raw vocal squalls of Tytus Kalicki rage and spill venom across the bewitching consumption of ears and emotions. Acidic melodies and barbarous hooks are never far from the surface of the growing tempest though, it all making for a scintillating start to the release.

   The band’s other pair of songs never quite match up to the first such it’s might, but Pętla with its heavy resonating bass lure and similarly magnetic rhythmic enticement certainly comes close. It is a captivating entrance which spreads a blackened and caustic breath across its spine through evocative melodies from the guitar and a raw hostility to the vocals respectively. It emerges as a brooding and increasingly chilling erosive wash which leaves thoughts lost in a barren corrosive soundscape and emotions exposed to a stark sonic climate. Its successor Rezygnacja, which features guest vocals from Alex Stjernfeldt and Victor Wegeborn from The Moth Gatherer, is similarly drenched in uncompromising and oppressive textures within a destructive atmosphere, but again shape its scenery with an impressive and attention gripping display from drums and bass. The rawest uncomfortable track of the three, it reveals more of the immersive depths and skilled composing of Fleshworld and their ability to lock the listener willingly into a scarring embrace.

Hailing from Paris, the 2012 formed quintet of Gazers has also earned a potent reputation through their self-titled EP of last year and live shows where they have graced stages alongside the likes of The Rodeo Idiot Engine, Cowards, Loma Prieta, Code Orange Kids, and Twitching Tongues. There first contribution to the split comes in the intrigue drenched Rash, a track taking its time to seize the senses. From a cold and raw ambience also infused with sampled vocals, though a distant whisper here, the song erupts in a blaze of hardcore, crust surfaced animosity. Spiky hooks and cruel grooves emerge as vocals roar with malcontent, a greater anger and maliciousness coating each step of the song’s evolution. It is a potent track which makes for a keen but uneasy listen before the stronger weight and adventure of The Decline takes over. Firm beats and rugged scythes of guitar are met by a deranged flame of riffs, everything at odds but fitting masterfully to ensnare ears and appetite. Further in a mellower but no less stark and intimately imposing passage plays with the imagination too, it adding to the great unpredictability of song and the band’s engrossing enterprise.

     The following Epilogue is the same, a song never allowing thoughts and emotions rest as it roams and permeates the senses with a revolving rage of gripping rhythms, sonic abrasing, and vocal ferocity. The best of Gazers’ trio of offerings, the track is a maelstrom of creative spite and imaginative turbulence worrying and igniting the senses for an intensive and flavoursome examination.

The final two songs on the release comes from Viscera///, a band employing essences and experiences in styles like post hardcore, space rock, ambient, and drone, gained by members past and present of bands such as Morkobot, Blanca Division, Malasangre, The Drop Machine, Mount Piezein Circle, Edema, Wicked Minds, The Vendetta, and Self Human Combustion. With two albums, many splits, and tours all across Europe under their belt, the trio now turn their attention to the split and unleash their gripping mix of metal and psyche rock. Versus swiftly tightens its steely grip on ears with rigid beats and acerbic grooves, they a spring board for subsequent waves of rolling rhythms, ravenous blackened pestilence, and in turn voracious tsunamis of sound and malevolence. It is a hellacious mix but one where very turn is complete with sparking twists of invention and sonic radiance.

Its successor Nobody’s Diary, a cover of the Yazoo track, ignites ears and imagination with even more triumphant ingenuity next. The track instantly storms the psyche with virulent and scathing riffery as sonic blooms break out around its tempest, but it is the unexpected display of clean vocals which tips the balance and inspires a delicious multi-flavoured landscape of warped and imaginative endeavour to steal the passions. With its sound aligned to a thick sludgy furnace of hostility, the song is an outstanding end to a rather impressive and thoroughly enjoyable encounter.

Personal tastes dictates which songs stand above others but every track and each of the three bands, make a compelling and richly satisfying persuasion impossible to resist.

The Split release is available now via Unquiet Records @ www.unquietrecords.com/product/fleshworldgazersviscera-3-way-split/

https://www.facebook.com/fleshworld

https://www.facebook.com/Gazersband

https://www.facebook.com/viscera3stripes/

RingMaster 16/10/2104

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

 

 

Riwen – Self Titled

10494757_247656675432167_4129809199292173016_n

Making their debut with a furious three track self-titled EP, Riwen is the new hardcore fuelled project of Cult Of Luna guitarist/vocalist Johannes Persson. It is an encounter which prowls a whole new landscape for the musician but on the evidence of the band’s first release, one as passionately driven and explored as anything you would expect from his creative mind and craft. It is intensive and brutally imposing, and whilst the release is not breaking dramatic new ground for hardcore, its ferociously dark and heavy presence veined with sonic and melodic tenacity, makes it potently stand out.

Alongside Persson, Riwen’s line-up is completed by Totalt Jävla Mörker current and former members in respectively Christian Augustin and Fredrik Lindkvist. The band emerged from songs which Persson wrote last year, a clutch of tracks inspired by in his words, “the vein of music that I grew up to and was the influence when I learned to write music about 20 years ago. Think early 90’s hardcore like Integrity, Judge, Damnation AD, Battery, Amce and onward in that fashion.” The result is a presence and sound to the band which takes no prisoners and is ill-tempered in breath and touch but also emotionally transfixing and melancholically hostile.

The EP opens with Nature Calls Us Back, a sonic resonance the spring board for a colossal avalanche of beats and grievous predatory riffs. That wall of sound is soon into a heavily imposing stride blistered with an intermittent sonic 10491081_247638098767358_6414857369916074870_nenterprise. It is an uncompromising and intensive examination yet deceptively contagious, raw grooves and barbed hooks littering the tsunami of passion and intensity guided by coarse vocal squalls. It may not blow the senses from their safety but the track permeates and grows in strength and corrosive rabidity over time to linger and mark an impressive first attack from the band.

The following Values similarly flies at ears though it gets down to business with a quicker and more voracious viciousness from its opening breath. An acidic groove even in its short intrusions makes compelling bait within the sonic and impassioned fury raging around it, before making a longer and spicier impact as the brawl of vocals and rhythms spread their venom with energy and spite to match the rage of guitars. It is a relentless torrent of noise and anger which again grips the imagination with ease before making way for the closing track, Karlsgrundet.

Initially a slower, more lumbering protagonist but with a keen canter to its hungry predation, the song builds up its intimidating climate and intensity until it breaks and careers into a furnace of fleet footed rhythmic animosity and sonic savagery. There is still some rein on it all though which allows an adventurous tempest of enterprise from drums and guitars as the bass prowls with bestial purpose. Though the release is not exactly a ground-breaking exercise within hardcore, the track explores a blackened and heavily unleashed violation which certainly adds new flavoursome twists and endeavour to anything from the genre in 2014.

Ending with a shadowed stringed coaxing which still holds a portentous threat, the song is a drama drenched investigation of ears and emotions which, added to the first pair, provides something as riveting as it is imposing. Riwen, band and EP, leaves appetite and anticipation healthy and eager for more from the project ahead, whilst expectations are now high and greedier thanks to this impressive first offering.

Riwen has now added bassist Christoffer Röstlund Jonsson and guitarist Marita Jonsson Mätlik to the line-up.

The Riwen EP is available on CD and 10″ vinyl from October 13th on Indie Recordings @ http://www.omerch.eu/shop/indierecordings/search.php?pg=1&stext=Riwen&scat=2302&nobox=true

https://www.facebook.com/riwenhc/

RingMaster 13/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/