(Comrade Aleks brings us another interview, this time with Daniel Arvidsson of Sweden’s Mammoth Storm.)
Mammoth Storm is a sharp description in itself of the music this Swedish band perform. This bloody power trio from Sweden has a tight, massive sound and a solid strong line-up. Daniel Arvidsson (bass, vocals) of Draconian rides this beast with his comrades at arms Emil Ahlman (drums, organ) and Christer Ström (guitars).
The bulky creature of Mammoth Storm released its first big work Fornjot through Napalm Records one month ago and just returned from a pilgrimage they did with Ahab and High Fighter, spreading thunderous riffs and primordial rumble in chosen cities of Europe. Welcome to the antediluvian era of earthquakes, giant beasts, immense glaciers, and fires falling from the skies performed in heavy doom music. Daniel will be our guide.
Hail Daniel! How are you there? Are Mammoth Storm touring still or do you already have some rest after this mini tour?
Hail there! Everything is alright here, thanks! Enduring the boring daily routines with a beer.
No we are not touring at the moment, taking a rest and gathering our strength again for the next blast to come, taking the time to start working on some new material for the moment.
What are your overall impressions of this tour? And what were the most remarkable gigs you played during the tour? What do live shows give to you?
The tour was great indeed. To travel around with these 2 other great bands, Ahab and High Fighter, was awesome. Better people are hard to find, and we all had a blast together.
Also, since Mammoth Storm is a relatively new band we had no idea how our sound would be received out there, but I have to say that the response we got was overwhelming and people really got into our sound.
The gig we did in Pratteln, Switzerland, was probably our best gig so far, everything clicked that night and the sound, light, and stage were impressive. But all gigs were great in their own way and we enjoyed every single one of them. The gig we did in Paris, though, will always be remembered with some strange feelings since it was like just around the block basically from where the terrorist attacks occurred just one week after we were there. Makes you think a bit.
It gives me everything. It’s what I love to do, and on stage I can release whatever is on my mind and just blow them all away. It’s a cleansing feeling for me personally.
Another band where you also play is Draconian and it has a new full-length Sovran released in October. Do you plan to do a tour with them as well?
Yes that’s true. In February I’ll go on tour in Europe with Draconian. So it’s busy times, but I love it. Not sure my boss likes it as much as me though, when I have to be off work for all this 😛
And how do you share your efforts and energy between Mammoth Storm and Draconian?
So far it has never been any problem for me. In Draconian I don’t write any music or lyrics, I leave that to the others. So I can keep more attention to Mammoth Storm when it comes that. And Draconian has never been a band which plays much live, so there’s a lot of time over for me to do other things.
But I love being busy and to play live, so for me it is just perfect to be in 2 bands playing all over, Europe and outside as well. Traveling and being stage are my two favorite things in life, so it couldn’t be better.
Mammoth Storm – Fornjot
Mammoth Storm has a very specific, massive, and bulky sound, and this trademark is also reflected in the band’s name. What’s your recipe for such sound?
Actually we don’t use that much special stuff in creating the sound we have. The basic recipe in which everyone can follow is an Orange amp, a good fuzz pedal of your own choice, and then down-tune the hell out of it. The rest is up to the riffs. A sound can be massive but it has to be followed up with the right riffs, imbedded with the right atmosphere.
And how do you recreate it on stage? Is it difficult to keep the brand when you’re on the road and play each night in different places?
As long as we can bring our own gear to the gigs then it is no problem to recreate the sound on our part. But you have to be in good communication with the sound engineer and make him get what our sound is about.
With all the decibel rules and shit today, it can be difficult to get them to do your sound justice and crank those low ends. Luckily, so far we haven’t had that problem and I think the audiences can agree with me.
The manner in which the artwork of your first album Fornjot was done seems familiar – who is its author?
All of Mammoth Storm’s artwork is done by our drummer Emil. He is an exceptional artist and it was a never a question whether we would have him do all our art or not, and it will continue to be so. He really has a great way to capture the music in his art.
Did Emil ever draw artworks for other bands?
Just a few small bands like Mountain Witch, The Generals, and Haddock. But the guy surely deserves more credit and I think he will be offered to do more covers in the future.
The world Mammoth Storm tells about is a prehistoric world of giant beasts, cataclysms ,and the first shy efforts of humankind to stand up straight. Do you plan to continue this conception on the next albums?
Haven’t really thought about that just yet. We don’t have a specific plan when writing the lyrics. It is just what comes to mind when listening to the songs and writing whatever comes to mind. We feel that the lyrics somewhat reflect the music, so together it will create the right atmosphere.
But I guess it will be in the same line as before, yes.
By the way, don’t you want to record an album based, for example, on the Quest for Fire book by Joseph Henri Honoré Boex? Though I find myself thinking that your world is similar to Hyborean age as your sound is akin to the sound of the band Conan.
Haven’t read the book and, man, haven’t seen the movie since I was a child, so don’t remember much of it. But yeah it would fit us for sure to do something like that, but it is nothing we have planned so far at least.
Perhaps the Hyborean age as well, as you say, although I think we should leave that to Conan since they’re doing an awesome fucking job with it 😉
Ha-ha, it seems that I was digging too deep and getting in the wrong archeological stratum! So did you have an overall idea which you wanted to express in composing the lyrics for Fornjot?
Haha, well who knows where we’ll end up for the next album 😉
No, we didn’t think of what the lyrics would be about much before we wrote any of them. The stuff just came out of us in a natural way and that’s what we went for.
Mammoth Storm’s music is primordial in its core, and subjectively it appeals to some primordial emotions as most of metal music does. How do you feel about the band’s energy? What did you put in these thunderous tracks?
We put everything into these songs. When I write music I dig deep within my core, and the songs reflects very much how I’m feeling at the moment when writing them. Everything from pure rage, depression, all how fed up one gets when looking at the world today and the society. All of it is inside our music and comes out as a massive meltdown of doom music.
Hm, was it difficult to outpour such intensive emotions each day during tour?
Not really, once on stage the adrenaline takes over. And add some beers and stuff to that and then everything just pours out of you 🙂
Would you tell us which song from Fornjot represents the best of Mammoth Storm?
That’s a tough question really, I mean, they all do in their own way.
But “Augurs Echo” is a good example of what Mammoth Storm is all about because it has all the ingredients of the band. The vast heaviness of the opening riff, the more stoner-based verse riff pounding on, the melancholic melodies through the ending, accompanied by the aggressive and desperate vocals.
There’s an instrumental track “Symerian Cry” on the album, is it a kind of tribute to Tiamat?
Hehe, well, “Sumerian Cry” is a track done by our guitarist Christer. We didn’t have a title for that track even after it was recorded. I was trying to come up with a title one day while listening to the track and the only thing that came to my mind all the time was Sumerian Cry. I am of course a fan of Tiamat (especially the earlier stuff), and also it fits the ”middle-eastern” sounds of the track. So yes, in a way it’s a bit of a tribute to Tiamat indeed, and the great music they’ve produced through all these years.
I’d like to ask you in continuation of the previous question… Sweden gave birth to a lot of iconic metal bands. Which ones would you name as the best representatives of each heavy genre — doom, death, black, heavy?
I could easily answer Bathory on all of these genres 😉 but ok I’ll try and keep it some apart.
Doom: Candlemass. The great Swedish doom pioneers. By far the most important and influential doom band in Sweden, and without them I think a lot of sub-genres within doom metal would never have existed. Of course, one of my all time favorites.
Death Metal: Where would Swedish Death Metal be on the map if it weren’t for Entombed and their debut Left Hand Path? Sweden had a huge scene of great Death Metal bands in the ’90s, but Entombed set the standard, together with some other bands, but that album is a great definition of the Swedish sound.
Black Metal: As I said before I could easily put Bathory on all the genres, but I am choosing them here. Bathory is the most influential band in the world when it comes to extreme metal — I’m not afraid to stick out my nose on this one. Without them (Quorthon) there would never have been any Norwegian Black Metal wave, and none other for that matter either. Perhaps you wouldn’t call the music Black Metal though, but I’m putting Bathory here because of what influence it has made on the scene and the Scandinavian sound.
Heavy Metal: This is the genre where I really don’t have any answer, because I can’t really tell of any good bands within it from Sweden, at least not that I can think of at the moment.
Which doom bands do you sincerely respect, and for what?
Candlemass for sure, for what they have created and the big influence they have had on whole scene.
My Dying Bride. These guys have played for so long with so many albums released, but still almost all of their releases keep a high standard and they really haven’t betrayed their own sound much throughout the years.
Yob, because it is simply awesome music and Mike is a great composer and a very humble and nice person.
I could mention so many more bands I have huge respect for, but then I’d be sitting here until my hands bleed.
What are your plans for the next Mammoth Storm album? How far do your ambitions spread?
Well, the plan is to keep on doing what we do and stay true to our sound, but still make it even more heavy, massive, primordial. Our ambitions really have no end, but perhaps when we’ve made our music so heavy that even the mammoths will rise from their extinction from our sound. Perhaps then we’d be satisfied 😉
Thanks to Mona Miluski for organizing the interview.