(Here we have Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Rune Bæk, vocalist and lyricist of the Danish band Uddød, whose debut self-titled EP was released last November.)
To say it shortly – Uddød is a sludgy doom band with Danish lyrics, a straightforward approach, and one self-titled EP released in November 2020. Actually I know it because of Rune Bæk (guitars, vocals), a guy who did an amazing job as a frontman in a killer local act Plöw some time ago.
You can check Plöw’s video ‘High Tide’ or just find the ‘Captain Fungus’ track. Such was their anger! Such energy! And for me Uddød remains Plöw’s spiritual successor despite the fact that Rune’s companions Jeppe Birch Friis (bass), Jacob Lau (drums), and Frank Sørensen (guitars) seemed to enter the magic world of the metal underground not long ago. But all together they leave a strong impression of a professional, motivated, and powerful band.
Thus it was my duty to introduce Uddød with Rune’s help to NCS readers.
Hi Rune! How are you? How do you spend another quarantine in Denmark?
Hi Aleks! I’m fine thank you. Well after a well-spent Christmas holiday with my family, I’m back at work. No quarantine for me.
I need to ask you before we turn our eyes to Uddød, what happened with Plöw? I don’t remember if you explained why it was disbanded.
Well, to make a long story short, we were writing new songs and still playing gigs, when James (guitarist/co-founder) sadly had to move back to his home country Iceland, caused by personal reasons. It would be weird trying to replace James, as he was a force of nature in the band.
Well, Uddød… How did it happen that you’ve returned to heavy music after Plöw’s split?
I kept playing heavy music with our drummer from Plöw Rasmus in his other project Lobotomy Kit alongside guitarist Sulo from Estonia. We released two EP’s. Then Sulo moved home as well. After that a long dry period of time went by and then Frank (guitarist in the Danish stoner band Disrule) contacted me about a new project he wanted to start. Three years later we had our first live practice with bassist Jeppe (Black Swamp Water), and when drummer Jacob (Bonejammer, Course Correction) joined in, and we evolved the thing into UDDØD.
Did the quarantine change your attitude towards playing music? You know – the situation is uncertain, society’s prospects are blurred, and you need to raise kids and care for those whom you love.
Hmmm… I guess it just made it more clear, that our music is needed these days. Some of the best music is made during hard times. And that is a nice way to escape the everyday pandemic. We have had some breaks during the pandemic because of the risk of getting covid, but all in all, we have kept writing, playing, and evolving the band. I think I speak for everyone in the band when I say that being a musician is a big part of our identity. Being a good father, husband, or better half also means keeping a hold of who you are. So we can’t stop now, can we.
So the album was recorded live at a studio — was it your first experience recording things this way? How fast and smooth was this session?
It was the first time for me, but some of the other guys tried it before. It went really well actually. It gives a certain nerve to the recordings, when you have to pull your shit together not to fuck up for the rest of the guys. And it just feels right playing it together like we used to. Instead of having a click bossing you around.
We booked the studio for eight hours. Seven hours and 55 minutes later the last words were recorded.
What was the most difficult part of recording for you?
The most difficult part for me personally was not to be too critical. You can always find something you want to do better here and there, but recording live the way we did, it forces you to go with your guts, not desiccating every little part. That makes the recording vital and brutally honest.
How would you sum up Uddød’s core elements? What are the pillars of its sound and concept?
Powerful riffs, heavy fuzzy sound, doom drums, and honest raw vocals in the mother tongue. We know we didn’t invent the genre, but we try to put in some original elements. Beside the Danish lyrics, we use our very different references in the band, Mayhem vs Monolord, High on Fire vs Hendrix, to come up with something different, and give new life to the genre.
What kind of vibe did you aim to embody in these songs? Do you feel you’ve succeeded?
A vibe of serious heaviness, along with deep-felt emotions. The old school doom sound along with a more modern Nordic expression, infused with some psych elements. A live and sincere vibe, which is why we recorded it live. I think we did a pretty okay job.
Agreed! Actually it’s my impression that a lot of bands head on toward just an old school sound. Let me find an example… oh, your retro countrymen Demon Head! How do you keep the balance between old and modern ways in your songs?
Each bandmember comes with very different references, from doom to grunge and thrash to death metal, which reflects in our sound and songwriting. I think that keeps us out of the retro ’70s stereotype.
The EP consists of four songs, and that’s enough for a first release, but not enough for a proper gig. Have you thought about performing some of Plöw’s songs with Uddød? You shouldn’t bury good old songs!
Luckily doom songs are pretty long. We have begun the writing process for the second EP and have a ton of ideas and riffs, so we should be alright. We did a private gig at a garden party at Jeppe’s place in the summertime, and it worked out fine. PLÖW is a totally different story, and it wouldn’t feel right in any way to mix those things together. Off the record, we have two unreleased PLÖW songs, which we have been trying to wrap up for a Corona release, but some of the recorded guitar tracks are gone.
Plöw had some interesting song lyrics, and now with Uddød you sing in your mother tongue. How do your new texts differ from the ones you wrote before?
That is a good question. In the PLÖW lyrics I had been using the living dead plöwman figure as an anchor for a lot of the songs. Still inspired by real things and real life episodes and chapters of my life. In UDDØD there is no dogma as such regarding the lyrics, but I try to match the depth and the heaviness of the sound in the songs, so that is pretty similar.
The big difference is the sound and the taste of the Danish words. When you hear a song in your own language, there is no filter, so the words better taste right. It has been an eye opener for me writing in Danish, and I have found a new passion for writing lyrics, poems, and stories. It is a real challenge though, as you are completely naked, and can’t hide behind a curtain of foreign words. But that is also why you probably can reach deeper into yourself and hopefully into the people who bother listening to the songs. I hope that the non-Danish-speaking listeners can adapt to it, and still hear the nerve of the songs.
Sounds like mister Doom-Hans-Stoner-Andersen himself! Do the Danish lyrics help you find a shorter way to Danish medias?
Doom-Hans-Stoner, should be the name of a new genre! I don’t know yet. Some Danish bands in the heavy and black metal genre have maybe been given some extra attention, because of the way they use the Danish language. Normally the genre is dominated by English lyrics, but you see a tendency, that new bands use Danish band names and also some Danish lyrics. Orm and Bersærk are two bands you should give a listen to.
Okay, Rune, what are your plans concerning Uddød for 2021? I need to ask that.
Writing new songs, recording at least one more EP, releasing some videos, and hopefully playing some live gigs. In other words, continue on our road to world domination.
Sounds like a good plan! Then I wish you all the best on this road! Good luck man!
Thanks a lot Aleksey and the same to you.