photo by Sebastian Apel
(The Danish quartet Konvent have a new album named Call Down the Sun that’s set for release by Napalm Records on March 11th, and so the timing is good for us to present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of the band’s bassist Heidi Withington Brink.)
Danish Konvent managed to shock the public in January 2020, when Napalm loudly presented the band’s first album Puritan Masochism. Being one of the very few death-doom bands with only ladies in the line-up, Konvent drew attention with their tense, powerful delivery and the absolutely infernal growls of Rikke Emilie List.
The pandemic interrupted their glorious take-off, and another band might have given up in such a situation but not Konvent. You probably saw their videos for the new songs ‘Grains’ and ‘Pipe Dreams’, and of course you know that Napalm announced that the second Konvent album Call Down the Sun is to be released on the 11th of March. And as that date fast approaches here we have a talk with the band’s bass-player Heidi Withington Brink.
Hi Heidi! How busy are you now with all the promotion around Call Down the Sun? And what’s the most annoying question you get in interviews?
We’ve gotten the “What do you think of people who believe you only got success because you’re all women” a lot. It’s just so negative and kinda makes us feel bad about our gender.
We just wanna be asked the same questions as any other bands get asked, without us feeling guilty for just wanting to play music.
So then… well, how did you start the band? Sorry, I asked that two years ago already [here]. Let’s try another one. The album’s release is close at hand, and a Call Down the Sun release party is planned on the 12th of March. How big is this venue? Do you fear the gig may be canceled due to another set of restrictions, which have happened irregularly since the whole story with Covid started?
Our release party isn’t a show, but just a meet up at a bar for our fans and people who’ve worked with us. So we’re pretty confident it won’t be canceled, since it’s nothing too crazy.
For our Napalm over Europe tour, we also feel somewhat optimistic. We’ve lifted all restrictions in Denmark, so at least we get to perform here. The rest of Europe seems to be headed in the same direction, so we cross our fingers, that everything goes to plan!
photo by Sebastian Apel
When did you play a gig for last time? How was it?
Last time we played a show was in Hamburg for the Reeperbahn Festival. It was a great, but very surreal experience.
A few days before, we played in Copenhagen just when all the covid restrictions were lifted, where people were standing up with no masks and just partying like crazy! It was like the pandemic never happened. When we got to Hamburg the crowd had to stand on marks on the floor with masks on. The people who showed up were so sweet and excited, so we were sad we weren’t allowed to talk after the show, because of the restrictions. Hamburg is always a blast, so we hope to come back soon when covid situation is better.
Let’s hope there won’t be problems with gigs this year. But as covid seemingly stopped being a problem suddenly, there’s another one that has appeared in the form of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Will it affect the Napalm over Europe tour?
We will continue the Napalm over Europe Tour, but sadly 1914 had to cancel because of their situation in Ukraine. We hope to tour with them sometime in the future, but for now, our thoughts and support go to 1914, their families, and the rest of Ukraine.
Your first official video for Call Down the Sun gathered around 45k views in YouTube for just one month, I believe it’s a good indicator nowadays. Do you feel Konvent have already entered “main stream” territory already?
I don’t think we feel mainstream just yet, we still have a lot of things to experience and places to visit. And I guess you can always achieve and experience something new as an artist.
What kind of achievement do you see within reach nowadays? How do you see Konvent’s prospects now that you have a second album complete?
We hope to get more festival shows around the world, now that covid seems to be over. It definitely seems more reachable than it did a year ago.
By the way, did the fact of being part of the band with a grim image and growing recognition influence you somehow? I don’t mean a change in your personality… though why not? Did Konvent change you?
I don’t think any of us changed because of Konvent. I think we all came together with the same idea to create something grim sounding. Maybe we all gained a lot more confidence and self awareness from being part of the band.
Your debut album Puritan Masochism was released on January 24th, 2020, and as far as I remember you got it in time and took part in some big festivals, and prospects seemed to be promising, but then the Covid thing happened. Were you discouraged with that turn of events? I guess that you had a lot of plans for gigs, etc., back then — and bang! It’s over. How did you deal with that?
Luckily we got to finish our release tour for Puritan Masochism before the whole world shut down. So in that case, we were very fortunate compared to other bands that had to suffer cancellations. But we were pretty calm about it all, and still met up to discuss other practical things regarding Call Down the Sun.
Did this situation change your attitude towards playing in the band? People tended to re-evaluate things when the future became more and more blurred, and now we can’t predict that will happen next day. Well, okay, no one could predict that will happen next day even before pandemic, but I believe that you get me.
Hmm.. no I don’t think so. I just think we finally got the time to reflect about our goals for the band, and got time to do all the practical boring stuff that you also got to do when in a band.
When we discussed Puritan Masochism two years ago, you said that Konvent wanted to collaborate with Lasse Ballade as sound producer because of his work with many others great bands. Honestly, I didn’t check his list back then, but now I don’t see there are any doom names. So what kind of bands did you mean? What kind of Konvent features did you aim to develop with him this time?
None of us really listen a lot to doom metal, so it not always something that inspires us. Sometimes we get inspiration from death metal, black metal and even punk. So Lasse Ballade was perfect, because he had done all of those things. He also had a big role in finding the perfect “Konvent sound”, so we thought it was a no-brainer for us to work with him again.
Do you bother about new equipment in your own arsenal or in the studio? How natural is it for you to maintain the technical side of the band?
We’ve never been much of a technical gear-nerd band. We just enjoy playing music, so it doesn’t matter to us if it’s a cheap Squier or an expensive vintage Gibson.
Puritan Masochism was met enthusiastically, and that seems to be a natural reaction regarding the quality of Konvent’s material and even your image. Did you feel it as a kind of trap as, you know, you’ve reached a lot with the first album, you have a contract, so what’s to care about?
We still have a lot to experience as a band, places to see, people to meet. So we are far from done exploring the music industry!
We’ve all evolved a lot from Puritan Masochism and have gotten much more confident experimenting with our music and gotten better at our instruments as well. So we hope to get just as much love for Call Down the Sun.
How much time did it take to compose and record Call Down the Sun? I know that bands in different countries had problems with recording because of closed studios, because band-members or their families got sick, vinyl plants are busy too and it also affects releases’ dates. How was it in your case?
Our rehearsal space was sadly shut down for a long period. Probably 6 months due to covid.
So we had a huge setback when writing the album. But once we got back to it, we already had a lot of stuff to try out together in the rehearsal space. Other than that, I think we survived pretty easily!
Did you write lyrics with Rikke together this time, as well as in the case with the first album? What are Konvent’s central themes on Call Down the Sun?
We’ve always been discussing different topics for our music. Brainstorming and sharing our thoughts and ideas for potential song writing or vocal rhythms. But Rikke is the mastermind when it comes to the actual writing!
A topic that is overall being repeated on Call Down the Sun is probably the feeling of defeat. A lot of the songs are about the constant search for happiness and doing everything to achieve it.
I think we’ve all experienced defeat in our lives. Whether it could be death, heartbreaks, internal stuff, etc. We like to let it be up to the listener to interpret what our songs are about.
Heidi do you already have more gigs planned after the release party? How do you see Konvent’s prospects for 2022?
We go on the Napalm Over Europe tour with Livløs, (0) and Hiraes! We get to visit a lot of new places we’ve never been before this time. So we’re very excited. We also have a lot of festivals during the summer, that we look forward to and hope they don’t get canceled!
Thanks for the interview Heidi! And good luck with the tour! I hope everything will be smooth on your road.