Interview with BROTHERHOOD (2019)

in DARKWAVE/GOTHIC ROCK/POST GOTHIC 405 views

The first thing I would like to know is how you ended up creating Brotherhood, as far as I know, you came from other music-related activities.

We’ve known each other since we were kids and had a lot of different bands and musical projects together in those early days. Then Micke moved to Stockholm to work in the music business and Stefan started and joined some other bands. But then around 2007 we decided that we wanted to do something musically together again. We had a clear picture of sound and approach already from the beginning and that’s been the foundation for Brotherhood ever since.

I know you are huge fans of Sisters of Mercy, does the name Brotherhood come from The Sisterhood?

Hehehehe, well yes. The Sisters of Mercy is one of the bands that’s made a huge impact on us thru the years, among others… but yes – the name Brotherhood is, of course, a homage to Eldritch’s Sisterhood.

This leads me to ask about your musical background, from where you take the inspiration? I can hear obvious Sisters, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave (Cash sometimes), which is a great cocktail. 

Oh, that’s a lot of different things inspiring us: music, books, films and poems in (as you say) a great cocktail. We have our roots, as mentioned above, but never lock our self in a corner saying: “It’s got to be like this” or such. A good inspiration for a Brotherhood track could be anything from a great song, a phrase in a movie or just improvising in the studio. Sure we have some favourite bands we’ve been listening to like forever, but we’re really listening to all kinds of genre and “styles” and get inspiration from that. Lyrically it’s about life, love, misery and death – as life is.

You’ve been together since 2007 but you didn’t release your debut album “Turn The Gold To Chrome” until 2012 as self-release. It took a lot of time to release it, also you do not have anything released before it like a demo for example. What can you tell us about that period 2007-2011?

We had (and have) a lot of other bands and projects going then as now. The gap between 2007-2011 was simply because we had a lot going musically, family-wise, and then trying to find time to write music and slowly build up what was going to be Brotherhood. We did a couple of gigs during that time as well and built up a fanbase, marketing, our own label etc. Stefan was touring a lot with Arcana at that time as well and Micke worked in the music business. But to answer the Q about demos, well no. We have some songs, obviously, that never got released from that time. But we did release the first song we ever wrote for Brotherhood – “In Control” – on SoundCloud as a “Christmas treat” some years ago.

Also, you have made a Depeche Mode cover of Photographic in 2012, why didn’t you include it on your debut album?

When we wrote and recorded Turn The Gold To Chrome we thought a lot about the Sisters album Floodland. Which in our opinion is a great album with just great songs and production. We wanted our debut album to be the same. Just great songs. No covers, extra material, extended versions – just a great album and songs that were meant to be on the album. We did “Photograpic” for fun and played it live for some shows. It’s a great song! But not on our debut album. We put it out digitally for the fun of it way back, also as a “Christmas treat”.

Do you still have rough demos of that period? Maybe some of your fans would love to have them.

Seldom we throw away songs, all of them are still on some hard drives somewhere. And some of the songs we put aside for whatever reasons are sometimes getting new life and reworked on records. For instants “Black lies”, that was a song that first was a rough demo way back, then died, rediscovered, died again, and the resurrected as a great song on “The Other Side Of Fear EP”.

In my opinion “Turn The Gold To Chrome” was on the top 10 best records of 2012, how was the reaction out there for this record.

Thanks! Yes the response were massive from press, fans, topped several indie-charts and it got nominated for a lot of stuff. It was amazing! Germany was the first ones to get us, and then it just swelled around Europe and great reviews from US as well.

One year later you released a new EP called The Dark which was limited to 100 copies. The songs were darker, in this case, I have to say I’m quite obsessed with the song called Dead Inside, what can you tell us about it?

The whole EP come to shape around the death of Stefan’s father. The music and lyrics are darker and deeper than “Turn The Gold To Chrome”. It was like a remedy from grief doing that EP. Dead Inside was the last song written for the EP, a good closer of the record. Lot of angst and tears during those sessions.

Then you’ve released some random digital singles that were all compiled together with the Dark EP on “Two Worlds And In Between 2013-2017”, released by a new record label Gothic Music Records. How was the reaction on this, because at this point you were very well known in the Goth-Post Punk circuit.

Yes. Oskar had been writing to us for quite a while, starting off with booking gigs, and we felt that Gothic Music would suit us well. “Damned” is one of the singles from that time, one of our personal favourites and the most streamed and bought song so far. “Like a Ghost” is also a great track and a proof of the Brotherhood‘s mixed inspiration from different musical genres. “Heaven and The End” was the first time we co-wrote a song. We wrote it with Martin Sköld from the great Swedish band Kent.

In September 2017 you released a new single “Until Every Tear Is Wiped Away / All That’s Left For Me Is To Kill My Pain” which is absolutely astonishing. This made me think if the band wanted to jump into another kind of musical direction. What’s the story behind this single?

We wanted to experiment with some new technology bought for our studio – Spider Studio. And also bring some of the roots of dark country mixed with a modern touch. We’d released a couple of up-tempo singles, direct songs and wanted these two songs to be more dark and “laidback”. On the track “All That’s Left For Me Is To Kill My Pain” we wanted to create the feeling of an 80-s-extended-remix. It doesn’t matter which intentions we have, we think it always ends up sounding as Brotherhood anyway.

And now you a have a second album coming, called In The Violet Hour. At this point, it´s no secret that every physical release you have done has a Sisters lyric as a name, and this wasn’t to be an exception. Any comments on this before to go to the new album details?


Second or third, depending on how to look at it. Well, it’s been a “thing” for us on the 3 albums, not the EPs though. A homage to the roots. We are also very much into reading and books and sure it’s a blink to Sisters but Eldritch also borrowed a lot from books.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect about the new release, but I have to say the surprise was huge, even I can tell you’ve made a better record than your debut album. How much time did it take you to compose and record this album?

Thank you. Yes, we’re very pleased with the sound on this record, best yet. The first fragments kind of just came on pretty much by itself. The first track we wrote was Down, and that formed the tone and soundscape for the whole record right there. We worked on the album more or less during the entire last year. The songs have a great vibe of Brotherhood‘s “then and now”, with a mix of darkness and up-tempo. The lyrics are better and deeper than ever, music more complexed, and the vocals and choir arrangements are a step to the next level.

In the Violent Hour is dark, emotive and catchy, is really hard to get a favorite track, which is your favorite track?

Hard to decide just one. Stefan: “Fear”, but also “The Pit”. Micke: “Voices” and “Reasons”. We had the same intention with “In The Violet Hour” as with “Turn The Gold To Chrome” – not a single second of music that was not meant to be recorded should end up on the album.

Musically speaking the production is really good, what can you tell us about the technical aspects behind it?

As mention before we’ve updated the studio a lot the last years. With that comes better sound quality of course, but also a lot of experimenting to mix acoustic sounds/instruments, new ways to do the backing vocals and so on. The mixing part is always the most time killing part, but also the greatest time. Stefan loves to listen for a snare drum for hours trying to get the best reverb or whatever hahahaha. Micke hates it.

Can you describe the songs on “In The Violet Hour” by your own words?

RAIN – An up-tempo song with by far the most complexed music we have written.
FEAR – Much experimenting with the backing vocals from our guest vocalists Luna Joyce and Jonas Hammar and a nice guitar hook.
DOWN – Micke wanted to do a downtempo with a twist in the arrangement, Stefan had a vision of a slow-death-kind of song.
THE PIT – Guess it is the most “not expected” song of Brotherhood. Here’s a good example of letting you get influenced by all genres. The chorus is as close to metal as we can get.
MANIFEST – a nice soundtrack of angst. Even we get depressed as soon as it starts.
REASONS – the song of hopelessness. Combining old-school goth with a modern touch. Lyrically a history of the struggle with your own demons. Micke never wants to discuss the lyrics on the album and we both think it is up to the listener to have their own impression of the lyrics.
VOICES
– to be frank: Stefan thought Micke gone mad when he explained his visions about this track. It’s like two songs in one but it really works. The second part of the song when the old Moog bass kicks in make you almost wanna dance.
SHADOWS – another up-tempo song that were released as a single in 2017. One of Brotherhood‘s most played on radio and streaming. On the album we have re-recorded parts and done a new mix.
LOVERMAN – for the first time on a release – a cover song from Brotherhood. We both love Nick Cave and wanted to do this track in the style of Brotherhood. We also got thumbs up from Mute Publishing to release it.

And again Sackarias Luhanko is the mind-hand behind the cover of the album which is just brutal. How did this collaboration come out because all your covers are real paintings made by him?


Sackarias Luhanko


Sackarias is a good old friend of ours. He’s an amazing artist! Our homes are filled with his paintings and art. The collaboration works really great and his art captures the tone of Brotherhoods music. Micke used to run a club and he let Sackarias set up some art shows many years ago before he was an established artist. Regarding how it works – it’s different from time to time. Either Sacke makes a painting and call us up and say “Hey, I got a new painting, are you gonna release anything soon?” Or we see a nice piece he’s done and tell him that we want to use it. A couple of times we’ve had a specific approach on the artwork and kind of have it custom made. The same goes for photos. We’ve used the photographer Ronnie Gavelin for all photo sessions. You know, when you find good and talented people, you keep them around. They are important for the whole aspect of Brotherhood.

Now you are working with Post Gothic that is releasing In The Violet Hour in LP/CD, any plans for a tape version or a re-release on TTGTC?

We’ve talked about that and are all in for any kind of formats. We want to reach out to all of our fans. These days you have to put out the formats that your fans prefer – either it’s on vinyl, CD, streaming or whatever. But we are sure happy that the vinyl is back! Regarding the re-release of “Turn The Gold To Chrome” we’re having discussions with the label about that too.

What about the side projects, where can we check them out?

Oh, that’s quite a few. Stefan has Alfahanne, Sister Electra, Fenix, Creepers, Sophia, Arcana and he also produces a lot of artists. Micke got a solo project called Lønnkrog – 80s darksynth – and he also remixes other artists. Some years ago we also did a project together called Mercy INC and released an EP which is hugely influenced by artists like REVCO and the label Wax Trax. All music is to be found on any streaming site and some are out on CD, vinyl and cassette as well.

Which bands of the current scene has caught your attention lately?
Tough question. We’re listening to so much music all day, for pleasure and for our day jobs. Not to sound too old and grumpy, but we’ve mostly just listening to older music, 70’s and 80’s mostly. But some Swedish acts worth mention is Henric De La Cour, Innesi, Then Comes Silence, D4rkstar, INVSN, Principe Valiente, Agent Side Grinder.

Any plans for live shows?
There are always plans, but time is the enemy as always. We will probably do some gigs this autumn if the right festival or club promoters get in touch. For live performance, we usually bring in a couple of friends and musicians on bass and guitar.