From the first moment I listen to Serpent Omega felt a particular attraction to this band. A few months ago I did the review of the first record, and as I was looking forward to something else, I contacted Jonsson (guitarist), and we did this interview that follows.
Puro Ruido: Hey, Jonsson! How's everything in the cave of the serpent?Jonsson: Hola! Everything is cool over here, especially the weather when approaching the last month of the year. The serpent is just waking up from a little slumber.
PR: Let's start talking about the album. It is selling well? How have responded press and fans? J: We in the band has almost sold out our share of the vinyl edition, I think our label Mordgrimm still got a few left, the CD in fact just arrived. The vinyl and internet release was much earlier than the CD version. I think it sells great to be a first album from a new band. The response from press/blogs is really good, we got 8 out of 10 to 10 out of 10 in every review and we appreciate the response a lot. The fans are great and it seems that we have a lot of really cool followers in South America.
PR: The album was released through Mordgrimm. How you came to sign with that label? The Promo was 2012 what woke the interest of the label in Serpent Omega?J: Yes. We recorded a demo (actually a lot of it ended up on the record but in remixed versions and with some add ons and retakes made), this demo was uploaded to Bandcamp and already after a couple of weeks we were contacted by Mordgrimm. We signed for one album and we have a good relation with the label. Its underground and so are we.
PR: How active has been (and is) the 2013? In addition to the album, have done a tour?J: No real tour yet, we have played some places in Sweden, (with Hooded Menace, Grand Magus, Naam, Decomposed and Avgrund to name a few) but now we are booked to a festival in Finland. We are not very aggressive with promotion, we just do our thing and get contacted. It have worked so far.
PR: Let's make a little history. Why Serpent Omega born? How things come together for you, and give life to this band?J: Me, Jonsson (Guitar) have played with Brief (Bass) earlier when we both lived in Uppsala, then I moved to Gothenburg. After some years Brief went down to Gothenburg and we had some beers and sat down to talk about forming THE band. Not a band. You know when you are drunk you tend to form a lot of bands that really very seldom becomes reality. This was more sincere from the start. We had a vision of what to do, then I moved to Stockholm where Brief now lived. We found a drummer that later was replaced/quit, we wrote some songs and searched for a vocalist. We tried out a couple of guys before Pia came to mind. Pia is in fact a great “clean voice singer” so we had to unleash the more primal voice that I had heard from her about 10 years ago at some show in Uppsala. Then it all came to place, and Briefs brother in law Sakke became our new drummer. Serpent Omega is a mix between many influences and four different lives come together as one entity.
PR: How is the writing process? There is a member that provides more ideas than others? All contribute when composing? Ideas emerge through jams?J: As it is now me and Brief makes the riffs, then we all compose the songs together at the rehearsal. Writing songs is of course not only about the riffs, it has changed more into jams to find that right eerie feeling in the songs that we sometimes call the Serpent.
PR: Jonsson, you are the guitarist, and the band's music is based, among other things, the power of the riff. So I'd like you to tell me your definition of the role played by the Riff in a metal band.J: The Riff is of course always “The Riff”, but the riff for me personally have changed meaning. We could take a really basic riff and play it with our sound in slow tempo and it would still be as cool as our more advanced riffs. The Riff could be the bass sound, or that vocal part that lifts the song, or even the toms in the end of the song Konflux. I have to say that we have a bit special bass sound coming out of Briefs Sunn amp. Its very dark, deep, but also distorted and sounds a bit like a guitar. So Brief in my ears play both bass and rhytm guitar while I play lead guitar and try to make parts that sound like two guitars sometime, I always use at least two guitar amps at the same time. So our sound is as massive LIVE or even more than on the record. Check live clips on Youtube. But really The Riff in Serpent Omega in my oppinion is when we play together and get that feeling that there is one screeching demon in different bodies playing all the instruments at the same time.
PR: What made you decide to play the guitar? There was a turning point in your life, where you hear a guitar, or a band, and said "ok, this is what I want to do"?J: I wanted to play the drums actually, I made my own drumkit from oil barrels at the farm where I grew up. But one day my father was tired of me slamming that shit so he destroyed the kit and some days after he came home with an nylon stringed acoustic guitar. I was 9 years old. 6 years later (1994) I was in a full speed crust band called Abuse and released my first 7”. I still play a lot of old Swedish folk music on acoustic guitar. You can here those influences between songs on our album. First vinyl I owned was one with ZZ Top. The first CD I owned was Born Again with Black Sabbath, one of the more underrated albums in the world if you ask me. So indeed Tony Iommi (The Riff Master) was there from the beginning to reconnect with the previous question about The Riff.
PR: You are Swedish, more precisely, Stockholm. Although you play Doom (and Sludge, and including Stoner), in your music there are many elements that make me think about things more extreme. The Stockholm Death Metal has had some influence on the music of Serpent Omega?J: Yes very much so. We all have grown up with the music of Entombed and Dismember blasting our ears with the Sunlight Studios sound. But also the early Gothenburg Death have been influence, especially At The Gates. There is also Black in our music that has its heritage from Dissection, Marduk, Dark Throne and Burzum. But everyone in the band is originally from Uppsala.
PR: where is it going Serpent Omega? There is a quest, a goal in the group's life?J: We dont know really, I can say that we would very much like to play Roadburn Festival in Netherlands and we would really want to come and play in South America. If we manage to do a second album that is better instead of worse than the first this wont at all be far away.
PR: Jonsson, there are already plans for 2014? Or still too early to know what will next year?J: Yes we have a show last of January at the best club in Stockholm, called Püssy a Go Go, and the day after we play in Turku, Finland. Both shows with the Finnish band Sadistik Forest. We have already some new songs and we are going to continue to work on them more along with writing some new ones. I’m pretty certain that we will record our second album during 2014.
PR: The last question. To conclude, I would like you to tell us how the heavy music should sound for you, which should be its essence, its nature.J: I think people in general are confused and try to sound too much like their biggest influences and copies instead of making what their souls wish to do. When reviewers try to describe our influences they end up with name dropping about 10-15 bands in the same review. Often some bands I even haven’t heard. There is obviously a need out there to put everything you find in imaginary baskets. We don't want to play a certain style because we know that it is what many likes, we play exactly what the Serpent want and people seem to enjoy it so far. The nature and essence should be that you don't care about the listener, you care about the music and how you can make it even more sincere to what you really want to do and in some way even feel that you must do. When I hear music like this, like Swedish Tribulation for an example it makes me happy and I feel that Serpent Omega also is on the right track.
PR: Ok, Jonsson, thank you very much for the interview. You know, I really like the music of Serpent Omega, therefore, is a pleasure to continue spreading what the band does. If you want to add something, do it freelyJ: We in the band is very DIY, we record ourselves, do our own artwork and so on. We appreciate and understand the work people are putting in around the world. Thanks for the interview compadre. Its people like you that makes this scene grow internationally, its not the big labels. So thanks to all DIY blogs, zines, promotors, labels and listeners. And a extra thank you if you buy our record. Skål för fan!