Interview with Switchblade

Let's face it: there are too many bands out there releasing too much music for any one magazine-blog-social media platform combo to cover it all adequately. Or at least cover it all to the adequate degree that all those bands and PR people would want to be covered. Stuff gets lost in the shuffle the same way kids' allowance money and faux-meat lunches get lost in a McDonalds Playland ball pit. So, in the grand tradition of goofy interviews posing as informative interviews (see previous editions and examples here and here), we present to you Sweden's ever-morphing avant-garde, progressive, noisecore, sludge metal duo, Switchblade putting up with some dumb-ass questions so as to promote their Swedish-Grammy nominated album from last year [2012]. If you had a gun held to your head and had to give the history of Switchblade in less than 100 words, what would you say? We started out as a 4-piece in 1997, turned into a trio in 2000 and finally turned into a duo in late 2009. So, now it's me (Tim Bertilsson) on drums and Johan Folkesson on guitar and multiple amps. We have released six self-titled albums so far. We have always worked under the "less is more" motto.

Very good, and with 43 words to spare! If you had a bigger gun held to your head and were demanded to detail the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to Switchblade, what would the story be? There have been quite a lot of things that have happened to us over the years; things that have been exciting on many different levels. Sharing the stage with some of our favourite bands, recording at fantastic studios, releasing albums we're proud of, etc. It's hard to name just one thing.

Pretty wishy-washy answer, dude. OK, if you had a cannon held to your head and were demanded to admit the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to Switchblade, what would you come clean about? I can't really think of anything really embarrassing we've done or that's happened to us. We don't work in embarrassing ways.

You’ll never convince anyone of that. You name your albums after the year they are released. What happens if you have more than one release come out in a year – head-exploding confusion? Well, we're pretty slow when it comes to writing music so the risk of releasing more than one album during a year is minimal.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever knowingly eaten in your entire life? Hmmm, there was a "punkstew" we were served in Belgium over 10 years ago that literally tasted like cigarette smoke. I will probably never forget that meal.

Switchblade only has two members. Is this because: A) You’re both difficult to work with? B) You don’t want to split the little money the band makes any more than need be? C) Fewer people to divide more beer between? Answers: A) I actually think that both me and Johan are fairly easy to work and get along with. We have never really had any fights or arguments in the band in the 15 years we've existed. B) It's rather the other way around. We have never made any money from the band, to be honest, and now we're just two people sharing all the costs. C) I don't drink, so Johan gets all the beer to himself these days, unless we bring David (Kongh) along who is a pretty thirsty guy as well.

At what point did you decide to basically go virtually instrumental and why? I’m going to assume this coincides with you naming your songs by numbers instead of titles? How often do you get confused about which “II” you’re playing at practice or live? Well, let us get the facts straight here... We have never released any instrumental albums and on our latest album there is quite a lot of vocals. If we're doing show as a duo we have sampled vocals, but most of the shows we have David (Kongh) doing guest vocals. And we gave up on regular song titles back in 2001, so we have now released five albums since then though our latest album ([2012]) does have titles like "Movement I", "Movement II" and so on, which are then divided into subtitles for every major part of each track. We usually have internal titles for each track, so we've never really had any problems with keeping track of the songs.

Duly noted. I got you momentarily confused with someone else, but thanks for not ripping into my fleeting idiocy too hard. Next question: Would you do a month-long tour of the U.S., providing direct support for your favourite band in venues/clubs that hold minimum 300 people and where you’re guaranteed to make twice the amount of money you would on a regular night with the trade-off being that you had to give up having sex for a year? Yes.

Do you agree with the thought that touring bands should have an off-season like in pro sports and that this off-season would be from like November to March, when it’s wintertime and fucking cold out? What’s your favourite way to keep warm on a long, cold Swedish winter night? Well, we more or less stopped touring during the winter months after doing a tough three week tour in early 2004. There are just too many things that get a lot harder while touring during the winter. Coffee is always the preferred way to stay warm.

With meatballs being a delicacy in your home land, allow me to ask, what’s the most ridiculous way you’ve seen Swedish meatballs prepared? I don't eat meat myself, but I've seen Americans make gigantic meatballs in tomato sauce which is just wrong.

What’s the most outlandish and fantastical best case scenario for the release of [2012] your imagination can conjure up? Don’t be shy! I don't know really, but that the album just got nominated for a Swedish Grammy award a few days ago is something we never dreamt of. The album also got us booked for the next Roadburn Festival which we're very excited about.

[2012] has been out since 2012 on Denovali Records and Trust No One Recordings. www.switchblade.se

P.S. Here's a press item from the band's website announcing their Grammy nom:

The Switchblade [2012] album has been nominated for a Swedish Grammy award in the category Hard Rock/Metal. Also, Jonas who did some vocals on the album is nominated twice in the category since the Dead End Kingsalbum by his regular band Katatonia is nominated as well. The winner will be revealed at the awards ceremonies at Cirkus in Stockholm on February 20th.

The nominees in the Hard Rock/Metal category are: Graveyard – Lights Out Katatonia – Dead End Kings Sabaton – Carolus Rex Switchblade – S/T [2012] Witchcraft – Legend

We here at the Deciblog wish them luck and hope to hell that, at the very least, Sabaton don't win.

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