In this period of enforced downtime – I last saw a gig on 05-Mar (Marika Hackman), and frankly who knows when I’m next going to get to go to one – I’m using the time to catch up on various amounts of writing for this site, and also get on with trying to make some of the features on here a more regular occurrence.
/Talk Show Host/060/Then Comes Silence
/Talk Show Host/Links
/Talk Show Host/2019-20
This includes interviews, and this should be the first of a couple in the next week or so. The first of them sees me catch up with Then Comes Silence, a band I was only vaguely aware of before I heard their new album Machine, and thus far I’ve been listening to it nearly on repeat for the past few weeks. So when I was offered the chance to talk to the band and find out more, I jumped at the chance, and the result is this interview.
A note about the interviews on amodelofcontrol.com. This is now a long-running, occasional series, occasional because of the fact that I only interview artists when I have something to ask, and when artists have something to say. I don’t use question templates, so each is unique, too. Finally, I only edit for grammar and adding in links, so what you’re reading is the response of the artist directly. Thanks, as always, to the artist and indeed those that help to arrange such interviews.
I must confess, other than having heard your music in the past – and now being bowled over by Machine – that I know little about the band. You’re from Stockholm, right?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: Yes, we all live in Stockholm. Me and Mattias were born here, Jonas comes from the south of Sweden and Hugo moved to Stockholm from Spain a couple of years ago.
I’m also a little surprised that this is your fifth album. That’s quite a workrate – are you always working on new music?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: I am basically writing music at all times. I collect fragments like riffs, melodies and words. As a metaphor, I put them all in a basket and when I have plenty of material I start putting the parts together. That’s the foundation of Then Comes Silence’s music. Then, when it’s time to start working on a new album, based on the vision I and the band have, I can use those pieces and finish the work. It’s mostly about discipline and keeping that constant flow.
That said, the new album appears to have taken a little longer to create, and it shows in the glistening production – this album packs so much more of a punch sonically throughout. Was it a difficult album to make?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: Yes it was. This one was probably the least fun album to make. I’m not saying we were forced to do things we didn’t want to do, or that the spirit in the band was bad. No, not at all. We were all very excited and focused, but we were also putting the standards very high. That can be exhausting. And thanks to the good atmosphere and the discipline in the band, we managed to reach what we aimed for.
Obviously the album has likely been finished for some months prior to the release date – with a bit of distance from it, what do you think of it now?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: I don’t want to repeat myself as a songwriter, so I had to, in a metaphorical way, change and become someone else to find a different perspective. Some would use the cheesy line, stepping outside the box, but that’s pretty much what happened. It’s like putting on an act to find a new way.
There’s nothing strange with that. Every now and then, I think everyone puts on a mask at work, in the family, among friends and strangers. A good thing was that after some time, when everything was mixed and ready I could listen to the music open-minded. I was back again and it sounded good. The idea of a mask on the cover came up. I wanted the mask to symbolize the transformation.
One of the most striking songs here is Ritual, which features Karolina Engdahl of Vånna Inget and TRUE MOON. How did the collaboration come about – did you write the song with her voice in mind?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: Jonas, the drummer introduced TRUE MOON to the band by adding them in his playlist when we were on the road in 2017. TRUE MOON is a side project by members from Vånna Inget. I was totally enchanted by her voice. I saw them live a couple of times and by the time I started writing on the song Ritual, I knew that she had to be a part of it. It wouldn’t be the same without Karolina’s voice.
Last Summer we were invited to play at a private birthday party in Hamburg. I was determined we needed TRUE MOON as the support. We booked another show at the Molotow that same weekend and took them with us as support for a second time. The footage on the second video single was made on those two occasions.
I was amused to note that the promo materials for this album were playing up the “Post-Punk” element of the album. To this now middle-aged Goth/Rivethead, you’re (very, very good) modern goth rock. Do you particularly care about labels?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: Sometimes it can be easier to put a label on things. If you need to single out a certain crowd for promotion for example. We are OK with that. When we started as a band, we didn’t use labels like post-punk or goth. We called it horror music or a post-apocalyptic soundtrack. People started labeling it when we gained a bigger following… So we embraced it instead of pushing it away. I still think we are in fact a rock n roll band.
That said, what Goth bands did inspire you? Was there a particular one that got you picking up an instrument and making your own music?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: Nowadays we put the label Goth on bands that 20 or 30 years ago didn’t use that term. Are Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke and The Cure Goth? Today, some would say yes, because of their appearance and their musical elements. I like the word “Goth”. It sounds like it tastes delightful with a good vintage wine. Also, the Goth crowd are the coolest.
Most of the band members grew up with punk music. I went to Ramones school and later on I followed up with Dead Kennedys. The group that eventually made me want to start a band… was Kraftwerk and the industrial scene at the time. The electronic music was the key. I was probably not so confident and a bit insecure about learning how to play guitar at first. I knew too many cool guys who mastered the instrument. I couldn’t really imagine myself becoming as good as them. A synthesizer was way more attractive.
It wasn’t until much later that I realized that I didn’t have to learn all the fancy stuff to write songs. I picked up the bass when I joined a shoegazing band, Sad Day For Puppets twelve years ago. Now I don’t want to switch back to guitar.
You’re playing your first UK show this summer (quarantine allowing, of course!). What can we expect?
/Alex/Then Comes Silence: It’s actually not the first time in the UK ZEd: interesting! The publicity for this show says or said that it is…\. We did five shows last July together with 1919. This year we’ll be joining again for even more shows. We try not to worry about the quarantine. We hope to follow the tour plans. So, if it goes as planned, you can surely expect a band on stage blowing up of enthusiasm and frenzy. All bands and music lovers that I am in touch with can’t wait til these trying times are over. We are all going to explode like toddlers in a candy store.