With their debut album 'Calling All Demons' (review here), Denmark's MOONLESS bring a fresh gust of wind, and a lot of talent and energy into the doom scene, even if their thunderous mix of doom and 1970's heavy rock is nothing entirely new. But they can write really good songs with an own individual flair, which are never lacking in variety and power. Added to this is the impressive voice of singer Kenni Holmstad, who reminds me of David Tice (lead vocalist from Australia's legendary Buffalo).
All in all, a very strong package, and it would not surprise me at all if MOONLESS will gain more fans in the course of the next few years. Well, I am one of them because these Danish guys have not forgotten that doom metal also has a lot to do with rock 'n' roll or, in other words, 'Calling All Demons' kicks all kinds of ass. And everybody who knows me knows that I was never a friend of that whining, ultra-slow doom stuff, that sounds more like a parody of the genre. So, Cosmic Lava caught up with vocalist Kenni Petersen and bassist Kasper Maarbjerg, who both tell us more about their inspirations, the lyrics, and the current state of MOONLESS.
Hello guys! What I really like about your debut record, 'Calling All Demons', is that it sounds fresh and powerful. Moreover, it is my impression that you attach great importance to wonderful hooklines, crushing riffs and killer vocals. What do you think?
Kasper: I think the big force in our band is the whole collaboration between music and vocals. When we write a song, we usually build out from a riff and then it kinda evolves from there, but itâ€™s when Kenni starts putting his vocal lines and harmonies into it that it really takes off. We work a lot on a song before itâ€™s done, trying out different tempos, riffs and structures before we settle on something. We've even made changes to songs we've recorded because we thought they needed some finishing touches.
Kenni: We try to make some sort of slow classic rock with a doomy vibe. We donâ€™t use any recipe for making the songs, we just try to do what we are each capable of. I like hooklines as a listener myself so I just do what I like. Lucky for us the audience seems to like it too.
Would you agree that rock 'n' roll plays a not insignificant role in your music?
Kenni: Rock music plays a major part in my life but mostly 60's and 70's. It has something to do with the sound and the way of making riffs but the blues has also been a huge inspiration.
Kasper: I totally agree.
You've recorded 'Calling All Demons' in September 2010. Why did it took almost two years until the release? Did you look for a record label?
Kenni: To be honest, with you we talked about Doomentia while we were recording. After that we used a lot of time doing vocals, mixing, mastering and figuring out how to make the cover. Then we played some shows and went on a European tour. But all in all we were fucking around...
The recording sessions took place in the backroom of an Austin veteran car museum. That sounds pretty strange but also pretty interesting. Please, tell me more about it.
Kenni: Jakob, our producer, lived with his wife at the rectory cuz she was the preacher at the little island, Samsoe. He knew Stefan and Ann who owned the Austin car museum. Ann had a studio where she recorded children songs so we used that. They were very friendly and fed us every evening. It was a great, and foremost, undisturbed place to record. We thought it would be nice to get away from our everyday environment and just concentrate on the recordings.
Did you record your 2010 demo at the same place?
Kenni: The 12â€ EP (demo) was recorded in Helsingoer at my rehearsal room and mixed here in my appartment. Then we made the silk print stuff at Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen. I didnâ€™t know I had that kind of artistic abilities in me...Or perhaps it was Kasper. He was working really hard that day.
Kasper: Hehe, I worked my ass of that day, silk screening 300 copies worth of vinyl. Hasse and Tommas came by and helped out too, but Kenni just roamed around the place getting wasted on expensive beer from the local gas station..
I really dig you album, but I have to admit that I can't deal with some of your lyrics. Well, that's of course my problem...hahahaha. But I would be interested to know why you sing among other things about demons and devils. Do you like this type of rock 'n' roll cliches or are you just interested in this stuff? Or have you chosen this themes because it's a current trend?
Kenni: I have no idea about the current trends going on. But I like rock n roll clichÃ©s. Demons and devils are fascinating stuff and always has been. To me they are archtypes and can be used as metaphors for your mental state of mind etc. Demons and devil are very real. I deal with them every day. I can easily see why you find it a bit lame and tiresome. But if you want to communicate with the longhaired dude and dudess who stands in front of you with a beer in their hand, banging their heads of, I find it perfectly legal to use clichÃ©s. The world is sophisticated enough and itâ€™s very liberating for once to do something traditional. But perhaps someday I'll write a book?
Kasper: When you know Kenni as a person and a friend, the lyrics really goes deeper than they may seem. He's putting his life out there, honest and brutal. I can get why they may come off as cheesy and typical metal lyrics about demons and hate, but there's more to 'em I think. The demons and flames work well as metaphors. And I really get in to it when he starts going of about girls and sexâ€¦
Before you formed MOONLESS, you've played in several punk bands. How did it happen that you've changed your musical direction?
Kenni: I have only played in one punk band (if you can even call it that) But I have always been into the heavy doomy music so it felt natural for me to join Moonless when they were looking for a singer.
Kasper: I've played in a lot of punk bands here in Copenhagen. And I still do. I could never narrow myself down to just staying in one genre. My record collection shows that to. Music is too much fun to limit.
Last year, you've been on tour in Europe. Did you enjoy it and when can we expect the next tour?
Kenni: It was great fun being on tour. I was the only one who had never been outside Denmark. But the other guys have been touring all over the world, almost. We met so many nice people. We've been talking about a small tour in the fall, perhaps in Germany. But next year we would like to tour the USA, but thereâ€™s a lot of hard work involved with that. I think itâ€™s up to Tommas. Heâ€™s the man with the plan. But he has a lot to tend to. Wife and kids you know.
Kasper: We'll tour again as soon as possible!
Speaking of gigs, how was your show at the Heavy Days In Doomtown Festival and what is the impression of the festival that you took home with you?
Kenni: I think we played an ok gig at Stengade. I was more amazed by the effort our friends had put into the whole arrangement. There was a really good vibe at the venue and I regret that I didnâ€™t spent some more time checking out all the artwork on the upper floor. The backstage room provided us with a lot of beer and joints. So everything became a bit hazy after the gig. We would definitely play there again.
What can we expect from your next album or is it still too early to ask for it?
Kenni: Hmm! Lyrics about unicorns and butterflies. No, seriously, we are not that far in the process. But I have heard some of the new arrangements and they sound as they should. We are really looking forward to make the second album.
Kasper: I'd like the sound to get a bit dirtier on the next album. And maybe experiment a bit more with different guitar effects. The new riffs we are working on are a bit more brutal I think.
Ok, that's it for now. Thanks a lot for your answers. Any final thoughts or remarks?
Thank you for taking your time and thanks for your support. Stay Heavy!