To me, 'Sign Here For Nothing' sounds like a sarcastic statement on the music industry. Are there any ulterior motives behind the title?
No, I think that the statement is as straight forward as it can be. As a musician, you sometimes get frustrated with the industry. We were talking about record deals and what they mean to musicians, and what you sometimes get out of it; we sarcastically said that a record deal doesn't mean jack shit today, and to some extent, that is true. But it becomes what you make it to be. In today's industry, it is hard to get rich and famous; I mean that is what all musicians dream about, making records, playing concerts and make a shitload of money doing it.
I think that 'Subterfuge' is an excellent album which bridges the gap between the old and the new. It's obvious that you love the 1970's, but you don't try to revive the spirit at all costs. What do you think about your latest release? Do you like it more than 'Beneath A Dying Sun' and what do you think are the differences between both albums?
First of all, thank you. We want to take music from the 70's and upgrade it with a modern sound. Take the best bits of yesterday and make it new and... hopefully improved. We feel that this album is our best so far, but it is also the latest, and the newest songs are always the best, at least for a while. But we feel that the new album has more substance and more diversity than 'Beneath A Dying Sun'. We have improved our songwriting skills and honed our sound. The two albums fit perfectly together, if you listen to them back to back, you won't get bored. We don't feel that one album is better than the other, they are just different, equally good.
How has the album been received so far and what is the status of THALAMUS in your native country Sweden?
The album has been received really well; it debuted as number 6 on the Swedish sales chart, so we are very pleased. Our status is improving every day, although we're not a big band in Sweden. We are trying to cross over to Europe for some touring, we feel that it's the next step in our musical career.
One of your strengths is your ability to combine sheer riff power with delicious hooks. How important are strong melodies and how do THALAMUS songs arise? Is there one main songwriter?
We love riffs, I can't point that out enough, even if I try. As of late, we are really trying to write better songs, working on melody, vocal melody and creating harmonies with two guitars and a Hammond organ so that all instruments provide something to the song and that they don't play the same lines together all the time. Peter and I are the main composers for Thalamus, however, we arrange all songs together.
When the foundation for a song is written, everyone gets the chance to have an input into the music. Peter is the professional, I think, he writes songs at home and records his song ideas and then share them with us. I on the other hand, write riffs in my head when we are rehearsing, this can sometimes be a little frustrating for everyone, we could be playing a song and suddenly I get an idea and stop everyone. Then I start doodling on a riff and usually after about 10 - 15 minutes I have written the foundation for a new song. It's different for everyone, how they write, I guess.
'Still Dancing On My Grave' as well as 'She Sells Desolation' are two of my favourite tracks of 'Subterfuge'. What are the songs about? Please tell me more about they lyrics.
'Still Dancing On My Grave' is about living life to the fullest. Making the most of every moment and not caring what happens tomorrow. 'She Sells Desolation' is about a guy who is in a relationship where he feels used and unloved, and where he is a puppet on a string totally controlled by her every whim and request. A real loser, you might say.
What are your plans for the next months with THALAMUS? Is there some hope for a couple of German tour dates in 2011 or 2012?
We are searching for a booking agency to work with, procuring gigs all over Europe. We really want to go to Europe for some touring, so hopefully we'll be able to come over in 2012 for some gigs.
That's it for today - hopefully we meet on the road as soon as possible. Thanks for your time and interest in doing an interview with Cosmic Lava.