Swedish band Colossus have just released their debut album ‘Wake’, which is already gaining rave reviews. Here we catch-up with vocalist/guitarist Niklas Eriksson to find out more about the band and what they have planned…
What are you currently up to?
We just released our debut album Wake, which have been gaining amazing response both amongst fans and critics. So right now the most important thing for us is getting out and playing these killer songs live for all and any that have passion and craving for good music. We’re doing a few festival gigs this summer, then a quick drive through Sweden and we’ve started booking dates in Europe for the autumn. We’re fiending to go out and meet all our awesome fans and deliver the goods on stage.
Brief history of the band…
Me and drummer Thomas Norstedt have known each other for a while through playing together for a number of years, and when our last band fell apart I had this elaborate concept under the name of Colossus which I wanted to explore.
We wanted to combine the massiveness of a roaring sludge and grooving stoner with the intricacy of progressive music and technical metal. Just explore every avenue and still make sure to drop songs that bang and keep that intense Colossus vibe. Which fit in perfectly with my need to express this surreal journey of human existence and the vastness of our hidden possibilities.
We started jamming in Thomas rehearsal place with very humble ambitions and ended up recording a demo and playing a few gigs which gained very positive feedback. This led to the Spiritual Myiasis EP in 2011 which really turned heads, so it gave us the signal that people understood what we were doing and enjoying our particular brand of music.
We sat down and wrote, recorded and released Wake, which so far is the ultimate vehicle for the message of the Colossus and an indication of the enormity it withholds. Since the release,after having gone through a number of bassists, we found the perfect match in Peter Berg. (Still, big thanks to all our past bassist, they all deserve their name in the Colossus-saga in their own way. Cheers)
Could you take us through the new album ‘Wake’? e.g. songwriting process, story behind the songs
Musically, I’m constantly composing. I sit around at every hour playing with riffs, ideas and sketch on lyrics and phrases until I have a coherent collection of odds and ends, then I’ll present my vision to the other guys in our rehearsal space.
We jam on this for a couple of weeks, adding and subtracting and make it all fit the invisible formula until we’re satisfied. We often play around with a number of songs at once, feeling the interplay between it all. For this album we felt it was very important to keep it coherent and dynamic to match an interesting dramatic curve, and also fit the lyrics and themes perfectly. So we’ve juggled all songs and formed them slowly to fit the whole.
The whole album is telling a rather personal and complex story. The songs stand alone, and each have their own story to tell, but together they form a union which paints a much broader picture.
It is a form of fragmented and unconscious storytelling, and is another piece of the puzzle of the mythos that is the Colossus. In broad terms it is a story of the trials and tribulations that is the human experience, and contemplates what might go on behind the scenes at any given moment.
It wouldn’t do it much justice to sit here and try and dissect each song, rather the best way to experience it would be to sit down with head phones in a quiet room, and listen to the full album uninterrupted following the lyric sheet. Connect the dots, fill in the blanks and do your own interpretations.
How did you hook-up with Pontus Norgren as producer?
Actually he mixed the album. But anyways, we met him through a friend, and discussed working together. He gave us a mix of Pillars of Perennity to show us the possibilities and we were blown away by his mix. Needless to say we asked him to mix the whole album, and he did a fantastic job. He’s a great guy and knows his way around sounds like no other.
Entombed’s Lars G Petrov guests on the album. How did he become involved?
A pretty similar story, Stockholm is quite small and we’ve bounced into each other in similar settings. So we just contacted him and it turns out he had heard us and liked it, so he was happy to guest on our album. He is a personal vocal hero since waaay back, and I find him to be one of the absolute best voices in death metal, so we were stoked to have him on board. He was very humble and professional in studio, and I think he did a great job which really made the song stand out.
How important is social media like Facebook, Twitter etc for the band in getting your music out there?
I think it is an excellent tool in taking the business back from the rigid structures. The band gets a chance connecting straight to the fans, and can very easily communicate and share news and maintain a dialogue. It is a big part of our success, we try and make ourselves available constantly to anyone with opinions or requests about the band, and keep eyes out for interesting collaborations.
Myself, being a child of the tape trading and home made fanzines culture, might argue that certain parts of the underground soul have been lost in the digitalization and that people might become lazy and comfortable in having any piece of music a click away. There is a great triumph in having to have fought to get your prize. But the advantages and democratic possibilities far outweigh any imagined negatives.
What have been the live highlights for you and why?
Playing on the classic stage of Sweden Rock Festival for a number of 35,000 visitors was by far the biggest and wildest gig. But I’ve enjoyed every live show for different reasons.
We’ve had amazing experiences in decrepit shacks in front of 30 people, or rocking our asses off in sweaty rock clubs. I also keep coming back to one particular wild night in Italy, where we filled the tiny stage room with fans who kept chanting Colossus through the whole gig and showered us with hugs and mouth kisses. It’s been a wild ride so far, and the best is yet to come.
Is rock and metal in a healthy state right now? How easy/hard is it for a newer band like you to get onto tours and play live shows?
Yeah, I think rock and metal is very vibrant right now. There are many great bands that are coming up and there seem to be room for progressive music with bands that bring uniqueness and something of their own to the table.
It’s tough to be heard and not drown in the constant noise, but it seems that the bands that stick around are the ones that deserve it. Hard working, humble and with a true talent. The bands that show that they have done their homework and provide excellent music. Unfortunately club-owners don’t always follow the pattern.
They sometimes seem to be very conservative and slow to take chances on new sounds. We’ve had some problems in the past because of our mixed musical heritage, but once they’ve noticed that we bring some action and people like it they loosen up. I think we’ve over bridged that problem now.
Any good rock ‘n’ roll tales to tell…
Well as soon as you get in that van, you degenerate. There’s probably a few good stories to be told. I can remember one night in a small Swedish town, where we stayed at an excellent hotel, and in the bar area of that same hotel, they ran an excellent Stoner club, which is crazy because the music roared throughout the whole building.
Anyways there was pool and sauna in connection with it all so after the gig there was a lot of decadence all over the hotel and we shoved dozens of fans into one of our hotel rooms, mostly girls, and partied all night. No thrashed TVs but some of the members had more fun than others that night.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
Music takes most part of our free time, collectively we’re all into reading and enjoying interesting movies and documentaries to expand our minds. We also take some time to work out and keep our bodies in somewhat of a condition to withstand the calamities of the road. But at the top of this list is our undying, united love of the brew. More often than not you will find us at a pub raising the post-rehearsal beer and arguing over the issues of life and death. It might not go hand in hand with the formerly mentioned interest, but what can you do.
Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Yeah, keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page. We’re posting news continually and are currently in the process of signing a world wide merch deal. Keep posted for info on that.
Also check out the album if you haven’t yet. It’s available world wide, digitally and physically. If you can’t find it ask your local record dealer to bring in a few copies, if you still having problem – contact us directly, we’re always eager to help. In fact, contact us anyways and tell us what you thought, we love hearing from and connecting with the fans. Other than that, come meet us live, that’s where our music truly unravel.
Think for yourself – question authority.
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
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