TRIBULATION (2018 - English Version) - Jonathan Hulten (Guitars)

It came out of nowhere. The email asking me to interview the band TRIBULATION, one of the good surprises of the new year! So I'm heading to meet Jonathan (guitars) during their tour with Arch Enemy and we're about to know a little bit more about the band and its brand new release: "Down Below".

SBM: Hello Jonathan! How are you after one hour of jumping and dancing on stage ? Not too tired?

Jonathan Hulten: No I think we’re used to these longer sets, I’m not that exhausted so it’s fine!

Good to know! How have you… felt the crowd tonight?

Pretty good I suppose, I felt good things, they were responding and it’s really rewarding when there’s a dialogue between the audience and the artist. It feels really good.

Actually I think that YOU did the bigger part of the show and my girlfriend totally agrees with me. So I’d like to thank you for that.

Thank you very much!

You’re welcome! You played some songs from “Down Below” which will be released in a few days. How do you feel about that event? Nervous? Excited?

Well no we’re not really nervous. You know we’ve worked on it for such a long time so it’s going to be a relieved to have it out and be able to play it.

If I’m right this is the third album with almost the same line-up. Has this stability opened new doors or horizons to the band?

Yes! We still do have the three core members, we’ve been together from the start and Jacob, our last drummer, quit the band about one year ago and Oscar joined us. He has a quite different style and he contributed to the songwriting as well.

He brought a new groove or something ?

Yeah and also with the arrangements and of course the drumming. It’s more stable, more focused, so it definitely shaped how we formed the songs.

The first time I listened to the album I have to say that I was intrigued. Glamor or black metal looking, groovy heavy rock with death metal vocal? I thought “Ok why not?”. And I have to say that it fits very well, you seem to have a lot of different influences. What are yours?

Hum… Right now it’s hard to define. We started as a death metal band and we have always listened to a lot of music even if at that time it was death metal like… Morbid Angel!

Yeah rough death metal! (Laugh)

(Laugh) Yeah! But in the end we started to take in the influences from all the music we were listening to.

Even outside of the metal/rock sphere ? Like pop for example?

Oh yeah!

I’ve read that… Johannes, I think, is a big fan of the Beatles. So yeah it’s a large horizon…
As you’re from Sweden, it seems that you guys really want to redefine metal and rock, you want to push the boundaries. Look at Avatar or Ghost, just to quote the latest ones. It seems now that it’s not Germany or Finland but Sweden who is the core of new creations.

Well I really did not reflected about that as a sort of movement going on with the bands being from Sweden. But now that you have mentioned it I can see that, but I guess it’s a generalization, There are a lot of innovations going on all over Europe and the world as well.

Yeah sure but these last times it was obvious that Swedish bands brought something new, and I love it. How do you work all together by the way ?

Well we used to sit a lot together and jam, putting ideas together, but for this one we’ve worked in a quite different way. We had a little less time so we worked more focused, so it forced us to do more demos, so instead of having the idea of a song and then bring it to the rehearsal space we did demos that we were bringing to the rehearsal space to rearrange it. It went much faster and the process was more efficient.

That’s why the album sounds so… organic, united.

Yeah for sure!

Why were you so in a hurry? Because of the record company?

Yeah partly but we also pushed the deadline too much, something like a year.

Yeah but I think you can’t force creation or art. It come out when it comes out, that’s why I’m not a fan of these deadlines or “orders” given by some record company.

You know we could manage, when we worked very focused, to condense this long period in a short one, half shorter but more intense: everyday at 100%.

Sometimes it’s the best way of working!

Yeah it is!

And regarding the themes, apparently TRIBULATION is inspired by vampires and some sorts of night related myths. What are your inspirations in books or movies?

First of all, Nosferatu is a good example, it came out in 1922. It’s the foundation of our aesthetics!

That’s where the make up also comes from ?

Yeah and also a lot of movies from the 70s, with their music, their atmosphere, Italian Dario Argento for example.

Was it important to bring the atmosphere out of the lyrics and to put it on stage, with the make-up and stage decorations?

Yeah but we don’t have that much stuff. We’re not really oriented around things, we’ve been pretty punk (Laugh), just ourselves. But gradually we’re going to have a new direction, we want to make it more of a show, an experience, more holistic.

I could not agree more, people now aren’t just looking for guys playing, the want THE show. Like you said: an experience.

And that’s what we want too so we’ll go for it!

That goal can be reached I guess. Do you also have a dream as a musician? A special thing you’d like to do?

Freedom. Freedom on many levels, to do whatever I want, on stage for example. To created a scene, like a play or a landscape. Something dramatic with a lot of persons working on the production, to do something out of this world.

Quite like an opera in a way. It’s good to have dreams, especially when you work an art like music.

Yeah it’s very important! And if you work enough for a long period of time, you can reach them! I’m sure!

Well I hope you’ll reach yours!

Thank you! (Laugh)

You’re welcome! But for now I guess touring is what comes next. Do you have any tour scheduled?

Yeah we’re going to tour in March and April with Insomnium in Eastern and Southern Europe. We’re planning an American tour as well.

But sadly no Hellfest this year. You’ve been there in 2015, is it a good memory?

Oh yeah… That was super good and I think it was one of the first big festival we’ve done. We thought “Ok this is the next level”. So yeah it was cool.

Well maybe we’ll see you next year on the big stage!

Yeah maybe!

I think we’ve reached the end so I leave you the final words if you want to conclude or say something to the French fans it’s up to you!

Well thank you for tonight and if we come one day in your neighborhood, come to see us, hope it’ll be good for you and us. We’ll have a good time!

If it’s like tonight I’m sure it will be ok! You can count me in!

Thank you !

Thank you for your time and have a nice night!
Critique : SBM
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