Blistering.com: Onto the new album, The Scarred People. I watched some of the videos you made of you designing the artwork, which makes me wonder, what prompted the title?
Edlund: I had a nice a long discussion with my mother, who does a lot of creative stuff. She’s now retired, and has a nice homely house…they’re building bird houses and stuff and she’s painting. She said she hates the work, but afterwards she was happy she went through all of it because she’s happy with the results. I’m completely the opposite. I never cared about the result. For me, it was the work, the creative process was much more important to me than the result. I realized that if it’s working on music or writing lyrics or working on the album cover, I’m pretty much the same. I love to be creative, to do stuff. If it leads to nothing, I don’t have a problem with it. As soon as it’s done, it’s done. I haven’t even listened to The Scarred People since we mixed it a couple of months ago. I don’t like to listen to it…it’s already an old album for me [laughs].
Blistering.com: “The Sun Also Rises” is one of the better songs on the album. It’s vintage Tiamat, almost. What’s the origin of it?
Edlund: I am very influenced and interested in art, especially what I would call “Classical Modern Art.” I don’t think it’s fair to say Picasso is modern art because it was 100 years ago. But that kind of art in the 1900’s and I was thinking that would be interesting to try to add some of this influence, to really go for it, to dare to do it. The music in this song is very monotone (hums the melody). Then I thought, “Okay, the music isn’t changing so much, so it has to have widespread movements in the lyrics.” My vocals are very monotone too, but if I jump from extremely down-to-earth, more than I’ve been before, then sway straight up to some bible clause, that might work, that might keep the interest in this monotone. That was an experiment, but it’s probably one of my favorites on the album because of it. It put some new ideas into my songwriting and when I hear it, I think maybe it’s just the start of something.
Blistering.com: Another one that grabbed me is “The Messinian Letter,” which might be one of your most personal songs yet. Now that we’ve talked about some of the problems you’ve endured, does any of that tie into the lyrics?
Edlund: I’m re-writing a letter that was sent from my girlfriend to me. So actually, it’s her speaking to me, but it would work the other way around. I was living in Germany and met this lady in Greece, and it was a bit…chaotic. It meant a lot to me and I wanted to have a song…I have tried many times to write a pure, 100% heartfelt love song, but somehow, my mind is so fucked-up that I always tend to add this cynicism. I hide behind irony and stuff like that. As soon as it starts to get beautiful, I destroy it and tear it down. I think this is the first time I manage a song that doesn’t have any irony…it’s just a nice song and dedicated to my beloved.
Blistering.com: It’s different because almost all of your lyrics are wrapped in metaphor and imagery.
Edlund: Exactly. I fought hard to stay out of that and I think got close. I almost feel like I succeeded.
Blistering.com: We touched upon the Skeleton Skeletron album a bit ago during our chat. I’ve always found it to be your most underrated album. It came in during the late 90’s when black metal was big, so it flew under the radar, so, how has it sat with you after 13 years?
Edlund: I’m happy you say that. You’re one of the few lucky ones [laughs]. I count myself in that as well. I have said to the rest of the band that I actually hold it as one of my favorites. I totally agree – it’s underrated, I love the sound, I love the mixing – nothing I could take credit for, but it has this very nice analog, very fat bass and the lower range of the drums sound amazing. It was recorded on tape…it wasn’t very well played, but we wanted it that way. It was a reaction to A Deeper Kind of Slumber, so we wanted to be more spontaneous and not over-analyze things like we did on A Deeper Kind of Slumber. I think “To Have and Have Not” is a great track. It has some kind of color, that album, there’s so much you could criticize if you wanted to, but if you open up and give it a shot, it’s definitely one of our best albums.
Blistering.com: It was your great exercise in being stripped down. Let’s face it, the songs are simple, the tempos are slow, but the tunes are really effective.
Edlund: It was a big struggle. A couple of months ago, I was flying back home from the studio in Germany, and I had the album in my iPhone. I couldn’t listen to it…I just couldn’t. It was too much, I needed a break. Before that, I spent nine weeks in Germany and I got afraid of death again. I thought, “Please, let me finish this album and then I could die in peace.” And I have that feeling very often when we work on music, “Please God, let me live so I can finish this.” Then, it’s okay and I can die and I can be remembered for this great work. As soon as the mix is done, the fear of death comes back because I’m already on the next one. I’m like, “Yeah, we did pretty well, this one is okay. I would even give it four-out-of-five stars. But the next one, that is going to be something now that I learned so much during production. It’s an ongoing thing, and I guess it has to be that way.