The Swedish rockers on their fourth album, Innocence & Decadence.
Graveyard are one of the sickest rock and roll bands going around at the moment. Hailing from Sweden, if you don’t know who they are seriously just use the internet or walk into a good record store and educate the fuck out of yourself. Pilerats' writer Jonty Czuchwicki spoke to guitarist Jonatan Ramm extensively about their fourth and latest studio album, Innocence & Decadence. You can check out the chat below, and pre-order Graveyard's album HERE.
So you’ve got the new record coming out in September, can you tell us a little bit about the recording process on this one?
We took some time off this time actually, where we took time off to actually write songs so last fall we sat and we took about half a year off to write the songs and then we went into the studio for a week and we went to Atlantis in Stockholm to record it and it was a very nice studio. We used a big room they have there to record and to get some more depth in the sound. We had a great time recording it. We had Johan Lindström as producer and Janne Hansson as a sound engineer who also owns the studio. The place has a lot of history so it was kind of nerve wracking to first step into it but they made us feel at home very fast and it felt very good to record.
How much time off have Graveyard usually had in the past during your career, compared to six months?
We haven’t had much time off really. Of course we have some weeks here and there when we get to be at home and chill out but otherwise we try to be a touring band. That’s where you make the money.
Did you use any cool guitars on the new record that you haven’t recorded with before?
On the previous album I’ve been using mostly my SG, my Gibson SG and this time I used my Les Paul. That was a little different but it’s a good guitar to play on and I know Joakim Nilsson used a Fender Jaguar. It’s always fun to try different things.
What are some of the songs on the new record that make you most excited about the new album?
That’s a hard question you know. It’s still new to us as well just to kind of sit and listen to it so I usually have my favourites whenever we play them live so in a while I would know better. Right now I guess I like the slow ones.
What is the slowest song on the new record?
We have a couple, I think we have four slower songs. Right now I mostly remember them by working names but I think it’s Exit 97 and I can’t remember the rest of the names right now.
I’m interested to hear about the Missing Link tour you guys did with Clutch and Mastodon, how was that?
It was good, it was good. It was very nice and they’re a bunch of very nice cool, cool guys. They treated us very well and we got the chance to play in front of new people and new ears so it was a very nice tour to be on.
Did you party much on the tour?
I mean we used to party more but you know it’s getting rough doing it very often so we have a couple of beers now and then.
Are you guys heading out to Australia sometime soon? I know it hasn’t been announced yet.
We don’t have a date yet but hopefully very soon. I’m not sure exactly when but sometime in the start of next year. Or you know, springtime or somewhere… maybe… can’t make any promises but hopefully very soon.
What kind of bands have you been listening to at the moment?
Woooooah! I listen to a lot of different music but Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac has always been a favourite. What else have I been listening to lately? I’ve been listening to Nina Simone and ummm…
What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen while playing on stage? Looking out into the audience what is just the strangest thing that you’ve seen at a Graveyard show?
I think we had a few times where they have actually had some kind of… I don’t know if they had intercourse or not but there have been a few incidents like that during the slower songs. Otherwise it’s been pretty calm, maybe some weird fights breaking out.
Yeah, that’s a pretty good effect to have from rock and roll music. I don’t think I’d want to have anything else.
[Laughing] Yeah haha! Otherwise you know, it’s a pretty normal crowd.
So where are some instances of Graveyard touring in lesser known places. You guys tour in Europe a lot and you’ve done a few tours of the US but where are some more unique paces where you have played?
We’ve been around at very many nice places but I think one of the coolest venues we’ve been to was with Clutch and Mastodon in the US. It was Red Rocks. It was a big theatre.
I saw some photos from that show. It looked fucking insane!
Yeah, it was really nice. It was very impressive with the huge rocks and the stage in the middle.
Are you guys writing further material already, are you very creative like that?
You always think about it, and stuff like this, sometimes you have to have a breakthough. After making the new record we all try to make stuff really but you have your periods where you just sit down and find some time to actually write.
Do you write music with any other people or have any other projects that you play in for fun?
No… it’s just Graveyard! It takes most of the time so for me it’s just Graveyard.
The artwork on Innocence & Decadence is really nice. Who was behind it?
Oh right, that’s cool. It was our friend Dan who made the cover for Hisingen Blues, the same guy, so you know he made it all from scratch kind of. We trusted him fully so it’s all him.
Does the artwork reflect the themes or the atmosphere of the music in anyway?
Ummm… I don’t know. Maybe he listened to some songs while he was doing it I guess but we were starting to have a conversation about how the cover would be; what colours and you know basic things, if it should be ‘a lot of things’ or ‘less things’. Yeah so I don’t know, he did it from scratch at least.
Were there any songs written for the album sessions that weren’t used?
Yeah there were a couple songs, but we figured we would rather have too many than too few at least. It’s always good to have some extra songs. I know there is one that made it on as a bonus track but not in the original version. Then I guess one more got kicked off.
What are some of your musical influences that inspire you as a player?
I guess it’s very different and I don’t know, mostly, it’s hard to say! I like to listen to blues a lot, different kind of blues, and all kinds of music but it’s a fun way of playing so it’s a lot of blues and I guess Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac and whatever. It’s a lot of different artists. Also uh, harder music I listen to all kinds. It’s very hard to tell. I started playing guitar and I was all in to the ‘metal’ and hardcore thing and then I found Black Sabbath after a while and thought 'Yeah! Maybe guitar would be something'.
What do you get up to in your spare time when you aren’t playing music? Do you have a job outside of Graveyard?
No… when we released Hisingen Blues we decided that we wanted to go for it so we quit our day jobs then and you know it was rough in the start to get it going and working properly and survive but it’s been better and better so now we don’t have any day jobs and it would be too little time to work. You don’t want to tell your boss that you are going to be away for almost 200 days a year [laughs].
Does it take a toll having such a hectic tour schedule? Do you ever wish you were playing less shows that were larger in attendance?
We really enjoy playing live. I think that’s a great thing with the whole music. On the plus side bands have a hard time making money on their records, then they have to play live so I think that’s good for people that do music at all. I’m kinda lost now… what was the actual question? Where was I going with this? Oh yeah right! I think it’s good that we are out playing live. Sometimes it’s always hard to leave your wife alone with the kids for a while but you know, you’ll be back in a few weeks. It’s alright.
What’s in your record collection at the moment?
There’s a few different things. There’s um… wow where should I start. There’s Buddy Guy, Nina Simone, a band from Guthenberg. There’s plenty of different kinds of music, although I always get back into some kind of blues.
I’ve got a solid 20 minutes of material now, so cheers for the interview. It was really nice to talk to you!
Oh thankyou! Thankyou for having me.
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