One of the most under-rated bands in the scene today, Gardenian had recently all but disappeared after their latest opus, 'Sindustries'. Gardenian being one of my fave bands, I needed to know some information, and was lucky enough to contact guitarist/vocalist Jim Kjell to see what was happening since the release of 'Sindustries'.
Wayfaerer-First off, let me congratulate you on 'Sindustries', which in my opinion, was the best album released in 2000.
W-How's the general reaction been to 'Sindustries'?
J-The reaction to Sindustries in media has been quite exceptional actually. We have got splendid reviews almost every where. There has been a couple "album of the month" ratings as well. And the latest thing I've seen is that we entered Rock Hards Readers poll at position 49. I think that's pretty damn strong for being a band who lives on without any kind of promotion what so ever. And with that in mind it must mean that we have sold a bunch of albums too, so that's great.
W-What happened with Nuclear Blast? I've heard rumors that Gardenian
was dropped from the label and a different rumor that you guys actually
asked to be dropped from the label? If so, have you found another
J-Ok. You are actually the first one to be told about this. The thing was that we thought NB didn't push us at all, they were weak and lame when it came to putting us on tour and such. I mean we probably got the best reviews world wide last year and they still didn't do anything for us. I think they basically signed us because they didn't want anyone else to have us. I don't want people to think that they dropped us because that was not the case at all! We told them that as long as they didn´t plan to do anything for us, they could fuck off. And the answer was that couldn't do as much as we had planned so they ripped the contract in two. And this is the truth about it all so don't believe anything else. We have got a couple of labels we are looking at right now but there´s definitely nothing final in anyway, because we haven´t really started too look for any thing new yet.
W-Well, thanks for setting the record straight on that! How do you feel about the delays in releasing 'Sindustries' in the
USA? It took me 3 months to get ahold of the real thing, and I still
don't think its widely available here yet (I've heard a March 6th
J-I don't know much about this! Nuclear Blast has told us that it is released in the US at the same time as it was in Europe. But ofcourse they have to tell us this as its in the contract that they have to release it within 6 moths after it´s been mastered. I just hope it comes out at all. It's a big shame that they run things like this, it just show how weak they really are.
W-Yeah, thats definitely not fair for you or the fans...have you started writing any new material?
J-Yes! The song writing process is definitely on roll for us. This thing with Nuclear Blast has made us stronger and tighter as friends then ever before and I guess that it shows in our new songs, especially in the lyrics.
W-Great! I'm already looking forward to hearing them! You've taken full control of the vocals with 'Sindustries', why
didn't you do this at the time with 'Soulburner', you seem to have one
of the better clean vocals in the scene. Is this great vocal variety
something we will see more of in the future?
J-Thanx for the complement!
I was suppose to do all the vocals on Soulburner as well but I didn´t feel comfortable doing it at that time, not enough practice I guess. I think that Gardenian will change the sound as we always do from album to album and I guess the vocals will follow the paths of how the music sound. But the variety will be there in our way. There might be more clean vocals on some songs and on some there might be less.
W-What was the reason for the change of both producer and recording
studio for 'Sindustries'?
J-Actually we wanted to do this on Soulburner already. We met Peter Tagtgren when we tour together with Hypocrisy and he told us that he was interested in producing our album. We where a bit concerned at first as he had never done anything like this before. But he sent us a couple of tapes with some new stuff and that really made us confident that he wanted to do a great job. It was a great experience to record this album with Peter, he was really into the sound and listened to what we wanted and this was the first time we had experienced that. Fredman didn't care. He just mixed the album and that was it. This was also the reason we didn´t want to record in Fredman again.
W-With 'Sindustries', you've managed to completely break away from
the Gothenburg movement. Is this what you wanted to accomplish and
how would you classify Gardenian now, you seem to be a pretty original
J-This was also a big part of the studio change. We needed to get a sound of our own and to get it we choose another studio. The sound that we have today is more original then what other bands sound like just because of the studio change. I don't know what to call our sound. I guess we have moved on from being just a melodic death metal band. It feels like we are doing more than this. There's so many different influences in our music that it´s hard to put your finger on what it sound like and I think it´s to our advantage.
W-Do you find it frustrating to be less-recognized than other bands
in the scene that aren't as good as Gardenian? You seem to be one of
the most under-rated bands, in my opinion. Hopefully this has changed
a little now with the release of 'Sindustries'.
J-Yes it is very fustrating. But it is very much NB´s fault. They havn´t given us any tours or any advertisement at all so it´s not that weird. Gardenian has becomed a cult act. Every bodies have heard about us but nobodies has actually heard us. I don´t think it will change on Sindustries but it shall change on our next album then it´s time to take our place at the throne.
W-Is there any chance that we'll get to see Gardenian on North
American shores in 2001?
J-No, I guess not. But we'll play in Mexico in March. That's how close to North America as we will get.
W-How did you come up with the name Gardenian? It seems to be kind of a weird name for a metal band?
J-It's taken from a Kyuss lyric. We just put an N on the end to make it sound cool.
W-Whats your views on the internet as a promotional tool? I know
there was a Gardenian website up, which has since disappeared. Are
there plans to create a new webpage?
J-We are currently working on a new website. The web is great promotion for every band around.
W-What are your views on mp3s? Do you think they are more of a
hinderence or a help in promotion?
J-It's cool as long as the albums have reached the stores. I think it's wrong when people can get their hands on the albums 2 months before it reaches the stores. For us Napster and the likes are a quite good promotional tool as we play metal music. To this kind of music almost everybody wants to have the book so that they can read the lyrics when they listen. The metalfan always gets quite deep in the music and that's cool. Those metalfans always buy the album later on anyway.
W-I know you've used Niklas Sundin for your artwork on the last two
albums. What was the general theme you wanted to portrait on
'Sindustries' with the cover art?
J-We wanted the opposite from Soulburner, that was warm and comfy. This time we wanted it to bee cold and industrial vibe over it. Sindustries is suppose to be a big industry of sins, the squid is suppose to the receptor with it's eight arms, he collects the sins and spreads the decease to all those who don't contribute themselves.
W-What have you been listening to lately? I know there are alot of
killer albums coming out in 2001, which are you looking forward to the
J-I have actually mostly been listening to the latest Nevermore opus. Those guys are quite fantastic! It's a joy to listen to them every time they releases a new album. Linkin park was also something I discovered a couple of weeks ago, those guys are great as well. I listen to all kinds of shit. In 2001 I look forward towards Fear Factory, Machine Head, Stabbing Westward and a bunch of others.
W-Do you like it when you do interviews and people throw random
questions in just to give the interview some spice :P?
J-I don't know I guess it depends on the questions nature.
W-Thanks for your time, anything else you'd like to say to all the
Gardenian fans out there?
J-Watch out for Sindustries you never know whats gonna happen with this album.
Jim & Gardenian