Pyramido are a Swedish doom/sludge metal band. Having released several monolithic albums in the past, they’ve cemented their reputation as being one of the best bands in the style. Their brand of music is caustic and crushing, heavier perhaps than their peers, but that’s what makes them special. The quality of riffing too is outstanding. Last month, the band put out their new album ‘Vatten’ and staff writer Peter Kotikalapudi from India assisted by US writer Chris Dalhberg conduct an interview on what it’s all about.
Transcending Obscurity (Peter): ‘Vatten’ comes about two and a half years after your last full length ‘Saga’. When it came time to start writing for this record, was there anything you decided you wanted to approach differently?
Pyramido (Dan Hedlund): Tidy up the song structures a bit perhaps and we wanted the songs to be melodic but still as heavy as they could possibly be. Can´t remember really, hehe. We also wanted the overall sound on the record to be a little “clearer” which I think we got.
TO ( Chris Dahlberg): You recorded with John Rönnerblad this time. How long did it take to record the album, and did you run into any unexpected challenges or difficulties during the process?
Pyramido: It took a weekend and a couple of days to record, business as usual for Pyramido. Can´t figure out what bands do in the studio for months on end, being really hungover is my educated guess. This was our first time recording without our in house producer Mattias Persson so I guess we we´re a bit nervous. But John did such an amazing job and is a mellow and funny person to be around so we have nothing to complain about.
TO (Peter): Your album is being released on CD, vinyl, and tape. Do you personally like the digital format, which is intangible compared to CDs and vinyl? Also, as this album is being released by a whole bunch of different record labels, tell us a little about your collaborations and how all of these different release formats came together.
Pyramido: I personally don´t care what format people listen to, they can listen on YouTube for all I´m concerned. It´s nice though to have people buying our records when we play shows since that is the only way for us to survive economically as a band. Meaning: makes us get by, not earn money. It´s also nice to have that physical product in your hand.
The reason so many labels is involved is that we wanted to get people the opportunity to listen to the record on not only vinyl, but also cassette and CD so we have different labels covering the different formats.
TO (Peter/Chris): Your lyrics are in Swedish. Why did you decide to sing in your native language? I attempted to do a rough Google translate since my Swedish is lacking and it looks like your songs generally have themes expressing the darker elements of humanity and life, yet there’s also a bit of a hopeful tone to them. Can you expand on this a bit more?
Pyramido (Ronnie Källback): I/We switched to Swedish before the last album Saga. It was more a of challenge for me cause I felt the lyrics is more direct in your native tongue and sometimes English feels like you are using someone else’s word. The themes is written to accommodate the music and it is about life and death in general and my point of life and death in particular. And yes they are dark cause life is no fairytale and if I hadn’t seen glimpses of hope around me… I don’t know what would happen…
TO (Peter): It has been over ten years since you first started out as a band. How does it feel looking back? How do you feel your music has evolved from the demo and ‘Sand’ days until now?
Pyramido: I would say we have evolved in the most positive way possible!
TO (Peter): Sweden is known for its melodic death metal bands. What made you gravitate towards sludge/doom metal?
Pyramido: I have personally never been a “metalhead”. My background is mostly punk/hardcore and sludge is a natural development of that kind of music I think. At the gates is the closest thing I´ve listened to when it comes to melodic death metal. So when it comes to Pyramido in the early days our influences were sludge/doom, hardcore and to some extend grittier death metal bands such as Autopsy. Maybe there is a new wave of melodic Swedish death metal bands nowadays and that´s what you´re referring to but I don´t keep up very much with the metal scene at all so it´s hard for me to answer.
TO (Chris): So many sludge/doom bands have this tendency to try to be as heavy as possible all the time, but what I like about your material is the incorporation of melody and natural peaks in your songs. Why do you think so many other groups of this type seem stuck at the highest volume all the time rather than going for a dynamic approach?
Pyramido: Many of those bands use volume, standard doom imagery, standard doom music gear and so on cause the music lack something, most of the time good songs. I mean, Grief didn´t need “good songs”, but do the world need a Grief #2 and #3 and #45? I´m not saying we invented the wheel or something, but we put a lot into the songs and think about structure and dynamics and stuff like that and it´s my personal opinion that because of that we have carved out our own little niche in a very generic genre of music.
TO (Peter): In the past, you have released splits with bands like Suma, Gun Mob, Amarok to name a few. How do you decide on which bands to release splits with? What makes the split format so appealing?
Pyramido: I´m not sure we find it that appealing anymore, haha. In hindsight maybe we should have focused more on producing a new album rather than 26-something split records. Personally I don´t listen much to splits, I prefer a proper album myself. But yeah, it´s fun do stuff with friends.
TO (Peter): What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you as of late?
Pyramido: You won´t get much metal from me I´m afraid. I´ve been listening to a healthy mix of old and new stuff. For the moment the list includes a lot of Built to Spill, Vasas Flora och Fauna, Xibalba, Teenage Fanclub, Rixe, The Boston Strangler, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, T.Rex, lots of reggae from Trojan records, John Lee Hooker, Guided by Voices. The list goes on. As far as being influenced by a certain band or record, personally it doesn´t work like that for me. Inspiration comes from the music I listen to of course, but it´s not like I sit down and decide to write a song that sounds like Integrity for example.
in the early days our influences were sludge/doom, hardcore and to some extend grittier death metal bands such as Autopsy
TO (Chris): You currently have some shows lined up in May, which includes some stops in Germany. What else do you have planned as far as live performances for the rest of the year?
Pyramido: We haven´t got the slightest clue. I´m going to have a child in June so after the dates in Germany we take it one day at a time. Hopefully some shows around October-November.
TO (Chris): Our site is mainly split between writers in India and the U.S. Any chance you might make it over to either of those place for live shows at some point?
Pyramido: Currently we have no plans for either the US or India, but if you´re a promoter reading this – get in touch and maybe we can hook something up!
TO (Peter): Do you have any interests/hobbies outside music?
Pyramido: Wendel likes cars and does martial arts. Ronnie is into music and graphic design stuff. Viktor reads a lot and is a huge snooker-fan. Dan W produces film and drinks expensive beer and I like to work in the garden and ride my bike. Very ordinary stuff as you can tell.
TO (Peter): Thanks for answering all these questions. Do you have anything else to add?
Pyramido: Stay sharp, stay jante! Oh, and thanks for the interview and interest in Pyramido.