The infinite abyss of bands on the internet, Umeå’s Moloken have built a small but dedicated and growing fan base. Like a lot of bands, these fans have been coming to shows, supporting the band and buying the merchandise. After their tour with Cult of Luna, I managed to speak to Kristoffer Bäckström, the guitarist and vocalist of Moloken about the tour, their music, upcoming plans and the influence of cinema on Moloken.
Jack: Hi, firstly thank you for taking time out of your day to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Kristoffer Bäckström (Guitar/Vocals): Hey Jack, I am doing really great. Thanks for hitting us up with an interview.
Jack: You just finished a tour with Cult of Luna, how did it go?
Kristoffer: It was a success. This is the kind of tour that I have been looking forward to do ever since I started Moloken and I am really pleased. Playing shows up to 800 people in the audience felt really natural however weird that can sound. We are ready for more.
Jack: What do you love about Cult of Luna? Would you say they’re an influence?
Kristoffer: Their second album The Beyond sure had a huge impact on me at the time, but musically I can’t really say that they have been an influence. The band as an entity has been an inspiration though, being from Umeå and working hard as hell they have managed to create something of their own. And that is “making it” in my eyes.
Jack: Somewhere Along The Highway turned 10 years old this year, what does the album mean to you?
Kristoffer: When it was released, it was a huge disappointment for me. I wanted them to continue on a more aggressive path. But now ten years later, I listened again before doing this tour with new ears and it is a good album
Jack: On this tour you played the UK for the first time, did you have any preconceptions about the UK going into the shows?
Kristoffer: Well actually we had only heard negative stuff about touring the UK [Laughs], but our experience was really great in every way. Friendly people, great venues, a humble audience and great traffic manners.
Jack: On the UK tour you were joined by Bossk, were you a fan of theirs prior to the tour?
Kristoffer: No I had never heard them before, but I and we really enjoyed their company and since coming back home I have listened an insane amount on new album, especially the first track ‘The Reverie’. So good it hurts.
Jack: On this tour you finished with ‘The Titan Above Us’, what was the reason for this as the set closer?
Kristoffer: It’s a great song that felt natural to end with. It is in fact really hard to do a great show when you only have 30 minutes to work with to start with (which we had when playing the shows with Cult of Luna). But I think we managed well.
Jack: You also played Roadburn, did the festival’s prestigious nature make you nervous?
Kristoffer: Not at all actually, we were ready for it. We have a pretty extensive gig history and we also played eight shows before we hit the Cul De Sac stage at Roadburn. So we were totally focused doing what we do best, performing as whole-hearted[ly] as possible.
Jack How did you think your set at Roadburn went?
Kristoffer: It was a surreal experience, the tension and energy from the audience was really exciting. So we just delivered best we could and the audience went crazy. It went really well.
Jack: If you got a chance to see any other bands at the festival what were your highlights?
Kristoffer: I saw half of Converge‘s “Jane Doe” show and I also managed to see some of Paradise Lost‘s Gothic show. But that’s it, we were there to work which means there is little time for play [Laughs].
Jack: All is Left to See was released last year, are you happy with the response?
Kristoffer: We are almost overwhelmed with the great response and since it’s not really anything like a traditional metal album it was clearly taking a chance. And that makes response even more special for us.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Kristoffer: It was a calm, exciting and a fully focused session. Indeed a great experience. It was the first time being so comfortable recording for us as a band which meant that we could fully focus on our music. Even more special for me personally since I have handled the recording process myself on all three previous recordings. I could be a musician primarily which felt really good.
Jack: The album is the first album of three in a concept called Mörkrets Kärna, what was behind this idea to make a trilogy?
Kristoffer: We wanted to share a personal experience about the struggle within and we needed more than one album to tell this story about the heart of darkness. How does one come to enter it? What’s the experience when you realize you are midst in it? How does it affect you and the loved ones outside the “bubble”? What is the outcome? Will it break you or make you stronger? Talking from experience, all these questions have answers that needs to be shared and this is our attempt. Hell is in your head, peace is in your mind.
Jack: How will the second album be different?
Kristoffer: The first part All Is Left To See focused on the awakening of the mind and the confusion that comes with it. The second album is about letting go of the domino effect of repressed emotions that explodes once you open this “door”. All for a chance and a hope to come out clean on the other side. But this is rarely a pretty thing to experience so the new album will again work as a soundtrack to that mindfuck. Rage, ambivalence, break-down, despai,r and hope.
Jack: Do you have an idea for a release date?
Kristoffer: It will be released in 2017, hopefully before the summer.
Jack: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Kristoffer: We are busy finishing the next album and we will record as quickly as we are ready. Equally busy booking more shows and festivals. We will tour Sweden in the autumn and a new European tour in the spring, hopefully playing the Metal Recusants 6th Anniversary party.
Jack: Finally, in an interview you said All is Left to See “was conceived with the mindset of how you perceive a movie, structured with an obvious beginning, middle and an ending so that the album stands on its own.” Why do you think cinema has greatly influenced heavy metal music?
Kristoffer: Because movies tell stories that often have a very focused way to work with your emotions and setting moods. And that either sparks train of thoughts or set of emotions that you might want to explore or just show/express your version of it.
Jack: Have any particular films influenced Moloken?
Kristoffer: That is a very hard question and I will have to think about it until you interview me next time.