Soliloquium – a death/doom act from Stochholm, Sweden. The name, the genre, the origin – you know that there must be something good about this band. After featuring their tracks on the virtual pages of MetalRecusants, we had to go on a (slightly delayed) mission of interviewing the band and find out what’s behind all this misery and suicidal – but very beautiful – music. Read below, to find out where the name comes from, influences, lyrics… remember to turn off your lights, light up a candle and let the darkness embrace you… (for 100% satisfaction).
Veronica: Why did you decide to form this band and why did you choose the name ‘Soliloquium’?
Stefan: Basically I just had a bunch of Doom/Death riffs from before lying around that I wanted to make something of some day, and “some day” arrived. There are some riffs and melodies dating back even as far as 2006-2007 that finally fit into a song. It was also refreshing to do something different than the straight Death Metal I’ve always been writing. I’ll probably try to keep challenging myself musically by doing different things.
Regarding the name I was checking out a bunch of names to get a fitting and catchy title for the band, there was a lot of Katatonia song lyric digging involved to find a word or phrase for the project. The word Soliloquium was borrowed from the Italian doom band The Foreshadowing, I had no idea what it was until I checked out the meaning (dramatic monologue, speaking to one self). The band is in many ways a therapeutic monologue that mainly concerns myself; There isn’t really a direct intent to connect with the listener, it’s just an outlet.
Veronica: What are your influences when writing music, both musical and non-musical?
Stefan: My musical interests are becoming more and more eclectic all the time, far away from the angry 16-year old in a Slayer shirt that was walking around ten years ago. I still listen to a lot of Death and Thrash Metal but Katatonia and Anathema are my two favorite bands and my biggest influences. I’ve also been moving into acoustic music like Nick Drake and Noah Gundersen lately, something I hope I’ll be able to perform in the future. Hopefully I’ll be able to move even more in that direction when I improve musically.
For Soliloquium I’ve been hugely influenced by recent events in my life and my thoughts on humanity and it will be even more so on EP number two. It’s very different from writing gory Death Metal, that’s for sure. It’s more demanding and more rewarding at the same time.
Veronica: What are the lyrics about and where do you draw inspiration from to write these lyrics?
Stefan: The lyrics on When Silence Grows Venomous are my reflections over the past year and all the chaotic events that have been going on, a way to find some order and relief. I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved, which really can’t be said for lyrics about violence and zombies. It’s very introspective and painful. I’m not looking for the same ethereal beauty many Doom Metal bands express, it’s just cold reality.
“Garden of Truculence” is basically my way of questioning all the terrible things people are doing to each other, and the wretched social game so many people seem to playing for no apparent reason. Some people have perceived it as nihilistic, which it really isn’t at all. What makes it such a depressing song is obviously that I’m involved in these games as well, and there is nothing that I can do about it. Hence the lyrics for the clean vocal part, absolute hopelessness.
“Autumn State” is an existential song with very personal lyrics. Much of it is about having a hard time living in the moment, always being somewhere else even during positive events. It’s also about the pain of a deteriorating relationship in the midst of this existential anxiety, hence the we’s and our’s in the lyrics. How can an idle mind always being somewhere else be in control of such things? People seem to prefer “Autumn State” since it’s closer to the typical Doom/Death lyric concepts. The lyrics for the next demo are a continuation of the same story that the song tells.
Veronica: Why death/doom? Why all that misery?
Stefan: Reason one is that I love the sound of this type of music aesthetically. Sad music has always been pleasing to my ears, it’s hard to find that type of true emotion in uplifting songs. Reason two is that it’s fulfilling to write music this personal and passionate. Death Metal is fun and energetic, but there’s definitely something in Soliloquium that excites me on a deeper level. People have told me that Soliloquium sounds more natural in terms of songwriting than my other projects, and I agree. The negativity of the music is a good way to rid myself of all these rather miserable feelings and themes.
Veronica: Apparently you are involved in other bands as well, namely Desolator and Ending Quest. Can you tell us a few words about those bands? Do you have any other projects?
Stefan: Both bands are Old School Death Metal, just two different takes. Desolator is more crisp and thrashy, American style if you will. It’s slightly more modern as well, especially the new tracks that are on our coming full length album. We’ve been playing around a bit with the songs so there isn’t really any strikingly similar band out there, which is nice. Ending Quest is pure Dismember worship. It’s got the huge chainsaw guitar tone known from Like An Everflowing Stream and Left Hand Path and the music very much follows suit. It was a band made to have fun and it still is, despite being signed to a record label (FDA Rekotz) for a coming full length album. Those are it for now, and hopefully I’ll stick with a maximum of three projects since it’s already a bit crazy sometimes.
Stefan: I’ve always been a pirate, to be honest. I’m not too fond of people that aren’t catching up with technical improvements and the reality that exists on the Internet. The best thing is just to face it and do the best possible thing to compete on the new market. I do buy CDs and merch quite often to support bands, but I’ve been getting some slack from metal friends for not having their 1000+ sized collection. The important part is being consistent, that’s why I always post all my music not signed to a record label as a free download. Plus, it’s a great way to find new fans.
Veronica: What do you think about record labels? Are they a necessary evil for musicians? Would you like to be signed to one in the future or stay independent and release your music by yourselves?
Stefan: I suppose they are necessary for distribution and promotion. The only other option is spending a fortune on doing it yourself. I’m not actively searching for a record company for Soliloquium, but if someone e-mailed me and wanted to release the EP I’d say yes instantly. That’s been the problem with this project, it hasn’t quite reached out at all. The people that it does reach seem to be liking it though.
Veronica: Can you name five albums that changed your life and the way you think about music?
Anathema – Judgement
Death – Symbolic
Dismember – Like An Everflowing Stream
Katatonia – Brave Murder Day
Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down
The way I think about music? That’s a hard one. In many ways it’s like an addiction. I’ve had thoughts in terms of just throwing my guitars away and becoming a listener, but then that song idea, lyric or riff comes around and makes me want to write again. What excites me as a listener is usually solid songwriting and passion. In extreme metal the power of the riff is always important.
Veronica: Are you planning on performing live sometime?
Stefan: It’s not likely, since I wouldn’t be able to perform guitars and vocals for this band. If we had a live line-up I’d prefer just handling the vocals since I’m not really a super solid clean guitarist. If I had the musicians for it and the time to rehearse I’d do it, but it’s highly unlikely. Desolator is the live band.
Veronica: What are the band’s plans and ambitions for the future? When can we expect to hear new music from Soliloquium?
Stefan: It’s quite a funny coincidence, actually. I’m picking up an external sound card tomorrow so I can start recording guitars for the second EP. The structure will be the same as on the first EP: Two long songs. The songs are fully written instrumentally and the titles will be “Nighttime Revelations” and “Remnants of Dying Dreams”. Not sure what the EP title will be but I have a front cover theme in mind that fits with the lyrical concept. Lyrically, it’s pretty much a straight continuation of the song “Autumn State”.
Stefan Nordström – Guitars/Vocals
Jonas Bergkvist – Bass