The Swedish formation NEW KEEPERS OF THE WATER TOWER have
recently landed a deal with the American label MeteorCity Records. At
present, they are the main label for stonerrock and doom metal bands and
anything that lies between these genres such as bands like The Atomic
Bitchwax, Hermano, Spirit Caravan and Nebula. And so it is no great
surprise that New Keepers Of The Water Tower play straight forward
stonerrock with rock, doom and even blues influences. Their debut album,
however, is not entirely new. The material on this album has been
previously released on two EP’s. The first part of the album tells of
the ‘Chronicles Of Iceman’ (2008), the second part reveals ‘The
Chronicles Of The Massive Boar’ (2007). A remarkable detail is the fact
that three vocalists are featured on the album, each of which handling a
different type of vocals: clean, rock and grunts.
It seems there is plenty to talk about and guitarist
Victor Berg was available to answer some questions. Here you can
read what he had to say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com
Congratulations on your new album 'Chronicles' which was
recently released, of course we'd like to ask you a couple of questions
about it. First of all, could you start this interview off with a short
introduction of the band, the origin of its name and how you guys got
Victor: New Keepers Of The Water Towers started out as a
project between Rasmus (Vocals & Guitar) and Tor (Drums & Vocals) who
where classmates at the time.
At first the two of them where jamming by themselves, but
they soon realized that this was too good to just stay a project. I
joined the band as they needed an additional guitar player for a live
performance, but it didn't take long until they asked me to stay as a
permanent member. At the time our bass player was a guy named Edward but
we didn't share the same musical vision and soon parted ways with him.
Luckily we knew this other bass playing guy called Albin who seemed to
be more "our cup of tea". It turned out that he was, and so this became
the current line-up. The origin of the name is built up around a series
of mysterious events that unfolded on a fateful night some years ago.
But the legend can be traced back to one of our earliest songs featured
on ‘Chronicles Of The Massive Boar’, but which one is for the listener
to find out!
How did you launch into writing material for 'The
Chronicles Of Iceman' and 'Chronicles Of The Massive Boar' and how much
time did you spend on the songs?
Victor: There where quite different means of approach on
the two Chronicle-outfits. The first one, ‘Chronicles Of The Massive
Boar’, had a spur of the moment attitude to it as songs where recorded
as soon as the final note had been written and production was left
basically untouched. Our aim on that record was to capture the moment
and just go with the flow.
It was quite a unique experience but as work started on the follow up we
felt we had a lot more to offer. On ‘Chronicles Of Iceman’ we spent more
time both writing and recording the songs, actually doing second takes,
and putting down more time on the production. The difference between the
records is quite obvious and it gives the listener insight in the band’s
musical evolution. Hearing what we accomplished with just one year in
between those albums I recon our listeners must be excited about what we
have coming up for them next.
How can we imagine you work on new songs, what's the
typical writing process like for New Keepers Of The Water Tower?
Victor: It has changed a lot since the beginning of the
band. At first songs where an individual effort and they were developed
into their final form by the songwriter. Nowadays we work together,
listening to each other’s ideas and thoughts. Of course it happens that
someone comes up with an entire song by himself but usually it starts
out with a riff or an idea that is moulded into a song during rehearsal.
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them
down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
Victor: ideas usually come easy and are written down as
we play but then we leave it for a few days, returning to the song with
new eyes. That makes us see what could be changed for the better thus
making the song better. That is at least how we work nowadays.
What comes first, lyrics or melodies?
Victor: We tend to write the melodies first and then the
lyrics seem to come along naturally. The melodies are an important
element to our songs since they add a lot to the atmosphere.
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
record 'The Chronicles Of Iceman' and 'Chronicles Of The Massive Boar',
any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album? Was it a
conscious decision to do it this way?
Victor: Nah, I don't think we had any goals other than
creating an album packed with great riffs and massive drumming. Since we
just went along with whatever felt right we didn't have time to
overthink it and that's the way to do it according to me. If you start
to worry too much how you will be portrayed you end up doing something
that is untrue to yourself.
Could you please describe the implications of the titles
'The Chronicles Of Iceman' and 'Chronicles Of The Massive Boar', what do
they stand for and is there a special meaning behind them?
Victor: Of course, ‘Chronicles Of The Massive Boar’ deals
with the events that take place around the massive boar while
‘Chronicles Of Iceman’ is based around the mythological creature iceman.
Who was responsible for the lyrics on the album?
Victor: The lyrics are a mutual effort, created as we
reach utter ecstasy and the words are channeled through our bodies. To
answer your question, we write the lyrics together within the band.
Can you give us a little background about the songs on
the album, is there a story behind them?
Victor: There is most certainly a story behind the album.
‘Chronicles’ depict nature’s struggle against the evil scientists who
come to invade the great forest. To draw a parallel you can sort of say
that the scientists represent humanity which has since the dawn of its
existence forced nature to give way to its expansion. The story is quite
fuzzy but that is what we like about it since the listener gets to make
his or her own picture of the whole thing.
How important is it to you that people pay attention to
the lyrics apart from listening to the music?
Victor: I guess that is up to the listener as well. Of
course the album is best enjoyed with lyrics and all but since they are
there to create additional atmosphere it can be heard without any
insight in the story whatsoever. Since we don't sing about society,
injustice or politics the lyrics might not be viewed as important. But
if you consider epic beasts and mythical creatures to be important, they
don't come any more important than ours.
What is the utmost important ingredient for a song
according to you?
Victor: That is a hard question to answer because just
like pies have different ingredients, so does a song. But the one part
that is always there is the dough and the dough in our songs must be the
massive chops of our drummer Tor, then we layer it with different
toppings (riffs) and shove it into the oven.
Do you have any favourites on the album?
Victor: My personal favourite is "Pursuit Of Yeti"
because it is the kind of song that makes you want to shake your head
and wave your fists in the air. Don't you think?
Have you received any feedback on the album yet?
Victor: Yeah we have received a lot of great feedback.
People seem to like ‘Chronicles’ a lot and that makes us want to
continue writing songs for them to enjoy even more. It feels great to
receive positive comments from people around the world and not just from
our parents, hehe.
Are third party opinions (press, fans, etc.) on your
music important to you? Or are your music and band the only things that
Victor: It is important but it won't change the way we do
things. But since we seem to be liked for what we are doing, we'll keep
going strong in the direction that is the right one for us. And when a
positive review or comment drops by it only sweetens the deal!
Overall, are you pleased with the outcome of the songs or
would you have liked to have changed anything in retrospective? Which
element on the CD are you most proud of?
Victor: Yes, we are pleased with how it turned out. You
always think of something you would have done differently but that is
just what happens as you evolve musically and personally. The best thing
you can do is not to try and think about it too much and make sure your
ideas make it into the next release.
The thing that I am most proud of is that the CD has
really captured the moment and feeling of the time being. That is also
why I really can't think of any changes that should be made.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of
things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?
Victor: Playing is the thing that gets me going. After
having suffered through a hard days work there is nothing better than to
lash out in the rehearsal-room together with the band. Music is the
biggest part of our lives and the only thing we do in our spare time so
that makes it real easy to stay motivated. Of course we gain inspiration
from books, films and other things in life but the biggest motivator is
the pleasure of playing music.
What is your opinion on the stoner / doom scene these
days? What do you think about the overload of bands at the moment and is
there anything missing in the scene?
Victor: I'm not that knowledgeable about the whole
"scene" but there are plenty of good bands out there that are getting
lots of well-deserved attention. We don't want to get too caught up in
the whole genre since we like applying lots of different styles in our
songs and I guess that might be one of the things missing. But then
again, if you have a concept that you feel works, just go for it. Who am
I to judge?
What can we expect from New Keepers Of The Water Tower in
the future, any touring plans?
Victor: You can certainly expect a new album in a not too
distant future, and since our music is best experienced live we
definitely have plans for a tour.
Nothing official yet but we'll try to get out on the road
as soon as our new album has been released. Hopefully it will be an
extensive tour so that as many people as possible will be able to catch
us in the act.
Where do you see New Keepers Of The Water Tower going
within the next couple of years, and where do you see your musical
direction going for the next album?
Victor: We have started to experiment more and more,
featuring lots of other elements in our songs. One can expect that we
will have a more progressive take on things in the future. The New
Keepers-vibe will always be there, it’s just that we'll step it up a
notch with every new release.
Anything left to say to our readers?
Victor: Thanks for the time and space, you are awesome.
Make sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming album and tour.
Peace out from the New Keepers Of The Water Towers.
Thanks for your time!
Rasmus Booberg - Riffage, Vox-supreme
Victor Berg - Brutal Bender, Gutural Loring
Albin Rönnblad Ericsson - Quad-String Doombringer
Tor Sjödén - SkinViolation, Vital Shouts
(2007) Chronicles of the Massive Boar (EP)
(2008) The Chronicles of Iceman (EP)