Back in the day when Tony Iommi chose to keep playing his guitar, despite the excruciating pain he felt when he held the strings with what was left of his right hand’s middle and ring fingers after a terrible accident in a (ironically) metal factory, rock music still had a special meaning.
It was one of the few fearless music genres – not afraid to call a spade a spade, and express the unhappiness of thousands of people forced to work in inhuman conditions, in an insalubrious environment, for shitty wages, and treated like objects – always disposable, always unwanted.
Metal was born out of people’s desire to achieve personal freedom, but it ended up becoming the slave of corporate strategies aiming to subvert those art forms considered to be problematic by the system. 50 years later, far away from the thick smoke of the English factories where the founding-fathers of one of the most important musical movements worked their wits away, we are still slaves, only this time of a much more perverse socio-cultural industry.
Today, when most artists chase fame, money and groupies, there are still a few bands who don’t give a flying fuck about becoming stars. These bands stand for everything that metal used to be – and still is, in its most intimate structures – a freedom statement, the courage to say „F off” to anyone who wants to mutilate your soul, and an exquisitely complex music genre.
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you LOCH VOSTOK, the Swedish extreme progressive melodic metal and whatnot act that had the balls to send the wicked industry packing to the special place in Hell reserved for corporate cunts. Less than two months before the release of their latest work – an epically angry, darkly demystifying chef-d’oeuvre – we caught up with lead-singer Teddy Moller who took it into his hands to shed some light on the inspiration behind the new record, and much more. If you’re a pansy, we suggest you read something else.
MRM: You’re getting ready to release your new record, “V – The Doctrine Decoded”, which will be available starting with October the 4th. Judging by the teaser song “A Tale of Two Kings”, the material sounds rawer, more straightforward and less melodic – more “balls to the walls”, than your previous work. Is that impression accurate?
Teddy: It’s definitely not more straight forward. Dystopium was our pop record and I can safely say that „The Doctrine Decoded” is much more chaotic in every way possible. We were always labeled Extreme Progressive whatever and I never really agreed, so this time I put a lot of effort into making that label true. Niklas Kupper (guitar) wrote a track called Regicide, which is probably, riff wise, our most violent song to date.
I cannot help noticing the symbolic patterns in the artwork. It features two reversed crossed keys, an emblem often used by the freemasons. Did you want to take a piss out of this so called brotherhood, are you their “fans”, or is it just a coincidence?
It is not a coincidence. This album is about money, banking, greed, deceit, religion and the likes. The freemasons make more decisions than most realize, they are everywhere – in governments, banks, the military – and they’re scratching each others backs. All these „secret” societies are one of the biggest threats to personal freedom. The European Union is a great example, built brick by brick by freemasons and Bilderberg cunts. Just look how they’re treating the Greeks right now. It’s shameful and evil.
Other songs, like “Syndrome of Self” and “Seeker” also have a more aggressive feel to them, with lyrics that seem to verge toward the political and the current state of affairs. What inspired you to go in this direction?
I don’t know…maybe it’s just desperation…wanting to get all these thoughts out of my head. Me and Fredrik (Klingwall – keyboards) are always watching these documentaries, and even though they all piss me off, I can’t stop watching them. Nigel Farage is a huge inspiration. He’s not afraid to say it like it is. He’s the only brave politician out there. The rest of them only represent themselves and their own personal agenda. Mr. Farage represents the people who elected him.
You are known for your vehement stance on God and religion, having called the two notions “bullshit” on various occasions, yet some of your songs express a spiritual aspiration of sorts: “Energy Taboo”, “Navigator” etc. Do all concepts of transcendence repulse you? Isn’t there something inherently “god-like” in art?
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: everyone who believes in „god” or „allah” or any other fictional dude is delusional. At one point in life, you’ll have to grow the fuck up. Belief deserves no respect whatsoever. However, every human has the chance to earn my respect by doing good deeds. Every man or woman who sacrifices time or money to help others has my respect, but I will never ever respect belief in god, Santa, tooth fairies, Easter bunnies, little green men with antennas etc. „Energy Taboo” is all about energy. We are all atoms, which is protons, neutrons and electrons – pure energy. When we die, we go back to being just that. That’s what the song is about…set in a real life story. „Navigator” is about someone dear to me who once fell deeply into a black hole of despair, and I helped them get out of there. It’s about endless, unconditional love.
I believe it was Sigmund Freud who said something along the lines of “everyone has something that they take refuge in”. Some people have God, others art, and others their family/pet etc. What’s your refuge?
Family, metal, friendship and booze. In that order.
A while back, you toured with the legendary King Diamond. What was it like? Do you think that artists who voice their atheistic convictions are still regarded as suspicious and are subjected to prejudice?
Touring with King Diamond is the coolest thing you can do, for several reasons. Reason number one being it’s King Fucking Diamond! Other reasons? There were no real hierarchies going on except for the order in which we were performing. Their manager, Ole Bang, is one of the most easy going dudes I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. The whole crew was amazing and super pro. The band, well I already knew Mike Wead and had met Andy LaRoque, but I’ll be honest, I have met most of my favorite artists throughout the years, and I’m never star struck…but when THE KING entered the room, I had shivers trickling down my spine. My favorite artist of all time, a legend, and not to my surprise, a super cool, down to earth dude. Atheists have a hard time in religilous (yep, religious and ridiculous) countries. Believers tend to think it’s a way of life and they stamp all these attributes to it, which is fucking stupid. It’s simply NOT believing in fairytales. Atheism is a religion, just like snoring is a language!
You’ve mostly worked with small record labels and have done an amazing job at producing, recording, mixing and mastering your own songs. You managed to conquer an artistic integrity that is felt in the quality of your music. However, you’re not as well known as suck-ass bands that blow up the charts. Is it worth it to sound awesome if you don’t get to be “stars”?
First, I do not look down on artists who want to make money in this business but it’s very hard to keep an artistic integrity and „make it” at the same time. I couldn’t care less about becoming a star. I do this shit because I have to, I don’t have a choice. If I didn’t do it, I would die. It’s like breathing. I will never become rich doing this. We pay a lot of money to go on tour. This upcoming tour with Leprous is going to cost us ‘round 22000 euros. We haven’t made 10000 in our whole career but it doesn’t matter. Yes, it is worth it. By far!
At one point, you were well acquainted with the Romanian metal scene, having helped local musicians with producing their albums. Just how much ambition does a Romanian metal musician have to have in order to make it on a pop-dance crap dominated industry?
100% conviction, lots of money and spare time. That’s it. Then you can go on tour and make contacts. Seriously, there are absolutely no shortcuts. The pop and dance industry have no self made artists(except for multi talented artists like Lady Gaga), only producers who write songs, and when they have a hit, they just pick the best looking, most talented (in that order) boy or girl they have on their endless list of aspiring teens.
Would you say you’re a lucky artist because you were born in Sweden, or is it just as hard to make a living out of music there as it is back here?
The only difference is that, generally speaking, Romania is a rough country to live in. If you’re in the cities, making decent money, then it’s all right, I guess, but even in Bucharest, people have less money than the „poor” people in Sweden, and unfortunately, it takes a lot of money to „make it”. However, everyone has a computer these days, so buying a recording quality sound card, learning the craft and recording your own material is a lot easier today. You can literally produce a pro sounding hit album in your bedroom.
Do you think the Romanian audience is ready to rock with Loch Vostok?
With a liter of that stinking crap Palinka under your vest, anyone can dance to these contagious tunes. Yeah, come and watch us bastardize progressive metal like there’s no tomorrow. Norok!
Thank you very much, Teddy!