Ladies & gentlemen! Depression is nice, depression is cool! If you don’t have a depressive black metal band, you better make one before the second coming of Jesus. In between you can read this chat with Obehag, guitar-player and vocalist in Sweden’s newest and one of the finest offerings of depressed / drugged black metal / rock bands: Apati.
Hello there! How are you? How is Västerås/Fagersta these days? By the way, these are 2 separate towns?
Hi, I’m fine, a little hangover at the moment. Västerås and Fagersta are two separate towns, yes. Not much happening in these small towns, pretty dead.
This is your first interview, or did you give others also in the past? Do you read webzines, or printed fanzines? Which one do you prefer?
Me and Patient C did an interview for Funeral March Zine some months ago, other than that, we haven’t done any. I personally don’t read that much zines at all, its hard to find the time. If I have to choose I prefer printed zines actually.
Tell me about the beginnings. Why and how was APATI founded and what is it’s target?
Apati was started by me and C9H13N because we both felt the need to express our feelings and the lack of feelings. We wanted to create very emotional music which could touch the listener. Professor X joined after some months and after a while Patient C also joined up with us. But X had so much things happening around him so we had to let him go. Apati is now a way for us to express our feelings in different ways, it’s about trying to break barriers, musically.
How you got in contact with Håkan, how did you worked out the deal for the album? How important for you is the cooperation with your record company? You signed only for the debut, or for more releases?
I sent an e-mail to Håkan and asked if he would be interested, he asked for a promo. I sent him the promo and he liked it. Easy as that. Håkan is very easy to work with, and we are really grateful to have been able to work with him. We signed for the debut only. But we are probably also going to release our upcoming album through THR.
If I am right the band members are quite young. When was the first time you picked up an instrument and why did you choose to play in a band?
I picked up a guitar the first time when I was about 15, but I still haven’t been able to master it. Haha. Patient C on the other hand has been playing instruments since the day he was born.
Does the whole band contribute or is your music made of individual ideas?
All members contribute to Apati. But almost all songs are written by Patient C, sometimes with the help from me.
Some people already have put you in the ‘Tribute to Lifelover’ camp. What do you think of this? Influences of Lifelover are obvious I think. But in the end Lifelover wasn’t also the embodiment of originality as in terms of music, they also had many influences. How do you care about the criticism generally? Do you read any of it, does it have a meaning for you?
Well, me personally don’t care about all these internet warriors talking crap on forums and shit. Lifelover is a great band, and have done great things. We are not trying to copy their music or steal their style. We do what we do and don’t give a fuck about what other people think.
Where do you find your inspiration, or what do you think about where should people get their own inspiration from? What are the band’s influences, when it comes to music, concept, image, etc?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, especially from within. But also, inspiration comes from other people, drugs, nature and of course other music. When it comes to other bands I have to say Woods of Infinity is a great source of inspiration to me, the feelings they deliver in their music is magnificent.
One of the band members is named C9H13N, which is chemical formula for amphetamine. Your debut is named Eufori, and as the lyrics are in Swedish, I only remain with a sensation that the concept is based on drugs, or drug-abusing. Please tell us the concept of Eufori, and what are the lyrics about in general.
The lyrics are very personal, and I would say to me it represents the escape from reality and the pursuit for happiness and euphoria.
Apati – Eufori. It’s a sharp contrast between these two words. This was something planned, it was part of a concept, or its just turned out this way without any intent?
It wasn’t planned, when we were making the album we didn’t know how to name it, we had a song named Eufori and thought that would be a pretty good name for the album, nothing more to it.
Do you think in the future the band will distance itself from the so-called ‘depressive black metal / rock’ genre? Can we foresee a more metal direction, or more relaxed rock?
The same “vibe” is still there, although the music has taken a completely different direction. You won’t find any “depressive rock” here at all. We feel that it is necessary to do something different, to make us stand out a little, so people recognize us as Apati not as a band that sounds like everything else in this genre. Sure we still draw influences from other bands, but who doesn’t?
Your logo its more classical black metal logo, with trees, branches, roots, while the music and the image of the band its much more urban. How do you think the logo connects with the music and the lyrics?
When I first saw the logo I didn’t care for it at all, it was C9H13N who asked his friend Etorigan to make a logo to us, and he wanted it to look eerie, with a feeling of autumn, the time when the colors die and the leaves fall to the ground, everything is cold and gray. But the logo grew on me, and I think it stands out from most of the logos out there.
The depressive black metal scene has become huge, and most of the time bands are just seeking attention rather than creating real art. Apati – agree or not – it’s a part of the scene, though I like to think its better than the rest. What do you think makes you special in this overgrown & suffocating scene? What do you think, why should someone buy your record?
Well the scene which we, against our will, have become a part of is mostly shit. But sometimes a beautiful flower can grow from the smelliest of feces. Haha. No but seriously, we are not special, we are just trying to do our thing and trying to do it good. We take time when we create music, we don’t just make some shit and try to get it released so we can fit in with all these internet-suicidal-kids. We try to make it count, to make sure that what we do has some meaning to it.
You sampled one of my favourite movie: The Seventh Seal. How does the sample fit into the concept of the song, why did you choose to sample this?
Bergman explored the meaning of life, anxiety, solitude and similar subjects in his movies. We felt that this can be connected to the songs we make, so we found it appropriate to use these samples. R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman.
If I saw well on a photo, somebody from the band is wearing a Ronald McDonald mask…Is this have any significance? It’s a concept, or just for the sake of the ‘fun’?
The mask your thinking about is a Hannya. It’s a theatre mask representing a jealous female demon I think. The reason C9H13N chose to wear it is unknown to me. He probably just felt the need to stand out from the crowd of uniformed-metalheads.
What’s the situation with gigs? I understand you did not have a concert up to this day. Are you preparing to play live, if so would there be something special at your show?
We have not played any gigs at all, and by the looks of it we won’t be doing that in the near future. Who knows what we will be doing in the future though. But at the time it’s not a priority.
Eufori was released only on CD. Is there a plan for releasing a tape, or vinyl version? Are you interested in more underground formats as tape & vinyl?
Eufori will be released on vinyl very soon I think, through Art of Propaganda and Obscure Abhorrence Productions. It will not be released on tape. I love vinyl, the feeling when you listen to vinyl is so very different from cd or mp3’s on the computer.
It annoys you when people are downloading your album, rather than buying it?
I welcome the free downloading. It’s a great way to spread music. We don’t make music to make money. So to answer your question, no it doesn’t annoy us at all.
Sweden is a wonderful country – I mean there are hundreds of uglier and dangerous places to live, while your country is quite safe and very beautiful also. The towns are nice, all is ‘almost perfect’. Still, some of the most depressing and sometimes also weird music are coming from that area. How do you explain this? Are Swedish people more contemplative, more deep- thinkers?
Wow, this question can’t be answered by me. Maybe we are just a fucked up people, I’ve read somewhere that Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, so something must be wrong with this country.
What is your goal in life as an artist and as a person?
I don’t have great goals, as an artist I want people to react to my music, I want you to feel, whether it’s feelings of joy, depression, anxiety, anger, love or whatever it may be. I want the feelings I am trying to communicate through my music to get inflicted on you.
I understand a second album is in development. Tell us what we should know about this forthcoming piece of music!
We are almost done with our second album, as I said earlier in this interview, it is a huge difference from our earlier work. I am very pleased with the tracks and hope people will like it.
Thanks for your time. If you want to say something, anything, here is your space.
Thank you. Obehag
by morphine waltz