Musicscan: Let's just briefly talk about your plans in 2012. What are the most important aims
and plans for One Without?
One Without: We are releasing a new EP titled “Numbers” on the 24th of June, and we are releasing it track by track through http://www.okdj.fm during a four week period, every Sunday, that started on the 27th of May, so far the feedback we have received has been really great, and our fans seem to appreciate the new direction we are going in!
The whole purpose of releasing the EP was to give our fans a hint of how our third album will sound, and the plan is to start recording the third album around the end of the year or beginning of the next one, depending a bit on how we plan the touring and such, it is also a economical issue unfortunately, as we run our own label these days and self-release.
As I mentioned we are planning a tour for the later part of the year, but I can´t confirm anything yet except that we are aiming for touring both Europe and the UK.
Musicscan: I think I am not wrong claiming that the music of One Without can be easily filed
under modern death metal. Would you agree to that? How would you explain that
Swedish metal is so popular, when it is played with a modern and catchy edge to it?
One Without: Yes I agree, although I might remove the “Death” in it and simply call it “Modern Metal” in our case.
I think it´s popular because it sounds “fresh”, and especially a lot of younger metal fans are very open to bringing in the catchy part of music into metal opposed to older metal fans who might think it´s “wrong” or something like that. I can only speak for myself and say that I find it more interesting to listen to and play than “old school” metal. But hey, it´s just music right? No big deal right?
A little off topic here, but I find it interesting that there is so much music racism, if you understand what I mean, maybe more so in metal than any other genre.
One metal subgenre could be considered lame, just for bringing in new elements from other genres, for example using keyboards in death metal has been a hot topic during the latest years as I have understood it, and I don´t mean symphonic keyboards. I mean like trance keyboards.
Why is that so odd? How interesting would music be if it never developed into something new?
If it sounds good I like it, metal, death metal, metalcore rock, pop or whatever, does it need to be more complicated than that?
Let´s keep developing and see where it leads us, I always think it´s interesting to try and figure out what kind of “Cross-over” will happen next in music genres, and nothing can be considered “wrong” in my opinion.
Musicscan: As a musician, why do you think the marriage of brutal metal and melodic/catchy
elements is so popular with listeners?
One Without: Oops, I think I answered that in the question above, although I might have taken a detour before I got to the answer! Hehe.
Musicscan: If i compare Thoughts Of A Secluded Mind and Sweet Relief it seems that your sound
is continually changing and evolving. What to say in this regard from your artistic
point of view on your second album?
One Without: The first reason why the albums sound so different to each other is that on “Sweet Relief” we wanted to focus on recording songs that we wanted to play live for a long time without getting tired of them, that was explosive, had a lot of energy, and had a new and fresh sound to them with a lot of hope.
Looking back at “Thoughts of a Secluded Mind” (From now on referred to as TOASM) the album had a bit of a depressing sound. Not that I don´t like it, I absolutely LOVE that album. BUT, when we started working on “Sweet Relief” we had grown into something else as a band, and found that we wanted to write songs that were more uplifting rather than depressing.
We are generally not a dark and depressed band, so why should our music be? And as I mentioned before, it was important for us to capture the energy and intensity that we bring with us on stage on “Sweet Relief”, as we felt that TOASM was a great album to listen to, but not the greatest to perform live as it was generally not challenging enough!
From a listener point of view, I don´t think you would ever consider that, it´s merely us in the band that feel the need to develop and challenge ourselves to always keep it interesting, and I believe you can hear that on our new EP “Numbers” as well when comparing it to “Sweet Relief”.
Musicscan: If you compare the visions you have had of Sweet Relief before the record was
produced and compare it to your own impressions listening to the songs now - is
there a difference? What can you as a band say about your latest record?
One Without: Well, first of all you never know how something is going to sound before you listen to the final master of it, with that said, I personally try (emphasis on TRY) not to have any specific expectations of how it´s going to sound, because that will only make it harder to judge the result in the end if it differs from what I expected.
But that is only when you don´t mix the album yourself, which was the case with “Sweet Relief” and “TOASM”.
The “Numbers” EP is the first release that we have mixed ourselves (Me and Joonas), so with this release we had a good idea of what we wanted it to sound like from the start. (We have always produced the releases ourselves.)
You could say that mixing-wise, the mix we did for “Numbers” is the way we have always wanted to sound (a little bit without realizing it), thereby not saying we don´t like the mixes of “Sweet Relief” or “TOASM”, but you can never explain to someone else exactly how something sounds in your head, and therefore it´s only natural that we started mixing ourselves as we have both been mixing for many years, but for some reason didn´t want to, or didn´t think we could, mix our own releases until now. It´s actually kind of weird that we haven´t done it before.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank our friend Pontus Hjelm, guitarist in Dead By April and owner of Studio PH, for giving us the last piece of knowledge we needed to mix “Numbers” on our own.
And don´t be surprised if we work with him on future releases!
Musicscan: Is it a challenge to you to continually write and record new songs and records? Or
it is more challenging for you guys to play live?
One Without: I would say both are challenging in different ways, at least to me.
If we are talking about the process of writing and recording, the songs we write and record nowadays do tend to be more challenging than the older ones, which is only natural I think, as we are all interested in becoming “better” and more versatile musicians, but it´s not really a choice we make. It´s not hard to play just because we want it to be hard to play, it´s simply just more interesting to develop our music in ways we haven´t done before and see what happens.
If we are talking about if it´s hard to come up with ideas for songs and find inspiration, then no, but it presents a good kind of challenge to always try and improve the song writing and do even better songs. But we are never short of songs we want to record and play live, we are a very productive bunch!
For example, I think we had around 40+ songs we sorted through for the upcoming third album, narrowed it down to 20, and are probably going to have 10 or so more before we have the final picks. So in the end there will probably have been about 50 songs we have chosen from to release on our next album.
And these are only the ones we considered good enough to be considered for the album, otherwise there would obviously have been hundreds.
So coming up with ideas is definitely not a problem, it´s just finding the time to work on them all that is!
The challenge with playing live is something else, I like to think that on every show and on every song and every solo etc. I only have ONE CHANCE to do it right, and that actually makes it very interesting and unique to play every show. It might sound lame, but it works for me! And I do like the challenge it presents.
Another challenge for me personally is just keeping the guitar and growls working at the same time, as I have many parts where I play and growl at the same time, which isn´t always the easiest thing. At least not for me! But it keeps things interesting, and I like the thought of having something to improve on for the rest of my life.
Musicscan: Was it different writing Sweet Relief, now that you have become more skilled with
your instruments and all aspects of writing and recording?
One Without: Actually I think we did most parts almost exactly the same as we did with “TOASM”, one difference being that we recorded drums and vocals in a different studio, otherwise we recorded everything in our own studio as with “TOASM”.
We didn´t have a label when we recorded “TOASM”, and we didn´t have a label when we recorded “Sweet Relief”.
We also used the same guy for mixing, Mattias Wänerstam, and same guy for mastering, Dragan Tanascovic at Bohussound.
Only big difference was that we needed less time with recording “Sweet Relief” because we did a bigger job in the pre-productions to save time while being in the studio to record the album. The result being that we knew exactly what we wanted to record and didn´t have to waste time on “trying” things while recording. I think we spent almost a year working on the songs and recording them as pre-productions before entering the studio to record the album for real. But I am not sure we would do it again to be honest, it kind of killed the songs for us to sit on them for so long, and to record them seriously two times. We like it fresh!
But it was something we had considered for a while and I am glad we did it in the end as the result is pretty damn good!
Musicscan: The new album seems to be a little more dark and heavy, in some ways less melodic
and catchy. Is it just me or is there any truth to this? Maybe it has been your
intention to have the album this way?
One Without: Really? I would say the other way around actually! I think it has more catchy melodies, for example in “Pretender”, “Souls of Thousands” or “This Is War”.
Haha, it´s interesting how different people perceive music in different ways, don´t you think?
It definitely is more aggressive, with more growls and higher tempos and such, and I think we succeded in keeping and refining the sound we had from “TOASM” but pushed the limits of what we did to a greater extent. We wanted it to be more catchy yet more aggressive, more “beauty” and more “ugly”, more pop and more metal.
Musicscan: What did you guys do differently on Sweet Relief by choice that you hadn't done
previously to keep things progressing? Were all the songs already written and ready
for recording when you entered the studio or did you rearrange or improvise single
One Without: Damn, it happened again! I already answered that one in one of the questions above, I am way ahead of you here!
But yes, actually, now that you mention it I remember that we rearranged smaller parts in the studio on “Sweet Relief, but not at all to the extent we did when working with “TOASM”. For example we rearranged the whole bridge on “Burned Once Again” (due to a mistake actually, which turned out great) to be with programmed drums and a lot of keyboards, as it originally was with guitars and real drums etc. Needless to say, it made the song better and changed the dynamics of the song.
Musicscan: There are a lot of songs on the record (speaking of quantity), and some might say it
is even too long in the - what's behind having all of them on Sweet Relief?
One Without: Several reasons;
1. We had so many songs we wanted to have on the album, and in the end we just couldn´t take away any more songs. We are not the kind of band that records one or two good songs and then just fill an album with filler songs, we just loved them all.
2. We know what an album costs in the store, and we basically want our fans to get a lot for the money they spend on us.
3. We wanted to try it, we didn´t know of many bands releasing so many songs at once, and figured “why not”.
There might have been more reasons, but I can´t remember them right now. Hehe.
I find it funny that the only ones who ever complain about the amount of songs is reviewers. We have NEVER had a fan tell us that we have too many songs on the album, on the other hand many have told us that they love that there is so many to listen to.
We actually joked about that as being a reason as well, that those reviewers who hated the album would need to sit through 17 songs of it and be disgusted through it all.
But I sincerely do not understand why it is “too much of the good”. We have had reviewers who absolutely love the album but then say that they gave us a lower score or rating just because it was “maybe a bit too long”.
Well, maybe it´s just me, but I don´t get it.
If I love an album I appreciate it being long. It just seems to me that this is some kind of unwritten law or “industry standard” that is getting old.
BUT I will say this. Recording 17 songs compared to 11-12 songs is hard work. So I actually don´t think we will do it again simply because it takes so much time in the studio. We would much rather release albums more often in that case!
Musicscan: What aspects would you mention if you were asked which aspects you like most on your
new record? Why especially these aspects?
One Without: I like the fact that we managed to get the sound of “hope” on to “Sweet Relief” (both in music and lyrics) in such a great extent, and that it´s a (for me) very uplifting yet aggressive album that sounds very fresh.
Musicscan: What do you feel you accomplished after finishing your work on Sweet Relief? Do you
feel that this new record is a pretty good representation of your band sounding as
of right now? And do you feel that One Without has already found its own sound, or
is it still evolving?
One Without: Evidently One Without is always evolving, even though we still maintain a core of our sound through everything we do. If you couldn´t hear it on “Sweet Relief” you will definitely hear it on “Numbers” our new EP. I would of course have to say that our sound has evolved into a more aggressive approach with even more growl and heavier sound on the new EP, and I think we will keep going in that direction for a while, as we all enjoy the energy and explosiveness it provides. But it is not unlikely that we will release songs that are more like “TOASM” in the future as well, as we still somewhat maintain that calmer, dark rock “style” in our songs.
Musicscan: Would you agree to say One Without is still an underrated band on the European
mainland? How do you feel about your standing across the whole of Europe?
One Without: I do agree about us being underrated, but at the same time we have so many really dedicated fans out there. So I would rather say we are under-promoted!
When people hear our music, both live and on CD they tend to get into it pretty fast, wondering where we came from, and why they have never heard of us, so the only real problem being that people tend not to even hear of One Without, not knowing at all about our existence.
It isn´t hard to figure out why that is really, since we are not signed to any label and haven´t been since 2010 (although we have had distribution contracts). Which leaves us doing the promotion for what we do, and compared to a label we don´t have the finances to reach out in the same way. Our fans have been really wonderful in helping us spread the word about OW, and I honestly can´t say where we would be without their help, so they deserve a special thanks!
We have a pretty big following building in the UK, which we noticed on our latest tour there last December with Dead By April and Marionette, and I believe Germany is not far behind. But it still seems that most of our fans are based in the US/South America!
Musicscan: Final thoughts?
One Without: If you feel like chatting with me or anyone else in the band, or just want to keep yourself updated, “like” our page at facebook. AND: Everyone is welcome to download ”Sweet Relief ” for free by signing up for our newsletter at onewithout.com
And you can also check out our newest release, (also free to download) the EP “Numbers” here!