23 September 2013

Interview: Stilla

Stilla is a recently founded black metal band from Southern Sweden. Till stilla falla, their brand new album, has enchanted Europe with its dark and mysterious atmospheres. Andreas Johansson, bass man of the band, tells why have been the choices and inspirations behind this work of art...

Today we have as a guest the recently founded Swedish black metal band Stilla and one of its members, Andreas Johansson. Welcome! 
First of all, let’s talk about the choice of the name of this band. Stilla, in Swedish, gives out the idea of something silent, quiet, still and this concept is reminded also by the name of your full-length, Till stilla falla. Which are the reasons behind these choices?

Thank you. Your interpretation is correct; consider the silence of a vast field or murky forest bereft of civilization, or the quietude of total heatdeath at the end of the Universe. The album title refers to the end and disintegration of the soul - “To fall into stillness” would be a proper translation.

Also the artwork you’ve chosen for this release is a strong reminder of the long, cold and snowy Nordic winter and of the almost unreal silence and lack of colours it brings, one year after the other. Is this the main purpose of such a cover?

The building is our blacklodge, where the album was spawned in its final and complete form; it holds many olden vibrations in its rustic appearance. The album was created upon the onset of one of the longest winters in recollection, so it seemed appropriate: consider the silence of a landscape covered in snow. 

How did Till stilla falla tracks come to life? Has it been a long, complicated process or instead a very natural one? Especially after giving a listen to a long, amazing track like Aldrig Döden Minnas..., probably one of the best tracks to describe Stilla’s elegant and original style, it’s difficult not to think about how much time, energies and talent have probably been spent to create such a mind-blowing song…

The basic foundations of the songs were built by Pär Stille, elaborated upon by myself – the songs were practically finished once we entered the studio. Aldrig döden minnas... is probably the most worked-through piece on the album, its original version much different than the final outcome, wheras little has changed with the other tracks from their earliest versions.

Stilla’s debut album mixing and production is also something that immediately catches the listeners’ attention, since this full-length has really captured the atmosphere of the “good old times” of black metal, like it was recorded 15-20 years ago. Was this result what you were aiming for from the very beginning? 

Yes, it was our goal to create something timeless. Rather than hunting for a specific sound (like this or that album), we simply went for a good, raw and robust production.

Till stilla falla has, so far, received very positive reviews from all over Europe and beyond. Are you satisfied with what you’ve realized with this album, or has the band already started working on new ideas and materials?

We are surprised at the amount of attention we have received across Europe, and are much satisfied with how the album turned out; we entered the studio with an unfinished line-up and no clear idea of where it would end, and it became what it is today. We have new material, which will be recorded after the summer, aiming for a release at the depths of winter.

All lyrics in Till stilla falla have been written in Swedish by Pär and you. How would you describe them, to non-Swedish speakers? And, do you think that these two different ways of interpreting Stilla’s main lyrical themes have something in common, to share together?

They deal with various aspects of the same atmospheres and emotions: from nocturnal visions of graveyards and vast fields to being caught in the everlasting turning of the sunwheel and the ultimate end of everything. It is hard to pinpoint, but while they different, I would definitely say that the lyrics correlate to a spiritual, philosophical unity.

When it comes to describe Stilla, the only sentence used from the band to officially define itself so far has been “Svensk svartmetall. Fjällmagi & mörkerblick”. How would you explain this choice? And how would you describe Stilla, in a more detailed way?

I wouldn't – those words will do. Find a dictionary if you need to make sense of it.

Stilla’s frontman and drummer have already been co-members in two other Swedish bands, Whirling and De Arma. Has also the idea of a project like Stilla sprung from their talented minds or does this band have a different origin?

The project was initiated by Pär Stille and Andreas Vidhall, guitars and bass respectively. Me and Pär developed the songs for about a year before we entered the studio, and it was during the recording process that the current and final line-up was completed. Pär knew both Andreas Petterson and Johan Marklund (vocals and drums respectively) since before, and it was a natural choice to collaborate with them, and fold them into Stilla.

Recently you’ve made a cryptic announcement about the upcoming chance to see Stilla performing live on stage. Which are your plans for the future? 

Oh we'll see. Plans are being hatched and developed. First of all we will record a second LP in September, after that all is unknown. But it is not unlikely, if the opportunity arises, that we will perform live.

Our interview is now coming to its end. Do you have something else to add or something to say to our readers and Italian fans?

Leave your screens and friends behind, wander into the forests accompanied by Till stilla falla”and never return.