Swedish band Graveyard have been steadily collecting a devoted following since the release of their first self-titled album in 2007. With their rich, impressive sound, the band have made a name for themselves as one of the most consistent hard rock bands of recent memory, wowing audiences with their live performances and releasing critically lauded and commercially successful albums.
Their most recent release, Lights Out, was released in 2012 and its emphatic and energetic tone drew even more listeners to the band. They have toured with such high profile bands as Soundgarden, and their first ever American show was selected for special attention by Rolling Stone.
Ahead of their Australian tour, which included a performance at the Golden Plains festival, we spoke to lead singer Joakim Nilson about the band’s sound, their ideal crowd, and the potential joys of being a garbage man…
Joseph Earp: Hi, how are you, and where in the world does our Q&A find you?
Joakim Nilson: Don’t tell anyone but we’re in Sweden working on recording a new album, but don’t tell anyone cos it’s a secret.
JE: Critics tend to call you guys a ‘hard rock’ band. Is that how you see yourselves?
JN: Yes you could say that’s right, much rather have people call us that that something else.
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JE: What is the song you guys have recorded that you are most proud of and for what reasons are you particularly proud of the track?
JN: I can only talk for myself, but I’d say Slowmotion Countdown. Could be cos it’s our most grown up song.
JE: Your music is notable for its incredible technical precision. I’m interested to know who taught you how to play, or whether you taught yourselves?
JN: Haven’t really thought of us like that, but thanks. Not really how we see ourselves playing, but you can say that we’re pretty much self taught.
JE: You posted some of your early demos on myspace, when you were starting out with the band. Do you feel like social media has changed the musical landscape?
JN: Is this a trick question? Of course it has.
JE: Theoretically, if you couldn’t be a musician, what would you do instead?
JN: Garabage man, and that’s really what I would have wanted to do.
JE: Some of your music videos – particularly Goliath and Endless Night – seem to be grounded in the language of horror cinema. Are you guys horror movie fans?
JN: Not really big fans, but we do like movies.
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JE: Do you tend to write lyrics first, or the music?
JN: No set formula, differs from song to song but usually lyrics comes later.
JE: You guys have toured extensively – what is your favorite country to play in and why does it come out on top?
JN: We don’t have favourite countries, it’s usually from city to city, but our kind of music seem to go down and get a great similar response around the world.
JE: What is your ideal crowd like?
JN: Fans of good music, semi drunk, left the cellphone at home and happy afterwords.
JE: Sweden is known for its abundance of talented musicians. Tell us a little bit about the Swedish music scene.
JN: Not much more to say than it’s great, lot’s of bands, steady flow of great bands that sets example for younger people to start their own band.
JE: You toured with Soundgarden in 2013. Tell us a little bit about that tour and the experiences you took away from those shows.
JN: It was a great experience, great shows with a band that we have enjoyed listening to in the past. Both their crew and band were really nice people and we’d gladly do it again.
JE: The album artwork for your first self-titled album is incredible: can you tell us a bit about where it came from and do you involve yourselves in the creative process when it comes to the artwork to your releases?
JN: The first album cover was painted by a friend of ours that sadly has passed away, it fits the first album perfectly and we’re really happy with it. We don’t really take part in the creative process, we just turn down stuff that we don’t see fit.
JE: What are the biggest influences on your music?
JN: To sum things up I’d say, or I’d have to say Black Sabbath, Strebers, Big Business & Fleetwood Mac.
JE: What does your backstage rider look like? Any frequent requests like blue M&M’s or black towels only?
JN: Our rider is pretty straight up what you need to make it through a day on the road. Drinks, snacks, beer and buns.
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JE: We read that you have your own brand of beer in Sweden. Can you tell us a little about this venture and what inspired you to get into this?
JN: The beer is sold out, and it was a fun thing to be involved in, but we’re not working with it anymore.
JE: Tell me something you have never told an interviewer before.
JN: There will be a new Graveyard album next year.
JE: You are heading to Australia soon to play Golden Plains Festival and a few shows around the country. What can fans down under expect from a Graveyard show?
JN: Nothing more nothing less than a great ol time with the boys in Graveyard, happy to come back and looking forward to see all our Australian fans again.