Spending Hours Bleeding For Music
CoC chats with Tobias Martinsson and Joel Lindell of The Provenance
by: Chris Flaaten
The Provenance is a young band from Sweden currently debuting with the wonderful _25th Hour; Bleeding_ [reviewed in this issue]. If you listen to their album, however, you may notice that they sound as if they have been making music for decades. From the song structures and arrangements to the production and execution, these young Swedes express a level of maturity rarely seen in even the most established bands. They explore a myriad of different genres and influences, but don't lose focus where 99% of other bands would fall into a web of digression and distractions. This sounds interesting, doesn't it? I thought so, at least, so I contacted the band to find out more.

CoC: How would you describe your music?

TM/JL: Oh, that's a tricky question. We usually call it "flutie metal" ourselves... But on a more serious note, I would say it is a blend of '70s symphonic rock and goth goes metal... sort of. A Portuguese guy once called it "multidimensional metal".

CoC: That's not far from my impression, albeit from the opposite perspective, perhaps. I'm thinking more like "metal with goth / death / prog / symphonic rock flirtation"... You're not easy to describe, and that's a good thing! How happy are you with your debut, then?

TM/JL: Very happy, considering the circumstances. It has actually been a long time since we recorded it. We recorded it after we were finished at work, so we had about three hours each day to record.

CoC: The production is quite strong, so that's impressive!

TM/JL: Thank you. Joel, our drummer, works in the studio so we got a very good deal...

CoC: How about the writing? How was the material written?

TM/JL: We wrote it over a period of a couple of years, actually, so there are a few really old songs on the album, but some are also brand new. "Listening" and the title track are among the new ones, while "All of Reality" and "Ignominy Embodied" are older. We write the music together, but of course we also present individual ideas to each other. We have tried to write complete songs individually, but we came to the conclusion that the songs turn out much better if we write them together.

CoC: Does every band member have similar musical interests?

TM/JL: Yes and no. Everyone likes the metal scene, but some more than others, I guess. Everyone is open to new influences and musical styles.

CoC: I noticed you are all born in 1979. How did the band come together? Old class mates, perhaps?

TM/JL: Me and Joel have known each other since we were about one year old. The others are people we have stumbled across during the years, thinking: "This person would fit in the band". The last one to join our little family was the bassist, Jonnie.

CoC: So it is a coincidence of sorts that you are all of the exact same age?

TM/JL: Yes, it is.

CoC: So, over to the music again. I hear a lot of different impulses. Some are quite distinct, e.g. the My Dying Bride-like part on "Listening" where you even seem to imitate Aaron's vocals.

TM/JL: The part on "Listening" was done on purpose. <laughs> Sort of a tribute to one of our main influences.

CoC: What about other influences? I hear progressive rock elements (flute and Hammond organ) as well as Arcturus-like moods.

TM/JL: Anglagard is a band that all of us like very much, and so is Arcturus.

CoC: I still feel that you certainly have developed your own sound and are in no way a clone of any of the aforementioned bands.

TM/JL: I guess we have developed our own sound, but we can still do better.

CoC: Since it's been a long time since you recorded this, I imagine you have new material on the way?

TM/JL: Of course, we've got dynamite material! About eight new songs already, actually. We are planning to enter the studio in June to record the next album. It will be produced by Roberto Longhi (Transport League, LOK) and we're going to record it in the Oral Majority studio. It will be heavier and fresher and a bit more complex, but at the same time easier to grasp. The dynamics in the structures are even bigger and more refined.

CoC: Sounds very promising! You will remain on Scarlet Records, I imagine. How do you like the record company so far?

TM/JL: We signed a deal for three albums. The budget will be much bigger for the next two albums. So far we're very pleased with them.

CoC: I feel the production on your album is, as I said, impressive. All elements are heard easily -- even the bass. The only drawback is perhaps a slight lack of punch in the guitar sound. I don't know how you feel about that, though...

TM/JL: Well, we had only one and a half days for mixing, so the final result could be much better, we think. I think we're most disappointed about the drum sound. But we only have ourselves to blame for that, right? <laughs>

CoC: How has the feedback on your album been so far?

TM/JL: The only bad review we got so far is from Kerrang. The others have been very good!

CoC: Nothing to worry about there, since Kerrang today isn't worth the paper it's printed on anymore. Any feedback from your record company?

TM/JL: Well, not yet, but I guess they're too busy working...

CoC: Do any of you have any higher musical education?

TM/JL: Yes, Joakim and Joel both have three years worth of musical education, and so does Jonnie.

CoC: I see on your webpage that Emma also seems very artistic, playing several instruments plus directing, dancing and whatnot. I guess you have a solid musical fundament to build from despite being a somewhat young band?

TM/JL: Yes, we do.

CoC: I know this is quite a heavy question, but could you say something about each track on the album, like how/when it was created, things you were hoping to achieve, concepts you wanted to include, etc.?

TM/JL: As I said earlier, all songs are written by the whole band. The oldest songs on the record ("All of Reality", "Ignominy Embodied" and "Painted a Life") feel, at least to us, a bit distant. We hadn't quite found our sound back then. I'm not saying I don't like them, though. We've never set any particular goals when writing. Our aim is, and always will be, to make music we can feel proud of playing. As for concepts and elements, the lead guitars at the beginning of "For Whom I Bleed" was actually written by Joel and Jocke for a minor soap opera, while on "Deluded Into Delirium" I borrowed some ideas from Mr. Doctor of Devil Doll.

CoC: I was actually going to mention that the intro and opening vocals are very Devil Doll-ish.

TM/JL: Thank you, we take that as a compliment. On "Shut Down" we wanted a slight touch of the '70s. That is something that we have developed in our new material as well.

CoC: Yeah, "Shut Down" certainly has the strongest prog rock feel, followed by "Ignominy Embodied"

TM/JL: I can only agree, but "Iggy", as we call it, is also very folkish.

CoC: I actually like the first two tracks best. Don't know exactly why, but one reason could be that I find them somewhat more "focused". They're more straightforward with moving riffs and generally has a refreshing heaviness.

TM/JL: That's why we put them first... <grin>

CoC: What are your ambitions with the band? Where do you see yourselves in three years, for example?

TM/JL: To rule the world, get laid and get drunk...

CoC: Words to live by! But seriously?

TM/JL: To go on a good tour and make even better music.

CoC: Speaking of concerts, do you have any tour plans?

TM/JL: No, but we really want to play live and are looking for opportunities. We're going to talk to our label about touring soon.

CoC: Well, thank you for the interview and good luck for the future!

TM/JL: Thanks for your time and interest. Don't forget to visit www.theprovenance.com for the latest news!

CoC: Yeah, you do have a nice homepage. Who made it?

TM/JL: Me [Tobias]. A new one is coming very soon! So... we're done, right? We can go and drink some beer now?

The Provenance is indeed metal!

(article submitted 14/1/2002)

10/23/2006 P Azevedo 9 The Provenance - Red Flags
1/14/2002 C Flaaten 8.5 The Provenance - 25th Hour; Bleeding
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