Interview with Kolgrim of Unpure
By Bradley Smith
Finally a new album. World Collapse is heavy as fucking hell. And it seems that the melodicism that invaded Trinity in black has been stripped back again. What is the reasoning behind this progression/regression?
Yes it sure took a long time to get this album released. It really feels right to say finally also, cause it was released so long after the recordings. I think it took almost 1 Ĺ year.
There is no specific reason for this as far as I know. But the albums tends to be quite reflected by our moods at the moment.
Look at the first album, itís very slow and mid-paced. Quite ďdoomyĒ. It didnít occur to us at that point. Not until some years later. For World Collapse I can recall that there is a lot of aggression and frustration connected to the whole process of making this album, for several reasons. And thatís only good to a band like Unpure. Itís what itís all about. And it serves well cause now when I listen to it (after the tiredness that comes of making an album has settled down) I definitely think itís our best release. But to answer you: thereís no conscious reason or a planned thing. Maybe a development in the right way.
On World Collapse there are no credits in regards to songwriting credits or studio information. Why? And who wrote each of the songs and lyrics?
We wanted things to be even more simple this time. Itís all about the music and the concept of it. Doesnít matter where itís recorded or who wrote the songs. Actually I wanted to go even further and take away the lyrics as well. But I guess I was voted down for this, with all rights I think. And I think this decision is very much connected to the mood we were in at that time. To me it really doesnít matter whoís writing the songs. If I do one song itís only the base of it, then we arrange it within the band, and that is about 60 Ė 70% of the final song. So I would say the credit should go to the whole band. Maybe itís a bit different with the lyrics. They get more personal of course. And in the end itís always up to the listeners to reflect to the song and interpret it as they want to. Then it certainly doesnít matter at all who wrote it.
Itís been such a long career, 14 years if I am not mistaken. What is the reason for so few albums? At least you are able to keep the quality of each release quite high.
Weíre not the fastest band when it comes to doing things. And we had to go through a lot of problems during the years, especially when we started dealing with record labels. And there, in the business, we also have to face things. Unpure is not a very popular, or a ďcoolĒ band enough when it comes to selling a lot, as thatís what itís all about (even in this ďsceneĒ). So that is our curse. We get put aside and our releases suffers for this. We could have things done in a better way if there was some kind of steady support behind us. But itís not, and then it gets like this. Fine with me, as I continue as I always do with my music. Only that itís really bad for us when label problems directly effects us. The quality of our releases is really up to discussion, but thanks anyway.
Btw. I think we could have kept on doing a lot of albums if things had been going better for the band. The creativity is nothing wrong with. And we have loads of material. Stuff also dating back a long time. But I wonder if that would have been so good for UnpureÖ..
It seems to me that Unpure thrives on obscurity. I mean I can only recall ever reading like 2 interviews with you guys? Why do you guys stay so much in the shadows?
Weíve done many interviews for mags all around the world. But Iíll tell you; that I probably only saw 10% of them myself. I doubt that even 50% of them ended up printed in the end.
To stay in the shadow is not maybe completely our fault. Itís much about the problem I explained in the previous question. To stay in the ďlightĒ means a lot of work and maybe support, if youíre not rich and can do all that by yourself. But weíre not. Apparently not a popular band enough either. But I guess that itís much of our personalities as well. So itís also a bit self chosen.
On the same topic you guys seem to have a pretty thorough website. This seems to go against this ďlurking in the darknessĒ kind of image you guys convey. How do you reconcile these to conflicting images?
To me itís not conflicting at all. I think the website goes in pretty much the same spirit as the rest. But the site is for the ones who wants some more info about the band itself, apart from the music and the albums. So here you can find good info concerning the band. If these people still exist who wants to know more? But the info is strictly about the band. Releases, gigs and happenings. And as I said: This ďshadowĒ thing is not really totally up to us, so it doesnít conflict at all if we want to put up more info on the page. Itís all very basic.
Hey, weíre fans as wellÖ
It appears you have had a lot of label problems over the years. I have heard Napalm messed with the layout and packaging of your first two albums. What did they do? Also why did you leave Drakkar?
Yeah, label problems are pretty normal. I guess that happens when you involve a lot of other people with your art and music. Itís sad, but thatís how it is. The first album had some stars and a goats head on the cover that we didnít know of until it was released. Apparently they didnít like our cover idea. Also, the lyrics was badly rewritten with a lot of mistakes. Thatís bad.
On Coldland there was again this disagreement with the cover, and they put some fucking candy colours on it. On a very nice B/W photo. Sick.
And stuff went wrong with the mastering so the sound is worse than itís supposed to be. We have the original mix of the album and itís much better, even if the sound is bad in general.
The thing with Drakkar was mainly some problems with the World Collapse album, and they went on for very long. And in the end we had problems with the studio itself. And the whole album was threatened. We even had to cancel a tour for this reason. And in the meantime we saw other bands on the same label recording and releasing albums. So we were very much put aside. And that really is shit in such a critical moment as it was. This left us in a very bad situation, and seeing how poorly Trinity in Black was treated, far off from what was written in the contract, we decided we had to leave. We wanted to give World Collapse a better chance, because itís a really good album. And didnít want it to end up like TiB. FORGOTTEN. Now itís up to the new label. Weíll see what happens.
Itís sad that it went like it did with Drakkar cause I do have a lot of respect for this label and itís work. But we werenít right for them I guess.
It is a Brutal world that we humans live in. Do you think your artistic vision is a direct reflection of the era we live in? Do events in every day life ever influence the music or lyrics of Unpure?
Events in our every day life do influence us quite much. It has to do, as weíre right in the middle of living it. And things do happen that affects us much enough to come through in our artistic ways. But itís not a direct reflection, no. It is all from ourselves and our own visions. The era we live in may not have so much to do with it. Things around us happens and effects people in whatever ďeraĒ. The influences we get usually comes from our close surroundings. Things that we experience and go through ourselves. It helps us to become what we are.
On a similar issue I personally believe that a personís art is a direct reflection of that personís own individual philosophy. Do you believe this and what are some of your own philosophies?
Exactly what I meant in the previous question. Our personal philosophies, if you want to call it like that. But they are as I said also coloured by the things around us. We form our own ways like that. And that is what (speaking for myself here) I try to express through lyrics, and music. And that is my way to express myself. And the only way I wish to do. Therefore also the only way I can express myself from a deeper point. It might not be so easy to understand the lyrics and music that comes from me, but thatís the way I want it. First of all I donít speak to openly and freely. And also the art of this I want the listener to interpet as he or she wants to. My personal visions might not be so important in the end.
It seems to me that the Swedish scene is starting to up the ante in the area of militant extremism with Dissectionís MLO organization and such. What has caused this? And how do you see yourselves in regards to the rest of the Swedish underground scene?
I have no idea what could have ďcausedĒ this. Never reflected on such things. All I know itís not something new. To me the Swedish scene has always been interesting and good. And I see myself and Unpure as a part of it. But it doesnít seem very much like Unpure does well in the Swedish scene. Donít know what caused this. I donít feel that well informed to give you an answer here. But as I said; Unpure is pretty much a part of the Swedish scene, and I can say that we have similarities to a lot of other bands and minds even if weíre not so outspoken.
There seems to be a growing rift between the metal people who only listen to metal and those that listen to lots of diverse styles of music. Where do you stand on this issue? Are there any artists you recommend?
I never heard of that really. To me people can listen to whatever they want. As long as they donít start pretending a lot of things. Thereís no need for that. But my heart pumps for METAL MUSIC, and thatís basically what I listen to. But there are occasionally other NON-METAL things that I do enjoy. But it usually has some of the equal qualities or similarities to METAL in riffing, playing, atmosphere or concept that I enjoy so much in the Metalic Music form. It belongs to my personality. But then you can always listen and enjoy some things for (letís call it) ďfunĒ. But thatís not really the same thing as deeply enjoying something that really gives you a meaning or soÖ Thatís another topic. There could be hundreds of artists and bands I could recommend. I donít really put up favourites. It changes very much by the mood and time. But there are so much that I enjoy. But then there are always very important acts that are more about certain releases though. Still the list would be longÖ..
You guys appear to have toured somewhat more than I would have been expected. When are you planning on doing some more live appearances(any chance for London)? Also how do you think Unpureís music translates to a live environment?
Not much touring at all. And with 3 cancelled tours already and 1 done in a very poor way, I would say that our ďtouringĒ is not much worth mentioning at all. We always wanted to do gigs. The problem is weíre from Sweden where itís not so easy to get gigs anymore and Unpure is maybe not on the top list of wanted bands. And where we live is quite far from the rest of Europe, which means high expenses, so that has been a problem as well. Many of the gigs weíve travelled we had to pay for ourselves. And everyone understands it doesnít hold for long if you donít have good a economical situation. And there is not a very big interest for Unpure around.
Right now no gigs are really planned for, but that doesnít mean Unpure stopped doing gigs. Just that now the 5th album is already in the process of being written, and a slightly difficult situation for the band doesnít leave much chance open for gigs. But serious offers will always be taken under serious consideration, and nothing should be impossible. Not even London would be impossible if someone there could offer Unpure a gig. So ask around if youíre living near those parts.
I think the Unpure music does very well live. And so many else have said as well. The fact is that Unpure is a live band and the music fits perfectly for it. And now, with this line-up, weíve managed to grow into a good live act to my knowledge. Even though sometimes, we end up doing shitty shows. Bad circumstances around us has been a big part of our past. And sometimes it just donít feel that inspiring to let yourself go completely wild in for an empty hall, he heÖ..
You have 3 Demos and a promo tape in your vaults. Are there any plans to release these somehow?
There are no plans for that right now. And to me it feels kind of useless. I, and the band, would surely consider offers like that. And offers have been considered and even planned for, but in the end noting happened. Today we would think twice about it. And consider it if itís really worth doing it, and also if there really is a serious interest in something like that. Otherwise it would feel pretty useless to me. Cause it wouldnít give me very much satisfaction.
It seems that you guys were way ahead of the rest of the scene when you stopped wearing corpse paint and adopted a more old school image and attitude. Do you see yourselves as some sort of trend setters? Why do you think the old school attitude is so popular these days?
No way. I donít see Unpure to be any trend setters at all. And I donít think no one else does either. Damned Be!
On the contrary Iíve heard that weíre more like trend followers or just another copy band. By the remark of London I guess youíre English? And I can tell you regarding the Headbangers Against Disco singles, that one of your ďgreatĒ mags there told the world that we were following the footsteps of some other, at the moment, top bands in the ď80ís retroĒ scene that was also a part of that series. Thatís how it usually ends up.
The fact is that we didnít really adopt an Old School image just because we decided to stop wearing war paints. Weíre basically the same band anyway. We donít try to be 80ís or Old School. Weíre just Unpure. A band with members grown up in the 80ís, when we started our musical life. And this of course shows in our musical ideals even today. But we donít consider that to be very retro or adopted Old School. Thatís just how Unpure is.
And I have no idea why itís so popular today. Maybe itís just one of these trends passing by, as you can see in other areas than the METAL Scene. Turn on the radio and you will surely find a station playing 80ís favourites etc. Or maybe it has to do with that after some low years for METAL music in the 90ís (in general speaking) it got sort of resurrected. And then itís easy to get drawn to passed glory. Cause thereís no doubt there is a brilliant and effecting quality from those times.
Are there any last Words of Unpure wisdom you want to impart on fans of your extreme art?
Unpure would like to thank Nocturnal Cult and Brad for being so patient when waiting for us to deliver the answers for this interview, it took a long fucking time!! And we hope these questions will make interesting reading even though the answers may not be up to date at this point. HAIL!!