Monday 3 May 2021

An Interview With 10,000 YEARS

Swedish Doom/Stoner Metallers 10,000 Years released their debut self-titled EP and what an impact not only on myself but also the wider Doom/Stoner Metal community. As the band played to their musical strengths on this release and blended their love for Science Fiction on the release.

If you dig bands such as High On Fire, Sleep, Mastodon and Monolord then 10,000 Years offered something for everyone to get their teeth stuck into.

Fast forward almost a year later and the band are gearing up for the upcoming release of their debut album – II. I’m pleased to report it’s every bit as good that their debut EP originally promised though the music is heavier, progressive and bolder whilst still retaining the debut EP’s highly acclaimed sound.

I caught up with the band recently to discuss the making of the album and releasing with different record labels across the globe amongst other things.

Hi guys. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

No problem man, thanks for having us! All good here, hope that’s the case for you, too.

For people not in the know. Can you give a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

Yeah, of course. Me and Erik (Palm, guitars) played together in Pike a whole bunch of years ago. We drifted apart a bit after that and we all did our own things with various bands and family and stuff. But then he texted me kinda out of the blue one day like “I’ve got a bunch of riffs, you wanna jam?” And we got together, just me and him and jammed a bit and just got the feeling back, and it dawned on us that this was too good to not do anything with. So we put out an ad for a drummer and the first one we tried out was Espen (Karlsen, drums) and that same night we asked if he wanted to be the drummer for our new band. That was in, like, March 2020, and the rest is history as they say, ha-ha. No, but then we just started jamming and writing songs and everything went really smooth.

We’re here to talk about your brilliant new album – II. What can people expect from this album and what’s the concept or story of the album. As I feel there’s a great story behind this record.

People can expect a literal continuation of the EP. Both musically and story wise. It’s stoner metal, man. No more, no less. We just write and play stuff that we like and would like to listen to. The jumping off point is the same, Black Sabbath, High On Fire, Black Tusk, (old) The Sword etc, and we just work from there. The new record is a bit more dynamic and it’s a more immersive trip than the EP, even though it’s in the same vein.

Yeah, there’s a story behind it all, definitely. From the start we wanted it to be an immersive experience, both musically and intellectually. We’ve always been massive fans of Mastodon and their kind of conceptual world building, “Crack The Skye” is one of the best albums of all time, always appealed to us, so we wanted to try our hands on that ourselves. Combined with us being huge fans of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and stuff like that we ended up with what we’re doing now with 10,000 Years.

The main narrative is about the spacecraft “Albatross” that’s been tasked with travelling the Milky Way and other galaxies nearby to find a possible new home for humanity. That’s where everything starts. On the EP we follow the ship and its crew from when the leave Earth and travel out into space. When they leave the earths atmosphere and travel beyond what any man-made craft has ever done they accidentally travel through a wormhole. The crew is oblivious to this and when they land on a new planet they just think it’s an undiscovered astral body in our own nearby space.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality they have actually travelled through a wormhole and ended up in a separate, but nearby, dimension that’s inhabited by various ancient gods, creatures and deities, all ruled by the most powerful of them all, the Green King.

The planet they landed on is the main planet in this strange, unknown galaxy. There they encounter strange beings, creatures and otherworldly adventures. In the final track, “From Suns Beyond”, they make it off the planet in the “Albatross”-ship and aim for what they think is the good, old earth. And it ends with no one knowing what will happen.

And that’s where “II” picks up. The album opens with the “Albatross” crash landing on a new planet, the crew believing it to be Earth. It quickly dawns on all involved that this is not Earth (at least not the Earth that they left) and they have no choice but to exit the craft and explore this new, strange planet and try to figure out where they are and how to make it home.

Through various ordeals and adventures they find out that they are, indeed, on Earth albeit 10,000 years into the future from when they left on their journey. When passing through the wormhole on the first record they accidentally tore a rift in the space-time continuum, allowing the ancient evils of the other dimension to spill through into this reality.

They also discover that the Green King has been known and worshipped on Earth for millennia, since before what we know as mankind even began. In the end they come to the conclusion that the only way to reverse this insanity and to set everything right again is to travel back out into space, back through the rift they created and thereby closing it again. And that’s where the album ends, with that realization. On the next one, “III”, we’ll see what happens. Or will we??......

Was this a hard album to write and record for. Especially during COVID-19 still being around us all.

No, not really. When we recorded the EP we already had most of this material written. And the restrictions hasn’t been as hard in Sweden as in the rest of Europe. So we have been able to jam and rehearse when we’ve wanted to, so the writing of this new album has been really smooth, actually. And it’s the same now, we’ve already started writing for the next record. We have, like, six songs done and it’ll end up being eight or nine songs in total. We’ve always been working according to the Black Sabbath-model, ha ha ha.

The band have gone slightly heavier and doomier on the new record compared to your superb debut release. Was that always the plan to go for something heavier and more primal on this album.

No, we’ve never had a plan like that. Like I said earlier, we just play and write cool shit that we would like to listen to. It’s all about heavy riffs and a shit ton of groove, and hopefully we capture someone's attention. But there’s never been a plan like that, in our minds this is just the natural progression from the EP.

What influenced or inspired you when making this album.

I don’t know, ha-ha. That’s always the hardest question. Besides all the bands I mentioned earlier I guess it’s classic sci-fi- and horror movies as well as old spaghetti westerns. The whole concept we’re working around is basically Planet Of The Apes run through an HP Lovecraft-filter, so that type of stuff is always the base of what we do. The mindset is always to write the coolest shit we can based on the most maxed stuff we can think of.

What formats is the album is being released upon and which labels are releasing it. As it seems it’s being released by a few different labels.

Yeah, it can be a bit confusing, ha-ha. But we’re releasing the digital version as well as the CD on our own, through my own label Death Valley Records. We signed with Interstellar Smoke Records for the vinyl and that’s been a really great collaboration so far. Then there will be two different tapes as well, one released through Ogo Rekords and one through OIde Magick Records.

That’s a good release plan. To release the record in different parts of the world, different formats and different labels. Was that an easy or hard to thing to arrange.

It really came together quite naturally. After we signed with ISR, I got to chatting with Claas from Earthbong who also runs Ogo Rekords and he wanted to release the new album on tape so we went with that. A really limited edition. It looks really sick and should be in every collectors collection. And then Stoney at Olde Magick reached out and asked if we wanted to release a tape as well and we were like, hell yeah. And that was It, basically, and we ended up with one American tape , the Swamp Edition, and one European tape, the Forest Edition.

I mean, I hadn’t planned any of this, so I couldn’t say it was hard or easy to arrange. It really just came to be really organically through the love and support of the heavy underground that we’re all lucky to be a part of.

Who designed the awesome artwork for II. And how much input did you have into he final design of it all. As it fits the music brilliantly well.

That was Francesco Bauso from Negative Crypt Artwork, he also did the art for the EP as well, and he did an amazing job on both of ‘em. We’ve always had a very clear picture of what we wanted for this album and I’ve been involved in every step of the process. I trust Fran completely but I also wanted to make sure it adhered to my perfectionist standards. He was very patient with me and we worked together very well. He also loves Planet Of The Apes and other dystopian sci-fi like me. So he understood what we wanted from the get go.

You released your debut self-titled EP last year. And what a response the EP received. Did it surprise you how well it was received by the Stoner Metal community.

Yeah, it totally surprised us. It caught us totally of guard. We thought maybe some stoner fans in Sweden would dig it, but it went sooo much further than that. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are towards everybody that’s been listening to our music this past year. We really thought it would be mainly for our own pleasure, but that people all over the world picked it up and just fuckin’ ran with it is beyond amazing.

Are there any plans in the future to release that on Physical Media such as Cassette or Vinyl.

Yeah, the EP will be released on vinyl. We signed a deal with Olde Magick Records for that pretty much when the EP was released but I’s been ridiculously delayed because of COVID-19 and whatnot. But it should be coming pretty soon. I can’t say anything, because then it’ll just be delayed again so I’ve stopped asking. But it’s coming! Plus we released it on CD, but that’s been sold out for a while now, insanely enough.

COVID-19 has pretty much put a stop to all life as we know it for the time being. How big of an impact has it affected the band. And how are you surviving in this stressful time.

It really hasn’t affected us at all. We’ve never planned to tour the globe and the plan has always been to do our thing, our way. And our way is the slow and easy way. We’ve played one show, in Gothenburg last year, and that was a fucking blast and we would love to do more, but between work and families and everything there’s just no room for touring and stuff. We do quality over quantity.

After everything is back to some sort of normality. What does the future hold for the band. Will you be touring the record if possible.

Hopefully we can do some more shows. We’ve been talking with our pals in Malsten and Laser Dracul about doing some cool shit here in Sweden, but we’ll see when the pandemic clears up. Like I said, we’ve never been about touring the world and conquering every continent. This is for us, and If somebody else digs it that’s fucking awesome, and we’re eternally grateful for that. We’ll always do our best to please every single one of our listeners. But we’re grown ups with jobs and families as well and we can’t just bail on that to go on tour. It doesn’t work like that.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your fans.

No worries man, thanks for having us! It’s been our pleasure, as always. Yeah, wash your hands, wear a mask, take the vaccine when offered to you and all hail the Green King!

Words by Steve Howe and 10,000 Years

II will be available to buy on the following formats and record labels: