Tuesday 24 May 2022

The End Is Nigh For The Albatross: An Interview With 10,000 Years

Swedish Cosmic Sludge/Stoner Riffsters 10,000 Years return with the launch of their new album III and it's the final chapter of their self proclaimed "Albatross Trilogy" that will be released on June 24th 2022.

The album is packed full of the same epic progressive sludgy cosmic grooves that's appeared on their previous two releases but with a more hard-hitting Psychedelic/Spaced Out Flavour.

I caught up with the guys again to discuss the making of the album. 

You can read the first interview that I did with the band back in May 2021 where we discuss the formation of the band. Here we discuss their plans for future releases.

Read on for a great interview.

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

Thank you, yourself man! I’m all good, we just had a little band-BBQ, a little pre-release release party, if you will, with the families. So I’m super stoked over here!

We’re here to talk about your thrilling new album III. What can people expect from this album.

You can expect “II” with extra everything. If you dig what we’ve done so far, you’re gonna love this one. It’s a natural evolution of our sound and “III” really takes it to the next level.

I love the whole concept of this album about a “Star Trek” like story but set within WEEDIAN set grooves. How did you come up with this cool and crazy story.

I don’t really remember how it came to be, exactly, but when me and Erik (Palm, guitars) were starting this thing we were writing riffs and songs and thinking about what we wanted to do with everything, and we were talking about bands and albums that we love and we both gravitated towards more complex bands and concept albums and we were like ”what if we did a concept album?” And that’s where it spiraled out of control from, ha ha ha.

What shows or movies influenced you when coming up with this story.

The most important influences for this story/concept is the works of HP Lovecraft and the Planet Of The Apes-movies. It’s all based in this, weird time travelling, cosmic horror type deal. A lot of Jules Verne in there, also.

Any bands or artists helped you as well along the way.

Mastodon, for sure. Without “Crack The Skye”, 10,000 Years, as either band or concept, probably wouldn’t exist. And, of course, High On Fire, sound wise and for the band name itself. That’s probably the two most important influences, besides the obvious Black Sabbath and Kyuss, without whom none of us would be here.

This is meant to be the final chapter in the “Albatross” trilogy of releases which started all the way back in 2020 with your self-titled debut EP release. Are you sad or happy or this part of your musical journey is coming to an end.

Me, personally, as the lyricist, I’m pretty happy about it. I mean, it’s been a super interesting and exciting world to explore, but the more we’ve been doing it, the more I’ve felt a bit trapped in it, in the lyrical world and in the themes that’s available. So it’s gonna feel good to stretch my wings a bit more and explore some new stuff in the upcoming material. And no, it doesn’t feel sad at all. We always envisioned it as a trilogy and it was always gonna have an end. 

I always knew exactly how I wanted it to end as well, in this ambiguous, open ended type of way. The best ending in film history is Night Of The Living Dead, and that’s the feeling I was after, although maybe not as definite. Sad, depressing, weird, unexpected, that’s the type of endings I tend to gravitate towards and what I was looking to achieve with “III”.

What does this mean for the future of “10,000 Years”. Will you be expanding the adventures of the Albatross Crew or will you be focusing upon new stories.

No, the Albatross-trilogy is done. That story is finished. It ends with “To Suns Beyond” and it’s left to your imagination what happens, or doesn’t happen, next.

The new material we’re doing now, after “III”, is also conceptual in its soul. The music itself is very much a continuation of where we’re at now after “III”. We feel that we’ve hit a real sweet spot, musically, with this mix of stoner rock, heavy-ass thrash and expansive, almost, post-metal type stuff. So we’re working from there and seeing where it leads us.

You've recorded your last two albums both during the Pandemic. What were the most challenging times you experienced because of this. And perhaps some of the most rewarding times as well.

In all honesty, it wasn’t all that challenging. Sweden didn’t lock down as much or as hard as the rets of Europe or the world, so we could pretty much continue as usual, band-wise. Sure, things were not as they used to be, but that was more in the personal- and work life. We didn’t have curfews or stuff like that, so we could rehearse as much, or as little, as we wanted, pretty much. And the studio we’ve used is a tiny one, out in the country, so there was never anyone there except us and Tomas (Skogsberg, producer/mixer/all around amazing guy/drinking partner).

It’s good to see III has the same release strategy as your last album. Via different labels and physical formats. How has that strategy benefited the band overall.

It was never really a strategy. We released the first record, the self-titled one, on our own through BandCamp and Spotify and pressed a limited CD-edition through my super tiny DIY-label Death Valley Records, and didn’t really think much of it. And then it kinda took off, people were diggin’ it and it was so unexpected.

We really, truly didn’t see that coming. At all. And then Olde Magick Records and The Cosmic Peddler approached us about doing a vinyl release of that first record, and we did. And then when we did the second record we shopped around a bit and Jack and his Interstellar Smoke Records were super stoked to do the album and we went with them with the disclaimer that we would do CD on our own.

On top of that Olde Magick asked if they could do a tape, and then we were off. It just spiraled from there with different labels and editions and shit, ha ha ha.

Was writing and recording this album harder or earlier compared to your last album.

No, not really. We’ve always been continually writing stuff ever since we started the band. The recordings has just been intermissions, really. We’ve never stopped writing, it’s just been a neverending process, and still is, as we’re busy writing stuff for the next album besides putting together a new live set.

With things slowly going back to normality. How you are coping with everything going around you.

Like I said earlier, we haven’t really had a problem with the way the world’s worked in the last two years, so we haven’t really had a problem with it going back to what we tend to consider normal.

Are you playing more gigs now and will you be touring “III” extensively over the next few months.

Sure, the pandemic has hindered all of us from playing live. But that’s never been our singular goal, or purpose. We love playing live, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not singularly why we do what we do.

We will not be touring this album, like we haven’t been touring any previous record or as we won’t be touring any coming record. We love what we do, we love playing live, but we’re just not in that place of our lives to be able to go touring for weeks on end and not loose anything on the home end.

We do gigs more for our own pleasure, for the fucking hell of it, than for the exposure or the “fame”. Quality over quantity. We’ve got kids and serious jobs and shit, we cant go AWOL for months at a time. But if a cool fucking show pops up and people want some 10,000 Years, we’re there, for sure.

It’s good to see you’re keeping with the same creative team for your artwork for this release. This is perhaps the best cover yet for one of your releases. Fransesco Bauso have outdone themselves yet again. How much input did you have into this design and what was the original request you gave to Fransesco for the album design.

Thank you so much man! So happy to hear that, because we think so too. All the artwork’s been insane, but he knocked it well and truly out of the park with this one.

We’ve always had a lot of input into the artwork. We’ve always had a clear vision of hat we’ve wanted for the different records. For this particular one we had an idea of a spaceship exiting a dying planet and unknowingly into a much worse future. We were thinking a spaceship flying up from earth into a black space but in the blackness there was a faded, distant skull of a pike, the Green King in our mythology. And that’s what I tried to relay to Fran, and he fucking ran with it and kicked everything in everything's ass while giving it his own spin and surprising us at every turn.

Yeah. Oh, man. Fran’s been a beast through these three records.

Yeah, he’s been truly amazing. An integral part of the Albatross-trilogy, for sure.

You’re music has gone down a storm with the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal Community. Has this surprised you over the last two years. Did you expect to get such a great response your music currently has.

Ha ha, no. It’s been an insane surprise. From the beginning we just wanted to play some cool riffs, have some beers and rock out. And that’s what we did. That anyone besides ourselves would dig it was so far out of our collective minds that we didn’t even consider it. And now, here we are with orders shipping all over the world. It just blows my mind every single day. This little, weird sci-fi band that’s just doing our own thing for the fucking fun and pleasure of it, and now people in Hong Kong and on Greenland are diggin’ our stuff?

That so far beyond comprehension I don’t even know what to say..

We’re 6 months into 2022, what have been your favourite albums you’ve heard this year regardless of any genre.

Oh, shit. This’s been an insane year so far. Being a new dad I’ve mostly been blasting classic AM-rock like Journey, Boston and REO Speedwagon. But out of the new stuff I’ve been getting into I’ve gotta recommend Absent In Body, Valley Of The Sun, Cult Of Luna, Steak, Hazemaze, Devil Master, The Mountain King and Geezer.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom to your fanbase.

Nothing besides: you do you man, but a woman's body is her own, leave it the fuck alone thank you very much.

And thank you Steve for your everlasting support of the heavy underground. Without people like you, the scene would shrivel and die.

Words by Steve Howe and 10,000 Years

III will be available to buy on the formats and record labels below from June 24th 2022.

Vinyl - Interstellar Smoke Records

CD - Death Valley Records

Cassette - Olde Magick Records