Tuesday 2 August 2022

An Interview With DRÖÖG

DRÖÖG are a band that I only became aware for recently and that was thanks to Vesper at Mountain Majestic Records. The album blew my mind with DRÖÖG playing a haunting mix of Prog Rock, Psych Rock, Doom Rock and Stoner Rock with a heavy Sludgy groove. The vocals are sung in Swedish and even though I didn't understand what the lyrical content was, the vocals and grooves were simply mysterious and beyond thrilling to listen to.

Newly signed to one of the best underground labels with Majestic Mountain Records with their debut album being released on CD/DD on September 2nd 2022. 

I wanted to find out more about the band and I'm happy to report that DRÖÖG did this extensive interview.

Hi Guys. How’s it going? Thanks for doing the interview.

Hi Steve, thank you for having us. We are doing just fine I would say. Somewhat sore thumbs after the release with all the social media handling stuff you know. It’s been crazy. We’re not used to social media of these proportions and since this is the startup for the entire band, we noticed that we had things we needed to do, and still do for that matter.

For folks not in the know, can you give a brief history of the band and where it is today.

(Magnus) So I found myself having a lot of material for songs that didn’t fit in any band that I was playing at the time. And about a year ago I started to put these pieces together and ended up with a set of songs that I really wanted to record. At first, I was considering recording it all by myself, but the vocal melodies ended up being way out of my capacity, so I asked Daniel if he would like to help me out. We recorded the album last winter, got the songs mixed and mastered early this spring and here we are. As of today, we are rehearsing like crazy, as a band. We got three great musicians to join us, and it feels like it is now the fun begins.

How would you describe your music in your own words?

(Magnus) Yep, so, this is always a tricky part. I would say it is melodic, heavy, riff driven and dark. The melodic part has always been a part of me, so it’s hard, at least for me, to write something that is not melodic, especially when it comes to vocals. About the heavy and riff driven, well, I don’t think that needs any further explanation. At least when it comes to Blodörn. I guess the darkness is all in the lyrics and not necessary from the melodies, which I will explain later.

Where did the name for your band come from and what does it mean?

(Magnus) Originally, it’s from the Nordic mythology’s Draug, which is a kind of undead, a ghost. But since we, lo and behold, were not the first to have this idea, we had to do something with the name. Then I found that drög could mean like slow, sluggish, something like that. So, I guess it’s a made-up name, but it is a mix of those two words, even though it might seem like we just put another “ö” in “drög”. And from my point of view, that is just what DRÖÖGs music is all about. A DRÖÖG is this sluggish creature taken from the underworld and could be a part of any folk lore really.

We’re here to talk about your upcoming debut album. What can people expect for this album?

(Magnus) I wouldn’t say that it’s a concept album, but I hope people will hear that the songs are intertwined, musically. My aim was to write these songs so that when you listen to the album you will hear that the end of the first song will connect with the beginning of the second song and so on, this without knowing a single word of Swedish. Sometimes the harmonic of the vocals tells you just as much as the lyrics, if that makes any sense. At least that’s one way I listen to music. My hopes are that if you like the single you will like the rest of the album. Even if the songs are not identical, of course, and maybe not share the same tempo I really hope that you get the feeling that the song fit together like pieces in a puzzle. You will always get this riff driven or melodical touch in every single song on the album.

I've only heard the album over the last few days and I was blown away by the sheer creativity and bold visions included on this album especially with the vocals and lyrics sung in your native language. What do the lyrics actually represent and was it a hard choice to sing in Swedish.

(Magnus) Me and Daniel met about two and a half years ago, for another project, and I remember he say that if we are going to do this, we are only doing this in Swedish. I kind of adopted that, and when we started this project, it only felt natural to do it in Swedish. We got other bands doing songs in Swedish, which inspired me to do it as well, but I wanted to do it all the way, all lyrics in Swedish.

What's the whole theme and story of the album for non-Swedish speakers such as myself?

(Magnus) Every song on the album is represented by a part of the history, more or less. And I guess we have a fascination for the northern parts of Europe. We had this conversation with Svempa from MMR about Blodörn, which is translated to “Blood eagle” and was an execution ritual the Vikings used to perform as an act of revenge or retaliation. Without going into details, it includes breaking some bones in a special kind of way. It’s brutal. It’s barbaric, yet fascinating.

So when we got into details with Svempa, I guess he realized what we meant with “exploring the darker, or somber, parts of history”. Without saying too much, we got some stories about how people we treated in the past, tales and lore, and not the beautiful ones.

What were the recording sessions like for the new album? Was this a hard album to write and record for?

(Magnus) Since we have our own recording equipment, we recorded the tracks when we felt like it. But of course, we were eager to finish the album, but not at cost of having “bad tracks”. I remember one night, we tried to record some guitar and vocal tracks, and both me and Daniel weren’t having the best of days and we be like “Nope, screw this, see you in a couple of days”. At most times it was just me, recording at my house, just getting things done, or not. Maybe just hanging in studio. The best part, for me at least, was when we recorded the vocals, and I would just sit in a chair and press record and have the greatest conversation between the takes. Either we were almost shouting at each other, mostly for fun, or we were recording stupid lines in the songs which had nothing to with anything really. A lot of fun.

Majestic Mountain Records are releasing the new w album. How did you become involved with that great label?

(Magnus) They surely are great, I can tell you that. I started following MMR on Instagram and saw that they were very active, posting things with a lot of bands, and I started to listen to many of them. When we had recorded the first song I said to Daniel “Ok, so I will try to get in touch with MMR and see if they are interested”, “Any day now”. One day, when I got home, I was so sick and tired of playing music (cannot remember why) but since I had promised Daniel to send the song to them, I googled MMR for contact information, found, luckily, an “Artist submission form” and pressed send. 

This was a late Sunday night and about 15 minutes later I got an email, which I though was some sort of “confirmation email”, you know “We have received your email and we will contact you if…”, BUT(!), it was Svempa! And now they’re releasing our album so, I guess it was good enough.

Did you reach out to any other labels to release your debut album. Or was Majestic Mountain Records the only one? 

Nope, just MMR

Who writes all the lyrics for the album. Is this a group effort or down to certain individuals?

(Daniel) For this album we split the writing between the two of us. Usually, I start with a single word, or title if you like. Then we worked together to find out which lyric goes with which song. When the lyrics is done you “feel” where it belongs.

(Magnus) Another way of how I am writing lyrics is that I usually sit down with the guitar and try to come up with a catchphrase, of some sort. Even if I only have this one word to start with, I feel that it sometimes is necessary to find when and where it should be placed in a song. After that, I guess it’s just to build the story around it.

Who and what influenced your lyrics for the new album?

(Daniel) We wanted to tell stories from the old days up here in the north. Myths, legends and our, sometimes, brutal history. Since I was a little boy, I’ve been fascinated by the dark side of our history. Crazy kings and forest creatures which sole purpose for existing is to end us humans. And so it continues throughout the album. Shapeshifters, trolls and ladies of the night, they all have a story to tell.

Will you be touring and promoting the new album in the coming months at home or abroad?

(Magnus) We’re rehearsing right now for a release party in September, and we got a gig in Oslo, probably weekend after the release party. Other than that, we haven’t got anything planned but we sure will be working on getting more gigs, absolutely. That’s really why, we asked the others to join us. Now, it really feels like we’re a band and aiming for doing live shows the following months Whether it’s close to us or abroad doesn’t really matter at this stage, since we haven’t done anything earlier with DRÖÖG and don’t have a crowd, yet, I guess we need to be seen and heard where we can find a spot.

How did you get involved with music. Was it a particular album, group or artist that made you want to write and play your own music?

(Magnus) I've been writing songs for about fifteen years, but it has become worse these last couple of years. Worse as in more time put into writing rather than the songs are getting worse. There are a lot of ideas almost flowing through my mind, every day, and I can tell you, we got the next album covered. As for this band, I guess that the album that made me start writing was Legend by Witchcraft. I remember streaming some music with the "Radio mode" on and suddenly I stopped doing what was doing and just listened. I remember thinking "Hey, I want to do songs like that".

The artwork for your new album is quite striking and original. Who designed the artwork and how much say did you have into the final design?

(Magnus) The cover, for both the album and the single is made by Arvid Hällagård from Pools, Greenleaf and Sleep Moscow, amongst others. When I saw the artwork for the first time, I knew it was exactly that one I wanted. It had something wild and dangerous about it. As for a final design I wanted it to be his work and not mine. I knew that he would pull it off, since he made the front cover so awesome. I am truly loving it, he did an awesome work. It really represents what the album is about, the dangers in nature and mankind of some sort.

What is the current state of the Swedish Underground Rock/Metal scene. Do you have perform gigs on a regular basis and do you have a local scene that your actively involved with?

(Magnus) Since we haven't done anything with DRÖÖG earlier and really not been involved in this scene before, it's all new to us. We are currently trying to find out where to play, what are the forums for this kind of music and things like that. The only thing I really know is that, not far from where I'm sitting right now, there is a festival called "Krökbacken". Bands like Besvärjelsen, Skraeckoedlan and Greenleaf have played there, all favorites of mine, and I must say that Krökbacken would be awesome to play at, some day.

Thanks for doing this interview. The best of luck with your new album. It's a great album.

Thank you Steve, may peace be with you.

Words by Steve Howe and DRÖÖG

Thanks to Vesper at Majestic Mountain Records for arranging the interview.

Thanks to 
DRÖÖG for doing the interview.

DRÖÖG’s self-titled debut album will be available to buy on CD Digipak/DD via Majestic Mountain Records from September 2nd 2022.


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