Graveyard interview with Joakim Nilsson: "When I was a kid, I didn't expect to play in a band that was going to win a Grammy"

15/10/2012 @ 13:32
'Vintage' is a hot word these days in rock business, as more and more bands with vintage sound emerge, trying to revive the 70’s feeling. Graveyard are among the leaders of this revival, with their album “Hisingen Blues” receiving raving reviews and winning a Swedish grammy for them. Now, 18 months later, they are back to take advantage of the momentum with another great new album, called “Lights Out”. Vocalist / guitarist Joakim Nilsson took some time to talk to us about it and give us a few details about the band’s mentality.

First of all I want to congratulate you for "Lights Out". How come you put out a new album after only a year and a half from "Hisingen Blues"?
Thank you. I guess we try to rock as hard as we can because it took as so long between the first and the second album. But, no, I’m thinking that one and a half year isn’t that sort (laughs)

GraveyardListening to "Lights Out" it’s obvious for me that the sound is slightly different, but not far away from "Hisingen Blues". Was this a conscious decision or it came out naturally?
I think it’s just came out naturally. The sound is the same, because we had the same producer and we recorded at the same studio. The songs are quite same I think, maybe a little bit more rough and more mature.

What are the differences between the two albums?
I really don’t know. It’s always easier from someone outside the band to find all these details and for me it’s hard to see the differences. Actually I can tell none (laughs)...

Listening to the album, you can feel this warm feeling of the 70s. How you succeed something like that?
The truth is that we don’t try to sound as old as possible, we just don’t use so much distortion pedals and effects. Also we record analog. So that’s the main thing about it distortion direct from the amps and a tape recorder.

GraveyardSo you are recording everything the analog way?

So maybe that’s why it’s sounds so cool...
(Laughs) I guess so...

When you writing music do you have a specific plan of what you want?
No, not really. We just play, I guess, in the studio. We make songs from everything as long as it sounds and feels good to us. So we don’t really have anything in our minds, we just try to write as good music as possible.

The lyrics are a little bit 'foggy' and don’t always make a lot of sense, you know... So what is going on?
(Laughs) No, not always. But the truth is that in this album I didn’t write any lyrics, so I can’t say much about them. Most of them were written by our drummer.

GraveyardWhat is your opinion about this vintage hard rock scene? Do you think is something temporary or you feel that it is going to last?
I feel like we are playing classic rock style and I think that this kind of music is always gonna be around, hopefully, because that is the kind of music I like to listen to.

Is there any chance in the future to change your music style, I don’t know, maybe to evolve in something different?
No, I don’t think so. As long as we are in Graveyard we are not gonna change major things in our sound. We try to make the music that we like to listen to ourselves and I think what we like, it sounds like us (laughs)…

So as far as you don’t want to change Graveyard’s music style, can you imagine yourself in a side project playing something else?
Maybe, it’s just too early to say. We just recorded the new album and we are going to sell it, you know by touring and all that. Then we have to decide what we are going to do… I think.

Which bands you can name as your main inspirations?
We are playing together as a band for so long so I don’t think that there any. We don’t try to write a song that is going to sound like something already written. We just play the music we like to listen to, but the last couple of years we’ve got more and more blues references in our albums, so I maybe have to say that the early Fleetwood Mac can be one to name.

GraveyardIs something that you particular like in the 70s hard rock?
It’s probably this thing which makes it feels so real and authentic. Everybody is talking about the great years between late 60’s and early 70’s, so I think there is something there that makes this music survive until these days, with all this classic kind of music keep coming out.

Was "Hisingen Blues" a milestone in your carrier?
For us it was. Of course it’s wasn’t like the big bang, we haven’t even been to Greece so far, we are working on it and we hope that the new album will take us to the next level.

Do you feel part of a successful band?
Somehow I do. You know, not in a big time successful band, but we make one step at a time. For now we make a living from our music so I guess you can call this success.

How did you feel, winning the Swedish Grammy?
We didn’t except something like that. So how we felt... it was fun, but same time really weird, because when I was a kid I didn’t expect to play in a band that was going to win a Grammy. So definitely we felt excited, but the same time it was awkward somehow...

GraveyardIf I remember well, in this ceremony someone of you wore an Orchid t-shirt.
Yes, that was me.

What do you think of their music?
Well I haven’t heard that much of their music, but from what I heard I think they are good. I got the t-shirt from L.A. when we played together. They are great guys too.

What do you think about the Swedish rock scene? It is quite big with a lot of bands and has a very considerable role.
Maybe it is so. It was always like this, with many rock bands coming out from Sweden and I don’t really know why. Before us, there was Hellacopters and before them there was the metal scene. It’s a kind of tradition the rock music in Sweden. I don’t know why but it has always been that way. As for me, I don’t wanna play any other style of music, so if I’m gonna play music it would be rock music (laughs)

How it feels to be a part of the Nuclear Blast family?
It feels good. They taking care of us really well so everything have been very good so far.

GraveyardAre there any cons with having signed a contract with such a major label?
Not really. They let us do what we want, they haven’t put us in a specific direction. They never tried force us to change into something different. I guess they signed us, because they like what we do and they just want to sell our records.

Are there any touring plans? And if so do you think that Greece could be a part of it?
I think that we are planning some shows in southern Europe, but there’s nothing specific yet, so I can’t tell. But we’re working on it and try to get there as soon as possible.

Do you listen to any new music?
I heard the new Dr. Jones album which was produced by the Black Keys guitarist and it was really good. There’s also a new Swedish band called First Aid Kit which is more like a folk band, but they are pretty cool. Let’s see ...Mastodon’s new album is really good...

That’s metal music...
Yeah, I listen to all kind of music...

GraveyardWhat is the thing that you most want to accomplish with Graveyard?
The first thing was to release a record. That was the really big thing for me. I believe that the great thing about being in a rock band is that you have the chance to be on the road and to play your music in front of people. So, that is what we are going to keep doing. As far for the future, mind that we don’t have any plans, we just take things as they come. We’re gonna tour for the new record and that’s the only thing I know for the future (laughs)…

Joakim, thank you very much for your time. Last words for you.
Thanks for your support and I hope we come soon to play in Greece and see all our Greek fans.