Interview: Svalbard and Pariso Quiz Each Other

Label mates Svalbard and Pariso will be releasing a collaborative split LP via Tangled Talk Records on July 7th this year. So we thought…why not let them interview each other?

Interview: Svalbard and Pariso Quiz Each Other ALEX PARISO INTERVIEWS SERENA SVALBARD:

Alex: I always hear people say they hear crust influences in your band. I can't say I do really beyond the 'd-beats' - BUT I do get more of a 'crust' feeling, more than sound. I find it really hard to explain or define - similarly with your sound overall. What do you think about this? What crust influences do you have, if any, and what are your wider musical direct influences?

Serena: To me, there are quite a few different styles of crust - we mostly draw influence from the (mainly Swedish) gloomy, melodic crust bands like Martyrdod, Ambulance, To What End?, Tragedy, From Ashes Rise and Victims.

There is a certain depth to their style of melodic crust, which carries a brooding, sorrowful atmosphere. I'd say it is this particular atmosphere that we share in common with crust, rather than many musical similarities.

Our wider direct influences vary quite wildly between each person in Svalbard; which perhaps contributes to our sound being difficult to define. The bands that inspire us aren't necessarily playing things that we want to emulate. For instance, influences such as Nasum, Gojira and The Cult may not be obvious to the listener, because our inspiration derives from very specific elements such as Nasum's melodic guitar passages, Gojira's intricate bass pedal work and The Cult's atmospheric guitar leads.

Personally, I am more influenced by feeling and lyricism in music than any particular playing style, which explains two other un-obvious Svalbard influences: The Cure and Nick Cave. Both bands deliver an emotive impact with their music, which is the main thing I want in a song.

Alex: Do you find it frustrating that bands that fit more nicely into 'genres', who use the same dumb emotive slogans on shirts find an audience and get hyped endlessly, because they are easier to understand and place? I feel its calculated and lazy on their behalf sometimes and that a band like you should be way bigger than loads of the horseshit that gets 'big'.

Serena: A large part of any music scene is centred around the feeling of 'belonging' to something; which creates a tribal aspect among sub-genres.

Any style of music that can be summed up in a basic checklist of elements can be easily embraced, easily adopted, easily hyped and easily copied. The simplicity is infectious, and enables just about any band that belongs to the 'right' crowd, with the 'right' image to get big.

It frustrates me when the music becomes just a rushed-out necessity - a by-product of fashion - merely there to permit the overall experience; of dressing a certain way, going to a certain place and dancing in a certain way, with others who do the same. That's when a genre gets trapped into a cycle of repetition just to remain instantly identifiable. It disappoints me because I want to be surprised by music. I want bands to be unpredictable. But originality doesn't seem to be as important as fitting the bill.

It feels futile to be offended by the success of these musical trends though. I don't think the popularity of brutal slam core prevents us from doing anything we want to do. Genre fans will always crave to have their musical expectations met in a predictable way, whilst music fans will always appreciate the bands that fall between the cracks of the limiting walls of genre.

Whilst it often seems there are less music fans than genre fans, playing to a small crowd of music fans on a varied, obscure bill; is far more rewarding than being another death metal band on a death metal all-dayer bill.

We'd rather be small and create our own sound, than be 'big' for copying someone else's to fit in.

Alex: Is there anything you would have done differently about the Pariso/Svalbard split now, looking at it? I don't mean like individual performances, more overall/the concept.

Serena: No, we're all really happy with it. The collaboration tracks really help in tying each band’s input together, and co-writing them was a really fun process. We had only really spent time together as bands when gigging, so to move that dynamic into a studio and jam together was really exciting and refreshing.

If we had merged the idea further in ways such as: having a continuous theme across all of the Svalbard and Pariso lyrics, I think it would have become too much of a gimmick. I'm pleased we got the balance right and created something unique, without making a pretentious concept album!


Serena: On the new record, it is clear that Pariso’s sound has evolved, incorporating a wider range of influences from stoner rock to black metal. Was this diversification of your sound a conscious decision that in turn pre-empted the writing process, or simply a 'happy accident'?

Alex: Well, we shifted to a new tuning for this record. ‘Trollgejeren’ from our last album Consanguinity - which was also in this lower tuning - influenced that. That was the last song we wrote for that record, and we collectively felt it sounded darker and, dare I say it, 'more grown up'. I often have these conscious ideas of wanting to sound like something or sound a certain way, but it never pans out like that. And what I write when I pick up a guitar just comes naturally, completely removed from what I consciously may set out to do or sound like.

Serena: What appealed to you about the idea of recording a collaborative album, as opposed to purely a split; and what were your favourite parts of the process?

Alex: Firstly, I always want to push Pariso to do things slightly differently without being purposefully odd or obtuse. This has manifested itself in the past in physical format decisions for releases, but now I'm much more interested in other ways we can try and gently push the boundaries or try and do things slightly differently, so that it's not just that boring, cookie-cutter way bands have of releasing and operating with albums, cycles and formats. Secondly, I’ve seen bands collaborate before, and largely the results have been sprawling, jam based, and are never equal to or greater than the sum of their parts...I wanted us to make real concise songs that ably reflected both bands and perhaps showed influences or sides that wouldn't normally rear their head in the existing context of each band. I think we have succeeded. I enjoyed the entire process - it was refreshing and rewarding musically and personally. Most of all it was FUN.

Serena: Pariso have spent the past 5 years earning themselves a reputation for always delivering brutal records. Such consistency can create expectations amongst listeners as to how the band "should sound”. Do you feel any pressure to write in a certain way, to maintain musical consistency with your back catalogue? Do you ever worry about how any new musical directions you take may be received?

Alex: I don't consider this a concern or pressure with Pariso at all. I mostly hate it when bands get progressively more melodic or less-heavy and insert clean singing if they haven't previously done so and if the song doesn’t call for it.... so I make a conscious effort not to do that, as it nearly always sounds like it is chasing popularity or as if a band is just getting comfortable and lazy. I would rather get heavier. It is our band and no one else’s, we do it for us and for our benefit, and to hear the music we want to hear. It is entirely selfish, and gladly so. Obviously we want people to like it, but that is distinctly a by-product.

Serena: Which two bands would you most like to hear make a collaborative album?

Alex: Krallice and Thou...diametrically opposed heaviness, with potential similarities in ideology and approach, it could be shite or absolutely stunning and bizarre.

Serena: There is a certain sea-shanty-esque quality to some of your riffs, what inspires these? Have any of Pariso previously worked at sea?

Alex: One fucking riff APPARENTLY. Go listen to Alestorm. I'll make you 'work at sea'.

Pre-order the forthcoming Svalbard and Pariso collaborative split LP now, from