CVLT NATION INTERVIEWS MAGGOT HEART
MAGGOT HEART has just released its incredible debut album, “Dusk To Dusk” through Berlin-based imprint Teratology Sound & Vision. CVLT Nation caught up with the mastermind of Maggot Heart, Swedish guitarist/singer Linnéa Olsson (former member of BEASTMILK, GRAVE PLEASURES, SONIC RITUAL and THE OATH) to find out what exactly inspired such an impressive piece of work:
Let’s start with a bit of background on Maggot Heart. Tell us a little about the origins of the band?
It’s not really a band, it’s more like my solo project. I started it in 2016 after having been in a few semi-succesful bands the past decade. I just got tired of the bullshit that goes along with constant compromise and dealing with people who don’t share your vision. I’m a songwriter, so I decided to bite the bullet and sing my songs myself, do things my way all the way, and to do it independently. On these two releases I’ve collaborated together with Uno Bruniusson (PROCESSION, DEATH ALLEY, ex-IN SOLITUDE, GRAVE PLEASURES) on drums and Gottfrid Åhman (NO FUTURE, REVEAL, ex-IN SOLITUDE, INVIDIOUS, REPUGNANT) on bass.
Linnéa, you were born in Sweden. What was your your first experience of being exposed to DIY / Alternative culture?
My brother was sort of a punk growing up and I learned about fast and heavy music through his collection. It was a mixed bag of classics like Sex Pistols, Swedish death metal, some US hardcore and stuff like Guns N’ Roses. I grew up in Linköping, which had an active hardcore scene and I started going to shows early. The atmosphere and attitude that I got from metal and punk music was just very appealing to me – I sensed freedom, rebellion and magic. A portal to something bigger than myself.
Let’s talk about your debut full length “Dusk to Dusk”. Can you talk a little about the process that lead to it’s creation?
I wrote it during the summer and autumn of last year, then got Uno and Gottfrid over for one week of rehearsals. After that we flew straight to Sweden for one week in the studio. I just wanted to do something with a sense of urgency, and not dwell on it very much. The result is a very personal take on life and death in the city.
What was the thought process behind the artwork and title of the new record?
The scorpion is an archetypal image, so there is a lot to interpret there. The title and the song ”Dusk to Dusk”… well, it refers to cyclical behaviours, habits, beginnings and inevitable ends. Dusk is both this sensual and sinister time before darkness, before death. A mystical pocket of time in between reality and dream, day and night. It’s a psychological state that I find fascinating and a physical time of the day that is inspiring in general. The title also refers to a very literal 24-hour bender in Berlin. You start at dusk and end up somewhere else 24 hours later, which often feels like a whole lifetime in itself.
What inspires you lyrically?
Personal stuff – death, dreams, drugs, people I meet… I tend to write from a dissident’s perspective, whether it is social or spiritual. Uprising and rebellion is a common theme. I gravitate towards darkness and hopelessness, but usually with a silver lining in there. ”Dusk to Dusk” is more surreal and definintely more bleak than ”City Girls” – I revisited some painful places from my past on this one. Everyone I mention on this album is a person I’ve met in real life. Maybe the next one will have a different approach.
What are your expectations or goals in terms of what you want to achieve with Maggot Heart?
Expectations: zero. I don’t expect a lot of people to ”get” what I am doing. Goals: I want to be the best songwriter and performer I can be and to push myself to that level. Honestly, as an independent artist, every single tiny step forward, any kind of positive response, is such a reward, so I already feel accomplished in that sense. There is no tour support, there is no nice PR firm, there is no Instagram account – everything I do is from the ground up together with my friends at Teratology Sound & Vision, and my band.
What is your opinion of the alternative music scene in 2018?
Same as always I guess: people are very concerned with surface and not as much with content. I feel in terms of unpredictable and dangerous music, not a lot of bands in the metal scene deliver in that sense. The whole retro craze is ultimately very boring. And so much mediocre music is praised. Some exceptions: Cuntroaches, Spite, Reveal, Obnoxious Youth, Sortilegia, just from the top of my head.
Since the 80’s, Sweden has a significant history of producing bands, particularly in the crust punk / d-best genres. Why do you think that is?
Metal, d-beat, mainstream pop… for such a small country, Sweden is unmatched on that level of quality. This question gets asked a lot – I honestly have no idea. What I can say is that I noticed a clear difference when I moved to Berlin, rock musicians here in general aren’t as good as Swedish players in my experience. The ability doesn’t quite match the confidence. Having that said, I often, not always, but often, feel that contemporary Swedish bands are a bit too perfect and lack a bit of originality and soul. A lot of bands are excellent imitators, they get everything ”right”, but something is missing. As for Swedish stuff in general, I love Anti-Cimex, Ebba Grön, Merciless, Bathory… In Solitude were a huge influence on me both personally and musically and a lot of the bands that resonate with me from Sweden are friends; like Reveal from Uppsala that are amazing, Viagra Boys are doing cool stuff and so on.
How important is playing live and having that connection with your audience?
It’s literally what I live for.
What are your plans for Maggot Heart for the rest of 2018?
In September we go on tour with Voivod in Eastern Europe, and in October we do a short Euro run with Slaegt. Very much looking forward to both. Hopefully we’ll come over to the US next year.