So we couldn’t resist talking with Skitarg – Cleary a little left field, but a great bunch of guys.
I first wanted to take the time and thank you for doing this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and anything about the band you’d want us to know?
SKITARG is a Swedish band consisting of six members. The music is best described as Clown Metal – a combination of Melodic, Thrash, Black and Progressive Metal, topped with vocal harmonies and growl, sprinkled with rage, absurdities and humour.
We wear corpse paint with an added clown nose to reflect the music style.
Who have been your major influences in your writing style?
For me it´s probably Megadeth, Metallica, Opeth, Satyricon and In Flames.
2.) Let’s talk about what you currently have going on. Any new music or new tours in the works?
We released our fourth full-length album in February 2017 and a new music video in March entitled “My friend Chlamydia”. You can check it out here:
We changed booking management over the summer so we´ve had some down time gig-wise, but we just recently found new booking management so there are some upcoming gigs in Sweden.
If you were to say one song of your own perfectly sums up what you are all about which song would that be?
The song that put us on the map in Sweden would probably be ‘Jag bryter nacken av din häst’ (I´ll break your horse’s neck). You can check that song out here (along with all four of our albums and one single release): https://open.spotify.com/track/57Pgl1MEHX9PWS9sKcGT9P
3.) When you write any new music, can you tell us what the process is like? Describe to us what happens in a typical writing session.
Usually it´s me or Necrofilip (the other singer in the band) that write the songs. It starts with just noodling around on the guitar and if any melody or riff catches my attention, I turn the TV off and focus on how it sounds. After that it´s pretty much just a process of improvising until you find riffs that complement that first riff or melody.
After writing riffs and structuring them into the spine of a song I usually record a demo of it with programmed drums and guitars lined into the CPU that I then put distortion plug-in effects on.
When Necrofilip then gets to hear he song he is usually pretty quick with writing lyrics for it. Lyrically we deal with frustrations and anger, but also absurd concepts like fucking pirate ghosts. I think that concept came from a silly joke one of us made once. (You can check the song ‘Bruna skatter’ out here: https://open.spotify.com/track/1hlWxiFx3ScXDwp5ISfKPf)
4.) With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? If you could change anything about it, what would it be?
The digitalization of music and distribution of it online is a two-edged sword. It has absolutely paved the way for obscure bands like SKITARG and helped us reach an audience we might never have reached. But on the other hand, SKITARG is such a conceptually distinct band, so if we lived during the tape-trading era for example, we would probably have reached fans either way. We really are a word to mouth kind of band. But it could also have taken waaaay longer.
Financially, the digital distribution has been catastrophic to bands in my opinion. I´m so tired of people downloading and sharing music and then arguing for free distribution of music, when they are completely in the dark of how much money it takes to get your band going. That money doesn´t come from record labels. It comes from the band, i.e. our own pockets.
Also, we are our own label so everything around the music (album design and printing, merch design and printing, hiring people to record music videos, buying props for the videos, buying fake blood, make-up, hiring the van that takes us to the gig, paying for PR, etcetera) is financed by us. If people would pay for the music, we´d have a standing chance to finance the band the way we feel it deserves to be financed. But I guess it´s a priviledge for us that people listen to our music, rather than a priviledge for people to listen to our music.
5.) Do you or any of your band members have any side projects? If so, what are they?
I have two bands besides SKITARG: The Ugly and Fridge. The Ugly have two albums on Spotify (you can find them here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7hcRkKoXPMnYSVS6tixVUx) and Fridge is working on a debut album.
6.) When you’re preforming how do you handle any mistakes on stage if they ever happen?
We fuck up on almost every gig. Most of the time it´s things like forgetting lyrics, but every now and then it´s stuff like insulting the audience. Luckily enough they usually don’t pay attention enough to notice. 😉
Do you have any stories that stand out to you that you had to make a memorable recovery?
I had to make a literal recovery after jumping off the crowd fence and hitting the stage front edge with my chest two years ago. I had a bruise and two broken ribs for about two months.
7.) How do you decide which songs go into a set when you perform live? Do you change up the sets or stick to a regular set list? Do you have any covers?
We´ve tried all sorts of ways to get a feel of what the audience wants, but in the end, we have to feel good about the songs we play. Some songs just have to be on the setlist though: Jag bryter nacken av din häst, Kjell is here, Bruna Skatter and Utvecklingsstörd. But we are thinking about adding some songs that we´ve never played before, because people keep bringing them up. Upprörd and Kast-abort are two of them and Sverige Facking Fosterland is another. Difficult songs to do live, but you got to give the audience wht they want.
We never do covers on stage. We´ve recorded one (you can find it here: https://open.spotify.com/track/1ZCJg0MtMbcSihHvBHpO1z) but that was more of a one off kind of thing….
8.) If you had a choice to go on any bands tour, which tour would you pick and why?
Limp Bizkit, just to see where they are at these days.
9.) Do you have any advice for any upcoming artists? What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
Prepare to be poor, and try to get a day job.
10.) Any last words?
I DON´T WANT TO DIE