Tuesday, 21st November 2017. 10:51:42am ET

 

Band: Paatos
Interviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 10/15/04


From composing and performing a live soundtrack for a film festival showing of the classic film Nosferatu to their latest studio offering, the excellent Kallocain (read my review here), Paatos is a band with an interesting past and a diverse body of work. I recently got the chance to do a cross-continental interview with the band's husband and wife team, vocalist/cellist Petronella Nettermalm and drummer/programmer/multi-instrumentalist Ricard Huxflux Nettermalm.

Hi. Thanks for doing the interview. Well, let's get started. Your work is fairly diverse both stylistically and instrumentally. Do you find it difficult to translate that into a cohesive live set? Has it ever been problematic from a mixing/setup standpoint going from…say…a track with primarily organic instrumentation to a predominantly electronic-based track during the course of a live show?

Petronella: I don't think it's a problem since we think it's an advantage if the live shows are something different from the album. We change quite a lot in the songs when playing them live actually. It can be differences both in structure and instrumentation, and we almost always extend some of them with a jamming part. It's more fun that way-both for the audience and for us!

Kallocain's title refers to a science fiction novel by Swedish author Karin Boye. I, along with many other Americans I would imagine, am unfamiliar with the book, but could you briefly explain its impact on the album's content and its influence on you?

Hux: It's a concussive prognosis of what could happen if a state would be totally controlled by a mechanic controlling-system. This is one of my all-time favorites. I've read it many times, and I think the book is much about breaking free.

Petronella: When the work with the album was done we realized that all of the lyrics more or less touched that issue, and since we all like Boye very much, we decided to call the album after the book. The word Kallocain stands for a truth serum used in the book.

Petronella, you and your husband are the band's primary songwriters. Do you ever find it difficult working together as a married couple? Are there ever arguments over stylistic preferences or the material you're working on together?

Petronella: First of all, the five of us are equally involved in the creating process of making the music. Hux and I write most of the lyrics, though. Working together is not a problem, more a bonus, since we get the opportunity to spend time together.

Hux: As we all share the greatest respect for eachother's musicality, there are seldom any bigger "style-fights" between us! All of our musical influences are very different from eachother, but in the end we always tend to reach for the same fruit.

How do you typically approach songwriting? Are songs usually written on a few instruments and later arranged for the band, or are they written with the band's lineup in mind right from the start?

Petronella: It can look really different from song to song. Sometimes one of us comes to rehearsal with a part of a song, and the others take it from there.. Some songs were complete when they reached the rest of the band. Quite often we let a song circulate between the bandmembers. One person make a chorus, another one fills in with a bridge and so on...

Your stylistic range hints at a diverse array of influences and artists to which comparisons can be drawn. Could you elaborate on the bands that influenced you and your work?

Hux: This would be impossible, actually. As mentioned before, we all listen to VERY different kinds of music. I think that the main thing that we all strive for is a certain kind of feel to it, and that could be found in a big varity of music...
Bands I like to listen to, and that I think have a lot of that vibe-thing, are for example: Godspeed You black Emperor, Mono, Sigur Ros, Il Baletto di Bronzo, and Piotr Schostakovich...

Petronella: I get touched by, for example, Radiohead. I also listen a lot to good singers, like Linda Perhacs, Jeff Buckley and sometimes, when I'm in the mood, John Wetton.

Your music, even at its most electronic, manages to maintain something of an organic vibe or atmosphere. Is this aspect something you consciously tried to preserve in the studio? If so, how did you approach that in terms of instrumentation and production?

Hux: Of course! All of the loops You'll hear on the album are played by us first and then processed by bitcrushers and such to make them trashy. In the drumloop apartment I also tried to cut as long loops as possible to keep that organic feel throughout the song...

You probably get asked about this in every interview, but could you elaborate a little bit on your original live score to the classic film Nosferatu? How did you approach the project in terms of songwriting and instrumentation? How did that project influence your later studio work with Paatos? Have you been approached about doing any more film soundtrack work, and is that a medium you'd be interested in working in again in the future?

Petronella: When we were asked to do the soundtrack for Nosferatu, we rigged a small TV set in our rehearsing studio, and then we sat there watching the movie over and over again, making time-notes and writing down instant ideas on small papersheets. It was wierd! But after a while we were able to start to improvise themes and sound effects.

Hux: At the actual night of the film festival, we sat our gear down aside of the whitescreen and played along to the movie. It was a great experience! We would love to do this kind of works again if there's a chance!

The members of Paatos come from a variety of diverse and fairly impressive backgrounds. How did the band's current lineup come to be? What do the band members that aren't part of the initial writing process contribute in terms of songwriting and arrangements? Is it ever difficult to balance Paatos with the band members' other individual projects and commitments?

Hux: Paatos started as a quartet after playing a couple of gigs as backing band for Turid (swedish singer/songwriter from the 70s who picked up music again in the late 90s). After these shows, the four of us just kept on jamming and exploring stuff together, and all of a sudden there were actual songs that urged for vocals. Of course we wanted a female singer, and we dug into our heads in trying to find the right one...
After a while, someone mentioned that Petronella, my wife, is a singer! At first I was not so positive about it. However, after giving it some thought, I thought it was perfect! Petronella was very reluctant at first, but after loads of persuation, she gave it a go.
Reine suddenly lost his engagement,so we had to let him go... After auditioning several guitarplayers, I strengthened myself enough to call one of my all time favorite guitarplayers: Peter Nylander. He gave it some serious thought and decided to give it a go, and here we are!

Petronella: I think we all contribute in the special "Paatossound" on eachother's songs and ideas. None of the songs would sound the way they do today if they would have been used for solo projects. It can be hard sometimes to get everyone together as both Peter and Hux are working a lot with other artists as hired guns. Stefan is the father of three, so he's kind of busy too...

I know that the mainstream music scene in Sweden is considerably different from…say…that in the US or Asia or many other European countries. How has the international response to your work been compared to the response within your own country? Have you found any markets particularly difficult to break into? Has it been difficult to overcome any of the stereotypes typically associated with the Swedish music scene?

Hux: Sweden sucks, considering the music-scene here... There are hardly any places left for people to get together for experimenting onstage or just simply jamming together. The response has actually been great in Sweden this far, but I think that it's hard to put us in a genre that newspapers want to write about. We are simply concentrating on everything outside of Sweden because sometimes it is easier to break in here, coming from the outside... Sweden is a small country...

Where do you see Paatos going from here? Are there any plans to tour in support of the new album, either in Sweden or internationally? Any plans at this point for another Paatos album?

Petronella: For the moment we are concentrating on Kallocain. We're going on a small trip to Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium in October, and in November, we will open for The Gathering at their European tour. It will be great!

Hux: A new album is already taking form in our heads, and soon we will start to pre-produce it!!!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Hux: Let's keep on taking it further!

Petronella: We would love to meet you all, we're just waiting for an invitation!

Thanks again for doing the interview! I wish you the best of luck!

 

Paatos website: www.paatos.com

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