I was honestly damn surprised when I stumbled across these guys website, as I never would have expected such mood filled music to be streaming from my speakers. An up and coming Swedish act without a doubt!
It was done by email between the 6th and 15th of November.
Hey there Jonatan. Everything alright with you?
Let us get started with a small presentation of the band � not a biography, but just a small notice of who�ll be answering the questions and what other members the band has (so the readers will know who the hell we�re talking about, hehe).
Hey, I'm fine. I have been working/studying my ass of lately and this has been the first real weekend for me in what seems to be a sea of time, so I have of course been enjoying some beer and leasurerness.
About Canopy then, we are a deathmetal five-piece from different parts of stockholm consisting of: Fredrik Huldtgren - Vocals, Erik Bj�rkman - Guitars, Daniel Ahlm - Bass, Peter Lindqvist Drums and me, Jonatan Hedlin, on Guitars.
You started playing in 2002, but the band was almost discarded before it really got going. It was just you and Erik back then, and you couldn�t find a complete line-up. And you also say you grew tired of your original inspirational sources for the band (In Flames and At the Gates). So when the band actually did get going, what had changed inspirational wise?
Interesting question. The main bugger back then was actually finding a complete line-up, we where only like 16-17 years old and most people we knew couldn�t even play the kind of music we wanted to create.
There is actually one sole album I'd like to say inspired me to try to start up Canopy again, and that one is called "Crimson" by the band Edge of Sanity. It contains real deathmetal brutality ( grind/blastbeats, A-tuned guitars, deep growling) but still a lot of melodies, hooks and clean vocals. Plus the song is 40-minutes long. It�s still probably my favourite metalalbum ever. Of course we have found dozens and dozens of other inspirational sources, but that was my first real encounter with real death metal and progressive/melodic work combined (I would for example consider early In Flames something more in vein of downtuned heavymetal with growls, and later In Flames a nu/heavymetal hybrid with shrieks...or something haha) Oh, and while we are talking inspiration, I still enjoy ATG, but they have sooo many clones, so that style is completely destroyed now.
Today I'm influenced by some extreme shit like vital remains, nile, behemoth, strapping young lad, satyricon, opeth, immortal, some a old school sthlm-dm like: Entombed, Edge of Sanity, Unanimated and then some not so brutal-stuff like Katatonia/Porcupine Tree/Isis/Burst/Neurosis.
The band grew a fuller line-up during the years, but you didn�t hire a vocalist until 2004. I suppose that must have had an obstructing effect on the band, lacking a vocalist. Do you think you would have been at another place with the band today, if you had found a vocalist from the very beginning?
It sure affected our first demo, during day one. It was basically written without vocals in mind, and some songs kind of lost that punch you might when you plan the vocalpatterns while writing a song. But then, while writing the Will & Perception demo I exactly knew Fredrik�s style, and it was actually a lot easier writing much more powerful songs in terms of both catchiness and brutality. Just compare the two demos and you'll know what I mean. The song "for the sickened voice to hear" is good example of a song I wrote with Fredrik�s vocals constantly in mind, and it appears to be one of our "hittier" songs.
And you had your first gig back then only two months after Fredrik joined in, and only a couple of weeks after getting the lyrics, and such, ready for all the songs. Were you fully confident when you got up on the stage, or did the crowd maybe notice some insecurity in the band? How was the gig responded to?
I was definitely nervous, and I know that couldn't have been too hard to notice. But the gig went really good for being the first, and the response was good, most people couldn't believe we'd never played before judging by the performance. It wasn't only my first canopygig, it was my first real gig with any band.
You also released your first demo, During Day One, in October of 2004. What was the response from the critics? Were you satisfied with what you put together?
I actually was very satisfied with During Day One at first. But then again, it was our first recording, and it didn't take long before I noticed a hell lot of things we could've done better. I spoke of the vocal arrangements earlier (a huge factor, believe me) but in addition to that it�s very much about song structures in general. The riffing and melodies on DDO are almost as good as our later stuff to me, but they are presented in a, what to say, non-catchy way. I don't know if you get me when I use the word catchy, most people would mean catchy = easy listening, but I would call many Cryptopsysongs catchy actually, it's all about good structure, small hooks and details. The listeners doesn't think about these, but actually I think these factors are a huge part of whether the listener is enjoying the music.
Will and Perception, your second demo, was released only some months afterwards. What changes were made for that one? Any change of influences, song-structure etc?
And now what was the response from the critics this time?
As said in earlier questions, I had vocals in mind while writing the material, and the song-structures are way more effective/powerful. This also had a positive impact on the critical response.
You�ve also been competing in some form of music contest called Emergenza. I don�t really know what that�s all about, so if you could fill me in on it I�d really appreciate it! How did things go?
Actually, Emergenza are clever bastards when it comes to money. Every band pays 750 SEK (not too much for a band though, plus you get some free instrument-related stuff), and in addition to that the bands themselves have to sell pretty expensive tickets. The contest is based on the crowd voting, so every band wants to bring as many friends as possible, thus selling expensive tickets and bringing Emergenza more money. We got (barely) enough votes at Alcazar, so we went ahead and played at klubben. At the klubben-gig we got surprisingly many votes though, which was nice, but it wasn�t enough for the finals. All in all Emergenza was worth it, two really nice gigs and some extra exposure. But I don't know if we'll play emergenza again though, kindo tearing selling those expensive tickets to poor friends!
Have you started working on the material for your upcoming release? Will it be another demo, or have you had some offers? It�s a damn shame if you haven�t had any record deal offers!
We are almost done with eight new songs! It will be a full-length record, but self-financed. We haven't had enough luck with the labels yet, and I would agree it's a damn shame! However, we are not giving up.
So what can we expect from the upcoming album? Will we notice any changes, or have you just enhanced the sound of Canopy?
It will of course be the best one yet. One change people might notice is that the album is a bit more extreme at both ends, it contains some real grind/blast parts and also some really experimental/progressive parts. However it is all presented in the Canopy formula, and is a natural step taken from our latest release.
Know what� Listening to your music I really get the feeling that it should without a doubt be enjoyed live. I�m not saying it�s bad on tape, but the music has that certain crushing and churning to it, to make it perfect for playing live� Do you agree with me? Do you maybe even consider yourself to be more of a live-band than a studio-band�?
I really, really like recording music. To me it's such a creative process, even though it's boring sometimes. But, playing live is the thing. It's like unleashing all the energy you've gathered while writing/rehearsing/recording those songs, and that's a fucking blast. There are of course bad nights, but those real good gigs are the real deal with being in a band! I can easily find great musicians for recording studioprojects (and I do) but having a live-squad like Canopy is like one step further from that!
You, Jonatan, are also involved with a number of other bands, three rock bands and Corpulent Moth, if I�m not mistaken. Any projects I�ve missed?
I actually have gazillions of projects going on all the time. I try to make all of them different from each other though, so that I won't have any doubt in which band will get which song/riff. Corpulent Moth is the only other metalband I'm in at the moment though, and our first release "Rusting Crescent Sun" is available, it started out as a not very serious recording of me and the drummer jamming ideas in my homestudio, but we decided to make it a complete demo. I think it turned out pretty nice. We will try to make some promotion later on, when we have a proper webadress and so on. The drummer currently lives in England, but we'll record another odd creation in January.
Fredrik is also involved with Facing Death. I don�t know how serious you are about your other bands, but I suppose it must take some time away from Canopy. Is Canopy your main band, and whatever time you have left goes to the rest, or how do you solve the time issue?
As said before, the other bands are almost always projects only. Both Facing Death and Corpulent Moths are recording projects, partly for fun and partly for expressing some stuff not meant for Canopy (In CM we base almost every single riff around jamming/beats by the drummer which is very un-canopyish and Facing Death is more or less Olas (Subcyde) Deathmetal ideas with Fredrik helping out on vox). I'd say the 70s hardrock band I'm in called "John Loathe" should be considered a band rather than a project though, but that band has a leader, and it's not me, thereby it won't take too much time from canopy.
Well, except from the upcoming album, what can we expect from Canopy in the future? Do you think you�ll get some label�s attention with the next release? Maybe we can even expect some touring, I don�t know� What are your hopes and wishes, and what do you realistically think? Hehe�
We always hope to get some label's attention, still even with "W&P". I guess we just have to keep trying. Touring would be amazing, like all other bands we want to do, for instance, japan. I also would love playing in Canada. Realistically I think you'll be able to see Canopy in some other swedish cities than Stockholm (we've already played gothenburg)
I�m not really sure I have any serious questions left now� So it�s time for the not-so-serious questions I love asking, hehe.
Latest record you bought?
I got three EPs from a Relapse mailorder recently:
Dillinger Escape Plan - Irony is a dead scene
Suffocation - Despise the sun
& Bloodbath - Breeding Death
Right before that I bought the latest CDs from Nile, Arcturus and Primordial. I buy lots of cds :)
Latest record you listened to?
"Tonights Decision" by Katatonia.
Latest book you read?
I've been studying "the history of thought" on Stockholm university for a while, so I havent read much fiction lately, its been stuff like "Filosofins historia" ("The history of philosophy") and "Fr�n platon till kriget mot terrorismen" (From Platon to the war on terrorism). I recently also read a book on the discussion of the male gender in general, from a critical point of view called "Med uppenbar k�nsla f�r stil" (roughly "With an obvious sence of class/style/elegance"). I also read this helluva funny book called "Brev till samh�llet" (letters to the society) where some guy presents rather strange letters he's send to different companies/governmental organs in sweden + the answers, very funny. The latest all-fiction book must've been "the diceman" or something, and its a bloody fantastic book.
Latest show you went to?
"Arcturus" in V�ster�s. Not too long before that I also saw Nevermore and Nile in Stockholm (two different shows)
Crappiest record you�ve bought?
Crappiest I bought? Hmm, I've been disappointed a couple of times to the degree of listening to the CD only once. But it would feel unfair naming them as the "crappiest" after such short time given to them.
If you ever committed suicide, how�d you go about it?
I'm not very suicidal at all. But sometimes I discussed the topic, and I thought, why not make it a big fucking scene, like, throw yourself from the NK building in central stockholm and make a huge splash on one of the most crowded streets of the town. That'd at least be noticed. But then again, I know little about suicide!
Hmm� Nope, I was right, I have no more serious questions� I think I�ve asked you�ve settled my curiosity � anything I should�ve asked that I�ve missed? If not, I wish you all the best with Canopy and your other bands in the future. And thanks a lot for taking your time! Up to you to end this now, thanks and take care.
I'm pretty much happy with these questions asked, I got the chance to babble around quite a lot. Finally, as usual, I'd like to point out that all our songs, plus a music-video, plus an old live-cover-vid are downloadable @ our website, www.entercanopy.com So, just take care until next time, and be ready for our full length release sometimes during late winter / early spring next year.
For a closer look at Canopy's discography please click here