1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
Botgörelsen is a solo project from Sweden. Started out as a duo. I'd describe the music as more modern than old school, with a hint of avant-garde. That is, at least, the intention of the project.
2.So far you have released a single and a full length, musically how do they both differ from each other?
The single has a slight sludge-like edge that is not present on the album. It was recorded as a trio, with a friend of mine on vocals, so it sounds different in that respect too. The single was originally intended to be a part of the album, but that changed for different reasons. I think it worked out for the best in the end, the album flows better without the single.
3.The project has been around since 2015 but waited until this year to release a full length, can you tell us a little bit more about the earlier years?
As previously mentioned, Botgörelsen began as a duo. Me and a friend from my hometown. I was visiting home briefly between studies and travels. For this reason we couldn't get together and rehearse until 2018, but we spent the time in between writing music and lyrics. The album was supposed to be recorded during 2018 as well, but various reasons made it impossible, although we did end up recording the first single together with a third friend. In the end I decided to take the stuff I had written and "go solo", since we were unfortunately unable to continue as a duo or a trio.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored so far with the music?
The intent at the beginning was to evoke a feeling of Old Sweden, perhaps something vaguely folkloric. Remnants of that original idea can be found in songs like Själafiende and Klagan för uteblivna skördar. The former reads like a warning sermon against the Devil, the second one deals with drought and famine and was heavily influenced by Swedish literary classics such as "The Emigrants". In some cases I deliberately chose to avoid Latin and Greek loanwords in the lyrics, in order "to implicitly set the ambiance in a somewhat hazy past.", to quote a fellow musician. Over time the intent has evolved, and I examine different aspects of the human condition in general in my lyrics. Other lyrics are no more than the raw expression of personal, negative emotions. The first single is an example of this.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Botgörelsen'?
The name translates roughly to "the penance". It takes inspiration from flagellants, medieval and modern. There is something that fascinates me about flagellants, the act of taking intense emotions like guilt and shame and turning them into very tangible actions - maybe even creating a sense of pride and purpose. On some level I can understand it, given how powerful guilt, shame and fear can be. As such, the name is important to me on a personal level.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the album cover?
It relates directly to the band name and the meaning behind it. More specifically, it's based on a piece of performance art called "Der Mutterseelenalleinring", by German artist Micha Brendel. I can't speak to the intent of the original artist, but the aesthetics fit the vibe I wanted to create. The woodcut look of the cover art goes hand in hand with the feeling of Old, which I mentioned earlier. The version on the cover was made by a talented artist named Stefan Rindler.
7.With this project you record everything by yourself, are you open to working with any other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?
I have a pretty clear vision of where I want to take things, so for now I'm comfortable working alone. But I wouldn't mind bringing in "hired guns" on future releases, to cover instruments I can't play myself. My life outside of Botgörelsen has meant a lot of moving around, which isn't ideal for creating a stable group. Giving a concert or two in the future would be interesting, if the circumstances allow it.
8.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I am looking for a label, yes. So far a few distributors have expressed their interest, we'll see where I end up. I'm more interested in finding a label with the right attitude and aesthetics, rather than accepting any offer to get my music out.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
So far reactions have been really positive. I was surprised to read many positive comments about the vocals, since it's my first time really using my voice beyond backing vocals.
10.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician during the future?
Since the first album was almost done in 2018, I've had the time to flesh out the direction for the next album (and even some stuff for the next release after that). The second album will be slightly more cohesive on a conceptual level, and I will be taking the music to some places that are new to me personally. However, the sound is still very much Botgörelsen.
11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Within black metal, I take influence from acts like Leviathan (US), Shining, and the more melodic passages of Deathspell Omega. But while the skeleton and spirit of this body is indeed black metal, I'd say a lot of the flesh comes from music completely unrelated to metal. Be it classical music, bossa nova or even hip hop. After all, darkness is not unique to black metal. One of my biggest influences in recent years has been Agnes Obel.
Recent musical binges of mine include The Mars Volta and Imperial Triumphant. I'm also looking forward to Hellige's upcoming release - whose first single Hueste has some of the most blood-curdling vocals I've heard in a while.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you for your time. This is just the beginning!
S / Botgörelsen