Fredlös Interview

Hail Fredlös, first of all, my congratulations on your fantastic debut album, called “Fredlös” you unleashed on the 10th of February, this year through Threeman Recordings. (In my Hungarian review I’ve marked 10 and it will be for sure on the top of my favorite releases this year). Introduce your band members, and guest musicians and tell the readers about the beginnings of Fredlös, please.

Hi, and thank you for your kind words. The band started out of the ashes of earlier musical projects. Robert, Fredrik, Liv, Victor, and I started the band “Barbro says No” which was a more traditional rock/metal band. Then I wanted to write lyrics in Swedish and we all had the desire to create darker music. And that’s how Fredlös was born. We recruited a new drummer, Iman Zolgharnian. Then Tomas met Alex (“I just could not resist!”) and he liked our work and joined the band.

Guest musicians on the album are:
Erik Grawsiö from Månegarm on vocals, “Våt Varm Jord” and “Fredlös”. He’s A dear friend and has been a great inspiration for us.
Martin Björklund on violin, “Våt Varm Jord”, “Otto” and “Requiem”. He’s also from Norrtälje and is a multi-instrumental genius with his own band Mercury-X.

Britta Zetterström does Kulning-Vocals on “Requiem”, a brilliant singer and chairman in a historical society that is focused on the Viking era.

I’ve been possessed by Medieval Age history since 1988 and I’ve found your lyrics very interesting. I learned a lot from you. Enlighten us in brief about Fredlös-lyrical conception.

Tomas: The inspiration for the lyrics comes from the religious oppression that accelerated after the plague in the mid-14th century. The image of God became increasingly strict. Sin and shame were at the center. Life was a valley of mourning in anticipation of purgatory. Misogyny became increasingly strong among sexually fixated prelates and turned to witch-burnings or heresy trials.

The great death struck Sweden in 1350. Initially, the plague wiped out a large part of the population. The exact death toll is unknown, but some historians estimate it to be ½ or 2/3 of the population between 1350 and 1420. As usual, the clergy blamed the population and explained the plague as God’s response to human sinfulness.

After the plague outbreak in the middle of the 14th century, a colder climate followed which further added to the plagues of the population. At the same time, intense battles were going on between noble families that were similar to the struggle between mafia families today, and that ultimately affected the population. As usual, the Church blamed the sinful people who incurred the wrath of God.

During the 1400s and 1500s, there were a large number of peasant uprisings throughout Europe, including Sweden. They were often beaten down very brutally and seldom succeeded. The peasants often rose up against the innovations introduced by the authorities as well as against oppression, exploitation, and the domination of bailiffs.

On the release day Fredlös published a new video, which I enjoyed so much. That has been your 4th video and do you plan to create new one(s) this year?

Yes. We make them ourselves and we have been working hard for several months now with the four already released videos. Our ambition is to produce videos for the remaining songs as well and we have ideas for some of them already. We hope they will see the light one by one sometime later this year.

Fredlös will be playing on Månegarm Open Air with a lot of awesome bands. Is there any news about other live performances?

No, not anything certain yet at this moment :).

I just imagined how would be awesome a European tour of Fredlös/Månegarm/Entombed :).
I know that is impossible at the moment but what do you think about my idea? Alex, Entombed played in Hungary in June 1994 (Unfortunately I was not there but some of my friends were and told me, that your show was amazing). What were your experiences? (I really hope that Fredlös will play in Hungary very soon and I could be there as well to see and meet you live).

Robert: Well, that would have been really awesome if it was possible to achieve. I really look forward to what’s around the corner for us.

Alex: Aaaah! Now that was a great day and night! June 1, 1994, in Budapest at a fantastic packed venue with Napalm Death! That was one of those shows that, to this day, stick out from the rest and that will pop back into my mind on a, it seems, regular basis…as weird as that may sound. That was a mad crazy tour in so many ways I would like to try and sum it up in a book someday just to relive the madness! We had been on the road for a long time, doing a few laps around Canada and the US right before teaming up with Napalm for that European ‘94 Crusade. Something like 10 weeks in US/Canada then two days at home, Stockholm, before something like 52 shows in 54 days. It was brutal…awesomely brutal! People lost their minds for real on that trek. I love the Napalm to death! Good memories… I miss them every day since that tour it seems. People still mention the Budapest show, as you did here, to this day and send pictures. I think I still have a T-shirt someone made for us and so on…it was something else…as you hear I can go on for days about it…so, yes, I would love to come back and do the Fredlös, Månegarm, Entombed show in Hungary. It will be great! Maybe we could invite Napalm too. Is the venue still there? Petőfi Csarnok, Budapest, Hungary? (No, unfortunately not, it was demolished -G) Had to look it up. A special place, a special time, a special tour. All nostalgic and teary-eyed here now. Hopefully, we can meet up at a Fredlös show in Hungary soon! The planets are lining up.

I know that Fredlös just released their debut LP a few days ago, but do you work with new tracks? Will you continue the Medieval topic?

Tomas: Yes. We have a manuscript for the next album. The theme will be 13-14th century Italy, the evil of mankind, and the turmoil that led to the religious wars that followed in the 15th century.

Robert: Our studio is just about serviced and upgraded as some stuff needed repair and so on. We are just about ready to start the songwriting and pre-production process. It will for sure take some time to write a new album but we are lucky to have access to our own fully equipped professional studio so we don’t need to worry about studio costs. There certainly isn’t any lack of ideas for the next album and the creative process is what I like the most and really look forward to.

What kind of music do you listen to and what are your favorite LPs of all time?

Tomas: The best album ever produced is Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime”- period.

Robert: I kind of listen to a wide variety of bands. If it’s good it’s good no matter the genre. But then again, I’m just the bass player and that is just one step up from playing the kazoo as Dave Mustaine once said…

At the moment these LPs rotate on my player and at least the first two stays constant, the others change.
Dark Side of the Moon -Pink Floyd
Strange Days – The Doors
Leviathan – Mastodon
A Blaze in the Northern Sky – Darkthrone
Solstafir – Köld
Heretics – Rotting Christ

Alex: Hahaha! The Cliff Burton wah-wah kazoo solo rules!

Swedish underground scene is just amazing a long time ago. What bands do you recommend to us? (Including those ones, we could not know).

“Månegarm” and “Wormwood” are first choices of course, then you have a doom band “Kråkslott” which is awesome. “Horndal” is definitely worth checking out and “Hällas” if you like awesome 70: s style progressive rock. But I guess none of the above is underground anymore as their fanbase is quite large nowadays.

Robert: When I was younger, I was running around at clubs listening to underground bands but I have to say that nowadays I do not have the same amount of time (kids and family) and I kind of have lost touch completely with the “real” underground scene. At festivals, I always enjoy the “smaller” scenes and their bands the most as that’s where you find the new and interesting stuff.

If I mentioned history, what are your most preferred historical personalities from Sweden and Worldwide as well?

Wow, that’s a huge question. Tomas is the one who is ridiculously interested in history.

Tomas: My historical interest is vast. I´m equally interested in the Roman era as I´m interested in the more modern history. But my favorite period is from the fall of Rome up to the end of the 18th century. My favorite historical personalities are Leonardo da Vinci, Saladin, and King Magnus Eriksson. But that´s today, tomorrow there can be a totally different gang :).

By the way, what do you know about Hungarian history and the underground?

Tomas knows a whole lot about Hungarian history. He´s been to Hungary many times and had a former wife whose mother fled Hungary in 1956. Sorry to say, we know a bit less about the Hungarian underground scene.

Tack så mycket Fredlös, my/our best wishes to you all! Send your message to the readers of Kronos Mortus to complete this conversation.

Robert: Thanks Kronos Mortus readers, take care, and hope to see you all at future festivals!

Tomas: Thanks to all Kronos Mortus readers and fans. Looking forward to seeing you all at future festivals in Hungary and digging deeper into your fantastic history!

Alex: Word! Thank you! Kronos Mortus rules!

FREDLÖS online:

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