The Gardnerz just recently had their debut full-length The System of Nature released via Abyss Records. The album definitely makes The Gardnerz a standout act in a style that is all too often filled with dull, uninspired music. Here we talk to guitarist Wilhem Lindh about the album, the history of the band, and what the future holds.
Foul Feast: Tell us a little about how The Gardnerz came about.
Wilhelm Lindh: It all started in the summer of 2008 when I came home from a stint in Florida where I had been studying for a semester. Since I had not played guitar seriously for six months, I had to get the poison out. I got in contact with and old girlfriend about starting a band playing something similar to old katatonia but with a more death metal touch. The idea was to have female vocals but that didn't pan out. And after searching for about a year for another female vocalist I gave up that idea and went with a dude. And since then I have had some different members. But since I joined forces with Francisco Martín on bass and Niclas Ankarbranth on vocals I have had a solid foundation. The drummer situation has been the tricky part, on the system of nature Joan Pablo Donoso played session drums and now we are working with Vedran Bencic as our new drummer.
FF: I'm sure you get this often, but what is the meaning behind the band name?
Wilhelm Lindh: You are correct, that question arises often, but that is sort of the point. The main idea came from pre Socratic philosopher Epicurus, who talked about how all you need to be happy in life is a garden, some good friends and simple food. He also talked about how it is virtue to live a simple life. He was a very interesting guy. So from him I got "The Gardeners", but I thought that sounded a bit prententious and also there were many bands with that name. And also if you googled it you got something like 9 million hits. So I dropped on e and changed the s for a z for good measure. We have gotten a lot of shit for the z but I like it, it is a reminder that you shouldn't take everything to seriously. I guess I should point out that the z is taken from Swedish dance music, think mellow country music with really cheesy lyrics. In those bands it is commonplace to replace the s with a z. Take a listen to this kick ass band http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGGum5OP_zo&feature=related!
FF: The album was mixed by Dan Swanö, how did you guys get into contact with him?
Wilhelm Lindh: Actually the album was mastered by Mr. Swanö. our bass player Francisco had been in contact with him for some reason that I don't remember but he had asked if it would be possible for him to master the album, and he said yes. So I emailed him and set it up. I must say that it was a real pleasure to work with him, he did it really fast and the result was killer.
FF: When did writing for The System of Nature begin?
Wilhelm Lindh: It started in the summer of 2008, that was how I started the band, just writing songs. My idea was to do a demo in the fall of 2008, but since I didn't have the members I just kept writing. When Francisco joined the band he insisted that we should do a full length album instead of a demo. So that is what we did.
FF: Did the writing process seem to flow naturally?
Wilhelm Lindh: Yeah I think so, with this band my idea was to do whatever came to my mind. Since I have always felt a bit limited in my previous bands, having had members who not wanted to do the same thing as I or had the ability to play some of my riffs. So just having myself in the band while I wrote most of these songs, I could do precisely what I wanted. And I wrote a few riffs to as exercises, writing stuff I couldn't play so I had to practice and get better. And now with the guys I have in the band I can continue doing it since I know that they can handle whatever I throw at them.
FF: How did your deal with Abyss Records come about?
Wilhelm Lindh: Dan from Abyss records wrote me after finding us on myspace. We were talking with him and another label and we decided to go with Abyss since they had better distros and such. Dan is a really great guy as well so I'm glad we went with Abyss.
FF: The sound displayed on your debut manages to maintain an aggressive feel that is typically lost when blending death metal with doom. Was this something you set out to do or did it just come naturally?
Wilhelm Lindh: Well as I wrote earlier the idea was to mix our style with female vocals, since in my mind most metal bands that have a female as a vocalist have a tendency to be really polished and kind of lame (as for most music these days). I felt that I wanted to do something dirtier, and when I had to give up that idea and go with a male vocalist (not that I'm disappointed about it, Nicke is a amazing singer and a great dude) I just kept it the same way. So Answer your question I would say it was a natural thing.
FF: What influences you most musically?
Wilhelm Lindh: As for bands the top bands are Katatonia, Bolt Thrower, Acheron, Broken Hope, Death, old Nile. I wanted to do slow and heavy stuff but to try to not do it the same as most people do it, you know a few slow power chords and the just riding those chords. I like allot of brutal bands but I have always prefer when the drumming is more down tempo. So I wanted to have some fast riffs but with a more groove oriented and doomy tempo on the drums.
FF: re there any reoccuring lyrical themes on the album?
Wilhelm Lindh: There are a few songs that are antireligious, and the rest are me venting various things that annoy me or that I think should be more talked about. We have songs about: our consumption crazed society, Sweden's sordid part in the field of racial biology, tabloid journalism.
FF: Do all of the members of The Gardnerz have previous experience in metal bands?
Wilhelm Lindh: Yes we have all played in a few metal bands, we are in or have been in Toxodeth, Tristitia, Kanatran, Vandöd, Pandemonium, Insomnis, Savage Harmony. There are more to mention, but my memory lets me down.
FF: Are there any tracks on The System of Nature that stick out to you the most?
Wilhelm Lindh: The first one I wrote was The art of suffering, so that one for sure, I also really like how that one came together, I think everyone added some killer stuff to it. Maybe it's time also turned out really good, good mix of harmony and brutality. Confusion as well, I really like the vocals on that one, and my clean guitar solo is one of my highlights.
FF: How has the album been recieved thus far?
Wilhelm Lindh: It has mainly gotten good responses, allot of people has given it really good feedback. And since we have got it officially released is a big pat on the back for me.
FF: Do you guys gig often?
Wilhelm Lindh: We have never played live with this band. Since we didn't have a drummer for a long time we couldn't play live. But now when we have Vedran we are trying to set up some shows, but that is not the easiest thing to do. But hopefully we will do some shows next year.
FF: Has there been any thought put into the next release yet?
Wilhelm Lindh: Yes we are planning to put out a ep next year, we have ten songs written but we thought it would be better to do an ep. And the new songs are keeping with the same style as for the system, some might be bit slower and longer but, if you liked the system you will like the new songs as well.
FF: Any final thoughts?
Wilhelm Lindh: Thanks for this interview! And for those of you who haven't heard us head over to www.thegardnerz.com were you can listen to the entire album.