There's Goats in them there Hills, aren't there? Soundblab talks to Hills about new album, Frid - Interviews - Soundblab

There's Goats in them there Hills, aren't there? Soundblab talks to Hills about new album, Frid

by Rob Taylor Rating: Release Date:

Free-wheeling Swedish psych-jammers Hills return in two weeks with new album Frid. Soundblab caught up with Hanna from Hills to discuss the album, and whether there's any truth to the rumour that they share DNA with Goat.

Listening to Frid, I was struck by the similarities between the sounds of ‘National Drone’ and ‘Death Will Find a Way’, and the music of West Africa, in particular the trance inducing blues of bands like Temakaft and Tamikrest. Have you listened to much Tuareg music ? If not, what musics of the world inspired the sound? 

"Well, the foundation of the song ‘National Drone’ was made in a traditional Hills way. We jammed until it felt OK and I'd say we weren’t really thinking of anything specific, or aiming for a specific goal. But yes, some of us have listened to music from West Africa. I think for every record we’ve made, at least one song has been inspired by music from that big continent. We’ve had working titles such as "The African Song" or " Tinariwen". It's hard though to achieve that magic groove.  I listen to all types of world music. Its hard to really pinpoint what inspires what"

SB: Lead off track on Frid ‘Kollectiv’ is a blend of sounds bringing to mind the raga sounds of Ravi Shankar, modern day psych purveyors such as Wooden Shijps, undefined folk, and even a splash of drone metal. As a band you have a more expansive imagination than your average psych outfit. Are you always searching for new mystical or weirded out sounds to integrate into the band’s repertoire ?

"I think we've always explored different kinds of sounds, as we're avid consumers of all kinds of music. But I think the mix of everything in our music comes naturally.  I’d say we don’t put too much effort into that. Sometimes it just gets too weird or doesn’t fit, but if it fits, it fits. I remember the first song we recorded sounded a bit like a really long dramatic opus comprised of everything we ever listened to, with instruments from all over the world just for the sake of it. It sounded, well, not so good"

SB: The earlier self titled album seemed more folk influenced than Master Sleeps or Frid. Does the folk music or any other cultural element of Sweden still inform your music ? (The medieval trance of ‘Milarepa’ has me curious about such influences. LIke ‘Istiklal St’ off the first album, or ‘Claras Vaggvisa’ off Master Sleeps)

"Oh, thats interesting. I’d say Frid is the most Swedish album we’ve made, but I guess that comes from inspiration drawn from Swedish bands of the 60s and 70s rather than old Swedish folk music. But yes, 'Claras Vaggvisa' has got a lot of the Swedish folk-melancholia in it. Maybe the beat of 'National Drone' is more Swedish than Tuareg by the way? Mayby the melody of ‘Ex Oblivione’ from the first album is kind of Swedish. Anyway, we all still listen to music from home"

SB: Fellow countrymen, Goat are deliberately ambiguous about the composition of the band at any given time, but what about the theory that [at least] some of the band members are shared between Hills and Goat?

"I heard they are all from Korpilombolo far up north in the deep forests of Sweden. My only connection to that village is through a childhood friend of mine. She was a member of a satanic sect, and was sent to Korpilombolo to straighten herself out. But up there she only developed an even stronger belief in different kinds of rituals, and in different mythological creatures of Sweden, and ways to communicate with them. Guess its something in the air up there..."

SB: There seems more structure to the new album than the previous two, for instance the lovely melody woven into the closing passages of  ‘Anukthal’ ? Fair comment ?

"I dont know about that really. Maybe it sounds more unified than the other ones. We didn’t rush this one..  As for ‘Anukhtal’, the melody in the end was conceived a long time ago, but this is the first time it’s blended in perfectly" 

SB: The fresh artwork on the re-issue of ‘Master Sleeps’ and now equally lurid artwork on ‘Frid’ are striking. Who is the artist ?

"The artist for Frid is a Swedish guy called Danilo. He also made cover artwork for other Swedish bands such as Flowers Must Die, and he previously made posters for our gigs. The poster that comes with the album is made by one of us. The artist who did artwork for the reissue of Master Sleeps is called Bruno Borges. We got in touch with him through Rocket Recordings" 

Listen to 'Milarepa' from Frid here: 


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