One of my favorite newcomers (so to say) Tribulation has just arrived with a brand new offering Down Below and they’ve once more proved that they’re one of the best newcomers around. After their very successful 3rd record The Children of the Night, in a way I was afraid that they could made yet another marvelous issue, but yes they did it! Down Below is a true musical sequel to their previous full-length. So, I took the chance and I met with Johannes Andersson (vocals, bass) in Budapest to have one chat about their latest issue…
Could you present us your new record, Down Below, from your own point of view?
From my point of view, it’s not big of a change from the previous ones. There’s a change of course, but not as big. I think it’s harder than the last one, The Children of the Night, it’s more aggressive. It’s kind of an atmospheric album. We also tried to make songs shorter and fit in on one vinyl.
Could we actually say that Down Below, musically, is a kind of a sequel to The Children of the Night?
Yeah, i guess. As I’ve said, the change isn’t as big as before. It’s hard to explain but, you can kind of always feel that Tribulation thread in our music. So yeah, it is kind of a sequel.
Was it hard to compose the new record and were you afraid of how the new record will sound and how the people will react?
We don’t like to think about the pressure. I mean, there is always pressure, especially when The Children of the Night got so great reviews. But we try to not think about it. Feels like the music is guiding us, we don’t have any plan like, what the new album is gonna sound like. It just happens during the writing and develops naturally, so we always end up satisfied. We just write the songs until they are perfect.
Can you tell us something about the lyrical background when it comes to Down Below? Tribulation lyrics were, not just about horror stuff, but also from a personal point of view. Could you say something about the topics that you are following?
Well, it’s kind of hard for me to speak about that because they were mostly written by the guitar player. My feeling for this album lyrically is that it’s kind of sad like, melancholy tone. And of course, it ended up this time focusing on metaphores to Down Below all the time, that’s why we gave that title to the album. Every song title, every lyric, everything somehow got down to something down below like hell or purgatory.
And what can you tell us about the cover artwork? The scene is featuring wolf or a werewolf and an old kind of city behind. What are you trying to express by it?
I remember Adam came up with an image in his head like a gargoyle kind of thing watching over a city. And as we were working on it, it transferred into something alive, so it would look alive instead of being in stone. It also came in time so it ended up being a beast looking at the town. But it’s up to listener to get the feeling. It was a feeling that we’ve had, and the red and black were the colors that fit perfectly for us.
Yes, I’ve seen that the booklet is also done that way, so we could tell the listener to buy the album if they would like to feel the atmosphere of the record. Well, when it comes to Tribulation, I always feel when I listen to the band quite malicious atmosphere and it sounds kind of evil. You have bands like Megadeth for example that sing about wars but they are anti war, if you know what I mean. But when it comes to Tribulation it’s definitely malicious and evil, and it’s reflecting your feelings as well. So, what can you tell us about your musical way and your influence?
Of course I have to say there’s a horror theme since we grew up watching all those kind of movies, the old fashion ones, a lot of Italian stuff, it was a big inspiration. It’s all about making that kind of atmosphere. And of course there are bands that made a big influence on us. We are in our 30s now, we get more open minded about music and listen to almost everything. I love The Beatles, but I also love Morbid Angel, we’re open for everything. But lately there has been a lot of experimental stuff like, Type O Negative is a favorite right now, Sisters of Mercy and bands like that. Something that’s not that metal but still very very good. You just don’t listen to genres anymore, you listen to bands that you like.
I always sensed a kind of motif in your music coming up from Type O Negative’s best years. Anyway, I’ve seen your videos, they are both great. The fans also have a really positive reviews. Can you tell us something more about Lament, the latest one? If I’m correct, the guy who filmed Attic is hired?
Yeah, it’s Robert Piel, German guy. He actually reached out to us and said he really wanted to do a video for us. We’ve seen his videos and we instantly liked it. He was a good choice. We went to visit him in Germany for two days, and filmed the video on his beautiful hill. It used to be a castle there, now there are just ruins like, form an old church. The place where we filmed is like an old theater form the 11th century. It took forever, it was really cold, we were staying out, drinking whiskey (laugh). We started around 13h and finished in 4 in the morning. But it was worth it. I really like his work. And also the actors he found for the video, they really fit in. We also did two simple videos for The World and Lady Death. So we kind of did three videos, but the Lament was the most special.
And how do you react now when it comes to The Children of the Night and Down Below, you’ve had really great reviews. Down Below is now a third place in German Metal Hammer as far as I have noticed, you also had interviews in some of the greatest magazines etc. The Children of the Night has definitely made a background for that. How do you feel about all those great reviews, great marks etc. and also the fans who love your music?
It’s really pleasing to hear all the great reviews. You never know until you release it of course. We can’t complain. Even the Swedish media is getting it. Your home country is always the last one to do it. We can only say thank you and be grateful for it. It’s been going well, and I hope it gets even better.
Speaking about the songs that you are going to play tonight or for any concerts, how do you pick up the songs?
It’s always hard to make set lists for live shows but, we try to please everyone. On this one, we don’t play songs from the horror. Our songs are a little bit longer and we don’t have that much time so, it’s mostly the songs from the other three albums, and it’s three from Down Below. It’s very hard to choose songs from the new album in the beginning because, you don’t really get to know the songs and don’t know how the people are gonna react. But the three songs that we are playing are kind of the ones that have to be there. You have to mix the old songs and the new songs. It’s very tricky.
There is always a cultural atmosphere when it comes to Tribulation. Could you tell us something about the old fashioned movies that you prefer? Which ones do you like the most?
On the new album Down Below it feels like we have that Italian feel in it, the Italian classic piano. As I’ve said before, it’s that horror feel that is our thing. That’s what we do. And it’s a good theme because it’s very wide from it’s spectra. It never gets boring. There so much depth in it. I guess we’re gonna keep doing it for a while.
You have played many shows so far, how does it feel now on this tour with Insomnium? What are some shows that had the best audience response?
We just came from Poland actually, and it seems like the Poland is one of the greatest Tribulation countries nowdays. You can see when people know the lyrics and they are really into it. There’s a lot of people showing up at the shows. Anyway, the tour is going well. The finnish guys, Insomnium, they are really great, and it’s really a good thing to be on a two band tour. We really prefer those smaller tours instead of like four or five bands which is always a nightmare. But yes, we’re gonna tour a lot. We just did a big tour with Arch Enemy. So, it’s really important to get your sleep, eat well and so on. And on this tour we’re able to do that.
Do you have some message for the people that are following you? There are a lot of people that like your music and your style.
Well, my message is, keep listening and following us, and please come to the shows. That’s the main part. Support. We need it and we love it.
- Answers by Johannes Andersson
- Interview by Marko Miranovic
- Typed by Darko Panic