The history of Beseech begins in 1992, in the band ́s hometown of Borås (near Gothenburg), Sweden. Klas Bohlin (guitar), Jörgen Sjöberg (vocals) and Morgan Gredåker (drums), three hungry teenagers with ambitions, founded a band called Beseech. Soon thereafter some members left and Robert Vintervind (guitar) and Andreas Wiik (bass) joined the band. From that day Klas and Robert started to develop a special co-writing relation, which became a solid ground in the development of Beseech’s gothic sound. Later on Anna Andersson (vocals & keyboard), with a voice like an angel joined the band. At this point of time, not so many gothic metal bands had yet started to experiment with harmonies for both male and female vocals. In 1995 Beseech began to hang out at StudioMega with the producer Christian Silver, who became to be an important person close to the band for many years. Together they developed the Beseech sound into a quite unique semi-acoustic doom/progressive format, using classical instruments such as cello, violin, flute and piano. After a successful recording session, Beseech came up with their success demo “Tears”, which led to a record deal with Metal Blade Records who released Beseech debut album ”…from a bleeding heart” in 1998.
In 1999, Beseech signed a new worldwide record deal with Pavement Music and Klas, Jörgen and Robert began to write songs for their 2nd album “Black emotions”. This time the music took a different direction from the doom/progressive-oriented sound found on the first album. Beseech experimented with going deeper into the gothic style and the vocals got cleaner, but with the same atmosphere and spirit of Beseech. For this album, Lotta Höglin replaced Anna Andersson on vocals. Black Emotions” was released in 2000 and Beseech promoted the album by joining forces with Theatre of Tragedy and Lacuna Coil during their 2001 European tour. Shortly after the tour, Jörgen Sjöberg (vocals) got burned out and was forced to leave the band and Beseech braced for a new era with Erik Molarin on vocals.
In 2001 Beseech signed a new worldwide record deal with Napalm Records who released Souls Highway in 2002 that received euphoric raves by critics and fans worldwide. By the end of 2002, a music video for the song “Between the lines” was released via the Internet and downloaded by hundreds of thousands all over the world. In 2003, a longtime member and songwriter Klas Bohlin (today lead vocals) decided to leave the band, to continue with his late 60′s sounding and psychedelic experiment Depressive Art. Also for this band, Klas decided to make the recordings at StudioMega with Christian Silver, but this time working with a new young talented guy, Johan Örnborg (our new bass player) behind the mixing controls, whom today is also a member of Beseech.
In 2004 Beseech 4:th album Drama was released, but without Klas in the band, the compositions became more experimental, groovier, presented a heavier sound, and both music and lyrics reflected more attitude than ever before. On “Drama” Manne Engström (Klas replacement, but still today on guitar) was part of the creative process for the first time.
In 2005 Beseech released, what was supposed to be their last album and the music took another direction towards the modern style of metal/rock music. Beseech did about a year and a half of touring on Sunless Days before they decided to put the band to rest because of internal band issues. Robert needed a break from the music, and the other members that hadn’t gotten so much creative attention in Beseech started writing music for their new band, Mary Major.
In the summer of 2012 Beseech was brought back to life again by the original composers, Klas Bohlin (today vocals) and Robert Vintervind (guitar). After some successful jams their new material sounded more Beseech than ever, back to its roots with delivering the same characteristic melancholic feeling, but in a new mature way. Shortly after, Manne Engström (guitar) re-joined the band and Beseech entered the “classic Beseech studio”, StudioMega/Fascination Street during the fall of 2012 to figure out the new direction of the band.
For a band that lasts over 20 years, some changes in the line up is often a fact. Due to the new sound, it was also necessary with some lineup changes. The new members are; Johan Örnborg (bass), producer/mixer at Fascination Street Studios. Angelina Sahlgren Söder (vocals), with experience from both theatre and musicals. Håkan Carlsson (drums), is rounding up the new line up with a more intense drum playing. The most obvious change is the third generation of singers. With Klas and Angelina behind the microphones Beseech has developed a more country influenced way of singing with more space for harmony vocals.
HMA: I would like to start with the album title ‘My Darkness, Darkness’ and character of the album. What is the general feel and mood?
Overall, it is a sad album that may not suit to put on at a happy party. Musically we have taken a step more towards rock than metal. The music is still heavy and gloomy but has also found a way back to our roots and the melancholic core which you can hear while listening on our early albums, and Souls Highway in particular. On the other day, someone mentioned that a better description of the new Beseech would be melancholic rock, rather than gothic metal.
The main lyric theme for this album is about our daily darkness, the inconvenient moments in life that we rather not choose to talk about. Like tragedies, losses and eventually… death, things that sooner or later will happen to everyone. Somehow we have found a way to live in symbiosis with the darkness and the light to deal with our ups and downs. We are always happy bragging about our good deeds and bright memories, while we are silent about something like a cancer diagnosis in the family. For this album, I also got the confidence from the others to write all the lyrics. Somehow it felt natural to reflect over my own thoughts and experiences from the darkness that has been going on in my life. During the last few years, I have had a more humble approach to life and my intention was never to write pretentious dark lyrics, but at the time when I wrote them, I went through a pessimistic midlife crisis in which this felt relevant.
Another thing that has affected how we sound on this album is related to the years when Beseech was put to rest, since both I, Manne and Robert were active in other bands and projects. When I decided to leave Beseech after Souls Highway in 2003, it had nothing to do with my friends in Beseech. I had for quite some time been longing for writing music inspired by the late 1960s, which you probably can hear a glimpse of in Beseech songs like Sunset 28, Neon Ocean and Little Demonchild. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that my best option was to leave the band since the songs that I had written back then was impossible to use in Beseech. So I moved on towards other musical challenges with my next band and psychedelic experiment – Depressive Art. While I was founding this band, there was something excited that happened to me as a musician. Finally, I found expression in my own voice, strong enough to continue as a lead singer, something that took my songwriting to a higher level. On our previous Beseech albums, I have only done some backing vocals here and there. After all, there is a special connection between the singer and the lyrics, that is hard to describe, but which is of importance when you start to experiment with melodies for the vocals.
When Beseech broke up, Robert and Manne were excited to move on with their new bands Lavette and Those We Don’t Speak Of, also these two bands took another musical direction away from the gothic stuff, towards modern metal which made them develop as musicians as well. So when I look back at the ”lost” years, I realize how important they have been for today’s edition of Beseech, since we have brought so much experience and new competence into the band. The most obvious change is that we have made space for the third generation of singers. This time with me and Angelina behind the microphones, we have taken the vocals to a new level with using different kinds of harmony vocals. As you can hear while listening to ”My Darkness, Darkness” we have also added lots of vocal background layers inspired by dark country music and the late 1960s. I believe that these new elements and influences have given the Beseech sound an interesting dimension that feels interesting in 2016.
HMA: Why is important to keep these type of emotions alive?
I guess that creative people need creative projects. Beseech has always been a band that have explored new ideas, and slightly developed for each album. I am also grateful that we have been blessed with the creative freedom to do whatever we want. No label or manager has ever interfered during the writing and recording process. One of the reasons behind the reunion was that we wanted to make an album that we would like ourselves, and so we did.
HMA: This is your first album since ‘Sunless Days’ which came out in 2005. Can you tell us about the absence of making music and what made them come back possible?
During the years when Beseech was put to rest, me and Robert who have been the main composers over the years, but also the creators of the Beseech sound talked a lot about doing something creative with music again. But it took us many years to finally come up with something proper, like a reunion of Beseech. Then in the summer of 2012, we met again with two guitars and a couple of cold beers. Once we started jamming again we were quite surprised that we still had it and how much Beseech everything sounded, back to our roots and the melancholic core which can be found on our early albums. A few days later we gave Manne a call and later on, the three of us entered StudioMega together with our producer Johan Örnborg (today also bass) to figure out the new direction of Beseech. This time with me on lead vocals, as well as the new rock-oriented sound, we also realized that we needed to do some further changes within the lineup in order to make everything fit.
HMA: What would you say is the highlight of the album and any significant lyric line that you feel stand out?
”Sometimes our destiny goes wrong, for someone like you and those who are among you”. Those words are taken from our third single ”The Shimmering”, and that specific line summarizes the whole lyric theme for the new album in a good way. It was actually one of the last songs that I wrote for this album and for me in person, it’s about my own thoughts and worries for the future, confronting my deepest fears over certain coming events in life. The Shimmering is also dedicated to those who are going through a hard time, lost in the dark struggling with finding a way towards the light.
For this song, we have also made a music video, in which our video director Albin Glassell at Stellar Void came up with a story of his own, and it’s about a young woman that just has lost her father. Eventually, she is getting blinded by delusions, that there might be a life after death.
HMA: How would you describe the writing process and recording? Also in comparison to your previous releases?
There are so many things that have happened in 20 years. I remember when we recorded our first album ”…from a bleeding heart” in 1996, that we basically lived in StudioMega during six weeks together with our producer Christian Silver. Long days and late nights but also lots of stress since studio time costs money. Back then you also needed to be much more prepared before you entered the studio and the workflow was different since there were no such things as computers in the studio. Today there are great possibilities with modern technology and home studios that have made it easier to write and record at several locations, which to us has been important since we live in different cities.
This time we also have much more competence and experience within the band, from making albums. Everything but the final mixing and mastering are made by us. Today Manne is also the main owner of Studio Mega, which is a good asset for the band. When it comes to the basic songwriting of the music for this album, I have written three songs together with Robert, two together with Manne but also a few entirely on my own, except for the song Highwayman which is a cover written by Jimmy Webb. For me, the writing process in making a new song often begins with an unforeseen event in life, that makes me emotionally affected. Then I usually pick up my acoustic guitar and try to come up with some chords, melodies and a rough sketch for the lyric.
Once we entered the studio another creative process began, where all members have contributed as musicians. At first, Johan Örnborg (bass and producer) did an amazing job with creating the basic structure in each song, like tempo, breaks and as well as some arrangements. Eventually, he also developed our basic sound, while we recorded the drums and the rhythm guitars. Then Manne did some hard work with both engineering and producing most of the guitars but also some of the drums.
When we were done with the basic stuff, we shared the recording files and continued at different locations working from home. Robert developed his ideas, Håkan did some percussion, Johan recorded all his bass but also some editing while Manne was busy at the studio working on additional guitars and other stuff. Since I had written all the lyrics, it also became my job to record and produce the vocals. I have all the necessary studio gears at home, and could, therefore, proceed with this whenever I felt inspired. For me, this was awesome since I prefer distance during a creative process. If I ever got stuck I took a break and did something else for a while.
Like an old guitar player, it was also hard to stay away from the guitar. Most of the acoustic guitars but also some clean Fender are recorded by me, while Robert and Manne did all the heavy guitars. The thing that I’ve spent the most time on, was to write and arrange the keyboards and Sound FX using midi, which in the meantime also Robert, Manne and Johan did. Then towards the end, we invited our longtime friend and producer since 1995, Christian Silver that once again managed to add his black magic touch, during the final mixing and mastering sessions.
HMA: Lastly… the cover art is really striking, what can you tell us about it and the relationship with the artist?
Since we were serious about bringing back the melancholic core from our early days, I think that it was really important to show this at our album cover. As you can see the old logo is back as well. Anyway, at first we thought of using Travis Smith again, but then Robert got a tip from a colleague, that we probably should ask Alexander Jansson before we decided anything. Alexander is actually pretty famous for his art, with over 500.000 fans on Facebook. One thing that makes him unique within the music business is that he hasn’t made so many covers for bands yet. Eventually, we contacted him, and then we were surprised that he turned out to be a Beseech fan, and was really glad that we asked him about the cover art. I also believe that he really managed to nail the important expression with the woman that is covering her eyes with her hands. If you are into a band, it’s really important to understand the bigger picture, how all the pieces fit together. A band needs to communicate in a certain way, to keep the core solid. If it won’t link together with both the sound and the visual expression of the band, people will get confused.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2016 © Heavy Metal Artwork. All rights reserved.