Agrimonia are masters of capturing raw energy on record and none more so than on their upcoming album Rites of Separation. Ghost Cult caught up with two of the five crust revellers, Christina (vocals/keyboards) and Pontus (guitar/backing vocals), to put their latest musical ventures under the microscope.
Your Southern Lord debut Rites Of Separation is about to be released. Can you shed some light on the themes that you’re covering within the album?
Christina: I always write lyrics about topics that feel important to me. It can be really private or broader subjects. For me it is important to sing about things that affect me. But I also like the songs to be a bit abstract, a poetic journey. I like the listener to get their own idea of what the songs are about. Some themes on Rites of Separation are environmental issues, the struggle of indigenous people and minority cultures and the fight to be yourself despite group pressure.
How do you feel that Rites of Separation builds on previous album Host of the Winged? How do you as musicians stay inspired to progress musically?
Pontus: With Host of the Winged we had a lot of ideas for the music, and eventually we took that album to the studio directly, without really rehearsing the songs as a band. It was a really long and complex album, and we didn’t really want to take Agrimonia further in that direction. We wanted to make a more direct album with Rites of Separation, and we also rehearsed the material together and let the songs sink in before we recorded it; which I think paid off really well. It’s hard to say what makes you inspired, but I guess you always want to make the next album better than the last one. We never thought that much about progression or evolution with Agrimonia; usually it just happens by itself.
How did you decide on the cover artwork for Rites Of Separation?
Christina: The first lyrics I wrote for this album were “the battle fought”. It is about my struggles at the hospial after a routine operation had gone wrong. I think we decided quite early we wanted the cover of the album to have something to do with this. For me it has been a way to personally process the horrors that the experience gave me.
Do you feel it’s important to have a strong connection to your fans? There are so many ways to connect nowadays, but do you think that it’s vital to keep a sense of community amongst fans of your music?
Christina: Yes, very important! For me it is one of the most important things about playing music. I come from the punk scene and the community there is really strong and when playing shows it is like playing to your friends. There is no hierarchy between bands and the people coming to the shows. That is the way I like it.
Being part of an ever-flourishing Swedish scene, what do you think it is that contributes to the growth of extreme music in your country?
Pontus: Maybe inspiration feeds inspiration? I never thought about it that much, but I’m happy to be surrounded by great bands and great shows.
You formed Agrimonia in fairly modern times, in 2005. How has extreme music in Sweden changed in your eyes, since you all started playing in bands and getting involved in the scene in general?
Pontus: I think that within the last couple of years, people are getting more excited, energetic and generally positive about music. No complaining about this or that, divisions etc. Great shows all the time, lots of great bands, lots of variety and everyone seems happy about it. The way it should be.
If you could take one moment from the last eight years as a highlight for Agrimonia, what would it and why?
Christina: There is so much it is hard to choose! But I will always remember when we sent our demo out to see if any label wanted to release it on LP. We got an answer from Kleister at Skuld releases, a D.I.Y label we have a great respect for, who has released so many good bands. He really liked it and wanted to release it. This was a very important moment for us as a band.
Out of the countries that you’ve been able to tour, where would be your favourite’s as a band and why?
Christina: I think that all countries have their own charm but Germany is really good for touring- you get fed really well, free beers and there is always lots of people at the shows. The States was really exciting to play in and Mexico (we only played one show there) was totally crazy, in a good way. It seemed like they appreciated having a band from overseas there a lot.