Interview: Haystack

I think we just want to have an honest sound. We are a three piece, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.. We want the record to sound like it does live.

Swedish noise laden and punked up trio Haystack have recently released their latest album Doomsday Goes Away and it sees the three piece (guitarist/vocalist Uffe Cederlund, drummer Jonas Lundberg and bassist Patrik Thorngren) deliver a brilliant collection of noisy and anthemic songs with punk rock, energy and passion. Gavin Brown caught up with Uffe Cederlund to hear all about Doomsday Goes Away and all things Haystack as well as talking about his time in Swedish death metal masters Entombed and d-beat blasters Disfear among other musical projects.

E&D: The new Haystack album Doomsday Goes Away has just been released. It’s your first album in five years, how does it feel to be back with this record?    

Uffe: We didn’t realise it would be so long, it’s been five years. Our plan was to release an album every year. It took a little bit too long, but it’s good to have an album out.

E&D: Have you had this album ready for a while?

Uffe: I mean, some songs are a couple of years old, but it’s pretty fresh. We recorded in the summer. It always takes almost a year to get an album, so I think this is a pretty fast way.

E&D: Do you feel that this new album follows on naturally from The Sacrifice album?

Uffe: Yeah, we have a cleaner sound now, it’s only one guitar. I think we just want to have an honest sound. We are a three piece, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. We want the record to sound like it does live.

E&D: Do you feel that you achieved that with the record?

Uffe: I think so.

E&D: What have been the biggest influences on the sound of Doomsday Goes Away?

Uffe: I don’t know. When you’re doing this kind of music. It’s so easy to have like a big focus on the drums like Steve Albini does but I wanted to have like a bigger bass sound this time.

E&D: Is that something you want to explore even more in the future?

Uffe: Yeah, probably. When we’re in the studio, we always recorded in a different studio, but I’m not sure if we’re gonna continue doing that. It makes it interesting because you never know what’s going to happen when you work with people you’ve never worked with before. I want this to be fun and interesting. It felt really good to record in the studio this way.

Uffe: Have you had any thoughts about new material at all?

Uffe: We are a really small band and everything costs money, and you don’t really have enough time. So I thought, shit, this is gonna be the last album I’m gonna record because I felt that was hard work. I couldn’t keep focusing on the songs. We can’t afford a producer, and  I organise everything, so I haven’t really thought of writing. I have one idea for new songs. We are definitely gonna keep on going with doing the record live. I think that’s the way to go now.

E&D: Going back to the album. What struck me while listening to Doomsday Goes Away is just how anthemic and triumphant the songs on the album sound especially a song like the closing track ‘Winter’. Did you want to make this an album with a hopeful and positive vibe throughout?

Uffe: A bit. I know that song a bit out there. We thought it was a good song so we didn’t want to take it away. We had other songs like that, where it’s more like Dinosaur Jr kind of stuff. In Sweden, there’s a lot of power rock bands coming out right now but we don’t want to fall into that trend, but I think it’s okay to have one one or two songs on an album like that. It’s fun to play the song live.

 

E&D: Are you looking forward to playing live with Haystack again?

Uffe: Oh, yes. We play live a couple of times a year normally, mostly local shows. We did one in Finland but all the other shows have been in Sweden. We did a show recently. It was really good. We did a lot of new songs. It was a weird show though, in a restaurant when everybody was sitting down. It was interesting, but it was fun.

E&D: Are you going to be playing a lot of new material?

Uffe: We don’t really want to play too long. I like to change songs every night. We’re just having fun but half the songs are definitely the new ones.

E&D: It’s been thirty years since since Haystack formed. How do you still feel still making new music with the band after all these years?

Uffe: It doesn’t seem like we formed that long ago, but that’s true. I just see what’s going on right now. We formed and put out two albums in the mid 90s, and and then we had a long break, and started playing again. We started talking about it because we had the time, there was space for this kind of thing.

E&D: Can you tell us a bit about how Haystack started in the first place and what influenced your sound?

Uffe: I wanted to do another band when I was in Entombed. I was into Dinosaur Jr back then and Entombed toured with Unsane and I really enjoyed watching them live every night and I got really influenced by them. The songs became more and more influenced by them, and they put out Scattered, Smothered & Covered and I really liked that album. The Bleach album by Nirvana was a big influence on when Haystack started, it had a noise rock approach to it, I was really influenced by that. A band called Steel Pole Bath Tub too.

E&D: Do you look back in your time Entombed with fondness nowadays?

Uffe: I miss the touring days, but I drank too much so I missed a lot sometimes. I’m straight these days so I wouldn’t do that now. When you play with the same people every day you start to know how they play and we played some great shows with some great bands. I miss that. I really love everybody that’s been in the band, of course.

E&D: You reunited with the band when you performed Clandestine live with an orchestra. How was that experience and would you do something like that again?

Uffe: Yeah, I would. It was fun. I just questioned myself why we are playing with the orchestra because they were really good! We did two shows, the first was the orchestra playing Clandestine and then the band played the second part. It felt weird to play with orchestra but it was really interesting I was used to having loud amps next to me but shows like that, you can’t even have an amp loud!

E&D: When you look back at when you were starting Clandestine, did you ever think that you would be playing the album with an orchestra all these years later?

Uffe: No, of course not! When we were making Clandestine, we thought about the soundtrack to Hellraiser a lot and we wanted the guy who did the orchestration of Clandestine to think of Christopher Young, who wrote that music because we were really influenced by that on the Clandestine album, the vibe of it. I remember Nicke, who wrote most of the Clandestine album, sat in with the orchestra when they were rehearsing and he was crying because they were playing his music as they were playing how he had it in his head! He was really happy because Clandestine was like the Hellraiser soundtrack meets metal. I can understand that because I write some of the album too. It was a really good vibe.

E&D: Would you say that’s the most important album that you’ve been part of?

Uffe: A couple of years ago, I didn’t like Clandestine, but when we started dissecting it for the orchestra, it’s now my favourite Entombed album.

E&D: Wolverine Blues celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. Was it a good experience being part of that album?

Uffe: It used to be like a favourite album of mine, but it’s an album I don’t really think about these days. People talk about the album, and they talk about Clandestine and To Ride…. As it was the 30th anniversary last year, I thought we might do a show but we couldn’t do it. The Wolverine Blues album and the Hollowman EP were recorded in the same session too. We may do something for the 35th anniversary!

E&D: Entombed and Disfear, who you are also a member of, obviously have a big punk influence, is that influence and attitude something that continues into Haystack too?

Uffe: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I get associated with metal a lot. I can’t really even remember when I was a metalhead! LG, rest in peace, he was more like a metalhead but he was also into Eurodisco. When Left Hand Path came out, me and Nicke were listening to Lemonheads and Husker Du, we were more into that kind of stuff.  The stuff I write is more rock and punk nowadays.

E&D: Will Disfear ever do anything again in the future?

Uffe: I really hope so. Were not a lucky band. We don’t have much luck with members, they get ill and right now we can’t do anything due to illness but I hope we can get it together. We really want to and we’ve been working on an album for a really long time. We have songs and we have booked a studio but we have had to cancel due to circumstances. I really hope we can record that album and that would probably be the end of it unfortunately, but you never know, maybe the luck turn for us. The songs are good and it’s a really good album.

E&D: Have you got any plans for more solo material with Swarm Of Souls?

Uffe: That project was around because I wasn’t doing Haystack so I don’t know. I’m playing in another band with some friends called Holy Ghost which is like a hardcore/post-hardcore band. I joined about a year ago and we’re doing a few shows and we’ve got an album.

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