The Swedish Are Coming! An Interview With Tombstones
I first met Tombstones when I was 18 and living in Paris. Before Psycho Las Vegas I hadn’t seen them in years. When I did, the band’s frontman Ole’s first reaction upon seeing me was, “Matt, you’ve grown up!” Suffice to say – it was great getting to reunite with these old friends. Tombstones are one of those doom bands who truly get it and who I feel never get the attention they deserve, especially not outside of Europe. Things are changing, though, and now we must all wait for their triumphant return to the States!
So how the hell are you guys?
Ole (O): We are doing awesome! It’s been a long party since we arrived. We’ve been twisting our days around and are super jetlagged. We’ve been hanging out in Vegas and meeting the guys behind the festival and smoking good weed.
How does the weed in Vegas compare to the weed in Norway?
O: It’s stronger and more potent. It’s more comforting. We have good stuff in Norway too, though.
Can you grow weed in Norway?
People do, it’s not legal of course. They make growing tents and do it at home in their apartments.
What’s the appeal of weed to you?
O: It makes us feel good and creative. It gets us to dig deeper into the music we play.
Bjorn (B): It’s a necessity in life!
O: Not necessarily but it’s good stuff.
To what extent does it impact the music?
O: It’s hard to say because it definitely does when we are rehearsing or jamming. It gets us in a different state of mind and allows us to connect. In that way it definitely impacts the music but it’s hard to say exactly what. It’s just the way we make music!
Is there anything like Vegas in Norway?
O: Not at all! You don’t have resorts like this. You have some in the south during the summertime but not like this at all.
So this is your first time in America – are you nervous about the new audience?
O: Just stoked – not nervous.
B: We’re just glad it’s finally happening!
Will you be back soon?
O: Unfortunately we traveled in on tourist visas so they took care of all of our instruments and pedals and we are hoping to plant a seed in the US scene with this gig and then come back for a tour later on. It bothers me because it’s so easy for American bands to get to Europe but the other way around is completely insane. Color Haze just canceled because of immigration shit!
Obviously you have the new record, how has Tombstones been evolving?
O: Slowly but steadily! We’ve been taking all of the opportunities that we have been handed and are trying to make the best out of every gig and make our network stronger. I think it’s absolutely moving in the right direction – slowly but in a good way.
The other thing I remember talking to you about is your band member who passed – how do you do that these days?
O: We are actually going to play the last song he ever wrote at our set here. We haven’t played that song since 2010. We felt it was right to honor him on our first time in the US to use this awesome instrumental piece to honor him and bring him along with us. He’s not necessarily a big part of the music anymore but he’s part of the way of thinking and being in a band.
What about his way of thinking got you?
O: Just to have visions and go for it no matter what. This sounds like the biggest cliché but it’s still true. He just wanted us to go for it and be proud of it. I remember he was the visionary in the band at that time. That was seven years ago now. We were more settled in normal life and jobs and he didn’t care. He didn’t pay taxes so he could have more money for the band!
Who is the visionary in the band now?
B: All of us. It doesn’t matter who comes up with an idea and we take it from there.
O: We have become a lot more unified in our writing, especially with the addition of Marcus. He started as a stand in two years ago but now he’s become a part of the band and he gave us more freedom at rehearsals because he catches stuff so much more easily. We can go with the flow a bit more rather than having to plan it out.
Have you started work on the next record?
O: We probably have three or four song sketches so far that we jam on. I don’t think it’s going to take us that long to finish the new record when we get home after this. WE have it in our heads.
So you have no European touring coming up after this?
O: This year has been such a bummer for us touring wise. We were supposed to go for three weeks with Acid King in May and that got postponed. Then we were supposed to tour with Elder but that got canceled too so now we aren’t going to tour Europe until February. That sucks because it will have been a year since the album dropped. We are proud of the record but we haven’t been able to tour it.
What do you love so much about music?
O: Just the way it makes us feel!
B: Getting people to have that same feeling is awesome.
O: I love being part of the same sort of passionate community.
B: It’s a big family!
O: It really is.