Hard and heavy doom rockers Förstöra launch their long-awaited debut album, For All That Will Save Or Destroy Us, at Amplifier this Friday, January 30, with support from Foxes, Vanity and Heard Of Cows. We catch up with guitarist, Ben Lockhart.
What’s the Förstöra story? Give us a quick history lesson.
Förstöra started out in my head a few years back after not having played in a band for a couple years and thinking that perhaps I wouldn’t get the opportunity to do so again. I started writing songs that sounded the way I wanted them to, for a band that didn’t exist at the time. I’ve known Denis (Radacic) forever and I hit him up in 2009. We jammed maybe once but it stayed on the back-burner because I didn’t have a band or enough songs at the time. I just kept writing and demoing and eventually we had enough songs to show some dudes and maybe recruit people, and after a few false starts we managed to pull Dan and Roundy into the band in late 2011. We knew from the first rehearsal that this was the right lineup. We starting gigging from mid 2012 and started working towards putting out our debut album at the end of that year.
How does one pronounce Förstöra, anyway?
Förstöra is a Swedish word that means ‘to destroy, to ruin, to wreck’ etc. It’s meant to be pronounced Fur-shtur-ra, but people say it all sorts of different ways. We’re not too worried about how people pronounce it.
What’s your sound?
We’re never too sure how to describe the sound to be honest, we seem to be one of those kinds of bands that don’t quite sound like a specific thing, but are referencing a few different style and influences. Which is good because you end up sounding at least a little unique, but the downside is that people either don’t know how to classify you, or you don’t quite fit in with a scene or people’s pre-existing tastes or whatever, but that’s neither here nor there, just comes with the territory. I guess we think of ourselves as a ‘hardcore’ band because of the types of beats we use and Denis’ vocal style, but people call us all types of things. Our sound is kinda riffy and aggressive, as well as having an emotional quality to it, but one that is almost distressed more than perhaps sentimental or melancholic. It draws on some of the harmony you might hear in Black Metal more than in rock, we’re not referencing Black Metal per-se (although we certainly do like it), just drawing on some of the vibes you can get from that kind of harmony. The band has lots of influences, some more obvious ones from the hardcore genre, like Converge and Trap Them etc., but certainly there is a strong Swedish influence in there, be it from some of our favourite bands like Refused, Meshuggah, Skitsystem, Cult of Luna etc. and also just from Denis’ experiences growing up as a hardcore kid in Sweden and going to those kinds of shows, and his use of Swedish lyrics for some of the songs.
Tell us about the new album.
For All That Will Save or Destroy Us was a pretty long time in the making. We started working on it at the end of 2012; we had the songs and we kinda just jumped in and said “stuff it, lets do a full length album.” We probably weren’t quite as prepared as we thought and we still needed to do a little more writing along the way. We basically did the whole thing in-house, our drummer Roundy (Adam Round) engineered, mixed and produced the whole thing, which was awesome because we had a pretty specific idea about how we wanted it to sound. But we all work full-time, which made progress much slower than we would’ve liked and made for a pretty frustrating process at times. We’re really happy with how it’s come out though, both the sound and the artwork (Joe Kapiteyn of Redroom designs), it’s probably about as close to the initial vision as it could’ve been, so we’re grateful for that. At the end of the day, everyone that helped make the album is either in the band, or a close friend, so it’s been cool to be able to do things that way.
What’s up next for you guys?
We’re really just excited to be able to finally share the album with people and looking forward to launching it at Amplifier. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what people make of it and if anyone digs it! We’re hoping to get over East sometime this year and play a few shows to support the album too. We were fortunate enough to play in Indonesia last year, so it would be terrific to try and follow up that with some more shows. Besides that, more writing and working towards a second album. We don’t hold grand hopes or designs on things really, we just want to continue to be a working band that writes, records and plays our own brand of music that we’re passionate about.