Interview with the Swedish Band Pressure
By Mick Michaels
COSMICK VIEW: Hello! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for takingsome time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Pressure: Hello and thank you for the opportunity!
How would you define texture within a song? Is it more than just words and
music when you are looking to develop depth in a song?
Pressure: When it comes to lyrics that is one of the main things for us. We define substance and texture by basing all our lyrics on true and in life stories that we have experienced or have been told by people around us. There are so many stories out there and we feel it’s important to be a voice for those stories. Simon, who does most of the songwriting, says that to truly be able to do this you have to dare to live life and not be afraid of good or bad experiences. You got to listen to people and we mean REALLY listen, and you have dare to accept a challenge. When writing a song, we need to be able to connect to it ourselves to really reflect the core of it.
Do you feel that for a song to truly work, to truly grab an audience and not
let go, it has to be something personal to both songwriter and listener? If so,
how does one achieve such a connection, in your opinion?
Pressure: When we write a song, we are always connecting with it. We tie our own experiences into it. We often write about a pressure, an emotion or situation that people can relate to. But a good and true story always have at least two sides so we leave room in our songs for you to react and connect with it as you may. An example is our song “The Shadow”, it’s about your shadow. Almost everyone we know has some opinions about shadows. They can be scary or threatening or effectful or a lot of different things. When we ask different people, we get a lot of different answers. Simon who wrote the song sees his shadow as a representation of his guardian angel; someone who follows him and never lets him down…a strong friend who is always around. We also collect “emotions”, you know when you accidently stub your toe and are jumping around on one foot, you stay for a second and store it in your emotional bank…this is a type of pain! And when you are on stage and you need immediately pain in you voice or instrument you can just remember the toe. You can do this with all emotions and that “bank” helps us to connect with each and every song that we do!
If people are generally moved by the music itself, how important, then is the
overall lyrical theme of a song with regard to making a deep impact on the
audience? Are words and what they say or mean really that important when it
compares to the music itself?
Pressure: We see ourselves playing a subgenre of Heavy Metal called Story Metal. In this genre the lyrics and the music are equally important. We tell stories with our lyrics and set the mood and scenes with our music. So it’s hard to do one thing without the other. And we are all different…I mean when you ask different people in the audience some will say that they are into the lyrics, some will say they are into the music itself and some will say that they cannot choose. So for us, it’s impossible to choose. Words are at least as important as the music and for us its like Yin and Yang; a perfect combination brings the ultimate platform for telling the story at hand.
Over the last year, Pressure began
releasing a string of new singles in Sweden and now works to have those same
singles translated into English. Tell us
about that? What is the process like and is the essence of the original concept
of the song able to be kept intact while going from Swedish to English?
Pressure: Most of our songs are in at least two languages. Later this year we will also release a German EP so not only are our songs in Swedish and English, but they are also in German as well.
On our upcoming album we will have both English and Swedish versions of the songs. Our album tells a story which will be in the cover booklet and on our website as well.
When we started Pressure we wrote the songs in Swedish and we mostly still write our songs in Swedish. But we want more people to really be able to follow our songs and therefore we have worked really hard in translating them. We have worked with natively English and German speaking people not to do a direct translation of the song because then we will not keep the concept and the language that the song requires to tell the story. Often, we must change phrasings, melodies, and some other things to get the right sentences into the lyrics. The processes are kinda long, but we never stress this as for us the concept and the core are the song and we really have to keep it intact. After we have done the translations, we go to other native speaking persons of that language and get their reactions to our songs. It’s all about the delivery of the story and you must keep that in mind when translating. And you have to say the phrase in a correct way in that language. That’s why you simply cannot just direct translate it.
CV: Do you feel foreign bands working to make a name for themselves in the United States have a certain appeal to the American audience that native bands tend not to have? Is there a unique allure in your opinion that gives an edge?
Pressure: We think it might be so. There is a LOT of great American bands out there though! We can be both exotic with our Swedish versions of the songs where you can build yourself an image without really knowing the words but then you can listen to the English version, and then you have to go back to the Swedish version again! We have gotten some feedback that English speaking people really like our Swedish songs because there is so much energy and power in those. An example is the Swedish song “ÄnnuMer,” https://youtu.be/5OI_d9foGDM, which has a lot of plays in the US but really no English translation. We think that our image as a Story Metal band can help bring people together regardless where they are from.
From your experience, is capturing a certain essence or energy while recording a
song something that can be easily reproduced while in a live setting, especially
if that certain something is what makes that particular song stand out? Or can
that “magical moment” never really be duplicated?
Pressure: No it cannot be reproduced and duplicated. And it wouldn’t be magical if you could. We think that each and every show is unique and should never sound the same. Actually we don’t like bands and artist sounding exact the same on stage as on their album. You react to the audience and you bring your current feelings and the world situation with you when you go up on stage and you will be a mirror of that. Simon, our lead guitarist, always improvises his solos and melodies. So when we recorded, we had like 50 solos for each song, and had to choose! And each and every show he plays a new solo and a new melody. He says that he has to play as every note is the last he would ever play and because of that he has to make each and every note really count.
With the world still stuck in a COVID
state, how does a band entice music sales, especially for new music, without
being able to perform live and personally bring the music to the people? Can an
audience still be persuaded to purchase?
Pressure: You should not have to persuade your audience. We are doing this to help people. We want our music to be used as tools for everyone out there to handle the different pressures around them. There has been a lot of pressure on people now during COVID, and as a band we see venues closing and the businesses taking some really hard blows. We think that in these times people need music helping them to handle the pressure around them and to help them understand that they are not alone…bring some hope to them with stories about other people and other fates and emotions. I think that helps people discover us and if they discover us and like our music they will stream and buy our merch and therefor we can help each other in these hard times. But as you said, it’s hard when you cannot advertise yourself on stage and you have to rely on internet. Our music is best suited for a stage and a live performance as we love to connect to our fans.
Does music create a unique way of communicating in your opinion? Does music
speak louder than words alone ever could?
Pressure: Yes, that’s one of the essences in Story Metal. We really believe that a perfect combination of striking lyrics together with the energy and power of our hard rock music can make more of an imprint on people than just a text or just a quote from someone ever could. We use this way every day to communicate with our audience and we have got a lot of responses that they have found comfort and strength in our music. We collect stories from our audience and people around us and tell their stories. Some of them have given us some of the best feedback that you can get, and that is that our song has helped them overcome something or to accomplish something. That is such a feedback that really gets to you and keeps you going on for a very long time. We believe that music can create bridges between people and even countries. It can comfort, empower, strengthen or whatever the songwriter has poured into it. A song can reach everyone as music is one of the few universal languages.
CV: What's next for Pressure? What can fans expect to see coming in 2021?
Pressure: We do hope that 2021 is the year when we can get back on the road and start to play a lot of shows but we have to wait until it’s safe of course.
We are releasing our next single “What You See (Is What You Get)” on the 19th of February. That is one of our strongest songs yet! It’s a song about daring to be yourself. People around you and even society itself tries to mold you into a fitting piece of the puzzle or to try make you “normal” We challenge the term “normal” and say that there is no such thing as a normal human being. We are all unique and should be allowed to be that way. Stand strong my friends and be yourself because that’s the way for your own happiness. Don’t care if you are different. Because you are you and that’s the best you can be! Stand tall – What you see is what you get!
After that we will release our album “The Path Of A Shadow” in late April or beginning of May! Really looking forward to that! And after that, The German EP. And in the meantime, there are a lot of videos coming out on our YouTube channel! So there are a lot of things going out. Stay tuned!
Thank you again for spending some time talking and sharing with
our readers. I wish you all the best and continued success.
Pressure: Thank you for having us!
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