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Leader of CRAFT Joakim: “People Should Focus Less of Their Attention on Musical Idols”

The webzine, which stopped its activity for a while, presents an interview with the leader of the Swedish deep underground back metal act CRAFT Joakim.

People who don’t know CRAFT very much would be very glad if you'd give a short overview about the band and its history.

We formed the band in late 1994. We rehearsed a lot and did all sorts of things except for releasing anything until 1999 when we released our demo “Total Eclipse”. In 2000 we recorded our debut album “Total Soul Rape” with Nox on guest vocals. Shortly after that we offered him to join as a full member. We have also recorded and released two other albums since then: “Terror Propaganda”, and last year’s “Fuck the Universe”. The current line up is Joakim (guitars, music/lyrics), John (lead guitars) and Nox (vocals).

When Daniel Halén left CRAFT you were left without a drummer. How has it affected the band and what are your future plans with CRAFT?

We didn’t make a big deal out it because we didn’t think everyone would automatically assume he left the band as if he had some better option, instead of assuming we fired him. To set the record straight, Daniel was fired because the negative aspects of having him in the band were greater than the positive. He had a very apathetic personality and it was difficult to work with him. We really didn’t have any other option; either he had to leave or the whole band would fall to pieces because I was getting really tired of telling him to shape up all the time. He got too many chances from us. It’s really stupid on my part but for a long time I had my hopes up that he would get out of his black hole or wherever he was and just take shit seriously for once, but obviously he wasn’t much for self-improvement or honesty. My mistake is wasting so much time and energy on letting him prove otherwise, because he obviously couldn’t do it. Daniel’s departure from the band brings only positive changes. Once again I am genuinely interested in keeping the band going. Currently, I am writing for another album. When it’s time to record we will consider the drummer situation again, but until then we really don’t want to involve any more people because they just fuck things up.

Until now you have released three albums. Is there an album you'd say is better than the other ones and how would/do you compare them?

To me “Fuck the Universe” and “Total Soul Rape” are about equally good. They are my favorites, just in different ways. “Terror Propaganda” to me is OK, but not as good as the other two.

I think one can either like CRAFT or hate it – so how has the repercussion been to your last, ”Fuck The Universe” album?

The response have been very diverse. So this time around we seemed to have provoked more stupid people with especially our album title, which apparently “isn’t black metal”. But they are right, it isn’t black metal at all. I mean we can’t have people running around swearing in black metal, and the title neither contains the philosophical weight of Nietzsche’s work (which nobody seems to read anyway), nor does it make you believe we are rocket-scientists through spelling of big, important words. And it doesn’t have the words “goat”, “vomit”, “cunt” or “christ” anywhere in it. It also doesn’t have a title which is stolen directly from a bible verse or spell all the C’s with K’s instead. All these valid points makes it basically an extremely un-black metaly title for an extremely un-black metaly album for some people, I suppose. But for the record though, we truly wanted it to be more true and evil, but we didn’t know how to conform to all the latest trends so that’s why it isn’t more KVLT!

Is your last album more like a typical black metal or do you try to give the listener something new and interesting?

The only thing we really try to do is not worrying or concerning ourselves with what the listener will think. If we’re satisfied when we have finished mixing the album, then that’s all we need or set out to do. We haven’t gone through any trouble trying to invent something new, because there really isn’t enough good traditional black metal around and someone has to do that too.

”Fuck The Universe“ - it is pretty defiant name for an album. Does it somehow express your feelings and inner thoughts about the world and system overall?

Of course. That’s the common foundation for the three of us. If we strip down the properties of the three of us as individuals, then that’s what we share, first of all. It’s the misanthropy; the single most important thing in the history of Craft.

How would you describe Crafts musical development from early days “Total Eclipse“ to your third album “Fuck The Universe“? How have the music and your ideas changed over the years?

I think to the outsider the music seems to be about the same on all releases. My ideas, however, have evolved a lot over these last seven years we’ve been releasing music. I’m not in any way the same person I was back then, or even three years ago. I don’t look back, I’m not a nostalgic or sentimental person. Seven years ago I wasn’t even a tenth of the person I am now, and hopefully I will say the same in another seven years. If I’m not evolving I might as well commit suicide. If I think about the person I was even three years ago I can’t identify with him even for a second. It’s the same when writing music. I did write music earlier, that when I hear it today, I can become impressed by the song writing in the same way that I would be if a complete stranger would have written it and played it to me because the ideas in there are so different from what ‘I would do’. I would say the reason we sound fairly consistent over time is because I listen to the old Craft stuff and I am inspired by it the same way I am inspired by my other favorite bands. The old stuff is inspiring me to write new Craft material, it’s giving birth to itself in a way.

In the early beginning CRAFT was known as NOCTA. You recorded a demo in 1997, but didn’t release it – why? Haven’t you thought about re-recording it with a new touch?

It’s around somewhere. It has really weak sound and the songs are pretty boring. The vocals aren’t recorded either. We might get the idea to take bits and pieces from it to form new songs, but I don’t think we’ll ever re-record the tracks as they were. We have better songs from the same period which would make much more sense of re-recording.

Is there a black metal band or bands you would compare CRAFT’s music and attitude with?

Attitude-wise, I have no idea. I have thought for some time that KOLDBRANN and us are somewhat on the same page musically.

What do you think how famous CRAFT is in the black metal scene? Is fame even important to you altogether?

I wouldn’t want any fame directed at me as a person, whatsoever, it just seem so completely pointless and unnecessary. I also despise worshiping other humans, and people should really focus less of their attention on musical idols and that stuff, it’s just a complete waste of time. If the band is famous, however, is a completely different story. Fame for a band is good, no doubt. Are we famous? I don’t think so.

Can you give a short overview about what is happening in the Swedish metal scene these days?

You have to ask someone who knows. I am not interested in scenes anymore, I’m through with that.

I guess it’s almost like a tradition to ask a black metal band member what does he think about black metal situation nowadays?

I think there are too many goddamn labels. The labels destroyed the scene, and now I have other things to divert my energy towards, so I don’t keep track anymore. Fuck that. Everybody wants to have a distro and a label, but no one is professional enough to run one. Lazy fatasses who don’t understand the kind of work it takes and are just in it to move piles of crap (i.e. substandard shit records) from one place to another, print some piss vinyls, exploit some hard working bands and at the end of the day go to gigs to drink their heads into pieces. If you have a band, how many reliable labels do you know of or have heard of? I’m guessing there aren’t many. I would also say it has become more and more noticable with every year just how big of a role trends really play in the black metal scene, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m not interested in the scene anymore.

Thanks for your time!

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