Interview with: Freak Kitchen
Freak Kitchen are back - with a soon-to-be released new single and album, as well as back in Madrid to headline the Iberian Progressive Fest. Mastermind and guitarist Mattias "IA" Eklundh answers a few questions... this time it's not about anything technical or guitar-related, though:
Dark Music Site You're about to release a new album and a new single, how does that feel? Still excited after so many releases? What can we expect?
IA: It feels damn good to be frank. Each album is your little baby and means a lot. It frames your life in a way. You can expect a beefy rock album, freak style. I think that Cooking with Pagans finally has the sound and energy of Freak Kitchen live; the energy and rawness. It is anything but overproduced, stripped down, drums, bass and guitar. To the point.
DMS: You've always released your albums on a small independent label from Denmark... will do you do so with the next album as well?
IA: Yes, itís our label but we license the albums to various companies over the world. We signed a new deal for North America that we are very happy about. DMS: What influences you in your songwriting in general (reality... mood.. art...other music)?
IA: To sound a bit pretentious, life itself; things you experience, read about, travels, books, studies, articles, anything goes. I do believe you can write about anything and the more personal the more potent. Homo Sapiens can tell if you mean what you sign about or not (well, maybe thatís not true considering all the dumb ass lyrics out there, but...)
DMS: Your albums have evolved from alternative metal/ rock with a prog/ experimental touch to more fusion-oriented stuff (imho), though those elements have always been there. How did that evolution happen? Was it a conscious or an unconscious process?
IA: I try not to think too much about what I and my fellow freak brother Bjorn and Chris do. You just do it. Looking back I can see why things sound or happen the way they do but while in the midst of it, you are very subjective. Cooking with Pagans is of course a Freak Kitchen sounding record yet it has plenty of new and old influences mixed together creating a sound the band never had before. When writing the compositions I found myself in a complete AC/DC revival and it shows although is disguised a bit with inspiration from India, Nepal and other places we adore going to. Itís like Angus Young went to Chennai and cranked up his distortion a bit.
DMS: Do you think it's mostly musicians who listen to Freak Kitchen? Or is that just a prejudice against ďprogressiveĒ bands?
IA: There are needless to say many musicians who listen to us, the guitar hero fanatics and all that, but surprisingly many regular guys and gals who simply get off on the songs, the different flavor.
DMS: The lyrics on the Freak Kitchen albums are pretty outspoken against everything that goes wrong in society. Do you think people will listen to them, or at least start to think? Do you think people are interested in lyrics?
IA: I am in interested in lyrics and can only write the way I write. To sing about something that actually means something to you is a necessity for me (or else I forget the words). Of course there are many who couldnít care less about your concerns channeled through freaky metal stuff and thatís also OK.
DMS: You've worked with many different artists... what musicians have you worked with, enjoyed working with or plan to work with? What were your best experiences?
IA: Besides my lovely band mates in FK, working with my close friend Jonas Hellborg is always a true treat and very challenging in a splendid way. Jonas and I have a new album coming out in January that we cut together with enormously kick ass drummer Ranjit Barot from Mumbai, India. Itís entitled The Jazz Raj. Not for the faint of heart, quite demanding stuff. I also very much enjoy playing my Indian friends since I learn so much it almost gives me a headache. I would have loved to be in Frank Zappaís band but was born a little too late for that, so... A dream would be to work with composer Howard Shore whose music is stunning in so many ways, especially his work with Canadian film maker David Cronenberg, whom I also admire and get huge chunks of inspiration from.
DMS: For you, music has seemingly no "genre" boundaries... your music is influenced by a lot of different stuff. Do you believe thinking of music in "genres" is overrated?
IA: Yes. Genre thinking is utter crap. Man seems to need it though... to label and compare everything to death. Itís either good or bad music in my book.
DMS: You're coming back to Spain in no time, did you enjoy your last stay here?
IA: I always enjoy Spain! Weíre happy to be back a quickie! Expect more freakiness in 2014!
DMS: Why ďFreak KitchenĒ? Do you cook music ;-)?
IA: Indeed we do! We are thinking about opening a bar/restaurant in the future, called, of course, Freak Kitchen, serving kick butt vegetarian, organic food in a special style, plus tiptop drinks to go with it. The concept is already there: you have the Cooking with Pagans menu, a Spanking Hour with drinks for half the price, the Appetizer, the Smorgasbord and whatnot!
DMS: Has there been a come-back of progressive/ experimental music in the last 10 years or so?
IA: To be honest, I havenít got a clue. I listen to Dean Martin in my spare time and have very little or no knowledge about whatís going on around me.
DMS: You've just released the fourth volume of the Freak Guitar - Growing Your Own Moustache tuition series for musicians, what does it consist of and who is it meant for?
IA: The fourth volume focuses a lot on rhythm as many musicians have an extremely bad sense of it once you leave your safe zone. So itís for anyone who needs to shape up in their playing. All the moustache volumes derive from Freak Guitar Camp material. The Freak Guitar Camp is a stunning couple of weeks, my favorite time of the year. Check it out at: www.freakguitar.com
DMS: What about your (IA's ) solo work and other projects? How do you manage to work on so many things? Will there be a follow-up to "Art Metal" by Art Metal (I'd love that ;-)!)?
IA: January 15th is the worldwide release of the second Art Metal album with me and Jonas!
DMS: You've toured such "exotic" countries as India... that's unusual for a rock band. How was the experience?
IA: I am a junkie for India for better or worse. At times in the country I canít wait to leave. Being home for a couple of weeks I get the urge to go back. Itís heaven and hell. A different planet altogether. Thereís no escape from India once youíve set your foot there and have been there plenty and will go back next year again. I adore Nepal as well. Check it out and get yourselves a gigantic punch in the face and soul.
DMS: Any country or special place you'd like to tour and have never done so before?
IA: There are a bunch of South American countries we need to go, thatís about it.
DMS: Last words...
IA: See you in a little while, dear Spanish freaks! Canít wait to hook up with you! Spread the word. Take good care.