KROM have released their second EP, ‘Misplaced‘, on Cracked Ankles. Naturally we needed to find out more.
Intrigued by a post on Facebook from Cracked Ankles pushing the new EP from Sweden based band KROM, we decided a chat was in order.
Plugged with the dubious accolade that one of the band had previously played with Evil Blizzard, this seemed likely to be our kind of thing.
And so it proved to be after a trip to BandCamp. The band’s second EP – Misplaced is a glorious sea of searing guitars, thumping bass and distorted lyrics from front man Peter Hageus.
So, to Zoom we head. You know the score by now. Swedes apparently don’t use Zoom a great deal, so we had the usual teething troubles of a picture with no sound and then sound with no picture, but we got there in the end and had a chat with Peter Hageus and Paul Freeman, the bass player.
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Peter: I’m in my combined office / home studio, working with my day job. So, no fun stories there.
Paul: I’m in the bedroom. Just escaping the kids so they don’t come running down and asking what I’m doing and who I’m speaking to. This is what we do in the evenings in Sweden. We just stay at home. We’ve now got 6 months of what seems like perpetual darkness ahead. People just go into hibernation.
P3dro: Tell us a bit about the band. How did you form, where did you meet?
Peter: It was me who got people together. I’d played in a punk band and had really short, condensed songs. Everything was verse, chorus, verse, chorus and then over.
I felt like I wanted to do something different, a bit more freeform, a bit longer and getting a groove and an atmosphere going. So, about 2 years ago I started to look for people and after a couple of false starts we came together. I felt we had a complete band.
P3dro: Where does the name come from, does it have any particular meaning?
Peter: Not really. We were having dinner, drinking beer and wine and it just sort of came up. It felt right.
Paul: The translation from Swedish to English is “Chrome“. Not that that has any relevance to anything. We kind of thought it was a cool sounding name at the time. Nothing more than that, really. But it seems to fit.
It’s a good name and I like it. There have been a few bands I’ve played in where the names were not that good. It’s quite hard thinking of a band name, especially a band name that’s just the one word.
Peter: Yeah, I like short names. … And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead is a terrible name.
P3dro: Yeah, on the EP all 5 tracks have just one word titles.
Peter: Yeah, all songs are just one word to begin with. Sometimes when it comes to publish, I embellish them, but I didn’t feel the need this time.
Paul: There’s basically one riff on each song.
Peter: So, one word, one riff.
P3dro: Which one of you was in Evil Blizzard?
Paul: That was me. Briefly. I wouldn’t say I was actually a member, but I played with them a few times on stage. Some of my very good friends are in that band. I’ve known them for 20 – 25 years. They’re a really good set of guys.
I got in touch with Stoko and he really liked the EP. He gave us a kind of pimped up digital release and it’s gone down surprisingly well. Better than we could have anticipated.
P3dro: How do you get to go from Preston to Gothenburg?
Paul: A woman. It’s a long story. I went to university in Preston in the 90s. At that time it was a really great music scene, there were some great bands hanging around Preston at the time. There was a pub that seemed to spawn all these bands, called The Adelphi in the student part of Preston. Lots of bands can be traced back to The Adelphi.
The band that spawned Evil Blizzard was a band called Brown Ring, a three piece, trad, pre-doom, kid of sludge outfit which featured Side, Kav and Stu. They were a great band around the Preston scene.
P3dro: You seem to have carried a bit of a Blizzard sound into the EP, especially on Hibernation?
Paul: Yeah, absolutely and its funny you should say that, because the vocal has been mentioned as being quite Evil Blizzard. But Peter, and the other guys in the band, I’m quite sure had never even heard of Evil Blizzard before we recorded that track.
Peter: I’ve known about them for about a week, now. But we gravitate towards the same songs. The aim of KROM was compatible with that kind of sound.
Paul: Yeah, absolutely. I think you could say our influences are the same. But the fact we sound a bit like them is a coincidence.
Peter: I always thought that was our kind of PiL song. That was the inspiration for it. But it went in another direction.
P3dro: What do you think the direction for KROM is? Where do you see the band heading?
Peter: It’s hard to put into words. I have more of a visual image of a band with just backlight and smoke. Any music that works with that feels right to me. Really loud and the audience is not gonna know whether to enjoy it … somewhere between a concert and a punishment.
P3dro: How then do you think you fit in to the music scene in Gothenburg?
Peter: It’s really hard to tell now, because it’s dead this year. No one’s playing at the moment and pretty much all the good clubs have closed down in the last couple of years. These things always go in cycles, but at the moment, we’re in between. Both as a music fan and as a musician, it’s pretty boring at the moment, but I’m hoping things will pick up.
P3dro: We understand Sweden has approached the pandemic a bit differently from other countries. Some bands have been playing gigs?
Peter: Yeah, there’s an audience limit for 50 people and you have to sit down. I haven’t been to anything. I get depressed at the thought of seeing a great rock band while sitting down at a café table. But, I think in the last couple of days they upped the limit to 300, so, we’ll see.
P3dro: We can’t really see you as being a band that would be attracted to seated gigs.
Paul: No. Definitely not. No. But we do hope something will come along soon that will enable us to get out and play some shows. That’s the aim at the moment, as I’m sure it is for a lot of bands.
P3dro: When was the Misplaced EP written and recorded?
Peter: ‘Hibernation’ is actually one of our oldest songs. The songs [on the EP]were written between now and a couple of years ago and they were recorded in the summer. [The EP] was self-recorded in the studio where we rehearse and then we had people help us with the mix.
Paul: I think we had a particular kind of sound in our heads we wanted to achieve with ‘Misplaced’. We were looking for something a bit more cohesive, a bit darker, a bit heavier as well. I’m satisfied with the way it turned out. I think we achieved that.
Peter: Yeah. The first thing we recorded had a lot of layers, overdubs and stuff. This time we [got it] probably how we would sound if it were live. There are no overdubs. All the bass was done live in the studio. The next thing will be maybe a bit much more produced, but I like that we can play this EP live and it will sound pretty much the same.
P3dro: Was it your original intention to release the EP yourselves? How did Cracked Ankles get involved with it?
Paul: That was through Stoko. Just asking for a bit of advice as to people we could contact. I’ve been out of the music scene in the UK for so long now. Stoko said [Cracked Ankles] would like to do a digital release, which they did. It all happened very quickly and we’re delighted with it.
P3dro: That’s good to hear, because releasing music in October – you’re fighting for attention with lots of bands who release music at this time of year.
Paul: Yeah, I suppose we are, but it wasn’t really a consideration for us.
Peter: It was done. We wanted to get it out there. I don’t like sitting on stuff, I kind of lose confidence in it and I want to do something better.
P3dro: Well, that was pretty much the next question. What are the plans for future releases?
Peter: I’ve got some ideas for how we could progress the sound. Nothing major, it’s more about an even harder sound and better definition. I want the guitars to be even nastier. They’re sort of nice at the moment. I want something piercing.
Paul: We’d also talked about perhaps, maybe a single for the next release. If we can find someone to press it as a 7″. Then after that, we’re not sure, whether we go for another EP. There are, maybe 3 or 4 songs now ready to go.
Peter: I think [if there were] a full length album no one would want to listen to it. In one go, anyway. I’ve had a couple of friends say: “Yeah, I liked it, but it was nice when it was over”
It should be intense. I like the EP format for this kind of music. Maybe if we started doing really long songs, it could qualify as a full length album.
P3dro: Albums seem to be getting shorter as well. Quite a few we’ve reviewed recently come in at about 30 minutes.
Peter: I really like that. When I started buying records everything would fit onto a single side of a C90 cassette. When I taped albums from friends they were 40 minutes max. And then when CDs came along, I didn’t like it at all. There were filler tracks and, Nah … I like the 40 minutes max.
P3dro: Yeah, we’d tend to agree. If you can’t get your point across in half an hour, then you’re not really doing it right?
Peter: Yeah. ‘Exile on Main Street’ has already been done and I’ve not really heard a good double album [since].
Paul: I never knew you were a Rolling Stones fan, Peter.
Peter: Yeah, I am. I like Exile.
P3dro: What kind of music do you listen to? What kind of music informs the sound of the band?
Paul: I think we both have a kind of common [taste]. There are certain bands that link us. The 3 Primal Scream albums – ‘XTRMNTR’, ‘Vanishing Point’ and ‘Evil Heat’. Not that we necessarily base our style on those, but they’re a common influence.
Anything that has attitude. Anything that drives and is really hard, whether from the rock scene, punk, dance, electronic. Anything that has balls. And heavy as well, but that can mean anything – you could have a heavy violin player. Anything that has feeling.
The other 2 guys, I’m not so sure. I think Eric listens to Swedish folk music.
Peter: Yeah. And hip-hop as well.
I think we’re all pretty diverse. I have a broad taste. I can like pretty much anything, but it has to be really good, because life’s too short for mediocre music.
But, if you wanna trace back, I’d say The Stooges and Kraftwerk. Trying to combine those two aesthetics is my end goal, I think.
Paul: There are so many bands that came after who have their roots in those two bands.
Peter: Yeah. Maybe The Velvet Underground as well.
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album we should be listening to right now.
Peter: Oh, that’s hard.
Paul: I’d say a band called Whores and the album is ‘Gold’.
Peter: I’ll go with Viagra Boys. I really like their stuff.