No nonsense music, that’s what I like most. So it can’t be a surprise that I love the music of the Swedish band Cobra Cult. Listening to their first album Cobra Cult (2018) I got more and more interested and tried to find some more information. But the most interesting way to find out more is to ask the band some questions. So thank you Johanna and Thomas to be so kind to answer my question. And I’m sure there are a lot of people who will like your music as much as I do!
First of all can you introduce yourself?
Cobra Cult is:
Johanna Lindhult – lead vocals, guitar
Thomas Jonsson – bass, backing vocals
Carl Johan “Sillen” Sillén – drums
Anders Martinsgård – guitar
We have all played for a long time in various bands and constellations over the years, extending from death metal to stoner and rock´n´roll.
Can you tell something about the history of the band?
We (Thomas and Johanna) started to wright some songs together during the summer of 2015. As they came along quite well we felt we would like to try them out for real so I (Thomas) called up Sillen that I had played with before and asked if he would be interested in just jamming a couple of songs with us. He said yes so we met up at his rehearsal place and went for it. He had never met Johanna before and when she started to sing I noticed him changing, looking at me and started to really hit the drums hard, getting into it. The we knew we had something going on and the foundation to Cobra Cult had been laid.
We then recorded our first two songs in the spring of 2016 and also made our first live performance in August the same year. Since then we have worked to refine our sound and when Anders joined the band two years ago, the final piece of the puzzle was there.
The band is called Cobra Cult. What’s the story behind the name?
It was my (Johanna) idea all along. The word “Cult” is always gonna make a band name sound cool so that was already in my mind. And one day when I saw the beer Cobra, it just popped in my head that my next band will be named Cobra Cult.
Reading your Facebook page I saw “Rock’n’rollish metalpunk”. Is your music more metal or more punk?
The phrase “Rock´n´rollish metalpunk” was our first attempt to define our music so that people were given a chance to understand what they were to expect from our music when they heard us. I would say that we play hard rock influenced by punk and metal. People say they hear influences from the full spectra, spreading from The Misfits and Social Distortion to L7, The Distillers and Motörhead.
Which are your favorite bands and have they influenced the music of Cobra Cult?
We all have quite broad taste in music so we bring a lot to the table, but rock in general brings us together and influence the sound of the band. Our personal background and upbringing musically has also influenced the way we all play our instruments so that also is a contributory factor to our sound. But personally (for Thomas) it would foremost be Iron Maiden as the main influence and for Johanna the likes of Tom Petty, L7 and Bad Religion.
You released a first album in 2018 which is self-titled. What can you tell us about this album?
Our debut album, and an album we are really pleased with. The reviews were also quite good and the album took us all the way to the stage at Sweden Rock Festival, the largest hard rock festival in Sweden. Not to mention stages all over Sweden, Norway and England. We recorded the album with Swedish legend Tomas Skogsberg (Sunlight studio) and Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust mastered the album. A great experience to work with both of them and we´re proud of the result.
This year you will release a second album I presume. Is this one different then the first one?
It´s going to be different in some ways, one of them being that we have worked with another producer. This time we worked with Robert Pehrsson (Robert Pehrsson´s Humbucker, Death Breath etc). Progress and trying new things is essential to a band and we got a tip on Robert so we checked him out.
After just talking to him we felt that this was our guy and we were absolutely not wrong as the result and outcome was awesome, the album is the next and natural level of Cobra Cult. This time we also had the time and opportunity to do a serious pre-production before we went in to the studio which was essential. You will notice some more guitar harmonies and backing vocals and perhaps a bit more “modern” and open sound. In comparison with the first album, perhaps this one also is a bit more up-tempo album.
Is there already something you can tell us about the new album?
We have signed with Swedish label GMR Music so they will release the album sometime late February or early March and we´re really excited about that. Having being signed by a label means a lot, amongst other things it´s a recognition that you have done something that other people believe in and are willing to invest in. That´s really inspiring and exciting.
Who is responsible for the music and the lyrics?
At the end we all are since all have influenced the final result. But, most often Thomas comes up with the ideas for the songs and lyrics and then we process them together in the rehearsal room until they´re finished and everybody is happy with them.
Will there be a single release before the release of the new album?
Not really sure on that point right now, but there could be. We have shot a video for one of the songs and perhaps that one will be released prior to the album, you just have to wait and see.
How was your last year? Where there possibilities to play live? In Holland we had only a few concerts with no more than 30 people in the audience. But in Sweden there were less rules I believe.
Well, last year on the concert front was not that exciting for us. We had one short live stream doing a couple of songs, but that´s it. Most of our booked shows were postponed for later this year. In Sweden the restrictions for the first couple of months were 50 people at shows, then to be more regulated during the autumn and there was just not possible to do any kind of shows after that.
If we talk about metal we always say Sweden or Finland. Can you explain why there are so many metal bands in those two countries?
Regarding Finland we don´t really have any idea, but in Sweden there are a couple of things that could be a part of the answer why people play music in general. One thing is that music always have been a part of the educations system in Sweden. When we were growing up, all students had to play the flute (!) in third grade as a subject, just like math or English.
And then we have something called the municipal music school that is and was quite big, were young people could go and take classed from a young age, learning and instrument in an easy way. When it comes to playing metal specific, perhaps because we are two dark and cold countries? If you live in the Carribeans with palm trees, I guess you prefer and get inspired to play reggae, calypso etc. There could be a few answers hiding in the atmosphere and surroundings you find yourself in, I don´t really know.
Is there a difference between metal in Sweden and Finland?
Yes, absolutely. To keep it short; Finland have their symphonic metal, Norway have their black metal and in Sweden we have death metal and hard rock bands.
In our country and in Belgium we see more and more classical instruments in metal (violin). Is this the same in your country or is it more “European mainland”?
Probably more European mainland, even though we see a bit more bands getting on the folk metal train, but it´s not a huge trend as I can see it.
How important is the audience for you? And can you tell something about the Swedish audience?
The audience is everything to us. I (Thomas) know a lot of people that play music and are satisfied just rehearsing with some friends once in a while or recording some songs and putting them out on Spotify, not really interested in doing the live thing. But, that´s why we play, to take our music out on the road and meeting so many awesome people just like us, unified in the music we love, hard rock.
We live in Stockholm and to be honest, that´s not the most exciting city to do gigs in. The audience here are quite spoiled and we also have a lot of musicians here with a bit of competition so you have to go to other cities for a real response to the music. And as soon as you leave Stockholm, the audience is really cool.
In Holland we have only a few metal festivals and most of them are small, how is this in Sweden?
About the same. We have Sweden Rock Festival, a classic festival and then we have a few, really great smaller ones. A couple of years ago we had quite a few more big festivals, but there are not many left of them now.
Is there any attention for metal music on the radio and tv in Sweden?
Not really that much. Occasionally there will be a show sent on TV and we have the regular rock stations on the radio playing the same G´N´R songs over and over, but nothing more special than that. For bands of our size the opportunity to be played on the radio in Sweden are essentially small.
Is there a possibility we can see you in Holland some day?
YES! As soon as things go back to some kind of normality and gigs are on the table again, we´ll do our best to go wherever people wants us to go and Holland is absolutely a place we´d like to go.