1. Hey there! First of all, I'd like to thank you for taking your time and doing this interview! Please, introduce yourself and the rest of the band.
Pontus: Hi! I'm Pontus, playing guitar and doing backing vocals. In addition to myself we also have Björn on drums, Christina on vocals and keys, Magnus on guitar and Martin on bass.
2. The band is together for a fine number of years now, so please give us a brief history of how it all looked like at the beginning.
Pontus: We started out in early 2005 something, and the plan was simply to do something heavy. I'm also a sucker for melodies and dynamics, so that found its way into the music as well. We spent that year finding our sound really, writing, re-writing until we had our first song that we were really happy with. That's "The Decay" from our first album. We also didn't get a steady bass player until 2006. We did our first live show, found a new drummer in Björn and then recorded the first album in 2007. After that we've done a couple tours, released more records, Martin joined the band on bass. Now were having our 3rd album "Rites of Separation" coming out on Southern Lord records this April.
3. In one interview I read with Christina, she explained the meaning of the word "Agrimonia" which is actually a plant. How did you pick out that name and how well do you think it describes your music?
Christina: A friend of ours came up with the name. I like the name cause it is a bit dark and mysterious and I think that fits with the music we play.
4. Your self-titled release from 2008 came out having a very interesting mixture of genres. What managed to inspire you the most to formulate your sound in such a way?
Pontus: I think it's just a mix of the stuff you like yourself. It was never our goal to mix genres or anything I think our songs and ideas flow together though, with a connecting vibe through it all. So it all came very naturally as soon as we started getting our songs together.
5. "Host of the Winged" was yet another powerful assault to the scene and again you succeeded to bring out something unique. How do you feel about the advancement of your sound over those two records? Do you think it is a natural evolution or do you actually try to add something new to each release?
Pontus: It's very much a natural evolution. We never think too much about what we're gonna do. I guess the songs were becoming a bit more elaborate with "Host of the Winged", I had a lot of ideas with the music. But we didn't want to take it further in that direction, we don't want the music to be too technical or complex. There should still be a groove and flow. For this new album, I think we scaled down a little bit of that, letting ideas go on for a little longer. That might have been a somewhat conscious decision actually. But it's no difference in our mindset or approach to making music.
6. After that release you went to tour in Mexico and the USA. Tell me something more about that experience.
Pontus: That was my first time going on tour in North America. We had a great time, played with great bands and met great people! We just went for 2 weeks, playing the US west coast and also one show in Mexico. We wanna go back this year and play our new stuff, and stay for longer this time!
7. After a brief tour over Germany in 2011 the band went into hibernation of sorts. I was even scared you broke up! What exactly happened to the band in that period between the said tour and entering the studio yet again?
Christina: I got really sick after an operation that went wrong in 2011. I was in the hospital for months and they tried to fix me up, I was really in a bad state. My stomach muscles were cut and I had to leave the hospital with what they call an "open stomach". They didn´t want to close me up cause of infection risks and other reasons. They transferred skin from my thigh and put it over the hole in the stomach and then just left it like that for a year to heal. It was difficult for me to use my stomach muscles and I really need them for singing. We had to cancel lots of shows and other plans during this time. I was sometimes too sick to do anything and lots of operations followed. But now I am as good as I am gonna get and happy it is all over.
8. In the meantime, you signed with "Southern Lord", so I'm curious how did this collaboration come to pass?
Pontus: My other band "Martyrdöd" got a deal with Southern Lord in 2011. So I simply approached them and asked if they wanted to work with "Agrimonia" as well!
9. You've been in the studio working on a new album since September 2012 and there is already a song being streamed on the "Pitchfork" website. How did the proces of creating this new record go? Any interesting behind-the-scene stories about it?
Pontus: When we did our 2nd album, "Host of the Winged", we didn't really rehearse the songs. It was very much a studio creation. This had much to do with that I lived pretty far away from everyone else during that period, in Bergen, Norway. This time we wanted to actually rehearse the songs. So most of the album was written by Summer 2012, then we just rehearsed the songs for a couple of months. I think rehearsing can be a bit redundant, but I think you can really tell it did a lot of good for this album. We recorded the drums in two November days in Welfare Sounds in Gothenburg, then spent the rest of the year recording the rest at our rehearsal space. Then early 2013 we mixed it at Studio Fredman. It's definately the best sounding record we've done.
10. In a narrative and lyrical sense, what is the story that "Rites of Separation" will tell the listener?
Christina: Like all other "Agrimonia" albums, lyrically this album is about our daily life and the good and the bad sides of it. About problems we are facing as individuals and as a group. The lyrics are a way for me to tell a story in a poetic way but still take a stand.
11. Musically, what type of sound can we expect on the new release? Are you holding on to your roots or are you trying something new?
Pontus: We're not really trying anything new, it's very much an "Agrimonia" album. Although I feel this is our hardest album so far. Also in my opinion Christina's vocal performance is her best ever!
12. Any solid plans about what you will be doing after the album is out in April? Touring perhaps?
Pontus: No solid plans yet. We have a few shows booked, but no tour. We really want to do something this fall though, so let's see what happens.
13. Who or what is the main driving force of "Agrimonia", both individually and as a band? What makes you tick and what motivates you to create music?
Christina: For me it is my friends and the people around me that makes music and try to tell a story and fight for a better way of life. They motivate me. I also really get inspired by fierce and awesome women making music and other art forms and not caring about what anyone tells them they can and can not do.
Pontus: The music is a personal outlet initially. Then when more people take part, and when people appreciate it, it grows bigger. It's a very rewarding experience. That said, I'd probably still write those riffs even if I didn't have a band to use them in.
14. Which song from "Agrimonia" means the most to you? And, if you were only a fan, which album would be your favorite?
Christina: Lyrically for me it is "The Battle Fought" from "Rites of Separation".
Pontus: I can't pick one song. For me it's more about some parts, some riffs or melodies. I can recall where and when I wrote it and always get reminded about that place in life when I hear that certain melody again. As a fan, well I can't really say anything else than our new album!
15. Time for you to ask a question!
Stefan, what made you start a blog? And how is life and the underground scene is Serbia?
I've always been passionate about music and there was a constant wish to get involved with it somehow. Sadly, I was never lucky enough to have a band, aside of a few short lived projects, so making a blog was a solid second step, especially since writing is also a huge passion of mine.
Life is quite hard in Serbia, especially when you see how the people in the rest of Europe live. My girlfriend lives in the Netherlands, so when you compare the ways of living in these two countries you come to a horrid result. I think this really reflects on the underground scene, so the bands we have here tend to be quite grim with their lyrics and mood. Not a lot of them manage to go beyond the borders of the country and overall I feel like the scene is not as tightly knit as it should be. Serbia needs to do a lot of work to be able to match the diy spirit of the rest of the world. Still, foreign bands tend to pass through and they seem to love it here!
16. 2012 is far behind us, but I am curious to hear your favorite band releases of that year? Any recommendations for the readers?
Christina: "Black September" - "Into the darkness into the void", "Martyrdöd - "Paranoia", "Vicious Irene" - "Distorted state of mind", "Embers"- "Shadows" and all the re-releases of the "Bolt Thrower" records.
Pontus: "Dinosaur Jr" - "I Bet on Sky", "Om" – "Advaitic songs" and "Kent" - "Jag är inte rädd för mörkret".
17. Aside of playing in "Agrimonia", are band members involved with some other music projects?
Christina: I am in "Contorture", Magnus and Björn are in "Radiation", Pontus and Björn are in "Miasmal", Pontus is in "Martyrdöd" and Martin is in "At the Gates", "Vrak" and "Skitsystem".
18. Similar question to the previous one, do you have any hobbies outside the boundries of music?
Christina: Im really into photography and gardening.
Pontus: Reading, movies and bus rides between Oslo and Gothenburg.
19. That wraps it up! In the end, I have to thank you again for this lengthy interview, it was a pleasure. Any final message for the blog?
Pontus: Thanks to you! All the best for the future! Check out "Rites of Separation" when it comes out. Cheers!