Time for another interview on amodelofcontrol.com, and this time I’m talking to a band who’ve somewhat unexpectedly reformed. There have been an awful lot of reunions of late, particularly of bands from the nineties, and frankly some have not been particularly worthwhile returning.
But then there are a few that are gems. Misery Loves Co. were a band that transcended boundaries somewhat in the nineties, quickly being characterised as an industrial metal band, but they were rather more than that. They had an uncanny ability to document the darkest reaches of human emotion in song, and were also capable of moments of pulverising fury too.
So, vocalist Patrik Wiren was kind enough to talk about the band’s return over e-mail, and thanks to him also for providing the photo.
amodelofcontrol.com: Patrik, I have to say that it was unexpected to see the announcement of Misery Loves Co.’s return. What was the catalyst, and has the reaction been a surprise?
Patrik: Well, to me and Örjan it’s been expected for about 10 years now… Yes, it was that long ago that we started writing songs together again. Cause that’s what we do and that’s what we’ve always done since the first time we met. During these last 10 (or is it 11?) years, whenever we would meet at a party or concert it would be like, ”you want to go down to the studio?”. And so we did… Again and again. So… The return of Misery Loves Co has been a very, very slow process. I think we both really missed playing live but we wanted to release new material before we went back on the road again. The only problem was that without a deadline nothing really happened… It was just us locked inside this studio on our own and we really didn’t know what to do with the songs we wrote. That’s when we decided to do the Brutal Assault Festival outside Prague. It was a way for us to get things going again and let people know we actually exist. Then we got asked to do some other festivals…
Does all this babbling make any sense to you? I hope so… Anyway we’re dying to play live again. I understand that this is something most band says but to us these words actually mean something. We’re about to explode and really need to do this. The reaction? Overwhelming! I mean, we honestly had no idea what to expect. The reason for our comeback had nothing to do with a strong demand from the audience or whatever. So all the nice e-mails, likes and love we received blew us away.
“To us it’s about doing what we always did. We always felt like the black sheep of the metal-community anyway. Are we a metal band? Not sure about that and don’t really care. We do love heavy music but there is just so much more to what we do. To me the feeling is everything.”
amodelofcontrol.com: Currently you’ve only announced festival dates. Are there plans to do other, smaller shows along the way?
Patrik: I am sure we will do some clubs later on but we don’t want to do too much touring until we have some of our new songs out. It’s great to play the old songs again but Misery Loves Co 2016 is not all about nostalgia.
amodelofcontrol.com:Going back in time somewhat, how did Misery Loves Co. come about in the first place?
Patrik: Me and Örjan met at a bar and started talking about doing music together. At the time I was the guitar player/singer of a local garage/metal/whatever-band and he had a studio where he worked a lot with sampler and computer. We came from very different directions and wanted to combine those different elements.
amodelofcontrol.com: Your initial time active saw a notable change in direction – from the pulverising industrial metal of the early breakthrough songs (Kiss Your Boots, Need Another One, etc) to the later, more contemplative material of Your Vision Was Never Mine To Share. While earlier ballads like Happy? suggested a breadth of palate unlike some of your peers, what was influencing your direction?
Patrik: That is probably the right way of describing our musical progress. But to say what influenced our direction is difficult. I guess to most bands it just takes time to find out what you want to be and with every song we seemed to be going more and more into the darker moods and leaving the heavy riffs behind.
amodelofcontrol.com: Many of your lyrics came from what appeared to an outsider to be a pretty bleak place. Was this personal experience speaking?
Patrik: Always. I always try to embrace the feelings that all people have at one time or another. But most try to hide it, since it’s not very nice. For some reason it was always very important to me to dig into those places.
amodelofcontrol.com: At least in the early days, there seemed to be an interest in remixes of your songs by what could be seen to be like-minded artists like Pitchshifter, Ultraviolence and Youth (Killing Joke). Was this Earache’s idea or were these bands that you saw as your peers, especially as (if I recall correctly) you toured with Pitchshifter (and later Kill II This) at least?
Patrik: We only did one show with Pitch Shifter (Stockholm, 1996) but they were without a doubt one of the bands that inspired us. Especially in the beginning. To be honest I think the remixes were more interesting to the label than to us. It was just something that most bands did at that time. But at the same time I remember how flattered we were to have people like Youth (we totally love Killing Joke) working on our songs.
amodelofcontrol.com: What happened with the original split – was it just that you’d taken it as far as you could? And what have you been up to in the meantime?
Patrik: Yeah, I think we had a feeling that we’d done this long enough. We wanted to see what else life had to offer and needed a break from each other. I do believe this long pause was really good for us though. We have so much more appreciation for what we have created and don’t take anything for granted in the same way as we did in the past. Since the split I have mainly worked as a music journalist and author. I have also done a few recordings and guested other bands in studio / on stage. Örjan has been helping out In Flames with their recordings, among other things.
amodelofcontrol.com: It was fairly obvious from the off that you had at least a passing knowledge of goth and industrial music. What were your early musical influences, and when did you discover goth, industrial and metal?
Patrik: I grew up on punk rock (The Clash, Ramones, Pistols) and American rock music (Runaways, Kiss, New York Dolls). But I also loved David Bowie and a lot of things that might be considered post punk (Public image ltd, Bauhaus, The Cure etc). Industrial music, don’t know… One of my fave artists is Neubauten but I have to admit I discovered them kinda late. Perhaps Ministry’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste was the first industrial album I truly loved. Not sure though… Metal on the other hand was just a natural ingredient where I came from. Everyone was listening to metal and the first serious band I was in were very inspired by names like Slayer, Metallica and VoiVod. Goth… I don’t know when I discovered goth. But it was probably something I could relate to pretty early on.
amodelofcontrol.com: How do you see the metal scene that you’ve rejoined, and what has changed (for better or worse)?
Patrik: Everything has changed – and nothing has changed. To us it’s about doing what we always did. We always felt like the black sheep of the metal-community anyway. Are we a metal band? Not sure about that and don’t really care. We do love heavy music but there is just so much more to what we do. To me the feeling is everything. But the music business is definitely a very different thing today with social media, record stores being closed down etc.
amodelofcontrol.com: You’ve mentioned that new material is in the works. How’s progress with it, and where do you see it fitting in with your previous material?
Patrik: I wish I could tell you but it’s really too early for me to know. Things might change around until we get to record the album. So… Let me get back to you on that one!
amodelofcontrol.com: Finally, what are you most proud of within your time in Misery Loves Co.?
Patrik: We did a lot of really cool things: Deftones opened for us at the Limelight in New York, we supported Slayer at the Brixton Academy, we won a Swedish Grammy etc etc. But what really matters the most is when something writes me a mail explaining how much our songs have meant for them. I don’t know if what I feel is pride, but it’s very powerful…
Misery Loves Co. return playing a few festivals this summer, including Bloodstock, with a new album to come in due course.