Nearly three years since their last full-length release, the Nordic heavy noise rockers in Barren Womb return with “Old Money / New Lows,” a jarring, mid-tempo dirge in 8 movements that sees the band further evolving into an animal all of its own. From the sparse drumming and venomous narrative of album-opener “Crook Look,” all the way through to the haunting, epic finale of “Russian Handkerchief,” Old Money / New Lows repeatedly hits like a ton of bricks.
And while there’s heaviness by the truckload here, there’s also a catchiness behind the nastiness. Accompanying the wall of abrasive guitars, screamed vocals, and pummeling drums is newfound pop sensibility and a tackle box full of hooks in the tradition of the finest AmRep and Dischord bands from years long past.
Your new album “Old Money / New Lows ” has just been released, can you share with us the most difficult moment of its preparation? Any crazy/funny behind the scene?
As always, the most difficult part was the lyrics. Creating music is a lot easier than finding the right words, the rug that ties the room together. We where shuffling lines around right up until the 11th hour. In fact, “Mad 187 skills” came together the day before vocal tracking started.
Other than that, the session went along smoothly. We are pretty focused when we hit the studio, the craziness usually happens on the road.
How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
They’re usually written in bits and pieces.
A line here, a line there, then when an idea starts to take shape, the lyrics are fleshed out around it. Sometimes we collaborate on lyrics for one specific song, other times one of us brings completely finished lyrics for a whole song to the table.
What is the best verse you ever wrote?
Personally I’m really happy with “Crook Look”. It was my first attempt at writing a narrative, a style I’ve wanted to try for years.
There are other lyrics on our new record that are presented in a similar way, but this one blew open some doors and holds a special place in my heart.
What was the soundtrack to your childhood?
The first music I took an active interest in was Guns ‘n Roses. I used to play air guitar to that stuff all the time as a kid. I can’t really stand them now though.
What was the first record you ever bought?
The first record I bought with my own money was the first Rage Against The Machine album. I still love that band and listen to it from time to time.
What has your journey in the music industry been like up to now?
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
What inspired the song “Crook Look”?
Everyday on my way to work I walked past a tag that said “people are sleeping” and I guess that got the creative juices flowing.
It evolved into the opening verse, and I started riffing up this story about two rich assholes who robbed people’s homes out of pure boredom, for sport.
Do you remember the day you wrote “Slumlord Millionaire”?
Not the exact day, but I remember having the lines “you wouldn’t even spit on me if my hair was on fire” and “life is cheaper than the rent” lying around for a while, having no idea what to do with them.
Then suddenly it dawned on me to write a story from the viewpoint of the inhabitants of a slum vs their oppressor.
Are you ever scared of revealing, aspects of your personal experience, to strangers through your music?
Of course there are elements of the lyrics that are based on personal experience, but mostly I prefer to just write fiction. It’s more fun and our personality is represented in the way we write anyway, I think.
What inspired “Mad 187 Skills”?
Two words: police brutality.
What is the best show you ever played?
Last night in Bologna was insane! People went totally ape poo. There’s been so many good ones though, it’s hard to recall. Maybe our show at the Pstereo festival a few years back?
What are your plans for 2018?
We are currently on tour in Europe with the terrific Talbot and Jabba. After that we’ll do a few festivals during the summer, before we hit the road again in the fall.