Jón Már Ásbjörnsson: “If you’re feeling fucked in anyway, talk to someone. Let’s go through this together and not alone.”
Uit IJsland komt de band Une Misère. Een beetje vreemd wellicht, een Franse naam voor een band uit IJsland, die daarnaast in het Engels zingt. De muziek is echter gewoon gehouwen uit IJslands steen en metaal en straalt een enorm zelfvertrouwen uit. Door de agressie en energie klinkt ook een grote hoeveelheid emotie door. Allemaal ingrediënten die een verklaring nodig hebben, want hoe schrijf je als band een dergelijk complex en krachtig album als ‘Sermon’ en wat ligt er aan de basis van dit talent? We hadden dus wat vragen voor de band. Vocalist Jón Már Ásbjörnsson was zo vriendelijk tekst en uitleg te geven.
Berto Ι 06 januari 2020
To start, can you tell us a little bit about the start and the history of the band? Please include the explanation for an Icelandic band with a French name singing in English…
Well this band started out as more of a hobby between friends where we decided to try and create the heaviest stuff that Iceland had ever seen. Then all of a sudden we realized that we actually might have something worth pursuing so we changed our name into Une Misère, focused what we wanted to do and decided to go for it. The reason behind the French name is simply because names in Icelandic get lost in the black metal genre and in English we didn’t find it to deliver what we wanted. It sounded more like a beatdown band. But in French, it was more poetic. Loaded if you will.
What does the band name mean/ stand for?
The band name stands for us, for what we’ve been through and what we’ve lived. It stands for the misery that has surrounded us from birth.
Iceland may not produce many metal bands but the ones that are making a name for themselves, like Agent Fresco and Solstafir, have quite a unique sound (yourselves included). Is there an explanation for this or is it just the fact that Iceland is an island?
It might be the fact that Iceland is an island and therefore the influences are taken from all over, molded and sculpted into our own sound before projecting it out.
What kind of bands were you into when you started listening to metal? And what is it that makes metal important to you?
When I was first getting into metal, it was Rammstein, Slipknot, Korn and those bands that were big or becoming big during the turn of the century. I still remember the first time I listened to the ‘Mutter’ album by Rammstein. Metal is important to me because it is a different feeling than the one that everyone wants to shove into your face. If metal was a social media platform, it’d be everything else than Instagram.
Recently your new album was released. What does the album title mean and or represent?
‘Sermon’ is a celebration. And for us, this Sermon is a celebration of misery. Of the fact that being miserable is still a feeling and feeling miserable is better than feeling nothing.
Musically you have a lot of influences. What bands are artistically an example for you? Which bands are the ones that set the bar for you?
Well for me it would be Slipknot, Lamb Of God, Hatebreed and many, many others. If you mean “set the bar” as in “we want to be bigger than them”, there are none. We want to do our thing, focus on us and the fans without being compared to or even to compare ourselves to other bands. We want to tour with a lot of bands and we want to meet up and see other bands play. We don’t want to be bigger or better than anyone else, that’s a weird way to look at music.
The vocals sound raw and emotional at the same time. How important are lyrics for you as a band?
Well, to the band, I like to think that the lyrics are quite important. I write the lyrics for the band except for the parts that the guys sing themselves, they write those lyrics and they nail them every time.
How did the production process work? It must have been a lot of work to get these songs together? And what is the role of the producer in this process?
Well, during “off season” we all act as producer within the rehearsal space. A lot of yes and no’s. There are no maybes but that has made us write our first album and we’re quite happy with that one. And then when we went into the studio, Sky Van Hoff took on the producer role and he killed us. In a good way. I’m immensely happy that we got to work with him and that we’ll work with him again.
How do you write your songs? Does it always start with a riff or does it involve some jamming with the rest of the band?
It almost always starts with a riff but if it doesn’t blow anyone away during the process, it’s scrapped.
The artwork is great as well. Who designed and created it?
Niklas Sundin of Dark Tranquility is the mastermind behind the artwork and it is a true privilege to have worked with him and I for one hope to do so again.
Modern metal is always produced in a more or less clinical way with ProTools and other programs helping bands to create a slick sound. On the other hand you see that about every band releases vinyl again. Where do you see music go in the near future? Will vinyl take over again, including a more organic production? Do extreme music and a slick production even go together?
I’m not an analog purist in any way. In my opinion, if the music sounds good, then it sounds good. All extreme music doesn’t sound good and that is often just a part of it. For example, if a Lifelover record would have been recorded through a Kemper and melodyned and overproduced, it wouldn’t have had the same effect. But for our music and many other bands, it is the crispness, clarity and overall punch that is delivering an impact. Wherever music may go, the artists will follow.
Some bands use their music to vent their political views or comment on social issue. Is music purely meant to entertain or can it be used to educate the fans about certain issues?
Music should definitely be used as a platform in my opinion. How and when though are the issue that a lot of artists fail upon. If you have bullshit views on bullshit things, you’ll reap as you sow.
The album has been out now for a couple of months, how are the reactions and are you conquering the world right now?
Conquering the world isn’t quite the expression I’d use myself but we have announced a few tours and people seem to be digging the record. we’ve been getting good feedback and we’re beyond thankful for that.
Thanks a lot for answering the questions, and thanks also for your amazing album ! If there is anything else you want to share with our readers, please do so!
If you’re feeling fucked in anyway, talk to someone. Let’s go through this together and not alone.
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