DEAD KOSMONAUT’s founder Mattias Reinholdsson once described the band’s sound by pointing out that the early metal bands had no restrictions on how their material should sound. DEAD KOSMONAUT’s second album “Gravitas” certainly subscribes to that theory. The band serves up a variety of styles and song structures and displays such an array of influences that we had no other chance but enjoy their music and talk to the guys.
Hello Mattias, in 2006 you released a demo under the project Astrakaan, what remains of that band in the Dead Kosmonaut of 2020?
Back in 2006 Astrakaan was a project of mine. But I already back then worked with drummer Henrik Johansson and guitarplayers Pär Fransson and Fredrik Folkare.
In 2017 you released your first album, how you have changed since that time?
That band has a more stable line-up since then. I have also worked more with lyricist John Shamus Gaffney (Sinister Realm, Chamber of Sorrows).
At the beginning of 2020 you will release your second album, Gravitas. How long have you worked on it how was the composition process?
Some songs was ready before the release of „Expect Nothing“, like Dead Kosmonaut and The Spirit Divide. But I pick and choose from what I think the album needs. I thought I could expand the sound of Dead Kosmonaut. Softer and heavier stuff. A wider and deeper Dead Kosmonaut.
Your previous ep, Rekviem, had a melodic heavy metal sound, but this Gravitas seems to me a more complete and open album
I think Rekviem is very varied to be a four track mini-lp. Ranging from the softer House of Lead (Nobodys Home) to the doom of Rekviem. But of course a full album gives the possibility to be even more vaired and complete. To me an album is a sacred thing. Its just not a „bunch of songs“. I like an album to be a journey with a beginning and an end.
What are the lyrics about?
I think I tend to write about what I see around me and what I experience. I guess my lyrics is a bit bleak. John Shamus Gaffney is more of a storyteller. Our two styles is mirrored in the song Hell/Heaven. Hell is about reality and what Hell is (to me) while Johns lyric for Heaven is a story of a group of people leaving earth to find eternity in a Spaceship called Bifrost.
The cover art has a very enigmatic air, how is it connected with the album?
The first song „Black tongue tar“ is about living with depression and anxiety. The anchor resting on the chest is a symbol of anxiety, the pressure pushing you down. The title Gravitas meaning gravity is also reflected in the anchor pushing down, anchoring the person below as opposed to the dead kosmonaut floating in space in the song Dead Kosmonaut.
Your new album has a great variety of sounds that go from heavy to rock and even progressive or doom
Thank you! Its important to me to use the potential of Heavy Metal. Think about an classic album like Judas Priest Sad wings of destiny. It goes from the dark The Ripper to the ballad Epitaph. Thats the sort of album I strive to make.
That talks about a band that has reached it maturity or you still has road to grow?
There are always new sides to Heavy Metal to explore! Only the imagination set the limits! So I hope we have more exciting music to come up with.
The new album consists of 8 songs, but the second part of it is very curious because it has two very long songs and two short ones. Any intention on it?
Yes, I knew I had the two long songs to fit in. So I thought I have one Metal side and one Progressive side. To just have two long songs might be a bit much so I put the short instrumental title track inbetween.
The last song is actually outstanding, Dead Kosmonaut – Part II are 11 minutes of absolute epic and doom, the great thing is that you don’t lose the focus on the heavy metal part, with guitar solos that really count
Again thank you Alberto! I love doom of the more epic style. Like Candlemass or Griftegård. So thats the sort of doom I try to create. Dynamic, heavy without loosing the melodies. If I dare saying so but too many doom bands forget to write good songs too. I also want to point out that the church organ in the song really is church organ, recorded in a church. That was a great challange but I brought out the doom even more.
Talking about guitar solos, I would say that is one of the strong forces inside the band, every song almost has a significant work on solos, that makes you apart of many bands which make the solo a duty more than something enjoyable…
I agree. Both Fredrik Folkare and Pär Fransson are world class players. Both have great technique but both also understand the use of melodies. I really enjoy their solos and I try to make room in the songs for them to shine! We all agree that mindless shredding is a waste.
Another force inside the band is Pelle Gustafsson, his voice can adapt to every musical architecture you put in front of him!
Pelle is a great singer. I am glad he wants to be a part of Dead Kosmonaut. I dont know where he takes all those voices from. He can sing soft and with a lot of grit too. I am too curious to see what more we can pull out of him in the future!
As I said before, there are some doom vibes in the album, especially in the last songs, is this a path we can expect you will explore more exhaustively in the future?
I like it slow and heavy, so probably.
The keyboads play an important role in that variety, but I like the sensation that they are in the background and do not try to be the main actor
I think Dead Kosmonaut should not shy away from keyboards. But we dont have a keyboard player in the band and I dont think we ever will either. Using keyboards means a broader palette to paint with.
If we pay attention to your albums, 3 since 2017, we can conclude that you are a hard working band, what are your plans for the future?
New songs are already cooking and brewing. Maybe recordings will start next year. We hope to be able to play concerts because its something we like. But Fredrik Folkare is a busy guy with Unleashed and Pelle is as busy with Nifelheim. But if we can make it happen we will play more gigs.
Any especial wish for 2020?
Iron Maiden is out on tour so why not wish we can get to open up fort hem! 😉 On a more serious note I hope Dead Kosmonaut will find new listeners. Our album deserves to be listend to.
Mattias Reinholdsson, songwriter and bassplayer in Dead Kosmonaut