About Me

Interview with The Vice

Remember the glorious rock n’ roll days in which band members actually became legends due to their talent and looks? It is about to happen again… with The Vice from Sweden! Raw, powerful, musical and groovy, these Black n’ Rollers are about to release their hotly anticipated sophomore full-length record on August 7th via Noble Demon Records. "White Teeth Rebellion" is a dark, mean as fuck Rock / Metal album in which they prove to be well aware of how to do things right and take us on a journey to the darker side of their musical soul. Metal Imperium had the pleasure to chat with Rickard Karlsson, guitars and vocals, and a legend on the rising. Come and find out more about this powerful outfit… then don’t complain you weren’t warned!

M.I. - The band’s name is “The Vice”… because rock and metal is your vice? 

They definitely are, amongst others. Most of all, I think it speaks of a need, craving, desire to have to do something. May be rough and not fun at all times, but for the greater good that's what has to be done.

M.I. - Why have you chosen a name that is so commonly used? When one searches for bands… there are lots of them with Vice on the name… 

That's a really good question... Sometimes people get it wrong and that's something we have to deal with. Though the list of available band names out there is running short so I 'm surprised we haven't gotten into bigger issues than this so far. But it's stuck with us and now it has a lot of history to it so I'm really satisfied with our choice.

M.I. - The band’s sound is described as Black N’ Roll… who came up with this description? What’s its biggest difference when compared to the others genres?

I almost have to blame Patrick at Noble Demon Records for that one.
We talked a lot back and forth about the genre to use and couldn't really find a perfect one. In some cases, it's good to have a straightforward description of the music and our main influences are black metal and RnR so it's not totally off. Though Black n’ Roll to me, personally, is not really what we do, very far from it actually, but since we couldn't come up with another genre that was a better fit we went with that one.

M.I. - The Vice was formed in 2012 in Stockholm, Sweden and just months after you released the 5-track EP “Let Me Go”.  It was a pretty straightforward, punkish creation that showcased the sinister roots of the band. How did you manage to release material so fast? Did you have it prepared already?

We had some ideas for songs when we started, absolutely. But when we came together, in the beginning of 2012, we all moved in to the rehearsal place and lived there for I think most part of that year. So, we played a lot and inspiration was coming from all sorts of directions all the time so writing those songs was pretty smooth sailing.

M.I. - Your self-titled debut album was released on Rambo Music. How was it accepted by the music industry?

The reviews I've read have been good for the most part. Though I can't say it made a huge impact on the industry... But it was our first album, one that I'm very proud of, and a record we had to do to move forward so just the fact we got it out is what's important today. Don't think we really had come to the point in our lives/career by then that we knew what WE had to do for a bigger impact when the record company maybe didn't do too much.

M.I. - In the beginning of 2017, The Vice released the video for “A prayer cast in stone” which marked the start of the future of the band as a trio for the first time. How much impact did that have on the band?

The "A prayer cast in stone" single was a huge deal for us in many ways. Only two songs, but it was the first ones where I sang and the end of 2016/beginning of 2017 included a lot of firsts for us and coming out of it with good music was a great feeling. They were hard times, though once we started to understand the new direction everything was taking things became clearer than ever before. And we haven't looked back since.

M.I. - Now, in 2020, the new album “White Teeth Rebellion” will be released and you’ve just recently signed a deal with Noble Demon Records. What will change for The Vice?

The biggest changes I think we're hoping for is just being able to get the album out to more people than we'd done on the previous releases. Spreading the disease, you know? Only time will tell how that goes but having Noble Demon to push things forward has meant so much when it comes to that already so it feels like we're in a pretty good place. 

M.I. - The title of your album “White Teeth Rebellion” is an allusion to what? Aren’t you afraid some may call it a racist title? What’s the main difference between the new album and the band’s previous material?

The main difference compared to the previous album is that it's a lot darker. That one had more focus on the rock & roll parts whereas this one revels more in the crude elements of our musical universe. It's what the last three years has been leading up to and as we head into the new chapter I'm certain the new stuff will differ a lot from "White Teeth Rebellion" as well. There's still much progress to be done.
As for the title, it's about taking matters more serious, eyes on the price and full focus. Like when a wild animal shows their teeth, you know it means business haha. And to be perfectly honest, I think that people running around screaming racist to the left and right should go fuck themselves…

M.I. - “THE VICE's sophomore opus - "White Teeth Rebellion" is a dark, mean rock/metal album with the band members hearts on its sleeves.” What does this statement mean to you?

I think it's a good declaration of the sound of the album as well as our approach to everything we do. We're still finding our way, but that's what I find so interesting. There's really no plan or formula, we just try to go forward, write better songs and things seem to fall into place. It's mean, honest and pretty much the only way we know.

M.I. - The band has said that “… we'll put our Baphomet heads together for the release of the new album, 'White Teeth Rebellion'. Death, Rock & Roll, filth and a good portion of northern viciousness is coming your way in the strange days ahead." What can fans expect of the new album?

What to expect is a raw, untamed metal album a bit out of the ordinary. Our take on an album combining the music and attitudes we live and breathe. Somewhere in the blur between W.A.S.P, Gn’R, Oasis, Mayhem, Emperor and Neurosis you'll find us and we hope you enjoy your stay.

M.I. - Supposedly the album will feature Death, Rock & Roll, filth and a good portion of northern viciousness… but do the lyrics deal with? What has inspired you?

It's not a concept album, the lyrics deal with different things and events that has, will or should occur. Though there is a main theme to them and it's about how I think this existence should play out for the best possible outcome in the next. Hard not to sound too pretentious talking about this, but it is kind of pretentious so... Life, death and the afterlife in simple terms. 

M.I. - The cover of the album is quite unique, original and different from what we are used to seeing these days. Care to tell us more about it?

Glad you say so! We wanted to have a band picture on the cover to emphasize the rock n’ roll feel to it. It sets a different tone than I think some dark imagery or similar would have. Framing the picture is some burnt wood that fits very well considering we're from the northern parts of Sweden where there's way more trees than concrete. All in all, a good representation of the whole aura and an excellent job by Petter who made it!

M.I. - Your video for “White teeth rebellion” is quite impressive… what’s the meaning of the “dirty, bloody” men crawling and the rope tearing apart? Do they represent evil fighting purity (the white figure) that is on top of the mountain? Is purity killed by evil? What’s the lesson behind it?

We've had the idea for a video of someone crawling up a "mountain" while being held back by something for quite some time and when it was time for the "White teeth rebellion" that theme was spot on. First of all, it looks very cool and also it goes hand in hand with the lyrics. I wouldn't say it's about evil vs purity, more like striving towards your purpose. Refining yourself until you are where and what you're meant to be. And once you've reached that point, not even God is an equal and that's where the white figure came into the picture. hehe.

M.I. - The Vice teamed up with Jimmy Johansson for the production of the video “White teeth rebellion” and he worked with you on the video for “A prayer cast on stone”. On both videos there is a focus on your mouth… whose idea is this? Why do you want this particular focus on the mouth?

(Laughts) never actually thought about that. I think it was Jimmy’s idea for the "Prayer" video and we all liked the way it looked so for this one we reused the idea just with different makeup. I usually think closeups on the instruments look pretty good in videos, and the mouth is an instrument so some logic there, I guess. And with the "White teeth rebellion" it made sense to show some teeth considering the title…

M.I. - The video for “White teeth Rebellion” was released in late 2019… yet, the album will only be released in August 2020… the band hadn’t even been in the studio and there was a video available already! Why the long wait? Was it due to the pandemic? Will there be any other video before the album is released? If so, of which track?

No, the album was recorded and done when the video came out. I think it was completed in September/October and even though nothing was decided about the release back then, we wanted to release something rather soon after we finished it.  So, a video seemed like a good idea.
Yeah, we're releasing two more videos up until the release. A lyric video in the beginning/mid July and a "real" one around the time the album's out August 7th. To which songs they'll be will have to be a surprise !

M.I. - Recently the world has faced a new reality… life with social distancing… how much impact did this have on you? 

No doubt this situation has affected us as well as pretty much the majority of all people on the planet. But as a band, we've gotten away as easy as one could ever hope for. This year most of the work besides rehearsing and writing songs (which we've been able to do pretty much in the same pace as before) has been getting everything sorted out with the release of the album, and social distancing while writing emails and creating artwork is not too hard. We had one show planned that got cancelled, but that was a small price to pay compared to lots of others. What sucks now is that the shows and tours we wanted to do once the album was out, starting this fall, is on hold for obvious reasons. 

M.I. - Could you imagine your life with a new reality… no art at all? How complicated would it be for you?

That doesn't sound like a pleasant existence at all. I'm absolutely no expert and have no idea how the future is gonna look like, but quite sure things like concerts will be coming back soon. In the long run people will be going to and arranging concerts, sport events and such even if they'll die doing so. Otherwise, what's the point of everything? 

M.I. - Your looks remind me of the looks of the huge rock stars a few decades ago… yet with a modern twist. Was it intentional or do you look like that every day? 

Thanks! Of course, one dresses up a bit for a photoshoot or video, but I would say the look is how we want to look when we're at our best. Once again, it feels natural for us to have some Rn’R elements as well as some Black Metal elements in the way we look as well as sound. A bit more spaced out maybe on the photos but something like that when it's time to look decent.

M.I. - One of the hashtags you use on your posts is sexdrugsrocknroll… do you live by this motto?

(Laughts) I'd really love to say yes, 24/7 to that one but absolutely not at all times. There's lots of times when I'm no more Rn’R than the average Joe. BUT, there are also different times. And I totally stand behind the soul, the recklessness and the danger of that concept. I think that danger is missing in a lot of today's music, the rebellion that makes for really interesting stuff behind the music. Rock and roll belongs outside the comfort zone and I'm sure that we're bound to wreak some havoc in one way or the other further down the road.

M.I. - The band has played lots of shows… on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you miss playing live? Do you have any idea when you might be able to hit the stages again? Anything planned?

As I said, we've been busy with so much else the last months, so the real abstinence hasn't really kicked in. Though it's always a blast to play live and it's been a while now so an eight on the rise maybe. No idea when we might be able to play again unfortunately. It's out of our control so just waiting and hoping for the best. I think there's some festival confirmed for 2021, but once the album's out we wanna get going way sooner than that.

M.I. - Name your top 5 favourite Black Metal albums and 5 Rock N’Roll albums.

Black Metal:
Dissection - The somberlain
Mayhem - De mysteriis dom sathanas
Emperor - In the nightside eclipse
Deathspell Omega - Si monvmentvm recqvires, circvmspice
Funeral Mist - Salvation

Rock and Roll:
Guns & Roses - Appetite for destruction
W.A.S.P - W.A.S.P
The Hellacopters - Supershitty to the max
Oasis - (What's the story) Morning glory?
Misfits - Walk among us

M.I. - Share a message with the Portuguese readers of Metal Imperium Webzine please.

Thank you all for taking the time to sit through my delirious rant hehe… Watch out for the new album to be released August 7th, hope you'll like it. In the meanwhile, stay safe, true and absolutely fucking mad.

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca