About Me

Interview with Stortregn

Stortregn are a Swiss band that, celebrating their first decade of existence, launched this year, Impermanence, their fifth full-length. Included within a very specific genre, Progressive Technical Blackened Death Metal, is a solid album, with cohesive songs, that advance the narrative throughout the work.
Manuel Barrios (bass) was kind enough to answer our questions, describing and making known this potent swiss mixture of brutality and progressive skills.

M.I. - Hi! Thanks for your time doing this! And congrats for the new album! A rock-solid record that you should be proud of!

Thank you very much! We are very proud of this one and the reviews have been extremely heartwarming.

M.I. - For our readers who don't know you, how do you characterize Stortregn?

Well, Stortregn started off as a Melodic Black Metal band reminiscent of Dissection or Dark Tranquility. After many years searching our own path we put more and more Death metal and Prog influences in our music and today I guess we can say we gravitate towards Blackened Tech Death.

M.I. - I think “Stortregn” is Swedish for heavy rain. Does it have another meaning? What does it mean for you and why did you choose it?

As the band was inspired by 90s Swedish bands it only seemed fitting to use a Swedish word for our name.

M.I. In the beginning you had other names, until you settled with Stortregn. Can you tell us some of the names that you used or thought about using?

As many others, Stortregn started as a bunch of friends playing music and trying to find an identity as a band. Divine Smile and Addict Repulsion were used in the first years but Stortregn became the definitive name before the first demo. 

M.I. - 10 years since the first full-length… What is your take on this last decade and what is the biggest difference that you notice in the band and in your sound, between the first and the last albums?

Gosh… Already ten years…
There have been a lot of changes in the lineup since then. There are only two original members left (Romain and Johan), so I guess each one of the new members brought with him his own influences. 
As for the sound, we collaborate with Vladimir Cochet (Conatus Studio) since our very first album. We can say the sound becomes better and more “in your face” with each new release. Cheers to him!

M.I. - The band underwent several lineup changes. For example, I think that in the drums, Samuel is the 7th to occupy the position! All of this, of course, brings instability to any band. Do you think it prevented the band from going further and higher?

Sam is maybe the 7th drummer (I genuinely don’t know), but he’s been blasting his snare with Stortregn since 2013! Since the release of Singularity (2016) there has been no departure in the band, and I think it shows as each album since then has been improving on the one before. So yes, I think stability is important and it helps greatly with the growth of the band.

M.I - Taking about Impermanence… The album seems to have been thought of as a whole, with no song to stand out, but just a continuation of the previous one. It`s an extreme metal record that blends the best of multiple subgenres to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Am I wrong in my analysis?

I don’t know if your wrong or right (that would be pretentious) but thank you very much for your analysis! Blending multiple subgenres is something we consciously try to do. We all come from different musical universes and we all listen to different metal subgenres in our daily life so when comes the time to write a song, you have all these different influences to work with.

M.I. - Is your writing process always the same? How was it for this album?

It was more or less the same than the last one. Johan and Duran trade riffs and song ideas. They then organize them into songs and add like 10’000 guitar harmonies everywhere. Afterwards Sam and I write our parts and Romain puts his vocals into them.

M.I. - Personally, I think this is your best work. Something that was only achieved with a lot of unity and passion for what you were doing. Was it easy to get to the final result? Did you have more or less problems with Impermanence than with the previous albums?

I can only speak for Impermanence and Emptiness since I’ve only taken part to the recording sessions on these two albums. It wasn’t easy, not easy at all! There is a shit-ton of guitar parts, layers upon layers of instruments in each riff. The album is so dense that it was very hard to get to a final result we could all agree on.

M.I. - The cover was created by the painter Paolo Girardi. How this partnership came about and what does the design means?

What we are looking for when it comes to the cover of our albums is a piece of art. As for every artist we collaborated for our artworks, we really enjoyed his work, so we decided to contact him.
We sent him a short text explaining the concept of the album and what we were broadly looking for. In addition, we sent him the lyrics and some unfinished songs. Paolo Girardi was then free to interpret the concepts as he liked.

M.I. - Without concerts, how are you promoting the album? Have you managed to reach where you want and with the reactions you wanted?

Unfortunately, no. We would love to be on the road touring for weeks defending our new album, but the situation does not let us do that. So, we have been filming playthroughs and music videos which have been pretty well received and shared. We are also trying new things, broadening our promotional horizons, you will see in a couple of months!

M.I. - What is the path you are looking for in the future? Continue to develop what you already do - but more extreme and more technical - or experiment with other sounds? After all, your sound is also a mix of subgenres.

Other sounds? Nah… faster, harder and with more blast.

M.I. – Is it too early to talk about a new album or do you already have something in mind?

We have already traded some riffs between us but nothing formal.

M.I. - After the experience with "Cosmos Eater", this is the first album with The Artisan Era. Why did you decide to change labels? Are you trying to have more exposure outside Europe?

Of course, exposure is very important and we are always trying to bring our music to new places. But mainly we decided to change labels because of our shifting in sound. We are more and more modern sounding and we thought that we needed a label that had a public looking for this kind of metal. 

M.I. - What do you listen in everyday life? Where do you go for ideas?

Each one of us listens to different styles of music, I think our common ground is Death metal and all its subgenres. Personally, I listen to Thrash, Death and Heavy. Outside of metal I love folk/country music.

M.I. - When the world returns to normal and we can all be together... Do you have anything planned? Is there a chance to see you live in Portugal?

We still hope we’ll be able to tour before everyone forgets about Impermanence. We’ve never been to Portugal but I’d absolutely love to: I love Portuguese food and the sweet, sweet music of Quim Barreiros.

M.I. - The pandemic has accelerated the digital world. Do you think that this is the only possible future in music and that, eventually, all physical supports will disappear? Do you still buy the older formats (vinyl, cassettes ...)?

Tough question… I really hope physical supports won’t disappear because it’s still the only way to own music, streaming platforms only lend you the songs you listen. In the last ten years we have seen the resurgence of the vinyl format, people are starting to ask for cassettes too. I know it’s a pretty niche public but it gives me hope in physical support.
As for me, I’m a vinyl hipster. I absolutely love this format, it’s amazing. I still buy CDs from time to time, especially to support local bands.

M.I. - Music and concerts aside, what have you missed most about doing again?

Having a cold one with the boys in our favorite bar and going to the restaurant.

M.I. - What do the band members do outside of Stortregn? Do you have other jobs, other musical projects? ...

Johan is a guitar teacher and he has his classical guitar career. Sam teaches Drums and has a trillion musical projects. Romain is a graphic designer. He also sings in Versus which is a hardcore band. Duran is an architect and I’m a social worker.

M.I. - Almost finishing… Any last words for our readers?

Take care guys, I hope we can see you all very soon on the road!

M.I. - Again, thanks for the time. Hope to see you soon in a Portuguese stage. Keep strong.

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Ivan Santos