Swedish Retro-Stoner Veterans GREENLEAF return, upping their game with their timeless new album Rise Above The Meadow. Unholy Music took the chance to conduct an interview with the vocalist Arvid Jonsson and see the band’s anticipation for the new album.
Hello, thank you a lot for taking the time to answer my questions! With 5 albums behind your back, how does it feel like to be releasing your sixth album very soon?
It feels very good indeed! And we’re very happy with the new album. It’s a natural step forward musically for us without necessarily losing the Greenleaf roots.
What’s your current inspiration to keep writing new music? Are all of the band members integrated in the songwriting process?
Well, we are constantly in need of a new jam and that’s what kind of takes us forward. And when you play as much live as we do at the moment, you tend to get really tired of the songs you already have.
Most of the times Tommi (Guitar) comes up with a riff idea and then we try it out in the rehearsal room. If it feels good we make a song out of it. A pretty natural process where everyone gets involved at some point.
Do you have a favorite song from the new album ‘Rise Above The Meadow’?
For me, I think my favorite songs at the moment are Howl and Levitate And Bow Pt 1&2, both songs very dramatic in a way and that makes them fun to play as well.
What’s the main idea behind the album and the title of it?
Well, always when we make an album it’s important for us that the songs benefit one another. You want the sum of the whole album to tell you a good story. So it’s important that the songs are different but still fit well together. Like a good movie almost.
For the title, it’s statement of where are the moment as a band. Like we are ready to “Rise Above The Meadow” we also taught it sounded cool haha.
What are the lyrics about? is there any concept behind them?
Yes I tend to tell stories about relations, very often involving misfits and outcasts. I’m very influenced by writers like Nick Cave and Tom Waits.
Did you change something in your songwriting process with ‘Rise Above The Meadow’ or perhaps incorporate some older ideas in the new album?
Well we tried to do everything even better than before haha. The process of writing the songs looked pretty much the same but the fact that we have played so much more live since we released Trails And Passes probably have had an effect on the new tracks. There’s a bit more feeling and honesty in the material. I guess. it’s rawer in a way.
What do you usually write first, the text or the melodies?
Almost always the melodies. The lyrics and the “theme” kind of comes along with it.
How important is to grow as a band from album to album? And how do you think a band could succeed nowadays and stand out?
It’s important if you wanna really be able to make a living out of it. Which by the way is very rare. I’m not really sure how to be “successful” but yeah great songs help of course. But the most important thing I think is to play as much live as fucking possible and really kick ass every time. If you do that enough, people will just have to notice you at some point.