Memory Garden – we like to keep fans waiting and wanting

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Since the Swedish orthodox Doom metallers Memory Garden are returning to Greece for Demons Gate Festival, we asked Tom Bjorn to share some words with us an prepare the ground for their performance. Interview: Kostas Kounadinis

Rockpages.gr: You return to Greece for yet another time. I know for a fact that you share a strong connection with the Greek fans, a bond that goes back to the very origins of the band. How do you feel about that?

Tom Björn: We’re honored of course to have such loyal fans as the Greek ones! I also feel they are honest in their feedback, they won’t just tell you what you want to hear. Little did we know in the 90’s that Greece had such a strong doom culture, and that we would get the opportunities to be a part of it several times. Super excited about this episode of Demon’s Gate Festival finally coming to life!

Rockpages.gr: The last 3 years, with the Covid pandemic and all, bands, musicians and artists in general were strongly affected. How did Memory Garden cope through these strange and unpredictable times?

Tom Björn: Yeah, the world is in a spiral of shit these days…

Luckily for us, we had a lot of work finishing up the latest album.

We didn’t have any shows planned, beside Demon’s Gate of course, that were affected by the pandemic. But it must have been devastating for touring bands and artists…

Rockpages.gr: For the release of your latest album you teamed up with a Greek label, No Remorse Records. How did this collaboration came to be and how did the audience receive 1349?

Tom Björn: I think we shared some news about the album coming together nicely, on social media. No Remorse contacted us and proposed a nice deal.

Given the situation with our Greek fans, it really seemed like a perfect fit for us. It’s a smaller label with 100% heart and soul for their bands, so we’re very happy to be part of their roster! The reviews have been generally fantastic, and fans seem very happy with the album as well! It feels like we hit a jackpot with this one.

Rockpages.gr: We surely can’t say that you release albums very often… And since 1349 was released less than a year back, when should we expect your next strike?

Tom Björn: True, we like to keep fans waiting and wanting, building up that crave for more…haha

The truth is we haven’t had enough time to work faster, due to work and families etc… Also, we would never throw ideas in a blender, see what comes out and settle with that.

We need to let the songs grow and let them take some time.

Though I hope we can speed this process up a bit in the future, there’s a lot of ideas in the pipe already that needs to be sorted out.

Rockpages.gr: 8 whole years separate Doomain and 1349. What changed within the band during this period of time and if you had a magical way to travel back to 2013, would you change anything?

Tom Björn: Not much have changed I believe, but in my opinion we became better songwriters with 1349. Doomain sure holds some pearls as well, but personally I had more of a first album vibe with 1349. The passionate feeling for your craft. I guess several perimeters sets the course of an album, influences or life situations etc. Anyway we’ve always tried to make the best we can at every moment.

Rockpages.gr: Your musical influences are kind of obvious. But what are the elements that have subtly shaped the band and have nothing to do with the Doom Metal sound?

Tom Björn: Back in 92, Stefan called me and stated: Me and a friend (Anders Looström) are gonna start a band, we wanna be heavy like Candlemass and you should be the drummer. I was totally into that idea! Influences grew to anything from Enya to Queensryche and Meshuggah. I would say that beside the doom nerve, we try to keep things dynamic with melodic and heavy parts. All the things we love from our favorite bands! Plus Stefan’s voice is of course a trademark. He is strictly prohibited to engage in other bands! 😄

Rockpages.gr: What should we expect from Memory Garden during Demons Gate Festival?

Tom Björn: We hope to deliver a clenched fist of powerdoom, both new and older stuff. I’m convinced we will have a great time with our fans and friends!