Riffs and Fuzz: Get to know Swedish Death Candy

Photo by Nathan McLaren-Stewart

Photo by Nathan McLaren-Stewart

In front of me is Louis Perry. He sings, and supplies a suitable amount of riffs and fuzz, in Swedish Death Candy. The band have travelled up from London today to play a bash hosted by Gravy Train in Bristol alongside a stellar line up including Spectres, Lice and Scalping. London is the band’s home, where the four of them met up when studying.

“London is pretty cosmopolitan,” Louis tells me, recalling how the four of them got together. “One of the nice things about living in a city like that is you meet all sorts of people,” he continues. This mix of cultures is something that Louis finds helps the band creatively. Their bassist Jiwoon Whang, arguably the most fixating aspect of Swedish Death Candy’s live shows, with his long hair and unmatchable stage presence, is from Korea. “Jiwoon is always showing me these cool bands from Korea or Japan, he’s opened my eyes. Similar sort of rock or psychedelic stuff as here. There’s a really good scene over there.” There’s certainly downsides to living in the capitol. For a musicion it’s rich culture and creative hub stands out, but as a city it’s often terribly expensive. “We have loads of little jobs we do in-between touring, I try and do as much freelance stuff as possible to I won’t get the sack when I go on tour,” Louis laughs.

The first song I heard by Swedish Death Candy was So Long from the Liquorice E.P. Maybe slightly unsurprisingly, as it’s name suggests, it’s long. The 16-minute psychedelic and fuzzy anthem is relentless and ferocious. There aren’t many bands that can pull off such a track and it was a bold and brave move from the four piece. “The riff felt pretty heavy and it needed time to do it’s thing,” Louis tells me about So Long. “It’s kind of like in classical music, if you listen to Beethoven or Stravinsky there are some real heavy moments and they go on and on,” he continues. “If you think about it if you have a heavy and prolonged section it takes time for the weight of that to fade out, you can’t just end it.” So Long is a song that’s nailed this. Maybe the weight is the only way to describe the song, it seems fitting with how in depth it is. “I’m into things that are also less structured, I’m into jazz and electronic music,” he admits. Though the length and structure of So Long is inspired by so much, it certainly comes as very natural for Louis and that’s easy to hear when listening. There’s really no bullshit around it, it’s a masterpiece of a song.

A year or so after the Liquorice E.P, Swedish Death Candy released their self-titled record to the world. Just as the E.P suggested, the full length is a powerful, loud and bold collection of music. The record, though sonically sounds so fierce, has tender and fragile moments, most notable in Louis’s lyrics. “It was our first album, we figured we had to put as much into it as we could,” Louis says. “It took quite a long time to evolve and develop.” The E.P was released when Swedish Death Candy were a fairly new band and Louis admits that in the time between the E.P and full length the band dynamic had naturally changed.

“The songs got a bit more concise,” Louis tells speaking of that change. “It became easier to fit our ideas into 3 to 5 minute songs, we had sort of found our sound at that point.” One of the stand out aspects of the debut record is Louis and fellow guitarist Frank Codardo’s guitar playing, often double soloing and battling with each other. I tell Louis this and he laughs, “a lot of that was actually accidental!” The birth of this came from in the studio when Louis would end up double taking guitar parts and they’d end up just naturally fitting with each other creating more depth and dynamic to a guitar part. “We’d do a live take and I would do a second track just to see if it worked better, but then it just fit together really nicely.” Of course some of Frank and Louis’s guitar parts were planned out, the harmonising they both do with each other adds another dynamic to an already great riff. 

Considering the band track the music live in the studio, I wonder if their live performance often stays close to the recorded music. “To some extent,” Louis tells me. “It’s probably the other way round. We record the album to sound like the live set.” There’s obviously add ons to this, filling in any gaps with the overlays, such as the guitar parts. “We fiddled with the space a bit, there were things we took away. If I thought something sounded crowded we might take things away,” Louis says. Naturally live the band tend to sometimes play a bit faster, and Louis admits to sometimes playing a bit heavier, but this tends to go down well. It certainly has the three times I’ve seen Swedish Death Candy. Another key factor for the band’s live performance is the spaces they play in. Wether it’s a large venue or a small bar, the band take into consideration the space to justify how they play, for example, if it’s an excited crowd maybe they will play a bit faster, if it’s a larger space maybe a bit heavier. “I guess it’s always going to be more raw live,” Louis laughs. “Definitely less thought out!”

In terms of influence Louis speaks of genres that may not be associated with the overall fuzz and heavy tones of the band. Going back to his interest in classical Louis says, “I don’t listen to loads of classical music, but I can appreciate the way it’s structured, like the melodies and mainly the dynamics of it. It’s the same with jazz, it’s never boring, you know?” Louis has a point. Of course, jazz or classical may not be everyone’s interest, but Louis talks about seeing it live and how nothing is ever the same each time, something that makes both genres interesting and always moving. “I think the dynamics are a really important thing in our band,” Louis admits. “It’s the same with the techno, it can start minimal and get really big, and that’s something we are into.” 

I think that the first song of Swedish Death Candy’s debut record, Last Dream, is an accurate description of the band. It’s loud, fast, intense and complex. It’s fucking great. Since the first E.P the band have always been an exciting sound coming from the capital, the debut record proved this further, and the band have countless people, including myself, sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for what’s next. Swedish Death Candy are certainly one of the most exciting UK bands right now.