Join Festivalphoto at Faceboook
Follow Festivalphoto at Twitter
Watch our festival videos at Youtube
Follow Festivalphoto at Instagram

Semlah: May the Semlah Be with You! | FESTIVALPHOTO

Semlah: May the Semlah Be with You!


There are doom bands and there are Swedish doom bands. It is actually one of our country´s best musical exports. There have been more bands than the big C. One of the most revered were COUNT RAVEN. I say were since that band has changed thouroughly, more on that further down... Instead we now have SEMLAH!

Hi Wilbur, last time around it was about Count Raven, but now for something else
Please fill me in on the details of why you left COUNT RAVEN and why you decided on striking back with SEMLAH?

How did SEMLAH´s career start? Who came up with the band name? The questions pile up!

Hello Miggo!!
Great to hear from you again...
And, May The Semlah be with you too!!!!!!

Hmmm, I didn't left Count Raven? I did read at Cyclone Empire's homepage, a statement Dan has done that Renfield and I was replaced by two other guys?

Two weeks before that when Dan and I was and tried new riffs, without Renfield, Dan started to talk that he wanted to replace Renfield with some other guy, an friend to Dan. He talked a lot of rubbish about Renfield's drumming, that he needed to develop, and make changes on his drumming? But, he is Renfield, isn't he?? and a friend, and had been within the band since the beginning and he's drumming too made the “Count Raven sound”. And, to that, in a band I did think all are friends. I thought it was we against the rest of the world, sort of! Not that we should start a fight against each others?

I was really surprised of that, asked Dan if he had talked to Renfield about it. But Dan didn't want to talk about it, with Renfield. He thought that he and me could start rehearse without Renfield with the new drummer, and talk with Renfield later on, maybe? Is that how good friend threat each others? I said I wanted to think, and for sure want to talk with Renfield about it first.
I meet Renfield and talked with him. He was soo disappointed on Dan. Mostly for that Dan wanted to go behind Renfield back, bringing in another drummer without telling him? I'm really glad that I talked to Renfield about it, we still are friends and actually, this day today, the 3th of April we are going out to drink beer in the sun, early on this afternoon:=))

But, too make a long history short, while I talked to Renfield about it and wonder which way I should take, keep on playing with Dan and the new drummer, or jump of the train, then I got an mail from a friend that I should read an message at Cyclone Empires homepage, and he did wonder if that really is true? I did wonder a lot what that could be, so I had to read it. And for sure I too did get very surprised. It was something like that both Renfield and I was not good enough for Dan and his plans, we did hold back his musical future etc etc. . .

Hopefully he got piece in his mind know, and can make history with the new Count Raven

Of course it felt empty after that. What should I do know?

I stopped thinking of playing music. Didn't know any others whom played that kind of music, so I searched for work instead. But, at work there was an person who did read on the back on my t-shirt, it was tour dates from some Count Raven tour. We started to talk music, and after a couple of weeks suddenly we were in my apartment and felt on each other. Ehh, musically of course, I mean. And, we found each other directly. We made a song first time we meet. And still every time we met! That person was/is Thomas, the guitarist in Semlah. My bass and his guitar really like each other:=))

And, well, yes! We like each other as persons too. After one year we had so much material we decided to advertise for companions. After a while we find Joleni and Johannes and a new band was born. It was a very great feeling, that it once more was possible to play this kind of music and have a good time.

The band name? That is Joleni's idea. Its a Swedish pastry that I love a lot and eat too much of. But thank God it's only at a season, between January and April you can buy them. They are called semla, but Joleni renamed it to Semlah, it looked better. But, it later on showed that it is also an ancient war tool, some kind of ladder that you use when you want to conquer your neighbors castles:-) But that was a very long time ago, in the 1100th century, kind of. In Arabia I think??

How would you describe SEMLAH´s music? How would you describe SEMLAH`s development since 2001?

The music?
Heavy, hard and beautiful with epical parts. . .
And its getting more and more aggressive. The next record will be more aggressive. There will be some ups and downs, it will always be in Semlah I think, but more attitude in the music. We are getting more and more angry the more older we get:=))

How would you describe the band members?

Really, really great guys. The best friend's and companions you can have. We are four different personalities, but we all contribute to the music with our different personalities, and we accept each other and can talk, even if we not aways think the same. Johannes is the youngest, always glad and very social.
Joleni is full of jokes, laughs often and always has new lyrics with him.
Thomas is from the north of Sweden, Norrland. They are famous for not talking so much, and if they talk, they talk very slow. And not that much. And to be in some kind of sad mood? Thomas really can find the sad tunes at the guitar, he is “responsible” for the most sad tunes in Semlah's songs.
But as a person, he is great and not that sad person, and he talks too. He actually can get exited and talk fast:=))

After all the trouble with COUNT RAVEN, what keeps you going?

I'm not satisfied with just working my butt of. Life must be more then that, you don't live so very long, why not having a good time while you do live?? And with the guys in Semlah, and that kind of music with high volume in your back, life is really enjoyable.

What can we expect from SEMLAH in the future?

More aggressive music, more live-gigs.

What are your plans for 2009, live pr-wise etc?

We dream of touring around with other bands, and to be a great live band. We haven't play that much live so far, but hopefully that will change know. Hope so, really.

All the best and keep the doom flag flying, Ha de gött!

Desamma Miggo, har'e djäkligt bra med allt. Kul att höras igen
All the best.

I really hope things accelerates for this band, please check out the review which is due any day now. Sweden has always been at the forefront of doom, SEMLAH are/will be in the front row, nothing indicates otherwise. So, without stuffing yourself with the pastry, go and get this well-baked SEMLAH while stocks last!

Writer: Mikael Johansson
I don't have Facebook