First, give us an introduction and bio of Puissance...
The Puissance era started with the release of two Industrial tapes recorded during '93 and '94, which led to the signing to the well-known Swedish label Cold Meat Industry. The first appearance was on a Double EP compilation together with Arcana and 2 other bands and the music had now progressed into a more majestic orchestral style. In the fall of '95 we were entering the studio for the recording of our debut-album which was set for release in '96. In May CMI finally released this album entitled "Let us Lead" in a luxury digipack. The result was an uncompromising lay-out and 8 dynamic tracks of pure militarism and neo-classicism. "Well constructed orchestrations and military style soundscapes combined with the authoritarian vocals of Söderlund". This release was more twisted and pressuring, but much grandeur and far more powerful than the previously recordings. Also we had incorporated more vocal parts in the tracks to increase the possibility to propagate the apocalyptic ideology.
In April 1997 we were back with 2 new intense tracks which resulted in the 7' EP "Totalitarian Hearts". The complex and unique industrial music had once again evolved to an even harsher militaristic sound, more heavier than ever. The second full-length album, suitably entitled "Back in Control", was recorded only some months later and was finally released in the beginning of '98. An obvious development both as musicians, producers and lyric writers, the progress of our studio equipment have been the important components to make this album one of the most complex and varied in this genre. The neo-classical tracks are complicated arranged and even more solid than on previous works. The militaristic atmosphere is more obvious and the intense- battle drums are joined perfectly by harmonic melodies and industrial soundscapes. The notorious vocals and messages are still there on several tracks to convince the listener about the predictable apocalypse. Cold Meat Industry have the honour to be the label.
Why was the name 'Puissance' chosen and what does it mean to you?
The dictionary meaning of the word is power but for us it might be taken a bit further, we think of the actual meaning (power) as a platform which we with our musical landscapes extend to a sensation of overwhelming might, the worlds portrayed in our songs are often very hard to grasp even though immediate feeling of desolation is obvious. I am afraid that might have sounded a bit arty and pretentious but I think that with an open mind and the disc in the cd-player one might understand what I'm getting at, I think it's like this if it was possible to describe the experience of music with pen and paper we probably wouldn't have music, and since the meaning of the word Puissance is so close to the core of the music and lyrical expression of Puissance it's really hard to explain. Most of this will be cleared out when playing the record, end of story.
Tell us about your new release and how it differs from the previous releases.
Well some might call it a more sophisticated release due to the production and that the songs might be more accessible to wimps, but we just think of it as a broader spectrum of Puissance, maybe it has gone more to the extreme at both ends, the softer parts are easy listening and might be described as nothing less than actual classical scoring featuring all the old school instruments like violins, cellos, timpani's, massive choirs and so forth, the harder part consists of truly alien sounding noise effects and harsh industrial elements of feedback and distortion. This does in our not always so humble opinion provide the best and most well produced industrial music on the modern market.
We are proud of this release and any criticism will be entirely based on prejudice towards our past which is of course flawless, but some pretentious morons from the long since gone so called real industrial era have been known to judge us because they consider us too closely related to black metal and seem compelled to judge based on merit rather than performance, which is of course the absolute opposite of what Psycic TV, SPK, CabaretVoltaire and similar were trying to avoid when they started up the industrial scene. Sorry about the rambling but I just felt like giving something back to all the ignorant assholes who so desperately seek an identity in weird music just because they are too damn afraid to do anything without a prepackaged ambition which in this case has been out of date for 20 years or so, ever heard of samplers?
No one needs tape loops anymore, recording music in that way is just stupid, and as far as analog multitrackers go they are nothing but an easy way to record simple shit that requires no talent whatsoever, give any moron an effect rack, a microphone and a four or eight track taper and their set for underground glory, it just shows you how pathetic the industrial scene is, it worked fine 20 years ago when ambient music was kind fresh but nowadays it's just plain stupid. Anyway, the new Puissance album isn't like that at all and if you want something with an angle you should get it.
The music of Puissance is very majestic and solemn at times. The emotionless sounding narration sometimes added lends a bleak and powerful atmosphere to this. What feeling do you wish to invoke within the listener? Is there a goal or ultimate purpose to your work?
We want to present them images of the world crashing down right in front of them and send them a message that there are people out there who actually hate just about everyone, this might sound a bit harsh but allow me to explain: -We aren't too fond of the human race, most of our lives are spent guessing or lying, we don't have any respect for real accomplishments and we do not like anything that doesn't serve our own purposes, sure there are people who will tell you that they are different, but is there anyone on this earth who has a friend that hasn't once lied to them or let them down, I think not. One might think that this way of looking at the issue is a bit narrow minded and of course one lie surely isn't the end of the world, I mean you can still trust people anyway, or can you? I myself aren't so sure about that, sure it might be okay to lie about a small thing like for instance why you are late for an appointment or something, but if this lie is harmless, why is the truth so harmful? This could be a pretty lengthy discussion but I think you already see where it is going, it's all about manipulation and we all do it, that is why we hate people-and don't worry we will have a lot of articles out (especially on our Network Page we are currently working on) on this subject, but for now I think we have enough for you to see why there is a reason to hate mankind and it's most unpleasing behaviour.
Judging from your lyrics, imagery and past interviews, you are very dissatisfied with this world. As are a growing number of people it seems. What is it about this world you hate most, and where do you feel mankind went wrong? Was there ever a worthy period in the timeline of man, in your opinion?
I think I'll deal with the last part of the question first as it is one that we get asked pretty often: -There is no time in the whole history of mankind that differs from any other than on the surface, throughout history there have been something like 30 years (it's actually true) of global peace, this means that there were no official wars going on between governments anywhere in the during that time known world, this is of course irrelevant when considering that most people are more caught up in their own wars (personal conflicts with personal enemies like your wife and such), what I'm trying to say is that there is always a lot of depressing stuff going on and there has always been so it has actually always been the same.
Now most people will disagree with me and say: -But what of the evolution and technical progress?????
And I must of course defend myself and say: -Yeah what about it? Has it changed anything? Are we happy now? Will a faster car change my life or will better public transport or environmentally safe hairspray do the trick???? The answer is NO, nothing will change that we are narrow minded, never quitting, ultimate kick searching machines with nothing else in mind than personal gain, and what do we want today? Money, and we want that money so we can get power, and with that power we get affection, either it's by doing good (well not real good like eradicating the human race but rather like buying powdered milk for starving nations in the bone dry desert) or by forcing them or just plain paying them, and the affection we have now acquired is manifested in sex, which in the end lead to more ignorant hateable little human beings who also want it all. As far as technical evolution goes it's just a load of crap, a growing world needs a faster way to conquer, if a wooden club isn't enough we'll have to make a spear, and if that doesn't do the trick we'll just make a rifle or an atomic bomb. It doesn't matter what time one lives in they were all crap and this one is just as bad. And now to your other question, what I hate with mankind the most must be ignorance, no one ever listens to anyone, they are all too eager to speak even though they have no idea what they are talking about. I think it all went wrong when it started, when the first filthy little person opened his mouth to say that he was human (of course he didn't say that but I think you get the point).
When did you first realize the future of mankind was growing darker and darker...? What made you realize this?
I don't really know, I had no friends between the age of 8 to 16 so that time was pretty dull, after that I had a brief period of hope again but it sort of slipped away when I started to realize that friends weren't such a great thing to have. I guess the main trigger in my case was the hypocrisy and the narrow mindedness of people, I just couldn't imagine that people were that stupid when I didn't know any, and when I got to know them I was appalled. Earth is a sad place and it deserves to sink straight into hell.
Most people, comfortable being mesmerized by their televisions, could care less about the state of human existence and the possibilities of Armageddon. As long as they have their jobs, food on their tables and their remote controls, they could care less. What do you think about these people? What would you suppose makes them the way they are?
I think there are several reasons, most are probably just too stupid or ignorant to grasp any kind of higher level existential contemplation, but some are just too busy establishing the normal relationship and obtaining the normal job and normal 2.1 children with the additional station wagon and so on, it takes a lot of your time to have a normal job and I think its probably one of the most devious institutions yet thought of, there are actually people who spend 8 hours (generally what are considered the best hours) a day on a job that they don't actually like and in addition to that they spend 1 or 2 hours getting ready for it and 2 or 3 winding down from it and the remaining time is slept away. It's pretty obvious what will happen, no time here for philosophy, I mean with a life like that any real insight would mean immediate suicide or at least one bottle of vodka a night, which is the only by government ordained and taxed drug apart from cigarettes. I think they at least subconsciously fear for their life, one thought to many and the system breaks down.
Do you believe in evolution? That man 'climbed' from the primordial oceans of earth and evolved from monkeys? Tell us your view on this...
Yes, but apparently there was a pre-monkey stage which was also a primate, it is supposed to be that some of them became human predecessors (Cro Magnon) and some became monkeys but what the hell do I know? But I think the theory of evolution sounds pretty good.
There surely is a lot of talk of apocalypse with the millennial year drawing nearer. More and more people are waking up and seeing that the state of the world is getting worse, that problems are amounting and something's going to give. The greatest of all the empires of the past fell, their decadence played a part in this, why should we then think in our modern age things are different? Explain your thoughts on this.
There is no future, not for the world, environment, us, you or anyone else. This is a truth that is very obvious if you just care to look beyond the mass-media lies that tell us for instance that the ozone layer has started to heal itself or that the rainforests have started to grow back all of a sudden and really aren't threatened at all. These lies are of course created by the media to please the public, because the public can only handle troubles as long as it can not possibly affect them directly. Therefore the media must lie, because they can't allow that their customers (the public) to get upset with their sponsors or employers. Most news are controlled by a very small number of international "news bureau's", owned by an even smaller number of very large companies, and this is what makes the manipulation of news on global basis possible. Personally I don't think that the public would react even if they did know the truth about what we have to look forward to, because the public consist mainly of apathetic fools who wouldn't know what to do anyway.
People in general have no power or ability to get organised, especially without a strong leader, and we all know how wrong it would be to be involved in any organisation that isn't based on a democratic system, and the concept of a democratic revolution is pretty unbelievable. Even if the people would find someone to lead them in their futile struggle, he would probably not be on the publics side for very long, because leaders can always be bought, look at the USA for instance. Well, back to the real issue, because this is supposed to be information about what we believe and stand for. As I stated earlier we have no hope whatsoever for this planet, the reason for that is this: The environment is practically unsavable, the health of mother nature has deteriorated so much that almost every child that is born becomes allergic to at least a few of our most common foods or plants and even if we were to stop all pollution, the environment would still get worse and worse for at least thirty more years. That leads me to believe that to hope for the recovery of our nature is futile. All great civilisations (for example the Egyptians or the Inkas) have destroyed themselves in the end, and nothing has yet convinced me that we won't do the same. On the contrary I'm pretty convinced that we will, and if you just open your eyes and look around, you will find a lot of evidence, for instance the pollution I believe I have already mentioned, but most of all I feel that the human mind is far too self-centered to create a civilisation in which all people could coexist and live in peace. We are all greedy and we all want to have control over our own lives, the phenomenon that we have chosen to call civilised society is itself an impossible concept.
A community that tries to please all people is of course bound to end up letting everybody down, because there isn't a possibility of providing a lifestyle that is suitable for everyone. We all have different needs that are often restricted by laws that are made up to protect the people who we often don't even have any desire to associate with. All these laws that are supposedly there to protect our freedom are in fact a restriction of our personal freedom and that is of course a very important factor when one wants to understand the reason for our greed and lust for power. The truth is that the reason is a very simple one, in order to gain freedom, you have to be rich or powerful enough, because if society can't afford to loose you, it means that you can do almost anything you want, and get away with it. I feel that it is important to understand that the ones who write the laws are often the most perverted and even the ones that are most likely to break them, and that is why there will always be ways to go around prosecution if you are only powerful enough and play your cards right. Of course I don't think this is wrong, but it also means I don't have much trust or hope in us ever reaching as functional justice system or even a functional society. But I don't want the leaders to run us into the ground, I want to do it myself. I want to be one of those who end the history of mankind, because there is a shortcut to reach recognition, and that is terrorism. Anyway, this is the reason why we don't respect or trust anyone, we simply feel that all the people on this disgusting planet are so false, unreliable and hypocritical that they should all be terminated. We have yet to find a single person that we can rely on or trust in any way, not even among the people that we spend a lot of time with (please note that we do not refer to them as friends).
People in general have no spiritual or intellectual ambition whatsoever, and those who claim that they do, are usually stupid enough to believe that life on earth can change for the better. If someone seriously even thinks of trying to save this world, it must be considered one of the most ultimate acts of stupidity. However, there are actually people who believe that survival is possible, but their only reason for believing this is usually that we might be able to save the earth if we all work side by side and help each other. We have only one thing to say to people like that: We will not now, nor will we ever help you save anything or anyone, we despise all living creatures and we want you dead.
Do you see a scarcity of truth in today's world? It has become irrelevant and unimportant in many peoples minds... How do you feel?
At the risk of sounding like a spare time philosopher I must say that I find the concept of truth and its existence highly unlikely, truth is in my opinion just a cosmetically draped version of a lie which has been modified in its expression to fit the current norm of acceptable dogma in the society in which it exists. I hope I didn't loose you there but what I was aiming at was simply that there is no truth because truth isn't necessary as long as the statement in question serves its purpose.
What are your thoughts on religion in general? Do you believe that there is anything awaiting us after-death?
How would I know, I haven't been dead yet but if I had to pick one I would have to say the Christian theology sounds pretty decent, two completely opposite sides with mankind stuck in the middle, unable to get anywhere without choosing one of the two extremes, its a pretty saddening concept really and one that I think suits mankind very well. If nothing else it's bound to cause a lot neurotic problems in the mind of the one trying to fully adopt it, it doesn't matter if you go for good or evil, mental illness in some form is imminent and that is just what a religion should be causing. If religion wasn't such a magnificent creator of twisted and self-righteous minds it wouldn't be able to cause all the horrors that it does but on the other hand we would probably find a different way to waste our time and minds if we didn't have it. I think man in itself is probably more to blame then religion but I can't say that it is helping very much either.
Hypothetically speaking, if you had the opportunity to ask an 'all-knowing being' one question, what would it be?
I don't need an answer, I need a thermonuclear device, so the question would have to be:
-Can I have a doomsday machine, please?
Looking to the past, is there anyone from yesterday who you think was a worthy human being? That maybe you might have been inspired by?
Håkan (Master of spoken word and sociology)
Back to the music, tell us some of the things that inspire you to write music for Puissance.
The normal things in life (television and people we meet), basically anything that's annoying.
Are you involved in any other musical projects? What about before Puissance, what did you do then?
I've been involved in dozens of projects over the years but the ones I've done more recently include a compilation for "susan lawley" and a new album with my black metal band Octinomos which should be out in January or so on Infernal Horde production USA , also I've worked a little with a Swedish noise band called Arditi. Well I don't really feel like going on about other stuff since this is supposed to be a puissance interview
If you had to describe Puissance in one single word, what would it be?
Apocalypse, it's a sad cliché but we were the first and are still the best so what the hell.
How are your experiences been with Cold Meat Industry? Will you be staying with this label on coming releases?
No way, we even had to turn down Tony Wakefords label "Tursa" for our new deal, we are now officially signed to Fluttering Dragon and proud of it, they are a fresh and hungry new label and no one could pull us from their claws. The new album "Mother Of Disease" was actually scheduled for release on Tursa and both we and them were ready to go when their distribution deal crashed, and after speaking to Mark (Mr Wakeford's associate) we agreed that since they at the moment couldn't provide efficient enough distribution we would take Mother Of Disease to another label, so we did.
But, we are still in contact with Tony and the boys and might be releasing something on their label later on, it all depends on if they can sort out how to distribute albums to a broader public but I'm pretty sure they will eventually, but as I was saying - We are thrilled to be under the wings of the Fluttering Dragon, Poland leads the way.
At last, we reach the end of the interview. Your final comments and words of wisdom to our readers?
I think I'm all out of wisdom at the moment.
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