It’s not too often we receive instrumental rock music in the GigRadar inbox but when we do, we generally love it. So we’re really excited to introduce a Swedish band that’s honed a deliciously diverse post-rock, shoegazey sound borne out of combining a multitude of instruments.
Indeed, Malmö’s Sejd includes… deep breath… Mårten Wiklund (electric guitar, baritone guitar, glockenspiel, synth and percussion), Robin Sandquist (electric guitar, electric bass, double bass, pipe organ, tapes, trumpet, percussion), Sebastian Falk (electric guitar, electric bass, percussion, harmonium, melodica, hurdy gurdy, piano), Joel Wååg (percussion, trumpet, melodica), Sebastian Mårtensson (electric bass, glockenspiel) and Anton Toresson (drums, percussion).
The band first started out as a project in high school. As Mårten explains: “Everyone in class had an assignment which they had a year to finish whatever they wanted to do, so my idea was to record a post-rock or a shoegaze album and a teacher told me that Robin did something similar. So I asked him if he wanted to collaborate, which he agreed to do.
“We got a couple of friends together and started to work on some songs but most of the people left quite early. So Robin asked Sebastian if he wanted to join, which he also agreed to do. So when the assignment was done I basically asked if they wanted to keep on writing songs and see where it would lead and they all agreed. That is a somewhat short version of how we got the band together.”
They’ve built on those small beginnings to the point that they’ve just released their second album Ben & Hjärta (translates to Legs & Heart), on which Mårten told us: “We are very excited for people to hear our new music so it’s nice that it will finally be released. Some of these songs are quite old for us now so when we play them live, so it’s nice to finally say that they can hear them at home too. Compared to our first album, people can expect first of all a heavier record but also a much better written and serious album. We’ve grown since we started playing together so now we know how to write better songs together!”
Ben & Hjärta is a bit of an epic, which begins as it means to go on with the near 15-minute opener Storm & Stilltje (Storm & Still). In fact, only one of its eight tracks – the title track – clocks in at under five minutes long, and most are well beyond six minutes. So it’s a long listen, but an intriguing one.
Indeed, opener Storm & Stilltje has you hooked from the off with its light guitar licks and cymbal-heavy drums supporting drawn-out trumpet parps. The pace drops down, then a cool little organ sound takes over supported by looping light guitar and glockenspiel, then distant cymbals gradually become more prominent, then drops down into just the guitar lick and backing vocals. A long chillout period eventually builds up with some kind of wind instrument over pounding percussion and repeating guitar chords, then high-pitched tremolo guitars kick in as it crescendoes to an atmospheric ending. Have a listen in the stream below.
A personal favourite from the album is Dipsomani, which begins with light flickering guitar over drawn-out guitar chords that are soon joined by light drum support. It builds with two darting guitar riffs kicking in side-by-side, then the drums steadily kick it into life. A brief pause for a light guitar lick under a shimmering noise builds into a heavier mix of ascending guitars under the high-pitched shimmering guitar noise.
While the brilliant Spasm – the only other track under six minutes – reflects its name, opening up with wild electronic noise over repeating snare drum rolls, then multiple layers of guitar kick in as the electronic noise winds all over the place. The repeating riff continues alone, before bursting into a heavier combination of guitars, the freaky electronic whisps and drums. Check it out in the stream below.
It’s very different to anything else we’ve been listening to recently, and Mårten describes the Sejd sound as being “a bit like EITS, Mogwai or EF” and, for anyone that doesn’t know their post-rock: “I usually say instrumental indie rock.”
Their key influences include David Bowie, Thåström and Kent through to the likes of Slint, Gorillaz, The National and Pixies. And, in terms of how their music comes together, Mårten explains: “All our songs come together through jams during our rehearsals. Most song ideas some of us have brought from home usually don’t stick. It’s all in the moment I guess. I can’t speak for the rest of the group, but what inspires me to write varies, it usually comes in periods when I get a ‘shock of creativity.’ But sometimes going to see other artists perform helps.”
And on the Swedish rock scene, Mårten adds: “There are a lot of great bands that come from Sweden or Scandinavia but the only one I can think of at the moment is Iceage from Denmark. I saw them last year at Haven in Copenhagen and they were really good live. They’re great on record asw ell but I would like to see them in a club or something because then I think you would get the ‘full experience.'”
We love what we hear from Sejd, they go from light and melodic at times to building into sections of dark, atmospheric rockiness. They are currently promoting the new album as much as possible and looking to get to as many different places and festivals as possible – as well as hoping to go on their first “real” tour next year. So hopefully we’ll see them in the UK sometime soon!