"In mirrors digged up from the earth I see myself / Lambent upon my childhood fields in wounds" (Inmost Nigredo)
Fan homage to one of the best dark rock bands ever: In Solitude.
As well as to related creative manifestations: No Future, Reveal, Invidious...and beyond.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

...And then you throw in the knives - A Conversation with Spine and Crakk of Reveal!

Spine and Crakk, filming the "What Pigs Get" video
(Photo by Pelle Åhman)
This needed to happen sooner or later on Unearthed Mirrors. We have been thinking about this for quite some time, we know there are a lot of other people here who have been waiting for this, too; and finally, today, we are tremendously frenzied to present you an intriguing and very fascinating interview with two creative minds whom we are particularly fans of: Crakk and Spine of Reveal!, who have kindly agreed to let us in on the band's twisted world... Or maybe it was slightly sadistic, who knows, and they just wanted to carry all of us inside Reveal!'s lunacy...fair enough either way, both cases are just equally enjoyable.

As most of you already know, Reveal! have just released the single "Some Marionettes, Some Kites (A Few Knives)" from the their upcoming fourth full-length.

They have shared with us, through this very genuine conversation, an insight into their sources of inspiration, their approach to music, art and songwriting, some fun memories and even some hints and teasers about their much anticipated upcoming fourth album.

We hope you will enjoy this as much as we did - let's go!

U.M. : Reveal!'s music is undeniably a creature of its own, and it stands out also as quite detached from contemporary music trends, even among the underground, so to say. Do you feel the same way about the music you create? And do you generally feel the same way (quite detached from the ongoings of the world) on a personal level, too?

Crakk: Yes, I think so. I don't know. I rarely keep track on what's happening on the foreline, so to speak, because I don't really know how to do that. So how I find music is usually through friends, but also maybe like forums, some shit with some specific things; but it's from all types of music. And it's like, I guess, pretty specific for my tastes as well, so I don't know how, where, I would find news about my specific taste. The freshest things I'd find, usually is like 2015, maybe 2016. Of course there are exceptions, but usually older. I don't know if it exists even. People imagine like, a point where things happened and I don't think it usually is like that, there's some magic somewhere usually as I constructed after it, maybe a piece of art is better. Because if you listen to an album, how you hear it will be affected by everything around it. So maybe it has to sit there for some years also.

Spine: Yeah, that's the thing with the old stuff, it doesn't have, you know, the ongoing social. So it's easier to find your own place with old records, I feel that way. I guess we always value originality a lot, also. We don't feel satisfied with just rocking out the standard chords and, you know, just playing, we want to make something our own. That's always been the way.

Crakk: It's a bit weird with people that aren't like that, I mean, music became fun, real fun when I realized, okay, we can do it our own way or whatever. I guess it's like a punk idea, maybe, I'm not sure it's probably older, but whatever.

Spine: Yeah, "think for yourself" it's basically the message. I don't know, going into this is can be very complicated. That's the simplest answer I can give.


Reveal! on stage at Plan B, Malmö in 2018
(Photo by Gianluca La Bruna)

 U.M. : Speaking of "Scissorgod": were there any songs in particular that you were looking forward to playing live (before the worldwide pandemic mess) and that you are now planning to definitely keep on a hypothetical setlist for future live shows?

   Spine: We actually played nearly all of the songs from "Scissorgod" before it was released. I don't think we played "Decomposer" and "Feeble Hearts", but all the other songs, we played. They worked for playing live, because we wrote the music with being able to play every song live in mind. So yeah, it was a good run.

Crakk: "Feeble Hearts" is a cool song.

Spine: It's a good one, but it's pretty hard to... that one and "Decomposer" are very, like, delicate songs.

Crakk: You could probably do "Decomposer", but you have to, have some like technician for the vocals.

Spine: But yeah, we played most of them already.

Crakk: But "Decomposer", maybe I would like to play it someday. With the new songs, maybe. It would be pretty cool.

Spine: Yeah. It's hard to say right now.


U.M. : You have just released the single "Some Marionettes, Some Kites (A Few Knives)" from your upcoming album: what made you choose this song to be released first?

 Spine: I'm not sure. I think it was my favorite    song at the moment. I think it was a good,   you know, forward banger maybe. I like the     title.

 Crakk: I think it's a pretty weird song, actually.

 Spine: Yeah, but that's the most normal thing   we can do.

  Crakk: Yeah I see. The title, the title I think is   good.

  Spine: Yeah, I like it because I realized that marionettes and kites are polar opposites, so to say. They're both attached to a string, one you control, and one controls you basically.

Crakk: It's pretty clever.

Spine: Yeah, it's pretty clever, the title. And then you throw in the knives, you know... you can figure it out.

Crakk: Everyone likes knives.

Spine: I think there's also, speaking of the first question, when speaking of making normal songs, you know, detached from the contemporary music, with "Flystrips", I think that actually was the point: to make just rock songs, straightforward, performed live in the studio. So you can hear the band, no overdubs, but that's what came out of trying to be normal.

Crakk: Yeah, exactly. Natural, like, I think it's kind of an honest record, very honest.

Spine: Yeah, it's the most honest record.

Crakk: Too honest, actually.

Spine: Yeah, that was the point.

Crakk: But then you say, if you're gonna go honest then you have to be ready for what it becomes, then you have to be like, okay, this is how I look without makeup, I'm fucking angry because usually, you're not the fucking model. So yeah. Be natural. Be a freak.

Spine: Yeah, that's what it means.

Crakk: A sexy freak.


U.M. : And what about the B-side, "Organs": is it a song left out from "Flystrips" or from "Scissorgod"? (Or maybe neither?)

Spine: Oh, it's just something we rehearsed for a tour. We never released it, I don't know why, it's a pretty... it's like a jam. I think it came between "Flystrips" and "Scissorgod", sometime during the "Flystrips" era.

Crakk: It's just some shit we wrote.

Spine: Yeah, and we never released, but I liked it. And, you know, it's good to keep those songs released as well.


U.M. : When it comes to songwriting, do you find yourself to be more creative and inspired during moments of solitude, or while jamming together?

Crakk: I think it's like, you get this little piece of genius, or some clever words, or some little harmony or, well, some melody or whatever, and you bring it. We usually, we used to jam a lot, but, the recent album is like Lukas (Spine)'s solitary.

Spine: I guess it depends on the dynamics within the group. It's not much more complicated than that. If everybody has ideas and it flows, of course you save the songwriting for the rehearsals.

Crakk: But it works pretty good.

Spine: But this time I spent lonely time in my house and just wrote all the stuff and, I don't know, it's hard to give a definite answer on this one. Inspiration comes from anywhere, basically.


U.M. : Crakk, do you find yourself more inclined to write lyrics while listening to the music you're writing them for, or do you usually write them separately?

Crakk: I guess both, but usually I get like a stroke of genius, when you're like at work or doing dishes or whatever, or yachting. So you get some clever words, or good ideas. And then you sit down and listen to the music to get the melody right. And then off of that, a clever little word idea, you build. That's usually how I do it. Maybe I have like, three of those. If it's a really good one, maybe it fills out the whole thing. And then you have to "squeeze" the words in there, get them to fit or whatever, like molt. That's how I do it.


U.M. : Spine, when you compose music, how much do you usually rely on the proverbial "gut feeling"? Do you usually feel right away that an idea, a riff is going to lead you in an interesting direction and you just follow it, or does it usually take several steps and developments to reach a point where you are satisfied with it?

Spine: I guess the gut feeling comes from, you know, the seed. I hear something I listened to and I want to steal that, or I sit and play guitar and find a chord progression, record it on my phone, forget about it for a couple of days. Then I go through the recordings and if I get this good feeling, that I think that we should make music out of, I just keep building on that song, basically. Yeah, gut feeling is very important in anything, it's what you should rely on the most when it comes to art specifically. Sometimes you also have to just set the deadline for the recording in the studio and just accept the song.

Crakk: And, you have to let it go.

Spine: Yeah,you have to let go.

Crakk: At the right time also.

Spine: Because when when you're inside of creating it, it's very hard.

Crakk: When you sit down, how do you know? Because if you're doing something good, you don't have like a finished product in mind. You're in a process of building something. So how do you know that it's done? It's very hard. That's kind of, the key, if you let go at the precise time, then it's like really good, but usually it's a bit overworked.

Spine: Exactly. So I actually rely a lot on accidents also. Just things that I can't control. I like that.

Crakk: Yeah. I like that too.

Spine: Because then it becomes interesting to me as well.


U.M. : If I recall correctly, Reveal! so far have made only one cover song (No Your Product): is there any other song you're planning to cover, or that anyway you would like to cover, sometime in the future?

Spine: I can just say, first of all, it's a funny story, at the first gig we played in our school, we covered "Making Love" by Kiss and "Chainsaw Gutsfuck" by Mayhem, on the same night. And to us, that was the same kind of music.

Crakk: No vocals...

Spine: No vocals.

Crakk: Because I remember someone was going to sing, but he got too nervous. Maybe it was me, I don't know.

Spine: We were probably like 12 or something.

Crakk: Yeah, 2005?

Spine: Probably, yeah.

Spine: But yeah, I have no relation to that cover song we did, I know Olof (Crakk) loves it.

Crakk: I really like it, yeah.

Spine: But I have never heard of it before Olof played it and I wanted to give it a go, but I had never felt comfortable playing covers with Reveal!, even though I thought of a few, I thought of some, like, Pentagram songs, and some Flower Travellin' Band.

Crakk: We did say Possessed, but that was also very early.

Spine: Yeah, that was when we were still Waster, I think. No, I think about it, but I never... I just want to write and play or own stuff.

Crakk: I had like, maybe a hundred suggestions. But Lukas (Spine) just shoots them down.

Spine: No, it's not like that.

Crakk: Some songs that I wanted to cover really badly, then I am very happy that we didn't do now, also. But, I don't know, maybe it's cool that we haven't, but some songs could be cool, some old rock'n'roll songs, I think. Old dark rock'n'roll songs, I think.

Spine: You wanted to do "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors.

Crakk: Yeah, but that's a good idea though, I think.

Spine: We never tried that.

Crakk: Because that would be like "Scissorgod", not like dark, but very, very crooked. I think it would be cool, but I don't know.

Spine: Yeah, I just shook it off and went on playing other stuff. So no, we don't think about the cover songs at the moment, seriously.


Reveal!, 2021  From left to right: Petter, Spine (close to the wall)
 Viktor, Crakk (sideways,on the front).
(Photo by Björn Arnemo)

U.M. : Suppose that you have to describe your upcoming album to a deaf person, in just a few words: what would you say?

Spine: I know a few words in sign language. I know taxi, I know coffee... and so I wouldn't say anything because they couldn't hear me anyway.

Crakk: I don't know, it's like... imagine if you had another sense, that picks up something. It's not like a color, but it's like, hmmm you feel it inside. And it's very good also. So yeah, something like that.

Spine: It's a fucking new masterpiece album.

Crakk: I would show the artwork. And if that doesn't work, then fuck him.

Spine: This is the best thing you're going to hear in probably the rest of your life.

Crakk: I mean, it's an amazing artwork, just buy it for the artwork and hang it on the wall.

Spine: I think it's the definitive Reveal! record. And that's it. Just look at us, look at what we've done.

Crakk: Yes. Give it like 20 seconds. If you don't get it, you're a fucking retard. Honestly.


U.M. : Regardless of how your listeners will perceive the upcoming album when it comes out, how much distant does it feel to you, mentally and creatively, from its predecessor "Scissorgod"?

Crakk: Very different. But every album has been very different, I think. But I'm proud of this album in a way that I haven't been for the other ones, honestly. If I died now, I could be happy with this like an epitaph. It's like the best rock music I've ever done.

Spine: I mean, creatively, it's easy to say, specifically "Scissorgod" was written mostly in the rehearsal space. All together, we did a lot of stuff all together. This one, I wrote all the music, all the riffs and we just put it together in the studio. "Scissorgod" is weird. It's feels like a very long time ago. I can't really remember. I can remember the previous albums more vividly. I'm very proud of "Scissorgod". But... I think it was just something that we had to do, but this one, it feels like the thing we had to have done, so to say.

Crakk: Yeah, it's easier the best thing we ever did. Bye far.


U.M. : When we spoke to Affe, who handled the recording of your upcoming album, he said that production wise it is more on the cleaner side, and that there are details and harmonies that would have been lost if the recording had been too gritty. If you don't mind giving a little clue of what's to come, how much would you say the production has contributed to the overall mood of the album?

Spine: Yeah, Affe was in the studio.

Crakk: We like to have Affe like a co-producer, because Affe has very good ears. Affe picks up on things quicker than most people, quicker than me. So it's good to have him because then it's like an extra safety kind of thing. But usually he helps as well. And in the studio everything just worked out almost immediately. Stefan, he was like this studio technician, and knew that studio very well and totally got what we wanted to do. Which I think it's not that common, so I think you should be happy,if someone gets it.

Spine: Yeah, I think he got inspired, and we got inspired by that, so a spiral upwards.

Crakk: It was a very nice studio. And I think that's correct what he (Affe) said, it's high definition.

Spine: You can hear what we always wanted to get through with, even with "Flystrips", we wanted to get this through limited by only our instruments in our hands, at the recording of the album. But this one, we spent a lot more time on details and adding stuff and it's very clear sounding. It's very good, it's very powerful sound.

Crakk: And it's not like a thousand overdubs. I think the bass and drums, I think it was recording one day, it was very, like...fluid.

Spine: But we didn't spend too much time on perfecting the details, there are some lively moments. Of course we love the gritty recordings.

Crakk: I mean, it's not a "clean" record.

Spine: Yeah, it's variable. But we felt it was necessary to do a clean record. The cleanest we could do it.


U. M. : Spine, your sharp, thrashy solos are certainly one of the most insane and tasty parts of Reveal!'s music. Do you have a favourite source of inspiration for those? Also, are you self-taught or did you receive formal education?

Spine: Specifically about the solos, I guess, I can put it like, I want to sound like Trey does on the early, or maybe every, Morbid Angel album, but I don't have the tools that he has. He uses the Floyd Rose whammy bar, and I don't have that, so I have to, you know, compensate, and I think that's one of the most important things for creating music: limitations. You know, like the mother of all invention.

Crakk: It's very close to problem solving, the creating the process. It's not the same, but it's the most close thing, like process wise.

Spine: And also self-taught, yes, I took a few lessons when I first started, when I was very young about 12, just to learn the basics, but yeah, I'm self-taught.

Crakk: When we started you had played for a couple of months or something, I think.

Spine: Yeah, I just put on Led Zeppeling records, and other rock and roll records, and played along with them. And by the fifth, or tenth time, I knew the songs better and better each time. So that's basically how I taught myself.

Crakk: You played a lot, right, when you started.

Spine: Yeah, it was the only thing I wanted to do. But then after the first record, my relation with the guitar changed quite abruptly. I started to hate the conventional way of playing. I don't know. I hated the guitar, but I also loved it because it's capable of so much more than you usually hear. And it was also the only instrument I could play. So, when I started playing music at that time, I didn't want to play guitar, but I had the guitar in my hands, so I kind of developed, you know, my way of playing through that process of really not wanting to play it, but it was my only choice. And now I love the guitar again, so it comes full circle.


U.M. : Crakk, your lyrics always seem to come from a very personal, intimate place. Do you feel that putting them out there soothes a little your inner demons, or ends up feeding them even more?

Crakk: I try to be very, very honest, because then it holds up. If you look at it 10 years later, fakes it don't really last, don't age that well. But it doesn't have to be personal. I try to get in depth. Maybe some things are personal, I guess, but then I use them not like for my sake, but then I use them because they're interesting or they're good themes, or they're sort of emotional, like texture and depth or whatever, that fits to the music. That's kind of what it's about. Lyrics should be like an instrument, like poetry, like playing your emotions basically. So with the music, I think that it's a lot about singing some emotions, more than like storytelling. It's not like Bob Dylan. What's the point of using it, of telling a story, when you can tell a story emotionally, something like that, I think. So honest, but not always personal.


U.M.: Do you think that writing music, lyrics, creating and giving life to Reveal! is something that you choose or it is the other way around, it chooses you?

Spine: A bit of both, probably; of course it's a choice, to make this. But I don't feel like playing music and writing music is a choice, it's more of the only thing I can do. And it's the only thing... it's just a compulsion. It just is. It's just the life.

Crakk: For me, it's totally a choice I would say. It's not like something I naturally gravitate to, but I'm very lazy as well, so I naturally gravitate to few things, but it's a choice and it's a good choice, usually. I usually feel better when I've done it. But I don't know if Reveal! chooses me, like Harry Potter, a wand chooses the wizard, I don't really see it that way. I think it's a choice for me, but the fascinating thing about music, is that if you take four people and it works out with them, then the parts together, the product is greater than the parts put together, if you know what I mean?

Spine: Yeah, that's the point of having a band.

Crakk: And that's the coolest thing, a fascinating thing.

Spine: Of course it's going to continue until we feel it's not giving us anything. We've been going on for...

Crakk: We have played in Reveal!, or Waster, more in our life than we haven't played. Have you thought about that?

Spine: Yes, I just thought about that now.

Crakk: That's fucked up.

Spine: So, it's been probably the main focus of my life since I wanted to have a focus, or even before that. We live in Uppsala and we have stayed in Uppsala because of this band and, you know, I don't think about that anymore. It just is, and the same with all the music I do. It's just what I do.

Crakk: Yeah. We don't really plan things in that way. It just grows kind of like: if it happens, it happens. I don't really plan anyway.

Spine: And I'm happy that I know this and I've known this since I was 13, because I have a lot of friends who are still wondering what they're gonna do, and they're gonna apply to universities or buy a house or start a family. And I just sit there smoking because I already know what my purpose is. That's the way I feel about it. And after Reveal!, I'm gonna continue doing other stuff. So look for that (a little heads up).


...And we'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Crakk and Spine's other projects, too - at the moment Crakk is about to release his first solo tape "Dead Fools Scatter The Highway Bleeding" on Reveal!'s own label End All Parties, and be sure not to miss Lukas' live session on Sunday, September 12th, 2021 streaming on End All Parties' Mixlr Page.

Meanwhile we are extremely grateful to both of them for offering all of us this interesting, fascinating and also fun insight into Reveal!'s own peculiar and crooked world, we look forward to hearing what this new album will sound like and we'll be waiting for it while blasting as loud as possible their latest 7" , available now at End All Parties.

-Official links-
Reveal!: Facebook - Bandcamp
Crakk: YouTube
Spine: YouTube - SoundCloud