We interviewed Andreas Pettersson (vocalist and co-founder of De Arma) to talk about the origins of the goth-rock band and the new three-song EP “Nightcall.”
Andreas Pettersson, guitarist, singer, and bassist, founded De Arma in 2009. After enrolling drummer Johan Marklund, the pair recorded three tracks for “Towards the Shores of the End” (Nordvis), a 2011 split with British band Fen. Encouraged by the strong reception to the split, De Arma began writing and tracking a full-length album later that year. Despite keeping a distinct feeling of darkness, the music had now moved beyond black metal and into goth rock territory. Trollmusic’s “Lost, Alien & Forlorn” was released in February 2013. With the creative juices still flowing, a follow-up album was written entirely in the months after the debut. Unfortunately, it was not completed until 2021, when De Arma debuted “Strayed in Shadows” as a result of additional responsibilities (Trollmusic). The band explored a wide range of music in the second chapter, from gothic metal to synth-wave and even pop music. De Arma then established cooperation with Swedish label Silent Future Recordings to round off an already hectic year.
Release: 6th of May 2022 (Silent Future Recordings) | EP, CD ( digipack)
Available on limited digipak-CD and coloured vinyl with artwork by the talented Boris Groh.
- Shame Drifter
- After Dark, You’re There
- Sunset Dreams
What’s the origin of the name band?
The literal translation would be something like “The Wretched”, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. “Wretched” has a rather negative connotation, whereas “Arma” is a word for someone who is neither wealthy nor in possession of many earthly belongings and therefore leads a difficult life. To us, the meaning is more of a down-to-earth kind mindset; a sense of having both feet planted firmly on the ground. Band names are obviously important when you start out, but I’ve always felt that their relevance fades over time. The actual content and the atmosphere it facilitates are essential – tags and brands are not.
How and when did you start your career in the music industry? How did you meet?
I can’t say that I’ve ever been especially interested in playing an instrument. At some point around 1998, I borrowed a guitar and started experimenting with it – without nurturing any ambitions whatsoever. I’ve always had a strong urge to express myself through creativity, which I suppose helped motivate me to learn at least one instrument well enough to play what I wanted. Johan and I met in 2007 or so when I was searching for a drummer for another music project. We immediately realised the artistic chemistry between us and have since become good friends.
What are the main influences on your sound?
Musically, I’ve drawn plenty of influence from the 80s pop music I listened to as a child; artists whose names I can no longer recall due to my young age at the time. It’s all about feeling. The atmospheres created by bands such as Europe, Fields of the Nephilim, The Cure, Anathema – just to name a few – have also been a source of inspiration. However, I reckon that the most important factor is the life we lead and the hardships we endure as we try to navigate it.
Where was Nightcall recorded?
Nightcall was recorded in my own studio and then mastered at NBS Studio by Tore Stjerna.
What’s your songwriting process? What are the ideas behind your songs? What do you want to tell?
For me, music composition can be compared to painting a picture. Step by step, fragment by fragment, layer by layer. Oftentimes, I find that the idea I originally had for a song is quite different from the end result. In most cases, I have nothing else in mind than channelling certain emotions and conjuring up a specific atmosphere. If people can relate to our music and the lyrical content – well, that is definitely an added bonus.
How the environment you live in have shaped your sound?
I think it plays a crucial role; however, it’s quite complex to explain in words how these things are reflected in our music. When I was a kid and in periods during my teens, I lived in a city. These years have had a profound impact on De Arma; especially since they felt rather dystopian, as if I was stuck in an unfamiliar and strange place, surrounded by nothing but concrete and toxic fumes. I’m not a city person by any stretch of the imagination and prefer the company of animals far above that of humans. These days I live on a remote and secluded farm in the northernmost region of Sweden: Sápmi country. This type of environment does not have much bearing over what we do with De Arma, but it offers a certain kind of tranquillity. Peace and quiet promotes a clarity of mind for all the different elements and aspects of our work.
Can you share with us a story from backstage?
I haven’t been on tour since I was 20, and most of my memories from that time are somewhat vague.
What’s your next project?
We are currently hard at work on our third album, which we aim to finish by the end of this year.
Images courtesy of De Arma; Special thanks to Dan Volohov (Discipline PR)
Retrofurista is a site on design, interesting things, audio visual arts, and food.