Signed to Napalm Records off the back of a single demo, Danish death-doom quartet Konvent’s assured debut album Puritan Masochism was released in January and provides a slow, raw and crushing experience. We spoke with bassist Heidi Withington Brink about the album and touring but began by discussing current life in Copenhagen.
Hi, and thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How are you all doing in Copenhagen at the moment? As a band, how are you coping with the COVID-19 situation?
Heidi: We are all doing really well despite everything that’s going on, so that’s great. But of course it’s no secret that it’s a bit of a boring time for everyone. We are so used to meeting a lot in the band and going to concerts, etc – but right now we can’t do that of course.
It is also almost only three months since we released our album. So we took the time to breathe out after a stressful period of the album release, tour, etc. But we are currently focusing on writing new material for our next album. Me and Sara have been doing some new riffs and we’re working at our own place with the new material It feels like the perfect timing to start experimenting with different things musically. It is also important for us that we have time to immerse ourselves in the process and retain the joy of creation.
For those not familiar with the band, could you please provide us with an introduction to Konvent?
We are a death-doom band from Copenhagen, Denmark, who got together in 2015 to play heavy music. We released a demo back in 2017 and played a lot of shows around Denmark. In 2018 we got a record deal and booking deal with Napalm Records and Napalm Events and this year (only four months ago) we released our debut album Puritan Masochism, which we went on tour with around Scandinavia, Germany and one stop in London. And that was a blast!
You released your debut album Puritan Masochsim through Napalm Records in January to a deservedly great response, how have you found the whole process from recording and releasing your own demo in 2017 to where you are now?
When we recorded the demo we weren’t as relaxed with our instruments, as we are now. It comes more naturally and we’re only getting better at experimenting with new stuff.
Our producer Lasse Ballade used a lot of time together with Sara and Heidi on finding the right sound for the guitar and bass and it was his idea to record some of the drums in his basement, to give it a more deep and kinda creepy basement sound. So he was definitely the one who really helped us finding our sound, and we couldn’t be happier! :)
Puritan Masochism has a very thick and gloomy production that suits your style, how was the recording process?
We really wanted that raw, gritty sound, as if the music is coming from the abyss! And that’s why we choose to work with Lasse Ballade because he had made a bunch of cool records that we really admired. Lasse Ballade has a studio in the center of Copenhagen and we got together for 14 days and recorded the whole album live. I think we have allowed ourselves to be more creative with playing with different riffs and rhythms this time.
Our designer is illustrator Mads Berg (www.madsberg.dk). We have been working with him for a while now and when it was time to think about the cover art we asked him to come with something representing loss of control and he immediately came up with the vision of fiercely moving waters or oceans. Merciless and powerful. We only had two meetings with him regarding the cover art because he just hit the nail on the head. We couldn’t be happier with the way it turned it!
Does Konvent get stereotyped a lot or have an extra challenging time in what is a very male-dominated scene?
I don’t think we can get around that, but it’s not something we experience face to face a lot. Of course we sometimes get catcalled on stage or we hear things like “my friend told me you only get attention because your girls”, but we try to focus our attention otherwise. If you don’t give them a reaction or pay attention to them, they’ll most likely stop. And we always try to make it about the music and not the fact that we happen to be four women.
I live in Glasgow and even though touring bands sometimes give this city a miss the local scene is strong, is there a similar situation in Copenhagen? How are the local doom and death metal scenes in Copenhagen? Are there any particular bands we should be looking out for?
There are so many amazing bands in Denmark! International bookers should definitely steer their eyes to the North. Morild, Eyes and Katla will be warming up for us at our Copenhagen show in January and of course we would only pick the best, so definitely check them out! Other bands that we highly recommend are Solbrud, Afsky, Dirtforge, Sunken, Ligæder, Halshug, Bethmoora, Alkymist and LLNN.
It may be a while before things return to normal, and I know you’ve had gigs/festival appearances cancelled, but what are the plans for Konvent going forward?
Yeah, unfortunately, we had to cancel several summer gigs, but it seems most of them are rescheduling for next year, so that’s great! We still have some gigs in the fall, but of course it’s unsure if it will be possible to see that through or not. But for next year we are working on going on a small tour around Europe, so let’s hope that’s gonna be possible! Other than that we are working on new material for the next album, so that’s exciting!
We always create a playlist, where we all can put songs on there that we want to listen to, so it’s very democratic in that way. But there are songs that have a tendency to be played more than others. One of them is The Chats with “Smoko” which is sort of our tour song! We also try to put on bands from the country we are in, and because we’ve been playing in Germany in four different rounds, we’ve listened to Rammstein a lot (too much for my liking!), but that’s because Rikke and Julie always put waaaay too many of their songs on.
Sara, Julie and Rikke also have a thing with an old Danish singer called Hanne Boel and a specific song of hers called “I Wanna Make Love To You”. They love to put it on every single day and I absolutely can’t stand it!
But mostly we can agree on the music otherwise.
Thanks again for this interview, is there anything else that you’d like to tell The Moshville Times readers?
Thank you so much for wanting to interview us! We hope everything is doing okay out there, despite the times. And if this piqued your interest, go check us out on the streaming platforms.
Puritan Masochism is out now