Dozer Interview Pt. 4: Vultures


The reissue of Swedish heavy rockers Dozer‘s 2013 offering, Vultures (review here), is out now on Heavy Psych Sounds. With new artwork by Peder Bergstrand (also Lowrider) and an extra track that finds Dozer taking on Sunride‘s “Vinegar Fly,” it is the closest the band has come to issuing new material since their fifth and final full-length, 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here). Issued as an EP, its six original tracks — plus the cover makes seven — were culled from demos for the band’s 2005 album, Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here), recorded by close ally Bengt Bäcke, whose history with the band helming their first sessions has meant they’ve always sounded way better than “demo” might imply.

Vultures was never a live-to-tape-in-the-rehearsal-space kind of affair, and eight years after its original release by the band, tracks like “The Blood is Cold” and “To the Fallen” have no trouble holding up. Bassist Johan Rockner talks below about the band having a glut of material and wanting to get it out in some form, with Vultures enabling them to do that. Then newly signed to Small Stone Records, the four-piece already had three records to their credit in 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here; also discussed here), 2001’s Madre de Dios (discussed here) and 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here), as well as sundry tracks from earlier splits that continue to beg for an early-works compilation. When it arrived, their fourth album would continue a progression toward more aggressive, harder-hitting grooves, and Vultures represents the moment between Call it Conspiracy and Through the Eyes of Heathens as Dozer sought out the places they wanted their sound to go.

It is entirely to the band’s credit that Vultures is anything more than a fan-piece or curio for the converted. Guitarist Tommi Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik NordinRockner on bass and Karl Daniel Lidén on drums bring a full sound to these tracks and in its substance it’s less a demo than a series of alternate takes. Dozer posted a short while that they were in the studio for a yet-unnamed reason. The fact that Vultures holds up as well as it does even for being material that didn’t get released when it was recorded, only serves as another example of why the possibility of their doing something new is so exciting.

Interviews with Rockner about Through the Eyes of Heathens and Beyond Colossal will follow this week.

In the meantime, enjoy and thanks for reading:


Vultures Q&A with Johan Rockner

Tell me about the demo process for what became Vultures. Even when the songs were first released in 2013, they seemed remarkably finished. Did Dozer always do this kind of preproduction?

At this time we’re really creative. We had a lot of songs, and these demo songs were a part of the demos for Through the Eyes of Heathens. We had 16 songs to choose from for the Through the Eyes of Heathens. And we made demos of all of them.

We had a studio in the building where we used to rehearse. Same studio where In the Tail of a Comet and Madre de Dios were recorded. So, when we had three-four, good and ready songs, we recorded them as a pre-production/demos for ourselves.

What did you learn from these demos that you took into the recording/writing for Through the Eyes of Heathens?

I think we’ve always felt that it’s good to make demos, to be able to listen to the song over and over and see if it works or needs more love. It’s a good working progress.

Is there more material from this session or where these songs it? Obviously you and Daniel Lidén already went back a long time. What were these sessions like?

No, this is it! :) That’s why we released Vultures in the first place. These songs are too good to be laying around. We also think that our music should be out there for people to hear. That’s why we also release “Vinegar Fly” (the Sunride cover) for this vinyl/digipack release.

The sessions were great, Daniel is such a great guy with a good music ear. He brought in some new fresh energy into the band which I guess reflects the creativity at this time.

Dozer was appearing at Desertfest around 2013 when these songs were released. What did it feel like to see the response to these tracks when they came out?

It’s always nice to see and hear people’s reaction to something the band does. Good or bad, it’s a matter of commitment and interest in the band, and that’s why we do this. To make music we love and hope others do as well.

Anything in particular you’d like to add about Vultures? Any other standout memories to share about this time in the band?

Great artwork by Peder!

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