Dozer Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 6: Beyond Colossal

Posted in Features on February 25th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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Dozer‘s fifth and final (to-date) long-player, 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here), has been reissued on Heavy Psych Sounds along with its predecessor, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here; also discussed here) and the collection of demos for that album, Vultures (review here; discussed here), first released in 2013 by the band itself. With Beyond Colossal — originally on Small Stone — out again, Heavy Psych Sounds has completed the Dozer catalog, having also overseen new editions of 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here; also discussed here), 2001’s Madre de Dios (discussed here) and their debut LP, 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here).

One does not in the least envy the task that was before the four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa, bassist Johan Rockner and then-new-recruit drummer Olle Mårthans. They were coming off their most realized vision yet in Through the Eyes of Heathens and had a desire to push it further, yet the songs still had to feel right to them as players. They still had to be Dozer, and headed toward album five, you can bet there were feelings about what that meant.

As a swansong, Beyond Colossal is almost tragically good. It is nothing less than exactly the album Dozer should’ve made and needed to make, building on the more aggressive stance of its predecessor, holding strong to the basic underlying craft that results in hooks like charging opener “The Flood,” “Exoskeleton (Part II),” as well as “Empire’s End” and “Two Coins for Eyes,” both of which feature Clutch‘s Neil Fallon sitting in on vocals, but also the subdued finish “Bound for Greatness” and the rush between “Message Through the Horses” and the cascading “The Throne,” so much of the record flowing in a way suited to the vinyl treatment it’s been given, but carrying a seemingly unstoppable momentum from front-to-back.

Don’t go calling Beyond Colossal the last Dozer album just yet, apparently. The band posted studio pictures on social media last month and who knows what that might mean. Rockner, in wrapping up this interview series, gives hints of more to come as well. Here’s hoping.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading:

dozer beyond colossal

Beyond Colossal Q&A with Johan Rockner

On some levels, Beyond Colossal is the most aggressive album Dozer wrote. What was driving the band at this time?

I think we just wanted to move forward. But at the same time, I don’t recall us saying “let’s make a different album”, it just happened.

For me, when you listen to those two last albums, you can hear the development, those two albums kind of work well together. They are not far away from each other, like Madre de Dios and Call it Conspiracy.

I know we really liked the sound of “Big Sky Theory” and “Until Man Exists No More” from THEOH, those songs are dropped in tune. I guess we liked the idea of taking that to the next level.

Tell me about following up Through the Eyes of Heathens. You had Troy Sanders from Mastodon on that record and Neil Fallon from Clutch on this one. How important were their voices to those songs?

Their vocals work really good on those songs, the extra boost, like the perfect spice. The songs are great, but they needed some more beard. :)

The album is a real journey from “The Flood” to “Bound for Greatness,” but “Message Through the Horses” still stands out for its intensity. What do you remember about what you were feeling as these songs came together?

I guess I’d liked the anger, aggressiveness, the intensity and the power of the songs on the album. That we didn’t set a limit or what we could or not. Just put together riffs of darkness and anger into really good, mean songs that are Beyond Colossal.

How do you feel about this being the last Dozer album, your final statement as a band?

Who said that?! But if it is, it’s a hell of a statement.

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

Good times, great shows and good fun.

Dozer, Beyond Colossal

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Dozer Interview & Full Album Stream Pt. 5: Through the Eyes of Heathens

Posted in Features on February 24th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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Last week Sweden’s Dozer oversaw reissues of their final two (to-date) albums through Heavy Psych Sounds. The Italian label has been making its way through the Dozer catalog, and so has this interview series. Below, bassist Johan Rockner takes us back to 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here), following the discussion yesterday of the demo collection recorded in the same era, Vultures (review here; discussed here), originally issued in 2013.

Through the Eyes of Heathens is a special album, and to be completely honest, I’m just happy to have the excuse to put it on while I write. From the bombastic opening of “Drawing Dead,” it establishes Dozer as a more dynamic outfit than any of their prior material could have, even as it hinted toward what was coming. “Born a Legend,” “From Fire Fell,” “The Roof, the River, the Revolver,” are more than just catchy tracks. They find Dozer more fully realizing the brash side of 2002’s Call it Conspiracy (discussed here; also discussed here), as they moved farther away from the desert-style heavy of 2001’s Madre de Dios (discussed here) and 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here) and deeper into their own identity. Recording in Finland, they nonetheless set a standard for Swedish heavy rock that few beyond themselves could hope to meet, try though they might and have.

Their fourth album was also their 10th anniversary, and Rockner, as well as guitarist Tommi Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, and then-drummer Karl Daniel Lidén rose to that occasion in songwriting and performance. Complete with a guest vocal spot from Troy Sanders of tourmates Mastodon on closer “Big Sky Theory,” Through the Eyes of Heathens is the moment at which Dozer became the band they were meant to be, and the identity of their craft has not been dulled in the least by the ensuing 16 years. It is a thing of beauty right unto Peder Bergstrand‘s willfully weird cover design, and whether you’ve embraced and been embraced by the record before or you’re a stranger to it, as someone listening to it right now, I’ll tell you flat out that you’ll only find welcome and refuge in its course.

This interview series, the other parts of which are all haphazardly linked above, will conclude tomorrow with Rockner discussing Beyond Colossal.

Until then, here’s this and thanks for reading:

dozer through the eyes of heathens

Through the Eyes of Heathens Q&A with Johan Rockner

Tell me about where you see Through the Eyes of Heathens in terms of Dozer’s overall progression. How does it relate to Call it Conspiracy in your mind?

That album was a big turning point, in the same way Call it Conspiracy was, but different. I think it relates mostly through songwriting. But also, we learned alot from the making of Call it Conspiracy, which was a big project from start to finish. Especially for us. Best producer and best studios.

So, take all the good lessons we learned from CIC, and carefully use those, but in our way in the process of THEOH.

This was the first album Dozer put out with Small Stone Records. How did that deal come about and what did that change in distribution mean for the band?

Haha! I guess all the money ran out on the CIC project, and we were in urgent need of someone else to pay for the next album. ;) I guess distribution was a part of it, and also other connections the label had. But I guess, we needed a change over and all and Small Stone was back then a place for bands like us to be.

Looking back on them now and revisiting them for this reissue, what do songs like “Born a Legend” and “Man of Fire” mean to you now? What do you remember about writing or recording them?

For me, all the songs are great, and the songs “Big Sky Theory,” “Until Man Exists No More” and “From Fire Fell” stick out the most to me, but they are also songs we always love to play live. But this album is the album that I guess had the best impact for us as a band.

A lot of things happened before recording it, Erik [Bäckwall] left the band, Daniel joined the band, European tour with Mastodon and two years of making songs. So the band was full of new energy and the direction of the songs just came naturally. We made 16 songs for this album, 10 on album and six of them ended up on Vultures. Says a lot about our creativity at this time, we were definitely on a roll. :)

What’s the story behind the album cover?

Love the cover that Peder [Bergstrand, Lowrider] made. I don’t know the story, but I guess Peder had some weird fantasies about crossing different animal species and see what kind of strange new ones who would appear. We’ll never know.

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

This album recording sticks out for me. A lot of good memories. This was around Midsummer’s Eve on an island just outside Helsinki, Finland. Two weeks of good times. Good recording days, music, friends and parties. Troy [Sanders, Mastodon] came by to sing some guest vocals, went to see their show with Iron Maiden. Good hang with them and Fantomas, who also toured Europe at that time.

The only video recording diary we ever made. Which also reflects how much fun, crazy and weird stuff that was going on during our recording. Watch it!

Dozer, Through the Eyes of Heathens

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Dozer Interview Pt. 4: Vultures

Posted in Features on February 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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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:

DOZER VULTURES

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!

Dozer, Vultures (2021)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 52

Posted in Radio on February 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

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Whatever, it’s my show. I can throw 16 Horsepower in between Genghis Tron and Yawning Sons if I want. I can start with a 19-minute West Coast jam from Terry Gross, followed by a 12-minute Swedish jam from CB3 followed by a 15-minute jam from Croatian bizarros The Freak Folk of Mangrovia followed by nine minutes of pummeling noise from Gangrened. You don’t care. Don’t pretend you do. The weirder this show gets the better it gets as far as I’m concerned.

So yeah, there’s some Ulcerate after Coma Wall. Maybe incongruity is fun sometimes. I think so, and again, even if you’re reading this, you don’t give a crap. You’ll either listen or you won’t. My show’s on after the artist-hosted stretches, which is primo positioning as far as Friday goes — frickin’ drive-time, if such a thing still exists — and most of what I hear from people is that The Pecan sounds cute. Well, he is cute. I’m pretty sure that’s how children don’t get abandoned in the woods more often. They’re cute.

What were we talking about? The show. Right. Whatever. It’s fucking awesome. Yeah, I hope you dig it. Okay. You got me. It matters to me. Fine.

Thanks for listening and/or reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 02.05.20

Terry Gross Space Voyage Mission Soft Opening
CB3 Acid Haze Aeons Live Session
The Freak Folk of Mangrovia Lunar Ritual Temple of the Second Moon
Gangrened Triptaani Deadly Algorithm
Dozer Vinegar Fly Vultures
Holy Monitor Naked in the Rain Southern Lights
Coma Wall Breathe in the Ether Ursa Minor
Ulcerate Stare into Death and Be Still Stare into Death and Be Still
Blind Monarch Blind Monarch What is Imposed Must Be Endured
Genghis Tron Dream Weapon Dream Weapon
16 Horsepower Wayfaring Stranger Secret South
Yawning Sons Shadows and Echoes Sky Island
Wolvennest Disappear Temple

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Feb. 19 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Dozer to Reissue Vultures, Beyond Colossal and Through the Eyes of Heathens

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

There isn’t really a wrong answer to the question of what’s your favorite era of Dozer, but golly, their later work? I love that shit. 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here), and 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here)? I won’t say a bad word about their first three records unless you count cursing when I say “holy shit this is good” but the Small Stone era is what I most often reach for when I need that Dozer fix. The more aggressive punch of their songwriting, the ferocity of their forward drive that’s so much their own. Sign me up for that every time.

And the Vultures EP (review here) that came out digitally in 2013 and was taken from pre-production work for Through the Eyes of Heathens was like the icing on that particular cake. An unexpected bit of “hey you know that thig you love well here’s some more of it” that no one knew was coming. Or I didn’t, at least.

Heavy Psych Sounds, which already oversaw reissues of the first three Dozer LPs, will now stand behind the first physical pressing of Vultures — with revamped art by Lowrider‘s Peder Bergstrand — and reissues of Through the Eyes of Heathens and Beyond Colossal in February. Preorders are up now. I think my position on whether or not you should place one would be obvious.

From the PR wire:

DOZER VULTURES

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is really proud to start the presale of HPS147 – DOZER – Vultures

– first time printed on vinyl and digipak with bonus track –

Today we are extremely proud to start the presale of the DOZER album VULTURES – printed for the first time on vinyl and digipak !!!

We are also repressing two DOZER albums: Through The Eyes Of Heathens + Beyond Colossal

ALBUM PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS147

USA PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 12th

RELEASED IN :
10 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
200 ULTRA LTD CORNETTO white background/purple stripes VINYL
400 LTD GOLD VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK

TRACKLIST
The Blood Is Cold – 5:12
The Impostor – 4:11
Last Prediction – 3:21
Vultures – 3:42
Head Ghosts – 4:45
To The Fallen – 5:07
+ unreleased bonus track
Vinegar Fly (Sunride cover) – 4:35

ALBUM DESCRIPTION

Vultures is a first time pressed EP of the swedish stoner band Dozer. Recorded in 2004-2005 at Rockhouse Studios in Borlänge, these six tracks were used as pre-production demos for what would later become the fourth Dozer album, 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens.

The album is now released for the first time on vinyl and digipak with a very special unreleased bonus track, a cover of the Sunride song Vinegar Fly. Vultures is a real heavy-stoner explosion, something that only Dozer can provide..

The amazing artwork is made by Lowrider leader Peder Bergstrand.

HPS148 *** DOZER – Through The Eyes Of Heathens***
– REPRESSED in brand new coloured versions –

ALBUM PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS148

USA PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 19th

RELEASED IN :
10 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
100 ULTRA LTD QUAD orange/blue VINYL
200 LTD BLOODY RED VINYL
200 BLACK VINYL

TRACKLIST
SIDE A
Drawing Dead – 4:38
Born A Legend – 3:24
From Fire Fell – 2:39
Until Man Exists No More – 5:08
Days Of Future Past – 3:45

SIDE B
Omega Glory – 5:00
Blood Undone – 4:44
The Roof, The River, The Revolver – 3:07
Man Of Fire – 3:16
Big Sky Theory – 8:28

HPS149 *** DOZER – Beyond Colossal***
– REPRESSED in brand new coloured versions –

ALBUM PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS149

USA PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 19th

RELEASED IN:
10 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
100 ULTRA LTD HALF-HALF yellow/black VINYL
200 LTD TRANSPARENT GREEN VINYL
200 BLACK VINYL

TRACKLIST
SIDE A
The Flood – 3:50
Exoskeleton (Part II) – 6:33
Empire’s End – 3:54
The Ventriloquist – 4:56
Grand Inquisitor – 4:12

SIDE B
Message Through The Horses – 3:00
The Throne – 3:25
Fire For Crows – 3:57
Two Coins For Eyes – 6:55
Bound For Greatness – 3:29

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www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

Dozer, “The Blood is Cold”

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 30

Posted in Radio on March 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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There’s some stuff here that was recently premiered — Moura, King Buffalo, the Thunderbird Divine track that went up today — but I’m also bringing in a few things from the Quarterly Review that I’ve got slated for next week. That’s stuff I haven’t had the chance to write about yet like Mindcrawler and Lemurian Folk Songs, Ritual King and Dystopian Future Movies. I know I’m biased here and I always say this — if you dig back through the old podcasts, I used to say it about those too, but I think it’s a pretty good show.

It was a little weird cutting voice tracks for it yesterday though, I’ll say that. Yeah, it’s awesome new music and that’s always great to be excited about, but it feels a little lightweight to be stoked on cool songs when there’s a pandemic on and obviously bigger issues at play. The way I look at it is music is ultimately that escape that people need and if I can maybe give someone something they haven’t heard before and might dig, then I guess that’s not nothing. It ain’t driving a truck for Meals on Wheels when it comes to lending a hand — I should be doing that shit, as should we all, all the time — but it’s what I’ve got, anyhow.

Thanks for listening if you do, and if you see this and don’t listen, then thanks just for reading.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.20.20

Moura Ronda das Mafarricas Moura*
Dozer Rising Call it Conspiracy (2020 Reissue)*
Lord Fowl Fire Discipline Glorious Babylon*
Ritual King Dead Roads Ritual King*
BREAK
Thunderbird Divine The Hand of Man The Hand of Man*
Mindcrawler Dead Space Lost Orbiter*
Elder Omens Omens*
Arbouretum Let it All In Let it All In*
BREAK
Dystopian Future Movies Countenance Inviolate*
Lord Buffalo Raziel Tohu Wa Bohu*
Lemurian Folk Songs Logos Logos*
Sorcia Stars Collide Sorcia*
BREAK
King Buffalo Red Star Pt. 1 & 2 Dead Star EP*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is April 3 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Dozer Interview & Full Album Stream, Pt. 3: Call it Conspiracy

Posted in Features on March 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dozer call it conspiracy era

Man’s Ruin Records, which put out the first two Dozer albums in 2000’s In the Tail of a Comet (discussed here) and Madre de Dios (discussed here), had folded. At the same time, the Swedish four-piece — still working with the lineup of guitarists Tommi Holappa and Fredrik Nordin (the latter also vocals), bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall — had well earned momentum on their side both from the quality of the two records they’d put out and the tours they’d done to support. They’d done vinyl releases before through their own Molten Universe imprint, including the LP version of Madre de Dios, so when it came time to unveil 2002’s third album, Call it Conspiracy (also discussed here), rather than take the time to chase down another label, they simply pressed the album themselves.

That choice is important in understanding where the band were at stylistically at the time as well. Call it Conspiracy is an urgent 13-track shove, more crisp in its production and more assured in its drive, less distinctly desert rock than either of its predecessors, and it therefore marks a turning point in Dozer‘s sound. They could hardly be said to have been lacking in identity before it, but even though it had only been a year, there’s a marked shift that takes place between Madre de Dios and its follow-up, though the band’s songwriting — on display right from the start with the essential opening one-two punch of “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Rising” — was more resilient than ever, and Call it Conspiracy remains a fan favorite even some 18 years after its initial release. They’re the kinds of songs a promoter might ask to hear twice and then the DJ would play through the P.A. afterwards anyhow, but I suppose the same could be said of the entire Dozer catalog.

After Call it ConspiracyDozer signed to Detroit-based Small Stone Records and offered up 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens (discussed here) and 2008’s Beyond Colossal (discussed here). By 2005, Bäckwall was out of the band. He and Rockner can currently be found in moody atmospheric rockers Besvärjelsen. In the meantime, around 2007, Tommi Holappa‘s long-established side-project Greenleaf began an ascent to the forefront that, as Dozer receded following the 2008 offering, would only continue to shift the balance between the two groups. A succession of albums and tours that in some ways answers the stylistic progression that Dozer left behind, but with its own, bluesier sensibility as well, took shape, and even now awaits its next installment, as Greenleaf recently announced they were writing their next full-length for release on Napalm Records.

As Call it Conspiracy is the third in the trilogy of Dozer releases being reissued through Heavy Psych Sounds, and this is the last of the full-album-streams/interviews to coincide, I’d like to send my thanks to the label, to Purple Sage PR and of course to Tommi Holappa for allowing me to host the records and do the Q&As. These records have meant a lot to me over the years and I’m glad they’re getting back out there again. The more who hear them, the merrier.

Thanks for reading. Please enjoy:

Call it Conspiracy Q&A with Tommi Holappa

Call it Conspiracy marked a shift in Dozer’s sound away from desert-style heavy rock. How purposeful was that progression? Was there a reason behind it, or was it just the way your sound evolved?

When we started writing songs for C.I.C. we could early on hear that we were going in a different direction on some of the songs, which I think was just natural growth of the band, new influences and maybe not wanting to do the same album over and over again. We still wanted to have a fat heavy sound but maybe it didn’t have to be the fattest and fuzziest sound in the world, this is when we decided to tune up our guitars half a step to make everything sound a little bit clearer.

The biggest change was definitely that we hired a producer for this album. All the earlier albums and demos were recorded by Bengt Bäcke (Greenleaf) at the Rockhouse studio in Borlänge. This studio was a simple demo studio but it worked just fine for the first albums. We thought it was time to try something new and see what happens so we hired Chips Kiesby, he had produced High Visibility with The Hellacopters which was an album we all loved. So a producer and a “professional” studio (Music-a-matic in Gothenburg) was the biggest change.

It was only a year’s space between In the Tail of a Comet, Madre de Dios and Call it Conspiracy, but the band seemed to go through so much growth. How do you feel your songwriting process changed over that time? What was it like being in Dozer in 2002 as opposed to 1999 or 2000?

Well it was a year between the releases but in the end I think it took a year for Man’s Ruin to release In the Tail of a Comet so when it came out I think we already had most of Madre de Dios written. But yeah we were growing fast, we didn’t want to be stuck in one place and write the same song over and over again. The more albums we put out the more time we put into trying to write better songs.

Of course, Call it Conspiracy also helped set up the progression across Through the Eyes of Heathens and Beyond Colossal. How do you feel about the thread of Dozer’s work overall?

If you listen to the albums from first to last you can really hear a band that keeps growing the whole time. The first and last albums are almost like two completely different bands but you can still hear that it is Dozer and that is the most important thing.

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

This was a crazy and fun time for us! We toured a lot! We did support act tours with Clutch and Mastodon in Europe, we did shows in US, Canada and Australia for the first time.

Also Karl Daniel Lidén joined the band to replace Erik Bäckwall on drums. With Daniel’s energy, heaviness and kick in our asses we started the writing for Through the Eyes of Heathens, but that’s another story.

Will there ever be another Dozer album?

There are no plans at the moment for an album or anything but It would be fun to at least try to write a song together with the guys and see how it would turn out. It’s been 12-13 years since we last wrote together so it would definitely be interesting.

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Dozer Interview & Full Album Stream, Pt. 2: Madre de Dios

Posted in Features on March 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dozer madre era

Dozer‘s second album, Madre de Dios, will see reissue this Friday on Heavy Psych Sounds, and if the arrival just a week after In the Tail of a Comet (streamed/discussed here) feels quick, consider that in reality the sophomore LP came out just a year after the debut — so it was quick then as well. Born in 2001, Madre de Dios was pressed to vinyl through the band’s own Molten Universe imprint and to CD through Man’s Ruin Records, with different artwork for each, and despite the speedy turnaround from its predecessor, already one could hear growth in the sound of the Borlänge, Sweden, four-piece, who were beginning to take the desert rock style that had typified the first album and their earlier demos and splits and reshape it to their aesthetic will, consciously or not, through the seemingly simple act of honest songwriting.

With the returning lineup of guitarist Tommi Holappa, guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, bassist Johan Rockner and drummer Erik Bäckwall, songs like “Freeloader,” “Octanoid,” “Soulshigh,” the spacey “TX-9” and indeed, opener “Let the Shit Roll” — about which Holappa shares a good story below — showcased a fast progression on the part of the band, who were beginning to reach for a faster, sometimes more aggressive, sound that, ultimately, was more their own. In hindsight, it’s easy to look at Madre de Dios as a turning point from who Dozer were in their nascent days to who they’d become as they began to mature as a group, but the same could be said more or less of every album up to the last, since once it got underway, their progression never really stopped bringing their sound to new and exciting places in terms of craft.

But in 2001, fuzz was still king in Dozer‘s sound, and Madre de Dios‘ 10-track/39-minute run is as righteous a conglomeration of hairy riffs as one could ever hope to encounter. Propelled by the gallop in Bäckwall‘s snare and the emergence of Nordin as a frontman, from the moment the shit starts to roll, right down to the aptly-titled closer “Thunderbolt” — which even in its reissue form keeps the stretch of effects noise at the end — the record is sharp in its execution and still somehow laid back in its groove, as though Dozer were pushing that defining line of heavy rock and roll as far as it could go, testing those boundaries while actively working to find their place in (and/or out) of them. As a band, at this point they were on the road, and as part of the post-Kyuss movement of “stoner rock,” Dozer were helping to shape what we know today as the heavy underground. Their influence and their songs continue to resonate.

By which I mean Madre de Dios still kicks ass. Hear for yourself above. Holappa talks about it below.

Please enjoy:

Madre de Dios Q&A with Tommi Holappa

Tell me about being in the studio for Madre de Dios. What do you remember your attitude was coming off of the first record, and was there anything in particular you wanted to do differently with the second one?

After the first album was released we wanted more, bigger and better! Releasing albums and touring was fun! So we couldn’t wait to go back into the studio and record another album.

I´m pretty sure the attitude was that we just wanted to write the best songs we could and record an album that sounded fat as hell!

To be honest I can’t remember much of the recording session of this album, only some bits and pieces, it has nothing to do with drinking too much in the studio or anything it’s just that it’s so damn long ago hahaha! I remember that I got my Russian Big Muff and my Gibson SG just before this album so those two were used a lot.

The original CD and LP wound up with different covers. Was that a choice on the part of the band, or maybe Man’s Ruin? Do you feel that one or the other better represents the album?

The story is that Man’s Ruin didn’t want to release it on vinyl so we asked them if we could release it ourselves via Molten Universe. They were okay and we said cool, then we release it with different artwork and put a bonus track on it. I personally prefer the vinyl artwork and the song “Rings of Saturn” is on it, one of my favorite early tracks.

What was the reception like in Sweden specifically to the band at this point?

It was ok but nothing compared to Germany and some other central European countries. So most of the touring was done outside of Sweden where people actually showed up to see us hahaha!

How hard was Dozer touring at this point? What was the reception like to this material live? Are there any memories that stand out from the Madre de Dios era that you can share?

At this point we had started touring quiet a lot. Reception was good, outside of Sweden of course hahaha. “Let the Shit Roll” was a song that usually got the crowd going nuts and I have actually one pretty funny story about that song.

We were in Zurich/Switzerland and the DJ at the club started playing “Let the Shit Roll” just before we were about to go on stage, fuck! Why do they that song now!? What do we do? Should we just skip the song from the set or?! Fuck it let’s just play it!

Anyway we did our set and played “Let the Shit Roll” and I don’t think anyone cared that they heard it twice. We went off stage and the crowd was screaming for more so just when we were about to go on stage again to play the encores the promoter came up to us and asked if we can play “Let the Shit Roll.” We told him that we already played it and we will play a couple of other songs instead but he really kept going on and on about how much he wants to hear it, so he offered us one more case of beer if we would play it.

We went up on stage and of course we had to play it again! It’s free beer! And free beer is good beer! Hahaha! So we played “Let the Shit Roll” a second time and a couple of more tracks. When we were done we go off stage and guess what song the DJ starts playing? “LET THE SHIT ROLL!”

Anything else in particular you’d like to say about Madre de Dios?

I got the idea for the album title from an episode of The Simpsons.

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