The Swedish dark folk metal group Fredlös step into the Meet The Band spotlight this week. They just released their self-titled debut. Guitarist Tomas Karlson introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Fredlös.
Tomas Karlson: The band started in earlier musical adventures. Robert, Fredrik, Liv, Victor and myself started the band Barbro Says No which was a more traditional rock/metal band. Then I wanted to write lyrics in Swedish and we all had a desire to create darker music. We recruited a new drummer, Iman Zolgharnian. Then I met Alex and he liked our work and joined the band.
Describe the songwriting process for your self-titled debut album.
It generally starts with a riff or an idea. Then we work around that and build the bones of the song. Then I write the lyrics and Liv gets to try out melodies. I adjust the word of the lyrics to fit the melodies. The process is a team effort.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
When Erik Grawsiö (Manegarm) recorded the lyrics to the song “fredlös”. His roar could have brought the building down. Erik is a very talented musician and a marvelous singer.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
Well, I tell my mother that we play hard rock. As hard it is to find a genre that fits us, as important it is for the music consumer. I think we owe our fans to try to narrow it down. So maybe dark folk metal fits us best.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
The album is a journey through the late Middle Ages and describes historical events from the perspective of the common people. I intend to reflect the story beyond fluttering flags and golden halls. I strive to describe history true to the facts as well as my heretical ideals. The lyrics have a strong anti-theist theme.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
First it´s kind of an ego trip making an album like this. We are humble to the fact that people seem to like the songs we presented. I think we can appeal to many forms of listeners and people who love music in general. Hopefully we can reach both hardcore metal fans and at the same time spread folk metal to a broader audience. We have no ambition in being a mainstream band but I think our audience will be very mixed and we are all totally happy about that.
What has the response been to the videos you’ve released so far?
We are pleased with the response. We are self taught and evolving.
Do you have plans to play live shows?
Yes. We are booked for Månegarm open air 2023 in August. I hope the album will generate more shows.
How did you get started in music?
Fredlös was born out of the ashes of previous musical adventures. The most interesting story is the well known history of Alex Hellid who founded Entombed. When Alex joined the band he contributed with energy and inspiration beyond our imagination.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Important musical influences are Rotting Christ, Primordial and Solstafir. Inspiration comes from our friends in Wormwood and Månegarm.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
My first concert was Iron Maiden, World Slavery Tour, 1984. A revelation and a awakening. I will never forget that experience.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I have a passion for motocross and speedway. My biggest interest is history so I devour historical literature like an orc. There´s a rumor going round that Fredrik is a golf fan. Refuse to believe those vicious rumors because rock´n roll and golf is like Jack Daniels and sherry. It doesn’t mix at all.
Who are your all-time top 5 Swedish bands?
Entombed, Candlemass, Dark Tranquility, Hoola Bandoola and Månegarm.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Fredlös are deeply rooted in a critique of all religions. Our ambition is to convey atmosphere and create a room where the listener can thrive in the dark.
(interview published February 11, 2023)
Watch Fredlös – “Otto” Video