The Danish death/doom band Konvent are in the spotlight for this week’s Meet The Band. They just released their debut album Puritan Masochism. Bassist Heidi Withington Brink introduces us to her band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Konvent.
Heidi Withington Brink: When our first drummer Mette started taking drumming lessons in 2015, her teacher (Nicolai from the band Dirt Forge) told his roommate that he had started teaching a girl. His roommate was me and I instantly contacted Mette, asking her if she wanted to start a band. It had been a dream of mine to start a band for a long time but all the musicians I asked (who were all guys) didn’t have time in their schedules to start a new project. Given that both Mette and I were more or less on the same level on their instruments, a band also seemed like an ideal opportunity to practice as well as write music.
We looked for a guitar player and asked Mette’s friend from school Alexander (also from Dirt Forge) if he would suggest the idea to his girlfriend Sara, who Mette knew had previously played in a band. They also needed a vocalist and asked Mette’s sister Rikke, who had been taking extreme metal vocal lessons with a metal vocalist for about six months at that time. She was game and we all met up at a rehearsal space for an afternoon and tried jamming to The White Stripes’ “7 Nation Army.” The vibe was good and we decided to form the band and get our own rehearsal space. After three years, Mette had to quit the band due to her studies and we were very lucky to find Julie. Julie was only 18 at the time but had played the drums for six years and blew us away with her talent when she auditioned, and it was a no-brainer. Our final formation was established.
Describe the songwriting process for Puritan Masochism.
I think we’re really getting into a good writing rhythm, where Sara and I come up with new riffs and put it together in Garage Band as a sort of frame. Then we send it to the other guys so they can get a feel of where we’re going. So when we show up in the rehearsal space, we can quickly try it out on drums and Rikke can try out different screams on it as well. And she is really quick with coming up with new lyrics for the songs that just fit right. As far as I remember we’ve never really had to correct her in the way she sings or what she’s singing, she just hits it on the nail every time!
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Overall we had such a great time in the studio with Lasse from Ballade Studios, but just working together on this common goal was such a great experience. And especially all the small creative technical stuff we played around with was so much fun! At one point we actually had an old traditional Indian sitar down there that we were going to put on the track “Trust.” And watching Sara trying to play that was just a ball!! It was actually on the track until the very final mix, where we decide to cut it out.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
We really wanted to keep the underground sound and I think we would call it hard hitting minimalistic deathdoom with a touch of melody.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Our music and this album specifically is a lot about losing control in one way or another. It’s something that we’ve all tried at some points in our life. It could be losing control of your mental state or losing somebody you love or being close to somebody who is going through a rough time. It’s really up to you to decide what it tells you.
How did you come to sign with Napalm Records?
In January 2018 we were playing at an event called “When Copenhell Freezes Over” in Copenhagen. It was Julie’s second concert with the band after she joined. We knew that there was going to be people from the European music industry there but we didn’t have our hopes up. After we had played, Thorsten Harm from Napalm Events approached us backstage and offered us a booking deal with Napalm Events and said he could probably also get us a record deal with Napalm Records. The next week he sent us the contract with Napalm Events which we signed after going through it thoroughly. A month later we were offered and signed a record deal with Napalm Records. The rest of 2018 went with playing a lot of concerts, while also working on our album.
What are your goals and expectations for the record?
For us it was a huge thing to finish the album and get it in our hands physically. And even though you love the music you’re making, you can never tell if other people are going to like it, too. So our expectations have been pretty low, because this was our debut record. But we are getting more and more great response from reviews and reactions videos on YouTube and this has been so overwhelmingly kind and positive. So we couldn’t be happier with that. But most of all we’re looking forward to sharing the whole album with all the fans that have been so great and supportive. Regarding goals, we really just want to get out there and play our album as many new places as possible and connect with people who like this kind of music. We are already working on new music, because we’ve got the fire going now and we really wanna see where we can take this!
What has been your most memorable Konvent live show?
That definitely have to be our show at last year’s Copenhell, which is the biggest metal festival in Denmark. It was in our hometown and we played in front of 4000 people with a big bunch our best friends and family. It was such a huge thing for us to play there, because we had all been going to this festival since its beginning and it definitely lived up to our expectations! I remember the backstage was one big village of trailers for each band and at one point the other girls saw Maynard James Keenan from Tool outside, because they were playing the same day and they went absolutely crazy. It was so much fun!
What are your upcoming tour plans?
We start our first headlining tour the 24th of January, when the record is released. And we’re going all around Denmark and then Sweden, Norway and Germany for 10 shows in total, with a couple of more shows being added in a weeks time. We are really excited about this, especially because we’ve never played in either Sweden or Norway, so that will definitely be fun! Other than that we’re playing Gefle Metal Festival in Sweden and In Flammen Open Air in Germany this summer and hopefully we’ll add some more shows when the record is out.
How did you get started in music?
Mette, Rikke and I were really new at what we were doing when we started the band. Sara was the only one who had played in a band before. But it was really good for us, because we could sort of start from scratch and there was never really any pressure on us. I think the band was a really big motivation for us to get better at our instruments quickly. And also being girls in a scene that’s mostly dominated by men, we really felt like we had to prove that we belonged there. But that was never something other people put on us, it was merely a thing in our own mind. Everybody has been crazy supportive of us from the beginning, so that really helped with the motivation as well!
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Heidi: We all had very different influences and inspirations in the band in the beginning. But some of the bands we could all agree on would probably be Black Sabbath, Candlemass, NAILS, Black Breath, Monolord and Mantar.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
I actually don’t remember! I used to keep a concert diary back in 2013 and I had tons of shows in there. But I lost it. But I do remember the first metal festival I went to, which was Copenhell back in 2014. That’s the biggest metal festival in Denmark and I was so blown away by that experience and seeing so many people coming together for the love of the music and I’ve been going ever since!
How’s the metal scene in Copenhagen?
All four of us live in Copenhagen and there are so many awesome Danish metal bands that we have the opportunity to go see. Looking at the live music scene in Copenhagen today it seems like it’s only getting better and better. There is a big underground metal scene and loads of great bands to check out! There are a lot of venues putting up metal gigs, with both local and international bands, and our calendars are basically always full of shows that we want to go to. But it does happen that our favorite bands go on a Europe tour and then don’t visit Copenhagen or Denmark at all.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
We’re going on tour when we release our debut album Puritan Masochism the 24th of January, so if you live in northern Europe then check out our dates and see if we’re coming to a town near you. We would love to meet everybody. And lastly, thank you for this interview! We really appreciate it.
(interview published January 25, 2020)
Watch Konvent – “Ropes Pt. II” Video