After a sudden split back in 2016, Swedish rock group Graveyard quickly reassembled to get back to work on their next release. The result was “Peace,” an eclectic record that treks the musical landscape from metal to rock and to jazz, sending the listener on a kind of weird and spiritual journey through the progression of rock ‘n’ roll. Graveyard is currently on tour with powerhouse psych-rockers Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, both of whom are currently embarking on the American leg of the tour spanning from coast to coast.
Guitarist and vocalist of Graveyard, Jonatan Larocca-Ramm, sat down with Byline Houston to talk about what to expect on the latest tour, the role of music in society, and what keeps the group going.
Byline Houston: Inspiration is something that is always changing for a lot of artists. What do you feel has been inspiring you in your music recently?
Larocca-Ramm: It has always been what we used to listen to and what we are currently listening to, but most of all, everyday life. When we write music it is all about where we are in that moment, how the album turns out is just how it becomes, and there has never been a plan for how the next album will sound like. Everything from ’30s jazz to Slayer and a lot of blues is inspiring.
Byline Houston: Graveyard broke up back in 2016 due to personal reasons within the group. What made the band want to reform and keep going?
Larocca-Ramm: We never wanted to break up, but things didn’t work out the way they were. And when Axel Sjoeberg left, the band’s future was most uncertain. We didn’t know if we would be able to continue at all until we brought Oskar Bergenheim into the band, whom brought a lot of new energy into the group.
Byline Houston: How do you feel about the current chemistry with the group members? What aspects of the group dynamic have changed?
Larocca-Ramm: The group dynamic is great, and we are happy to be doing what we’ve always wanted to do. As I mentioned, Oskar came in with a lot of positive energy, and we all feel great about the situation we are in.
Byline Houston: What are some memorable milestones in your musical career?
Larocca-Ramm: We have been very fortunate, and we’ve been opening up for bands like Motörhead, Soundgarden, Deep purple and Iron Maiden. We’ve been to great places and venues all over the world, and one of my favorite places is Redrock in Colorado. The two Grammys we won are of course appreciated as well.
Byline Houston: As a band that has been active for many years, Graveyard has shared large tours with well-known and established acts. Do you feel that you develop a relationship with other bands while on the road together?
Larocca-Ramm: It’s always nice to hang out with other musicians and become friends. Mostly it’s all about the music and instruments we are nerding into, but it’s always nice to meet new people.
Byline Houston: Tell our audience about your experience touring with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. Any shows you are looking forward to?
Larocca-Ramm: We’ll do the first show together tonight in Philadelphia, and I’m sure it’ll be great. I think we are looking forward to every show, every one of them should be the best one so far and the most fun one of course. I look forward to meeting the Uncle Acid guys and for sure the show in Houston.
Byline Houston: The latest record has a very classic sound. How was the energy and overall vibe different in the band when recording and performing the latest record “Peace”?
Larocca-Ramm: It was great, we had fun and a good vibe throughout the recording. No issues, just a lot of fun.
Byline Houston: The band seems to take their craft seriously. How would you describe your role as a musician? What does music offer society as a whole?
Larocca-Ramm: We do, but we also try to have fun and not get too serious. We do what we feel is right for the moment and what we believe is good enough to be in on our albums. I don’t know what we think about ourselves as musicians really. Decent I guess, but mostly we do it because we enjoy playing together. Music is important to society and for people’s well-being, creativity is something everyone should have the opportunity to explore, and we should never underestimate the power of music.
Byline Houston: Graveyard’s music combines aspects of rock ‘n’ roll and heavier styles of music, and Sweden has a lot of metal bands and musical groups that are on the heavier side of the musical spectrum as well. Do you think there’s a tradition of heavy music in Scandinavia?
Larocca-Ramm: Maybe it is now, but I think music is a tradition overall, no matter genre. But you are right about a lot of heavy bands doing music, maybe we just need ways to get the frustration out and music is a great way of doing it.
Byline Houston: What is something you want your fans to know about the group’s intent and meaning behind the music?
Larocca-Ramm: As Bill Hicks said, “Play with your f***ing heart.” That is what we are trying to do every time, no matter if it’s trying a new song in the practice space or playing a big show. Everyone should interpret whatever they want to while listening to our songs. Everyone is in their own movie, and if our music fits in as their soundtrack, it’s just awesome. We are thankful to everyone of you that listen to Graveyard.
Graveyard will be co-headlining with Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats at White Oak Music Hall on March 11. Get your tickets now and be ready to mosh.