Activism can take many different forms, and throughout the years musicians have used their art and their platform to speak openly and loudly about causes they are passionate about. But whilst we strive to make the present a better place to exist, it can be hard to envisage the brighter future that could exist should we manage to reverse the current trajectories of the planet and the human race as a whole. If we were to create a perfect world, what exactly would it look like?
This is a question which Norway’s Heave Blood & Die have been pondering, weaving the results into their music. The band have always spoken openly about their views on climate change and their wish to live in an anti-authoritarian world, but their latest record Post People takes this idea one step further and digs deep into what the world could look like in the future.
“Post People started as a concept we talked about together as a group, the more we discussed the topic, the more it turned into so many different things,” explains vocalist/guitarist Karl Løftingsmo Pedersen. “[We looked at] a fictional universe deprived of an established society, a post-apocalyptic universe of sorts. It would be humankind as a whole transcending modern society, leaving capitalism behind, laying waste to non-justified authority, achieving the climate neutral goal, equality for all and an ending for the war on drugs.
“It’s a fixation on the concept of time, a literal view on the idea that everything that ever happened and ever will happen is happening right now. Why do we not feel sadness thinking about the death of Alexander The Great, but we can feel sadness when some distant celebrity is announced dead. Why are past atrocities less saddening than modern atrocities?”
The band’s eagerness to look backwards with an aim to progress comes through in their music too. Their sound and lyrics form a unified front, with the latter exploring a potential future for the world whilst their music itself seeks to innovate within existing genres. Heave Blood & Die may have started as stoner rockers but these days they truly are, in every sense of the word, an experimental band, playing with concepts of post-rock and post-punk but putting their own spin on things. Throughout Post People there are building blocks which could be likened to bands such as Jesu and Årabrot, but then they’ll throw in a jarring guitar riff or a shimmering ‘80s pop tone that should by all rights feel out of place, and yet seems to sit perfectly.
Creating art with a message, then, is at the heart of the six-piece’s focus. “I don’t want to come across like a preacher or anything and I don’t want to tell people how to live, I want to write lyrics we ourselves can stand behind as conceptual human beings,” explains Pederson. “Post People is the world viewed from a time-altering, space-warping needle hole, to write post-apocalyptic stuff I think you have to include the hardships of real life, and with that in mind I think my political and non-political view of the world has to show.”
Personal politics will always shine through in people’s creations, however minutely, and in addition to this the band’s surroundings in northern Norway, as well as their wide array of musical tastes, all play a role in creating the unique noises we hear from the band. “We’re a bunch of different people with a lot of different references to bring to the table,” says Pedersen. “It sort of just ended up like this. I personally like so many different types of music, it’s hard to even say a favourite one genre, so how could my music end up being under a specific umbrella? I find it strange to find one sound and religiously stick to it, and I am ever grateful for being in a band that is so open to change, and evolution.
“I think location and the sphere you’re in has a lot to say, but I can’t pinpoint specifically how coming from the arctic has influenced us directly. Though I have heard people call our music ‘maritime’ which is a beautiful thought, all of northern Norway was basically just fish in the past.”
As Pedersen states, musically the band don’t want to come across as preaching any political agenda. However, the band lives in a country which for the past seven-and-a-half years has been governed by a right-leaning government, who in Pedersen’s words have “left their lies unanswered”.
But in a year where their country will see an election Pedersen doesn’t see any radical change, but hopes that whoever is in charge will implement measures to help change the current situation we live in, particularly when it comes to the greed of capitalism and the lasting damage of climate change.
“I don’t think any of the possible outcomes are much different from each other, the only thing to hope for is smaller leftist parties to get enough votes to make a tiny difference,” wills Pederson. “To reach a climate neutral goal the very least thing we can do is to be less greedy and ever expanding, I’m not talking about normal people, I’m talking about capital and state.”
Even though it is now out, like many bands releasing music in a pandemic, Post People had its own challenges before it saw the light of day. As the pandemic hit it put everything on pause for Heave Blood & Die. But despite the challenges the vocalist tells us that the band are extremely happy with how the record turned out and how they have been able to put their message across.
“The day Norway went into lockdown in the middle of March last year, I was at my girlfriend’s father’s place in Stavanger,” Pederson reveals. “I was supposed to take the train to Oslo and meet Kjetil and Karin from Årabrot and have a chat about recording the album in their home in Djura in Sweden, which is a beautiful church turned into a studio.
“I jumped on the train and halfway there I got the news that they couldn’t pass over the border. That was a big bummer, but the record turned out really nice anywho. I imagine the record would have ended up quite different if Kjetil produced the record alongside our go-to man Ariel, maybe it would be more synthy and less ‘organic’ than it is now. Also Ocean Sound is a really good ‘professional studio’, while Djura is a big church room so the sound of the record would be completely different.”
The original plan may have been cancelled, undoubtedly shaping the album’s course, but the silver lining is that this option is there for next time: “Maybe we`ll hang out with Kjetil for our next album!” exclaims Pederson.
Post People is out now on Fysisk Format. Order here.
Words: George Parr