Members: chris, andy, danny,dan
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Being in a band for 10 years, you learn a thing or two about inspiration, chiefly that when it hits, you go with it. The members of Blindside werent planning on release a new album so soon after 2004s high-charting About a Burning Fire. But when frontman and lyricist Christian Lindskog returned from a deeply affecting trip to South Africa earlier this year, inspiration hit, the band followed and The Great Depression was born.
Songs literally started spilling out of Lindskog when he returned from the beleaguered nation, where he met person after personfrom the 10-year-old boy who serves as namesake and inspiration for Yamkela to the dying older man he remembers in This Timewhose lives were being ripped apart by AIDS. While journaling Lindskogs experiences, The Great Depression is also an album about the universal struggle to find happiness. In songs like We Are to Follow and You Must Be Bleeding Under Your Eyelids, it takes a look at the dark and damaging side of life in the Western world at the start of the 21st Century.
Its partially about finding a space and time in this really weird and stressed society, and not taking part in a lot of things that are going on in this environment, Lindskog says. Were constantly bombarded with what youre supposed to think about yourself and what youre supposed to do, and all these things. And I think its very unnatural for human beings to be in this kind of environment, where all the commercials are coming at you all the time. Its almost like you have to create your own space, and not be a part of it, and its really hard.
Slackjawing in its range, The Great Depression, the Swedish bands fifth album, was produced by Lasse Lars Marten. It proudly displays its musical diversity on part Rage Against the Machine, part Franz Ferdinand opener This Is A Heart Attack, before diving into melodic crunchers, classic, punk-propelled hardcore and Thom Yorke-ian, almost goth-y confessionals, ala the first single, Fell In Love With The Game.
Written starting in late fall 2004 and recorded between March and June 2005, The Great Depression is Blindsides most lyrically revealing and introspective album since 2000s A Thought Crushed My Mind. Ive always been into that really personal way of writing, Lindskog says. When theres lyrics that hit me in the heart, thats when I get interested. Im not so interested in being cool or whatever. When its bleeding, thats when Im interested.
And while the album is unquestionably dark, its strung through with hope on songs like the romantic Ask Me Now or the disc-ending When I Remember: Sunshine breaks through the clouds/I can cry out of sorrow and joy/Im not forgotten/Im in your thoughts and I feel sunshine in the rain To this day nobody moves me like you.
Please choose life with its sweet and sour, Lindskog sings on Were All Going to Die, which draws parallels between his experience in South Africa and the depression filling Americas suburbs and high schools: When I went to South Africa, I met all these young people who were dying way too early. But up here, in the Western society, a lot of people are dying way too young but for different reasons: Theres a lot of suicide and the suicide rate is going up. I found that interestingon two continents people are dying young.
Some people might think this is a depressing title for a record, Lindskog continues. But this record is not simply about depression. We all walk through difficult times in our lives. We have learnt that there is reward in the journey. To be lost and then found brings the greatest joy.
BlindsideLindskog, guitarist Simon Grenehed, drummer Marcus Dahlstrom and bassist Tomas Naslundwas born a decade ago in the suburbs of Stockholm. When they formed the band in their late teensinspired by American metal and grunge and the then-burgeoning alt-rock music scene at homethey werent very accomplished musicians, to say the least, Lindskog laughs: The good thing was that we sucked equally. And we started growing together.
The bands rise was as organic as it gets: First they got a rehearsal space in a run-down area of Stockholm, and then they secured regular gigs at an alcohol-free local youth center. Because the venue was funded by the government, the shows were free. And, with each gig, the bands audience would build, eventually hitting some 500 people. Linking up with friends in other bands, Lindskog, Grenehed, Dahlstrom and Naslund held down jobs while hitting pretty much every major city in Sweden on the weekends.
After pressing a self-financed demo in 1996 and selling it at shows, the band debuted in April 1997 in Sweden with their self-titled debut, a collection of old and new songs that serve as a snapshot of Lindskogs life at the time. The disc was released later that year in the U.S. by Tooth and Nail. Thats when it felt like a real band for the first time, thats when we toured the U.S. the first time, Lindskog says.
In 2000, Blindside returned with A Thought Crushed My Mind, a more aggressive album featuring deeper, more vulnerable lyrics. It went into a darker, deeper place, and was more self- expanding about who I am and what Im dealing with in my life, and how I relate to the people around me, Lindskog says. Its also about the thoughts that were carrying around, and the impact they have on our lives. When that album came out, I remember being really scared becauseI felt really naked.
Both albums were recently digitally remastered and re-released with four bonus tracks apiece, and featuring special new artwork designed by Lindskog. Tacked onto Blindside are the four songs that composed the bands original demo: Superman, Liberty, Forgiven and Stolen. A Thought Crushed My Mind features two songs only available on 7 vinyl, Knocking on Another Door and All You Need Is, as well as the previously unreleased cuts Desert Flower and Sunrise.
With its momentum building, Blindside became the first band signed to Elektras 3 Points imprint, and in 2002 released Silence, a tighter, more produced record on which the band marked its musical growth and dabbled in more mainstream fare. The move worked, as two years later, after tours with Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Linkin Park, the band returned with the melodic, meaty About a Burning Fire which hit the top 40 on The Billboard 200 albums chart. Produced by Howard Benson (who also helmed Silence), the album found the band settling into its new dynamic style, sporting the bite of the bands early hardcore and the polish that comes with time. If we all like it, then its Blindside, Lindskog says about the bands songwriting process. We dont put boundaries on our music.
I think we see music a little bit differently, Grenehed says, reflecting on the bands first decade. When we started, we were just having fun. Were still having a lot of fun together, but you just want to dig deeper.
Adds Lindskog, Our friendships have grown stronger over the years, which makes it easier to write music together, because we know how to connect with each other emotionally and musically.
But while the bands music and relationships have changed and evolved, its goal has remained the same, says Grenehed. For us, he says, its always been about trying to get a positive message out there, some kind of hope. Thats the main purpose in both writing music and playing live. Thats the thing that we always come back to.