Crannk Interviews Saint Karloff
I have to admit I hadn’t heard of Saint Karloff till these guys came across my desk and I was instantly interested in Saint Karloff and wanted to hear more and know more about this hard-rocking stoner-doom band out of Oslo, Norway. Saint Karloff released their debut album All Heed the Black God, in 2018 and rose to fourth place on the Doom Charts, generating two mind-bending music videos for ‘Ghost Smoker’ and ‘Spellburn’, and garnering praise from critics internationally. All Heed the Black God was inspired by 70s heavy blues bands like Black Sabbath and early Pentagram and allowed the band to fuse this vintage sound with modern-day stoner rock to create a sound indebted to world of today and the music of yesteryear.
Not resting on their laurels Saint Karloff has recently released two albums through Majestic Mountain Records the first “Coven of the Ultra-Riff” released on the 6th of September, a limited edition split with fellow riff worshippers, Devil Witches. The other is Saint Karloff’s second full-length album the amazing “Interstellar Voodoo” that was released on the 4th of October an album that is one track that is 40odd minutes long and takes the listener on a real musical journey.
Recently I had the absolute pleasure of being able to reach out to the Saint Karloff guys and find out some more about the band, the album and all things Saint Karloff. Take some time and check it out then go rock out hard and loud to the two latest releases from Saint Karloff. 🤘🖤🤘
Hello, Jai Anderson here with Crannk Saint Karloff thank you so much for taking the time to have a chat with myself and Crannk I really appreciate it. And congrats on the awesome new album Interstellar Voodoo.
Q; First off for the un-initiated who is Saint Karloff?
Saint Karloff (Ole) :We’re heavy rock trio based out of Oslo, Norway. Started up three years ago and we’ve now just released our second album “Interstellar Voodoo”.
Q: If you had to how would you describe your sound and style ?
SK (Ole) :It will be obvious for everyone who listens to us that we draw influence from the good old days of early Black Sabbath, and the term “Sabbath worship” is hard to avoid. But we feel that we add a whole lot more to our music than just Sabbathy riffs. Our sound and style is vintage, but also laiden with everything from 60’s hippie folk to newer influences like Queens of the Stone Age. We try to keep things groovy and interesting, not just lay on the fuzz and make it as heavy as possible.
Q; How did Saint Karloff form?
SK (Ole) :Adam and I(Ole) were in a band for a couple of years up to 2016. When that band split up we got Mads on board and decided to start a band. We didn’t have a clear agenda other than that to try and make music that everyone in the band actually liked. We had all been in bands before where we thought the music was boring and even bad, and were determined that it would not be the case with this band.
Q:When and how did you first get into alt/rock music ?
SK (Ole) : I got into rock through Woodstock, a Sabbath mix tape and a Creedence cd that belonged to my parents, along with a whole lot of Status Quo albums my brother had on vinyl. Mads and I became friends when we were around 10-11 years old, and we quickly aligned our musical interests. Adam got into punk and hard rock like Maiden and Thin Lizzy, Ramones etc through his brothers and the scene in Ålesund.
Q;What was the first album you bought?
SK (Ole) :The first album I ever bough was Ace of Base’s Happy Nation, and Mads’ first was Michael Jackson’s Dangerous. Adam was a much cooler kid(600 km east of where Mads and I grew up) and bought a punk collection called Survival of the Fattest as his first album.
Q; When and how did you first start playing Guitar/Bass/drums (Depending on who or if all are going through questions)?
SK (Ole) :As mentioned earlier Mads and I grew up together, and attended the same school. At this school we had two alternatives when it came to music classes. Learn notes and the recorder in a classroom, or join the choir which sang pop songs. We chose the choire and quickly joined the backing band. Mads had a tiny bit of experience with the guitar, as his father had thaught him three chords, so he was ready to rock. I started learning while in the choire band, and when the bass player moved on to high school I took his place in the band.
Adam’s first musical venture was with a group of buddies from his school in Ålesund. None of them knew how to play, so punk was the obvious choice. And Adam called dibs on the drums and the rest is obscure heavy underground history.
Q;What was the first Guitar/Bass/drums you bought for yourself?
SK (Ole):My first bass was a Washburn Vulture. I had no idea what I was getting as my brother set the whole thing up. I payed $200 and one day when I got home it was there. I didn’t think much of it then and there, it was ok. But looking back at it I think it’s a really coom nass, and I am thinking about getting one.
Adam saved up his earnings from his after school cleaner job and got himself a Pearl Export which he probably destroyed with heavy hits and punk beats.
Mads started out on a crappy, borrowed strat-copy, and then bought himself a Kasuga SG(from the same guy as I got my Washburn from, a local guitar teacher. Shout-out to Leif Lågeide). The Kasuga was in a dark wood finish with carved flowers and a beautiful flower/stem/leaves fretboard inlay. I believe a friend of our’s owns the guitar today.
Q; And what Guitar/Bass/drums are using for Interstellar Voodoo ?
SK (Ole): I use my old 1975 Fender P-bass, and Adam mixed drums from his old 70’s Ludwig vistalite kit and a newer Mapex kit. Mads plays two guitars. For the most part he plays an old early 80’s Greco, but one of the solos begged for wild whammy walloping, and that led to the use of an old 1979 Fender Strat.
Q:Interstellar Voodoo is an absolute joy of an album and in this day and age of streaming I really loved that this was a one track 40minute journey,I sparked up the first time I listened to this and just went on that journey with you guys on this album.Is this how you intended for the album the be heard?
SK (Ole): First of all, thank you so much for the kind words. We spark up every time we get some love from our listeners, that’s what makes us go forth and make new music.
Yes, the album is inteded to be heard as a whole. We believe the album gets better after a few listenings, and that is also the intention. We hope to engage the listener and once they are into it they might notice new stuff as the listen again, maybe they ponder the lyrics and the story. We want people to take part in the experience, use their imagination, join the 40 minute journey and get off at the end wanting to ride again.
Q: Did you approach this album from the get-go with the mindset of doing one long track as the album?
SK (Ole): Yes, we did. My first idea was to do a whole album by only playing one long shuffle groove in one key, and then add shit on top of that. Luckily I am not alone in the band and the two others politely(and wisely) threw this idea in the trash. But it got us thinking about a one track album, and we decided to try it. Initially we viewed a one track album as a shortcut to finishing the writing. Man, were we wrong. It was alot of hard work. We encountered problems we had never thought about.
Q: How did you approach the songwriting and song creation for Interstellar Voodoo ?
SK (Ole): When had fully decided to go through with this kimd of album, we got out some old riffs and ideas and picked some that was usable. Then we started jamming, looking for stuff to use. We also brought some individual stuff to the song, stuff we’d make separately at home and bring in to jam on when practicing as a band.
It was alot of trying and failing, parts were changed, moved and also thrown out. Looking back, it feels like a very chaotic process, and it is kind of hard to explain just how we wrote it. But as with all our music, there is almost not one second of sound on the album that would sound the same if it was not for all three of us. We pride ourselves on working together as a band, and it seems to bring out something cool. I can bring a 70’s heavy thing to the band, Adam fucks it up with his completely different way of approaching it, Mads plays it differently than I intended, and voila… It sounds like Saint Karloff, not like Ole. Same goes for when Mads and Adam brings their ideas. It’s a fun way to make music, and it gives all of us “ownership” of the music. I you feel that the song is yours, you play like you care about it. Being a studio musician in one’s own band is something we all dread.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the recording and production process for Interstellar Voodoo?
SK (Ole): Yes, I certainly can.
We recorded the whole album by ourselves, at a cabin in the mountains, with a little bit of help from a very nive guy named Terje Torkellsen.
The drums, bass and main guitar is recorded live. The take you hear on the album is take number three. We slipped up and made some (big) mistakes on the first take. The second take was really good, but when listening to it after recording it, we found that the guitar was out of tune. Adam got pissed and said “how hard is it to tune the guitar when we’re about to record an album”. We were of course all a bit frustrated, it is hard to record a 40 minute piece live, in one sitting, and we had now done it twice. We took a short break, drew our breaths and did the third and final take.
It was quite alot of work to bring everything up to the cabin (a big heavy hammond tone wheel organ, amps, instruments, the yamaha sk-20 synth, the IZ Radar we used for tracking, a huge old Ramsa wr-820, plus alot of other stuff), but it gave us the freedom to experiment a bit. The meter wasn’t running like it would in a studio, and I think that helped quite a bit. It ment more work, but also more freedom. We learned alot, mainly to not record our own album, here.
After everything was done we got it mixed by Marcus Forsgren (and us) at Paradiso in Oslo, and mastered by Joona Hassinen at Studio Underjord in Stockholm.
Thank you for reaching out to us and for being interested in our new album.
Saint Karloff Links
Majestic Mountain Records https://majesticmountainrecords.bigcartel.com/
Check out Saint Karloff but if you love the band and the scene head over to one of the links and grab a copy of some of Saint Karloff album’s or some merch and head out and catch a live show. 🤘🖤🤘