For all of you hardcore fans of the cult label Cold Meat Industry (R.I.P), ConSono is probably a familiar name. The Swedish duo of Jens Lindh and Magnus Bjärlind only managed to release three albums, one cassette and two compact discs, but they left a very lasting imprint. The first release, Onus Uteri, was released on Sound Source (pre CMI´s tape label), and the other two on Cold Meat Industry and Crowd Control Activity. The duo contributed some of their best tracks to many of the great compilations in the realm of death industrial and esoteric ambience. Many of these tracks are still highly regarded as precious cult gems, giving the listener a glimpse back into the early stages of that beautiful Cold Meat Industry sound.
I´ve been a fan of this highly esoteric mystical duo since I heard their genius track on ...And Even Wolves Hid Their Teeth And Tongue Wherever Shelter Was Given compilation back in 1996. My desire to track down lead singer Jens Lindh has been a goal for quite some time and I finally succeeded. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did making it.
Per Najbjerg Odderskov: My first question is about the creation of the band itself. How and when did ConSono come to be?
Jens Lindh: Magnus and I met in a record store in Södertälje 1989 and we realised that we liked the same music. And after one year we decided to start a band. Our first band was Ograth Vein. Our first release was on the "Im Krematorium" compilation. In 1990 we decided to form ConSono.
PNO: What kind of music and bands were you into back then?
JL: We were both into classical EBM acts such as Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and Skinny Puppy. But we also listened to more obscure acts such as Club Moral, Prima Linea, early Current 93 and Coil.
PNO: I guess the obscure stuff was hard to get and find in Sweden 1989, especially Club Moral.
JL: There were some retailers here in Stockholm. I remember visiting Pet Sounds in the late eighties. They stocked a lot of industrial stuff. There were also some mailorder such as "Spanking Housewives" which were based to the south of Stockholm.
PNO: Last time I was in Stockholm (2008), I could only locate a music shop specializing in punk. I was disappointed that they didn't have anything with Brainbombs.
JL: Today we have a new generation and there are new clubs and shops, such as Kollaps Records. There were certainly some "dark ages" during the early 2000-2010.
PNO: How did you get in contact with Sound Source / CMI?
JL: I remember we made contact with Roger Karmanik in 1989 and sent him a cassette and he proposed that we should contribute to a compilation, 2x6 - The Dimensions of a Coffin.
PNO: That compilation was before the cassette release on Sound Source?
JL: Yes it was before the first cassette.
PNO: 2x6 is a brilliant and excellent compilation by the way. It remains one of my favorite comps from that time. A very effective mood capturer.
JL: Yes it was released the same year as the cassette. Speaking of the first release, I found it: http://www.discogs.com/Various-Im-Krematorium/release/1756180. Our first incarnation as a band was actually under the name Orizaba.
PNO: Oh yeah. I've noticed that before.
JL: Roger Karmainik also had a side label called Mechanik Cassettes.
PNO: So who were Ograth Vein then?
JL: Ograth Vein was formed the same year but didn't make any official releases.
PNO: Damn, Mechanik Cassettes in family with CMI? That is some lost lore, even I didn't know that.
JL: Yes, even I had forgotten it. I had to google it. They had some releases with Lille Roger and Maschinenzimmer 412.
PNO: After the cassette on Sound Source, you had some compilation appearances on all the coolest CMI compilations, including the legendary Death Odors 1 from Slaughter Productions. The next release, Hymns of Deceased Deities, was more a compilation of your own tracks. What happened back then to the band?
JL: We made some appearances on compilations and decided to remix and collect them on an album. That became Hymns of Deceased Deities. There were some recurrent literary and occult themes on Hymns, and i think it makes an interesting whole.
PNO: I loved that esoteric mystic feel to it. Somewhere between Ain Soph and early Dead Can Dance in a way...
JL: I was influenced by writers such as Borges, and esoteric and alchemical writers. We actually listened to Ain Soph a lot, i think they're a good band.
PNO: Now that I think about it, you were the prime mystical occult band on CMI back then for sure. Other bands were delving into satanic elements like Archon Satani and Mz.412.
JL: I think that's correct. I have always thought of ConSono as occult band. We were not interested so much in satanism, more in traditional esoteric thinkers.
PNO: Did you feel different from the rest of the CMI bunch at that time? I wonder why Ignoto Deo wasnt released on CMI, and why the 3 years pause?
JL: The period before Ignoto Deo was a challenging one for ConSono. We didnt like some of the acts at that time, we thought that we were moving more towards a sound incorporating elements of Dead Can Dance, medieval and folk music.
ConSono was inactive during serveral years, but we continued to record a lot of tracks and trying new directions. We found the traditional industrial "formula" too limited. I think that Ignoto Deo was an attempt to break free from our own creative chains.
PNO: Very interesting because CMI was turning more and more attention to neo-folk and almost gothic-pop-ish bands around 2003.
JL: Yes later on CMI turned more into a ethereal/neofolk gothpop direction.
PNO: Heh, none of those bands made an album quite like Ignoto Deo. Just my opinion. It was quite unique. Perfectly balanced piece of work between experimental folk and gothpop.
JL: Yes, Ignoto Deo is good album. We tried to combine influences like Scott Walker, Dead Can Dance, etc. The lyrics were more focused and coherent. I tried to capture different expressions and dark landscapes, fairytales and myths. Magnus, who is a illustrator by profession, did a great job with the cover on both Ignoto and Hymns. We had a fairly strict division in ConSono, I wrote all the texts and lyrics, and Magnus designed the cover.
PNO: Ignoto Deo should have been a digi-pack. In thick paper of some kind.
JL: Yes I think that Ignoto should have been released in a more "luxurious" manner. The good thing with Roger was his ability to go all in and in Hymns he let us do a booklet.
PNO: Did you do any concerts/live events in those times? I haven´t seen or heard much about live appearances.
JL: Sadly no. We never played live. We had a strict policy to not play live as we thought that we couldnt make the live experience good enough. We had seen a lot of bands doing the "DAT-thing" and we thought it wasn't enough. In retrospect I think it was a mistake to not play live.
PNO: *laughs* I have the exact same policy. I will not dare doing live myself. A guy behind a laptop/computer pushing buttons. Seen tons of those concerts, boring as hell. Even Stephen Thrower of Cyclops did the same stunt and it was disappointing.
JL: Yes i find most of these concerts boring. I have seen too much of them. I totally agree.
PNO: BUT if you could pull off a kind of acoustic ConSono concert in a church of some kind? That would be damn good!
JL: That would be a great idea! ConSono is disbanded and i think that we will not see any more releases and concerts, but it is an interesting concept...
PNO: How about unreleased material or a rarities compilation?
JL: Mangnus and I have focused on our own projects. I thought about making a rarities compilations a few years ago. We have a lot of unreleased material in the Ignoto Deo vein but a lot of the tracks need re-recorded vocals.
PNO: I knew you had more material. I´ll bet there would be lots of great labels willing to release it.
JL: I think we have over 30 unreleased tracks from that period. Yes, I have been contacted by some labels during the years, but a release will be an effort and as you get older there is a fine balance between the old projects and the new.
PNO: Ahh yes of course. One final question. Any recommendations in the field of newly released industrial music?
JL: I haven't discovered so much new bands during the last years. Nowadays I primarily listen to ambient/dark ambient such as Alio Die and Richard Skelton.
PNO: I´m getting more and more into my techno roots *laughs* More and more Detroit style techno acts are mixing this with industrial elements. Ancient Methods and Diamond Version just to name a few.
JL: Ok, interesting! I will look them up. Is it contemporary?
PNO: It is contemporary. Even Ancient Methods said in an interview that he was an old fan of CMI.
JL: Oh, that sounds good. They know the essential music history.
PNO: Quite so. Well Jens, it was nice talking/chatting with you. Thank you very much.
JL: Thanks it has been really nice chatting to you.