Please give us a brief introduction to GRA! I understand this self-titled album is your debut release! How did the band form?
Dimman: The name comes from a mixture of the Icelandic “grár”and Swedish “grå” simply meaning grey.Well, not really, the debut release was our Mcd “Helfärd”. Me and Heljarmadr share the same thoughts about how the black metal scene and a lot of the music has developed past the years and we were not that impressed (Of course there are a few new great acts that keeps the flame burning but overall it´s more quantity over quality). So, we decided to get ourselves piss drunk and jam some old stylish shit together, mostly for fun and for our own needs… We created 4 songs over a couple of nights and recorded it. After a month or so the Greek label “Sonicdeath Armageddon” found us and wished to release it, so why the fuck not! After the release of the Mcd Helfärd we made deal with Unexploded records and recruited a full line-up and did some liveshows.
There is a strong sense of unity between the musician’s on ‘Gra’. Are members of GRA formerly or currently involved in other projects we may be familiar with?
Dimman: Indeed the list can be long but to drop a few we have our sibling band Cursed 13 (all the same members such of Grá) and some of us are involved in Domgård, Wan and Spazmosity. We also have smaller solo projects but none to be mentioned at this time.
What are some of the driving forces behind the material we hear on ‘Gra’? What inspires the sounds we hear on the release?
Dimman: The urge to explore whats to be found on the otherside of styx and the human mind on it´s edge. The sound is inspired, as is the concept of the band, by the early old gods we grew up with such as Bathory, Burzum, Mayhem…etc
We wanted to keep the real early sound with a sting of our own touch. None of us are into the huge wave of the digital sound that has manifested in the genre.
The songs are varied, well-preformed and exceptionally written. How does the songwriting process work for GRA?
Dimman: Thanks! Well mostly it´s Heljarmadr that comes up with ideas and riffs, we gather and structure it up toghether. For example the song “Döden ser, döden tar” Heljarmadr got pissed of by something and went in alone to the rehearsal room while we others sat outside drinking coffee and he wrote that song in 15 minutes.
Does the band perform live? Why or why not? Give us an idea of a live GRA ritual!
Dimman: Yes we are very much live active! Why? because our music is ment to be enjoyed live together with our infamous magical show we put up on stage. ( No we do not use blood on stage).
Is GRA more of a studio band, as writers, or a stage band, as performers? What medium delivers your music the best, do you personally feel? Why?
Dimman: A stage band for sure but records has to be made especially if you want to play on the big stages. So we just chew it up and get them done. When you are standing on stage, feeling forces grab hold of you and breathe down your neck…
Tell me about the artwork on the album. How was it created and how does it embody your vision of the debut full-length?
Dimman: It was created by Olle Olsson and Heljarmadr in a collaboration. We wanted the cover to look like a heavy, old and forgotten book.
How long was the material on ‘Gra’ being prepared for recording and release?
Dimman: About 6 months give or take, we consider every aspect to hell and back before we put it on a mastertape.
The material on the album is both atmospheric and aggressive, words used often to describe extreme metal. How do you describe your music to fans of the genre who have not heard it?
Dimman: It´s about opening their eyes and show them the beauty and freedom of Death and lure your souls into walking the path. What I heard from people is that we spread a darkened cold ambient feeling that puts you in some kind of trance.
What inspires you to write and be creative? What bands got you into music when you were younger and why? What are you listening to now that really impresses you?
Dimman: It comes with our own different personal needs to satisfy ourselves. Well I can only speak for my self but Pink Floyd has a big meaning to me and listening to bands like Emperor, Bathory, Darkthrone and Mayhem made me wonder, they are delivering their messages through brutal music… I have a need to do that to so I started playing drums.
What does the future hold for GRA? When can fans expect more releases or concert sacrifices?
Dimman: Hopefully the next album will be out at the end of this year or early 2013 (it depends on our label, the album is ready for print and waiting). Grá has some chapters still to be written and we will continue our live rituals as long as people come to see them! Where and when, time will tell… We just got an answer from one of the biggest Metal festivals in Europe that we are to extreme live so who knows? We do have some plans for a minor tour next year, stay tuned in on our website for more info about what shall come!
The last words are yours!
Dont be afraid of the blade… It´s your ticket to wonderland