On Tuesday June the 18th Lamb of God played a show in 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands. As supports they brought Une Misère and Antropomorphia. You can read our live review of that evening here. Before the show DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Une Misère’s vocalist Jón Már Ásbjörnsson.
Hey, how are you?
Hey, good. It kind of feels like home here.
Yeah, you played here a few times already, right?
Yeah, we played here at Roadburn 2018. We played three separate shows, two in the Cul De Sac and one in the Green Room. Cul De Sac was sweaty, it was very packed but so much fun.
And you also already played a few other shows in The Netherlands.
Yeah, we did Eurosonic, Bloodshed Festival, Jagersonic.
When you say it kind of feels like home, do you mean Tilburg or The Netherlands?
When we arrived today I took a little walk through this square over there and it immediately felt like kind of home. I knew things, I knew places. I had to go to this candy store that’s over there and I remember the way. That’s weird, that hasn’t happened to me in any other city that we’ve been to, which is nice.
That’s cool. Looking forward to tonight’s show?
Very, very much. Lamb of God actually is the band that got me into heavy music way back in 2005 or 2006. So, it’s been a lifelong dream of seeing them. I’ve never seen them before, so when we got the offer I thought it was a joke. But it was real and now we are here. Yeah, I am very excited.
So, it’s kind of a dream coming true?
Yes, definitely. I saw them sound check and I had this instant lump in my throat like “Oh my god, it’s them, I am really here, this is happening.” So yeah, that definitely is a dream coming true.
Your band is called Une Misère, which is French. Why didn’t you choose to do it in Icelandic, Eymd?
As you said it, Eymd, it sounds like every other black metal band from Iceland. Like you have Misþyrming, Úlfúð, Andavald and Eymd would just be another name in the group. Une Misère has that poetic value. The French language actually does that to things. If something is horrible, it becomes poetically horrible in French, it really stings. As is with their language, if something is beautiful, it’s magnificently beautiful in French. That was kind of what we had in mind and that was the shape of the band as soon as we started, as soon as we decided the name. We already had the idea and that name fitted the idea perfectly. Une Misère, a misery, that’s what we are going for, definitely.
But you wouldn’t want to do it in English?
No, that’s too much of a beatdown hardcore thing, like next up: Misery. It doesn’t deliver. If I need a word to describe the name of Une Misère it’s beautiful, painfully beautiful.
Is that also how you would describe your music?
Yeah, definitely. It is beautiful. If I am allowed to say I feel like our music represents exactly what we are going through and what we are thinking. It reflects on our feelings in a very direct way. For us to be talking about miserable, being miserable and stuff like that. That’s all just a part of us, so to be able to have a platform to get it through the way we want it, that’s just a privilege. We are very grateful for it.
Is it also like catharsis?
Yeah, definitely. That’s exactly what this band does to us. Even when we are writing we put our heart and soul to it. Like five out of ten things that we try to write, as is with any other band, it may not deliver what we are thinking at that time, but the other five, that’s what we are going for. I can only speak for myself about the lyrics. Lyrically I have become very fortunate with what I have written, because as I see it in hindsight, I usually don’t remember the things that I write. They happen at the unlikeliest of times. I’ve written lyrics while on a two minute bus ride, like something just pours out of me. I think that’s just because being overcome with emotion can happen at any time.
On 010717 you put three original tracks that are very heavy and raging and four remixes of those tracks, that are bit more electronic and atmospheric. Can you elaborate on that choice?
In regards to the mix tape when we were discussing how we wanted to release our first work of music. We recorded our songs and it was fully ready in February or March. We didn’t release it until the first of July, because we had a vision when we finished recording and doing everything that we needed to do with it that we didn’t want to put out a CD, a 7-inch or just get lost in the download-crowd. We wanted to put out a mix tape so we contacted some of our favorite electronic artists back at home. They were more than happy to do it. We actually are very thankful for them willing to be a part of this assignment of ours. We think that it actually delivered. We released it, as I said, as a mix tape, so Side A was our songs with harsh noise in between. We released it just as Side A and Side B, so you couldn’t skip through the tracks, you had to listen to it whole.
On Spotify it is in separate tracks.
Yeah, later on we released it on Spotify as separate tracks, but in the beginning you could only find it at unemisere.com as Side A and Side B. Side B had the remixes and I think it got people to listen to it in depth. If they skipped through it, then of course, do what you want. We wanted to do something cool with it and I think that was cool.
It sure was. I really like both sides.
Beautiful, that’s awesome.
You formed in 2016 and you already played quite a few big shows. How do you look back at those past three years?
I look back at those three years quite in awe, because we started the band under another name and under other pretences. That was when I was still drinking, I was still doing drugs and just living an awful lifestyle. This band started like let’s bring a case of beer to the rehearsal studio and let’s just do something heavy. Then in 2016 I stopped drinking and things started happening. Then they happened to more, we won the Wacken Metal Battle back in Iceland that let us go to Wacken and play there. We started playing the Icelandic festivals and we were invited to play Roadburn, Bloodshed and Eurosonic. It’s also been happening at such a rate. When you said three years, I thought holy shit, it’s been three fucking years. To me it feels like four months. It feels like last Christmas. We are very fortunate. The people that have been and still are around us, like for example Walter who curates Roadburn and our manager Simon and everyone who is around us, helped us so much. This isn’t something that has just happened. Everyone is working their asses off for this. It’s working out for us, that’s all I can say. When I think about the fact that I am warming up for Lamb of God tonight, that’s even more of a strange thing.
You’ve reached quite a lot of things in such a short time.
Yeah, the signing with Nuclear Blast being on top of the list, definitely. Yeah, I am very humbled every time I think about it and every time I think about the place that I am at now and the place that I was at three years ago. I’m very humbled by that.
You said that you stopped drinking in 2016, are you still sober?
Yeah, I am still sober. I haven’t touched drugs since, no nicotine, no nothing.
That’s a good thing.
Yeah, that’s a very good thing.
Thank you so much. I think I can honestly say that I don’t think we would be warming up for Lamb of God if I was still drinking.
So, it’s a really good thing.
It’s a really good thing!
You already mentioned that you signed to Nuclear Blast for your debut full-length. What can people expect compared to your earlier material?
In short, I really don’t want people to expect certain things, because I hate letting people down. So, if I tell them to expect very hard stuff and they don’t think it’s hard enough, then I am kind of the asshole. Just expect some new stuff from us, we think it’s very good. I listen to that album almost every time I go to the gym and I love it. I am in love with that album. Just expect new things and some of the old.
Do you mean that there will also be old songs on it?
Two songs that we already released will be on the record, Overlooked and Damages. But when I say old I mean the old soundscape like the old sounds that we were doing and the old atmosphere. Of course there will be a lot of the new as well.
So, it will be a bit different?
What makes Nuclear Blast the best label for you at this moment?
In my opinion Nuclear Blast is a label that aren’t just signing any new band and rolling the dice. They really want us to succeed in what we are doing. They really like our material. They have gone to extreme lengths to come and meet us, get us out there and doing stuff for us. Being a resident of Iceland makes all these things quite difficult. It’s not like living in Denmark and some guy from a label drives to their house to meet them, that’s just a drive. For us, it’s a flight and a connecting flight. You have to go through some serious lengths to have some face time with us.
What’s your home city?
Is there another town in Iceland?
Yeah, there are many towns in Iceland, but that’s the only city.
So, almost everyone from Iceland comes from Reykjavik?
Yeah, half of the country lives in Reykjavik.
On your about-page on your website you said that you are inspired by Iceland’s darkest and most bleak aspects. What are those aspects?
First and foremost the darkness, because we are so far North that we get three, four months of sunlight, that’s 24 hours of sun. Then we have seven to nine months of darkness. During that time the sun comes up for like one or two hours each day. So you wake up in total darkness, go to work and when you are off work, it’s total darkness again. That can really affect how your brain perceives everything. I might be exaggerating, but food tastes different when it’s served in the dark.
Does that also mean that a lot of people in Iceland are depressed or something like that?
Yeah, we have a very high rate of SAD, seasonal affective disorder or depression. That’s just the darkness and either even oversleeping or undersleeping. It’s kind of harsh. Some other aspects being the unforgiving weather, you can never count on the weather in Iceland. You can never rely on anything in Iceland. Everything is very random. I am going to be very poetic and say that everything can stab you in the back in Iceland, even the people.
Is there a metalscene in Iceland and if yes, how is it?
Yeah, it’s actually very strong. We have some very good bands that are in export from the Icelandic metalscene. Other than us, we have The Vintage Caravan, Sinmara, Misþyrming, Sólstafir, Skálmöld. We have a lot of things going on. The underground scene is very strong, so I can’t complain.
How is Une Misère in Iceland?
Actually I can quite say. We are in the group at least. We got to say hi, we got to play festivals and stuff like that.
That’s what matters, right?
Yeah, that’s all that matters. Nobody knows us out on the streets, but if they do then they come say hi and that’s cool.
You already announced quite some shows for the future, including three Dutch shows. Looking forward to come back after tonight?
Yeah, I love The Netherlands. Everyone is so friendly here and every time we play in The Netherlands, the crews are all so nice and they are on top of everything. They really know what they’re doing and they’re doing it so easy. It really helps when people are nice and the Dutch are really nice.
Your show in Venlo at the Zomerparkfeesten is a festival show, your show in V11 in Rotterdam is a headline show and in De Meister in Geleen you will be support act for Ingested.
Very much looking forward to that, I love Ingested.
What kind of show do you like most, a festival, a headline show or a support show?
I love festivals, but that’s just because I always loved going to festivals. You can meet so many different types of people there. Everyone that goes to a metal festival especially, they all go for the same thing. They are just going for the metal. It can be harder when you’re going to a mixed festival, like Graspop or other kind of festivals where there are different types of music. Then you’ve such a wild mixture of people, so anything can happen, but at metal festivals everyone is super nice, everyone is just there for the music, maybe get into a pit and just calling it a day, have some beer and just relax. I am going to say festivals, I love festivals.
You also said you love Ingested.
Yeah, I love death metal. I am a death metal guy.
But Lamb of God means more to you personally?
Yeah, definitely. My metal up growing is with Lamb of God. It’s always going to be Lamb of God.
How do you think your life would be without music?
Superboring. I would probably just get a nine-to-five job and rent some shitty apartment. My highlight of the week would be a pub quiz or something like that.
Yeah, with no music, haha. I connect so many parts of my life with music. There’s always music there, even when I am at work, when I am in the shower, in the car or when I am running. I feel immobilized without my music.
Thanks for your answers. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
Thank you. Keep a smile on that face, because things are going to get better. If they are shitty now, things are going to get better. If they are really shitty, please talk to somebody and get some help, because there’s always somebody that’s willing to listen to you. Stay strong!
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 29 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles.
In addition to DutchMetalManiac I also have a personal website on which I’ll post various things that won’t fit on DutchMetalManiac, but might be interesting for you as well. It’s in Dutch though.