#ErikGärdefors (Grift) 🇸🇪 #Interview

6 min read

Erik Gärdefors is the man behind Grift, a Swedish one-man band that speaks like no others can do straight to your heart and feelings. His music is non conventional; it’s pure, melancholic, touching, made of lots of varied ingredients. Very personal music for souls in need of “something more”. There is deep desperation in his voice and the music evokes a storm of emotions inside you if you are in the right mood for Grift

I had the pleasure of interviewing Erik about his music and some other personal things. 

Hi Erik, thank you for agreeing to this interview. How are things with Grift nowadays? Is there new music coming up, or some gigs in sight?

Erik: Hello Sílvia, thanks for having me. I am currently preparing for a tour with Panopticon in September and October. It’s been over three years since I played with my full band, so it feels really good to finally go on tour again. Later this autumn I will release a new EP with two acoustic songs via Nordvis. 

Trying to define the musical style of Grift is very difficult for me, due to all the varied elements that it contents. How would you describe your music? And I’m not talking about putting labels of this or that genre/subgenre…

Erik: Sometimes I also find it difficult to define what I do. I guess that the atmosphere is what’s important to me. I am trying to convey feelings and thoughts that I live through everyday. All my lyrics are written in Swedish, but when I play abroad it seems that some people may understand the feeling and the atmosphere. Grift has evolved through this decade, but the same common thread is still there.

Being a one-man band means that you must do all things by yourself, and that’s a big amount of work… How easy or difficult is it for you to create everything, and then to assemble all the pieces in order to get exactly the sound you want?

Erik:
When I was younger it was hard to find people who wanted to play the same music as me. So I had to learn the instruments myself and record them separately. I also take photos and do the layout for my records and tours. It takes a lot of time. And it takes longer the older I get. But I guess that is how Grift must be – my personal views and ideas that are shared with other people sometimes.

I’ve been reading the translation of your lyrics ‘cause I don’t know a word of Swedish, and even if I know I can’t catch the true meaning, I found that they have a high emotional content. Talking about feelings, emotions, human yearnings and fears… Truly melancholic and poetic. Where does your inspiration come from when you write your lyrics?

Erik: Thank you for your words. There is no simple answer to that question. Sometimes I can be inspired by different things and write about them in the same lyrics. For my upcoming EP, I have been inspired more directly by nature. The biological diversity. The shifts in nature and how I see things affect each other. I have studied more insects and plants to try to see connections.

Talking about your voice…  It sounds very melancholic, full of despair and grief, sometimes it’s like a lament, even pure angst. The question is: your voice fits the music, or you write music that fits your voice? Because, let me tell you, together they sound stunning.

Erik: That is a good question. I think everything affects each other.. For me, it’s very easy to find the right mood. I know the notes and the words and sing about it as if it were for the last time.

Was it a deliberate thing to create your own music all alone? And, could you tell us about your creative process? 

Erik: It’s liberating when you’ve managed to make a new song. But the process itself is often quite tedious. I would love to start playing with others more. I enjoy creating together with others, but Grift will remain a one-man band. So if anyone wants to include me in their band – just get in touch, hehe!

Apart from Grift, you are involved in other musical projects. Can you explain a little to us about them?

Erik:
Currently I only see Grift as my creative output. I also have a project called Undantagsfolk, but we are not that active. 

Besides doing vocals, which instruments do you play? I think there are some traditional instruments in Grift’s music, is that right?

Erik: I play drums, guitar and bass. Yes, the more traditional instruments I use to include are piano, pump organ, harmonium and melodica. I can’t play these instruments very well, but I really enjoy their way of sounding and it makes my songs more dynamic and atmospheric.

About your music videos: I guess they are filmed in the near area where you live. Images of the Swedish landscape: the countryside, old houses, your dad appearing in the videos… All of that speaks about tradition, at least for me. How rooted do you feel in your native land? Do you feel traditions and life in the countryside like very important things to you?

Erik: That’s right. Everything is filmed in the area where I was born and live. This place is very important to me. If I lived somewhere else, I would have filmed there instead. It’s not that I want to elevate this place or anything, I just want to show that you can get inspiration from wherever you live and get inspiration from every day. Many times I long for another place. That longing also gives me inspiration.

Are you doing gigs joining with other musicians in order to perform as a complete band? Or do you only play acoustic shows?

Erik: I have three friends who help me when I want to play with a full band. In recent years I have been playing more solo shows. But I like both parts. It gives me inspiration and it allows me to play in very different locations and contexts.

Now, looking back in time… when did you start playing your own music? Was it hard to start with it?

Erik: I guess I was twelve when I started playing drums. At that time me and a friend played punk or something. We just experimented. From there on I have tried different ways of expression. One thing that has always been important for me is to live the way the music speaks about. For me music and my life are the same thing. It’s my lifestyle, in good and bad ways I guess.

Which bands were you listening to  when you were in your teens? Are you still listening to them?      

Erik: I was spellbound by Burzum, Abigor, Zbigniew Preisner and Ulver. I don’t listen to these artists often these days. I don’t know why. 

What about modern Metal bands? Do you have any favorites? 

Erik: Hm, not really. I listen more to folk and experimenting music these days.

How do you see the underground Metal scene nowadays?           

Erik: I guess that it’s pretty strong. At least there are a lot of festivals everywhere and people are very supportive.

What does music mean to you in your life?

Erik: Music can affect you so much that it can take over your life. 

My life has been shaped by other people’s music. And as I mentioned earlier – my own music reflects most of my life.

Many thanks for your time, Erik. Is there anything you want to add?

Erik: Thank you very much for your interesting questions. I wish you a happy autumnal equinox

Interview by Sílvia

Check out Grift in the social media links and in the video below. Grift has released three full-length albums besides some EPs and splits until today. And if you like what you hear, go for more, you won’t regret it. Support the underground.      

Grift
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