The Swedish/German duo, The Oath was set to light up the Roadburn festival as part of their first European tour. Unfortunately, things turned out differently, but we still managed to get Linnea Olson for a small chat.
Linnea, The bio tells that you went to Berlin to find inspiration there. Why Berlin specifically and id you find what you were looking for there?
I don’t know where I got the urge to move to Berlin from. Suddenly it was just something I felt very deeply that I had to do. When you get these things in your head - or rather, your gut - it’s important to listen. Living in Berlin has had a profound impact on my view on life, and my quality of life. Every day I get confirmation on the notion that there are no rules to be followed, and there is no reason why one should not live as one pleases. It’s such a fearless city, and anything goes here. It’s very liberating. And yes, truly inspiring.
The name The Oath was your idea Johanna, even before you met Linnea. What did you have in mind originally?
I believe that the name The Oath came from the Mercyful Fate album “Don’t Break the Oath”.
You mentioned in the bio that there are only 2 types of people: werewolves and vampires. Care to elaborate?
A friend of mine presented this theory, and although it’s a joke, it’s also turned out to be tremendously useful in social situations. Most people get the concept right away - even without an explanation. You just instantly know if you’re a werewolf or a vampire, and you instantly know what definition suits your friends and family too. The werewolves are basically the punks, the vampires are a bit more sophisticated and/or sensitive. In some cases you meet a vampire that looks like a werewolf, or the other way around - so pay attention! If a long-haired werewolf suddenly starts talking about modern art or looks at him/herself in the mirror too long it’s probably a vampire in disguise!
Occult doomrock is for some reason often spearheaded by women. For instance, Jex Thoth , Blood Ceremony, Jess and the ancient ones to name but a few. Any thoughts on why that is.
There are numerous ways to look at this. One could start with the fact that this is a retro genre, more or less copying some female-fronted bands from the 1970’s - mainly Coven, but also bands like Jefferson Airplane. As the 1970’s came back into fashion, suddenly there was a natural “space” for women in rock to take as their own. From a purely musical stand-point, this type of music is “female-friendly” due to the melodic, blues-rooted vocal melodies. And from an occult perspective, I guess you can say that the concept of a priestess or witch is nothing foreign in a pagan or magical context.
Do you feel any affinity to those bands?
No. I like some of the bands you mention, but our music is more towards a NWOBHM, or classic metal - sound. I love Jex Thoth, but in terms of music our band has nothing in common with Jex Thoth. 50% of the population are women - I don’t necessarily feel any affinity to all of those people. I can’t speak for all female musicians in heavy metal, just because I happen to be a woman myself, just as I’m sure any male musician don’t relate to every other male band on the planet.
Are you deeply interested in the occult or is it mostly a cool subject to sing about?
I would lie if I said I have a “deep” interest in the occult. But it’s been a fascination of mine since I was little, and it goes hand in hand with my interest in music. My stepmother growing up was a psychic, and when I was a child I liked to spend a lot of time alone making up my own magical “rituals”, and read about different types of sorcery, ways to tell the future, and how to contact the spirit world. I had a strong sense that there is something present that we cannot see, and even though it frightened me I was still drawn to it. This is probably not uncommon for a child. Growing up I was also instantly drawn to music that deals with these type of subjects and imagery - although I didn’t make the connection back then. Or rather, I was drawn to music with a certain type of nerve - music that one way or another seems to be on the edge of something. As for making music, I believe people are able to tell if you’re singing about something because it’s “cool” or if there is a deeper intent behind it. You can feel if someone is faking it. And faking it is never good.
You were already booked for the Roadburn festival and a tour with Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats . but all of a sudden that got cancelled. What happened?
Unfortunately we were forced to cancel the tour and the festival gigs due to unforseen circumstances.
Is there anything you want to add that you feel we haven’t covered yet?
Here’s some music I can recommend: Wipers “Youth of America”, Tribulation “The Formulas of Death”, Dream Death “Journey Into Mystery”, In Solitude “Sister”, T2 “It’ll All Work Out in Boomland”, Trouble “S/t”, Siouxsie and the Banshees “Juju” and the band Gravmaskin.