Meet: The Janitors: Exploring Psychedelic Rock and Garage Vibes with the long standing Swedish outfit ahead of new album An Error Has Occured

Following our love for their new single, Lies we recently caught up with The Janitors, the Swedish psych garage drone band, to delve into their latest album, An Error Has Occurred, and their unique creative process. Join us as we explore their influences, the making of their music videos, and their upcoming live shows.

Q: Congratulations on the upcoming release of An Error Has Occurred How does this album differ from your previous work?

A: Thank you! This has been a weird album. We shelved it when corona hit, and during the recordings of the Noisolation Sessions, we wrote songs that had a different feel to them, so they got added to the growing pile of songs of the shelved album. At some point we noticed that we had over 20 tunes, and we also saw a pattern in some of the songs.

One part heartbreak, loss and longing and on the other part a complete disappointment of the state of the world. And those two subjects intertwine all the time. What’s personal is political and vice versa. And we can see these songs as representations of both things. We’re still angry as hell. But we’re also older and we don’t have the strength to actively fight the powers that are. So we let our anger and frustration speak through these seven songs. So basically we have never worked as long on an album ever. 

Q: What inspired the themes behind Lies and why did you choose it as the second single?

Disappointment. Of people close and people in power. The choice was made by the good people at Rocket, because when has a band ever been able to distance themselves from their songs to actually make a reasonable choice? 

Q: Could you tell us more about the creative process behind and its music video? And reaction to the video for Anger The World has been massive – tell us about that?

A: When mixing the album we saw a lot of posts about the video being dead, so kind of decided there and then that we would try and make videos. Because we tend to get annoyed when the current trends try to kill art. So a late night drunken text to Hollywood during the christmas holidays set the whole thing in motion.  We’ve been in contact with Jeff (the Director of Anger) about scores and soundtracks for his films for a couple of years. We sent the album and said that he was free to film himself walking down Santa Monica boulevard backwards reciting the lyrics wrong and we could use that as a video, and Jeff said: hold my beer and sent the synopsis for Anger within minutes. So sometimes drunken texts pays off way more than you anticipated. And now we have a glorious testament in the form of a disenfranchised lonely spaceman wandering the streets of LA  to the song.  

And when we realized that one video was actually in the works, we had to make more. So luckily we had access to a black box and we had an idea of the esthetics for Lies, very much inspired by the first single/video of our main influence as a band . Our new drummer Wilhelm knew Per Norman who has made a lot of videos for indie to big artists in Sweden and we took a chance and asked him if he wanted to film and direct it. The whole shoot was done in about 3 hours. And the end result is mesmerizing. 

There is one more video in the works, but that will come in the autumn. We’re really glad to have fucking awesome visual elements that enhance our songs.

7. Can you share any memorable moments from recording ;An Error Has Occurred live over two days and nights, taking place as it did in a converted missionary church?

The rehearsals took place in our own small cramped studio in Stockholm. and then we ventured up to Dalarna and the converted church that is Omnivox studios. We were there for a total of 50 hours and I think we actively worked for about 40 hours. There were bunk beds on the second floor that we took occasional naps in. So we basically recorded around the clock, very much thanks to the kindness and patience of Ola Höglund who is the owner of the studio who let us have free reign of the studio. The previous albums have been studio recordings and we wanted this to be live. It felt important to capture these songs as they are.  The last song on the album was improvised in the middle of the night where we changed instruments with each other and just let the creativity flow. But it took it’s toll.

So the whole experience is the moment we will remember. And at this point it’s hard to plan any forward moment with The Janitors without including Omnivox. 

Q: Youve been described as having the menace of Melvins, the swagger of The Stooges, and the cosmic heft of The Heads. How do you navigate such diverse influences while maintaining your unique sound! And does that sort of thing weigh on you?

A: These are the words of The Rocket PR department. And come on, really? the swagger of the Stooges? Menace of Melvins? We feel flattered but no. We ain’t no Iggy or Buzz..  But we do feel that at this point (celebrating our 20th year as a band) we have really found our own planet of sound. And we really enjoy this space. And having found this place/space of our own really makes it easy to creatively play around. If that makes sense? 

Q: What role does duality play in the album’s themes and songwriting?

We are two songwriters, so the duality is really in the foundation of what we do. At one point it was one part trying to trash the pop parts and the other one trying to pop up the awkward shit of the other. But after the Noisolation Sessions we felt like we reached some sort of finish line with noise and drone. And we decided that on the next album we would not trash the melodies and definitely let the vocals stand out and not be buried deep within the sounds. Fortunately we are both very much aligned in our beliefs and political stance. So the duality is more personal from our point of view and dependent on what we have encountered for ourselves and together. 

Q: You’ve got upcoming live shows include stops in Stockholm, Bristol, Northampton, and London. How do you prepare for your performances, and what can fans expect?

The aim is that it will be like a really slow orgasm having a panic attack. And this is not our words, it’s actually it’s from a comment on one of our videos. But we stand by it. Anyway, our aim is to play different sets every night so we are in heavy rehearsal mode at the moment. 

Q: How do you balance the repetitive, hypnotic elements of drone rock with the dynamic shifts and textures in your music?

Let’s go with another quote. 

one chord is fine

Two chords is pushing it 

Three chords and you’re into jazz. 

Lou said it best. We try to make it simple. But we can’t help ourselves to add a little here and there. And we have a nack for melodies and a huge love for soundscapes. And putting this in a mixer and add some beer, whiskey and stubbornness you have the recipe for a Janitors song. 

Q: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a band, and how have you overcome them?

We started in 2003, or earlier, released our first record in 2004. It’s kind of blurry. basically been around for 20+ years. There have been several challenges. But we’re still here. So we’ve overcome all of them. Or it might just be that we’re just too damn stubborn, and that the constellation that is The Janitors has helped us keep our sanity in all the other parts of our lives. So the simple answer is that this has been our guiding light and we’re eternally grateful that we have this creative output.

Q: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of The Janitors, both musically and personally?

Looking forward, our main objective is just to keep this shit going as long as we can because we don’t wanna know what happens if we don’t. 

The Janitors are navigating the realms of psychedelic rock and garage vibes with a unique blend of introspection and societal commentary. An Error Has Occurred promises to be a testament to their evolution as musicians and storytellers, and their upcoming live performances are sure to captivate audiences with their intense and immersive energy. Stay tuned for more from The Janitors as they continue to push the boundaries of their sonic universe.

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