THE KILL COMPANY
Zodiac Killer Records
There’s something about a band that list their influences as “All the good stuff” on their MySpace page. Sweden’s The Kill Company have found their nitche playing high-octane rock ‘n’ roll using The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynryd and The Hellacopters as their road map. Hailing from the small coastal town of Falkenberg the four-piece kept bumping into each other until they eventually decided to start a band. Within months they’d written a half dozen originals and after posting on MySpace started to get label bites. Zodiac Killer Record ended up locking them under contract and after two years of pre-time are now releasing the their debut Matchbox Fever. Record opener “Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway” wastes no time as a snake-winding riff is given chase by a barrage of drums, bass and rhythm guitar. The gritty production adds to the record’s charm especially in the southern twang of “Play Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the pornographic “Steal Your Woman.”
Singer/guitarist Jonte “Tassen” Westman, leads this wild bunch with guitarist Björn "Bönja" Karlsson, bassist Nicke T and drummer Micke joining the ranks of Detroit rock soldiers determined to keep the sprit of The Stooges and MC5 alive and kickin’. Big riff numbers like “Stitch Up,” the bass-driven “Get Fooled” and ripping “War” feed the band’s punk edge while still injecting just enough guitar finesse to make the tracks classics. Hellacopter’s Robert Dahlquist lends a hand on the guitar solo in “Go Bad” not only giving the band his seal-of-approval but reminding the rest of us what a great guitarist he is. Amidst all the ruckus comes the drunken southern blues ballad “Waiste” that could easily have slipped off The Black Crowes Southern Harmony sessions. Closing the album is “Fight That Man” the highest ranked song from the band’s webpage and teaser sampler on the Zodiac Killers compilation Drink, Fight, F*ck Volume III. For new comers, these guys waste no time digging in with both heels and letting the led fly.
We needed to see for ourselves what’s in the water on that side of Sweden so we met up with The Kill Company’s leader in crime, Mr. Jonte “Tassen” Westman and asked him a few insightful questions.
TCE: How did the four of you come together?
Jonte “Tassen” Westman (JTW): I met Bönja (guitarist) a couple years ago. We were out of work and we met at a local pub (a lot). We both knew each other were playing music, not so much in organized bands but here and there. We found out we had a lot in common music wise. We like a lot of the same music like the Rolling Stones and many of the same old blues guys. It’s not often you find someone like that in our little town. We started jamming, drink loads of beer and making big plans. I met Nicke our bas player through my twin brother who played in his band. I kinda stole him from that band. They were playing punk and he’s more of a rock guy. Micke was looking for some guys to jam with and after I bought him a beer he was with us full time.
TCE: How long after the band formed did you start playing gigs together?
JTW: It was about three months. We’d written four of five original songs. We knew several bands in town so we talked them into letting us open for them. The bands around here were very supportive, friends helping each other out. From the beginning we only did original music. We talked about doing some covers but, in th end, we stuck to our own music. You gotta believe in yourself and love what you do. I kinda came as a shock that people liked us. It’s been two years now and were now finally putting out our first record called Matchbox Fever.
TCE: On your MySpace page you posted six of the records ten songs. What’s been the reaction?
JTW: Well, we put all the songs that were posted on the new record. Some of them like “Fight That Man” have over a thousand hits. We actually released that song to Zodiac Killer Records for their Drink, Fight, F*ck Volume III compilation. So it’s been popular. “Steal You Women,” “War” and “Waste” have also been doing well. It’s taken a long time to get the record ready and out. Just when it looked like we were going to tour this summer, Nicke, our bass player got diagnosed with cancer. He’s been very sick and in the hospital for several weeks now.
TCE: Wow that’s not the news you want to hear right before you debut record comes out. How is he doing?
JTW: He’s doing better now. They think he will be ready to play by the end of the summer. We’re talking about going into the studio again and doing a split with the Sonic Negroes from Stockholm.
TCE: As the singer, what are some of your influences?
JTW: Most obvious would be The Hellacopters. Their guitarist Robert Dahlquist is playing on our new record on a song called “So Bad.” His girlfriend use to live in Falkenberg so we called him up and asked him. He came down to the studio, plugged in and let it go. We were surprised he was so into it. His playing really changed the feeling of the song. He’s a very aggressive player to the song has a real fierceness to it. As big fans we’re very excited to have him on the record. My twin brother is also on the record but as a guest because he’s got his own band.
As far as singers, I’m a big fan of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and of course all the guys that influenced him like Steve Marriott, Rod Stewart and Robert Plant. Then there’s the old blues guy. Though I don’t have the same voice, it’s the music that’s inside me. I like the guys that are larger than life on stage. That’s what I try to be as a frontman.
TCE: How long did you work on the new record?
JTW: About half a year. I had written a few songs before the band even formed but after Zodiac Records expressed an interest in us we really sat down and got busy. We recorded it in stages. Some of the songs we actually wrote in the studio. I wrote, played and produced the new record. We delivered the master to the label about a year ago. Thing take more time than we thought.
I find it quite hard to write lyrics. I reflect about my experiences. We have a high-energy show so we keep the songs short and sweet. We want the audience to have fun with us. Some of the songs take ages to write. Sometimes I’ll have a riff that I play with for several weeks, but I think the best songs are the ones that come quickly. I’ll write a chorus, then a verse or switch it around. Most songs take a few turns before they are finished. I can always tell when they are done because they will have the right punch.
TCE: Where did the name of the band come from?
JTW: When we play live we go for the kill, so people started calling us the The Kill Company.
Website: The Kill Company