Nettermalm, Petronella (Paatos) (July 2004)

Putting The Pathos In Paatos: An Interview With Petronella Nettermalm

Paatos - Kallocain (2004)Though Paatos' may be a name unfamiliar to you now, the recently released Kallocain is only their second - the members of the band should be, if you've been following the developments of Swedish progressive rock. Paatos began as collaboration between Landberk's Reine Fiske (guitars) and Stefan Dimle (bass) and Ägg's Ricard Huxflux Nettermalm (drums) and Johan Wallén (keyboards), when the quartet gathered to support Swedish folk rock singer Turid in 1999. Landberk and Ägg had already played together at the same venue, a local rock club in Falköping, 6 years earlier, so the collaboration wasn't without precedent. After the Turid tour ended, the group decided to continue their working together, at this time as an instrumental band, and played two TV shows. Taking the project further seemed the next best course of action, and to bring in a vocalist. That vocalist? Petronella Nettermalm, wife to Ricard (and mother to Téa; the inspiration for the Turid penned piece of the same name that appears on the band's debut). Josh Turner recently spoke to Petronella about the band and the new album.

Joshua Turner: [phone rings] Hello.

Petronella Nettermalm: Hi, I'm looking for Josh [pronounced Yosh] Turner.

JT: Yeah, this is Josh Turner.

PN: Hi, my name is Patronella from Paatos.

JT: Hi!

PN: Hi, I'm supposed to call you tonight.

JT: Oh yeah, I've got a bunch of questions here for you.

PN: Oh good, that sounds nice.

JT: I just recently listened to your new album Kallocain. To me, it sounds a lot like some of the material Steven Wilson has put out and it also sounds like a mixture of Björk as well.

PN:You think so, yeah? A lot of people said so actually, that it is kind of Björkish.

JT: That's what I hear. Who do you think your influences are?

PN: Um, ah, I think that's different from all of us in the band, but for me personally as a singer, I listen to a lot of female singers and I've been listening a lot to Björk when I was younger and now. So, she has been a big influence, but I also listen to, well, um, a lot of other stuff. I think that's different from all of us, that's why we sound like we do. Some of us got the roots in progressive like Huxflux who is doing a lot of drums and bass.

JT: Okay, with the new album Kallocain, what is that album about? Does that have a concept throughout it? What's it about?

PN: Well, ah, I think from the beginning it wasn't in a theme, but as it grew it kind of found its own theme. That's why we named it Kallocain. It's actually a novel from a Swedish author named Karin Boye. It's a futuristic kind of horror [she laughs] novel about a really unpleasant society, so we think it suited the album quite well. I don't know what to say actually. It's not a theme. We didn't think about it when we wrote the songs. It happened I think.

JT: Talking about writing your songs, can you explain your songwriting process, how you get together as a band and how you put the music together. How is the music created?

PN: Well, it looks kind of different from time to time. Some songs was created together. Like, we jammed them together and some songs, you know, someone came to the rehearsal with an idea like [the] chorus or just some melody or something and we did the rest together. Some of them were completed, uh, I think "Gasoline" was the whole song when Huxflux took it to the band and so, it is kind of different from song to song.

JT: How did you meet your bandmates?

PN: Well, uh, from the beginning, uh, Stefan and our first guitarist played together in a band called Landberk and Huxflux and Johan played together in another band called Ägg. They were kind of playing on the same scene at the same gigs and met and got to be friends. Then they kept contact and then our guitarist Reynard before Peter was asked to put together a band to play with a Swedish folk singer and then they called the other guys. Then they started Paatos without a singer and then they asked me [she laughs] and I said yes. That's how it happened and then Peter joined us, um, after awhile, so he is kind of new in the band.

JT: How did you come up with the name Paatos? What does that mean?

PN: It means, um, uh, it's a Greek word for, uh, how should I explain it, like deep emotions or something like that.

JT: Okay.

PN: It was chosen with some thought. [she laughs]

JT: Do you have any tours or concerts planned in the near future?

PN: Yeah, we are planning a real small tour to Europe this Autumn and that's, uh, what's been decided so far, but we are going to Germany and the Netherlands so far, and then we have been talking about doing something together, uh, with Porcupine Tree also, but that's not settled yet, so it's just talk so far, but that would be awesome. We'll see. [she laughs]

JT: It is kind of interesting that there are not many females in the progressive rock field, so how did you actually choose to get into this kind of music?

PN: I think it was for me, it was just, uh, it was actually kind of a coincidence, because I never been listening to this kind of music actually when I grew up or something. When they asked me, I liked what they were doing when they did it without a singer, so I said I will give it a try and if I don't like it, I can just say bye bye, and if I like it, and I think it is the best decision I have ever made, because it is the most fun you can have, because you are, it's a lot of free, freedom to sing and, you know, you can do your own thing. Your not tied up to certain how it sound be. It is kind of loose, so I think it is really, really, really good. I love it.

JT: I have to tell you, you've got an extraordinary voice.

PN: Oh, thank you very much.

JT: How did you learn to sing? Is this something you've been classically trained in?

PN: No, not at all. I can sing. I think, I'm usually, I used to say that I, uh, I have no technique, but I have a lot of feelings, so I, you know, how do you say, if you don't have the technique, you do more of the feelings instead.

JT: Yeah.

PN: That's what I do. I sang a lot when I was younger, you know, uh, back in the old country and stuff for different people in Sweden. Then I just quit when I was about twenty or something and then I didn't sing for like ten years or something.

JT: Oh really?

PN: So, when they asked me, I hadn't been singing, you know. I was like oh, I can't do this, but it's coming back to me now more and more.

JT: When did you begin your singing? How old were you?

PN: When I began? I have been singing since I was really small, since I was really young, you know, uh, like you do when you are in a small choir in school, maybe since first grade when I was seven or something. Then when I grew older we had some bands and stuff, but it was always the boys in the front [she laughs] and the girls would you know [she hums] in the back. I never had a band of my own or something like that. It was just, but then I sang quite a lot, but then I just, I thought it was not my thing, but now I changed my mind again [we laugh].

JT: That's funny.

PN: Yeah.

JT: To get an idea of some of your tastes, what is the last CD that you purchased?

PN: Oh, me personally, I think, the last one, uh, I think actually it was Anja Garbarek, I think so, it's an album that Steven also produced, lovely. Maybe you heard it; it's lovely album.

JT: What would you say is the last concert you attended as a fan?

PN: The last concert I did what?

JT: That you attended as a fan?

PN: As a fan, oh, the last concert I went to, I went actually went, to uh, let's see the last one, uh, uh, the last one was actually Jane's Addiction. [she laughs] Me and Huxflux went because it was, he is old fan of them when he was younger, so that was really funny and it was good.

JT: I've got a very complicated question here for you, so you can take a minute to think about it?

PN: Yeah.

JT: Can you recall any Spinal Tap moments?

PN: Spinal Tap moments?

JT: Did you ever see that movie Spinal Tap?

PN: No, actually I haven't.

JT: Basically, it's just something odd that happened during a tour or during a show, just something memorable where something funny or ironic happened during a concert or while you were recording?

Paatos - TimelossPN: When we were recording, hmm, I know one thing, I remember one thing, that was when we recorded, uh, we recorded both this album and the last album [Timeloss] mostly in our rehearsing studio by ourself. We had both on the first album and on this one some serious computer trouble. [she laughs] I remember mostly at one time when Huxflux, because he is doing all the recordings, he was so mad at his computer that we all thought he was going to throw it out the window or something. He was, you know, holding it almost over his head. He was really, really, really mad because everything just disappeared and it was like hanging, you know when its froze, and everything's gone. He was so mad and we were like, uh, and it was quite a lot of a moment, but I remember especially one time when he was so mad I thought the computer was going to die actually. That's what I remember most.

JT: Okay; I'm going to ask you for some of your favorites. We are going to start with what's your favorite movie?

PN: My favorite movie, oh, hmm, uh, I'm really bad, these kind of questions, movie, movie, movie, okay. I actually, I like horror movies and I, eh, actually they showed Exorcist on the other night on television. It was really, it was a long time since I saw it, so I'll have to say for the moment, it's Exorcist and it was really scary and really good.

JT: What would you say is your favorite book?

PN: My favorite book, hmm, uh, well, I think, I don't know how to say it in English, it is something like the Mouse Turned Margarita. It's a Russian, really weird and crazy book that's very good.

JT: What would say is your favorite album?

PN: Oooh, uh, well, hmm, I don't think I can mention just one, but I suppose maybe it has to be something with, uh, hmm, maybe something with Björk I think, but I can't choose one.

JT: What would you say is your favorite band?

PN: My favorite band?

JT: Yes.

PN: Oomph. These are real tough questions. My favorite band. I don't know, that's a tough one, that's a really tough one. I rest on this one. I need to think something more about that, so I can't pick one, it's hard.

JT: I'm wondering. I see Steven Wilson credited on your album. What is your link to Steven Wilson? How do you know him and how is he involved in your project at this time?

PN: Uh, well, actually we met him, because we played, um, how do you say, uh, opening act for Porcupine Tree when they went to Sweden, um, a year ago or something. Uh, from the beginning, I think it was through Opeth and, uh, Mikael Äkerfeldt, I think so, because they know each other and, uh, and Stefan, our bass player knows Mikael, so I think they got to know us through Mikael and we already know about them. [she laughs] They actually, I think they asked if we wanted to play before them or, and we did and we loved them, they are a great and I think they loved us, too. We stayed in contact and then Steven asked if we needed some help with mixing the record and we certainly did. He came over and helped us. That was really great, because he did a splendid job with it. He really did it ten times better than it should have been without him, so he was sent from above. [we laugh] Yeah, so that's it, yeah.

JT: I have one final question that I like to ask to get an idea of our artists, but do you have any pets?

PN: Pets?

JT: Yeah.

PN: Uh, me personally.

JT: Yeah.

PN: No, I have not; I've got a child, that's enough.

JT: You have a child; that's kind of like a pet. [we laugh]

PN: I haven't got time with pets, but if I had gotten time, I would like to have lots of animals actually. I would, I wouldn't mind living at the countryside with horses and cats and dogs and everything, but now it's no time and no space in the apartment.

JT: I really enjoyed talking to you.

PN: Yeah, the same.

JT: That's all the questions that I have, but I just wanted to wish you good luck in the future. I think you put out a really great album. Like I said, your singing on it is great. Steven Wilson's influences are very good on there. I think you put together a really great album.

PN: Thank you very much.

As of this writing, Paatos' next live performance is on August 7, 2004 at a festival in Stockholm, Sweden.

Timeloss (2002)
Kallocain (2004)
Silence Of Another Kind (2006)
Sensors (2007)
Breathing (2011)

Added: July 25th 2004
Interviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner

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Language: english

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