…as in, writing text. More like as in lyrics, I might add.
It might come as a surprise to many, who follow my graffiti related adventures, that writing my name with spray paint or even editing a book about our crew have not been the only things I’ve written during my creative years. At one point of my life I wrote something else – which occasionally makes me even more happier than painting my name in ornamental form ever did. Yet I feel it’s very related to what I do graffiti wise as well.
During 2004-2007 I wrote some lyrics for my favourite band, The Project Hate MCMXCIX. That means for two of their albums, “Armageddon March Eternal” and “In Hora Mortis Nostrae“. I am not a real author/writer, but I got inside the atmosphere and lyrical theme of their albums in no time. You see, I’ve followed the band since 2000, right after they released their first album, and got to know the mastermind Kenth Philipson in person the year later. It’s safe to say we became – and have remained – friends with him since then.
Anyways, one thing led to another and pretty soon I was working on the website of the band. During those early steps mr. Philipson became aware of my illustrative skills and offered me a chance to design the album artwork for their first (and only) live album in 2002. Obviously he liked they way I worked because I’ve more or less done major part of their album artwork ever since: illustrations for 10 and layouts for 12 out of their 14 albums. So I’ve studied a fair share of their satanic lyrics since day one.
Mr. Philipson is a very, very productive musician. That’s why it’s easy to relate with him, we’re constantly working on something. Once he finishes album, he’s already got his hands on the next project. In 2003 when they released their “Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate” album, he was already working on two albums, the debut album for God Among Insects (I have to add: my crew mate Rosk drew the cover artwork for both their albums) and the follow up to “Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate”. Since I didn’t have any kids at that point and I still was on my prolonged “leave” from graffiti life, I felt like I had all the time on my hands – even though I was working during the days as a web designer for a large media company. So, I lived and breathed Photoshop during my free time. Designing websites for various bands and creating shitloads of graphics for The Project Hate and bands related to them was my main agenda, so to speak.
There was a lot of mailing back and forth between mr. Philipson and me, usually relating to various ideas he or I had. My ideas were usually related to visuals, his for the lyrics and the songs or general theme of albums or something he felt their website needed. I was lucky to hear first demos or riffs for sections of songs or got to comment on some lyrics he was planning on using on the next album. I think at one point I might’ve suggested short phrases which I thought could match some of the sections he wrote. During this process I started writing down my ideas. When I had few paragraphs of text written down, not complete song structures lyric-wise or anything like that, more like a few paragraphs with rhyming phrases and vague “red line” in them, I showed few of these lines to mr. Philipson. He complimented my effort! So I told him he’d be free to use them for future songs, as they were or edited, I wouldn’t mind. I don’t think he accepted immediately, more likely just said something like “lemme see, if I find a good place for them and if they fit the general song theme and structure”. Naturally I thought it was his kind way of saying “not in this lifetime, mate!” I was fine with it, as said my expertise is in visuals, not text.
Later on he sent me the first version of lyrics for me to work with, to get some inspiration for the visuals for their next album “Armageddon March Eternal”. You can say that I was very, very surprised to find out he’d used my verses in two songs!
Of course not all of them were used exactly as I wrote them, he’d spread them into different sections and changed few words here and there. When they recorded the album, naturally their vocalist did some adjustments in them too. But goddamn, something that I wrote was in there, yelled out to the world through the vocal cords of Jörgen Sandström, one of the best death metal vocalist of all times!
The album was released in autumn 2005. I still recognise “my” parts from there, on top of the other verses mr. Philipson used as they were. My confidence naturally grew from this experience so I kept writing more. The following year mr. Philipson was in the middle of creating next masterpiece, “In Hora Mortis Nostrae” and this time I was more confident in offering my writings to him. Obviously I’ve made some progress in writing, because this time he used my texts more or less unedited. Since I wrote more this time, he didn’t use them as a whole but divided my more complete verses in few different songs and threw various phrases around the album.
To this date I am honoured that I’m credited for writing lyrics for these two albums and consider myself lucky, or even privileged, that I’ve got to follow and work with the band so closely since their early years ’til this day – that’s 21 years for those who already lost the count.