Few names invoke as much majesty in the world of melodic death metal than Swedish …
In recent interviews, Griffin Dickinson has said that his band, SHVPES, will make people annoyed with their new album, Greater Than.
Dickinson said some people may get angry by it but a lot of people will also love it. The UK metalcore outfit have taken a creative leap that it seems, is about to split people down the middle.
“Our last album was so straight-up metal, with a few quirky sprinkles in it, I feel like people who didn’t like the quirky sprinkles could get past it for the straight-up metal,” says the vocalist. “There are a lot of metal fans out there that only like metal–we’re not a metal band, I don’t want to be classed as a metal band. This album is for people who like heavy music.”
Heavy music, Dickinson says, can come in all shapes and forms, from “Future, Drapes, they do heavy music but with distorted beats, and the rap, the flow they have, it’s still heavy. You still get the same emotive response from them, they’ve got a primal feeling.” As far as Dickinson is concerned, heavy music is still heavy music even with beat downs coupled with heavy guitar riffs and basslines, and that’s what they wanted to do with Greater Than, prove there can be a successful merging of worlds. “Some people we’ve picked up along the way probably aren’t going to be into that, they’re not going to be into the rapping songs and the cleaner singing,” he says, “But then we’re probably gonna pick up a lot of new fans. Yeah, I’m not fussed about splitting people down the middle if I’m honest.”
If you don’t set yourself parameters, any boundaries, that’s when you find new stuff, that’s the most creative place you can possibly be. I don’t think music should be safe, especially not rock music.
[ Griffin Dickinson ]
All the additions of new sprinkles, the rap, the hip-hop, all mixed in with the metal, SHVPES felt it was going to be the best way to emulate their emotive journey in music, the concept of which Dickinson speaks so ardently of. “It’s so one dimensional to just stick to one genre of music and pigeon-hole yourself in that.
“If I put my iTunes on it goes from Elton John to Thy Art Is Murder, it completely differs! I think a lot of metal fans, a lot of heavy music fans, are like that, and that’s just the band we want to be.”
Dickinson loves his music and doesn’t love the idea of genre. All he wants to do is make intense music. And it is getting to be a bit that way, people ascribing labels to their sounds, and in a sense, Dickinson feels fans might limit themselves if they’re afraid to take a leap into the unknown and incorporate things into their listening outside of the heavy metal they love. “Genres are defined by bands who have sounds that may complement each other–crossovers–and the more crossover you have, the more rigid everything gets. Once you say ‘I am this’, that’s probably all you’re going to be.
“If you don’t set yourself parameters, any boundaries, that’s when you find new stuff, that’s the most creative place you can possibly be. I don’t think music should be safe, especially not rock music.”
“Rock ‘n’ roll—I class hip-hop as rock ‘n’ roll as well–the whole point of it is about not being safe and not having boundaries. People do limit themselves and I think it has gotten a little bit safe in recent years.”
Even though he exudes confidence on the matter, when SHVPES were producing Greater Than, there were moments even for them that Dickinson says they were worried about not adhering to that word he’s repeating – safe. “Some members of the band more than others, there were many points in the studio where some people were like, ‘No, absolutely fucking not, it sounds like shit!’ Even if I liked a part only about 30%, I’d say over the mic I liked it 100%—I think I’m just a bit of a wind up merchant like that!
“To be honest, if something doesn’t scare me, it doesn’t excite me.”
SHVPES haven’t played it safe but it’s paid off for them, they took risks and that’s what we can hear in Greater Than–fear, so it seems, is a terrific motivator. “At the moment though,” Dickinson begins, “I’ve just started writing stuff for the next one, and everything is just fucking petrifying!
“If Greater Than is gonna alienate metal fans this new stuff is just gonna … I mean, I don’t even know what it is. Even I’m like, ‘Oh my God, who am I?’ That’s the fun part.”