Renkse: Poverty powered Nordic metal


Katatonia's Jonas Renkse says Scandinavia's prolific track record of producing dark metal bands is down to the region's poverty-stricken past.

The Swedish believes folk music in the Nordic countries has had a heavy influence on rock bands – and it all comes down to the historic struggles of the people.

His comments come just a week after a scientific study claimed that richer countries produce more metal than poorer nations – with Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark all in the top 20 of the world’s richest countries.

Renkse tells Pitcam: “I’ve been thinking about it. It might be a mix of the weather, the nature – that kind of barren environment – and also that Scandinavian folk music is very dark and depressing.

“Back in the day the Scandinavian countries were really poor; the folk music reflects that, the traditional songs. Peasants singing about how things don’t grow. It might be a heritage from that.”

Analyst Richard Florida last week suggested that the richer a country is, the more heavy music will be found there. His study revisited previously-reported statistics and also researched social and financial information going back 10 years.

But Sabaton frontman Joakim Broden has a simpler explanation. He believes the number one reason for Scandinavia’s metal pedigree is the weather. He said: “I do believe the climate can have something to do with it.”

Katatonia have been on an acoustic tour called Unplugged & Reworked, with a DVD release to follow later this year.

Jonas Renkse on Katatonia’s acoustic tour and Scandinavia’s metal roots