Interview with John Elliot of Confess

If you decide to turn the blind eye to the entire “corporate” side of Rock/Metal music and view it only as art for art’s sake – it’s always been art created by renegades for their likewise minded renegade brethren. That’s why even in the politically correct, polished 21st century reality songs about debauchery and rebellion remain somewhat a guilty pleasure. “It’s in our nature”, says John Elliot, the lead singer of the Stockholm, Sweden-based band Confess. The band released a third album Burn ‘em All this year and was just about to hit the road when the obvious happened, all their plans coming to a screeching halt. We’ve discussed this – and more…

Confess. Photo used by the band’s permission. Photo credits: Pavel Maira

Alexandra Mrozowska: Many bands brag they record albums in a span of just a few days or weeks, so why did it take you so long to make Burn ‘em All?

John Elliot: It took close to a year because we recorded all by ourselves. We didn’t really set up a studio schedule – instead, we recorded song by song here and there, so I guess we could have done it in a few weeks’ time if we wanted to. Also, the album was recorded to about 90% when we had a break-in in our studio and the masters got stolen so we had to go and re-record the whole album…

AM: That’s bad luck really.

JE: It took some of the spark a way for a couple of months. Still, I think this album is the best we´ve ever done so far, so I guess it was all worth it. I’d say that this album was also more of a band effort. Especially Pontus (guitar) wrote a lot of the main riffs on this one.

AM: What about the lyrics? They’re all really straight-in-your-face and even quite dark at times – including “My Vicious Way” about “the virus that we call mankind”…

JE: The metaphor of the virus is the mankind itself and how an insane person resonates, how he or she believes that the only solution to save this planet would be to reboot all living things. And in general, the inspiration can come from everywhere. It can be something you hear on the news, in a movie or a book. The lyrics on Burn ‘em All are mainly about mankind and how we slowly have been exterminating ourselves for ages.

AM: “One For The Road” is yet another story. Do you think there’s still a place for hailing debaucherous lifestyle and take-no-prisoners attitude in the über-clean, politically correct world of today?

JE: Yeah, of course. Although I think that people tend to glorify the ‘70s and ‘80s Rock eras a little too much sometimes… Still, I think rock’n’roll always needs a bit of anarchy and debauchery in it. There’s always room for some amount of madness, it’s in our nature. Anyway, I think that music should always come in first hand.

AM: Reviewers often compare Confess to your fellow Swedes from Crashdïet and Hardcore Superstar. How accurate is that? Can you envision the band significantly changing their sound in the future? 

JE: Not necessarily, music-wise. We’ve always tried to do our own thing – since day one. But of course you are aware of what other bands do etc. And well, there’s never a guarantee of how a band will develop. Only time will tell.

AM: Burn ‘em All was the first Confess album to be released by Street Symphonies Records & Burning Minds Group…

JE: Very happy with the choice. Been nothing but a pleasure working with them!

AM: Your new album released also on vinyl, what do you think is the reason behind this format’s resurgence?

JE: I personally love vinyls. But I think the meaning of a vinyl is different now. It’s more of a merchandise thing nowadays… The actual sound quality is not that good if you compare it to a CD… The CD is the most honest audio format you can get when playing an album. It’s the least compressed version of it… But still, the feeling of holding the actual thing in your hands is way better.

AM: Releasing Burn ‘em All on the eve of a pandemic was certainly another stroke of bad luck for Confess this year…

JE: It kinda ruined the whole year for us. We were two days from flying out in Europe to start playing shows when the pandemic struck. We had some hopes in the beginning that we only had to cancel a few dates, but it soon turned out the be the whole year. So it sucked big time. And it is still hard to imagine that we could play gigs in the beginning of 2021 as well. We’ll see! We rescheduled a few dates for next year of course, but these days, there’s no guarantee. You have to take it day by day I guess.

AM: During the pandemic, many bands decided to put on online live performances for the fans to stream. Why haven’t Confess joined them?

JE: We’ve talked about it. But to be honest, I don’t enjoy those live stream shows… at least not for our type of music. I haven’t seen a single one that is close to what a real show is about. It both looks and sounds like a band that plays on company event you know… (laughs) I think a proper show (at least for Confess) needs to be on a stage with people going crazy in front of it. We’ve always been a band that feeds off the audience. If we take that away, you won’t get the real deal.

AM: Last year you’ve held a Q&A session on Instagram for your fans, a move many bands take these days. Do you think such sessions will replace such press interviews as we’re doing now one day?

JE: No, I think this type of interviews is way better.

AM: Any last words?

JE: Stay safe! And fun talking to you!

Confess on Facebook

You can check out the music video to Confess’ “Burn ‘em All” below: