Anima Morte are an instrumental-cinematic band based out of Sweden, made up of keyboardist Fredrik Klingwall, guitarist Daniel Cannerfelt, and drummer Teddy Moller. The band released their newest album, Serpents In The Fields of Sleep on October 28th of 2022 through Cadabra Records. The band members also played in a band together called Flagellation. Fredrik is also part of a band called Loch Vostok.
Film Music is what initially drew Fredrik to compose Music in the very beginning. “I’ve always been listening to scores, Metal and Rock, Progressive Rock as well. I think it’s the dark side of the Music that I’m drawn to, whether the expression is Metal or more classical scores. To me, it doesn’t matter that much, but I like to do different things.”
When Fredrik was a kid, he listened to a lot of Metallica and Iron Maiden. He wanted to play guitar at one point, but started playing keyboards mostly because he wanted to arrange Music. He drifted to playing keyboards without really having a favorite Artist, aside from The Phantom of the Opera. “I had a keyboard, and it became a useful tool in my writing, more than the keyboard players.” Fredrik then became the guy to call with all of his friends in Metal bands needing keyboard arrangements, as there aren’t too, too many Metal-oriented keyboardists.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was the first film that really sparked Fredrik’s passion for film Music. Ennio Morricone is his favorite composer. Composers brought sensibility and melody to the Music, “I wanted to separate the old-school classical sense of film Music with something that was different. That’s where my angle to it all became finding a niche. At a point, I think a lot of film Music sounds a lot alike, and today trailer Music sounds a lot alike. It takes a lot to know the craft to do that, it’s not terribly exciting because it doesn’t have its own identity. I think that is what I try to bring to the table when I write.”
While composing the Music, Fredrik had stories in his mind, each being visually different. “I wanted the album to feel exactly like a journey. I wanted to have a deeper connection that you feel you’re actually moving somewhere, and you go from a point where you feel a real dread. Anima Morta has always been about Death and zombies, and seventies Italiano movie scenes.”
For Serpents in the Fields of Sleep, Anima Morte wanted to go deeper and write their own stories so each of the songs became their own distinct personalities. In the title of the album, it is the band’s sense of combining the scene of a graveyard where there are real fields of sleep and everybody is Dead, along with the inspiration of the serpents from mythology that have been regarded throughout centuries as guardians of that transcendence.
The first track off the album titled, Leaving Redemption Behind, is more about yourself leaving redemption behind, leaving all that is safe, and the serpents later on become the guardians of how you transcend to the unsafe or unknown. And if you were to take a visual journey through the album, Fredrik points out that the serpents manifest at the title track, which is the seventh song.
For their earlier albums, Anima Morte have always done behind the scenes type documentaries when in the recording process. They wanted to document the long recording journey for Serpents In The Fields of Sleep through a Music video they made of their fifth track, Blood From The Iconoclast. The video is a depiction of the composition of their Music, rather than an interpretation of visual journey one’s mind can take while listening to their Music.
Randy Ortiz created the album Artwork that sets the mood with the snakes around the black mass with the forest in the background. Eric Adrian Lee brought the sophisticated design with a classical touch to frame Randy’s Artwork.
One of Anime Morte’s biggest inspiration is HP Lovecraft. The band has also done many scores for HP Lovecraft stories. “I read a lot of Lovecraft when I was younger. I remembered some parts, and some were pretty blurry. If you read something once, you don’t pick up on things in the pieces. I’ve noticed this so much, when we do the scorings because you listen to the pieces over and over, and there are so many small details that are really important for the story 20 minutes away! You pick up on all these leads of where the story is going, that you would miss otherwise. It’s an opportunity and a responsibility to set the right mood for where you’re going with it.”
The outloud readings are done by Andrew Leman. The first thing Anima Morte does is listen to the readings which are sent over by Jonathan Dennison, the founder of Cadabra Records. They go through the major ark of what the story is about. It’s very important for them to figure out the Musical tempo to match the story to. “I think it’s a great medium to tell a story like that. I think Jonathan is doing a great job of providing spoken word Art. I’m really happy to work with him.”
One of the first scores they did was for the readings of Dagan, Cats of Ulthar, and The Music of Erich Zann. Those three were released through vinyl and are very close to the heart of Fredrik… At the time, the band was figuring out how to approach the medium with storytellers. They found a new voice for their Music that becomes an underscore to the story without trying to be too much of what they are on their records.
“The funny thing is, the more stories we work on, the more I also see and figure out where HP Lovecraft hits leads for his mythos or Universe. He always references his other stories in some ways, or characters that come back. You can start to use a lot of the themes and moods that he, himself has invented in his stories that come back. The more we do it, it becomes more interesting and more fun to combine and figure out how they all fit together.”