“Tell me where do we go from here?
There are no trees in woods.
They’re all burning down like matches.”
This arresting verse could be adapted into a diverse range of exhibitions. It could be a political slogan representing the destruction of Earth, an excerpt from one of David Attenborough’s many documentaries or books, a monologue from an award-winning film; in hindsight, the possibilities are nearly limitless. However, it is what is portrayed through the script that is the most powerful.
This passage in fact belongs to Jonas Hansen, the vocalist and lyricist for Norway’s emotional melodic metalcore quintet Fixation. Its compelling message involving our planet’s disintegration is repeated throughout ‘Dystopia’, the closing track of their debut album More Subtle Than Death. As he articulates during some rare downtime in his home, the song itself was one that took years to evolve.
“I’m very stoked on that song and hearing people say such nice things about it already is truly amazing. It is a song that has been lying there since 2018 I think, I wrote the chorus back then. So, it had always been lying there and I always wanted to do something about it. It has been through so many different iterations that the way it sounds now is so different from the first version, but the chorus and the verses are still the same.” He explains in a reflective moment as if running the song through his mind at the same time. – “So I wrote a lot of the lyrics back then but I continued to add more to them until 2022, especially the last part, the finale of the album.”
The last part or “finale” Mr Hansen refers to reads as:
“It happened so fast it seems impossible to chase it. Governed by serpents who are too afraid to face that the Earth is the source that we mistreated as a resource. WE ARE THE PARASITE!”
He continues- “It was inspired by this Native American man who spoke about nature and how they have a very close connection to nature, and it is beautiful. Then he spoke how we treated the Earth as a resource, not the source. I think that was beautifully put. So, I wanted to include that in some way, an interesting fact is that it was actually my dad who told me about this.”
The title of this very article “Fixation fear ‘The City Of Ember’” alludes to the book series by Jeanne DuPrau of the same underlined name released in 2003. However, the only real similarity between the two are the theme of a Dystopian future. But the deeper one dives, the more that is uncovered. The novel is about a city by the name of “Ember” which it is called as it represents a light in a world of darkness, the true meaning of an “ember” is a small piece of burning coal or wood in a dying fire. It was only a few years ago that Australia was ravaged by devastating bushfires that lasted months, a disaster that Jonas was affected by and so became the lyrics that were quoted at the beginning of this article.
“With how we treat the world and climate change and everything, it really scares me. I’ve been watching so many documentaries on this and I am noticing everything that’s happening, especially the wildfires in Australia. It hits deep within me, and I just want to vent about it, I want to get it out there.”
He describes heartfeltly to nearly losing his breath before continuing – “Lyrically I wanted to express that we have already destroyed the world, it is too far gone. It’s what everyone talked about, but no one really dared to think what would happen? That’s the point of the song and (he pauses) the dystopian existence. If we ever get to that point – what do we do? How do we continue? What will happen next? Will there ever be a continuation of mankind?”
“It’s really sad how we treat nature. But I do think if humankind disappears, nature will always rise again. It’s the human part of it that that will fade away. Of course, I don’t want that.” he finishes with a slightly conflicted giggle.
Ironically in the previously mentioned book, some characters escape Ember city to emerge from the underground and witness nature in all its magnificence, without humans, and this experience includes their first view of a sunrise. Cue Jeff Goldblum as Dr Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park: “Life finds a way”.
As discussed in the album’s review, the magnificent maturity which Fixation showcase throughout the nine tracks are almost incomprehensible. A sound that blends the refined aggression of Architects’ For Those Who Wish To Exist LP with the dynamic pop alt rock leanings of Holding Absence – it is one to admire and marvel at, especially since this is only a snapshot of the diversity Fixation craft so eloquently.
A shining example being the quintet’s single ‘Flat Earth’, a sonic pop rock meets post-hardcore adventure that Jared Leto would be extremely envious of. The song’s topic negotiates conspirators and their ignorance to accept scientific fact, regardless of how it is presented to them. If the musical and poetic element isn’t engaging the readers enough, the film clip may just well be gavel’s strike of affirmation on the five-piece’s creativity and talent.
“The ideas behind the film clip were done by the director Ulvar Gansum and myself and it was a bit surprising how well it came out considering how quickly we had to do everything. I’m not sure how we came up with the idea of the white jumpsuits as costumes and projecting things on it, but I do remember thinking it sort of looked cool, it was late at night.” Jonas Hansen admits with delirious grin then elaborates further – “There is obviously the buried message within the clip, but a funny story about the whole shoot was that the director said he had this great location to shoot at and he assured us that it was not near anything we could disturb. Of course, it was in the middle of three or four houses which were 30 metres away from us. I think we played the song twice and we were making a lot of noise and that ended up being all we got.”
Did the Flat Earthers come and protest? What happened?
“Well a guy came up, yelling and screaming – he was so angry, which was funny when looking back at it now. But he was infuriated, which I totally understand. It was a mistake by us to do it that late and that close to houses; I think it was a Wednesday night from memory. I feel really bad about it, I remember at some point, he was yelling: ‘I love music but you are running music for me. You Guys Suck!’”
Did you end up with any footage of the altercation? Could you have used it as part of the film clip to really accentuate The X-Files motif?
“We might have? We spoke about it after, but it probably wouldn’t have been very nice. He might have pressed charges (hysterically laughing).”
Interview by Will Oakeshott @TeenWolfWill
Stream More Subtle Than Death here
Fixation – More Subtle Than Death tracklisting:
1. Impending Fallout
2. More Alive
3. Stay Awake
4. Flat Earth
5. Ignore The Disarray
8. Violent Tendencies