Covenant (band)

Covenant

Covenant performing live at Amphi Festival in 2011
Background information
Origin Helsingborg, Sweden
Genres Future Pop
Synthpop
Electronic body music[1][2]
Years active 1986–present
Labels 21st Circuitry, dependent, Memento Materia, Metropolis, Off-Beat, Sony Ka2, SubSpace
Website covenant.se
Members
Eskil Simonsson
Daniel Myer
Joakim Montelius
Past members
Clas Nachmanson

Covenant is a band from Sweden whose music comprises a mixture between electropop and electronic dance music. The band is composed of Eskil Simonsson, Daniel Myer and Joakim Montelius. They have been releasing their music since the early 1990s.

Contents

History

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, electronic music and several of its subgenres became a preferred musical style among European underground culture. It gained favor initially within major cities and eventually trickled into the continent's more socially secluded regions. This new wave of music was discovered at different instances by a group of young friends living among the shadows of Helsingborg, a scenic municipality in western Sweden. Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius, and Clas Nachmanson, three teenagers with mutual, youthful curiosities for science, philosophy, and matters of existence, were enthralled by the unique presentation and the emotional content offered through the music, specifically by that of bands such as Kraftwerk, The Human League, and by EBM pioneers Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb.

The friends carried this fascination with them to university life in Lund, a municipality lying approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Helsingborg. In between their academic endeavors and discussions of worldly affairs, they assembled a small recording studio in Nachmanson's bedroom and began to experiment with their own musical compositions. In 1989, the name "Covenant" was selected for the group—a name derived from the unspoken, spiritual bond the trio professes to share.

As Covenant, the three produced their first publicly-released track, "The Replicant", by invitation of Swedish record label Memento Materia. "The Replicant" was released on a compilation album in 1992, and the track thrilled label executives, prompting them to ask for a full album. In 1994, the group compiled enough songs to release the album, which became Dreams of a Cryotank. Dreams was well received by critics and fans alike, and with its success, the boyhood friends decided to take their musical efforts more seriously. They upgraded and added more equipment, relocated their studio, and committed to tour.

In 1995, Covenant performed at a festival in Germany upon the request of Off-Beat Records. The band impressed Off-Beat's attending A&R representative, who signed them to a record deal the following day. Excited by the prospect of broader exposure, the crew eased further away from their educational pursuits and devoted themselves to completing a new album, 1996's Sequencer.

With Sequencer, the band sought to improve upon the weaknesses they found in Dreams by combining sequencing, diverse melodies, and commanding lyrics. It became an instant classic among many observers, some of whom boldly declared it "the best electro album of the decade."[3] It would go on to be re-released a number of times throughout the world and remains a club favorite in many settings.

Later in the year, San Francisco-based record label 21st Circuitry agreed to distribute Covenant's albums in the United States, expanding the band's reach in the process. As results, the group created the Theremin EP in 1997 specifically for an American release and started to accept tour dates throughout the US and Canada.

The trio's third full-length album, Europa, debuted in 1998. Europa carried Covenant's aggressive, often distorted brand of music into the beat-driven realm of synth pop, marking the beginning of a gradual evolution in the band's collective sound. Also in 1998, they sued the Norwegian black metal/Industrial metal band The Kovenant (then known as Covenant) for the rights to the name "Covenant", arguing that they had the name first. The Norwegian band changed their name, relenting and allowing both bands to go on with as few problems as necessary.

Covenant spent 1999 touring, changing record labels, and on the preparation of another album. Off-Beat Records went out of business, and dependent was created by former Off Beat employees. Together with a few selected former Off-Beat acts, Covenant joined Dependent. In addition, Covenant was signed with SubSpace Communications in Sweden, effectively ending their tenure with Memento Materia. Meanwhile, 21st Circuitry Records ceased operations, leading the three to find a new home in America with Metropolis Records (Metropolis had bought the rights to the 21st Circuitry back catalogue). Shortly thereafter, the band's first three albums and the Theremin EP were re-issued in the US under the Metropolis label.

United States of Mind was released in 2000, and with it, Covenant's tendencies strayed further into synth pop. A stand-alone single called Der Leiermann, sung to the tune of the album track Like Tears in Rain, was a version of the German Art song of the same name, sung entirely in German (every other Covenant song has English lyrics). This song originally was a poem from Wilhelm Müller, which has been set to music by Franz Schubert as part of the poem cycle "Die Winterreise".

A live album, Synergy, was released later in the year; it featured tracks from the band's first four albums played in concert. The group continued with 2002's Northern Light, which they portrayed as having a more somber, colder sound in comparison to their earlier offerings. In another transition between labels, the European release of Northern Light was handled by Sony Music's Ka2 division rather than Dependent or Subspace.

While they continue to produce music together, Montelius and Simonsson have since taken up residence in separate countries; Montelius resides in Barcelona, Spain, and Simonsson lives in Berlin, Germany. Nachmanson remains in Helsingborg.

Covenant released its sixth studio album, Skyshaper, in March 2006 to an overall positive reception. The band toured Europe prior to the album's release and toured the United States beginning in September 2006.[4]

In March 2007, Covenant announced that Nachmanson would not be touring with the band in 2007. His replacement will be Daniel Myer of Haujobb. In an interview[5] with Side-Line magazine Covenant's Joakim Montelius says he is not sure if Clas will still continue with Covenant.

In October 2007, Covenant released the road movie "In Transit" on DVD. It contains material from the world tour undertaken in support of the album "Skyshaper" and documents the band's travels in Europe, North America, South America and across Russia for a period of 18 months. The band confirmed Clas' departure on the DVD documentary.[6]

In January 2011, Covenant released their seventh studio album, Modern Ruin.

Personnel

Current members

  • Eskil Simonsson – lead vocals, lead composition, engineering, lyrics, production, synths
  • Joakim Montelius – lead lyrics, composition, production, synths, additional vocals
  • Daniel Myer – engineering, production, synths, additional vocals (began touring in 2007, now writing and working in the studio)

Former members

  • Clas Nachmanson – engineering, production, synths, additional vocals (left in 2007)

Discography

Studio albums

Live albums

  • Synergy (November 2000)
  • In Transit (October 2007)

Singles and EPs

  • Figurehead (October 1995)
  • Stalker (December 1996)
  • Theremin EP (1997)
  • Final Man (February 1998)
  • Euro EP (October 1998)
  • It's Alright (November 1999)
A single which was released on vinyl record and limited to 500 copies.
  • Tour De Force (December 1999)
  • Dead Stars (February 2000)
  • Der Leiermann (February 2000)
Released simultaneously with the Dead Stars single in Germany.
  • Travelogue (February 2000)
Included in the United States of Mind box set.
  • Call The Ships To Port (August 2002)
  • Bullet (January 2003)
  • Ritual Noise (January 2006)
  • Brave New World (September 2006)
  • Lightbringer (feat. Necro Facility) (October 2010)[7]

Theremin

Theremin is an EP released by Covenant in 1997 by the American label 21st Circuitry. It compiled tracks which were, for the most part, previously unavailable in the US. It was re-released by Metropolis in July 1999.

Track listing
  1. Theremin [club version] [4:31]
  2. Figurehead [plain] [4:45]
  3. Speed [club version] [5:47]
  4. Voices [optocoded] [4:44]
  5. Void [doac version] [4:34]
  6. Theremin [us remix] [5:47]
  7. Speed [optodecoded] [4:43]
  • Track 1 was previously released on the German and American releases of Dreams of a Cryotank.
  • Tracks 2, 3, 4, and 7 were previously released on the Figurehead EP.
  • Track 5 was previously released on the Swedish and German releases of Dreams of a Cryotank.
  • Track 6 was new to this release.

Other releases

A boxset which included United States of Mind and the Travelogue single.
  • Synergy Limited Box (November 2000)
A boxset which included Synergy, a booklet with live pictures and lyrics for every released Covenant song, a band interview on VHS cassette tape, a "Bloody Mary" recipe, and seven live recorded tracks; limited to 4000 copies.
  • Bullet DVD (January 2003)
A DVD featuring a music video for the song "Bullet" along with making of footage.
The band contributed the Skyshaper track "20 Hz" to a compilation which included other rock and electronic artists (listed here).
  • Festival Soundtrack (2001)
Playing at a concert visited by one of the main characters
Music for a club scene (released also on the limited edition of their 2011 album Modern Ruin)

Music videos

  • "Stalker" (1996)
  • "Call the Ships to Port" (2002)
  • "Bullet" (2002)
  • "Happy Man" (2006)

References

  1. ^ (Swedish) "synth.nu - Covenant". http://www.synth.nu/artist3_visa.php?artid=178. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  2. ^ "Covenant - Music at Last.fm". http://www.last.fm/music/Covenant. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  3. ^ Promomall SSC. Subspace Records biography, accessed 2005-08-16.
  4. ^ C O V E N A N T – official web site. Official website news feature, accessed 2005-05-28.
  5. ^ Clas Nachmanson to leave Covenant?
  6. ^ Covenant version 2 beta (Release Magazine)
  7. ^ COVENANT – official web site

External links

See also

  • Schaffel music

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