Interview: Jörgen Sandström (ex-GRAVE, ENTOMBED and more)

Interview: Jörgen Sandström (ex-GRAVE, ENTOMBED and more)

- in Written interviews

Jörgen Sandström is a name synonymous when it comes to Swedish metal. From his early days as a vocalist in death metal greats Grave to being the bassist in Entombed for a number of years up until his recent bands Domedagen and Project Hate MCMXCIX. We caught up with Jörgen to hear about the state of his newer bands and his time with Grave and Entombed as well as how he got into death metal and his favourite albums, playing with Candlemass and Misery Loves Co and his musical influences.

Are Domedagen going to be releasing any music this year to follow up last year’s Not For Them To Choose single?

As for now we don’t have any plans for Domedagen at all. When we have finished with the upcoming The Project Hate album then we’ll see. I hope so but we´ll see.

Domedagen combine death metal with a more doom sound, was it always your idea to combine these two styles with the band’s music?

Yes. We use to say that we would like to sound like Candlemass and Bolt Thrower.

What has been the reaction to the band’s music so far?

Mainly positive reactions so far. We had some people write us and ask for more and some ask for merch. So there seem to be an interest in the band. But we don’t have any more plans then to just record and release a song every now and then.

How did Domedagen get together in the first place?

I had a few doomier riffs that I never used to Krux or other bands so I asked K if we should just do a few songs out of those riffs? We listened to them and then K got injured so he was at home for a few weeks and he wrote seven new songs. Didn’t use any of my riffs so they are still lying around collecting digital dust. It was as simple as that really.

What are the biggest influences on the sound of Domedagen?

Candlemass and Bolt Thrower.

What about The Project Hate MCMXCIX, will there be further material any time soon?

Yes, the 13th album is soon done and will be mixed with Dan Swanö at Unisound soon. We look to release it within the first quarter of 2020. It sounds amazing so far.

You’ve been helping Misery Loves Co out on bass at live shows, how did that come about and how did it feel to be playing bass for them?

Well, we have been friends for a long time, we toured together when I was with Entombed. Entombed, MLC and Machine Head toured Europe in I think it was 97 or 98, so when they started again in 2016 and had a few gigs coming up they asked if I could join them on bass for those gigs and I was able to do it so I did. I really like playing with them as they are really good people to hang with, we have a lot of fun, they are great musicians and I dig their sound.

How was the experience of playing bass live for Candlemass for a number of years?

It was amazing. I mean, I have been a fan of the band since I was 15 or 16 years old. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would play together with my heroes. It is still hard for me to understand that I have played with them live. Once we rehearsed the whole first album with Johan on vocals. I was smiling with goosebumps the entire rehearsal. I am so grateful that they asked me so many times.

What are your main memories of when you first joined Grave and how exciting was the metal underground in Sweden at that time?

When we started Grave we had already been in the same band since ´84. At first we were into the traditional Heavy Metal scene, Ac/Dc, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead etc etc And then we picked up Metallica, Slayer, Overkill, Anthrax, then some Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, added som Blood Feast, Death, Celtic Frost. As we lived at Gotland, an island 3-4 hours away from Stockholm with a ferry, we didn’t know about other Swedish bands, except Bathory, Candlemass and Agony but as we started to go to gigs in Stockholm we got to meet other bands as well. Nihilist, Morbid, Dismember, Treblinka, Merciless to name a few. Soon we knew most of the people in the Stockholm scene and we traded tapes etc. Eventually in 90-91 we moved here. It was good times.

How was the experience of recording the first three Grave albums?

When we recorded our demos back in Gotland, we mostly used a 4 channel cassette recorder in our rehearsal room. So when we finally got to record with Tomas Skogsberg it was just an amazing experience. We had a lot of fun recording the albums at Sunlight Studios.

What led you to join Entombed as bassist in 1995?

It was basically this. I was bored touring with Grave. So I quit. Then I was asked to join Entombed after I had a lot of fun playing one show with them at a big festival in Sweden I thought, yeah, why not. This could be fun for a while and I played with them for 9 years, until I felt the same feeling with them as I had with Grave, it was just not fun anymore.

What are your favourite memories of your time in Entombed?

There are so many good memories from those times. Playing Australia, South Africa as well as the very north of Sweden and Norway. We opened up for Slayer and Iron Maiden in Europe. We played at the Royal Opera house in Stockholm with ballet dancers. So many cool shows. Not to mention all the fun parties we had!

Who have you loved touring with the most and what made it so memorable?

Well, Slayer and Iron Maiden was incredible of course. Not only cause they are two bands that I loved since I was a teenager, but to see how the whole circus was built up everyday was an incredible experience and all their crew were super cool to us.

I did love touring with other bands just like us as well. For example, Malevolent Creation, Demolition Hammer, Neurosis, Breach, Refused. I met so many great and talented people over the years that it is almost ridiculous when I think about it. Lucky me!

What has been the best tour or live show that you have ever done?

I can’t really pick just one!

What are your favourite death metal albums of all time?

Autopsy – Severed Survival, Pestilence – Consuming Impulse, Death – Scream Bloody Gore, Celtic Frost – To Megatherion, Sadus – Illusions, Bolt Thrower – Realm Of Chaos.

These are classics but there are so many good death metal albums out there over the years.

How did you get into metal and death metal in the first place?

At first I think it was because my older brother listened to alot of punk and early heavy metal in the ’70s. So I picked up alot from him and also got into Kiss when I was about 6-7 years old. Then I got into metal more and more around ’82 I think… When we started our first band in ’84 I was 12-13 years old. As I said earlier we were into AC/DC, Judas Priest etc. And as we got into more extreme bands like Metallica and Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate.. and we just couldn’t get enough. The more extreme the better!

Who is the biggest influence on yourself as a musician?

I’ve never really thought about it as just one person. I was more into the band thing than the individual player but a few bass players that comes to mind are Ian Hill, Lemmy, Blacky from Voivod, Cliff Burton to name a few…

What have been the proudest moments of your career so far?

Too damn hard to answer! There’s been a lot!

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