David how are you and how is the band? I hope busy working on a new Album for us?
Hey man, I am doing fine! In spite of this shitty pandemic. Of course I miss playing and attending shows as well as our rehearsals though. But we’re all in the same boat, so who am I to complain? Yeah, in fact we have worked really hard on our new material since the release of our last album, since our plan was to have a bit shorter release cycle this time. Usually we are able to get a new album out about every four years, but this time it looked like we would be able to do it in two. The pandemic however has made it so that we haven’t really gotten enough rehearsals in to be confident enough to enter the studio this early, but at least all the material is written already! We just need to tweak it and throw it around in the rehearsal room a bit before recording. We have however done a small recording during this summer that should come out sometime next year, something to keep people entertained while they wait for the album and to make sure that we are not forgotten.
Do you have anything planned for Live Festivals or Touring in 2021 and will this new Material you mentioned be a Music Video to hold us over?
We have a festival in Stockholm booked for May 2021 which we really hope will be happening, other than that there are just some speculations. I think 2021 will be a tough year for us as well, even if the pandemic would be over, with so many gigs and tours moved from 2020 to 2021 the market will be kind of full. We actually had some really promising stuff booked that was canceled, so hopefully some of that will be taken up again next year. I don’t think we will be making a fully-fledged music video for any of the tracks we have recorded for this release, but I can imagine that some promotional video will be made for at least one track. There will be a digital and physical release for sure though, a split with us and another band that we really love.
When the band released the 2007 demo Graverobber was your debut. And you have been the Vocalist since the beginning if I am correct? Do you write all of the lyrics? And how does the band decide what will be an Album title, is this a Democratic process?
Yeah, I’ve been handling the vocals since the start. Except for the very first demo we did in the project before Feral. For the most of the time I write the lyrics without any of the other guys involving themselves, occasionally though Viktor might write the lyrics for one of the songs he has written. But that has only happened for like one track on each release. The album titles have been picked out by me so far, but I do throw the ideas around with the guys before we settle on anything. Of course it has to be a title that they like as well, or at least something that they don’t have anything against. We have never exactly had a “title track”, but we always chose the album title from the lyrics of the songs. So if you would listen closely, or read along with the lyrics, while listening to the album you will always find a place in a song where I sing the album title. So in that way we do in fact have a title track, only not that obvious. For “Dragged to the Altar” it was the song “Altar of Necromancy” and for “Where Dead Dreams Dwell” it was the song “Swallowed by Darkness” etc.
So how are things with Trancending Obscurity? Are you happy so far and able to disclose inside information such as does The Label provide studio budgets and Artworks or do the bands still do most of this and The Label sends copies in return and does the Distribution? Would you say that they have a good Promotional campaign as well?
We are very happy with Transcending Obscurity so far and will continue working with them for the next album as well. The label provides us with a sum for producing the artwork and a very fair deal on the physical copies for us to sell ourselves, in addition to that we get a good deal on the digital sales also. So we really cannot complain, even though it is still hard for us to cover the costs of recording an album each time we enter the studio. The one downside might be the physical distance, as they are located in India and we in Sweden. Shipping takes a while so to say. Their promotion on the other hand is the best we’ve had and they are really on top of that, with a deep knowledge of how things should be done when it comes to that kind of stuff.
Would you say Death Metal was on the rise once again in The Metal Community? Especially with the rise of a lot of new bands bringing back this Classic style of playing and sounds/imagery? For me it never ended so I am glad for this new emergence of younger bands and older players returning.
In my opinion we’re already in a second “comeback”, or maybe it has just been going on for almost fifteen years at this point. There were a lot of bands that come out about the same time as we did, in the wake of mainly two other band: Death Breath and the first two Bloodbath albums there in 2006-2007. Now it seems like there are even more bands popping up playing this style, which of course is great! I have a feeling that the scene eventually, or inevitably, will get saturated though. For me however this type of music is timeless and will survive whether it is currently “popular” or not. As I said, it’s been going on for so long now that calling it a trend isn’t really warranted. Classic death metal is here to stay!
Agreed, Here to Stay! Man, the BloodBath really is Amazing. Do you guys ever bump into them guys at the local Metal shows or anything? Also are you friends with any of The other bands from your Country? Fans of your Sound are fully aware of Sweden’s Rich Musical and Cultural History. Also would you say this Violent Lyrical Content and Gore is Genetic? Perhaps it runs in the Blood of your people?
Oh no, we live far removed from the scene in Stockholm, in a small town about a 10 hour drive to the north in Sweden. So there is no risk of bumping into any famous death metal musicians at our local shows! We are really tight with some of the bands here in Sweden and some abroad as well though, like our label mates in Crawl and the related band Dråp. Also the guys in Creeping Flesh are really good guys, as well as Anders and the guys in Just Before Dawn. I am in quite regular contact with Ralf from Germanys Revel in Flesh as well. Haha, well I wouldn’t say it’s genetic as nowadays you can find bands that play “Swedish death metal” all over the world, but there must be something in the water at least! Everyone in Sweden has very good opportunities to get a musical education, if they want to, and we also have simple ways of getting financial support so pursue interest that you might have in your spare time. Meaning that basically anyone can start playing in a band and quite easily afford having a rehearsal room to practice in, which I think might explain why we have so many bands here.
Wow that is Amazing… so your Country believes Art is Important and will help you to learn an Instrument and have also some type of Financial backing or support system for Musicians? Also how much of your Culture is still Maintained in Schools?
Well, it’s not just music or art. As long as you are a group of people that have a shared interest you can form a “study circle” which will get some support help fund your activities, be it bird watching, fixing cars or playing death metal. In school you have to play the recorder (the flute) when you are 10 years old, which a lot of people hate. But the year after that you continue having music lessons once a week, but can also choose to play an instrument in addition to that. Like guitar, piano or drums. So that was when I started playing the guitar, albeit an acoustic one. You also have an art class once a week. The year when you turn 16 you have to choose a specific direction of your studies in order to continue having the music or arts in school, naturally I chose the musical direction as it was (and is) my biggest interest.
So originally being a Guitarist do you also have a hand in helping write the Music besides the Lyrics and how does this process typically work for the band?
Yeah, I still play quite a lot of guitar. I am no expert player though, but a decent “couch guitarist” and good enough to write music. I would have huge problems standing up and playing the songs while headbanging though! Me and our bassist, Viktor Klingstedt, are the main songwriters and contribute about equally as much material. Markus and Sebastian comes with a couple of songs or song parts for each album cycle as well. Viktor is my oldest friend and we have always played together for as long as we have played, but weirdly enough we cannot really write together, we simply have too different ideas about how it should be done. So we usually write separately from each other and then maybe just help each other out with some finishing touches before the track is brought to the rehearsal room and the rest of the guys get to put their touch on it as well. Me and Markus have written quite a lot together though throughout the years. We do a lot of changes to the songs together as a unit in the rehearsal room though, those small, but important, changes that make the song interesting. But the main songwriter is always one, or maybe two, guys.
Before your current Label you were with Ibex Moon Records. How was your experience with them and did it bring many opportunities? Also how did the Vynal Come about with Sound of Records? Did they know the band from both being from Sweden?
Yeah, Ibex Moon did put out our first record. We were honored to release our first album through a label run by someone as knowledgeable about the scene as John. Of course it might have been slightly better for us getting a deal with a label based in Europe, but all in all it worked out well for us with them and helped to get the band going. Sound of Records was based in the north of Sweden, just like is, and we got in touch with them while attending the festival in Umeå called “House of Metal”. They have since relocated to Stockholm, but are putting out some really nice looking vinyl variants of albums for time to time.
Out of all the great Swedish Death Metal Bands and Albums what are some of the Most influential in your opinion?
It’s obligatory to mention Entombed and their first albums when answering this question, to us mainly “Wolverine Blues” was a huge influence on us when we started off, but to me personally Grave has been the biggest inspiration out of the “big bands” from Sweden. I collect their stuff whenever I can afford it and currently am sitting on about 85 releases from them, boxed sets only counted as once release. Jörgens vocals back in the day were unparalleled, and still are today, and he is a huge reason to why I wanted to be a vocalist. Not to say that Ola hasn’t evolved into a very good singer as well with the last couple of albums. Other bands that I think are underappreciated that have been a big influence on me is Nominon, who I am glad to see are returning with new material again after a hiatus, and Runemagick. Both are great and dead heavy bands with their own identity, instantly recognizable. Interment deserves a mention as well, absolutely fantastic!
Let’s discuss live performances… in your opinion is a band’s Stage Presence and movement with crowd interaction more important than just being statues and making sure every note is perfect? I believe playing an occasional bad note that no one even notices and putting in a great Performance is important because if they want to hear Perfection they can always listen to the Recordings. Give the Audience a show and have some movement I think. We don’t have to name the boring live bands but What do you say about this?
Yeah, I totally agree. Though I sometimes can get disappointed when I’ve gotten carried away during a live show and can notice afterwards that my voice is kind of “broken” because I have not been paying attention to my technique. But on the other hand I then know that I’ve had enough fun to forget about that, and you know from being in an audience yourself that it’s way more fun to watch someone who is enjoying themselves, or gets lost in their performance. We try to engage the audience as much as possible, screaming along and things like that, it’s more fun for us as well. And I value that above playing perfect every day. While it’s impressive watching someone who hit’s every note every time, it gets boring after ten minutes if they are just standing there.
Ok David Thanks for Answering my questions. Tell us anything else important I may have left out and your final words.
Thanks a lot for the interview mate, much appreciated! And keep a lookout for our next album. Our label, Transcending Obscurity Records, is putting out their yearly label sampler on bandcamp and will feature a taste of some new material from us. Cheers!
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