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Vomitory from Sweden is my all-time favourite death metal band. Years ago I got to know their old-school death metal randomly thanks to a friend of mine - and I got hooked immediately. Time passed, new and new Vomitory albums got released and they have strengthened their my-favourite-death-metal-band position every time. Unfortunately in my opinion they are not as known and appreciated as they would deserve but that is life.
As you can guess, I was more than happy when I had the chance in May to make this interview. What is more, I could talk to Ulf again, just like two years ago. (But due to some problem the interview could get online just now.) From the hour long discussion we had I tried to select out the important and interesting-for-the-readers parts. Enjoy it, but do not forget..."nothing for the weak-hearted!"
I have heard only good things about your new album. How do you feel about it?
We've been extremely satisfied with the response we got for the new album. It could not get much better :) We are doing interviews since the middle of March constantly, we also made a few email interviews. It is a great album and people have realized that too. You know, we've been really satisfied with all the previous ones but this is the album we are the most proud of so far. I think we improved from album to album and this one is really good now.
How would you describe the difference between this album and the previous ones? For me it sounds more intense.
The three previous albums were recorded at the Berno Studio and with this new album we decided to go to an otherstudio, Studio Kuling in Sweden. So we had a different result when it came to the production and the sound of the album compared to the other ones. I think the biggest difference is the drum sound. On this album the drum sound is totally awesome, it is the best we have had so far. Maybe the guitars could have been a little bit more intense but they sound really cool anyway.
When it comes to the music, as you said, it got a bit more intense and faster.
You worked in a different studio but with same producer, Henrik Larsson again.
He is an old companion, we do not quit working with him. It is more like a friendship between him and us. The first time we met him he was the sound guy of a Swedish band, Deranged. And we worked with him since the Redemption album. We though we should try out something new for this album but still wanted Henrik to work with us. We asked him what he thought about he idea of getting into another studio and do the recordings there. He works for the Berno studio but that is not his studio, he is hired there so he is free to go to anywhere else. But we had to do the mixing in the Berno Studio again, because when we wanted to do the mixing the Kuling studio, that time was already booked. Henrik even already started to work on it a couple of days earlier we arrived there, so we were done with it in 3-4 days. The mixing proccess went really fast.
We are happy we chose a new studio to record this album there. Changes are always exciting and refreshing. And actually our drummer had been in that studio before. He goes to a sound engineering school and that is how he went working there. It is not really a metal studio, lots of Swedish pop bands go there to record their albums so that studio needed some decent Swedish death metal...haha.
So, the next Vomitory album will be more of a pop album? ;)
No, no but maybe next time we will have some special extra bonus track...haha, some remixes..just to shock people, haha.
You have a studio diary on your homepage but a very short one..
Yeah, that is always a problem. Every time we have been to the studio we tried to write a diary. But I think this is the first time it got online at all. We always tried it but after the first day we said let's go to the pub instead ;) And as always, we had things left to finish in the studio, some lyrics, some guitar parts etc So we managed to write only a few lines and put it on the homepage. That is a big improvement, I must say, haha.
You wrote about some problem you had there in the first days of the recording. What happened exactly?
There was some special pre-amps for the mixing desk that we wanted to use, some old-school ones that give a big push to the sound. Much better pre-amps than they had in the mixing desk and Henrik rented them from another place, from the middle of Sweden. But instead of delivering it to the studio they took it to his home address, that was something like 600 km from the studio. We were sitting and waiting for two days the pre-amps to show up.
You said you finished a few lines and music parts in the studio. Two years passed between your last two album. When did you actually start writing the songs for the new album?
I think the first song got together in the beginning of 2003, around March-April. In 2002 we had the Amon Amarth tour, played at Wacken, another tour in Poland and a couple of other shows in Sweden too. In 2003 we had only a few shows in Sweden, so we had the time to write the lyrics and music for a new album. Then we rehearsed the first song for a week or so and it did not really work out the way we thought it should had. We tried to rearrange it but at the end we threw it away. Then we had rehearsed for the two shows we had, so the writing proccess came to a halt. Then in May we had approxametely 3 songs at all done and we wrote two more during the summer. And I think we also threw those songs away. It always takes much longer time than how much we calculate when we start writing. And there are always songs that just do not want to work out, no matter how hard we try to rearrange and put them together and then we have to start all over again. That is why we had spent the whole year with writing songs. And we wanted to go to the studio in January but Henrik was totally booked for that time so we had to go to the studio in the beginning of December, so we kinda lost a whole month. But we have done it before, it was not that a big deal since we had the basic ideas.
Was it Tobias again who wrote most of the music while you and Eric wrote the lyrics?
Yeah, it was the usual proccess. But we are all very much involved in the creation of the songs, even if someone writes most of the lyrics or the music. Everybody is free to give his opinion to it, we try out different things to see if it is a better idea and if it works the best for us. It is not a one-man band even if it might look like that when it comes to writing the lyrics or the music.
What does he album title refer to?
The ultimate slaughter of human race, some evil forces are taking the human race out of existence. Or you can also say the human race is taking itself out of existence. It is up to your opinion, what you read out of the title.
The songs of the new album are pretty much stick to the same subjects as usually. When you are in a death metal band, you can't write about peace and love. Just turn on the television and you get the real stuff. Just a couple of weeks ago we did an interview to a local newspaper and they wanted to focus the whole interview on the album cover and the lyrics, because we have such nasty album cover and so horrible lyrics. But then again, we are not the most extreme band on earth.
Local newspapers do not really support metal bands here. Seems it is different in Sweden..
Well, you cannot see metal shows on tv. We used to have a one-hour show every week on tv but they played Guns'n'Roses and stuff like that. The newspapers are a bit more into metal. For example there are two big evening newspaper in Sweden and sometimes they write reviews when bigger bands like Napalm Death or Morbid Angel has got a new album out. Sometimes you can read a one-page interview with bigger bands who come to Sweden. Most of the people in Sweden do not even know how many Swedish metal bands exist. We are pretty unknown to the normal people. In this town where we live they do not know who we are, what we are doing. We are just the drunken assholes from the neighbourhood and that is it, haha. Even the local newspapers, and the one who made interview to us did not know about us. 'Tell us about death metal, what is this new thing ?'..'well, it existed for 20-25 years, it is not a new thing'.. so the local people are not into this kind of stuff, they do not follow the underground, haha.
Last time a friend of yours made the album cover but the cover of "Primal Massacre" was done by Juan Castellano.
We were very satisfied with Mikael's work but this time we wanted to try out something new. We contacted a couple of guys and once we got a mail from Juan and he told us he was very much into Vomitory, he liked the music a lot. We checked out his homepage and we saw some really brutal stuff there and we liked it. And we like the cover he made for Primal Massacre. It is a bit too red. We did not see it on the pre-pictures we had before it went to printing, we could not see the actual brigthness. And when it was printed, it was really-really red, haha.
(Since then the band's website had been redesigned in the vein of the album cover.)
My only problem with it is that the logo is also red, it makes a bit difficult to read the band's name ; )
Well, I can see it clearly, haha.
It turned out to be a very intense cover.
Yeah and it fits to the album title. We told him about the title and about the ideas we had to how the cover should look like. He made a couple of fast sketches and we chose from them. He constantly sent us pictures about his work in proccess of making the cover. And if we found something we wanted to change, we just told him and he changed it. Probably that is why we are so satisfied with it. It is totally the way we wanted it, except for it is a bit too much red.
It has kind of a warm feeling.
Yeah, it shines out love, haha.
There was some news that Erik wanted to focus on playing bass and quit singing.
He is still doing the vocals at the moment. We had tested many guys who came to our rehearsal place but so far it did not work out with any of them. We didn't want to have anybody who is less good than Erik is. We would not be satisfied with somebody who is not as good as he is.
(According to the latest news from the band website, 6th of August, 2004:
A lot of you already know this and by now it's some kind of old news, but after have been searching for a new vocalist for more than 6 months without any good result, we have decided to continue as the 4-piece we are. The interest for the vocal job has been great but we haven't found what we've been looking for. So we reconsidered our situation and looked upon it from different perspectives and came to the obvious conclusion that we are going to change nothing! We believe that Vomitory has never sounded better than we do now, so why fix something that isn't broken? Or as Lord K of The Project Hate puts it - Erik vs. new vocalist: 1 - 0... )
By the way, why does he want to focus just on playing bass?
He played just bass earlier too, we had a different singer on the Redemption album. Back then when he became the singer it was just as a moment-solution. He said he would try it out till we could find a replacement, time went on..and we already made the third album with him on vocals. Time passes fast, haha.
Actually his growls are one of Vomitory's trademarks.
I certainly think so too. We are really satisfied with his vocals. But if he does not want to do it, we try to see if we can find somebody else. But it is never easy to find a replacement even if there are many Swedish death metal bands. It is difficult to find a suitable guy, who would fit in the band.
This year you played on the No Mercy tour, for the second time. What was it like now?
It was great! I think this was the best Vomitory tour ever. We had good shows every night and we had fun on the whole tour. Also the other bands who played on the tour were all cool. The only problem was that it is a short tour, we could have continued for another week, haha.
Probably we are going to play at some summer festivals and we see what happens later this year.
Maybe you are going to play at the X-Mass festival.. ;)
Nah, I do not think we will do the X-Mass festival. We have done that once.
And you have got very bad memories of that.
Yeah, our drummer got some flu and stomach disease in Belgium and he was sick for the rest of the tour. We had to cancel a show in Berlin because he was sent to hospital. There was some snowbliss on the last show's day and we did not make it to the club in the time. And then we went with a small mini-bus to Brussels to catch our flight but we missed it with 15 minutes. So everything was fucked up on that tour. But otherwise it was fun, the line-up of the festival was also great.
Does Vomitory fill up all your need for playing music?
Yes. Sometimes I have the urge to get some friends together and play doom metal but it is a matter of time and at the moment all my time goes for Vomitory. I enjoy being part of this band and playing this kind of music. It's a great band, with great member so we have a good time whenever we get together. There are bands where there are arguements and fights on a tour when they are spending lots of time together but not with us. We know each other for a long time and if we have a problem with each other we do not hesitate to talk about it and try to sort things out. Why should we get upset or angy with each other? We can always work it out somehow that makes everybody happy. We know each other so well, it cannot be a problem for us.
Releasing a DVD is kind of a popular thing lately. Have you been thinking about it too?
We discussed the possibily of putting together a DVD but just within the band and not with the record label. But even if it is going to work it will not get released sooner than next year. Nothing is for sure yet. We have got lots of old material to use.
Are your old demos still available?
I do not think so. We do not have left more than our own copies at home. I even checked on the internet, but could not find them anywhere.
The band will turn 15 years old this autumn. How will you celebrate it?
We probably gonna drink some beer.. haha. We do not have any plans yet. Actually that is why talked about the DVD, to release it for the 15th anniversary of the band. But I think we only may have a show for this occasion but I do not know yet.
When did you start listening to metal?
Around 1982-83. It all started with Kiss and they pretty much stuck with me for the rest of my life. I like them very much.
And when did you start to play on guitar?
Around the age of 14. I played on old an acoustic guitar my father had. I took some classes too but in this town people are playing folk music and even Beatles was too wild here. So it was boring, you could not play what you wanted therefore I joined another class but the same thing happened there too. I quitted that class to and I gave it up for a while 'where the hell can I learn to play guitar?'. So I started to play by myself. Around the age 16-17 I did some extra work beside school to save the money for my first electric guitar and it immediately became much more fun to play on it. I started to practise more home and soon with some guys from the area we got to gather and started a band. We played Death covers, old Hellhammer songs and stuff like that. Just for fun.
Thanks for the interview! Famous last words?
Thanks for the interview too! Check out our killer death metal album!
submitted by Katalin 22.08.2004