HYPNOSIA released a great demo-tape called "The Storms" about 4 years ago which really impressed me. In the meantime, lots of things happened: they released a mini-CD called "Violent Intensity" and recently hooked up with Hammerheart Records who released their excellent full-length debut "Extreme Hatred". It’s a furious Thrash outburst in the best SADUS and old KREATOR vein, very tight played and you must get a copy of it!!! I hooked up with mastermind Cab to find out more

Are you happy with the way "Extreme Hatred" turned out?
"Yes! We are very satisfied with the new album. We worked very hard on the album, rehearsed, wrote songs and arranged the music thoroughly before we entered the studio in January 2000. When we recorded we thought about every little detail, and tried to make the best performance, both musically and with the sound. The recordings took place in a local studio in our hometown Växjö, called Euphony Studios. It was pretty easy and relaxing to work there and it surely made the album even more powerful. The factors that really made me so convinced in the quality of our new album were the equipment in the studio, the technical knowledge of the two producers and our conviction in the new material, not to forget the support from our record label, Hammerheart."

Why did you cover POSSESSED’s ‘My Belief’? Why POSSESSED and why this less known song?
"We were approached by Poland’s No Mercy Music, about participating on their upcoming POSSESSED-tribute "Seven Gates Of Horror". We were sent a tracklist, and to be honest, almost all POSSESSED classics were already occupied by other bands. I sat down and listened through all the POSSESSED albums and really thought we could make something special with ‘My Belief’. We re-arranged it a little, speeded up the middle to the double and the final result was almost like a HYPNOSIA song. POSSESSED is one of the first and most influential Death Metal bands, and they definitely deserve a tribute-album!"

Was it actually easy for you to write the material for "Extreme Hatred" or was it more difficult and did you have maybe a hard time to find inspiration?
"It is quite a long time between the recording of the "Violent Intensity" mini-album and the new one, so I had many riffs and ideas compiled on a tape. It’s very hard work with each HYPNOSIA song, and I always work on a couple of songs at the same time. I never put one single riff into a song if I don’t feel comfortable with it – that’s why it takes quite a lot of time to finish a new album."

Why did you also put the tracks of the "Violent Intensity" mini on the digi-pack of "Extreme Hatred"? Is this release that hard to obtain these days?
"It was my idea from the beginning. The label that put out the mini-album, Iron Fist Productions, has gone bankrupt and will not make any re-print of that album. It’s a good opportunity to get the first album and the new one cheap, and to get the old songs out to all who missed out the first album."

I think that together with MALEVOLENT CREATION’s new album "Envenomed", "Extreme Hatred" is about the most intense Thrash album released within the last couple of months. Why do you like this genre so much and what do you think is the major reason why not many very raw Thrash releases are released these days?
"Drummer Mike and I have played together since early 1993, and it has been fast Thrash and Death Metal ever since! When we formed HYPNOSIA in 1995 we took the step fully and wanted to have a particular style for the band and stick to it forever. When we started out playing our instruments about 10 years ago, the first things we tried to play was fast, aggressive and brutal Thrash and Death Metal, and this is what we’ll continue to do. This is what we do best and it is natural for us, it’s in the blood! We also stick to this raw Thrash Metal style because very few other bands play like this and understand how to perform it in an honest way. We grew up with the Metal of the 80’s and early 90’s, it is the foundation of our own music creation. I think many bands nowadays don’t know about the past bands and history of Metal or understand how Metal should be performed, and thus is not capable of wri-ting true Metal music, and especially extreme Thrash Metal!"

If someone would come up to you and would ask you the album which represents the raw Thrash genre best, which album would you advise him / her to check out?
"I’d say "Reign In Blood"!"

HYPNOSIA always played rather fast, but the songs on "Extreme Hatred" are played extremely fast!!! Was this done just because you like it that way, or do you also want to make a sort of statement with it?
"The longer we have played, the better we have become as musicians, both technically as well as when it comes to songwriting and arranging songs. That is perhaps the main reason why we play a little bit faster nowadays, but whenever we have changed a member in the band, it’s usually because they’re not dedicated and can’t play their instrument good enough. We really try to push Thrash/Death Metal forward, to the next level of extremity. We of course have our roots in the late 80’s and early 90’s Thrash and Death Metal genres, but incorporate our own trademarks to that sound, the speed, aggression and the really pure feeling of brutality."

Are you happy with the way the artwork or "Extreme Hatred" turned out? What kind of hints did you give Kris Verwimp in order to create the cover?
"Kris was our first choice when it came to the artwork of the new album, and since Hammerheart knows him very well, I contacted him and explained what we were looking for. I sent him the mini-album along with the titles of the new album and the lyrics for the song ‘Extreme Hatred’ and asked him to come up with a suiting cover artwork for that title. We already had a vision of a dark painting with a butcher on it, and he really made the cover that we wanted. Painted artworks always look better!"

If I’m not mistaken, HYPNOSIA is a 3-piece band. Many of the classic Thrash Metal bands also used to be a 3-piece in their career (DESTRUCTION, SODOM, KREATOR…). Do you feel most comfortable this way?
"HYPNOSIA has always been intended to be a four piece, but we’ve had big problems in finding a dedicated bass player, so both albums have been recorded as a three piece. At this very moment we are trying out a new bass player, but it’s too early to say if he’ll become a permanent member yet (they have found a bassplayer in the meantime – S.W.). Drums, bass, guitar/vocals and a second guitarist is the ultimate HYPNOSIA line-up and is needed both in the studio as well as when playing live."

I have all your releases except the very first demo and I must say that your vocals have improved a lot throughout the years. Do you think so as well and would you like to go a little bit more into detail about this subject?
"On the "Crushed Existence" demo (1996) and the "The Storms" demo (1997), we played with down-tuned guitars and had very little time in the studio, so it was just recorded and then released! No experiments or trying new ways of doing the vocals. In the early days I was the only one who could actually sing and play guitar at the same time, so in early 1998 we tuned up the guitars to regular E-tuning, and my voice changed to fit the "new" sound. I have never thought much about my vocal performance, but became aware of it during the recording of the "Violent Intensity" mini-album. It was very strong and suited the music well, and in my opinion added an extra dimension to the sound of HYPNOSIA. The vocals are now like another instrument and adds to the overall aggression and sound of the band."

Is HYPNOSIA the only band you’re all concentrating on, or do you or any of you also maybe have a sort of side-project?
"Mike (drums), Hampus (guitar) and myself are fully concentrating on HYPNOSIA and put 100% into making music for this band only. When I create music it always end up sounding like HYPNOSIA, and believe me, I have tried making other sorts of Metal! I am of course not only into Thrash and Death metal, I got into Metal very early and am a huge fan of many different styles of Metal, and especially early Heavy Metal like IRON MAIDEN, MÖTORHEAD and JUDAS PRIEST. At the moment, there are way too many bands in the Metal scene, and the side-project bands makes it worse! Most are completely inferior to their main bands and I think you should concentrate on making one totally great band instead of having two boring and unimaginative bands."

When you look back at the demo-days with the first demo and the "The Storms" demo, what comes to mind then? Do you prefer those days or these days?
"It was a great time when we made the first demo "Crushed Existence" in early 1996, we got great support and got heavily involved in the underground. Prior to HYPNOSIA, we had only bought stuff and supported other bands, but now we finally contributed to the scene and that was a great feeling! We have come a long way since 1995, and now it is on a more serious level which puts more pressure on the band. It’s very exciting now, and it was 5 years ago as well. We still play the songs from the demo-tapes, so we will always carry the feeling of that time with us, even today."

With the knowledge of the business and the music you have nowadays, would you have done things otherwise if you had formed HYPNOSIA now?
"It’s difficult to answer, but I would probably go the same way. I am a die-hard Metal fan and musician, not a business man!"

Maybe you also heard the news that next year DESTRUCTION is going to tour Europe together with KREATOR and SODOM? Do you think that this tour could be important for the Thrash Metal genre in general? Do you think the band will be able to live up to the expectations? If you had the chance, would you like to join this tour and open each night for them?
"Yes, I have heard that the "big three" of German Thrash Metal will go on tour together. I don’t think that Thrash Metal will ever be as popular as in the late 80’s, but hopefully these three great bands will show the kids that there are still brutal quality Metal around, and that they will blow the heads off the boring Americanised Metal scene. It seems people have lost the underground spirit to discover new bands, be it old or new bands, and this tour with DESTRUCTION, SODOM and KREATOR may ignite a flame to go and look up different bands, not MARILYN MANSON or SLIPKNOT, but true, honest Metal made by Metalheads! I saw both DESTRUCTION and SODOM in Germany last year and I speak from my own experience: they totally rule! It would be a great honour for HYPNOSIA to be support act for these three founders of extreme Thrash Metal! Every night, everywhere!"

What’s your opinion on the Swedish Metal scene these days and the Swedish scene from the past?
"There are so many bands in Sweden, that you probably don’t understand how many there really are! Too many in my opinion, but out of a hundred bands there are spawned one or two great bands, so maybe it’s good anyway, I don’t know… These days, I’d recommend NECROPHOBIC, MAZE OF TORMENT, SERPENT OBSCENE and a few others. Sweden has had so many great bands in the past, and how such a small country with only 9 million inhabitants can breed so many classic bands is a miracle. The bands I like the most are the ones that have stood the test of time, bands who I have listened to a lot during the years and who I will never stop listening to. I always forget many bands when I try to name my favourite bands, but here’s a few: HEAVY LOAD, BATHORY and CANDLEMASS. The Swedish underground Death Metal and Thrash Metal of the late 80’s and early 90’s is perhaps the best underground era of all. Too many great bands to name, sorry!"

When will we finally be able to catch you on tour? Are there already concrete ideas?
"Our record label is currently setting up a tour at the moment, which will take place in May. A European tour through countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria and most likely also Holland and Belgium. They have asked if we are able to tour in May and it will be a Hammerheart band-tour. It’s too early to say which bands will be able to tour at this point, but they try to get ANCIENT RITES, DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, THANATOS and HYPNOSIA on the road. It would be a great tour, I think (and this tour won’t happen as ANCIENT RITES will tour in May together with LOWBROW and DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER – S.W.)!!!"

Are there still any albums which managed to impress you lately?
"I buy many albums and I am always on the hunt for new or old Metal records! Lately I was really impressed by the album "Collision Course" by German PARADOX, great melodic Thrash/Speed Metal. "The Third Antichrist" by NECROPHOBIC is also great, as well as the latest HELLOWEEN album, "The Dark Ride", great melodies and strong hymn-like choruses, I like it!"

What’s the ultimate movie to drink your booze with?
"Well, usually we don’t drink to any movies, but videos with Heavy Metal like JUDAS PRIEST. When we occasionally have something in the background, we tend to look at sick and bizarre stuff from Necromantik, and all imaginable cannibal or zombie movies to real "shockumentarys" like the Traces Of Death series or executions. Mainly brutal stuff, but 95% it’s Metal and Metal only!"

What’s about the most funny story / thing that happened throughout your career so far?
"We’ve received some quite funny letters in the past, asking for demos and stuff, in the worst imaginable English I’ve seen! I also did a phone interview recently and I didn’t understand like 2/3 of the questions, because of the interviewers lack of knowledge in the English language, but I tried my best to be serious and give detailed answers about whatever!"

What are your current future plans?
"Most important is to rehearse with the new bass player and to write songs for the next album, it will still be fast, aggressive and brutal. Hopefully there will be a European tour in May 2001, and HHR will release a three-track CD-S / 7", in support of that tour."

Is there anything you would still like to add to the interview?
"No, I think that’s pretty much it! Thanx Steven, for the great support! To all Metal maniacs, see you on tour in 2001! Thrash!!!"

Steven Willems

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