"Bloodhymns" is the title of the new record by Swedish masters NECROPHOBIC. They continue on offering raw, savage and brutal Swedish styled Death Metal in the old tradition and I personally love it! As we thought it was going to be interesting on asking them some questions we sent an interview through e-mail and here it is what Joakim, their drummer told us.
Well, I think that the first and main question is: why did you leave Black Mark Productions after so many years with them? Weren’t you happy with them anymore?
"If we were happy with Black Mark, we wouldn’t have left them, obviously. The thing is that Black Mark didn’t do shit for us, as we see it. When our albums came out, we got lots of interviews and stuff like that, but apart from that, I think their promotion suffered alot. It used to be good, but the last years on that label, was really sad. They also seem to have worser and worser distribution. Another thing is that we couldn’t do tours while we were on Black Mark. They never wanted to pay for anything! They just wanted to pay for album-recordings and then only earn money for the sales of their records. It’s alot more, but I don’t feel explaining it all. These things I have said is enough for all of you to understand why we left that label."
How did you got in contact with Hammerheart Records?
"Guido (Hammerheart boss) contacted us in late 1999 and asked us if we still were under contract with Black Mark. He told us that he wanted to sign us and make NECROPHOBIC justice. We told him that we still had to record yet another album after "The Third Antichrist" for Black Mark. However, I started to read our contract to see if there were any paragraphs that could make us free, but the stuff I pointed at, Black Mark responded that it couldn’t set us free. Anyhow, after some time, we sort of came to an understanding that it was really necessary to get free from the contract and finally we were free."
Before Hammerheart got you signed, did you got any other offers from different labels?
"When the word was out that we were free from Black Mark, there were several labels that contacted us, both very wellknown and some not so known. However, we had already got so great impression from Hammerheart and we liked the contract we had been given from them, so we didn’t go for any other label. I also want to say that Hammerheart is the best label for us for the moment. We have high priority, which I doubt we would have got on one of those very very big labels. It’s very important to have high priority, otherwise nothing good will come out of the collaboration."
Lets talk about "Bloodhymns", it seems that the production sounds a bit more oriented to the first albums from the band, maybe a bit more aggressive and raw, what do you think?
"I totally agree with you. I think this is the heaviest production we’ve ever had. You always get better and better to work in a studio, but the material is very strong as well and our playing has developed, so everything goes hand in hand. We also found the right magic on this album."
Tell us about the recording of the new album. How long did it take and are you satisfied with the results?
"We are all very satisfied how the album came out to be. We knew that we have succeeded once again with great songs. We spent about 2 months in the studio, so we had a lot of time to try different things, without loosing focus. I can understand that one can loose focus if you spend too much time in the studio, but that was not the case here. The recording went by quite easy, but we are very relaxed when we are in Sunlight. We’ve been there so many times. Tomas (Sunlight) knows our music really good and that more than positive."
It seems like you’re addicted to Sunlight Studios. Haven’t you thought about other studios instead this one for future recordings?
"Of course we have talked about using different studios and we have done some recordings for ourselves in other studios, but somehow, we always end up in Sunlight. For this record, we actually planned on going to Abyss. We even booked it, but things happened that forced us to stay in our hometown, Stockholm, so we ended up in Sunlight again. Now, afterwards, we are damn happy that we didn’t use another studio… and you know why… don’t you?" (Of course, he’s talking about how good the latest record is.)
You did release "The Third Antichrist" in 1999. Why waiting nearly 3 years to release a new album? Did you have any line-up problems or something?
"From November 1999 to March 2002 is not really 3 years, isn’t it? (Let’s explain that the release date for "The Third Antichrist" was the end of 1999 and the release date for the latest one have been 2002, so the substraction is easy, isn’t it?). Well, there is also another thing that has to do with that we don’t put out a new album every single year. We are very self-critical with our music. We don’t want to record 10 songs and only 5 of them are high quality. Many bands seem to release such albums, where half of the material seem to be there just to fill out the time. If you are familiar with all our albums, you know that every album contains only killer songs, very high quality music. All our albums is a kind of "greatest hits", if you know what I mean. We throw away lot of ideas and pieces of music, just to release this kind of masterpieces. Then there are other factors that also delays our work a bit. Line-up changes is one thing. Troubles with the label. Booking studio and find time… you know. When we are ready to record, it isn’t always that there is time for us available. After a record is finished, there is a lot of work left, with covers to the album, taking band pictures. Then the label has to do their work and follow their release schedule. Every small step delays an album release."
There was a time when many self proclaimed Death Metal bands became slower or more technical. On the opposite, before the release of "The Third Antichrist", it seems that you became faster and rawer, why?
"We are still technical, what do you mean? By becoming rawer and faster has to do with that our music just came out that way. Maybe it was something from our subconscious as we don’t like bands that change their style and become way to different from what they were before. I don’t really know, but Death Metal shall be Death Metal. If you go too far from it, stop doing more records under the same name."
After the release of "Spawned By Evil", David Parland (one of the founding members of the band) decided to leave the band, what did happen? Did you knew Sebastian from his past in MORPHEUS?
"David wanted to play Black Metal only, so he continued with DARK FUNERAL, but after just 6 months after he left NECROPHOBIC, DARK FUNERAL kicked him because they couldn’t work with him. Yeah, we knew Sebastian since years before he joined NECROPHOBIC. There was a time when we didn’t see him much, but we met him at the right time. We were looking for a new guitarplayer and Sebastian had been away from the Death Metal scene for awhile and as MORPHEUS didn’t exist no more, he was really hungry to start playing music like this again."
Just before the signing with Hammerheart, you also lost Martin Halfdan and you recruited another MORPHEUS ex-member, Johan Bergeback. It seems that MORPHEUS has been important in the continuation of NECROPHOBIC, isn’t it?
"It just turned out this way. We also know Johan since years ago and this was also a great timing. He didn’t have a band to play with and hadn’t played Death Metal since MORPHEUS split up in 1994. He’s a great musician and he contributes to our sound very good."
Do you think that now you have established the line up, at last?
You’re about to start the tour for the new album together with ANCIENT RITES and PRIMORDIAL. What expectations do you have for this?
"We just heard that ANCIENT RITES cancelled the tour and PRIMORDIAL wasn’t really happy to tour with ANCIENT RITES and jumped on another tour, so we got stolen off that tour. However, the booking agency is working their asses off for the moment to come up with a new, as great "substitute" as possible. I hope it will work out fine. We really must go on tour now as we are hot stuff, it seems. We are really looking forward to play."
You were formed in Sweden in the year 1989, how do you see the evolution of extreme music (Death as well as Black Metal) during those 13 years?
"During these many years, I’d say that there’s still great music coming out. It has of course been bad times in this period. Many great bands have quit and split up, but new interesting bands have come in their places. I must say I hated the period around the murder of Euronymous. It developed something bad. Bands started to focus more on their image than on their music. Every day one could see a new Black Metal band, claiming to be true and were using corspe-paint, looking more and more stupid. Made foolish statements just to create a rumour, or make themselves heard, but when you heard their music…what crap! I remember thinking that those bands would have waited 10 years to learn how to make music, before they infected the scene with their stupidness. Things are looking better now…"
Just a curious question: you’ve used the "pentagram" on nearly every cover you’ve done. Is this some kind of symbol for NECROPHOBIC?
"Yes, and it’s actually called the "necrogram". It’s a very important part of NECROPHOBIC."
The layout for the last album seems to be more bizarre, as well as styled and all with some kind of concept related with blood. Who came with the idea of the "blood" everywhere?
"It was Tobias who came up with the idea for the booklet. He worked with a close friend of ours and I helped them as well. There is a lot of symbolic stuff in there that goes hand in hand with the music and lyrics on this album. It was also cool that we could use a thicker booklet and use colour on every page. Something that wasn’t possible when we were on Black Mark."
You’re one of the oldest Swedish bands that’s still active today. Do you consider yourself as an influential band in the extreme scene?
"I don’t know. It’s really not a question I shall answer to. I cannot tell if we inspire other bands, can I?"
I think that’s all for the moment, thanx for taking the time to answer this. Feel free to add whatever you want…
"I just wanna stop right here and thank you for letting NECROPHOBIC be part of your work. I hope that all of you will pick up the new album. Keep visiting our website for news and updates of the upcoming tour and festivals. Bye! Website: www.necrophobic.net E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org."
Interview: Tony (originally published by Xtreem Music)