REPUGNANT will most likely not be known to the bigger part of you out there, but I guess you will get to hear much more from these maniacs in the near future. REPUGNANT hails from good old Sweden, have released one killer demo "Spawn Of Pure Malevolence" and a 7" called "Hecatomb". Musically, REPUGNANT sounds very old-fashioned, musically their influences range to my humble opinion from old MERCILESS to old GRAVE, there are worse references, ha! This interview was done in July last year, so still before the tour they did afterwards with MACABRE, and first appeared in Sleepless Mag No. 9. Recently they signed to Hammerheart Records who re-released their 7" together with some additional bonus tracks as a mini-CD. Read on to hear what mastermind Tobias had to reveal

Hi Tobias! What are you listening to right now at the moment?
"At the moment, I’m listening to "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus", the first CANDLEMASS LP, one of the best Doom Metal albums ever."

When did you actually form REPUGNANT and can you tell a bit more about the band from the very beginning?
"I formed the band in July 1998, back then it was Chriss Piss on drums, Karl on bass and myself on guitar / vocals. We also tested some second guitar players but couldn’t find anyone suitable at that time. We recorded the "Spawn Of Pure Malevolence" demo in February 1999. At the beginning of the summer, we did some line-up adjustments. Karl was asked to leave the band and got replaced by ex-INSISION dude J. Ahonen (also called Roy Morbidson). We also recruited a second guitarist, Sid E. Burns (real name is Johan). So, nowadays, the REPUGNANT line-up is Chriss Piss on drums, Roy Morbidson on bass, Sid E. Burns on guitar and finally myself, Mary Goore on vocals / guitar. As you can see, we have adopted really evil pseudonyms which we would really appreciate if you could refer to us as in the future."

Who came up with the bandname REPUGNANT?
"Well, I did actually. I was sitting at home one day, listening to the mighty "Horrified" by REPULSION when I decided to go and and check out the correct translation of the word ‘repulsion’ (to Swedish). I started flipping through the dictionary and found the word ‘repugnant’ almost next to ‘repulsion’. It took me about 5 minutes to decide that was to be the name of my newfounded band (I was just putting the band together at that time). So, I’d say our name is very inspired by REPULSION."

How were the reactions to your first demo? How many copies did you sell? In my review, I compared you to old KREATOR and MERCILESS, do you agree?
"Well, it has been very well received. Never really heard anything bad about it, except for Hervé of Osmose Productions, he found it mediocre and complained about it. I thought a man of his age and experience would recognize a real Death Metal band when he saw one. We thought it was funny though, not everyone can like you. As for being compared to KREATOR and MERCILESS, it’s great because they’re 2 of my favorite bands. By the way, the edition of 450 copies is sold out in the meantime."

I didn’t read any reviews to your demo except my own, so did you promote the demo very much?
"We’ve had some struggle finding the money to send out all the tapes that were meant to be send out, I also don’t remember how many we’ve given away. The problem is that MOST of the zines we’ve sent a copy to haven’t even been published yet."

Are you friends with many bands from the local / national / international scene?
"I guess we know most local bands, and many national bands too. As for international ones, we are in contact with some bands here and there. I don’t really know how many, but there are some bands in every country. Of course we would like to know everybody but that is simply impossible. And besides, there are a lot of "eggs" out there who I really like to keep a distance from."

I’ve never heard so far of the city you live in. Where in Sweden is it located? Can you do / visit many things in your city?
"Heh heh, well, Norsborg is actually a suburb to Stockholm, and it’s located in the very south part of the city. Since it’s the capital city, maybe you can understand that there is a pretty wide variety of stuff to do or to visit here. I’ve actually been asked this question several times before in interviews."

Would you say that REPUGNANT is a typical Swedish band?
"It depends on which era you’re thinking of. If you mean today’s scene, than we’re absolutely not, I think we have more in common with the old Swedish Death Metal scene. We draw a lot of influences from the old demo tapes of bands like MORBID, CARNAGE, NIHILIST, GRAVE, TREBLINKA, etc. The biggest influential field is the old American scene tough. You know, bands like SLAYER, POSSESSED, DEATH, AUTOPSY, NECROPHAGIA, MORBID ANGEL etc. But also bands like VOIVOD, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SODOM, CARCASS, SEPULTURA… You see, we don’t have much in common with the general DARK TRANQUILLITY-influenced scene, nor with the DEEDS OF FLESH kind of bands."

Have you played many gigs already? Any memorable ones? Is it easy for you to play gigs, do you get many offers?
"We’ve done 5 gigs so far. Most of them have been really enjoyable, one was shit. Due to the fact, that we’ve only played at our home-field so to say, there is always the same crowd at our gigs. The gigs have always been drunk and really messy, but it was very fun also. We‘re really dying to play abroad. So far we have played together with bands like MAZE OF TORMENT, MERCILESS, NECROPHOBIC, DISMEMBER, IMPERATOR (Poland), KAAMOS, INSISION, PANDEMONIC… It’s not very hard to get a gig together in our area, but it’s damn hard getting a good gig. There are some places but not enough good bands. We get some offers, we take some."

"Hecatomb" is released through Dead Monkey records. I never heard of that label before, what else did they release?
"It’s actually Roy Morbidson’s label. Nothing serious, as for yet away, he just started the label to release our E.P."

If I’d say that the songs on your 7" are more aggressive and less melodic than the songs on your demo, do you agree? Is this the direction you want to take in the future? What would you say yourself is the main difference between the demo and the 7"?
"Melodic??? It’s the first time I’ve ever heard us being referred to as being melodic. But seing it from a point of view where we are melodic, I think we’ve not tuned down the ‘melodies’. We become more aggressive though, yes. We are of course a developing band, so the fact that there is a difference between the demo and the E.P. is just a part of the growing process. We are aiming to be even more aggressive (note that this does not mean faster), even more catchy and definitely more evil. Wait and see."

Are you satisfied with the way the E.P. came out (packiging, sound, the tracks themselves, etc)?
"Yes I am. There is course always stuff afterwards that one feels that could be better, but basically, I am very pleased with it, keeping in mind that I can’t change anything about it now anyway."

Why did you you choose CELTIC FROST to cover, are they one of your faves? Are there any other songs you cover or would like to cover?
"They are definitely one of our favorite bands. Why we choose to cover them at that moment was more or less a coincident. I had wanted to play ‘The Usurper’ since we started (even in my prior band), and when we came to close the recording sessions, we felt that there should be one more song on the E.P., and so we decided to do the CELTIC FROST cover. We really like doing covers, at the moment we are playing ‘Carnal Leftovers’ (NIHILIST) but in the past we’ve also done ‘Evil Dead’ (DEATH) and ‘Mortal Remains’ (OBSCURITY). In the beginning, we also did ‘Tormentor’ and ‘Raining Blood’ by SLAYER. Covers rule!"

One of the songs on the "Hecatomb" 7" is called ‘From Beyond The Grave’. I first thought it was an ANCIENT RITES cover, but in the end it turned to be one of your own songs. Do you know the band ANCIENT RITES?
"Yes, we are familiar with ANCIENT RITES, they’re a very good band. Don’t know them personally though regrettably. We did not know of their song though till maybe a month or 2 after the recording of our E.P.. I mean, what’s the big deal about this? You’re not the first one to mention this. I mean, how many bands haven’t done a song called ‘Tormentor’?"

What’s your dream with REPUGNANT ? What do you want to reach with the band?
"At the moment, our goal is to become a touring band, that’s our "dream" so to say. We really love to play live, it’s the ultimate feeling. So, I’d say our dream is to do a tour. Another dream is to really prove that we can stand the test of time and never wimp out as basically every band prior to us has done."

If you ever had the chance to record a song or a whole album with some persons of your choice, how would the band look like?
"Hmm, this is a tough one. You know, if I would want to do a technically advanced album, there would be a whole different line-up than if I would want to do a "raw" album. For a technical one, I would choose Steve Digiorgio on bass, Mickey Dee on drums, Andy LaRocque on guitar, Messiah Marcolin on vocals and myself on guitar. Fuck, I really don’t fit in here. It would be a some kind of Old Metal / Doom thing. The "raw" line-up would be Dave Lombardo on drums, Mike Torrao on guitar, Chuck Schuldiner on guitar, Cliff Burton on bass and Jeff Beccera on vocals. All in their prime time during the mid eighties. It would be insane traditional and old-fashioned Death Metal. I myself would only be watching how the gods would be destroying."

What are your biggest hobbies beside the band? Booze and Metal forever?
"I watch a lot of movies, I’m really a film lunatic. Besides that, it’s only Metal that counts, and everything that comes with it."

What do you do besides REPUGNANT, do you still study or do you work?
"Well, Sid E. Burns works at some kind of mobile home factory, where I’m also starting to work soon. Chriss Piss works at a warehouse. Roy Morbidson works at a recordshop where I’m also working sometimes. You see, we’re pretty low-lifes."

I heard that you recently signed to Hammerheart and that they will re-release "Hecatomb" as a mini-cd, do you like that idea? Did you have other label-offers as well? Do you know Hammerheart Records very well?
"Yes, we are indeed nowadays signed to Hammerheart. Well, since the E.P. is sold out, we thought it was an OK idea to release it again as a CD-single and also as a 12" E.P. (with some extra songs). I myself am not 100% comfortable with the idea, but as we are almost a totally unknown band, it is a very good way of promoting our name. We’ll actually release yet another demo-tape also, basically just to promote us. The plan is to record our debut album during early autumn and then release it at the end of this year. There weren’t that many labels interested in us actually. Hammerheart proposed the most reliable contract of the few. We had some problems deciding though, cause the problem is to sign to a ‘big’ label or not. On one hand, you have the independent small labels, doing it for the sake of supporting the underground. You know that they want to sign the band because they like the band, and not because it can lead to $$$. The problems with such labels is that you’re very limited as a band. They’re most of the time not able to send you on tour, cause they can’t afford it, which is a huge disadvantage for a band who’s aim is to play everywhere. Another thing is that the people behind those labels often do not work full-time for their label, and just work on it during their time off. This can also cause some problems, for example it can be difficult to get ahold of the label whenever you want. Also, you’re pretty much dependant on the person behind the label that he has a good month concerning health and economy. The bad thing about a ‘big’ label is the anonymity. If you’re not one of their biggest bands, you’re very low priority. They can really fuck you over lawfully in a way that small labels most likely would never do. The good sides are that you’re not obligated to pay a lot of money on recordings etc., which you must do if you’re on a small label. On the other side, you are paying in a way anyway, because the recording costs are deducted from the royalties. Bu the main thing is that you don’t have to pay from your own pocket, most important you have the chance to be sent out on tour. I personally believe that Hammerheart is a combination between the 2 types. It’s a very serious label with a head-office and employees and all that shit, good economy, touring of bands, etc. And they like the music, they believe in the creativity (as in the artistic creativity). But we don’t know yet, we’ll see what the future brings? So far, they seem to be reliable chaps."

When can we expect a full-length album of yours? Have you already written much new material?
"As I said, our debut album will be out, hopefully at the end of this year. It will contain some old stuff as well as some new stuff, I guess about 50 / 50. We have some new tracks ready as for now, I can’t reveal that much about it yet, but one track will be called ‘Death Knell’."

How often do you rehearse? Are there any rehearsals you can’t remember because of your beer consuming?
"We basically rehearse 3 times a week, we don’t usually get plastered during those events, because we’re not very good at playing when we’re drunk. It happens though that during our parties we have here, we do some jam sessions. That’s when we grease up each other in a jam."

What are your 5 fave records, movies, bands of all time?
"Oh fuck, I really hate this question! It’s so hard to really point out 5 (even 15 is hard) records. Since you asked, I have to answer, but I’ll do this my way and I’ll separate best bands from best albums… or maybe… Aaarrrrgh, what the hell! Five really great albums that I worship and love to it’s very extent are "Seven Churches" (POSSESSED), "Reign In Blood" (SLAYER) – I know it’s a totally cliché choice but what the heck – , "Infernal Overkill" (DESTRUCTION), "Scream Bloody Gore" (DEATH), "Altars Of Madness" (MORBID ANGEL)… and a hundred more. But these are only the Death Metal albums, if you ask about Heavy Metal, there’s another answer. I love "Restless And Wild" (ACCEPT), "Stay Hungry" (TWISTED SISTER), the first ANGELWITCH album (aaaaahhhh!), "Master Of Puppets" (METALLICA) – the whole Clive Burton period is actually devine -. I can’t really give you a straight answer, I like so many bands and records. Oh, I forgot to mention the mighty VOIVOD, KISS (1973-1982), MERCYFUL FATE / KING DIAMOND, also IRON MAIDEN is a favorite, as well as RAINBOW. "

What has mainly been happening since the release of "Hecatomb"?
"Nothing much really, some gigs, some composing as well as some posing. We got a new rehearsalplace, the best thing that happenend to us so far. "

Your music sounds very raw, the "Hecatomb" 7" reminds me a lot on old GRAVE. Do you want to sound as old-fashioned as possible? Why do you think so many Swedish bands have wimped out? Are there any ‘new’ bands you can recommend? Your fave Swedish band?
"I take that as a compliment, thanks. Yes, we aim to sound very old-fashioned, very raw, brutal and evil, but without copying one single band. We are very influenced by the old traditional scene and try to capture the same atmosphere and harshness into our music that they did. I think why many of the old bands wimped out is because they were in their primes in a time when there was no past. They had nothing to look back on, it was still under construction. It’s very hard being objective when you’re right in the middle. For many of them, it was just a puberty phase, even if they played in the most cult-followed bands. So basically, they grew up. We, for example, are of the younger generation (we’re between 19-24 years old), we know what we don’t want to become and we know exactly what we like. We have the past to look back on, we feel what actually is the right ‘manner’ so to say. It’s sad though, that many of the bands that I liked didn’t have more faith in what they were doing. Most of them wimped out, sad but true. About the new bands, there are some good bands out there like PENTACLE, MORTEM, MAZE OF TORMENT, HYPNOSIA, DIABOLIC, ANGEL CORPSE, ABOMINATOR, EVIL INCARNATE, HATE ETERNAL and some more. There are also some great bands left (or re-united) like ASPHYX, MERCILESS, DISMEMBER, MORBID ANGEL and of course SADISTIC INTENT. Also MURDER SQUAD, a new project band featuring Uffe Cederlund and Peter Stjärnvind of ENTOMBED should be great, judging from what I’ve heard about them so far, they’re a very AUTOPSY kind of band. The thing is, there are quite a bunch of good bands out there, but only bands who release albums. There are no really good demo bands around anymore."

What are your thoughts about the underground scene and the Swedish scene in particular? For how long have you been listening to Metal? With which bands did you start?
"There is of course still a sort of underground movement, though it needs some improvement. Old news, but there are too many bands, and a majority of them are unfortunately not that good. There are too many projects, people should focus on one band in my opinion. Another thing: where is the true demotape tradition? Every band is doing computer-made ‘plastic’ covers nowadays. They have no soul at all, there’s no creativity about them whatsoever (also keeping in mind that not all bands are even still recording demos nowadays. A democover should be handmade, even if you’re not an artist, it would still give your band an own identity. I concider it to be so fucking pretentious of all bands trying to conceal their lack of ability to create something good (not necessarily original) behind a glammy computermade piece of expensive paper. As if that would make them look more ‘professional’. Just look at the old Death Metal bands, their demos looked very simple, but very artistic at the same time. Everything from just a small cover with just a cool logo and a drawn zombie on it to very detailed folded A4 papers filled with stuff. Oh… I shiver, those were real artworks. Have you already seen the "Death To Posers" demo by SADUS (no, I haven’t seen the original one yet, just got it through tape-trading, by the way, hi Frank! – S.W.)? It’s a real beauty, very original idea, totally handmade. People, take a lesson from the past, recognize history and enjoy it to it’s fullest! Well, I have listened to various types of heavy music since my small childhood (I have a much older brother who gave me hints what to listen to). My first encounters with Metal was of course KISS, then it was TWISTED SISTER, MÖTLEY CRÜE, W.A.S.P. and basically most of the mid eighties hard rock bands. It was much later that I got into the whole Thrash / Death Metal thing. Besides SLAYER, my first album was SEPULTURA’s "Morbid Visions". An early favorite was also MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND, And from there, on it went…"

Do you guys in the band get along well with each other? What would you say are the characteristics of yourself and the others?
"We get along pretty good, of course there are differences from time to time. You’ll have to excuse me, but I don’t feel like going into personal stuff right now, but in short: Roy Morbidson – ‘the monkey’, Sid E. Burns – ‘the sceptic’, Chriss Piss – ‘the drummer’ (everybody who plays in a band knows drummers are a pain in the ass, heh heh!). About myself, well … I’d say Mary Goore – ‘the copromancer’."

What’s your choice: watch a movie with 10 bottles of beer or go to an underground gig with 10 bottles of beer?
"Without hesitation, going to a gig with 10 bottles of beer. I personally don’t drink much while I’m watching a movie (except for large amounts of Coca Cola), it’s all or nothing for me. Why drink like 5 beers and get a headache when I can drink like 10 beers and get drunk. I prefer doing my home activities in peace and quiet (except for my stereo or TV), while I like to get messy when I’m drinking."

What are your memories on the last time you puked?
"A couple of weeks ago, we were having our first outdoor park drunkomania for this year, and got really beyond all sences when it comes to correct behavior. We turned really obnoxious and started flirting with practically every girl we met (even some old hags on the subway), just being a total clown. When it was getting colder, we decided to go to our rehearsalplace (it’s a pretty big place with a sort of party-facility). Right about there, my memory is totally gone. I’ve been told afterwards that I had just passed out in one of the chairs, then started farting really loudly and just started grunting and snoring. And of course all my friends sat round me, laughing, when suddenly I started puking on the floor. No hit, cause we have all-covering carpets. And then when everybody went to sleep, I woke up feeling really shitty and I went to our sink (where we piss) to take a leak. Suddenly, I felt some kind of pain and it took me a moment or two to locate it to my stomache, so I revealed myself in the sink. When we all woke up, I suddenly had a reminder what I had done. Cleaning time…"

Any final comment? Anything you would still like to add?
"Thanks a lot ot you Steven for your support, it’ll be remembered. This was a really good interview for sure. At the moment, we don’t have much for sale, but we have much planned, so if you’re interested, write a couple of lines and I’ll get back to you when we have stuff in stock."

Interview & Pics: Steven Willems

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