Coldworker - Anders Jakobsson
23/01/07 || Lord K Philipson
Are you ready for an in-depth, insanely awesome and very long interview? That’s exactly what you will fucken get when I interview Anders Jakobsson of Coldworker. You probably heard of them by now, if not, blow me. You sure missed out on some really fine death/grind, bitch. Debut album “The contaminated void” is released, you better pick up a copy at yer local record store. I wanna take the opportunity to hand out huge fucken kudo’s to Anders for taking the time to go thru this interview in a manner matched by few. This one goes down in GD history as one of the best interviews we have done so far. This is how shit should be done. Bands: read, take notice and learn.
Global Domination: Exactly how much fun are you having with Coldworker? Once this band was started, things went fast as fuck. A killer debut album was recorded and Relapse were willing to sign you faster than Carl Lewis ever ran in his prime time. Do you agree that you guys really get shit served on a silver plate thanx to yer glorious past?
Anders Jakobsson: Well, yes, my past has had a huge part in the rapid success of the band. I am a little surprised myself. But what was the option? There’s no way for me to erase my past and start all over from scratch. My past should be a part of the equation. If people think that everything was served on a silver plate they should remember that I fought for 15 years with Necrony and Nasum to get somewhere with my music. And the other members have struggled for years with their bands, so it’s just fair that they get a break for all of their hard work. But on the other hand, the record deal didn’t just come by default. Just almost… So I am having a lot of fun. It’s great to be back in the whole music thing again after a year off, and doing creative things, it’s what I love to do the most.
I have yet to see you fuckers perform live but the word is a lot of shit needs improving when it comes to Coldworker in a live situation. I know the youngsters in the band might be a tad inexperienced when it comes to this, is this anything you have discussed in the band? Are you satisfied with how shit’s went so far when it comes to playing gigs?
“A lot” is not what I would say. We have improved a lot during the 15 gigs we managed to do during 2006. It’s true that the first couple of shows were very stiff and boring, and we discussed this a lot. We shot all our early shows on video and analyzed them and talked about how to improve our stage act. It’s hard to let go on stage, especially if you are a new band without a major following and if you haven’t got much stage experience. You have to get a feeling for your appearance on stage at the same time as you perform the songs as good as possible. The quality of the performance musically was great from the start, but we needed work on the visual thing. The tour we did in November really helped us to find our way into a more livid stage presence. I virtually saw the guys improve from day to day and it was amazing to see. Today we are more comfortable on stage and although there’s still room for improvements, “a lot” is just not fair to say. Not every band can become Iron Maiden or The Dillinger Escape Plan over night.
And then we have this tour that was supposed to happen, but didn’t. What happened? I remember you telling me something about not getting time off work for it and therefor you had to pull out of the tour. Exactly how much does this piss you off? Are there any plans for a future tour, perhaps?
Yeah, work killed the tour. I’ve always had a lot of support from work for my music and getting time off for tours has never been a problem. Until now. It was just a case of really bad timing where my presence at work is needed more than ever. Unfortunately I was counting on getting time off so we confirmed the tour before I had talked to my bosses, and then we had to cancel it. Not a fun thing to do, but what can you do? It was a great package and a nicely laid out tour that would have been great for the band, but on the other hand I sort of felt it was a little bit too early for Coldworker to go out on a five week tour. We have a few contacts already and new plans are already in the works.
Is “The contaminated void” selling anything as far as you know? It’s a well known fact that the downloading issue is a problem, but what do you think is the major fact that should make people buy the album instead of downloading it? Are you actually offering anything out of the ordinary except for some very competent death/grind? There are millions of these bands, you know, and it’s not like any of them are selling a hella lot of albums.
I haven’t asked Relapse about figures of sales yet as the album only has been out less than two months and isn’t even released in the US yet, but they usually send out statements two times a year so the first one is probably on its way soon. I think that the price of a CD is a bigger problem for the sales than downloading. Cut the price in half, goddamnit! So what if the CD must sell twice as much to break even, it will be worth it in the long run. Now, our album isn’t particularly expensive if you buy it from us or from Relapse, but generally speaking music should be cheaper. Relapse has been working hard during their last releases and created really nice packages, trying different stuff to make the album more unique and “The Contaminated Void” is no exception. If you have seen the real CD it has a really remarkable packaging that gives something out of the ordinary. But with downloading as a part of the process, the ultimate is of course that people listen to the album and enjoys it so much that they come to our shows and then buy the real thing. That’s happened quite a few times already.
Speaking of sales and downloading. How much do you download yourself and do you seriously go out and buy an album these days when you know the product is just 3 clicks away anyways?
As I’m a writer I get most of the stuff I want for free, so there’s no real reason for me to download albums. I am also such an album junkie that I can’t stand the thought of having an album that I really like as a few files in a folder, or in a flat promo CD for that matter. So I buy the stuff I want. My downloading habits are mainly focused on TV shows, but I am not certainly not one of those guys who spend every waken hour on DC++.
It’s not possible to do an interview with you without mentioning Nasum, a band looked upon as legends within the scene. Was the direction of Coldworker thought out, musically, before you started it? I was never a fan of Nasum, or grind in general, so Coldworker’s more death metal inspired approach appeals to me a fuckload more. Were your intentions to start something completely new instead of living off old merits?
The only thing I had with me from my previous musical life, when I was thinking along the lines of starting a new band, was an urge to grind. That was something I could do fairly well and something I really longed to do. But there wasn’t any direction figured out at all. Anders B, Oskar and I started the band, but before we even met we spent two weeks discussing things and shared ideas and riffs over the internet. I knew that Oskar came from a more American death metal tradition as his other band Relentless is very much in that style, and that appealed to me. And obviously when we got together we all pitched in and sort of got the ball going quite fast. From that point on it was really easy to create something that felt quite new for me and the direction quickly turned towards death metal. I had no intention continuing the style that Nasum had developed over 12 years, I was all set on doing something that was new for me, and that brought in some sort of challenge and thus it became death metal.
Coldworker is definitely a shit name for a band, but so are most monikers. What made you go with this in the first place?
Well, first we thought of having a name with Roman numbers that no one either remembers or bothers to write. And then we scanned the entire “X-men” series for a possible phrase to use, but nothing. So we went with Coldworker. It’s so hard getting a band name that nobody else has. It’s virtually impossible. When we were looking for a name for the band we did the ultimate test and searched for the name on MySpace and sure as hell there were seven bands with the same name. The criteria we had for the name was that it would in some way go along with the type of music we played, and the type of lyrics we wrote. Everything has to go hand in hand.
Now, “coldwork” was something I just happened to find when I was looking for something else. It’s a type of industry where you shape metal or glass with out using heat. Methods in coldworking is blasting, carving and grinding. Now that sounds like something a metal band in cold Sweden does: blasting, carving and grinding to shape metal without heat. So that sounded like a clever name for a band (Note by The Lord: Sure, but it’s nothing compared to Roman numerals and X-men quotes, baby). For the record, the word “coldworker” does probably not exist. I mean, those who does any type of coldwork doesn’t call themselves “coldworkers”, so in all honesty a “coldworker” is just a member of the band Coldworker, nothing else. Another thing I like about the name is that it really doesn’t say what type of music we play (all though I just wrote that it was a criteria – well, fuck that!), the way names like Morbid Angel and Anti-flag really tells you what it’s all about.
How’s the contact with the former Nasum members these days? Was it never an option to start something with them? I believe people expected this to happen but instead you went with Coldworker. How was the reaction to that from the Nasum fans?
The contact is good, but it was never an option to continue playing with them as a real band. We did a little project during the fall of 2004, which we might take up again in the future, but other than that there’s nothing. Mainly because of logistical reasons. They all live in Stockholm, which is two hours away. Not much for the average American but for a Swede it is. And both Jon and Urban have other bands to play with so that made it less of an option. It all comes down to this wish of doing something that wasn’t Nasum part 2 and I really needed new people to play with to find that extra inspiration. I quickly invited the Nasum fans to the development of the new band, writing reports and sharing songs and videos in my blog and the reactions were very good at once.
You are known for being well spoken and all that crap. Exactly how bored are you with questions about drums and yer grinding technique? Since we are on the subject of drumming… Have you learned to play double bass yet and would you consider yourself to be a hard or a soft hitter? What’s yer drum setup anyways?
Actually, I enjoy the drum questions quit a lot as it really gets into the core of my music. Also, they give me a possibility to really look into my drumming, which is something that I don’t do every minute of the day. I have generally been quite uninterested in techniques and drum issues for a long time, and just played as I wanted and let my body adjust itself to whatever technique I’m using. But lately, as the questions pour in, I’ve really investigated what I do.
Playing double bass has been part of the challenge of starting Coldworker. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting there slowly. I notice a development with every time I get. Tempos I had problems with during the recording of the album is getting more solid now, and I have set some goals for the future. One way of reaching these is that I’ve started to write parts that demand more of my drumming, so I have to improve my double bass drumming. Generally speaking I guess I hit hard, perhaps not REALLY hard, but enough. It’s quite hard to be a really hard hitter when you perform blasts, but I feel that I’m getting better at that too.
My set up is a basic rock set up with one rack and one floor tom, two crashes, a ride and a china. Recently I actually added a new cymbal to my set up which is something of a custom-made 11,5” bellsplash as I chose to call it. It’s actually a broken ride that has been reshaped to a nice little effect cymbal. After many years as a four cymbal drummer I think it’s time to expand the set up slightly to get a few more sounds to work with. I even thought about adding another tom to the set up, but I don’t know about that really.
Naturally, rate these drummers on a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the highest. Then throw in one word for each drummer to describe what you feel about them while listening to them:
Matte Modin of Dark Funeral:
Nick Barker, ex Cradle Of Filth:
Adrian Erlandsson, ex At The Gates:
Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad:
Uli Kusch of whatever band he’s in nowadays:
Leif Edling of Candlemass:
Dan Swanö of Dan Swanö:
Tomas Haake of Meshuggah:
Anders Schultz of Unleashed:
Fred Estby of Dismember:
Ed Warby of Gorefest:
Fredrik Andersson of Amon Amarth:
Tobben Gustafsson of Vomitory:
Actually, I prefer not to complete this task, as I feel uncomfortable grading my fellow colleagues, especially since most of these drummers are musicians I haven’t really listened to that much in regards to their performances. All of them – apart from Leif Edling, wiseguy – are obviously great drummers, no question about that. I will, however, say a few things about some of them: Adrian Erlandsson: I’ve always felt that Adrian’s talents never came forth to a 100% in Cradle Of Filth, so I am happy that he’s parted ways with that band and hopefully can show what it’s all about in the new bands and projects he’s involved in now. I’ve met Adrian a few times and he’s always been a nice and friendly guy. Gene Hoglan: a fucking kick ass drummer! What else can be said? Dan Swanö: Now, here is an underrated drummer. Although I doubt that Swanö would be a blasting maniac he’s got a lot of feeling in his drumming, and that is as important as speed and technique. Tomas Haake: I went to a little clinic with Tomas Haake a couple of months ago and it was really interesting to see, and obviously hear, the ideas behind his drumming and Meshuggah’s music. I totally respect him for what he does. Ed Warby: what a drummer! When he entered Gorefest to the classic “False” album something really happened to death metal drumming. Ed totally has the perfect combination of feeling and technique and seems to be a very “exact” drummer. A real inspiration.
We all know drummers are a bit retarded, myself originally being one knows this for sure. Why did you decide to become a drummer and did you ever try playing some other instruments? Can you even play any other instrument or are you fully satisfied with bashing away on them toms?
It sort of happened by accident. In Sweden all kids are given an opportunity to play whatever instrument they like in an after school system that used to be called “Music school”. My favourite instrument as a child was the trombone (!) and when I visited the Music school to try out all the instruments I didn’t dare to try this instrument, and ended up in the drum room and from that point on the drums were the shit for me. I’ve been playing the drums for 23 years now. When I was 17 I was forced to learn the guitar during one summer to get a grade in music in school and for the next six years or so I was more of a string player than a drummer, playing both the guitar and the bass in a couple of bands. Today my focus is 100% on the drums. I can manage to play the guitar as a song writer but my technique is so sloppy that I would never get on stage to perform a song.
You have been in the scene for a million years, you had yer own fanzine Hymen at one time and thought playing crap music in crap bands was a great thing to do at one or two points in yer life. Do you miss the days of old? How do you think it differs from today? I can’t say that the vibe from back in the day, when everyone was supporting each other’s bands exists nowadays. Now it’s all MySpace and e-mails. Do you want the early 90’s to return?
Ah, now this is a subject I think about a lot and have a lot to say about… Yes, I miss the old days, but does it mean I want them back? Well, stay tuned and I’ll tell you!
Today it’s even hard to comprehend that you could live your life without the help of internet and e-mails. It has become such a big part of our lives that it feels like it’s been there forever. Well, for me it’s been there for about 10 years, and prior to that I had almost 10 years in the scene, and those 10 years were fine and the whole system worked without the aid of internet. I got into the scene around 1989. I discovered the underground in form of fanzines, small record labels, demos and all that. I got into the tape trading thing, which everybody was doing then, and every week there was a new discovery. It was great. I made a lot of friends through the fanzine and through the bands I played with then, and a lot of those friends are successful today in bands and magazines. I think the secret to their success and their lasting qualities is because they did it all back in the early 90’s. Bands like Entombed, Dismember and Grave were already big then, but bands like In Flames, Amon Amarth, General Surgery and a lot of others were just small demo bands working hard with their music. Well, it paid off.
You and I got to know each other during these days, remember? You even visited my parent’s house! You were hanging out with OKEJ-Micke in his small student apartment and went to my place and I remember you called Jörgen Sigfridsson a “tarmtomte” (Note by The Lord: I’m so fucken out of here, haha). Who could forget such a colorful expression? And look at us now – both successful in our own ways. It was easier to stay tuned to what was happening in the scene because it was smaller. Today there are too many bands and for me it’s impossible to check it all out. Back then you got a fanzine and read a three months old interview with some band and it was interesting and all that. Today I read about totally unknown bands every day on Blabbermouth and wonder, “Who are they?” (and of course I realize that a lot of people ask the same question when they see Coldworker or Nasum news at the same site), the scene is just too large!
A turning point in my opinion was when bands started burning their own CD’s. Up until then it was a clear distinction between demo bands and signed bands. One released their stuff on tapes and the other put out CD’s. There were a few bands that took the tape thing to extremes, like Sindrome who did these ultra serious demos, which basically were albums on tape. All of a sudden anyone could do a CD and it was all downhill from there… The death of tape trading was another turning point. Back then, when I got a C90 filled with perhaps 5-6 demos, I listened to that tape a thousand times. Today I can’t even bother to check out one song if someone sends me a link and urge me to check it out.
And then there’s this whole issue of leaking albums today. Nowadays a band can hardly write that they are in the studio until the album has leaked and is commented everywhere. The whole idea of really patiently waiting for an album is gone. I remember when I was in my most Carcass worshiping days and eagerly waited for their third album and someone sent me two new Carcass tracks from a rehearsal on a tape. I listened to those two tracks a million times until the good old Perra Karlsson send me five rough tracks from the album and I listened to those songs two million times and couldn’t wait to get the whole album with artwork, lyrics and a good sound (those tapes were always muddy through all the copying). Today kids don’t give a fuck about artwork or lyrics, or even the concept of albums. They just need to get down the songs as fast as possible and as early as possible, not because they are interested, only because it’s possible. That’s my main grudge with downloading: nobody cares about the work behind the scenes creating a real album.
Something I really miss is the whole fanzine thing. I did my fanzine Hymen for 7 years or something and everything I did on that zine I still do today: I write about music and I do layouts (however not on paper anymore). The fanzine I did set the path for what is my profession today. We had our own little fanzine world in Sweden. It was a blast and it was always a pure joy to get a new fanzine in the letterbox. I don’t think that most of the Global Domination readers knows that you had a fanzine called Hypnosia (or Hypnausea as I asked you to call it) which was really great. Track it down if you can, because it’s a good read. Who could forget that heart-breaking piece you wrote about Roger from Atheist when he died during their Swedish tour – with that photo of you and him… You did the last interview with him, didn’t you? (Note by The Lord: I believe it was one of the last, if not the last, yes. Great guy, one of the nicest I ever met in the industry.)
I would love to do a really good fanzine today. Yes, on paper. But imagine all the work! Back then you virtually sat by the typewriter (that’s right, kids, no PC’s then!) hour after hour typing reviews and interviews. If this interview had been done 15 years ago I would have sent you 15 typed pages, which you had had to type yourself to get it into your fanzine! As a flash from the past I have actually thought of printing out this interview and mail it to you as a “real” letter just to see if you still liked the old vibe, hehe… But as you I am a nice guy and I’ll spare you that. I guess you’ll spend an hour or two preparing this with HTML-tags before publishing it anyway. (Note by The Lord: 40 minutes and counting so far…)
Anyway, I’d love to do a new fanzine, but it will not happen. The amount of work that goes into it will make everything old a week after you’ve gotten the replies to your interview or whatever. I’m very happy that no one releases fanzines on the Internet anymore. When some of the old fanzines went online they still had the “issue” thinking and released a bunch of texts every three months or so. That was funny, because it was so wrong. To get to the end of this rant, told you I had a lot to say: would I want the early 90’s to return? No. The help we have by modern technology regarding abilities to communicate, to get up to date news and to share information quickly is unbeatable, and I wouldn’t be without it. I just wish that I would get the same kind of vibe and feeling for something new as I did back then. Those who experienced it then know what I’m talking about.
So, back to Coldworker. How does it feel to be the dad in this band? I can imagine that what you say goes, right? Are there other 4 guys just puppets in yer show or is it more to Coldworker than that? How much of a democracy is Coldworker?
Well, Coldworker is definitively not my solo project with four “other guys”, it really is a band where every member has a value and a voice. But sure, I guess I sort of see myself as the “leader” of the band, being slightly more experienced than the others. Someone has to have that role too, and it’s fairly easy for me to be the link between the label and the band, handling the website and other practical stuff apart from the music. And sure I feel that I have a certain respect from the other guys due to my past. The band is yet not one year old and I think in time all of us will have different roles in the band. That kind of stuff comes pretty natural after a while. Also some of the other guys have similar roles in their other bands.
There was some bullshit brought to the front by Sweden’s assclowns Close Up Magazine some time back. You and the late Jesse Pintado were made somewhat enemies by them becoz of something you wrote about the 2nd Terrorizer album. Care to spill the beans on this? And did you guys ever clear that up before he sadly passed away? I can imagine we share the same “love” for that magazine.
I haven’t got anything against Close-Up Magazine per se, but that particular journalist stepped over the line. I don’t know if he’s got anything against me, I don’t know him, have never met him or spoken to him in any way, but obviously there must be something that he dislikes as he made me look like an idiot in his text. It all comes down to an internet related problem: what is private and what is public? Should something that I write in my personal blog be considered as “news”?
The story was that I wrote a blog where I commented on some recent events in the metal/hardcore world. One was my direct reaction to a news post from Terrorizer about the direction of their long awaited comeback album. It said something about downtuned guitars, samples, classic piano part, a 13-minute song and so forth, and I reacted as a fan and expressed that this wasn’t what I was expecting from Terrorizer. “World downfall” wasn’t a particularly original album, but it was executed in such a perfect manner, and I guess that fans of that album were hoping for more of that stuff rather than some weird experiments. That wasn’t what I wanted after 18 years. And I wrote that just like that. I wasn’t angry at all, I didn’t spew forth something along the lines of “what the fuck are they thinking?”. It was just a personal opinion and nothing else. The text almost immediately got posted on Blabbermouth and some of the talkbackers commented on the text (without reading the text properly) that they smelled a beef.
Anyway, when the Close-Up journalist interviewed Jesse Pintado he incorporated my personal opinion in a large portion of the interview, making me look like an angry child and Jesse reacted quite calmly with “Anders can think what ever he thinks”. The thing is that I can’t make out of the text how my opinions were expressed to Jesse. For all I know, the journalist could have said “Do you know that Anders slams you on his website?”, which I didn’t. A lot of my friends thought that Close-Up had stepped over the line, and that was nice to hear. However, the whole thing doesn’t matter much anymore as I can’t speak to Jesse and “explain myself”. Sadly he died shortly after the interview was published. We hadn’t been in contact in years so I didn’t even try to contact him.
Obviously the guys of Coldworker are a bunch of talented fucken musicians and some of them have other bands on the side. What’s yer take on this? Is giving 90% to Coldworker good enough for you or would you rather see them killing their other bands and concentrate fully on the work of cold? What’s yer opinion on, f.e, Anders Bertilsson’s (guitar) band Ruin? Those guys know how to fucken thrash with the best of them.
As long as the bands don’t interfere with each other I see no problem. I am not a member of Metallica! But I sincerely hope that the guys are 100% about Coldworker when they are in a Coldworker situation. Currently there are few occasions where there can be collisions as Coldworker is on a level above the other bands when it comes to touring etc. I think the related bands kick ass! Ruin, as you wrote, know how to thrash. Actually I recorded the drums, the bass and the vocals for the new demo on the same equipment as we did the Coldworker album, and it was a lot of fun. Tobbe is one solid motherfucker when it comes to recording the drums.
André Alvinzi just left the band/got kicked out/decided to become a stripper instead of going on with Coldworker. What the fuck happened and exactly how pissed are you with all this bullshit? Seriously, I think this was a good thing coz getting another guy from Ruin doesn’t exactly suck, you know. Ruin kicks ass. Now you only have 2 more members to steal from Ruin and you got all of them. If you make Ruin split up, I will punch you in the mouth. Spill the beans, Grindmeister.
I’m not pissed at all because what happened was for the band’s best. I won’t go into any details as it’s actually nobody’s business. Getting another Ruin member was a smooth solution as it narrows down the amount of related bands to – what have we, three? If I “steal” more members of Ruin I have to kick out myself, and I have currently no plans of that.
Yer album scored pretty damn high in the December edition of GD’s Audio Autopsy (0.2 points from emerging the winner of the fucken edition even) as well as getting a raving review from me. Were you surprised that we embraced the album as much as we did? Fuck knows I was surprised I like it as much as I do. Have you seen any bashings of the album at all?
Well, I don’t know the other GD writers so I couldn’t really expect anything from them, but I know you and the review was quite surprising. I thought you were going to get even for the reviews I’ve given your albums over the years. But I guess you are bigger than that and can hear quality when it’s present (Note by The Lord: I rate music, not people’s opinions on my stuff. Correct. What can I say, I’m quite awesome.). The reviews so far have been very good. No real bashings but some writers have given the album a middle grade, which I guess is due to too few listens. Some have said that they need to listen to the album quite a few times before getting it, which I guess is both a good and bad thing about the album. It might last longer, but the first impression is always important, so that’s maybe something we should think about next time. But generally speaking I enjoy all reviews where it’s obvious that the writer really has listened to the album, like yours.
No need to flatter me, I dig the shit a lot, as you know. Anyways, you always like all these sucky bands like Isis and whatnot. Exactly how metal are you, really? Tell me you like Muse at least, that would make up for the Isis-liking. What’s yer absolute fave band of all times anyways?
I am a sub-culture whore. I can’t bare with the idea of sticking to one style your whole life. What could you possibly get out of something like that? So, how metal am I? Well, I don’t wear leather pants or studs, I have neither tattoo’s nor long hair, I don’t drink beer or take bus rides to Wacken, I haven’t got a single Venom album in my collection, but metal is closest to my heart music wise as I grew up with it and I think I have a pretty good view over the whole metal spectra. I think that metal, as well as punk or whatever, is what you make of it. I have only heard Muse briefly but it sounded quite good so they are definitively a band that I will look into in the future.
As for an absolute fave band of all times, it’s a really hard question for me to answer. Lately it hasn’t been that important to sort out the greatest and the really bad for me. Bands that fight about the top places on my fave list is by definition bands that invented genres or were the leading bands of the genres or in any way affecting music as we know it for all time. I should say Led Zeppelin because I really admire them, but when it really comes down to it, it has to be The Beatles.
Since you obviously are in-the-know when it comes to music. What’s single-handedly the best band out of Sweden at this moment? Then let’s narrow it down and name the best band from yer hometown, Örebro. Coldworker is not a fucken option here, ofcourse.
Bleargh… I hate these types of questions, because, as I just said, lately it’s been more and more uninteresting for me to have favourite bands, and even so band that I hate. I can’t honestly come up with the best band of Sweden at this moment. Sorry. As for Örebro, I’ve always had a soft spot for stonerrockers Truckfighters who I think deserve a little more time in the spotlight. It’s a hardworking band doing many tours and doing great music, so Truckfighters it is.
And what would be the most overrated band, from any part of the world, at this very moment?
Who knows? I tend to spend less time and energy on bands that I don’t like than the ones that I like.
So, we talked briefly about Terrorizer earlier… It’s always fun to see yer honest opinion on shit. Exactly how boring is “Darker days ahead”? They shouldn’t have recorded it, right? The should have let the legacy stay as it was, that’s my opinion.
One thing though, and that is that you can’t stop a band from picking up the thread and continue with their music. I have been waiting for a new Terrorizer album for ages, so I have no issues with the fact that they finally pulled it off. But I can’t say that “Darker days ahead” was what I had hoped for, wished for and longed for. I think my main problem with the album is the weird sound, which more or less is the exact opposite of the killer production on “World downfall”. Also, I’m not particularly fond of the vocals, which lack some sort of extra aggression that we heard Oscar pull off on the first album. I actually think that if the album had the production of the first album, and the classic line-up, it would have been much better. In all honesty I haven’t been playing the album much after Jesse’s death so I don’t know, perhaps it grows with time.
As far as I know, you have been with the same chick for like a thousand years. What’s her take on yer musical life. A fan? Supportive? Couldn’t care less? Does she even know that you have a “name” in the scene? What’s the secret of keeping a relationship going for many, many years? Tons of drugs? Hookers? Beer?
Actually, after six and a half years we broke up on mutual terms early December. Our relationship was for 75% of the time a long distance relationship and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. In the end it developed more into a strong friendship (with the often occurring love related brawls) so we decided it was better to keep it at that, instead of fighting for something that was lost. Sad but true, but actually, this has been one of the most “giving” break ups I’ve had. I’ve had a few relationships and most of them have been quite long. I can’t really tell what the key is, but for me I think it has to do with my view on what a relationship is based on what I’ve seen in my family. If I look at my family, there are very few divorces, almost none, so I think that sort of has a part in the whole big picture. Now, if this wasn’t the most metal answer in the interview, I don’t know what is!
I also happen to know that you hardly drink at all, if ever. Are you straight edge? Straight edge is not metal, you know. Why is this, never dug the feeling of being drunk? You should try playing some gigs drunk, it’s actually quite fun, I’ve been told.
I never drink. If that’s straight edge, then I am straight edge, but generally I prefer not to put myself in groups. I stopped drinking like 6-7 years ago. I never liked the feeling of losing control of your body, which is what alcohol does to you. I have never been drunk, but when I’ve drunken beer and stuff I have stopped once I felt the buzz. I didn’t like it. And just sitting and sipping on a beer for an entire evening just to be part of the whole thing wasn’t doing anything for me, so I said “fuck it” and stopped entirely. I don’t regret it, although my social life probably suffers from it. Being sober at shows is a drag, because some people are totally different when they are drunk. I’ve heard people telling me the same story multiple times during a night, and all the day after stories that people tell whether you want it or not are so fucking boring.
You’ve done alot of shit in the past musically and the other day I listened to the Route Nine thing you did with Dan Swanö. That’s some decent shit, you know. How much respect do you have for Dan and his work, new and old? Here at GD, we love Dan. Do you think this interview will be a better read than the one he did for us? Dan’s one talented mofo, yo!
I have lots of respect for Dan Swanö and I am very happy that he has some sort of superstar in disguise status in the metal world. Just have a look at the official Dan Swanö forum, the amount of respect that gets poured over him on a daily basis is amazing, and well deserved. I’ve known Dan for 17 years now and it’s been a good friendship. For one thing, he’s kind of responsible for me releasing records in the first place. I think we have a mutual respect for each other. In that long interview you did with him, which was great by the way, he wrote “And just the other day a friend said that there was a riff on the new In Flames that sounded like it could have been an EOS riff. Stuff like that makes my day.”. That was me saying that, and it sort of made my day to be called “a friend” by Dan Swanö. When you’ve known people a long time, you don’t really know where you have them.
The Route Nine thing we did was quite fun. It was in the midst of the whole brutal death thing in Sweden and we got together and did something different, just blending everything that we liked at that moment; Voivod, My Bloody Valentine, various hardcore and what have you, and just created something. We did three sessions and did two songs per session. Nothing was planned or written in advance (apart from maybe one riff at the last session), so it was just a creative rush. It’s always fairly easy to work with Dan during these conditions, he’s always got something good cooking in the riff pot and also I love his vocals on the Route Nine stuff, as it is right in between his normal singing voice and his death voice, a type of vocals he pulls off very good. When I listen to Route Nine today I can feel a little bit awkward because the material could have benefited of some more work and most of my drumming is quite sloppy. I have a wish that we would pick up this project again in the future, because it would be really fun. The thing is though that since Dan Swanö is Dan Swanö I might be obsolete in such a project… Finally, I’ve gotten some new respect for him once I started doing my own recordings. Now I realize some of the struggles he’s been through during the 20 years he’s been recording stuff…
Mnemic agreed to do an interview with us but for some reason they don’t seem to like answering the sent questions. Therefor I would like for you to be Mircea of said band for a bit since this interview is just lying around here, to no good use. So, Mircea… Thanx for not doing the interview, could you just clear up these few questions for us:
Hehe, this reminds me about the time I answered a Habitat interview on your behalf, remember? _ One question was _“What do you think about black metal skinheads?”, and my reply was obviously “We ARE black metal skinheads!”, hehe…
Did anyone ever ask you guys if you got yer moniker from the shit movie “Johnny Mnemic” with shit actor Keanu Reeves? What’s yer opinion about that crappy flick anyways and can you feel some sort of man-love for Keanu? Fuck knows he must be gay.
No, you are the first one! Actually the movie is called “Johnny Mnemonic” (not “Mnemic”) but in Denmark it was called “Johnny Bögballe”, which made it into the history at a later date. We were supposed to be called Enemy but a dyslectic promotor wrote Mnemic on the first poster, and we liked it. And we like Keanu Reeves and man-love.
Who’d win a fistfight between you and Keanu Reeves? Can you seriously say he’s a great actor? After this, we are done with the Keanu questions. Maybe.
We would never hit Keanu Reeves. We only have man-love for him. If he would like to hit us we would be more than willing. He is the greatest actor of all time, and also the greatest bass player of all time. And the greatest man-lover of all time.
Didn’t you have a vocalist whose name was Bögballe (with the Danish version of “ö”) once? That is the most metal name I ever heard. What happened to him? If Bögballe didn’t play with you guys, feel free to answer as if he was.
Yeah, Bögballe was in the band. It was actually a stage name. We all had them, like Tarmtomte, Man-lover, Smörrebröd and so forth, but Bögballe was the only name that caught on. Last we heard, Bögballe married Keanu Reeves and got into the man-love business for sure. Lucky him!
Hahaha, thank you. Mircea must be proud. And back to Coldworker once again… With the album released and all, what’s the single biggest thing that annoys you about it every time you listen to it? All artists have this thing, you know… Be honest now.
Compared to about every other album I’ve done, “The Contaminated Void” is surprisingly free of annoying things, which probably has to do with us recording the album ourselves and thus being able to correct all mistakes instead of just accepting them because of lack of studio time. Of course there are parts on the album that I feel could have been performed better as I play them much better now, but it’s not a hang up or anything. Ok, one annoying thing though: As I was both the drummer and the engineer at the same time, I wasn’t fully aware of what was going on with the mikes during the recording, and I suspect that I somewhere along the line hit the snare mike so it moved out of its original position, so when I listened back to the early takes and compared them to the last I thought the difference in sound was really obvious. I don’t know how much Swanö did with the snare in the mix, because it’s not that obvious for me anymore. Before we recorded the first takes we sampled all the drums so it’s possible he trigged the snare with its own sound.
Is using triggers metal? You don’t use that, do you?
Triggers seem to be in the metal book of law, so it’s metal. I’m not a fan. For me the drums are a very organic instrument, and I can’t think of anything that sounds better than a properly tuned drumset. But modern drummers seem to like a mechanic and 100% full dynamic sound, which in my ears just sound boring. Take In Flames, for example, I can’t make out what’s the snare or what’s a tom, and it’s even hard to hear difference between the guitars and the drums because of the dynamics. I understand the advantages with triggers and could consider using triggers for the bass drum live, although that hasn’t happened yet. I think Swanö used triggers in the mix, using the sampled sound of the drum, just to blend it with the organic sound, but it still sounds like the drums I played, so if triggers are used in such a way I’m ok with it, but I would never accept that my drums sounded like a drum machine.
At what BPM do you feel most comfortable when yer grinding away? What’s the highest you ever reached anyways? Who’s the fastest in the world? Is blasting a sport? Or should it be?
I have never really measured my speed, and I am generally quite uninterested in that sort of stuff as the drums are only as fast as the guitars are. Some of the bands that use these ultra fast bursts of blasts don’t really do it for me as the guitars play at a slower tempo. The key to a really good fast part is that everyone plays fast. Ultimate example of this is probably “Milk” by S.O.D. Charlie blasts, but the guitars and vocals are slow. That’s not a fast part! But: When I recorded some new riffs last year I programmed some simple beats in Fruity Loops just to give the guys a hang of the part and the tempo that felt most accurate was 210 BPM. Now, I must add that I don’t play at full speed in Coldworker. I have a higher tempo in me that emerge every now and then, but this tempo is very hard to keep solid so it’s not something that I would use for a complete song.
I have no idea who’s the fastest in the world. Obviously there are some insane drummers out there and perhaps there should be some sort of blast off competition to find out who’s the fastest. I guess Flo Mournier from Cryptopsy should be one possible winner. My favourite fast drummer is probably Derek Roddy, who is a remarkable drummer all the way. I really enjoy looking at the videos at his website where you really can see the thoughts behind the beats. Also he’s a one foot blaster, just like me, which is good. You probably can gain more speed alternating the feet, but in my ears it doesn’t sound that good.
How important is it for you to be in close contact with the fans over the internet? Is Coldworker getting alot of interview requests?
It’s very important. If you aren’t a band that tours all over the world all of the time, keeping a dialogue with the fans through the website is a really good option. This is something I discovered during the Nasum years, and basically a reason why there still is a Nasum site two years after the band quit. I have an ongoing fanbased interview at nasum.com that has close to 700 questions right now. But it’s also important to me to stay private and keep my public life from my personal. I don’t get friends with the fans, I’m not inviting them to be my MSN pals or whatever. I have a public appearance and that’s what they are getting. Relapse’s press people have set up a many interviews for us but a few have come another way, like this one, so we’ve answered a lot of questions.
You guys did a great studio report for “The contaminated penis”. Studio reports rule, even more so when they have videos and audio attached to them. Is it a smart move to hand out teasers that are not even close to being the final product during the process of recording? I bet the fans dig it and I like doing the same thing myself… What was the reaction to all this while recording the album?
I love going behind the scenes, reading liner notes and getting detailed information about stuff, and I have done my best of sharing what goes on behind it all with the fans. I think that the reason why I enjoy this is because I’m not only a musician, but a song writer and nowadays even an engineer. All in all, I am a creative guy and the whole creative process is really exciting for me. Doing a studio diary was not only a documentation of the whole recording process, but also a way for us to market ourselves and hopefully create a little buzz about the album. That’s really important for a new band. If you choose what to share I see no reason why not to do it. If you have a part that you know will be a multi layered thing that will be great in the end, but sounds like crap with only drums and a rough guitar, you shouldn’t share that. But a kick ass part that sounds pretty much like it will eventually sound – go ahead! Make the fans drool for more! My impression was that those who read the diary when it was written enjoyed it, and hopefully it will give something to those who discover the band and album now and want to know how it was done. For me it’s a great reminder of one of the best things that happened last year.
I think we have covered alot of ground here now and it’s about time we finish this up. If there’s anything else you wanna say, this is the time. Thanx for doing this shit, be good and all that.
In the unlikely event that someone actually read the entire interview I just want to say thanks to you Knetha Filmjölksson for this lengthy interview, which gave me an opportunity to dig deep in my little sea of nostalgia. And whatever. For more info, get your ass to www.coldworker.com and for the Swedish readers I’d like to welcome you all to my latest project in the web world: http://dvdkritik.se. Thanks a lot!
Well, thank you, Anders. Impressive…