14/02/06 || Lord K Philipson
When talking about Mr. Swanö, words like “genius”, “legendary”, “multi-talented”, “responsible for recording the song “The One” with Nightingale” etc are usually included to describe him. I would not call Dan a legend, simply becoz it would feel very weird to call a friend just that. Some 15 years of friendship has passed since I first met Dan. New friends have been made thru the years and old ones have disappeared, but me and Dan always stayed in touch even though we are not considered very “close” or anything. There are a few typo’s in this one, simply becoz we were very, very drunk when posting it. That, and we don’t care. Typo’s are metal.
We have recorded alot of shit together, the latest being “Armageddon March Eternal” by The Project Hate. I have been involved in composing an EP, with the band Odyssey, with him. We did our first recording together in the early 90’s… And so forth. I know Dan quite a bit, and Dan knows me. I respect Dan’s opinion and he respects mine. On top of this, I know that I can always call Dan for support when it comes to things I don’t understand in Cubase or Reason. He always helps out. Dan is definitely a genuinely excellent guy to the core and I have been thinking about making one insane interview with him for quite some time. I knew that what we would get to read would be one of the finest moments in GD-history (and, when you think about it, in general history as well. It’s right up there with World War II, The Chinese Wall, The A-bomb and Peter Forsberg’s underwear) when it comes to getting something worth reading.
Before we start this off, I just wanna thank Dan for the insane amount of time put into this and for always being a real fucken stand-up guy. I wish you nothing, absolutely nothing, but the fucken best in whatever you do. You have fucken deserved it. So, here’s a great read for you on Valentine’s day, of all fucken days available.
Global Domination: Yo Mr, D. How’s it hanging and what the fuck are you up to at this exact moment? I’m guessing you are mixing some bullshit-band from the States or something, complaining about the piss-quality of their performance or something like that. Been working on something good lately?
Dan Swanö: Yeah!! I am really busy at the moment. But I bring my IBook to my (now half-time!!) dayjob and spend a lunchbreak with you! I am currently mixing a band from Portugal called Shadowsphere. It’s to early to tell anything about this band, but so far nothing has really pissed me off. I have mastered an old US Metal band called Steel Assassin. Really ‘metal’ stuff!! A fine blend of genius and insanity! I have also done some mixing for Paganizer and Dead Sun. Mastered the Cronian album. Mixed Ruin and Misery Speaks. Not to forget the Another Life album that turned out really cool.
GD: By the way, are you seriously ready for some 50 questions? We are not going to go fucken easy on you this time around you know…
D: Wow. Now I am scared. Is it OK if I call you and cry when you give me too much of a hard time??
GD: We always have a shoulder for you to cry on, that’s what friends are for. Anyways, we asked some of our forum-visitors if they could possibly have something they wanted to know about you so quite a few questions dropped in and we decided to go with a bunch of them to ease their hunger for Swanö-food a little. Someone wants to know a little about ‘Crimson’., ofcourse. And it’s not like this hasn’t been brought up before, but hey… Why did you deside to make it one song? And from the recording of it, would you possibly have some funny moments to share from it? Or perhaps some not-so-funny moments? How do you look at this album today? If you hate this question feel free to talk about the NHL instead.
D: I choose to talk about ‘Crimson’. Hockey was never my thing. I tried it for a few times, but I only got through half a match before I got a bad tackle from some big-ass guy in the other team, lost my breath and ended my hockey-career the same night. After we had done so many albums in the ‘3:30 Verse/Bridge/Chorus Pop-Death’ style starting with ‘The Spectral Sorrows’ thru ‘Until Eternity Ends’ and ‘Purgatory Afterglow’ I was running out of ideas and inspiration to write more short catchy tunes.
I had just been working with OPETH and re-discovered the fun of working with ‘anti-song structure’ liket we did with PAN-THY-MONIUM. I wanted to write a song that involved all the guys and where each riff gave birth to the next, not just staple riffs from different writers ‘on top’ of each other. I wanted to customwrite the next part to fit the one before. When I say ‘I’ all the time means that it was really my baby. The other guys had already written a couple of normal songs back in Finspång, and we recorded them (‘Murded. Divided’ and what later turned out to be ‘Epidemic Reign’ + a Sator cover!!!) right before we started to record ‘The big epic’.
The writing was smooth. We sat in a circle in my tiny controlroom in the tower at Järntorget, Örebro, and Benny was locked up in the drumbooth, without any visual connection with the rest of us. I played ‘Nightingale-guitar’ tuned in DADADE (Low to high), jacked up to some FX. Sami and Dread played Death Metal guitars tuned down to A. Anders bass was tuned in D. I played the first riff (Stolen ‘a little bit’ from a Nightingale song… but don’t tell anyone..) The guys joined in, and and as soon as we got something cool going we recorded it to DAT. Then we wrote a part to fit with that one and made sure that we had a smooth transition between the ideas. Once we had like 30 min. worth of material, after a total of 24 hours in the ‘writingmode’ we were ready.
Then the guys came back, nailed it pretty much all live and me and Dread stayed behind and spent a few days with the lyrics and making up the vocalphrasing for the whole piece. The lyrix was a bitch and that is why I refused to write the lyrics for the follow-up years later. I know it sounds boring and all, but I have really no positive or negative memories from this session. I went home to my family and I guess the guys bought tons of beer and got wacked up in the studiokitchen, or something??? I also remember when Anders Måreby came up to record the ‘Deathcellobizarre’, that was fun. We took a contactmike, placed it on the cello and put it thru a Marshall amp with all on 11… Sounds really really fucken heavy!!!
Then Mike Åkerfeldt came to town and recorded the best bits of death metal vocals I had ever heard (not much can touch the shit he pulled off then, even today…) and a cool Andy LaRoque style guitarlead. Oh… one not so funny memory is seeing the cover for the first time. It might be the ugliest looking shit I have ever seen!!! And yeah, the mix….. oh boy…the mix. This was still in the analog 16 tracks (well 14.. 2 channels were broken!!). I was going crazy from the stress and I remember that I heard one little digital ‘blip’ during one soft part. I called the masteringhouse and they said they could fix it, and that I didn’t have to remix anything. It’s only that this little ‘blip removal’ costed 800 SEK + taxes!!!
Anyway. The album was a success. We kept the top-spot on House Of Kicks’ distribution chart for a month (and then we disappeared without a trace!!!!). I still like bits of this album to death, some parts are a bit too much “lets get on with the playingtime, guys” for my taste…
GD: Is ‘Crimson 2’ a better album?
D: To me, Yes. Of course. Otherwise it would never have been released. ‘Crimson’ = Compromise. ‘Crimson II’ = Total egotrip. What do you think!!!?? ;)
GD: And do you think it was right to use the Edge of Sanity moniker for this since you are the only one playing on it?
D: The name and all that shit was so much of a business- oriented thing. I was visiting Black Mark to put together a ‘world-domination scheme’ for Nightingale. But all Boss ever talked about was how much they wanted a new EOS album. He gave me a budget that was 5 times as high as ever before and I felt for the first time that I could make the EOS album I always wanted to do. Because, from the ‘The Spectral…’ and onwards it was very much so that EOS had become 2 projects in one. Dread & Benny v/s Me. Anders and Sami were both abscent on an album once (Dread played bass on ‘Spectral’ and Sami was ‘unavailable’ for ‘Infernal’) and never really wrote anything after ‘Unorthodox’.
If you hear stuff like ‘Twilight’ and compare it to ‘Enter Chaos’ you see the 2 different camps inside one unit and ‘Crimson II’ was my chance to give the EOS fans 100% my songs, where ‘Cryptic’ was Dread and Benny’s chance to give the world ‘their’ EOS to 100%. One of the things that made me ‘give in’ to Black Mark and go along with the name (and the old ugly logo…) was the fact that I had spent so many years making EOS albums for ‘peanuts’ and we sold pretty well and made the money back and was always close to + with the sought-after royalty-checks.
‘Cryptic’ costed a fortune and sold pretty much nothing. And all the money I had made with my solo-album (“Moontower”), and also with Nightingale was ‘on the same account’ with Black Mark. So this was a chance for me to even also the financial balance. If I record a new album, the back-catalogue automatically starts selling again. They printed vinyls of the most successful albums and stuff.
GD: The other guys must have thought this was quite weird, huh? But we bet you thought it was ok to use the Edge-name since the other guys recorded an album as Edge of Sanity after you left. Are you still friends with them guys?
D: I know this sounds extremely weird, but we were never really that good friends after ‘The Unorthodox’-era. We drifted apart as individuals and never really had anything in common apart from the lust to do brutal death metal. When I wanted to make things more sofisticated they guys never liked it that much and we were divided a bit. We had a meeting right before I started demoing ‘C2’ and they gave me a ‘go’ to this project. Boss was with me and he gave the guys an award-winning speech and after a few minutes we started talking old memories.
I promised them to only make this one album ‘to even the score’ and then maybe put together a ‘The best of’ sometime in the future. I haven’t spoken to the guys in ages. But I hear they are OK. I think Benny have stopped playing, which is a shame because I really love his drumming. Dread have been in and out of bands and about Anders and Sami… I really don’t know.
GD: Michael Samuelsson is curious if you still has your copy of F.O.A.D Magazine and if so, can he have it?
D: I don’t. I was stupid enough to leave all my cool fanzines (Slayer mag, Blackthorn, Mega Mag, Hypnosia!! etc.) in a big box in the ‘Sanctuary’ studio. When we were forced to clear out from this space in one afternoon some guy took it for garbage and threw it away. There was a whole fortune on eBay in that box!! :( Not to mention the total nostalgia kick it would be to go thru these mags again!!!
GD: Will you ever catalogue all of yer releases, demos and whatnot, and give them a proper release? With ‘proper release’ I guess you shouldn’t launch it thru Black Mark, huh? Isn’t that company quite fucken dead? How come you have been with them since day one? Has the Boss turned into some kind of extra daddy for you? Does he give you any royalties?
D: I am a faithful person at heart and I like to be around people that can understand weirdos like myself. Boss is a nice old man and after all these years with Quorthon he knew all about how to handle a megalomaniac like myself (I think I am bit better these days.. right??). I did stuff for so many labels and they were all the same. I like to stick to the small labels. They never tell me how to do things. I deliver a master, they print it and sell it to the ones that want it. There have been moments when I wanted to burn down the office, but there’s been similar moments with the other, bigger, labels as well. I am happy with our relation and will remain there for a while. Boss is not an extra daddy or anything. We don’t speak that much. We talk a few times a year, but he knows me better than anyone in this industry. He’s been with me since I was 17!!! We have been thru thick and thin together and he believed in my vision and I thank him for this by sticking to him.
GD: Speaking of royalties, what’s the biggest amount you ever got from releasing albums during the years? How much did you spend on drugs and hookers?
D: I haven’t gotten that much royalities in my days. The stuff we got from the Odyssey CD is among the few actual royalties I’ve gotten. I got some cheques from Osmose in the old days, but only enough to get drunk for a few weekends. The publishing cheques can be nice. I got a shitload of cash when JVC paid for the EOS releases, but this pretty much goes straight back into the company, and after the taxes and stuff is gone, it’s not so much. I cannot remember exactly but I think I got like 90.000skr from STIM ( The company that makes sure artists get paid in Sweden, for the music they do – The Lord ) once, but I was so behind on a lot of stuff that it never really felt like ‘Wow!!!’. The money kind of disappeared faster than they came. I also got a good budget for ‘Jesusatan’ ( By the band Infestdead – The Lord ) and ‘Crimson II’, but the hours I put into those records… wow… not to mention the price I had to pay to get the files back from when I accidentally erased the ‘Jesusatan’ album from the harddrive!! Those were the days…
GD: Would you even know how many records and demos and shit you have been on thru the years?
D: I made a list around 97 and I never really counted. But I do remember that is was like 75 CD’s and 20-30 Mini CD’s. And now, 9 years later, the list goes on.
GD: Tell us the truth here:
Best album-recording, soundwise, that you have done:
This far, ANOTHER LIFE sounds really classy. From the ‘old days’ I think ‘Unbound’ sounds pretty cool.
The Altar-split. Jesus… it sounds so awful. Some guys thought it was a ‘trick’. First you have a really shit sound only to have ‘the real’ sound kick in after a while and knock you out (Like Slayer’s “Ghosts of war”...) but the good sound never came!! That was hilarious… So sorry guys…
Yer best performance vocal-wise:
Nightingale – ‘Nightfall Overture’.
‘Hell is where the heart is’ – EOS.
Some of the stuff of ‘The Closing Chronicles’ from Nightingale.
‘Dead but dreaming’, demo with EOS.
Fave-album, musicwise, that you have recorded:
Too many to mention….
GD: The infamous story about Dark Funeral in Unisound… What was the deal anyways? Did they refuse to record with the pink guitar-cables you had? Were they really true, grim and necro at the time? Have you talked to the guys at all after that recording? Would you like to work with them again?
D: I don’t remember much from those sessions. I was in a pretty dark place mentally during those days. The mini-album went fine and turned out good enough for the guys to come back for an attempt with the full-length album. I do remember that they were pretty drunk and obnoxious during bits of the recordings of the mini-album, and it’s never fun to be the only not-drinking guy in the room, and the rest of the guys are making weird comments because they are out of their minds on bad booze.
The story about the full-length is pretty simple. None of us were really ready to take on this big a task at that time. I had just come off the recording of my first solo album (Nightingale – “The breathing shadow”) and was not mentally stable. My personal life was not really that swell at the time and it reflected my sense of selfcontrol. When the guys show up, pretty unrehearsed, and things just seemed to take forever, I lost my temper a few times for various musical reasons. I only ended up getting really shitty sounds for the poor guys because the gear I had bought, that proved to be excellent for mixing my soloalbum, was not really the optimal stuff for black metal.
I remember that I went down to the studio a few days after the original mix had been done, changed a lot of the stuff and suddenly I got this really good sound coming out of the speakers. The same moment the guys call me and ask for the mastertapes, they wanna do a remix and complete some stuff at Sunlight… And that is when the nightmare began. Poor Skogsberg had no chance of getting anything of my recordings. We work in 2 different ways and he called me a couple of times wondering what I had been up to. It’s no secret that I fucked up big time, but the fault was not only mine. The vibe in the studio was weird and I felt like the band could have used a little bit more time to get their act together. But it all happened, later on, in the embrace of Täggan (Peter Tägtgren) they re-recorded the stuff and from what I have heard, it turned out just fine. I have spoken to Blackmoon on the phone a couple of times and we’re cool. I think I met Ahriman at Abyss one time. He didn’t kill me, so I guess we’re kind of cool??
GD: Someone on the forums wanna know if you have any dirt on me that they would like to know about.
D: You have done a few dirty things on my livingroom floor… But that is too X-rated for this feature, right…?? I think we have had many excellent times together since we buried the hatchet after our little ‘Habitat incident’. We were young. And when someone drink all your booze for the weekend (and you didn’t have any chance to buy any new stuff..) you turn into a mortal enemy….
GD: Someone else wants to know why the fuck you are not having your forum over at GD for? You are quite active in the one you have, but the place and lay-out of it sucks ass and there’s like a million bands there. Why the hell don’t you join us for? You’d fit right in and it’d be an honour to have you. Not to mention that it’s free of charge.
D: And could that ‘someone’ maybe be you?? ;) Hey, K, I don’t care where my forums are. I didn’t start it, they did. I don’t pay for it. I love the fact that UM started a forum for me. One of the highlights of my career. As long as they make a fine job, I stick with them.
GD: Another fucko wants to know what yer dream-band featuring metal-musicians would look like. Make one with living people and one with dead people. You can’t be in the band, nope.
Death-vocals: Mike Åkerfeldt.
Normal but rough vocals: Phil Anselmo.
Guitar: John Petrucci.
Drums: Ed Warby.
Keyboards: Jens Johansson.
Normal but rough vocals: The guy from Crashdiet when he sing highpitch!!
Bass: Cliff Burton.
Drums: Hmm… Metal-drummers don’t die, do they?? John Bonham will have to do, he would fit right in with his 80’ kickdrum.
Keyboards: Are not suitable in this band….
GD: What actually made you start playing in the first place?
D: I think the first impulses came from watching my older brother play. He is 10 years older than be, so when I started to realize what reality was, he was already jamming with his friends in the livingroom. I played in my first band; The Fordz (with my 2 older brothers) when I was 7.
And why the hell do you play the guitar in such a weird way for? Ever tried to play like a normal human being?
D: Good question. And I have given this a lot of thought, but since I am kind of ‘split-handed’ person I guess there is something with the fine motorics in my left hand and the more ‘lumberjack’ motorics in my right arm. I hold a gun ‘the wrong way’ I used ‘right’ hockeyclubs and I guess the guitar felt natural that way. I started with a nylon-string guitar without any ‘up and down’ on it, apart from the strings of course. But since I started at such an early age, it was more important for me that it looked cool in the mirror than what string was up or down!! I tried a few timse to change to a normal right-hand style, but it felt and sounded awful, so I stayed weird.
I never played guitar in a band until Nightingale started to play live. The idea was to have 2 guitarists and with only me singing, but since the project was never gonna make any real money gigging, it was more efficient with 4 players instead of 5 so I took on the role of the rhythm-guitarist and had to learn how to play standing up… which was really tough to start with. The guitar is so far away and in a weird angle compared to sitting with it in your lap. And you cannot rewind and do it again when you play live ;)
GD: Do you still consider yourself a drummer first and foremost?
D: No. After a recent encounter with drumming I have decided to never do it again. It was so humiliating. It is all there in the mind, but it just won’t come out tight from my hands and feet. God, it must be tough to be impotent!!! I consider myself a multi-instrumentalist. I am pretty crappy at all the stuff, but with the aid of recording devices, I do alright!
GD: You stated after the demise of Edge of Sanity that you were tired of metal, both playing and producing, what made you change your mind and return? The money? The fame? The chicks? Do the chicks have the hots for you, D? Gotten any nude photos from girl-fans in the mail? Anyone knocking on the door wanting to bear yer child and whatnot? Any proposals?
D: I must admit that the groupie-account has been sadly lacking in funds through-out the years. I am too shy and must see so much meaning in anything before I commit to it. The amount of girls hanging backstage at EOS gigs was minimal, and if there were any, they were soon taken into custody by Dread and Lindberg. I met my ex-wife through my involvement with death metal and also met my new girlfriend thru this ‘scene’. So it’s not been entirely fruitless!! The reason why I returned to the scene was quite simple… The guys like me here. I tried to take on the prog-rock scene only to find that, at the time, if you had dabbled with death or thrash you were marked for life. Like a hardcore pornstar trying to be accepted by the finest theater crowd… So I swallowed my pride and got right back into it with a vengeance (Bloodbath!!!!) and after that I got re-bit by the bug and have accepted the eternal presence of death/thrash in my musical life. I like the simplicity and the raw brutality of it… but I am really picky when it comes to bands, riffs etc. and that is never gonna change. I don’t like anything just because it happens to be a part of a genre.
GD: Any producers/studios today that you are impressed with? There’s gotta be someone you hold in very high regards, right?
D: My eternal idol is Chris Lord Alge. His mixes are God!!! For metal I like the work of Niel Kernon and Andy Sneap. I try to make my productions to sound a bit like their but a little bit more ‘alive’ if possible.. So many guys get a killer-sound today. It’s tough out there!!!
GD: Comment on the general sound from the following studios:
Sunlight: Used to be so good and special, then something happened and it all started to sound a bit weird.
Morrisound: Some of the stuff Scottie did there still rules. There is something about the high-end quality to death and thrash.
Fredman: Some of his stuff is incredible. I love the sound of At the Gates (who doesn’t??) and also Dream Evil.
Dug Out: I am starting to appreciate his stuff more and more. I had trouble with it at first, but the new Soilwork sounds really smashing!
Berno: I haven’t heard anything from there in a while. But some of the Vomitory stuff sounded alright.
Fascination Street: Jens is a great talent and I am happy to have been a part of his connection to metal. I know the Bloodbath album pretty much secured him the deal with recording Opeth. And from there… the rest is history. The Opeth album sounds amazing, I am sure Katatonia sounds great too. The Bloodbath album he did turned out just the way I had expected. I hope to work with him sometime in the future again, but I am sure he’ll be booked beyond belief!!
And don’t forget Abyss and Studio Underground. Täggan & Pelle do some highclass stuff!!!
GD: Who has the most talent, you or your brother Dag? Who gets more chicks?
D: I think our talents lie in different places. He is more even than me. But he’s got a 10 year headstart… so it’s hard to compare. He definitely gets more chicks. Hey, he played as a professional musician for 4 years (in a dansband called Norrsken !!) and I am sure he’s lost the count of his ‘adventures’.
GD: What is your proudest moment from the EOS-days?
D: I remember a few good times. One of them was the trainride home from Stockholm when we had mixed ‘Unorthodox’. I listened to the mix on my headphones and afterwards I felt this incredible feeling that I’d just been part of something really special. That album was all I ever wanted to do with that band… but that was a moment of pride for me. I guess I would have been mega-proud if I had attended the Zeppelin-awards show in Stockholm when EOS was voted ‘Best Swedish Heavy Metal band 0f 1994’... but for some reason it felt so unbelievable that we’d win this (Tiamat was also nominated and had just ‘lost’ their Grammy-award). Boss called in the middle of the night and screamed… ’You won!’... and I understood nothing. I had forgotten all about it. Later on we had to pay for the reservations he made for us at the table, and we never showed up…. Cool!!!
GD: Are you tired of answering questions about Edge of Sanity? Should people just forget about this band or do you think you guys had some important input in the movement at the time?
D: I will never get tired of answering these questions. Especially not yours :) (Can you feel the tongue, babe!!) Anyway, EOS was a big part of my ‘formative years’. I saw my salvation in death metal. And looking back, it gave me the life I have today. I can blame pretty much everything good (and bad) that has happened to me since 1990 on my whole involvement with this death metal scene. Had I never listened to “South Of Heaven” that fateful day, none of this would have happened. I’d most likely be alone, living in Finspång and desperately trying to reach out to the major labels with my soft and sensitive singer/songwriter music… But we’ll never know if I’d be happier than today, will we???
There is still a special thing for me every time someone name us as an influence. I read on the Internet about this band, and one of the members said ‘We met when we played in an Edge Of sanity cover band together in New York’ and I was like…... WHAT!!!!??? A Fucken EOS tribute band. Isn’t that the coolest thing!! 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. We have made nowhere near the same impact like say, Entombed or Leukemia ( Hahaha… Touche’ – The Lord ), but anyway… We left our mark in the music-industry.. It’s small, but it’s there!!! And that’s cool!!!
GD: “When all is said” was quite suprising a tune when it came out in the world of death metal at the time. What made you write this song in the first place? To get chicks?
D: Of course. EOS was all about getting chicks. “When all is said” is one of the most important songs from the EOS days. Boss told me straight up, that if it wasn’t for that song, he’d never renewed our contract after the 1st album. We sent him the “Dead but dreaming” promo and he’d pretty much given up when that song came on, and then and there he changed his mind and saw a ‘new dawn’ for the band. We recorded a lot of B-sides for an intended 12’ maxi for that song and even went to Stockholm and made a video-edit for it… But no video was ever made… And no 12’, even though you could order if from BMP!!! Hm….hm…. I recall writing this little piano-piece and whatever I tried to sing (with my normalv oice) on top of it, sounded weird. So out of cheer frustration I growled something and eureka, the worlds first death metal power-ballad was written!!! I stole the lyrix from a book at school. I think I still have the torn out page somewhere… I hope Bergskaskolan won’t sue me for damage of their property now!!!
GD: You know I have to ask this… What drugs were Dag on when he wrote ‘The One’ for Nightingale? And what drugs were you on when you actually accepted to record it? This could probably be one of the worst songs I have ever heard in my entire life. Is it safe to say that this tune is not one of yer proudest moments?
D: The fault is entirely mine. I heard that song on a DAT tape when I was going thru old DAT tapes and I liked the chorus a lot. It felt like it could be really fat and grungy. At the time I was really much into ‘The Darkness’ and stuff… I know my brother wasn’t to keen on using it (even though he wrote it, some 15 years ago) but I was consistent and we recorded it and played it live and stuff… But it’s none of the NG classics, but no matter what you think, I still like the song and even though it’s probably the weakest link on “Invisible”, I think the song is cool. Nuff said.
GD: You seriously didn’t know about the complete theft you did of E-type’s ‘Back in the loop’ for your ‘Shadowman’ tune on some Nightingale-album? Now when I have provided you with the pieces, and you have heard it, would you agree that it’s a theft de-luxe? You should sue E-type you know.
D: Well… I am not really sure who stole from who. The track in question, “Shadowman’, was finished like a year before the other songs but I think that the E-Type album was already out then… My son was a huuuge E-Type fan around that time and I am afraid that something might have stuck in the back of my mind, and once I got around to riff a little, this melody snook up on me and I accidentally ripped it off completely!! I have done this before, but managed to stop it before it was too late… But not now…
GD: On a cheese-scale from 1-10, how cheesy is Nightingale actually? I’d say something like 9. Is this the music that’s closest to yer heart? I seriously think that you should do real metal since that’s what yer really awesome at. What’s with this cheese-shit? How metal are you on a scale from 1-10?
D: Bullshit. I am the most awesome at doing symphonic pop. It’s a shame that it takes me like 5 years to complete a song though. The Nightingale cheese scale is probably a pretty variable one. Our live opening with “Nightfall overture”, “A raincheck of my demise” and “One of the lonely ones” is not even close to milk on your cheese scale. Where moments of “Eternal” and “Atlantis rising” is way up there with the Cottage Cheese!!! Then you have the depressive sourcream of “Stalingrad” and the ‘B-side’ of the “I” album. It’s funny that I am lactose-intolerant and play in this band :)
GD: I have some info about this but I don’t wanna say too much, but for the ones who don’t know, how’s the vocalist-search for Bloodbath going? Anyone in particular you’d like to see fronting the band? Let’s say you could choose anyone, who would it be?
D: We had a little communication going with David Vincent for a while, but he was too expensive for us. I know there are so many guys out there that would do an awesome job and could reach close to the standards of Mike and Peter, but there is always something that is keeping me from really promote them all the way. We had the same problem with the drummer. Then one day I spoke with HalvJapanen and he said their drummer was amazing and I thought “Yeah, yeah, of course…”, and then I listened to their stuff (NCO) and heard he did that to a click-track and also found out he did gigs with Orchriste-Jensen (Now in Haunted and Witchery) And wam bam boom… We had the drummer of our dreams aboard the ship. Now I am just waiting for that guy, but as a singer, to show up. A guy that has it all. I know it’s much to ask for, but there is really no hurry. I see no reason to release a new BB album unless it shreds “Nightmares made flesh” to pieces. The hunt continues. I want Mike back. He’s the singer of Bloodbath for me, Peter is a lovely bloke, but he was just a hired gun for the session.
GD: Who did the better job on the Bloodbath-albums, Mike or Peter? And don’t say something like ‘they are different and both awesome in their own way’. Just tell me which one you prefer.
D: It’s hard to say, because we produced Peter to sing as “Mike-alike” as possible. I really dig what Peter did on my songs. I have a hard time believing I’d be happier with Mike on those tracks. But Mike’s sense of odd-timing and articulation is better and he’s a little bit easier to teach the stuff too.. But I still dig the stuff Peter did. Mike is 5 out of 5 and Peter is 4 out of 5….
GD: Do you seriously believe there will be a DVD from the Bloodbath-gig at Wacken? I know you had the nervous-shits a few weeks before that gig. Did it turn out fine? Tell us how much money you guys got from that gig. What was the contract like and how did the organization treat you? When we played there with Dark Funeral, the organization was a joke, that’s why I’m asking.
D: The Wacken-show is the coolest gig I have ever done. The paycheck was nice with many zeroes, but god, did we blow money!! We had to pay for so much travelling, blood, and also hotel during the rehearsal period. Bought a backdrop and hell knows what. In the end I made around 750 euros after taxes. But then I had taken some time off my dayjob and also spent endless nights rehearsing the material, bought a barytone guitar etc. etc. So and in all I didn’t lose any money and had the time of my life…Aand that was all I asked for!!
GD: I wanna start a band with you that sounds like the song “Time is running out” by Muse. Are you up for it? Why the hell don’t you and I start a band for? We work so well together you know, and have been for over a fucken decade.
D: Kekko ( One of Dan’s many nicknames for me – The Lord ). I never start bands with the intention to sound like another band. I start bands that hopefully will make other people go “Hey, why don’t we start a band that sounds like Swanö’s new band??”. That is my goal in life… And you should know that, being the mastermind behind maybe the most original band in metal today!! ( Hahaha, I guess yer referring to God Among Insects – The Lord ). Seriously, working with you is always a blast. But looking at my schedule, we’ll have to save this project of ours until we are 50!!! Old-People-Pretto-Metal..
GD: What’s the most insane thing you ever got sent to you thru regular mail? I think I might have some ideas here…
D: We just discussed this at work today. I remember something that used-to-be youghurt and a pair of socks. Hey, there was a shitload of rotten stuff in that package. I will remember that day til I die. My mother asked me what the smell was…. And I cannot remember what I said. But I do remember that I prepared a package for you as a thanx… And was just about to go and get you an anthill!! But I scrapped the idea for some reason… Wow, that would have been a sight. Kekko goes to the post-office and get a nice big green package full of angry piss-ants!!! Boy, those were the days!!!
GD: You work in a music-store and you are a top-salesman and all. Would you prefer just living off the music or are you chuffed with having that job? Any chance of you taking over the place in a few years? Can I have a discount on shit then?
D: I just got down to half-time here at the music-shop and I hope I will never have to beg them to take me back fulltime. I have made certain adjustments to my reality, moving to a very small “flat” and rent a small space for my mixsuite next door. These investments will pay off in a few years when I can have more freedom to do exactly what I want without having to worry so much about not being able to pay the bills. Hopefully I can spend more time writing songs and also hang with my son and my girlfriend a bit more… That would be nice.
But at the moment I am incredibly confused. I hate changes and now my whole life is about to change… again… as if the divorce (October 2004) wasn’t enough!! But this time it’s more about really finding a “pattern” for my future work. I wish to keep a good balance between my son, my girlfriend, my studiowork, Nightingale and my musicshop-work. It’s impossible to schedule inspiration, but I will try to plan my life so I have a little bit of everything and try to avoid the chaos that was my downfall some 10 years ago.
GD: “Karaboudjan”... What was all that about really?
D: Kind of a “up yours” to the other guys of Pan.Thy.Monium who continued with that project after I left Finspång. I had hoped that the guys would stop, but they didn’t and then me and my brother put this totally bizarre shit together as some kind of compliment. The PTM demo they made in 1995 sounded really dull and without much of the weirdness that made us special, so I just took all that missing weirdness and made an EP out of it. Distorted bass-guitars from hell, saxophones from beyond the grave and Tintin samples. Crazy enough to make any normal person insane! Relapse loved it and released it. There were plans about a full-lenght. I even recorded a jam-session once that was supposed to be cut up and turned in to a full-lenght but my drumming was too crappy, so I scrapped the idea.
GD: Why is it that you don’t care about the NHL? How can someone record metal-albums and not care about the NHL?
D: I used to like hockey when I was rwally young. But nowadays it’s not really my piece of cake.
GD: Someone wants to know yer opinion on the latest Katatonia and Opeth-albums, and especially what you think about the productions of them 2.
D: I love the sound of the new Opeth. Jens rules. I haven’t heard the new Katatonia album for more that a few seconds at your place and it sounded fat. Musically I think both bands are a little too little ‘pop’ for my taste. There are some ‘happy’ moments on the Opeth album that ranks with the best stuff they ever did… With Katatonia… I think they are a bit too depressed and heavy for my personal taste. I like this kind of music to be more like Hoobastank or even stuff like Disturbed.
GD: Oh, and something more about Bloodbath. What’s yer plans for this band? Are you guys going to change vocalist with each and every album? Maybe yer taking over the vocals next time around? After that you only need to play bass and you have done all 4 spots in the band.
D: Cool idea. A revolving line-up. I had an idea about a band full of multi-instrumentalists that changed line up with every song. You could easily be a part of that line up ( Up until it’s time to do vocals, then you’d have to fire me – The Lord ). It would be so cool. After each song all the guys change place and it sounds like a new band… I think all of us in BB hope to find this perfect vocalist and then live happily ever after. I am not sure the other guys would love the idea of me singing. It’s a little bit ‘desperate’ too. I love writing a bunch of death metal hits and record them, but it’s not like my life depends on a new BB record. With a new record comes more responsibilities for me, like promotion etc. which I have to do in the same time I could be making money mastering or mixing albums… Money = freedom. Freedom = Happy Dan!!!
GD: Someone wants to know a bit about Odyssey. ” – Are they dissolved or is it just ‘put on ice?”. Wasn’t that quite a good EP we did? And seriously, isn’t my track the only one that’s actually good? And would you agree that yer vocals on this one is prolly yer best ever? You do know that we could throw together an album in like a week if we wanted to, just you and me. I wouldn’t even charge you anything for it. Up for it?
D: I have been thinking about something like that. The problem is that Odyssey was ahead of its time with this kind of music. Nowadays bands end up #1 on the fucking Billboard with songs even heavier than our stuff!! I have found a singer that I want to work with and his voice would be sooo nice with your wicked riffings. I just don’t have the time right now. But it’s defintely a possible future-thing.
GD: Why did you go with that awful keyboard-sound on “Moontower”? Except for that thing, it’s a good album, you know. Was it hard to record it all by yourself? How much has it sold? And by the way, what release is the biggest seller when it comes to something you are playing on?
D: I love that keyboard-sound, that’s why. How come a band can have the same leadguitar-sound for the whole record and noone cares, and when I have the same leadsynth-sound people have a problem?? I love this tone. Half of the minimoog-leads should have been guitar-melodies but I always ended up using the guidetrack (the synthlead) instead and it sounded better and the intonation was better. I suck at playing harmony-guitars. I loved doing “Moontower”. It was a wonderful experience. It was some kind of a psychological revenge on the EOS thing. It’s a shame it sold like 11 copies. I wish more guys could hear it. Download it, goddamnit!!! Pr maybe buy it?
GD: You think there will be another Infestdead album?
D: Never say never. If I get a decent budget, there are more boring things to do than putting together 40 minutes of US-style death metal!!! If Dread was up for it, it could happen someday.
GD: “- I wanna know all about Pan.Thy.Monium and what his obsession is/was with “Inspector Gadget”. The theme frequently pops up on ‘Dawn of dreams’”. I might be wrong here but isn’t this fan misinfomed? Inspector Gadget? Wasn’t it all Tintin? Man, that’s some really weird shit you threw together.
D: Hmm… PTM was never about Tintin. That was Karaboudjan’s little “thing”. I have no idea about this Gadget-thing and what he’s talking about. I guess I have subconsciously stolen a melody line….. Again…. I should have a panel of people that get to listen to my songs before I even make a demo… Maybe it would help me to avoid more embarrasing thefts…
GD: Is Edge of Sanity dead now? I bet you will throw something together under that moniker again when the money is going down the drain. Is Edge actually making you any money?
D: I made the guys a promise. They let me do “C2” without too much fuzz. I want to make a “Best of EOS” album where the fans vote for the tracks to be featured. It will be the last thing I ever do. I have also a wish to re-record some of the EOS-classics, but not using the EOS band name in any way. More of a Dan Swanö-thing where I re-record some trax that suffer horribly from (often my own) production-mistakes. Just imagine “Twilight” with a production a’la the new Soilwork!! Heeeellloooo!!!!
GD: Some fan-question: “- I’ve always wanted to know how come he didn’t do the “Star One Tour” actually as the “Live On Earth DVD’” would have ruled even more than it did had he been on it”.
D: I couldn’t get more time off my dayjob. I had 2 months vacation that year and also taking time off to do the actual recording of the SO album put me on a brutal minus with the boss. I just couldn’t ask him for any more (14 days) of free time. It would have been nice. But watching the DVD, I felt that I did the right thing. I am not a natural live-singer/performer. I like to hide behind something live…. And those shirts…. Wow!!!
GD: And more fan-questions… “- In fact, he has never seemed to be at all keen on the idea of playing live anyway, so is it playing live that he doesn’t like, or is it touring and being away from home?”.
D: I write music that sounds best on record. I like my music to be multi-layered. In a PA the balance of a song can be completely destroyed and the whole point of a song can be lost. I like playing live with Nightingale because the guys are so good performers and since we got the whole “keyboards from the CD’s on harddisc”-thing going, we sound really good live. We have done something around 10-15 gigs with Nightingale and most of them have been really cool. We’ve been to the States, Cyprus, Germany, Holland, Motala, Norway… We do strategic gigs. Now we are really close to booking a three show thing in Mexico at the end of June. I hope it be a blaze of Tequila and Sombreros!!!
GD: Can I have some more royalties from our Odyssey EP? I think I made more of that EP than I have with everything else I have recorded. We really should start a band together. Maybe we could write a follow-up to “The One” and name it “The Two” ?
D: You’re insane. If I ever hear from Dragan Balog again, I can ask him… The deal with Odyssey EP was kind of cool, it’s also one of the few times I actually got some money that wasn’t advance or publishing money. It was actual royalities… That’s what happens when you record for free and have a good record deal. But most bands spend a fortune in the studio and they are paying with the money they borrow for their record company. And they need to sell like 15647489 copies to get any royalities, which never happens and the band think their label is a rip off. But most of them never went to math-class anyway…
GD: How many times have people asked if you and Dag are actually twins? Jesus Christ, you guys look exactly the same. Who gets the better chicks?
D: Holy smoke, Kekko… What’s with you and this chick thing??? ( What can I say, I dig chicks. And Peter Forsberg – The Lord ) I know you have scored a few ( A few? Multiply that with at least 2… – The Lord ) really good looking chicks in your days, but you’ve got the Brad Pitt-thing going once you shave and wear a wig!!! I have had a few major crushes in my life, but I never ended up with those girls. For some reason I always saw the end of the “relationship” before it even began. I saw what girlfriends did to my friends. They got to fuck.. That’s cool… But the girlfriends owned them and made their lives miserable when they wanted to do anything but sit and home and be cosy… I love freedom. To do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it. So it wasn’t until I met my X-wife that things really clicked on all points. We were together for 12 years, then it all went to hell, I met a new girl one year after the divorce and we’re still together and it feels really nice!! Sometimes me and my beloved bro look really the same, but there’s been pictures taken of us where we look like we are from 2 different planets!!!
GD: And another fan-question: “- When he starts a new project does he have a clear idea of what he wants it to sound like or does he just start working on it and then see where that leads?.
D: It’s often that “one little piece of music start off an avalanche of ideas” thing, but often less than half way thru I realize that the concept really doesn’t hold up for more than a few songs, and that’s when the project either:
1. Make an EP.
3. Or changes into something completely different, but keep the name in order to avoid even more confusion…A good example is Nightingale. The idea was to make a goth-album. The day before I went into the studio with zero minutes of suitable material, I listened to a Judas Priest song called “Night comes down” and just out of the blue, the first song was written and recorded for “The breathing shadow” and it was a tribute to THAT SONG, not so much Judas Priest in general (even though I love all their pre-”Unleashed in the east” material to death). After that song was written and I felt it was just the gloom I was looking for, how much goth is it?? Pretty gothless if you ask me… Then I went berzerk on the drum-computer and started to bash out Rosetta Stone/Sisters of Mercy-sounding material, but my heart was in it only for a few songs, then I started to go back to my roots, which is pomp-rock. After a while the style of Nightingale was somewhat divided into different categories, but it all blended kind of nicely together. So I ended up with heavy pomp-metal with touches of goth…
The whole idea with Odyssey was to make Candlemass/Memory Garden-alike metal, tuned down and full of pomp. After the three songs I had enough of this majestic form of music and couldn’t have written more songs in this style to save the world…
GD: Another fan-question: “- In the past he has put out albums where he has done absolutely everything by himself, was this through choice or out of necessity? Is it more or less difficult to do that compared to working with others? ”. Personally, I think you do better stuff when you work with other people. But that’s just me. You can slap me now.
D: I think it’s a combination. Personally I totally enjoy every second of “Moontower” and there are very few other albums I have done, with other guys involved, where everything is all good. Nowadays I want other people aboard. I bring in session-musicians, or my old friend Edwinzon, to help me from the total megalomania. I like working with bands again now, but after the EOS-debacle, I wanted to see if the grass was so much greener working alone, and for “Moontower”, it was. For the future stuff, one or two guys more will never hurt. If I wanna play live, there has to be more guys you know. Playback is not accepted in the modern metal world just yet!!
GD: And another fan wanna know this: “- Does he see Nightingale as a band where everyone is on an equal footing, or is it “his”’ band? What are the most important contributions of the other members? How different would “Invisible” have been if the other members weren’t there and he was doing everything by himself?”
D: Nightingale has gradually grown from being my total ego-project to slowly becoming a band. I let my brother aboard as a producer for the 2nd album, and by the time of “I” he wrote more than half of the material and played all the bass, some keys and some rhythm-guitars. With “Alive Again” we were joined by Erik and Tom and from that moment on Nightingale was even a little bit less “mine”.
Erik and Tom do not write any material yet. I don’t have a problem to let them aboard as writers, but only if their material is as good as the stuff my brother and myself knock out ( Yeah, like masterpieces such as “The One”, haha… – The Lord ). I am not so big on the “You guys can have one song each on the album, just to let you believe you are a part of the writing team…”, that kind of stuff doesn’t work for me. I know both guys can write good stuff, both musically and lyrically. And for the new album, Erik’s written some lyrix and if we end up short of material, I know Tom is a good composer and would easily supply us with some stuff, but he’s also one of the key writers for Memory Garden, so I think most of his stuff ends up there.
GD: Doesn’t Bathory completely fucken suck? Care to explain why people dig this crap? I ask this becoz Bathory just came on my Winamp.
D: Not sure. I like a few Bathory-tunes. But nothing from the “Now I sing normal”-period. I think “Enter the eternal fire” is amazing. It’s a shame I never got to work with Quorthon. I am sure we’d have done some miraculous stuff together!!! R.I.P.
GD: I have 2 words for you: ‘Viking’. Man, wasn’t that a great fucken band? Shit D, we are old now.
D: Yeah!!! Viking rules!! The first album was a must-have because:
1. It got 5% (of 100%) in Metal Forces and one K in Kerrang!!
2. The snaredrum sounds like a floortom!!! There is a short Viking tribute in “Dead but dreaming” (EOS) where Benny playa the floortom instead of the snaredrum for a short time.. Incredibly “internal humour!!” Then this Erikson guy totally wrecked and pussified Dark Angel… No power to him ;(
GD: Comment on the following skanks in metal, and rate them on a looks-scale from 1-10:
Lee Aaron: Never heard any of her stuff, but she looked hot back them. Even did some nude stuff for OUI!! 7.
Amy Lee: I like her voice a lot. “My Immortal” is so fucking good, it scares me!! She is good looking and stuff. 9.
Lita Ford: Yeah!! I like “Kiss me deadly” and her duet with Ozzy. She looks hot considering her age. And she’s fucked Chris Holmes from WASP!! 8.
The Kittie-whores: Do nothing for me. 2.
The cunt from Otep: Growls like a mad hellhound. That’s a bonus in a relationship. 4.
Tarja Turunen: Zzzzzzzzzz. 2.
Leif Edling: The master of 4 note riffing! This is my tribute to Leffe. 10 points, only based on the genius of “At The Gallows End”. Hail!
GD: Are you your own worst critic when it comes to your music or do you tend to be happy with the end result?
D: I am incredibly picky, but I am getting better and better to let go of things that no one will ever care about, like the levels of breaths (!!) between words etc. But I am still picky about tuning and intonation, and also timing. Since I got lucky with my new studio-monitors, the mixes I do sounds better than I ever thought possible coming from me… There will be less details bugging me at the mixing-stages, and I hope the productions will take a little bit less time now that I work 4 days a week with the studiostuff…
GD: How do you feel about getting bad or indifferent reviews? After “The One” you must be pretty used to it. Haha, I rule. Forgive me.
*D: It’s weird, but it’s only the really bad ones you remember, isn’t it?? I have had my share of complete beheadings in the press, but you must try to learn not to care too much about it, then you turn into someone trying to please reviewers across the globe, and they are all failed musicians and their music-taste is often really really weird. The only critics I listen to are my fans. Guys that liked my previous stuff, independent of style.
GD: Tony Laureano has something to ask: “- Ask him if I can play drums with a reformed Edge Of Sanity. And if he doesn’t know who I am, just lie, and tell him I’m Gene Hoglan. I’ll just grow a goatee, get some 80’s biker shades, and tell him I got a perm”.
D: He can reform Edge Of Sanity any day he like..I. can get a perm again too!! But I will not be in the band though!! :)
GD: You grew up with the guys of Marduk and Abruptum. Do you talk to these guys at all these days? Do you even care about their music?
D: Tony said hello to me thru a friend some time ago, that was nice. He went thru some weird times I heard. I haven’t spoken to him since 1995. Mogge from Marduk and I met up in Abyss Studios some years ago when I was there to install some stuff. I think he’s a little bit like he used to be in the “good ol’days” now again. I wish he would reform Moses!! I could get Ulan Bator back together. Dread, Benny and Sami could knock FZ… back into shape, and we could have a Monsters Of Punk festival!!!
GD: Can you at least tell me what number Forsberg’s jersey is? And don’t you fucken cheat.
GD: What’s the one metal-album that changed yer life?
D: Death’s “Leprosy” is the corner-turner for me. There’s probably some stuff earlier on that led onto that path, like Mercyful Fate’s “Don’t break the oath” and “Melissa”. Judas Priest’s “‘Sad wings of destiny” and “Sin after sin”, WASP’s “WASP”.
GD: 2 more questions, are you still with me?
D: I am with you, now at Skavsta airport typing away the time before I fly with my son to see HIM, The Rasmus and Negative in Cologne.
GD: Is power metal the wart in the ass of music?
D: Not when it’s done properly. The power metal bands that only listen to other power metal band are horrible, but some tracks from some of the originators are really cool stuff!!
GD: That’s that. You can now thank me for being cool and for this interview. You are a true gem, D. I love you.
D: I love you too my friend. Thanx for the taking the time with me!!