How are you doing over there in Germany at the Century Media offices?
I am fine. A little bit tired after a whole day doing interviews, but I am in a good mood. I just got a beer, so I am fine. I am in Germany and here it is cloudy and warm, but it is the opposite in Sweden we have -17°C at the moment and half a meter of snow. So it is fine that we will be on tour soon. Can’t wait to roll over Europe again.
Indeed, it won’t be long before you hit the road…
Late January we start the Blasphemia 2016 tour with Behemoth, Abbath and Inquisition. I am looking forward to that. It will be cool to do the tour before the album is released, because then you can sneak in one or two new songs and see what the crowd thinks of it. A perfect opportunity. Whether it is good or bad, it is always a reaction and that is good enough for us, as long as it is an honest one. We can take criticism (laughs).
You should not worry about that, because ithe album is ace…
Yes, it is a diverse album I think: a bit punky style, a little bit of death ‘n roll as we call it ourselves which label got stuck on us somehow, but people can call it whatever they want. I think it is a solid album that we have been working on pretty long actually. After ‘Back To The Front’ we just said to ourselves: let us pick up the ball immediately and start working during tours and time off. It took eighteen months or something. If we did not do that, it would be five years again until this album. We would be stuck in the old bad habits, but it shows – at least to us – if we do not continue to be productive straight away, we just get lazy and it is more of a slow start. Then it takes four or five years between the albums and that is not what we want. We just want to go for it.
Were you satisfied with the reception of the comeback album ‘Back To The Front’, because I remember I saw you live a couple of times at festivals… That was the new start, but then the new work came… that is something different. What was the reaction?
Yes, of course we were glad. It was a different time, with a lot of frustration and drama, but we still managed to put all the crap off our backs and put it aside and let it live in another dimension, while we were just concentrating on doing music and go on tour and meet the fans and prove to them that we are still a band. We are still the same band, maybe under another moniker, but instead of stop playing music because there is all this trouble on the side, we would not want that to happen. We like playing music, the urge and love to play music just makes us continue. I feel in the end there is not a lot more to it, making albums and tour, that is what bands do. If you want to start a phone company, you can do that, but we are dealing with music here and that is what we have been doing for over twenty-five years, so…
I think it must have been a relief when you finally could go on tour again, so to speak go full force with the band…
Exactly and the same with this album. Now we are a unit and we prove to people that we could actually put something together in a descent amount of time and we worked it through. It is going to be – I hope – a great year. With all the negativity, there are always positive things coming out of it.
Sometimes it is hard to see things positive these days…
I know. Especially these last weeks. The death of Lemmy, the death of David Bowie. That makes you think a couple of extra times: let us use the time to the maximum. You never know what is going to happen. You realize that that time is going to come sooner or later, but you never realize it for real, when it actually does happen. Then it is still shocking, but fortunately we have the positive things from the persons that they left behind, their legacy.
What can you tell about the lyrics on ‘Dead Dawn’?
After the recordings we left everything – the mix and the mastering – to Jacob Hellner and Thomas Van Heesch, the producers. I just handed it to them and then let it be. Do what they do best. They knew Entombed from the start and they knew what it is all about. So I actually just got the finished versions in my phone like a week ago. I like that feeling as well, because then it makes you feel as if you have bought an album from another band and it is a complete new feeling. I am totally satisfied with it. When I read the lyrics, they are pretty pessimistic. There is a dark future ahead, but in the end we just have to make a good thing out of it. Nico (Elgstrand – guitarist and producer – Vera) wrote a lot of the lyrical parts. I am not so renowned of being a good writer of music or lyrics.
You are more a performer…
Exactly and then it is cool if somebody feels that he has some good things in the band. Okay let us do it. Finally it ends up on an album and to perform it live, you read the lyrics and get really into it. That’s it.
One of my favourites is ‘As The World Fell’…
Cool, that is a real doomy one. The melodic parts are not happy either. It is more like attending a funeral, more melancholic… I would not say sad, but you get some emotion of it. The title suggests something sad as well, the decline of the world. It seems that we are heading that way, but you have to think forward and take day by day and just exploit it as much as you can. Keep on doing what you are doing. You never know what is going to happen next.
Will you remain a four-piece band, also on stage, or will you recruit a session guitar player?
We are going to do a lot of touring (chuckles). We have a great Brazilian guy called Guilherme Miranda. He played a lot of shows with us already. He moved from Brazil to Italy now, so he is closer. He will join us next week for rehearsals and he knows every song by now. He is a great guitar player. So it will be very nice to stand on stage and just go for it. Have a good time. I think we will only play 40/45 minutes, but it is going to be very intense.
And then you will do an US tour with Amon Amarth… Great!
Yes! I did not think it was out yet, but people seem to know that (laughs). They are very good friends of ours. We have toured with them in Europe before. They come from the same city. We support the same football teams. The football season starts in April as well, so… we can watch it in the States. We are really looking forward to that as well: six weeks in the US. Let us see what comes out of it. Well, I am sure it will be great. Their new record will be out by then, I am looking forward to hear it.
That’s what I like about you as well: you are not only a musician, but you remained a genuine music fan, eager to find out about bands and music…
Yes, indeed. We will play at a lot of festivals in the Summer. If we play at Hellfest for example: if we do not have any shows around it, I go there the day before and stay the day after. I love the festivals where you meet a lot of bands, new friends and old friends and hang out in the Summer with a couple of beers. That is the greatest time of the year! It is not: flying there, doing the show and then fly home. I like to stay there and see the other bands as well, maybe learn a thing or two as well (laughs). For instance, when King Diamond is playing, I rush to the front hehe.
How did you ever get into metal as a young boy?
Oh, that was a long time ago. I remember my mother bought me the first album and it was ‘Another Perfect Day’ from Motörhead. She was disgusted by the cover, but she knew I liked it so much. Then she was with me on my first concert. It was on the ‘Powerslave’ tour of Iron Maiden. I was not a late bloomer, but not very young either. Motörhead and Iron Maiden were my first favourite bands. Then I got into Sex Pistols and started with more aggressive stuff. Then I got into death metal (chuckles).
You are the echelons of Swedish death metal!
(relativates) Well, yeah, I think so. I am too shy.
That is something to be proud of!
Yes, of course. When people call you a legend, it is like: okay, if you say so. I like to be humble and appreciate it and get home with a big smile. Ah that is cool when you have that kind of impact or impression on other people.
And you can only know it later, much later. At the moment itself you do not realize that you are writing history…
Exactly. As little kids – that’s what we were back then – we just played the music that we wanted. We had no idea that it would become “legendary” things. But it is cool how things evolved. And pretty much, that is the same now, you know. We don’t think about that too much; we just do what we do best and time will tell if it was good or bad. I like it that way.
What did you do when Entombed didn’t make records for a long time?
It was six frustrating years, because we did not know what was happening. He (Alex – guitarist – Vera) wanted to record an album at once, but it was all this confusion… we had some projects here and there which actually didn’t have anything to do with music. Strange. When we finally decided to do music, all this drama happened. The most important is that we are here now. Sitting here, talking to you, that is amazing.
Thank you! You are already long in the business. Was there ever a time as kid, when you thought: I want to become this or that?
Of course. You had dreams and you tried to pursue them. Just by being happy to make the first album and then the second album and so on. As time went on, from that moment I got the first Motörhead record, it was not in my world that ten or fourteen years later we would be touring with Motörhead. Touring with Slayer and Iron Maiden in 2000 at the same time with them… so at that time, I thought: Okay, I have done this, now I can quit. But of course, this is what we do, so here we are. Sixteen years later after those tours, still being glad as a kid when you are holding the new album in your hands. Still as nervous for going on tour as the first time.
Are you someone who is still nervous before going on stage?
Yes. I remember Nico is even always puking before. It just adds value to the feeling, because if it becomes routine, then you loose a part of it. I hate and love that feeling of being nervous as hell before going on stage and hearing the crowd. That makes every show unique and special.
I see that the cover artwork – which is pretty different from the former one – was done by the Watain front man Erik Danielsson…
Yeah. That’s a good friend of ours. He also did the logo on the ‘Back To The Front’ album and this time he made something different and we were like: perfect. He had something in his head and that was really done fast; simple and great. He is a really great guy. He does what he does very seriously and that’s important.
You also have a band called Firespawn. Is that still active?
Yes. We just have to time it with all the Entombed A.D. shows. We are all busy. The drummer is in Raised Fist, Fredrik and Alex in Necrophobic and Victor is in Entombed A.D. as well, but there is no rush. We take it as it comes. It is good to play music while playing music hehe. And if you treat the time with respect and maximize it, you can do a lot of things and combine it.
There is a rumour that you are already writing songs for the next album. Is that true?
Just a little bit. We have to rehearse the new songs first. We will start on the road, take it easy and just work more and more intense. We will take the time, but it won’t be six years until the next album.