31.01.08 text: Ada, Sobi & Martin pics: Tom
Swedish Hard-core Crust misanthropics DISFEAR are just releasing their long-awaited album Live The Storm on Relapse Records this month. With the massive down-tuned guitar sound and Motorhead-like drive, the new material proves the quality of its title just by the music alone. Adolf had spoken to the ex-frontman of At The Gates TOMAS LINDBERG before DISFEAR entered the stage to perform theit breath-taking show in the Czech Republic. Words had been exchanged about the formation of the current line-up with Uffe from Entombed, writing Misanthropic Generation, and also about the nee inspiring record Live The Storm.
Let me start by asking a little bit about the history of Disfear. Your second record was released by the Osmose Productions. You haven't been in the band at that time but I would still like to ask for your reflection of that period of time. Wasn't Disfear afraid of being signed to Osmose when it really was a black metal label at that time?
As you said, I can't really answer for the whole band because I was not there. But I think the band met Hervé (Herbaut, the founder of Osmose) and he made it clear that there was totally no Nazi bullshit or anything like this in the label. He was pretty serious I think but as you know there have been problems afterwards with signing to Osmose.
Have there been any problems with the label at that time?
No, I don't think there were ever any real problems but it’s just that they couldn't do something more like a punk band or crust. They just didn't know the hardcore scene well. They only knew the metal way of working with big tours and so on.
And what happened after that? It was a long long time before you released the next album. Were you looking for a new label or was it that there was not enough new material written?
There were a lot of problems. First, Osmose didn't want to release us because we had one more album to do but still they didn't want to pay enough money for us to go to the studio. So, there were a lot of problems there for a year where we couldn't get out of the contract and also we changed members. Me and the new drummer Marcus came in the band. Then I think when we started writing, we realised the music was getting a little bit more varied and different from what it was before from this straight crust formula to something more. We took some time to really make it work to still have that hardcore feeling but take it one step forward and not losing our own identity. It took some time writing on top of that. Then it took some time when we actually found Relapse and they wanted to do it. So, it was hard time but when we started recording it got better.
What were the reasons for the original singer Jeppe leaving? Was it difficult for the band to find you?
It was kind of easy in one way because it started with their small tour in Sweden. They had some small tour booked in Sweden but they couldn’t do it. So, they asked me as a friend if I could do it like a session rather than a tour and we had a great time. The band felt that something new was happening with a new atmosphere, no complaining, and everybody was happy. Then Jeppe was tired of the touring and I think he just drifted out and I kind of drifted in. It was no big deal and everybody is still good friends with no problems.
Was it helpful that you were in Skitsystem at that time? Did it help you to join the band?
Yes, I guess they liked the vocals in Skitsystem. We thought it was a good idea and we had some common friends to make the contact, so that was easy.
The album Misantropic Generation has a much clearer production compared to the previous record that is very rough sounding. I think some of the orthodox punk fans probably didn’t like it compared to previous ones, would you agree?
Actually I think it was the other way around. Maybe even the crust punks could get tired of the formula so we have no real problems. It’s been really nice writing this album. The older crust punks like it and they also like Motorhead like we do. Then the metal crowd liked it when we signed to Relapse and the normal hardcore crowd liked it too. I think actually we were a little bit scared but we felt really good afterwards.
Getting to the new sound on Misantropic Generation, was it a studio thing or did you come up with that Motorhead-influenced rock & roll sound in the studio?
Yes, the songs were structured like that before. It took some time doing it but we knew what we wanted when we went into the studio. Mieszko (Talarczyk, the producer and Nasum founder) was the kind of guy who would make it develop as we sounded at that time but still keep it a little bit as the old sound too with the heavier guitars. So, it was a good combination between Mieszko and our idea.
Is there any special meaning for the album cover with this hand holding the shell. Is there any religious theme behind that?
No, it’s more a misanthropic picture like killing yourself because of your age or humour. But it is rather symbolic with the shell. On the main side of the CD, there is this stop sign with a human head. It’s really anti-humanity theme.
Considering recent killings in the US high schools, could this theme become problematic for you?
I know it could be portrayed weird but this is a theme I had already with At the Gates, this suicide theme. It is something that interests me a lot almost like a statement to suicide. I always like to say I am an misanthropic humanist - I like people; it is the human race I have a problem with.
We think that the album is almost a concept album. Is this intentional to be it like a concept or is it more like individual songs that came out well together?
We always try to work it out that everything will fit together, especially with the lyrics. We try to keep it that they go together a little bit like some words connect across and are fixed together. I mention a song title in another song. But also the atmospere had to be like we have to find the right opening song and build it up. We always do it with albums, as it is the best way. No clear concept but more like make it sound like an album. It is important to have a strong album rather that like you say, different songs.
The lyrics are well written with many ambiguous messages - some of these being quite thought provoking. Do you think it is better to make more layers in the lyrics?
Yes, it’s always better because in hardcore a lot of stuff has already been said. The more direct you are it is not so interesting but yet it is not a worse song. You don’t really listen to the lyrics but you have to think a little bit, “I don’t know what he is meaning here…….Ah!” Then it sticks in your head a little bit more. You have to think a little bit and the message comes across better I think because everybody needs intellectual stimulation to learn. But I am a teacher and I always think in the deductive way. That’s how I think.
In what school are you the teacher actually?
Right now, I am actually studying for three years but I worked as a teacher for 12 to 16 year olds in social subjects like history but without my grades. I didn’t have the university grading. So, the next generation in Sweden will be more radical.
Back to the music - what would you say your lyrical concept is for the new album?
It’s a lot of layers and some songs keep with other songs together. The whole idea with the title track and the atmosphere of the album should have a more positive feeling really [compared to the Misanthropic Generation]. I love songs that are really negative and a lot of the songs are realy negative but the main track has the positive aspect. When you hear the whole thing and are inspired by it, you could even stand up to do something.
It’s called “Live to the storm” and it’s about a band or people like punks or metal dudes who just complain about the world. You live it and you really believe you can do something about it, so it’s maybe a celebration to a high gratitude.
Is it a concept album?
No, not really but there are different themes to different songs like one, which is based around materialism. One is based around the surface meaning so much like the exterior of a person is more important. But all this different stuff I complained about in lyrics is tied together with the title track like this is all the bullshit but we can do something about it. So, I hope it is going to be more inspiring than the Misanthropic Generation.
When are you going to record the album?
In August we go to Dodge City In Boston to record but we already made demos for ourselves you know, eight track for all the songs so it is coming together really pretty good. We have a plan!
And what are your plans after that, when is it going to be out? Will it be late 2007?
Yes, late 2007 or early 2008. We are discussing with Relapse depending on their schedule before or after but directly with recording the album we`ll do a short US tour as well because we are already over there. After that there are no plans so far. Next summer we would like to concentrate on short like two or three weeks tours or maybe two European and two US tours because of the studies and tied schedule.
It’s very common these days that there is a big pressure on the successful bands to do like reunion show. Have you been asked to do such a show with At the Gates?
A lot but everybody’s doing his stuff you know. We are happy where we are and we are friends now. We don’t play together, so maybe it’s better
So, it’s not realistic that it will happen?
I don’t know and who knows? Maybe in a year or two, you never know because we are friends. We have talked about it but there is more pressure now and I think it is more fun if it just happens. The people are not prepared for it. Otherwise they would take it for granted and there are a lot of bad reunions going on so I am pretty scared to be one of them. We do not wanna do that.
Maybe just one more question about At The Gates. The last album The Slaughter of the Soul was a successful and great album still mentioned even today by the magazines and still you disbanded with you ending up in Disfear at last. What were the reasons for the end?
The reasons were musical differences and also the pressure among us. The Slaughter of the Soul was a compromise between the hardcore side (me) and the metal, more melodic side. That is why it is an aggressive album having short songs with musical lyrics but still have the melody. So, there is a good combination but we fought for this. Even though it was a good fight, we thought our next album would be hard in figuring out which side is going to win. Who is going to be the best diplomat. There was a lot of lot of touring we go for tours to over a year then it’s pressure while recording a new album. Was that good or better? I don’t know if I can do any more songs like that, so it was Ok to disband. It was no problem for anybody as there were no fights.
Back to Disfear, Uffe from Entombed has joined Disfear as a permanent member. Is he going to influence the sound compared to the last album?
Yes, all members of the band have an influence on style. First, you have the guitar sound which is really special. We played with it for two, three, five years, so we know. He knows if the guitar tone or the tune is there, so it helps a lot. And also, he is a writer too, so we write together. Before it was more mainly Bjorn with all the riffs and then we put it together. Now I can’t really say that is a Bjorn song or Uffe song but they come together. He is a good influence as he has a good knowledge. He has always said in the interviews before, I don’t know if you noticed but they talk about metal and Entombed and he always says: “Wow, Entombed is a punk band, a hardcore band.” For him it is. It may be weird for people to hear that but he always thought of Entombed as a hardcore band with a death metal sound but with the attitude of hardcore.
He has a great knowledge, a great library of hardcore records, and love for hardcore music so he knows what Disfear has to be. It’s not like we changed to be a metal band because he’s in the band but he knows the history and he continues of what we do but still there’s some new stuff. That’s why it takes such a long time to write records because we think so much that it is going to be perfect. My opinion is that it’s harder to write a simple good rock song than to write a 23-riff death metal song. Anybody can do a complicated death metal song, I think.
Is he still using his original Entombed quitar sound and how did he join actually?
His guitar sound is there for sure and it is a total wall. It’s great. The funny thing [about him joining], which happened, is we were on a tour with Entombed and he asked – I don’t know if he asked or we asked – but he played one song live with us just for fun. Then we noticed he was trying to pick out the next song as well after the soundchecks. He wanted to learn more, so he played two songs. At the end of the tour, he played like five or six songs. Then we went to Sweden for another Entombed / Disfear tour and we asked him if he wanted to play the whole tour as session guitarist. We had fun and that was awesome. We had a great time and then we had to rehearse for a tour without Entombed as we were headlining a tour in Finland. We asked him: “Do you wanna come?” “Yeah, but I want to be a member,” he said. So, we were like OK and it was so easy. It just happened like that.
I should probably ask Uffe but since you are his long-time friend, why did he leave Entombed?
Well, he should probably answer this for himself but I can see because I know him from 1988 until now. He has more fun with us I think but you have to ask him because you have to have a feeling for yourself. Sometimes the metal business can get too much business. That is just my point of view, so you will have to ask him. Don’t start any rumours [with this answer].
A Brutal Sight of War (1993)
Soul Scars (1995)
Everyday Slaughter (1997)
In Defence of Our Future,
Tribute to Discharge,
contributing the song "Realities of War". (2001)
Misanthropic Generation (2003)
Powerload (2003; 7", Throne Records)
Live The Storm (2008)
Tomas Lindberg - Vocals
Björn Peterson - Guitar
Henke Frykman - Bass
Marcus Andersson - Drums
Uffe Cederlund - Guitar
Jan Axelsson - Drums
Jallo Lehto - Drums