GOD AMONG INSECTS (SWE)
Hell-o guys! Let we begin this chat with two sad events. In this year Quorthon and Dimebag Darrel passed and I think so, their meaningless death were a great loss for the scene. What do you think about it? What did you feel when you have heard, when you were informed of their deaths?
Tobias: The deaths of these two metal heroes are of course very sad. I was of course very shocked when I got the news on both of them, but especially the murder of Dimebag. It's so fucking sick! I still have hard to believe it's true. I was at work when a friend of mine called me up the morning (local Swedish time) and told me what had happened. It's a pity they're both gone. I believe both of them had a lot more to give.
In my opinion 2004 was the year of death metal, a lot of brillant death metal albums were released. Do you agree with me? Which death metal records did you like?
Tobias: Well, there have been a few cool releases the past year. "rEVOLVEr" of THE HAUNTED, "The Wretched Spawn" of CANNIBAL CORPSE and the EP from ABORTED are all very good.
I think the fans could very difficult to decide which albums they buy! It wasn’t lack of death metal albums, was it ha-ha!
Tobias: No, it certainly wasn't. But for my personal taste, there weren't so many releases that I really liked.
What do you think about the reunion of OBITUARY and SUFFOCATION? Do you like “Souls To deny” from SUFFOCATION? They are still one of the best death metal bands aren’t they?
Tobias: It's really cool that these two quality death metal bands reunite. It's going to be very interesting to hear the upcoming Obituary album. Honestly, I haven't heard "Souls to deny", and I have never really been into the Suffo-style of death metal. But they sure are brutal as fuck.
Especially the Swedish bands have done a great work, I think about GRAVE, DISMEMBER, UNLEASHED, BLOODBATH or VOMITORY. What do you think about it?
Tobias: I have to admit again that I haven't heard any of the new albums of the bands you mention, except for VOMITORY of course for obvious reasons. I lost interest in GRAVE the day Jörgen left the band. He did so much for their sound and I believe he could never be replaced. I've heard one song from the new UNLEASHED and it was a lot better than I expected - it was actually quite OK. But their previous album was horrible. DISMEMBER is always DISMEMBER - they are good, but I don't listen to them so much these days as I used to. But I do respect them a lot for still carrying the flag of death metal. I heard the new album from BLOODBATH just a few days ago, and I must admit that I was very surprised in a positive way. Great old-school sounding death metal the way I like it, but still with a lot of fresh ideas. Must get that album!
What’s your opinion about HYPOCRISY? I think both „Catch 22” and „The Arrival” became shitty albums. Does Peter has lost his interest as far as death metal?
Tobias: The guys in that band are just great. HYPOCRISY has never been a favourite band of mine, although they have delivered a few hits during the years. But after touring with them on the No Mercy Festivals 2004, I really began to like their music. After seeing them live about ten times I definitely think that HYPOCRISY should be experienced live. They are an awesome live band! I definitely don't think that Peter has lost interest in death metal, not at all. One should have in mind that the guy began playing death metal more than fifteen years ago, so of course there has to be some development during all the years. Some go more brutal and some go more melodic.
As far as the Swedish scene it has always played respectively plays an important role in the underground. What is the secret of the Swedish bands? They are so talented, brutal and aggressive.
Tobias: I have no perfect answer to that, just my own guessings. From a very young age all kids in Sweden have quite good possibilities to learn music, which probably is the answer to why the average Swedish musician is very skilled. I also believe that Swedish people in general are thinking in "high-quality terms" if you know what I mean. And that includes most things, not only music.
Is death metal a popular music in Sweden? Are many death metal fans in Sweden?
Tobias: It's pretty popular here again so there are still death metal fans in Sweden. But looking at it from a bigger perspective, it's not an especially big group of people that are pure death metal fans here.
At the end of the 90ies was the melodic Gothenburg death metal very popular, IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY, AT THE GATES, ARMAGEDDON are/were very known. What do you think about it? How would you define the essence of death metal? Do you like the melodic death metal?
Tobias: I love AT THE GATES, but they were kind of the pioneers of this style. But I don't give much for the other bands that just jumped on that train. Some melodic stuff is good, but it's not really my bucket of puke, so to speak. To me, death metal should be fast, chaotic, brutal, non-melodic with "scraping the bottom of a cavern in hell"-style vocals (simile courtesy of Matt/Exhumed).
What’s your opinion about the present Swedish scene? It is becoming more and more big. I think about bands like RIBSPREADER, INSISION, VISCERAL BLEEDING, IMMERSED IN BLOOD, REPUGNANT or GOD AMONG INSECTS.
Tobias: I think the Swedish scene is pretty healthy. The bands you mention are all quality bands and they're all doing pretty well I think, which proves that Sweden has more to offer in death metal than the usual names you hear or read about when Swedish bands are mentioned.
Whose idea was to establish the band? When and by whom was the band established? Which bands have had an effect on you?
Tobias: It was Lord K who had the idea of putting this band together. It all began with K having a lot of great death metal material, which was too much death metal to use for his original band, The Project Hate. He ran into me sometime in the summer/autumn of 2003 after having heard Vomitory's "Blood Rapture" album and he simply said that we had to do something together. Me and K knew each other just briefly before that. He completed some songs and sent them to me to practice to. Meanwhile he got Masse and Thomas in the band. All bands we listen to affects us in one way or another, but for God Among Insects we try to stay true to the old-school heroes of ours, like Grave, Bolt Thrower and Carnage, to name a few.
Is GOD AMONG INSECTS a project or a band? It is worth to establish projects?
Tobias: Well, I guess you can call it a side-band. All members take God Among Insects pretty serious. But it's not a real band in the meaning that we practice together on a regular basis. From the beginning, the main idea with this band was to release one album, do one live show and then split up. But we liked it so much so we now are continuing with it as long as we think it’s fun. That’s the cool thing about this kind of side band you don’t have any pressure or anything like that from fans, media, record labels etc. We do everything exactly how we want.
To what does the name of the band refer? I think so, you aren’t the friends of religion and Christianity. What do you think about organized religions and about the religious sects?
Tobias: We don’t like religions, you’re absolutely right there. The band name simply sounds fucking cool to me. It doesn’t really have a special deep meaning or so to me, but when I’m thinking a bit further, the band name is a bit… cocky, which I only think is cool. It can have several meanings, depending on who’s interpreting it. It’s not the average kind of name for a death metal band either, which I also like. I think K got the band name from a line said in the film “X-men”.
Everybody knows the members of the band are from several, known ones, like VOMITORY, DARK FUNERAL, SANCTIFICATION and PROJECT HATE. How can you reconcile your time with the time of the main bands? Do you take part in other projects too?
Tobias: As I said earlier, we don’t rehearse on a regular basis with God Among Insects. In fact, we almost never rehearse at all. And we all live pretty far from each other as well, so rehearsing makes it quite difficult for us. K and Masse live a couple of hours drive from me (in different directions, though) and Tomas lives like 8 or 9 hours drive north of me. So far we’ve only rehearsed the day before a show or so, which has proved to be enough. All members of God Among Insects are fully aware that their main bands are their first priority, so we do nothing with the band that would collide with any of the main bands. I would never cancel a Vomitory show for a God Among Insects show. For me, God Among Insects is the only thing I have beside Vomitory. Tomas (Elofsson bass) is also playing guitar in In Battle, beside Insects and his main band Sanctification.
Are there similarities or differences between GOD AMONG INSECTS and the main bands? Do you play old school death metal? What does it mean for you old school death metal?
Tobias: There are both similarities and differences between GAI and our main bands. I guess it would be strange to have an old-school death metal band without hearing the ifluences from our main bands. For example, we have what we call “the Dark Funeral riff”, the “Blood Rapture riff” and the “Project Hate riff” in some of our songs. That pretty much says it all. Old school death metal to me is the bands I mentioned before GRAVE, BOLT THROWER, CARNAGE plus ENTOMBED, CARCASS, old PARADISE LOST, OBITUARY, AUTOPSY… The list goes on…
Did you record demos or did you record off the cuff the album? Did you send tapes via snail mail with your riffs, ideas? How were the songs composed?
Tobias: K recorded demos with all but one song before we entered the studio, which he sent on CD’s to the rest of us so we had something to learn the songs from. The songs were more or less completely finished already on the demos. Only a few changes were made to some songs.
By whom were the music and the lyrics written? Who is the main songcomposer?
Tobias: All songs but one are written by K. “Uhr-Nazuur”, the last song that we wrote for the album, was written by K and me together in the studio.
Where, in which studio and with whom did you the album record? How many time did you spend in the studio? How was your mood during the recordings?
Tobias: The album was recorded and mixed in Abyss Studios together with Tommy Tägtgren, who did an awesome work for us. We spent like one day per member during the recording, so that’s about four days of work. Then there’s the mixing which took a couple of days. We were all in a great mood during the recording session ‘cause we were all very excited about doing this album, and the fact that everything worked really smooth didn’t exactly make it worse either. Does being drunk count as a kind of mood??!!
The album was titled „World wide death”. Unfortunately I still didn’t listen to the album so I ask you to speak detaild about it. What are all about the lyrics, what must we know about the songs, how many ones are on the record, are you satisfied with the sound etc.?
Tobias: First and foremost, I think the production is something extra. This ain’t the average modern death metal production. This is brutal. And it is really fat. And it is fucking heavy. We tune the guitars to F, which is almost an octave lower than standard tuning. Masses ultra-low death metal vocals complete it perfectly. The album contians nine songs “Legions of darkness”, “A gush of blood”, “Headless nun whore”, “Wretched hatching”, “Chainsawed christians”, “Purified in carnage”, “Uprising of the rotten”, “Severe facial reconstruction” and “Uhr-Nazuur”. As you clearly can tell from the song titles, our lyrics are no-bullshit, straight up death metal lyrics.
What does the cover depict? By whom was it planned or painted? It became awesome, I like it very much.
Tobias: The cover shows a shit-ugly, bloody torso crucified with barbwire. We’ve got really mixed reactions on the cover artwork, and some people simply doesn’t understand that it’s supposed to be ugly! But it sure as hell has the old death metal vibe to it! That’s the whole point. And it also got banned in Germany! We are very pleased with the artwork. It’s made by a Swedish bloke named Sebastian Boström.
What kind of reactions did you get on the album? Are you satisfied with the result? Would you change something on the material?
Tobias: We are very satisfied with the result and the reactions have been absolutely great. Of course there are some crappy reviews of it as well, but that’s just a small minority of them. I would not want to change anything on the material. But if I could, I would have mixed the vocals a bit louder.
The record was attented to Threeman Records. Is this a relatively new underground label, isn’t it?
Tobias: Threeman has been around since '96 or '97, so I wouldn’t consider them new.
How did you get in touch with them? Didn’t you get offers from other labels? How do they help you, how do they support the band?
Tobias: K has worked with them for a while now with his The Project Hate so they were really cool with releasing “World Wide Death”. We didn’t look any further for another label either. It’s almost a little too early to tell actually, but so far they’re doing a good job for us. And they are really cool guys.
For how many albums did you sign to them? Are you satisfied with their promotional work?
Tobias: Only one album. Yes, we’re satisfied, but we don’t ask for much either.
Which bands are signed to them? What kind of records did they release? Is this a pure death metal label?
Tobias: It’s run by guys from ENTOMBED plus some more other guy. It's not a pure death metal label, but most of their releases are death metal. They have, beside GOD AMONG INSCENTS, ENTOMBED, VICIOUS ART, THE MIGHTY NIMBUS, MURDER SQUAD and THE PROJECT HATE (and NIHILIST, hehe - Leif) among the bands on their roster.
What do you think about the Swedish underground labels? Which are the best ones?
Tobias: Honestly, I haven’t got a clue.
Did you give some shows? Will you go or were you on tour? How can we imagine a GOD AMONG INSECTS gig?
Tobias: Yes, we’ve done three shows so far, all in Sweden. We have already a couple booked for 2005. We’ll see if there will be any tours in the future. If we get an offer which is good enough we might as well go. But it’s nothing we’re striving for. A show with God Among Insects is an orgy of heavy riffing, double bassdrums and banging heads!
What are your future plans? When will you record the next GOD AMONG INSECTS album? When do you come to Hungary?
Tobias: At the moment we have our aim set on the upcoming shows. We might also record another album, but that’s nothing decided yet. We will see. If we feel like it, there will be another Insects album, but I have no clue when in time that would happen. Hungary would be awesome to play in, so when a serious promoter who caughs up cash to cover everything for us, we will come in a wink of an eye!
What do you think about the future of death metal? Will be in 2005 a lot of cool death metal albums released too?
Tobias: I think the future of death metal is quite bright. I believe that death metal as a genre has been around for so long now so it will never die. There will constantly start new bands that will keep the flame burning. I really hope that 2005 will be a better year of death metal releases than 2004 was. It certainly starts off fucking great with the new album from Rotten Sound, “Exit”! I can already now tell that it will be on my top 5 for this year, and yet I’ve only heard one song from it. I’m also looking forward to the new stuff fom Exhumed and Aborted.
Tell us please your first ten all time favourite death metal releases. Why did you choose these albums?
Tobias: Oh, this is a very tough one… But spontaneously I say Grave “Into The Grave”, Entombed “Left Hand Path”, Vader “Black To The Blind”, Terrorizer “World Downfall”, At The Gates “Terminal Spirit Disease”, Repulsion “Horrified”, Exhumed “Slaughtercult” and “Anatomy Is Destiny”, Rotten Sound “Murderworks”, Bolt Thrower “The 4th Crusade” and Dead Infection “A Chapter Of Accidends”. I cannot put them in any particular order. They’re all equally good in their own way. And if you would ask me tomorrow the list would probably look a little different!
What would you be, if you wouldn’t be a death metal musician? Is death metal only a music for you or a lifeform?
Tobias: I think playing in a band, death metal or not, is a way of living itself. So yes, I cosider it a way of living since the death metal scene includes so much more than just the music. It goes deeper in all of us involved, including all fans of course. One can easily tell that when you go to concerts and meet death metal people and the next day go to another concert with non-metal music. If I wasn’t a death metal musician I would be a…. musician! I love music and I will be playing until I die death metal or not.
Thank you for your answers, I wish you all the best, a merry christmas and a happy new year. Please close the interview.
Tobias: Thanks supporting The Insects, Leslie, and keep up the good work! Check our website for the usual stuff mp3’s, pictures etc. Cheerz!
Interview: David Laszlo