This interview was done in Sepmteber 2004 with Hempa, who is nowadays playing in a quite cool band called MYKORRHIZA. If you never got the change to listen to EXCRUCIATE's stuff, just take a look in the next mailorder (e.g. Merciless Records), where you can find the whole stuff on a double-CD ("Beyond The Circle"). Fuckin' owesame stuff in the early Swedish vain!!!

Hi Hempa! What's up in Sweden? Some news from your actual band MYKORRHIZA?

Hi Leif! Everything is cool here in Sweden. Yes, we'll hit the studios soon and record 11 new tracks for a new album. Now it's mid september-04 and we'll try to record in oct/nov.

Please give us a short description of the music of MYKORRHIZA. Till now you have released a MCD and a CD, right?

Yes, we released 1 MCD ("Same") and 1 CD ("Shattered Dreams") in 2002. The music is more melodic and has more Metal influences than Excruciate. More dynamic and more aggressive i think. The brutality is still there of course. It's hard to describe he he! Well, you have to listen to it to understand completely. We just create music that we like.

Ok, let's start with EXCRUCIATE! When did you start with the band and how was the scene in Uppl. Väsby at this time? By the way, is it nar to Stockholm?

Well, we started up in 1988/89 with Excruciate. Upplands Väsby is a suburb to Stockholm, it takes around 20 minutes by car. The scene was pretty good at that time in U.V with bands like Therion, Mastication, Necrology, Leviathan, Death Cremation, Vomitizer etc.

In 1990 you recorded your first demo "Mutilation Of The Past". Why did you choose a studio in Lübeck (Germany) to record the demo?

The demo was recorded at a place in Stockholm called "Lübeck" (ups - Leif).

Your vocalist was Christoffer Johnsson. Is it the guy from Therion and if yes, was it only a guest appereance or a real member?

As we was only a three piece back then we didn't have a
vocalist, so we asked Chris if he could help us and so he did. And he did a really good job, credits to him!

Next to your debut demo you also recorded two tracks from the project KORGÜLL at this studio. Was it something like holidays with recording-session for you to went to Lübeck?

We got paid to record 2 tracks in the studio. So Korgüll did their only songs, he he.

In 1991 you got in contact with Infest Records. How was it to work with them? Was it from the beginning on clear, that you make a Split LP with Epitaph?

Val from Infest Records was cool. We had recorded 5 tracks for our second demo "Hymns Of Mortality" and she had heard our first demo and wanted us to make a split-lp instead. So we used four of the tracks to the split-lp.

Did you know the guys of Epitaph before und what do you think about their side and the "Seeming Salvation" LP?

I think Johan had met the guys in Epitaph before the split-lp, they were cool young guys. And I liked their stuff too. We did some gigs with them later on.

With Fredrik Isaksson and Christian Carlsson you also got two new guys in the band, but both were involved
in the KORGÜLL project. So, how did it come?

Well, me and Fred are cousins and we have always played together so we started up this project with me (haha) on drums and guitar and Fred did the bass. But we didn't have a vocalist so we asked our friend Crippa to do some growling and so he did. And when we heard the result we asked if he wanted to join Excruciate.

Why did you choose the Studio Largen and not the popular Sunlight studio for this recording? Too expensive?

Yes, we didn't have so much cash, he he! So we entered Studio Largen instead of Sunlight.

In 1993 you release your first full-lenght on the French Thrash Records label. Was it the same guy as from Infest Rec. Or how did you get in contact with a second French label?

I think Val had worked with Pat on Thrash-records earlier. And he liked our demo + split and asked if we wanted to do a CD, and so we did.

On this CD there were three re-recordings from the demo. Why did you choose them for your this record and not for the split-LP with Eptiaph?

As I said the split-LP was supposed to be our second demo.
And we wanted to re-record our strongest material from the demo to the CD.

This time you choose the Sunlight. Did you get a higher budget or was Largen too bad?

We got some financial help from Thrash-Records to enter Sunlight.

In Lars Levin you also got a new vocalist. Why did Christian leave the band and did Lars sang in another band before it?

Lars sang for Mastication before, and when I had a party at my place they gave me their demos and when I heard his brutal growling I said to Lars that he MUST join Excruciate, he he! So Crippa had to leave the band, and Lars joined during the Sunlight session.

I think the "Passage Of Life" is the strongest material from you. The sound is great, the vocals duties are the best of your three vocalists. The material is also more in the Grotesque vain, than the typical Entombed/Dismember sound. Who was the biggest influence for you?

Thanx! Our influences at that time was Morbid
Angel/Carcass/Bolt Thrower etc. But I think we got our own style in a way.

When did you decide to split up with Excruciate and what was the reason for it?

I decided to split up Excruciate in 1992 I think, the reason was lack of interest from the members. And the frustration that the "Passage Of Life" CD was delayed. We recorded it in late 91 and it was released in mid 93, aarghh!

Do you know, how many copies you sold from your releases? I think it is not the most, cause I never got the change to buy the original CD from "Passage Of Life" and never saw them as a used CD...

I never got any sales figures from Thrash-Records. And I think it's good that you newer saw any used for sale, he he..That means that it's a good CD.

After all, you recorded in 2001 a new demo, simply entitled "Demo 2001". I never heard the material and was it only something like fun to play with all original members + David Brink?

That was me trying to re-unite the band, ha ha..I made 3 tracks and we recorded them on a digiporta with no good sound. Some of the material can be heard in some Mykorrhiza tracks. But it was more for fun as you say.

Were the three tracks from the demo old tracks or did you write them especially for the demo?

1 track was old and the other 2 was new.

After all in 2003 the compilation double-CD "Beyond The Circle" was released. I think it's a great idea to put the whole stuff on a double-CD. Whose idea was it and by the way how did you get in contact with the Singaporian label Konqueror Records, where also the Mykorrhiza release was released!

I had got many mails through the years from fans that wanted our material on CD, so the idea was there already.
And K.R contacted me as the word was out that Excruciate had started again. From the beginning we talked about doing something with Excruciate, but once again I felt that there was no real interest from the rest of the band. So I started up project Mykorrhiza with Martin instead, and we started to worked with K.R.

At least it will be cool, if you say something about the Swedish scene at the beginning of the ninties. How was it to be a part of it and which bands were your favorites at that time?

That was a really good time. I'm glad that I was part of it. We had lots of fun and saw many gigs and drank tons of beer..ha ha! There were tons of good bands at that time, so there is hard to name just a few. I really like SEANCE and UNANIMATED.

Ok Hempa, that's it! Hope it was not too boring for you and that you have a little bit fun with the questions! Cheerz! Leif

Thanx to you Leif!! Take care and stay BRUTAL !!! CHEEERS !!!

Interview: Leif (September 2004)

more infos about EXCRUCIATE