|One of the last old-school Death Metal bands from Sweden are without any doubt NECROPHOBIC. And after three albums on Black Mark they signed to Hammerheart Records, where their fourth longplayer "Bloodhymns" will be out in February. Short before I heard from the new longplayer, I sent some questions to Joakim. So, read by yourself, what he has to say!
Hi Joakim! What's up? I have heard, that you signed to Hammerheart Records. Why did you leave Black Mark or better, why didn't you leave Black Mark earlier?
Your last record "The Third Antichrist" is now two years old. So, do you have plans for a new album? Are there some tracks ready and do you have by now a working-title?
||Joakim: Yes, we are now signed to Hammerheart and that feels great. Why we didn't leave Black Mark earlier was because we had a contract that said we had to saty with them for a certain period. When that period was over, we said good bye to Black Mark. In the beginning, we thought Black Mark were a good label, but these last years have not felt good for us. Hopefullt our future will be more satisfying now with our new label.
Joakim: We will start the recording of the new album the 10th of September, which is a month ahead when I answer this. The new album will be entitled "Bloodhymns" and will be a fucking masterpiece again. No mercy!
Are there some differences between your new material and the older one?
Joakim: The new songs will be like the last record, mostly, only harder. The evil melodies that have become our trademark is still there and sets the right atmosphere to the whole album. People that like satanic oldschool death metal - like it was supposed to be - will worship "Bloodhymns". Wait and see!
What happened after your last release? I only know, that you played on the Party San Open Air, but next to that, nothing more? Didnt you play live?
Joakim: We played a couple of shows here in Sweden and a mini-tour in Holland, but that was all. Remember, we were on Black Mark in those days. Anyway, we also changed line-up after and then one of the members took a 2½ months long vacation from everything and went to Asia. A 2 week tour through Europe got cancelled because of that. After the new album has been released, there will definately be some tours - be there to witness the slaughter!
||What's up with the line-up? Are you still in the four-piece line-up from "The Third Antichrist"?
Joakim: No, Martin Halfdan (guitar) decided to go on with a different type of music. The guitarist that replaced him is Johan Bergebäck. Great guitarplayer, great songwriter, great friend. Me, Tobias and Sebastian is still here, so to speak.
Did Johan Bergebäck play in another band, before he joined?
Yes, Johan used to play in a band called MORPHEUS. They split up in 1994. Sebastian did also play in that band before joining NECROPHOBIC.
What kind of music is Martin doing now?
He plays some kind of wierd black metal. You can listen to his music on a mp3 at http://fly.to/yuggoth
I know, that you made coverversions of SLAYER, IRON MAIDEN, BATHORY, VENOM and also AUTOPSY. Did you also made other covers and why song did you also wanted to cover?
Joakim: Many years ago, we recorded a CELTIC FROST cover. The song was "Into the Crypts of Rays" and was supposed to be on a tribute for an American Label called Dwell Records. However, we didn't appear on that album, but that's another story. That was in early 1994, or something. There are a lot of old Heavy Metal heroes one wants to cover, but it's nothing we plan for the moment. If we get asked to do a cover, we'll see what time we have and so on. We turned down 2 offer from Hellspawn Records for 2 tribute-albums recently. We didn't really have the time, because we had to focus on writing the completing stuff for our new album. Those were tributes to Morbid Angel and a new Bathory-tribute. Hellspawn did a Bathory-tribute a few years ago, and that one we covered "Enter the Eternal Fire". I guess you know all about that already...
Are you planning to do the CELTIC FROST-cover on the new CD or something else?
second sold over 1000 copies the first couple of months. We sold over 3000 copies before loosing count. It was Wild Rags Records that helped us, but it has sold a lot more than 3000, I know that!
||No, that old cover we did in 1994 on "Into the Crypts of Rays" will never be released. Not by us, anyway. Maybe if someone has it on tape and will do a bootleg, or something...
OK, let's go back in history. You were founded in 1989 and released two demos in 1990 and 1991. I have read, that your first demo sold around 3000 copies. Is it right and were the reactions and the recordings in general?
Joakim: Naah, the first one sold about 1000 copies, but the
The reactions of the demodays were great and the second demo is now regarded a cult demo. It really spread our name in a great way and got a rumour/interest going for Necrophobic.
I have a sampler called "Believe In Church And Agonize", which were from 1990. There were "Slow Asphyxiation" and "Retaliation" on it. Was it from your second demo and how did you get in contact with Witchhunt?
Joakim: No, those two songs were from our first demo, which had yet one more song, by the way. We got a letter from a guy who wanted to do a sampler and we sent him our demo and a photo. He replied and said thank you and that we were going to get 10 copies of the ALBUM when it had been released. An ALBUM??? We thought it was this typical sampler cassettes, that was common in those days. We got real happy when we found out that we were going to be included on an album.
It's a real rare record. It also included one song by UNLEASHED.
Did you record the demos also in the Sunlight Studio or did you use a low-budget studio back then?
In 1993 you released your 7" "The Call" on Wild Rags Records, which sold around 1500 copies Did you have problems with the label and which tracks were on the single? From the demos? If yes, did you re-record the tracks?
||Joakim: The first one was recorded in a studio called Kuben. It wasn't more lowbudget than Sunlight, but when we were there, it was the first time we ever have been in a studio, so the result isn't really that good. Right after we got out of that studio and have recorded our first demo, Unleashed came in and recorded their first demo. It was kind of Hi, so now it's your turn in the doorway, he he. Nihilist recorded their last demo in that studio as well, before they changed their name to Entombed.
Joakim: It sold 1500 copies in just one month and that was all copies printed. Limited stuff. It also included a poster of the band, but it didnt turn out the way I said it should look like. Anyway, it was cool to have a poster back then. There were not so many bands that had that in those days. We didn't have so much trouble with Wild Rags. The only thing that didnt work so well was that it took them a little bit too long to release our stuff. The second demo, "Unholy Prophecies" was delayed a few months and the EP "The Call" got delayed 8-9 months. On that ep we had the songs "Shadows Of The Moon" (instrumental), "The Ancients Gate" and "Father Of Creation". All of them new for that release, but we re-recorded them when we recorded the album. Unfortunately, the song Shadows of the Moon got dropped by mistake in the mastering, so it says on the album that this song shall be on it, but there is a song called Inborn Evil there instead, a song we re-recorded (from the second demo), but we didnt think it fitted on the album and we decided to drop it. Well, by mistake that song is on the album now. However, there are a few copies of The Nocturnal Silence that has the song Shadows of the Moon and those of you that has it, shall be proud. Its a very RARE thing. Keep it!!!
Why did you change your logo before your debut?
We wanted to have a great looking logo instead of that old one that I draw. The old one is a fucking joke, ha ha ha. You cant have such ugly looking logos when you want to conquer the world, ha ha ha. I cant draw and you have the old logo to see that Im right about that.
||In the same year your first record "The Nocturnal Silence" was also released. Were there only Black Mark which had an interest in you or did you get also others offers?
Joakim: We had got a lot of offers before Black Mark wanted to sign us, but we didnt like those labels at that time. They were too small as well. Black Mark was a growing label and was a good label at that time, so we signed to them for 1 record to start with.
Which tracks from the demos were also recorded for your debut?
Joakim: All songs from the second demo and all songs from the ep. Then we added 4 new songs.
After that, you made a quiet big break for around three years. What happened? Did you make something in other bands?
Joakim: Well, David formed Dark Funeral, but it didnt affect the work in Necrophobic really. The thing that happened was that we couldnt come up with material that we felt was 100% satifying. Half of the album was written during 1993 and beginning of 1994, but then we couldnt write anymore. Its too difficult to explain a situation like this to someone outside the band. I mean, we could easily have recorded a new album already during 1994 or early 1995, but we, in the band, hadnt felt proud of that material. We do this to please ourselves, not the musicindustry, or magazines or whatever.
Then in 1996 your MCD "Spawned By Evil" were released. Why did you make this MCD?
||Joakim: Yeah, in the end of 1995, we felt that we really had to do something, so the world knew we still existed and also wanted to promote that our second album was on its way, finally. So we recorded our newest song we had at that time, "Spawned by Evil", but instead of giving away too much new material, we choosed to record some covers. 2 of them were also recorded for the tributes to Slayer and Bathory that we are featured on. Afterwards, it showed that we had done the right move, casue the interest for us was very big after the MCD was released.
In 1997 your great second longplayer "Darkside" were released, which were not that old-school influenced, than the debut. How came it?
Joakim: Well, many seem to have different opinions about "Darkside". First I must say that the material on "The Nocturnal Silence" was written between 1991-1992. The songs on "Darkside" showed a bit different approach, but still with the typical elements that NECROPHOBIC has in the music. We only played it alot faster than before. It was a step forward in darkness and evil, but maybe our fans thought the step was too big. We developed as musicians as well and played a bit different, but still I see it as typical Necrophobic. We also changed singer between the first album and Darkside. You could first hear that on "Spawned by Evil", but that was only a mcd and maybe all of our fans didnt bought that.
On this record there was also Sebastian Ramstedt as gast musician. Was it clear to this time, that David will leave the band or why did Sebastian play some riffs on the recording?
Joakim: Yeah, David left the band already when we mixed the "Spawned By Evil" MCD. Sebastian had just joined the band when we entered the studio for recording "Darkside". Sebastian played 2 guitarsolos on "Darkside" just because we didn't want to let him play more than that. The other of us had fought 3 years to finally record the second album and Sebastian were a too new member. He could easily have participated on that recording, cause he could play all the songs. It was a band decision we made at that time. David played a solo as well on that recording on his song "Black Moon Rising". We felt that he should do that.
Sebastian played before he joined in MORPHEUS. I know that they released a 12" (In The Arms Of...) and a CD (Son Of Hypnos). Did they released also something else and why did they split-up?
Joakim: The didn't record more than that and they split up because they had trouble with deciding how the new music should be written. Too many different taste of music in the band, I guess
Also Jon Nödtveidt from DISSECTION were on guest vocals. Are you still in contact with him?
Joakim: No, we are not in contact with him for the moment. His is in jail, you know
And at last your latest album "The Third Antichrist" came out. In the middle of the booklet there was a pic, which were censored. So, can you tell me what exactly happened there (perhaps you can send me the uncensored pic?!)?
Joakim: We wanted to have a picture that reminded of some old artwork like Morbid Angels artwork for "Abominations Of Desolations", the original, and Tobias draw this picture of four demons and a nun. When the distributors, SPV, saw our album, they told Black Mark either to remove it totally, or have it censored. Black Mark told us about this and we aggreed to have small black pices covering the most indecent stuff, but when we saw the album, SPV had made big pieces that almost ruined the whole artwork. They also typed "Censored" in 2 languages. One in english and one in german, ha ha ha. How stupid! The word is not so har to understand, is it? Well, you can't have the picture, cause we don't know where it is for the moment, but if you buy our t-shirt, the artwork is on the backside of the t-shirt
Do you know, what happened to your former members Anders Strokierk, Jocke Stabel and Stefan Harrvik?
Joakim: Anders Strokirk and Joakim Stabel is still playing with their original band, Blackshine. I don't know what Stefan Harrvik is doing today, but I guess he's a regular family guy.
Can you tell me more about their band BLACKSHINE?
Blackshine used to be a death metal band from the beginning. They went under the name Hetsheads and did 1 great demo in 1991. Then they recorded some new material for a second release and should have been released as a double-ep, with two record companies involved. It was one spanish label and one italian label, I don't recall their names at the moment, but both of those labels are existing today and are wellknown, I guess. However, it didnt got released because two labels can't work together, obviously. Then in 1994, the spanish label, then called Repulse Records released those songs + the songs of the first demo as a full CD entitled "We Hail The Possessed". After that, the guys couldnt develop their death metal anymore and started to write more metal kind of music, influenced by Danzig, Motörhead and stuff like that. They also changed their name to Blackshine, to not fool their Hetsheads-fans. Big credit for that!!! That's the way to do it!!! Blackshine released their first album in 1997 called "Our Pain Is Your Pleasure" and now in October their second album "Souless And Proud" will hit the market. They played this years Wacken Open Air as well
I'm telling you all this because they are my closest friends and I really like their music.
Ok, that's it. Many thanks for answering my questions and the last words goes out to you! Bye!
Joakim: Thanks Leif for letting Necrophobic be a part of this issue of Carnage zine. Look out for our return with "Bloodhymns" that will be available in February 2002. If an album will blow you away in 2002, "Bloodhymns" will be the one. No doubt about it! Please, visit our website at www.necrophobic.net or drop us a line at info[at]necrophobic.net. Auf wiedersehen!!!
Interview: Leif (2002)