MORDBRAND

Where do all Swedish metal bands come from? We are only 9 million people and at least 8 and half play metal, or so it seems. Per and Björn took time out to answer my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2011

Why a Swedish name when everything else is in English?
-Per: Figuring out a band name nowadays is a pain in the ass, so why not Swedish? Most band names are taken already. There’s a song on the MCD that’s in Swedish (Skärseld), we might do this more in the future.
Björn: “Sepultura” worked out ok for a certain Brazilian band.

How long did it take to put thought into action once you knew Mordbrand was what you wanted to do?
Per: We work very intense when we actually work, so it moves along rather quickly. The comfort of modern society makes everything run rather smooth. E-mail and home studio equipment does give one the chance to work differently from the standard practice; the “rehearse—>studio” routine.

Mordbrand is a much better name than Arson. Do you have any intended concept behind the MCD you released or is it just random thoughts that make it all up?
Per: Musically we set out do a record with some variety without straying from the basic death formula. We did this to not limit ourselves in the future. I think the MCD provides a rather broad example of death metal done in the old way. No concept, there are some lyrics that work well together story-wise. And some that don’t!
Björn: For me personally, I could write a dozen “safe” songs – meaning: things that people “tolerate” and find “true” to the OSDM concept. You won’t find that safety in songs like “The Fall of Flesh” or “Deliverance”. That’s what, for me, makes it interesting and it will make it very hard for people to label us as plain “retro”. Those who do that aren’t really paying attention.

Having a history in Swedish Death Metal, does that help in attracting exposure?
Per: Yes, it does. I’ve never intended to use my past in God Macabre as a selling point, but the connection has been made by everyone else anyway. In the end though, if our music isn’t worthwhile it will show.
Björn: Of course! Me and Johan aren’t really known in the scene though. We released a split record before Per joined, and we had a few ideas for songs ready that ended up on the new MCD. For the band, Per’s musical input was very important to the sound of the songs – and that’s more important than what he’s done in the past. But I can’t deny that we’ve gotten quite a bit of exposure because of it. We don’t mind people bringing focus on Per though (I’m just as excited as the next guy over the fact that Per is growling again), as long as they get what we do musically.

Right now we see a resurfacing of both old and new Swedish death metal bands playing the old, tried version of Swedish Death Metal. Why do you think that is?
Per: Everything runs in cycles, Swe DM came to an abrupt end due to bands losing focus and the Norwegians upping the ante. Sooner or later everything gets dug up again by either young aspiring musicians or elder practitioners that want another go. It’s the graveyard revisited.
Björn: I think the metal genre came to an extreme where everything went super-fast and turned super-explicit. The feeling and atmosphere was lost in the brutality, in a way. It’s hard to creep people out without ugliness, and I think that’s the thing the OSDM bands showcased. I do appreciate many of the current death metal bands, and we’re not here to teach people lessons. We just want to make cool music.

I keep going on and on about how spectacular it was to find Grave’s debut album “Into The Grave” at my local Domus store. The early 90s was a glorious time when you could by 7”s by Macabre End,
Eternal Darkness and Dissection from faraway places. With a history that goes that far back for some of you how do you view today’s Swedish death metal scene?
Per: It looks very promising and without the hype surrounding it hopefully everyone will focus on the music. You can’t relive the old days, but there are some similarities and great bands.
Björn: I’m not into nostalgia. A good record is a good record no matter what year it is.

Not one week goes by without a new Swedish metal record being released. Why are we Swedes so good at this whole metal thing?
Per: No clue. Maybe being Swedish (and in that sense being part of a rich society) gives you the luxury to concentrate a lot on your hobbies and not so much on putting food on the table? Can’t imagine this in the third world.
Björn: It is and “always” has been risk-free to be “controversial” in Sweden. No one’s gonna put you in jail for being a moron. People are just as secular towards the concept of Satan as they are to Jahve. We are so numb in this culture that we need to get frightened to feel alive. Death metal is just one thrill amongst others.

Once you get older you pretty much have settled done with a good job, wife and possibly a house. How do you go about promoting a new band in the best possible way while still balancing a life on the side?
Per: You’ll have to make the best of it and choose what aspects of the music industry you want to do. Endless world touring is not an option, and the need to feed your families is obviously main priority. That’s a big difference from the teenage years when music was first priority, life and death. Nowadays it has to take a backseat position, like it or not.
Björn: Give me convenience AND give me death.

Back in the 90s it was a huge thing to get signed by any label. Nowadays it doesn’t seem to matter too much what kind of label it is. How has the world of releasing records changed and what’s your opinion on it?
Per: The underground labels seem to be about the same as before, I don’t get very excited over releasing a record but it’s cool to have and for others to enjoy. The “label-scene” seems to cooperate a lot, one label doing the CD, another vinyl etc. We are VERY pleased with what Deathgasm has offered the perfect company for us. Apart from that, releasing records is no longer the only way to distribute music so the importance of having a label has diminished a bit. Support the labels; they might be the last breed and the deathgasm of an era.

It might not be that important today with all the digital downloading that goes on but how important is the graphic depiction of the band to you, i.e. record cover and promo shots etc.?
Per: This is not high priority for us at all, like I said before; we rather release music than play live, pose for photos and work on band art. Focus on the fun bits and the other stuff only when it’s needed.

Where do you see Mordbrand taking you on this journey you’ve started?
Per: Beyond the unholy grave and into total death.
Björn: To boldly go where a bunch of people has gone before… and enjoy getting there.

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