August 13, 2005
place: Party San festival
interview partners: Sebastian Ramstedt (guitar)+ Joakim Sterner (drums)
method: face to face
This interview was special for me, because it really was not easy for Sheol Magazine to get a Necrophobic interview. We had tried to contact the band already 1 year before this interview, but never got any reply, not even after contacting 2 other band members a second time. So at Party San festival I asked the band directly (during their signing session) and of course I got the standart answer “We never got any e-mails”… ahem. But Johan promised me an interview with him and Tobias for the next day. So I wrote down some questions relating to these 2 guys’ work, but the next day it wasn`t these 2 coming for the interview. Instead of them Sebastian and Joakim came, so I could skip all my questions again and had to be improvising again. But at least FINALLY Sheol Magazine now has its Necrophobic interview. But therefor I have to admit that this was one of the nicest interviews, as it was very “romantic”, us all sitting on a meadow with the forest in the background some hundret meters away from the festival area, the sun was shining, butterflies flying by, flowers growing… haha… okay, would have been more necro with bats flying by in the dark, but you can`t have everything! ;-) And also both guys of Necrophobic were speaking very distinctly, so this was the very first recorded interview, where I had NO problems with understanding their words, when typing it down. Thanx! ;-) Okay, and here it is:
= Sebastian Ramstedt
J = Joakim Sterner
T = Twilightheart
> What happened to the Whiskey bottle that the label guys gave you at the
signing session yesterday? Did you have party?
S > Yeah, we had lots of party with that bottle I think. We also offered it to the singer in Impious and he was at first totally wasted, and then we drank the rest of it and then WE were totally wasted.
J > Yeah, and we tried to give it to one of the Amon Amarth guys also, he only drank a little bit but he was professional enough to skip it.
T > Were you satisfied with the sound quality of your gig yesterday?
S > Actually it´s always very difficult to tell when you´re o stage because you hear the monitors, and in the monitors you don´t hear the actual sound, you just hear what you have in the monitors, so I think the sound on stage was pretty horrible, but it was copable. You could hear some of it, but I have no idea how the sound was outside. Hopefully it was okay.
T > The bass sounded horrible.
S > Yeah, I think that was the problem, because in the second song “Into armageddon” when there´s just bass and drums I think the bass was missing. That´s bad. Because it´s very based on the bass, that song.
J > And I think it´s like that on festivals, you don´t have a soundcheck as you have in regular shows.
S > It´s quantity, not quality. You get a lot of bands, but you don´t get the best out of all of it.
J > It´s more like a party than like on a professional tour.
T > Was the reaction of the audience like you expected it? Because I had a feeling like they were a bit reserved.
S > Yeah, and we talked actually to the Amon Amarth guys about that and they also felt that maybe the rain and stuff had made the people like they were not in the mood, in the usual mood. But I think we had a good audience actually. They were with us and everybody was screaming. I think it was okay, but it was not the best.
T > In the first rows, yes. But in the back people were more silent.
S > I think it´s important: it´s NEVER the audience`s fault. The audience are always there, and if it´s good enough, the audience will always be more aggressive and scream more. But I think maybe because the sound was a little bit low, maybe a little bit to less bass, so what can you expect? But I think the audience are always okay, the audience are always alright, it´s up to the bands to do it.
T > Do you know the organizer of the festival personally? Because in any interview he said, you`re one of the 3 bands he`s looking forward to most.
S > Yeah, he`s actually a quite close friend. He´s a guy that we call sometimes and talk to. It´s always fun to do a festival with him.
J > He is a long time friend as well, because he actually told us, that yesterday … you know he`s working all the time… but Necrophobic was the only show he saw from start to finish.
T > What was that you said at the beginning of any song yesterday… “This is for our ancestors”?
S > The song “Roots of Heldrasill” is about our ancestors. It´s about the Nordic heritage of the ancient religion in Sweden.
T > You believe in all that?
S > Of course we don`t believe in Thor riding the skies, but we believe in us being how we are because of that old religion. It´s closer to us to relate to than christianity or something else. And it´s heathendom and I think that I can speak for all in Necrophobic that we are atheist.
J > Yes.
S > And I would say we`re anti-religious (not just christianity).
J > But that`s the most close.
S > Yeah, that`s the obvious choice, because in Sweden we don´t have much Muslims, not yet, but it´s like christianity it´s the one religion that fucks our governments up and that`s why we pay extra taxes for the church and stuff… yeah, we`re anti-religious.
T > What`s the title of the new song that you introduced yesterday?
S > “Branded by light, enlightened by darkness”. And it´s about that religious thing going on … you know, if the light is religion then the blind people should make the people think that it´s okay to worship the church and you should be fine with whatever you get. But the dark makes you open your mind and then think for yourself. That`s what the song is about. To step into the dark side and to get enlighted and to get to know how to live your life also.
T > So you`re busy with writing on the new album!?
S > Yeah, we have 7 or 8 songs that are totally clear and then we have material for another 5. So I think it will be like 10 songs on the normal CD and one more for Japan.
T > Can you already tell me the title?
S > No. We have the title and we have the concept, but we want to do the album first and have all the work and lyrics done before we tell the press what`s it about. But the thing I can tell you: we drifted a little bit from the normal blasphemy-lyrics into a little bit more Nordic heritage.
((Comment Twi: meanwhile the album title is revealed, see www.necrophobic.net for details!))
T > But the music did not become any “softer”?
S > We are like Death Metal`s AC/DC. You know what to get when you buy the new Necrophobic album. Actually this album is more…
J > … a visit more into the dark side…
S > … yeah, and this is the absolutely fastest album we have done so far and we have a lot of harmonies, but still I think it´s more aggressive than anything we have done yet.
T > Seems to be the new trend. I mean, also Naglfar`s album new album will be even more aggressive.
S > Maybe that`s the way of life.
J > We have become much older. So we are fucking angrier of being older, haha. We have to proof our youth, haha.
S > I fucking love to be old. You should be old and ugly and get more credibility, haha. I mean, you shouldn`t look good playing Death Metal, you should be old and ugly, haha.
T > That brings me directly to my next question. You are around in the scene for quite a while now. Are you satisfied with the way the band went or are there any steps you regret?
S > We haven´t done anything that we regret. But maybe we stucked too long with our old label, before we left that record company.
J > I think we have the potential to be a much bigger band, but we have worked with the wrong people. But we are fine with the stuff that we have made. It could have been better if we had worked with better people because our music is so fucking great, hah!
T > So it wasn´t your intention to be underground, but you would love to become real famous?
J > We´re not in the music to earn such great money. But we are here for the music that comes from the heart and we want to take this band as far as it can get.
S > I can only speak for myself. I love the underground and I really like to stay underground as much as it can, but you cannot have 4 people on tour not earning money. Because the audience also wants to see underground bands, but you still have to be commercial in some way, but if I could do it being more underground then I would, but it´s not possible. There´s some kind of break point between being like f.i. Darkthrone that doesn`t do any interviews at all, but we still want to play live.
J > The best thing about still being underground is we`re closer to the fans. And as long as they feel that we are still underground they still think that we are regular people. They can relate to us and then easier come up to us and talk.
T > Will you change the record label for the next album?
S > Yes, we have no record label. Now we`re really underground, hehehe.
((comment Twi: meanwhile the band signed to Regain Records))
T > And you already know which studio you`d like to record in?
S > Yeah, we have some plans.
J > We´re going to make a test recording.
S > Yeah, we´re going to make a test recording and then we will make an official announcement on where to go. But we have the songs and we`re rehearsing the songs. Right now we have to have a band meeting to decide how to do this.
T > Which region in Sweden are you from?
J > Stockholm.
T > There`s also the new studio of one of the Nödtveidt brothers.
S > Yeah, I don´t know what it´s called, but I recently got the information about this one. But we already had other plans actually and I think we will get in touch with one or two producers on this one.
T > Will the album be in English only or have some Swedish lyrics, too?
S > I´m working at that right now actually. It depends on if it´s possible to still deliver the same approach with Swedish lyrics, then we MIGHT do that, but we don´t want to be underground or be like “Norwegian Black Metal” in that way, so we don´t know yet. But there`s always the possibility to write in other languages. We still had one song in German 4 years ago, but it was hard, because people think you`re a Nazi band.
T > I think Metal songs esp. in Swedish language sound great, think of the early Vintersorg etc.!
S > Yeah, if it´s done with the right attitude, … and you have to think about it a lot and you have to rehearse before you do these lyrics.
J > I personally don´t like to have the Swedish lyrics, because it´s not new anymore.
S > No, it´s been done…
J > … a lot of times.
S > But if the lyrics are better in Swedish than in English then we would have the Swedish words for it. But we have to see.
T > If composing for the band, is there any tyrant who says what to do, or…?
S > No, everybody brings what they have to the rehearsal place and then we will swap ideas and we make the best songs for it. But I think this time we have not been much writing with each other, but at our homes.
T > How important is it for you to be in a band?
S > You cannot live without it. For me as a hardrocker it´s very important to be in a band. Sometimes you want to do a lot and sometimes you want to do stuff in the studio and sometimes you just want to be misanthropic and sit home and write songs, and I´ve been through all the faces, but having a band is crucial because I hate that room-music, as I call it. Because young people sitting at home, with the computer-studio, doing the guitars by their bed in their family home and that´s nothing true. You should have a band to do this. I need the other guys.
T > So you really love to play live…
S > Of course. That`s the best thing about it. I love to play live.
J > But I enjoy being in the studio, because that´s the only place where I can get the most close to our music when recording it. But of course I also like to play live, because you get the response from the audience.
S > I´m always fast in and fast out, in the studio. I´m trying to do my stuff as fast as I can.
J > But my most happy moments are when playing live.
T > If you look back onto your old albums now, how do you like them these days?
S > I always tend to like the Darkside album the most. It´s pretty strange because I think the production is maybe a little bit weaker than the other ones. But that album is not really so obvious and the album grows when you`re listening to it.
J > I think our fans like Darkside more NOW than when it was actually the album out for the moment.
S > And of course the first one is a classic. Actually I like to play the old songs the most, because when you play the stuff that you have written yourself, you know how to do it and you know how it goes, but if I could chose what to play, it would be only of the first two albums.
J > Would be boring for me.
S > Yeah yeah… but I like it.
T > Are there plans for releasing a live album?
S > Yeah, we actually have recorded a live CD and DVD and stuff. But, we went to Poland a couple of years ago and we recorded some shows, but it was problems with the equipment and we had problems with to much beers… and…
J > But that was only 1 show.
S > Yeah, it was only 1 show we fucked up because of drinking to much.
J > The 2 best recordings from our side were the ones that had the lousiest sound, because of the Polish equipment.
S > Yeah, but this show we were supposed to have a guy from Swedish television to do a DVD-hangaround-video, from the rehearsal room and from the show, but we lost that contract in the last show. Next time we go on a festival we`ll bring a camera man.
T > So with a new label you`ll publish a DVD….
S > Yeah, a DVD, maybe not a full-length live show, but some live songs and a lot of the life of the Necrophobic guys.
T > Are there in Sweden some real Black & Death Metal festivals like in Germany? I only know about Sweden Rock festival, but that`s not Black - or Death.
S > I noticed that there are a lot of festivals popping up. But we haven`t played at any Swedish festivals yet.
J > Actually it sucks playing in Sweden, a lot.
T > So you have to come to Germany for it..
S > Yeah, Germany is the best.
J > You are never a king in your own country.
T > So it´s important for you that the feeling of the festival is right…?
S > This is a good festival. But I think the German people have become harder. Always in the back you have had like different haircuts and all the waistes with all the patches on, and right now they look more like die-hard Black Metal fans. Something has happened. They are harder.
T > I think it has to do with f.i. Finnish bands like “HIM” and so one, who overroll the German music market, calling themselves Metal and bringing a lot of 16 years old Gothic girls into the Metal scene, which annoyes the older fans. So an anti-movement of “true Metal” is developing… being harder.
S > We hate that! We should “kill” all Gothic people. “HIM” should be nailed. Hehe… How can you name a band HIM!? It should be called „SHE“, hehe.
T > Some general questions! Who chose the band name? To my non-English ears “necro-phobic” sounds a bit like someone having a phobia against everything necro.
S > Yeah, I can tell you this one. The person being necrophobic, it obviously means afraid to die, but in a medical term for it, the one being necrophobic kills everything inside, because he`s paranoid about living things. So a necrophobic person can´t control the paranoya, just kills, kills and kills again. And that´s what the English word actually means. It doesn´t mean “scared to die”. It´s a medical term for this state.
T > The last question: Please describe the perfect Necrophobic fan!
S > I think the ones in the front row, banging their heads, singing along with the songs… and the perfect fan you can also talk to after gigs. I don´t like the people being too drunk. We have actually a couple of perfect fans that come from Sweden, that travel all along the world to see us.
T > Are they here?
S > Yeah, they are here. And I think THEY are the perfect fans.
J > Yes.
((to each other: “Should we name them?”))
T > Yeah, name them and I´ll print it in the magazine, making them happy! ;-)
S > Håkon Jerning. He´s the perfect fan.
J > He has also the distance in a reason of being close or annoying. He´s not annoying, you know.
S > And he always gets the money to travel and see us. It´s very expensive for him but…
J > … he did complain yesterday.
S > He did complain!?!?
J > Yeah, about: “You have to play in Sweden now because it´s so expensive to see you all around the world”. Heh…
((Wiebke = Sheol Magazine staff member, who was silently listening until now, sitting beside us… now joining in with her one and only question, so here´s another last question.))
W > I have one more question: If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
S > That`s a tough question. I would be kaffe-kask (?). It goes like this: you put a coin in the cup, then you pour coffee until you can´t see the coin. Then you pour Wodka until you can SEE the coin. Hahaha. We do that all the time here in Sweden.
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