Entombed interview by Miss Dark
Entombed interview by Miss Dark
Saturday, 19 December 2009, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
This interview was done at the venue just before the Eindhoven Metal Meeting started. I found Entombed's tour manager, and while we were discussing when to arrange for me to do this interview, L-G Petrov, the singer of Entombed happened to walk up at that moment (Well, speak of the devil!). The first thing I noticed about L-G is that he is about my height, and has a nice smile and very nice blue eyes. So after some discussion as to WHERE we would do this interview, we finally went into the smoking area upstairs, where it appeared at first to be relatively quiet compared to everywhere else in the venue, and I started the interview with L-G. Well, Murphy's Law kicked in, and too many people started coming into the smoking area, and I began to get concerned that all these other voices would interfere with the recording of this interview! Nevertheless, I was able to understand the recorded conversation well enough, as you can see from the transcribed interview below:
You mentioned in a previous interview that the songs from your EP, “When in Sodom” were the six tracks of your new album (“Serpent Saints”) which was delayed, so the EP was released to simply release SOMETHING until the album was completed. However, only one track is on the “Serpent Saints” release, and that would be “When in Sodom”. Why this track?
Because it’s a good track and we decided from the beginning it was going to be that one that was going to be on the album because there was no other song that fit the album the most Of course all the other songs were supposed to be on the album too but it got delayed and then we decided to just put something out to let people know we were still around. We did it and we did it on 6/6/2006 and it just felt good because we had done that before – release a mini EP – so it was nothing new for us. Plus we didn’t want to have people buy one thing, only to have it all included on the next release. But it’s a good EP (When in Sodom); I like the songs very much
The last release of yours, “Serpent Saints” was released in 2007….it is almost 2010, so is there a new album in the making?
We’re working on it, but we’ve been touring all the time for “Serpent Saints” so we basically have not had any time to do it, but we have some time off now and some songs completed which still need some work done on them. We’ve done some riffs during the tour so hopefully this summer or just after the summer it will be released.
Have you managed to do a tour of the U.S. yet?
No, we’ve been to South America, Scandinavia and Europe but not the U.S. yet
I ask because in one interview I read you mentioned that intended tours in the past have not realized due to broken promises and contracts, but also due to visa problems. What are these problems exactly? I mean, you’ve been over there before…
Yes, I know, but back then we had tour support from the companies. We’re not with a record label so we’re on our own, which is good because it makes you work harder but still you don’t have the backup, plus visas cost a lot of money. If you’re not sure the tour is gonna happen 100% then you don’t buy a visa. I mean, it doesn’t make sense to get a visa, go over there, and then wind up having to take a job as a mechanic somewhere in New York or something just to use the visa.
Entombed originally started out as Nihilist; how and why did the name get changed to Entombed?
We changed the members back then and the stuff that was done with Nihilist was fucking great but we didn’t want to go on as the same Nihilist due to the new lineup, plus there was another band that are called Nihilist, but we didn’t change the name because of them though they would like to have you believe that (laughs). So we just decided to start afresh as Entombed, leaving the Nihilist era as legendary. We’re happy.
I really think your last album, “Serpent Saints”, is the best I’ve heard from you guys. The music is more involved and intricate, I think. Some of the voice samples are interesting too, like the track (“When in Sodom”) that starts off with “It’s always Satan. With one’s search for God, seems to find Satan instead”. What is this voice sample?
Yes, that’s Anton LaVey.
I read a very interesting interview with the guitarist, Alex Hellid, in which he mentioned that when he found the time, he would like to read more religious books. Any plans to include any of this intended reading in some of Entombed’s future recordings?
Yeah, of course! I mean, I don’t read books but the rest of the band does. Books are a good source of inspiration along with things that happen every day. So we just collect things we remember and write them down and make lyrics from them. And when Alex writes lyrics, he likes to play around with words and stuff to make it more interesting.
While reading through some of your lyrics in past albums, I noticed a one Håkansson (co-)authored some of these lyrics. Who is that?
That’s a friend of ours, the former bass player of The Hellacopters. He did some cool lyrics; I didn’t understand them but they were cool (laughs). Many people co-write things with us, which is fun.
I’ve noticed that more and more Swedish bands, like some of the black metal bands, and of course Entombed, are developing a more mature sound that is less “in your face” Satanic, and is instead more subtle, but that maturity and subtlety is actually more extreme, I think. Comment?
It’s more of a “think for yourself” and that Christianity can sometimes be more evil than the most evil Satanic guy. To just have a religion and trust in something else that is weak.
My favorite track from this album is “Masters of Death” (“you can’t kill what’s already dead” and “I love it like you love Jesus; it does the same thing to my soul” – great!).
We were touring with the “Masters of Death” tour in 2006 so we did this track which included a lot of the bands and quotes that we like.
In one of your interviews, you mentioned that this track was heavily influenced by your interest in Slayer’s music. I say I would agree to the Slayer influence and commend you on making such a great track that inspires some serious headbanging! Even many of the song titles remind me a lot of a Slayer album! I noticed, though, through reading many of your previous interviews that this Slayer analogy keeps being applied to your music. Do you ever get tired of that?
No, we never get tired of Slayer (laughs).
In many of your previous interviews, you tell that you love touring and have a lot of fun during your tours. Is there anything you do NOT enjoy about touring?
The waiting, but apart from that, touring is great. Of course when you’re waiting, you start drinking beer and then it becomes fun. Sometimes when we have a day off at a truck stop in Hungary or something where there is nothing to do the bus drivers usually know of a good spot where we can hang out or something, pick up a guitar and do some riffs; there’s always something to do.
Exactly. That’s me (laughs)
Where have you toured so far? Have you played any large festivals in support of “Serpent Saints”?
We just toured South America, which was great. And now we’re finishing up with a ten-day tour here in Europe. Short but sweet, well, not really short, we had 54 shows. But we’re still happy. We played several festivals this year and last year in Europe, like Summer Breeze and With Full Force. We did so many I can’t really remember them all (laughs).
After so many years as a band and so many tours, how does it feel just before going on stage? Is it any different from say, ten years ago?
Yes, and that’s good, because if you get into a routine it gets boring. It’s more fun if you don’t always know what is going to happen. You just “go for it” every night and you get that “puking” feeling just before you go out, and that’s a good feeling. That just tells us we’re not finished yet.
In an interview you did for Heart of Steel, you mentioned several amusing anecdotes about how your set lists get comprised (allowing the merchandising guy to write down his favorite Entombed songs for your set list, for example) and of course playing certain songs which seem unrecognizable to the fans requesting the songs in the first place. Could this second example be due to your tendency to improvise during your shows?
Yeah! I mean, that’s a big part of it. The other night in Hungary we gave our sound guy a different set list from the one we had and then we “blamed” him for getting the intros “wrong”, but it was a good set anyway. It just keeps the fun feeling going with the whole crew (laughs).
Some of the cover songs on “Songs of Satan, Praise the Lord” are unrecognizable to me, which in my opinion is great since you seem to put your own “stamp” on songs that have already been recorded, thus turning them into Entombed songs. Comment?
That’s the thing about doing covers, you get to do things differently and mix in your own sound and how you play it. We have loads of fun doing that. One day we were like, ‘How many covers have we done?’ and when we compiled it we had 26 of them so we decided to release them on one album, and people liked it.
Have you ever had any problems with copyright infringement when doing these covers?
No, we usually just write to whoever owns the rights to the song and we just do it. We haven’t gotten any shit for it yet. We once did a cover for a Twisted Sister song (“Tear it Loose”) and Dee Snider came up to me at Wacken when we played there and said, “Oh, great fuckin’ cover of our song, Man, you wanna do that with me on stage?” So he liked it, and that’s cool.
The 2002 release, “Songs of Satan, Praise the Lord” were all cover tunes. What was the driving force/concept behind recording this album? How were the numbers selected for this album? Are they numbers which are favorites of the band or particular band members? Other songs included on these albums which one would not expect to be on a metal album, would be “Some Velvet Morning”, originally recorded by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, “Lost”, originally recorded by Jerry’s Kids, and “The Ballad of Hollis Brown”, originally recorded by Bob Dylan.
Yeah, they were all favorites of the band and everybody wrote down the songs they liked but we didn’t do them just for this release. Many had already been recorded way before through the years so we just released them all on one album. So they were not recorded especially for that cover album, since they had been recorded at different times.
I notice that both discs end with “Amazing Grace” – is there a reason for this, or do you just like the song?
We recorded that for a movie, a Troma film, called “Terror Firmer”. So this track was included in the movie soundtrack.
A common element I’m seeing when interviewing bands is the problems experienced with record companies. Why is that, do you suppose?
That’s one of the reasons why we chose not to go with a record company because we want to have the right to do what we want. A record company’s job is to market it and promote it and stand behind it.
It seems strange to me that a record company that is supposed to support a band and contribute to its success would pull these strange stunts which sometimes leads to lawsuits or bands moving on to other labels, etc. Comment?
Yes, I know, but that’s what I call a non-serious company if they hire a band and then do nothing to support them. It’s crazy. Record companies are crazy (laughs).
You are with Candlelight records now? How are they treating you?
They are the distributor of our albums. They’re just handling the marketing.
You were once on Sony records, a long time ago, is that correct? How did you go from being represented by a large label to a more underground label like Candlelight?
We got good food with Sony and they let us play with Cypress Hill, a hip-hop band. They put a lot of money into promoting us and we sold like 250,000 copies of “Wolverine Blues” in the States alone, so they did a great job. This contract was only for a limited time (one year), but they were really good. They were a real company.
You guys also had a plan to form your own label, Threeman Recordings? Is that realized? What is the situation there?
Yeah, yeah! Six years ago! We do everything on our own! But you still need a record company to back you up because if you want to play, write music and tour you don’t have much time for anything else. So it’s better to let other people do these things for you.
WHITESNAKE - Made In Japan FRONTIERS RECORDS RELEASE DATE: APRIL 2013 Live albums from WHITSNAKE are a double-edged sword since mastermind David Coverdale is known for ‘correcting’...
SUPURATION - CU3E LISTENABLE RECORDS 2013 Release: 25-02-2013 Origin: France Length: 40:54 It doesn’t matter...
CHAOS INVOCATION- BLACK MIRROR HOURS WORLD TERROR COMMITTEE PRODUCTIONS 2013 Release: 01-03-2013 Origin: Germany Length: 1:07:35 The title of the new Chaos Invocation album couldn't be...