The Swedish My Own Grave is a death metal band with numeorus opportunities and albums before them. Not long ago i wrote about their new album, and when the guitarist, Anders Härén has seen the points, he asked for a translation. That’s when i asked, what about an interview? He replied: why not! And the questions and answers speak for themselves, let’s see it!
Can you subsist as a musician?
No I don’t think we could ever make a living as death metal musicians, but that has never been our plan. We all love metal music and it’s awesome to be able to get off work at five, quickly eat some dinner, and then go meet your friends and play death metal for three hours or so. I like it that way, I would never want to work with music fulltime. I got my Master of science degree in 2007 and I enjoy my job as a web developer very much too. Death metal will always be a hobby, but then again it’s the best fuckin’ hobby you’ll ever have!
You are form Sundsvall. Could you describe the city, and the bands form there? With who are you in a friendship? How could you judge the swedish metal scene?
Growing up in Sundsvall there’s always been metal bands around but not as many as in the bigger cities in the south of Sweden. Internationally Sundsvall is probably best known for black metal bands like Setherial, Abyssos, Diabolicum, and In Battle. There haven’t been any bigger death metal bands from Sundsvall until In Battle changed style to death metal with their comeback. I think there was fewer metal bands active when we started back in early 2001, but nowadays there are many promising bands, both signed and unsigned. Syn:Drom, Soreption, Cynical Hatred and Legium just to mention a few. The local scene keeps getting stronger and that is great to witness! There’s good friendship between the bands in Sundsvall and also between the bands of Norrland (Northern part of Sweden). Norrland is the biggest area of Sweden yet it has a smaller population compared to the South. I think that’s a reason why we stick together in the north.
Could you recognize the economical crisis in your country, an in your daily life? What do you think, who could be responsible for the crisis?
It’s impossible to avoid the crisis as it’s been in the news every day for over a year. Luckily my job hasn’t been affected at all but in Sweden like everywhere else, there have been a lot of people losing their jobs. The reason for the crisis, like everyone knows, was that the banks got even greedier and invented yet another system where they could trade something that isn’t money for money. The golden rule of economy is to divide the risk but we have a global economy and blinded by their greed, the banks didn’t really pay attention to where the risks were placed. When the shit hit the fan in the US, all the other banks of the world came tumbling down.
Why Ramin Farhadian, the previous vocalist left the band and when?
During his last year, Ramin was skipping a lot of rehearsals. At that point I had started to write more of the lyrics so in a way I understand him because he had less to do in the band, but the band should always be the top priority. We gave him several chances to shape up but in the end we had to replace him. Luckily there are no hard feelings between us and he’s a regular at our shows.
Aronsson has an interesting peoject, the Cavevomit, could you tell something about it?
Cavevomit was more active back in 2003/2004 when Aron joined My Own Grave. After he joined we told him that My Own Grave had to be the prioritized band and he had no problems with that. Also Johnny focused more on Syn:Drom and Magnus had Diabolical and Sorghegard. I really can’t speculate more on Cavevomit than that. They’re a crazy, brutal, sick band who put on a crazy fuckin’ show, but I don’t know if they’ll release anything new.
Your lyrics themes are usual, but I’m interested in your influences. Which movies, books an bands inspire you?
Before Unholy I wrote some lyrics inspired by movies and serial killers, typical death metal lyrics. On Unholy I focused on criticising different aspects of religion and then I just needed to open a newspaper to find inspiration. Necrology is different since all the lyrics focus on the same main subject: death’s role in human culture and its shaping of history. The lyrics are more philosophical and are really my own thoughts and conclusions. During the process I researched some things and eventually read some books so of course I had a lot of inspiration as well, but not in the usual way like “this song is about this film” or “about that book”.
A necrology is a list of people who have died, and that pretty much sums up every school book or history book. We live our lives in the shadow of the dead and one cannot surpass the dead masters during his own lifetime. It is not until you die that your work is truly appreciated, and often, exaggerated. After all, history has always been written by the victors, and epitaphs are written by the mourning. Each track on Necrology focuses on different aspects of death, but they often touch the same subjects and questions.
Even though lyrics are really important to me, I can’t think of any particular lyricist that has inspired me. What’s influenced me more is probably different singers, and the way they articulate or emphasize words, and different vocal arrangements.
If you had to list the best death or thrash metal albums of all time, which 5 would you chose?
Arrgh! That’s a hard question! I’m glad you left out black metal cause then it would have been impossible to answer.
Five favourite thrash metal:
Slayer – Reign in blood
Metallica – Master of puppets
Hypnosia – Extreme hatred
Testament – The gathering
Sepultura – Arise
Five favourite death metal:
Unanimated – Ancient god of evil
Vader – Litany
Carcass – Symphonies of sickness
Cannibal Corpse – The bleeding
Dismember – Indecent and obscene
Carcass, Dismember and Cannibal Corpse were tough! It could easily been any other album by them from the first half of the 90’s.
Beer or wine?
Beer is the answer, nevermind the question.
Stefan Kihlgren has also an interesting projekt, which have an album already. What do you think about the Horde of Hel? How they can play the main band and do the side-projects at the same time? Are there debates about which is more important?
He is session guitarist of Horde Of Hel and My Own Grave is his main band. So far there’s been no problems or debates. I actually haven’t heard Horde Of Hel’s album yet so I can’t comment on what they sound like, sorry.
How satisfied is the Pulverised Records with you? They released your EP already. What feedback got you about the Necrology globally and in the metal journal?
I think they’re satisfied with us cause they’ve showered us with good words about both Unholy and Necrology, and we feel they really put time and money into promoting us and our releases. Also they’ve wanted to re-release Unleash from the day we signed with them so I guess they must like us.
The metal press weren’t too impressed by Unleash but it seems we took them by storm with Unholy. I don’t think they expected a band with a name like My Own Grave to sound like that. After all the good reviews of Unholy we were excited to see what they would think of Necrology because we ourselves felt that it was even better. So far the reviews have been incredible and we’re very happy and grateful!
Would you like to send a message to the readers of Fémforgács?
If you like melodic, old school Swedish death metal, and also enjoy some brutal, heavy US death metal, then you should definitely check out Necrology. We don’t care if you download it illegally, but if you like it I strongly recommend a purchase because we enlisted Jon Zig to do the artwork and he has done some really cool complementary artwork for some of the songs as well.
Thanks for the answers, I hope you’ll play a concert in this region of Europe!
We’ll be on tour with Demonical and Deathbound February 12th – 28th 2010, and there will be one Hungarian show so come check us out! I can’t reveal where it will be at this point, but as soon as everything is booked, a detailed list of cities and venues will be posted on our website and at our official forum at Global Domination.