This man needs little by the way of introduction, one of the founding members of the mighty Entombed, stalwarts of the early Swedish death metal scene and as we found out a thoroughly cool chap – Mr Lars Goran Petrov. It was a real pleasure for this interviewer to speak to Lars on the phone ahead of the current incarnation of Entombed, Entombed AD’s (lets not go into the details of this well publicised development here!), new album Dead Dawn due to be released 26 Feb 2016.
First things first how are you and should I call you Lars or LG?
I am great and Lars is good thanks.
So lets start by talking a bit about your upcoming new album Dead Dawn. Your previous album Back to the Front was a real return to the earlier raw Swedish sound full of groove and foot stomping riffs and certainly more death than death and roll. Can we expect more of the same from your new offering?
Yes even more so.
From what I have heard, it does sound to be a little bit heavier which is great and also stripped back capturing some of the essence of the first two Entombed albums.
There always going to be groovy parts in there but the rawness of the sound makes the songs, even the more laid back songs, really brutal. We are really really happy with it. Its almost the same as the first albums but better sounding, more up to date.
Was there a theme behind it?
Well I guess it touches on the world not being that positive a place right now. When you look around us its hard not to get swallowed up by all the crap that’s going on but shit is going to happen now and then and so you have to find a way to get through it and get through the day as best you can as you never know what will happen the next day.
Where did you record the album?
In Stockholm in a studio called Big Island Sound. We worked with a producer called Jacob Hellner who has worked with Rammstein. We hadn’t worked with him before and so it was really a new experience, opening our ears so to speak. He knew what Entombed was all about and didn’t want to stray too far from that but he definitely brought some new ideas to the table. It was a great relief to get the recording finished and to the mix it. It really sounded excellent.
You mentioned the similarities between the first two albums and the new one. Has the recording process changed for you over this period?
Basically it hasn’t changed that much but when we released Back to the Front we started on these new songs a couple of weeks after. We knew it wasn’t necessary to do that but it takes time to things properly and the sooner we start writing the songs the sooner the new album can come out. When folks heard the new album was coming out so early in 2016 they were like wow!
You obviously had a bit of a break after the Serpent Saints (released in 2007) but after two albums in two years now you guys are almost prolific again.
Yes because before we just toured and toured and toured and then we would stop and think about a new album. But here we learned to use the time and use the time the right way. Before we might sit in the tour bus doing nothing but now we are coming up with new ideas and working through them. We then came home we then put them all together which took about ten months in total. We are very productive now and continue working on ideas. The band are more of a unit now and communication is better than it was – we call each other everyday and talk about what’s going on and exchange musical ideas.
You guys have been on the go for almost thirty years now (which I am sure a few folks remind you off) and were really one of the forefathers of the death metal genre and definitely the Swedish sound. How hard is it to keep motivated?
It is not difficult if you love what you do then you just keep doing it and every record is proof that your motivation is there and you are willing to make the sacrifices required. Like we feel now, the album is coming out then it’s the touring cycle and that feels as fresh as twenty five years ago. It’s just positive things and I am jumping in my chair and cant wait to get on tour!
So when do you hit the road and where are you first visiting?
Touring starts in Denmark on 28 Jan for a short two week stint with Behemoth. We can’t cover all of Europe in this short time but it’s a start. We’ll then have one-off shows here and there before hitting the States for six weeks and then do some festivals and then back to Europe for our own headlining tour.
In terms of you live set, what stuff goes down best live?
We’ll do a mixture on the Behemoth tour before the album is released and we will try out some new songs and see if we can play them first of all and to see the peoples reaction to them. Then we will wait for the album release and go on the road again!
Where’s your favourite place to play?
It depends, it can be Scotland (nod to the interviewer) or it can be anywhere. Some places you get this certain feeling that its going to be great and then you just go for it. It doesn’t matter if there’s only seventy five people there. Some of the best shows we have played have been like that with like one hundred people or so and when you come to the end of your set list you stick another six or so songs in there and play for two hours. Every show should be different and unique, if you turn it into a routine it gets boring.
In terms of your fan base, have you noticed if that has changed over the years?
The older fans, they now bring along their kids to the shows and they get into you what you are doing and so there is definitely a new generation of metal babies coming through so let’s keep the scene alive.
Well mine are getting to the stage where I can bring them along with me which will be cool.
Exactly, given them a good upbringing in metal.
On that note, what sort of stuff you you listen to nowadays? Are there any bands you particularly admire?
I always look back to King Diamond as he was my childhood favourite and I got the privilege to tour with him some years ago which was great. Something which was nice was that he always remembered and recognised you when you met. The same was true with Lemmy (RIP). We toured with them (Motorhead) in 1995 and ten years later he bumped into us and was like hey…Entombed..brings tears to your eyes. Things like this make you realise that these people really have their feet on the ground.
You guys really started out firmly in the underground scene, do you still think there is a flourishing underground scene now?
Yes. In Sweden it’s actually growing and there new generations of kids getting into the scene. They form bands and try to play what you did twenty five years ago which is great and that really keeps the old vibe going. And still the old guys like us, Grave and Unleashed meet them in the rock pubs in Stockholm as well. Everybody is into it still.
I was on holiday in Sweden a few years back and had the opportunity to go and see Slayer play in the Grona Lunds theme park which was immense and really showed the appetite for metal in the city.
Ha yes, we have also played there with roller coasters swinging by with screaming kids, it’s bizarre but cool!
Sweden has been such a hotbed of great bands over the years and as we talked about it spawned many copycats or bands heavily influenced by the Swedish sound. Why do you think that is, what’s the secret?
Ha, I still haven’t found out the secret. As long as people are into playing music especially metal and are happy then great. Maybe it’s like folks have said about Sweden it’s dark and people tend to sit inside and the frustration comes out in the music!
You mentioned earlier it seems like a close knit scene in Stockholm. Do you still hang out and keep in touch with all the old crew?
Yeah, certainly. I was at the pub last week watching two great black metal bands with the Grave guys and some of the Unleashed guys. We might not have the same contact with each other but you still meet up in town and have a beer and a chat.
Going back to your first couple of albums, they were synonymous with the great cover art of Dan Seagrave who worked on many of the classic death metal albums of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Have you ever considered working with him again?
Yeah you never know. This time around we worked with Eric from Watain which worked out well and was nice a quick but hey Dan Seagrave is a great artist maybe we will give him a call for the next one.
Thanks for taking to time to chat to us and great to see you guys back on such great form . All the very best for album release and hope to see you live soon.
Thanks and we’ll certainly try to reach out to the UK on the touring front and and am sure we are going to enjoy it.
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