Formed in Sweden back in 1992, Gehennah had the intention of being a Venom cover band, but soon started to release their own material. Realising two demos back in 1993 and 1994, in 1995 put out their first full length album Hardrocker. Fast forward to this year and the alcohol-fuelled band are back again with another full-length album Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die. I got to talk to vocalist Mr Violence to discuss album influences, progressions and how alcohol impacts the band.
What influences you to keep creating albums such as the latest one Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die?
The influence of alcohol certainly has some things to do with it… It’s fun being drunk, but it’s even more fun to be drunk and play in a fucked up street metal band, you know. At this point we don’t really need motivation to keep the band going, it’s just there as part of our lives, whether we like it or not. It’s a way of life.
How do you feel your music has progressed since you formed back in 1992?
Not much, haha. We still like the stuff that we liked when we formed the band. We have discovered new stuff among the way, of course, that might subconsciously find it’s way into the music, but we have very much the same goal now as then. To stir up some fucking chaos.
What has the writing process been like for the new album, and did you do anything different with this album, such as using what sounds like older recordings for the E.P Metal Police?
Well, we didn’t dub any guitars or anything like that, but just recorded the fucker raw, live in the studio. We wanted a primitive feel to it, but still have some power to the sound. We are really pleased with the result. For Metal Police we dubbed some guitars, but we decided we weren’t gonna do that again, it didn’t feel right for us.
Writing process is nothing fancy either, Knuckleduster and Stringburner come up with some riffs, and we jam them together in the rehearsal place while drinking beer until we feel they sound good. No need to hide in a cabin in rural France to find inspiration for six months, or some shit like that.
What themes do the songs focus on in this album, and are you still using the humour theme which has run through your older material?
Decadence is the theme of the album, and the band. And yeah, we use some humour here and there, we like a good laugh. But it’s in no way joke-lyrics, we just don’t see the need to take yourself so seriously all the fucking time. The world doesn’t need another metal band discussing philosophy, history and politics. There are enough self claimed deep-thinkers in the scene as it is. Gehennah is music by fuck ups, for fuck ups.
What bands have made an impact on what music you wanted to create, such as the metal scene in Sweden with bands such as Watain, Dark Funeral, and Bathory?
Bathory obviously has always been a big influence for us. Dark Funeral has never had any musical influence on Gehennah, but we were good friends with founding member Parland, who sadly passed a few years ago. We had some fucked up drinking-sessions together, and we also recorded a Bathory cover for a tribute album he put together. We like Watain a lot, but can’t say they have had any impact on our music, especially since they formed in 1998, when we already had released three albums. I would say our influences comes mostly from the UK and Germany, with some exceptions of course.
How was the recording process with this album? Did you find any challenges when recording the new album?
The biggest challenge was as always to keep everybody sober enough to perform, and not get into fistfights during the recording. But it all was done in a week, and we had a good time doing it. The producer, Martin Ehrencrona, is a great guy who understood what we wanted, that helped as well. I would say this was the best time we ever had in a studio.
What are your plans after the album is officially released?
We are booking shows at the moment, so it’s getting out on the road that’s next for us. Really looking forward to that!
Too Loud to Live, Too Drunk to Die is released on February 12th, 2016