This one’s from March 19th, 1997 and (if memory serves) was done at Bradford Rios – the original one before they sold up and shifted to Leeds. And then back to Bradford. The old one is now a textiles shop, I think.
The photos dotted around the interview are from the gig that evening and were taken by my good friend and (ten years later) South Asia travel companion Hans Park.
When was the last time you were over in the UK for a tour?
Monster: Summer of ’94 with Napalm Death. About three years ago.
That was with Wolverine Blues, right? The new album, To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth is just out on Music For Nations. There seems to be a bit of a change in the sound compared to the last album – it’s more accessible.
Monster: Well, we never wanted to do the same old thing as we’d done before. We wanted to move on – rehearse and write good songs. Just see how they turned out.
You co-produced the new album. Did you have a big influence in the sound?
Monster: Yeah, we always did that. We don’t need someone else to play with the music and make it better. We already know how we want it. The only guy we ever worked with was the guy who owns Skogsberg Studios [Tomas Skogsberg – Mosh]. There’s no reason to go to anyone else.
Again, this is the first time you’ve been over here for some time. Your kind of music seems to be more popular in Europe than in the UK or US. How do concert attendance figures, for instance, compare?
Monster: I don’t know. It seems to be kind of the same everywhere. I mean, when we play, we play to crowds of people. I guess we’re biggest in Sweden in terms of the number of people at gigs.
Over the last couple of years, a number of other bands have appeared who’ve had a similar sound to yourselves. Do you feel you’ve started a sound that other bands are copying to some extent?
Jöurgen: We don’t think there are any other bands that really sound like Entombed. If you actually compare the songs, then they sound quite different. If you look at Dismember, they’re doing more death metal.
Going the other direction, have you got any influences that have helped shape the sound of your own music?
Monster: A lot of the death bands, and death really only came out in the early nineties, were an influence. But the death metal that’s around today isn’t really death metal. There were a few bands a few years ago, but… If people call us death metal, that’s fine, but if they compare us to other bands that are around who are death metal, I don’t want to know. I think Dismember is the only real death metal band around.
Would you say there are any bands around today who you’re really big fans of?
Monster: If you’re talking ‘big fans’ it’s got to be someone I really look up to, you know? I can’t really look up to someone in a death metal band because I’ve been into it for so long and the few I would look up to only made a few demos in the mid-eighties. If you’re talking worshipped, it would be old Black Sabbath stuff, things like that. Elvis Presley or Saxon.
Quite a range of tastes, then?
Jöurgen: Yeah, I don’t think anyone in the band’s into exactly the same thing, really. Everybody’s got their weird bands to listen to. I’m into everything from popular music to Venom – everything that’s good.
Monster: That goes for me, too. I can listen to everything as long as it’s real music.
How do you view the coverage that metal, as a whole, is getting in various countries as opposed to other types of music?
Monster: I get the feeling these days that people are ashamed to admit that they’re into ‘metal’. That’s stupid. If you look at metal, you can’t really say that it’s metal. It’s rock… Like when someone says “What do you do?”
“I’m in a rock band.”
“What kind of rock band are you in?”
It’s the same with metal. I think it’s stupid that you put labels on bands. That’s a black death metal band, that’s a black speed metal band…
Jöurgen: That’s a dark gloom goth death speed metal band…!
Monster: All bands these days are rock and roll bands. If a band doesn’t have the rock and roll thing, there’s something wrong because that’s where it all comes from in some way or another.
When you come over here to the UK, a lot of the heavier bands do seem to get gigs in smaller venues such as Rios. On the other hand, the same bands are often playing huge festivals in Europe. Have you yourselves ever played any large festivals?
Monster: We’ve done a few in Sweden [one in particular is mentioned, but between my knowledge of Sweden (or lack of it) and the background noise on the tape, I can’t make it out – Mosh].
Jöurgen: We’ve got another couple [again, I can’t make out the names – Mosh] this year in Sweden.
Monster: We’ve been trying to get on the Dynamo Festival for our whole career, but never got on there.
What do you prefer, then? Playing to a packed crowd in a small venue or a festival crowd?
Monster: I like the smaller venues.
Jöurgen: Me too. It’s cool playing in front of ten thousand, but it’s more intense if you have two hundred packed up against the stage with no barriers or anything to get in the way.
Monster: It’s nice to do bigger shows sometimes because it’s a right kick in the butt!
Jöurgen: The first show I did with Entombed was in front of five thousand people and it scared the shit out of me because we’d only rehearsed five days before it!
Ha! Well, thanks for the interview, and thanks for your time.