Mass Worship are a band which some might mistake for being the latest Christian worship band. However, they would be greatly mistaken as the band are far from it. Prior to the release of their upcoming self-titled album, we got the opportunity to chat to Fred and Dadde about the new album and also the advice they’d give to new bands about to enter the studio.
Fred: Really good. We released our first 2 singles and one of them had a music video as well which has been getting a lot of good feedback and views.
Dadde: It’s kind of been overwhelming to be honest. We never expected this kind of response so fast and have been getting more views than we thought. It’s been really nice.
This is also your first major label release. How has the process been?
Fred: It’s been really good. They’ve been helping us out a lot and been really, really great. They’ve been helping us with the promotion and making sure we take the right steps. Considering we are such a new band, it’s been very helpful getting that kind of expertise early in the band’s career.
Before you get sick of being asked, where does the band name come from?
Fred: I’ve been asked that two times today! It’s basically a play on the words, mass murder and adding in the worship to give it a different vibe. We like to leave it up to the listener to interpret it, but we think it sounds pretty bad ass and it’s a cool play on words. We were kind of scared to be bunched together with a bunch of Christian stuff at the start but we’re kind of growing away from that rapidly.
Dadde: I think it suits the music and approach quite well. It’s a good name for us.
When you were writing the music, did you draw on any inspirations or try not to?
Fred: It’s kind of inevitable and that kind of Swedish sound is entrenched in pretty much all Swedish death metal bands. That’s kind of hard to get away from and we’re all from punk backgrounds which get bunched in there as well. But, we try and write music that we want to listen to and we really don’t care if sound like someone else. Our production is a DIY approach which gives us a kind of unique sound and gives us a pretty unique sound; one that’s not easily duplicated. We definitely didn’t set out to make the new Entombed album. We’re trying our best to make metal that we want to play and want it to sound like.
When writing this album, was it a collaborative effort or more segmented?
Fred: Most of the writing was me and we kind of live in different places which makes it difficult for us to have rehearsal/writing sessions together. I usually come up with a foundation of the songs and throw it up to the guys in our discussions thread and that’s where the magic happens. It’s mainly about getting everyone excited about something which is key. If no-one is excited about it then we bin it and start again.
What equipment are you guys using at the moment?
Fred: For the album, we used a bubinga superstar Tama drum kit at Spind Road studios in Gothenburg. There’s a huge drum room there which sounds awesome and really helped with our drum sound. We recorded the rest of the album at my studio using some Gibson guitars and traditional amps. We consciously tried to mix our guitar tones to be somewhere in between modern and Stockholm death metal to make it unique. We recorded the vocals in my studio as well and we mixed it there too.
Dadde: For our live setup, that’s a little bit different from what we use in the studio. I personally use a ESP/LTD 5 string bass with two distortion pedals. I use a Lonewolf and a Darkglass alpha/omega pedal which, when combined with my ampeg head, sounds really evil and heavy. I’m really happy with how it sounds.
Fred: We use a Yamaha recording custom drum kit which sounds awesome and we’re using 2 4×12 Engel cabinets each side and 2 Peavey amps on each side which we sometimes change. We then use an HM2 on one of the signals and a more traditional sound on the other signal. We’re trying to do our live sound as close to the recording as we can.
You mentioned that you have your own studio, Fred. Did that make the recording process easier as opposed to hiring a studio with an engineer?
Fred: For sure, yeah. We kind of see both the recording and mixing as another instrument in the band and approach the songs to the full extent. It gives a better perspective long term as well. You know what you’re doing all the time from writing the demos to recording the album. It also allows time to explore and try things out which you might not be able to do when you’re hiring a place.
Dadde: Having your own studio helps as you don’t have to look at the clock and think: “Oh, shit. We don’t have time to try that out.”
Fred: Yeah, exactly. We really want this to be our own thing and not easily duplicated and having our own studio helps. It allows us more freedom over it and ensures that our signature remains the same.
What advice would you give to a band before entering a studio?
Fred: I’d say be open minded and to trust whomever they are recording with. Usually, the ones they are recording with have been doing it for a while and have the experience in the field. That would be the first point, be open minded for the feedback. Secondly, you kind of become naked when you enter the studio as a band so you need to be prepared that you might not sound as good as you think you are. Be prepared to spend more time on perfecting that before, during and after the studio time.
Dadde: It’s kind of like a double-edged sword being a new band in some senses. You might not have the possibilities when it comes to money to actually spend money on the recording time and process. I’ve done some records where afterwards, I’ve felt as though we should really have gone to a mastering engineer. Records and recordings last forever and once something has been released, it’s not easy to change. It’s hard for new bands, of course. You have to find some way that suits you. But as Fred says, be prepared and try and do pre-production in the practice space. The possibilities to do that today is so much easier than in the days of having 8-tracks.
Fred: I think people doing music nowadays already know a lot and how to record stuff at home. I think an important part of that is to not give in to those hypes. That’s very important to me. Don’t try and be the coolest band now as that stuff is going to be so fucking dated in two years. I think too many bands are spending a lot of time chasing that when they really should be trying to make something unique. It might sound like shit, but if it’s unique then it’s better than something that’s produced well but sounds so common and generic.
Dadde: New bands that sound like the flavour of the day are boring. I can’t think of anything more boring. Trying to really refine what you are doing I think is key to some kind of success.
Are there any bands from your local areas that people should check out?
Dadde: That’s always a really hard one.
Fred: Leak are really good at the moment. They are more of a classic sounding death metal band which are doing it really good. I’m living in Poland at the moment and there’s so many cool black metal bands coming out at the moment. MGLA and Batushka, in particular, have been really cool and worth checking out.
What are the bands plans for the next few months?
Fred: We’re playing a release weekend in a small town in Sweden which will be cool. The official release show is in Stockholm and then we’ve got a tour starting on the 29th November which is going through Europe. We’re playing London and Cardiff on that tour which’ll be cool. We just want to get out and play as much as we can.
Dadde: This band is kind of unique in that we got signed before we built up the band by playing live. We’re going to be building our audience by doing these shows which I’m looking forward to. Kind of backwards these days, but it should be fun.
When it comes to composing, do you feel that being able to play the drums helps when writing the drum parts or has today’s technology replaced that?
Fred: No, I think it’s a vital skill to have. I don’t want to sound like I’m on a pedestal but I think on a lot of music you can tell that a guitarist has written the drums which sucks a lot of the life out of the instrument. I think knowing how to play them gives a better overview and allows for some more interesting parts on the drums.
Dadde: I’ve found that you’ve had a drum pattern first sometimes and then written a guitar part after that.
Fred: Yeah, that’s true. You kind of have a toolbox when writing and having multiple ways to start gives a lot more options. I think it’s also important to nail the sound you want before you start writing. Knowing what kind of music you are going for helps when writing and gives a head start to it.
What is one band you would love to tour with?
Fred: At The Gates and Meshuggah for me. I mean, there’s countless but those are my two.
Dadde: I think the original version of Entombed would be pretty cool for me. Neurosis and At The Gates too as well. That would be a really fun tour.
What is your favourite song off the new record?
Dadde: I would probably say, “Dreamless Graves” is the one for me. It’s super epic and heavy at the same time. That’s my favourite, but there’s so many songs that I feel are pretty awesome. You can play them for someone and they can get a feel of what Mass Worship is about.
Fred: I would probably say the song “Celestial” which we shot a video for. That song to me represents the band in a really good way. That’s probably my favourite song right now.