Promoting total Death from Sweden…and more importantly Rogga reveals why he married Britney Spears while he knew that Shakira had a secret crush on him! (VincentP)
Hello, this is Vincent from Vampire Magazine. How’s everything going with the PAGANIZER team?
Everything´s going quite well at the moment! We´re currently rehearsing the second part of the material for the next PAGANIZER album. We have already recorded five songs and will record four more in mid february in Soundlab Studio together with Mieszko Talarszyk from NASUM.
We know PAGANIZER as we have reviewed your two latest albums, but could you please tell us something of the history of PAGANIZER?
The band started out back in ´98 as a Thrash Metal outfit with me on vocals and a bunch of other guys writing the music. This lineup recorded the debut album “Deadbanger” before splitting up in ´99. Then I simply reformed the band with new members since the bandname was mine and we continued to play death metal as I´ve done in my previous bands before PAGANIZER. The new lineup then recorded our second album “Promoting Total Death” which I concider to be the real debut album of PAGANIZER.
Your new CD, “Dead Unburied” has been out for a few months now. How has the initial response been?
Killer! Everyone who´s heard it have been totally blown away by it and that is the best response I can imagine. I think of all reviews I´ve read or all opinions I´ve been told there has only been one guy who thought the album was ok and not great! We´ve done a shitload more interviews on this album than on the previous ones combined so I take that as sign that people enjoy the music.
How do you feel about the final product? Is this your most perfect record or are you already thinking about the next steps?
We are definetly satisfied with the production and the overall outcome of the album. As always there are some stuff we might have changed when you think of it in retrospect but no question about it, this is as close to a totally satisfying recording we´ve ever come with any of our bands. Of course we´re thinking ahead, and as I mentioned we´re busy already rehearsing and recording the next album…
There are some guest vocals by Jorgen Sandstrom from GRAVE, how did you contact him?
The idea was initally that Dan Swanö/ex EDGE OF SANITY would do some vocals but he didn´t want to wreck his voice with Death vocals again after all these years of singing in NIGHTINGALE and his other softer bands. So then I simply called and asked Jörgen since he´s my personal fave Death Metal singer and he thought the idea was cool. He came down to Sunlight Studio when we´ve finished the music and put down his parts in an hour. Hearing him sing was fucking great, I´m still concidering the first three GRAVE albums the best Death Metal in the world.
What are the main lyrical themes of PAGANIZER, and where do you get your lyrical inspiration from?
Quite early on I decided that if we´re playing death metal we should sing about related topics, I have problems relating to environmental issues when listening to blastbeats and downtuned guitars…haha! As for inspiration I don´t think there is any shortage, just switch on the tv or rent a video and out pours ideas for atleast a couple of death metal lyrics! Personally I´m quite intrigued by the kind of atrocities displayed in films like Hellraiser and the likes, you know the kind that fucks with your mind and makes you afraid to die…haha! I´ve had some problems with bad drugs combined with too extensive horror movie watching so that´ll probably provide me with lyrical inspiration for some time…
Does everybody involve in writing the music or is every note from one person?
I pretty much write the music but occasionally our leadguitarist comes up with a couple of riffs which I incorporate in the music aswell. I don´t know why I tend to do the music myself, maybe I´m just the natural dictator in the band! Anyway, I think it fits our concept to do it this way since I think the overall sound benefits if all the music is written in the same vein.
Your first release was released by Psychic Scream, a label from Malaysia. Before you went to Forever Underground you was supposed to release “Promoting Total Death” through Psychic Scream. Could you tell us what went wrong?
Psychic Scream got into some serious cesnorship trouble pretty much at the same time we were supposed to release the “Promoting…” album. Since we´ve already recorded the material we just put it on ice as me and the drummer played in our other band CARVE at that time. Then after hearing a PAGANIZER track on a compilation album Bill at Forever Underground decided he wanted to put the album out for us and then things pretty much just evolved from there. When it comes to the current status of Psychic Scream´s activities I have no idea, the last time I was in contact with them was maybe a year ago and then Eric at the label told me he had been arrested by local police simply just because he was into metal…
Are there any bands that you consider to be your role models when it concerns the music of PAGANIZER? And are there any bands that you admire?
When it comes to role models/influences for PAGANIZER I think you can hear the influence of most early Swedish acts like GRAVE, CARNAGE HYPOCRISY, and ENTOMBED among others. Two bands that I on the other hand admire tremendously are VADER and MORBID ANGEL, but their music hasn´t had much impact on PAGANIZER I think. Other bands I really like is the Swedish Death/Crust groups DRILLER KILLER and DISFEAR, who are directly responsible for influencing big parts of my songwriting which is audible in songs like “Even In Hell” and “Flesh Supremacy” for instance.
Your previous albums were a bit more in the Retro-Thrash Metal corner, although the band’s roots lie in old school Death Metal. Why the change back to old school Death Metal?
I suppose you refer to the “Deadbanger” album, so as I said previously the lineup and concept back then was completely different. I´ve been into the Death Metal scene way before the release of that album and honestly can´t say I´ve ever been into the Retro-Thrash wave at all. Before joining PAGANIZER I played in TERMINAL GRIP and MOURNFUL which both were Death Metal acts in the more oldschool vein. Actually I´ve been thinking about re-recording some old stuff by those bands with PAGANIZER in the future, since I still think many of the songs are pure death metal classix, haha!
The old school Death Metal scene has been a bit silent in the last few years, but seems to be on the way back. What do you think is the main reason for this?
All styles of music comes and goes in cycles I think and now when people are maybe a bit fed up with the recent overmelodic Blackmetal crap and KORN Metal it´s easy to revive something harder like Death Metal. I only speak for the newer bands and listeners of course, the diehard fans has always been around to listen and play this kind of metal so I think the scene is quite the same as always only more in focus again like back in the ´90s.
The Swedish scene is very big and respected. However, I feel that many bands get contracts just cause their Swedish, which kind of clogs up the scene with below par bands. How do you look upon this, and do you find that certain genres have had their creative peak?
I think that´s a common misconception actually, can you name one band that´s Swedish that has been signed and sound like shit? Maybe you can but I still think it´s unfair to say that Swedish bands get signed on their nativity, I know a shitload of Swedish bands that kicks serious ass which haven´t recieved a single offer from any label, small or big. On the issue with genres that´ve reached their peak I must say that the so called Gotheburg scene deserves to be put to death real soon… I can´t imagine why so many talented musicians waste their time writing melodies that other bands already played a hundred times and then top it of with the standard AT THE GATES vocals. Anyway, it seems that the groundbreaking bands in the genre (IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILLITY)) have moved on to other musical vistas so let´s hope their mindless spawn will do so to in a near future…
Are there plans for a tour as promotion of the new album? And are there bands you’d love to tour with?
There was a tour planned for us now in January but our booking agency seems to have disappeared mysteriously… This is the normal thing when it comes to underground music like death metal, there are a lot of plans and decisions made but when the time comes to realize them people have a tendency to disappear or change their minds! Anyway, shit happens and in this scene it happens quite frequently so we don´t really care that much anymore but a tour would nevertheless have been real good promotion for the album as people seems to like a lot. I´d love to tour with any band that are worse musicians than us, then we could impress the audinece when it was our turn to play…haha! Seriously, playing with the recently reunited GRAVE or DISMEMBER would fit us perfectly I think, don´t you? (Vincent- That would indeed be a killer tour!!)
What are the ultimate goals for PAGANIZER?
That would be total and utter world domination I think… or just to be signed by a bigger label and given the opportunity to tour and record albums like more established bands in the genre. We don´t ask for much you know, but the world is a cold and cruel place…haha!
I know Rogga also plays in CARVE (which we reviewed too) and was a session-vocalist with DERANGED on their European tour with IMMOLATION…are there maybe some other projects?
Yes there is actually, I (Rogga) Oskar (bass, PAGANIZER) and Tobben, the drummer of VOMITORY has a new band going called RIBSPREADER. We have most material for a full length album and will begin rehearsals late february. The music will quite obviosuly sound like a mix between PAGANIZER and VOMITORY with a big dose of EXTREME NOISE TERROR and VADER. Apart from that Dea (leadguitar) is recording a mini-CD together with Dan Swanö, I think their band is called ANOTHER LIFE.
What is your opinion on the Sweden’s scene? I’ve also read Rogga is not really a big fan of the US Death Metal…
I think the Swedish scene is as good as ever actually with lots of great bands like PRIMITIVE SYMPHONY, NOMINON, STRANGULATION etc. Most the old Swedish bands are still great aswell with some exceptions… I don´t like the new UNLEASHED and to be honest the new GRAVE is too slow and unimaginative compared to their old stuff (Vincent- yes! YES!! I can’t agree more!). And you´re absolutely right about me not being too fond of the (new) US styled Death Metal…haha! I really love old stuff like DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, MASSACRE, CANCER and stuff like that but I´m simply too slow in the head to grasp the music of bands like CRYPTOPSY, DEEDS OF FLESH or PROPHECY for instance… that kind of music just doesn´t appeal to me at all since I need more straightforward in your face brutality! After half a song by CRYPTOPSY I´m totally numb in the head screaming “give me some fucking Into The Grave or Left Hand Path!!” Haha!
Is there a final question that you have never been asked but would like to be asked? And what is your answer to it?
That would be “Why did you marry Britney Spears whe you knew that Shakira had a secret crush on you?” My answer to that would most probably be… “I married her because of the money, I can always have Shakira on the side…” AArhgh, that was a way too hard question so I went for a stupid answer…haha!
Thanks for doing this interview with us. Are there any final comments you’d like to share?
Only death is real! In our case that equals oldschool Swedish fucking Death!!!