This e-mail interview with the guitarist / vocalist Fredrik Schälin from the Swedish death metal band Anata was done by James Ashbey in April 2004.

The Swedish death metal band Anata was formed in Varberg on the west coast in 1993. After two albums for the French label Season Of Mist they have now found a home at Earache's sublabel Wicked World for the release of their third album. Guitarist / vocalist Fredrik Schälin, the only remaining member from the original line-up, was kind enough to answer our questions.

Firstly, how is the band enjoying this current period? Have you been pleased with the response to your latest album?
We’re enjoying it tremendously! I’d say that more things have happened to us during the last months than in the past ten years. We’re very pleased with the new album and the reviews have been so great. We’ve done a UK tour for the first time and more gigs are scheduled for summer…

You recently played some shows with Decapitated, Rotting Christ and Thus Defiled – how did you feel this short tour went, and did you enjoy performing with these other bands? I was at the London show, and thought your set was fantastic!
Thanks, we really enjoyed playing at Underworld! Well, the other gigs were fine as well, especially the Nottingham one… but London was great, the damned place was sold out! Maybe not thanks to us, I mean Decapitated for example is a great band. Anyway there was a queue outside two hours prior to the entire gig so a lot of people watched us play. Yeah we loved to tour in the UK, the audience was so enthusiastic. Decapitated is definitely one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen, and all the members of the bands were really cool.

“The Infernal Depths Of Hatred” was an album with the music and lyrics written almost entirely by you, while “Dreams Of Death and Dismay” has more participation from the other members in this area. How did the writing process of your latest album “Under A Stone With No Inscription” compared to this? Also, how did the vibe in the studio during the recording of this latest album compare to the others?
This time the others contributed a bit more. Andreas and Henrik wrote some riffs for “Shackled to guilt” and “Any kind of magic or miracle”. And “Under the debris” is mainly their work. I just wrote one riff and arranged the song a bit. OK I wrote the drum patterns as well. It usually works like they write a few things that I include in the songs that I write, so “Under the debris” is really an exception. And the lyrics… well I’ve always written all of it and it’s not likely to change. The vibe in the studio? As good as it can get if you have four physically sick double-working perfectionists in there for far too long. It was a huge mistake to believe that it would be possible to have full-time work and studies while recording late at night. We all got pretty sick and worn out too quickly and that’s why it took some time to complete the album. We’ll do it in a completely different way next time.

Looking through all your albums so far, do you have a single favourite song from each album? Equally, do you have a least favourite in each case?
Hmmm… they’re all my babies you know! I’ve worked so hard on each and every one of them. But at the moment, my favourite songs on the new album are “Entropy within” and “Any kind of magic or miracle”.

One thing that I wonder about Anata is the band's influences due to the fact that I can feel a blend of European as well as American death metal in your sound. What bands have influenced you as musicians?
When it comes to melody I think that the most influential band has been – and will you believe this – Depeche Mode. I love what they did especially between –84 and –87. I’ve always liked this band but it’s only quite recently that I realised how their music actually affected in terms of how I think that things should sound like. But of course, we sound nothing like Depeche Mode! It’s the dark, sad and anguished atmosphere that I’m into. But death metal-wise, regardless of nationality, “Blessed are the sick” definitely influenced me a lot. I still think that this is the death metal classic above all. It’s the groove and the twistedness that I still find fascinating. Other bands that I like are Nile and Decapitated, but I never feel “wish I’d done that!”.

Also, are there any films or books the band has encountered that you have drawn inspiration from?
Lyrically, the book “Flow” by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi inspired me a bit! It’s a psychology book about how we perceive things, and what makes our experiences either pleasant or unpleasant. It gave me some new ideas on creativity… and how to survive at times when you can’t affect your surroundings.

How has the change from ‘Season Of Mist’ to ‘Earache’ affected the band, if at all?
It’s a lot more inspiring these days, as we know that a lot more people will hear what we record. Earache also helps us out with tour bookings etc, and that’s a huge difference! They really believe in us… it’s a pleasure working with Earache.

What do you personally think of some Swedish bands taking a more commercial approach to music?
You mean metal-wise? I have no idea, I don’t really follow the Swedish scene. Anyway, what really counts is that you like what you do and stay true to yourself. If it’s commercial or not, in itself, is of very little relevance.

What does the name Anata actually mean? I have never read or heard that anywhere before!
We just picked a nonsense word to name our music and what we do. Indeed, the idea was that no one should have heard of it before. If you name your band Cannibal Corpse you’ve already told a potential audience what type of music you play.

And finally, what can fans expect from the band in the near future? Do you have anything planned that you would like to share?
Well our fans in Sweden can expect to see us on tour this summer with Dying Fetus, Exodus and Malevolent Creation. Also, it doesn’t look unlikely that we’ll get to tour in the US. Apart from the touring, we’ve got plenty of new material to rehearse… let’s say we’ve got about 12 songs to choose from so far! I’ve been working on some of these songs since two years back.

Thanks for your time, and good luck for the future! Was there anything else you wanted to add?
Well the usual stuff, of course. Check out our new website with mp3’s, tour pics and more! It’s at… Check out the new album! Yep I think that’s it. Thanks for supporting ANATA!

Links of interest:

Earache Records