This interview with the drummer Nalle Österman, formerly of Gandalf and now playing with the death metal band Chaosbreed, was done through a live internet chat in June 2003.

Hello, how are you doing?
I'm fine, thank you. And you?

I'm just fine as well, thanks, you have recently recorded your first demo called "Unleashed Carnage", what has the response to it been so far?
The response for it has been surprisingly good. Sincerely I don't think any of us would have expected such an overwhelmingly positive response for our "copy-catting"... And if it wasn't for Swedish GODS such as Entombed, Dismember, Carnage and Grave to name but a few I doubt if it would have ever turned out the way it did.

Why did you decide to publish all tracks on your website for free download?
We felt it would be the most convenient way for us to have our music served for the masses. With all the pro / con MP3-discussions going on in the music world we felt it could also be a nice way to show for people that MP3's can also serve as an important promotional tool for new bands. Another reason was that we didn't want anyone to have to pay anything for such crap... Nah. We just felt we could get our stuff out to the people the fastest this way, I think.

I think the three tracks of the demo show a lot of variety with both aggression, headbanger riffs, brutal vocals and melodies. Which one is your favorite and why?
They tend to change. Originally I preferred FC/DC for its brutality, but I felt the version that was recorded became a bit too chaotic drumwise for its own good. I think Rotting Alive is my favourite at the moment because of its groove. You see, we didn't want to make too polished or perfect versions of these songs as we felt that might result in not having enough of stamina for these songs when we eventually re-record them for our album.

Your sound is very similar to old Entombed, is this what you tried to accomplish?
I think it's safe to say that we all have a genuine love for all old-school death metal and especially for the Swedish "Sunlight-sound", if you want to call it that. We tried just to put our Boss HM-2 guitar pedals in good use and this is what came out of it. I just LOVE that crushing guitar sound, can't get enough of it, I'm afraid. I think I speak for all of us if I say that if we have to choose between the Morrissound- or Sunlight-school of sound, we all would choose Sunlight. Whereas I would assume there's still a bit more sunlight in Florida than Stockholm, if you know what I mean...

Well, perhaps not at the moment :-), could you tell us a little about how and when Chaosbreed was formed?
I think me, Oppu and Taneli got some kind of a buzz of playing old-school death metal when we did this tribute for Chuck Schuldiner at Nosturi, Helsinki in March 2002. playing a set of old Death-songs from the first three albums. But this line-up got rounded up in Spring 2003 when Esa (lead guitar) and Taneli (vocals) decided to join the crew consisting now of me, Nalle on drums, Oppu on bass and Marko on guitars. And there has been no looking back ever since!

Are you looking for a record deal right now or do you plan on taking care of everything yourselves?
From what we have spoken between us we have basically two options. If we don't get a contract that can fulfill certain demands we have set for a contract, then we will probably finance the recordings by ourselves and shop the albmu around for a good enough licensing/distribution deal. All this to have everything under control by ourselves. I think some members of Chaosbreed have learnt a lesson or two from the record business and industry over the years...

Some of the band members are already occupied with other bands like The Black League, Moonsorrow and Mannhai, is Chaosbreed a second priority band at the moment?
This is a question each member that this question touches would have to answer themselves. However, from my point of view based on what the guys have said and what I feel I would say that every member of Chaosbreed will give their 110% for each band they are committed to at that particular period. Many things can be accomplished based on careful planning. Therefore the term "second priority" is probably a bit misleading 'cos it gives an impression of this being a half-hearted, half-assed project, which it isn't as everyone has put their whole heart and soul into this band.

How and why did you start playing music in the first place? Was the guitar your first instrument?
I started to pick on some strings and bashing on drums as a very small kid, but when I got to high school at the age of thirteen I started to rehearse playing drums more often. I then had a break from playing drums between the age of 17-20, when I learned how to compose on guitar. But when there was no suitable drummer to be found for Gandalf I had to learn how to play drums again. So I did.

In 1993 you formed Gandalf, were you in any other bands prior to that?
There were some bands, but nothing important enough to be mentioned.

You released several demos and a couple of albums with the band before breaking up last year, why did you decide to disband Gandalf?
During the last few years there started to be too much shit to handle. You know, when the bad points start to outweigh the good, then you have to reconsider your priorities and think if there is any point in continuing this way. Just like in any relationship.

Do you know what the former Gandalf members have been doing since then? Are you still in touch with them?
I'm not really in touch with the guys. Sometimes we call each other to see what's going on, but as everyone has their own lives to live it happens more and more seldom. Kimmo plays bass in a stoner-group called Blake, Timo plays guitar in a speed / thrash metal outfit Divine Decay, Harri plays guitar in a band called Dragon Sun (style is similar to Sentenced / HIM) and I've heard that Jari sings in some band which name I don't know similar to the style of At The Gates / The Haunted etc.

Ok, then here we go again: did you start Gandalf without a bass player?
Yeah, but then we found Kirka. Then we lost him as he got a precious opportunity with a group called Lab which he didn't want to surpass. Kimmo, who replaced Kirka was an old friend of ours so the change happened quite easily.

Do you remember when Kirka joined and left the band?
He joined for our third demo "The Cradle" released in 1995. Prior to Kirka we had Tommi Launonen playing bass on a few shows and on our second demo released in 1994, before he left to continue with Soulgrind, Gloomy Grim and Nomicon. Kirka left somewhere around 1999-2000, if my memory serves me correctly.

Did Kimmo stay with the band until the very end?
Yeah, he played on the UK tour we did with Katatonia and Akercocke in Summer 2001. However, Kirka played bass on our last show at the Tuska festival in July 2001 as Kimmo was having a vacation.

When did Santtu Sierilä join the band?
He joined prior to the recordings of our 2nd demo in 1994.

But he didn't stay for very long?
Well, depends what you call long. He was with us for 2-3 years and we made two demos with him and a lot of gigs so he was definitely an important member in Gandalf history.

Why did he leave the band?
There were a few reasons. Nothing personal, just a few "musical differences".

You never considered adding another guitar player after that?
Well, we always had two guitars. Sami played on the "Deadly Fairytales"-album before he left to pursue a career of his own with Lullacry. Harri played 2nd guitar on the shows we did promoting our 2nd cd "Rock Hell".

Ok, Sami was a full member of Gandalf?

Did Toni Näykki (Soulgrind, Twilight Ophera) ever play with Gandalf?
Yeah, he played on three shows we did, but things never really properly worked out with him and the rest of the band even though he is great guy to party with. He was present on the recordings of "Rock Hell" but then we had to part ways as he had some personal issues he had to take care of.

Are you having as much fun now with Chaosbreed as you did with Gandalf in the good old days?
Personally I enjoy more of being a member of Chaosbreed that what I was in Gandalf as every member carries their part of the burden. In Gandalf I felt quite frustrated more than once when I felt I didn't get any support or help from the other members when I would have needed it. Time shall tell what will happen in this musical relationship but as for now I am enjoying myself hella more than I did in Gandalf. In a certain way it makes me sad to say this in such a blunt, harsh and direct fashion but I don't find a reason or way to cover it up in red roses as this is how I feel. Of course many good things happened during the nine years we were together, but as I said earlier - in the end the bad outweighed the good. And that was when I knew the band was over.

That was about it, do you have any final message for the readers of Tartarean Desire?
Thank you Vincent for this interview. Check out our website ( for all the news of Chaosbreed. At the moment it looks like our demo "Unleashed Carnage" will be released for the public as we are negotiating with a few labels for its release, but for all the latest info check out our website. I would assume some readers would have wanted to read some info about Amorphis, The Black League, Sentenced, Mannhai and Moonsorrow as well, but their views will probably aired out in the net some day sooner or later. But check out our website if you want to hear some brutal skull-crushing old skool dödsmetall as - as they say - only death is real. Cheers!

Thanks a lot for taking all this time to answer my questions! Good luck with Chaosbreed and everything else in the future!
Thank you!

Links of interest: