This interview with the drummer Janne Saarenpää of The Crown was done through e-mail in September 2003 by Sherrie Zemla.

After close to 15 years of keeping it brutal and with five albums behind them, the Swedish band The Crown has become one of the most popular death metal bands in the world. Their sixth album called "Possessed 13" is finished and awaiting release on Metal Blade Records in late October this year (2003). Drummer and original member Janne Saarenpää took some time off to answer these questions. [The editor]

Hey Janne! How's everything?
Hey! Everything's fine, just waiting for the release of our new album called POSSESSED 13, feels like forever! Waiting, waiting...

How did Thomas, formerly of At The Gates, end up being the new vocalist? I know he's toured with you guys in the past, did that "jumpstart" the decision?
That did indeed "jumpstart" the decision! Being on that crappy tour, in total misery, and still managing to have fun with the warm-up band (Sacrilege, who had hired Thomas for that tour) made us good friends indeed!

Would you mind giving us a brief description of what The Crowns writing process is like?
Not at all. It's pretty much built up on Magnus´ and Marko´s writing of the songs. They simply turn up at the rehearsal room with a song. We learn the main structure of it, work on it, make changes, enhance, improve. We simply "Crownify" the songs, so that each and everyone is happy. Magnus writes most of the lyrics, with some help from Marko. We also have a guest writer on the new album. A dude called Andreas from Deathstars / Swordmaster, he wrote the lyrics to Marko´s song "Deliverance".

In terms of crowd response, what's been the best place you've toured so far? Is there any place in particular that you haven't played yet and hope to visit some day? - maybe some more Canadian dates!? :) -
I think Toronto in 2000 on the Cannibal Corpse/Nile/Krisiun-tour was insane! The crowd was actually louder than the music at one point, when we were doing ‘Total Satan’... Also Wacken was insane this year, we have never played for that many people. I don't know how many they were, but easily at least 10,000...

Do you get any time to yourself when you are touring to explore the places you visit?
That would be if I had the money to do it. When we get back from tour, it's pretty much about getting back to work, if we ever succeeded to keep the job...We're just happy if we ever get some time off, both the band and our jobs, so that we can enjoy our time with our girlfriends / friends. You know, putting 9-12 hrs per day to our jobs, 8 hrs to sleep, it doesn't leave much to rehearsing, girlfriends, cooking & cleaning...

What are some of your current favorite bands?

As a drummer, who gets your praise as being supreme? Who are some of your greatest influences?
Tommy Lee, who used to play in Mötley Crue is the greatest rock drummer of all time! My dream is to become the perfect mixture between Tommy Lee and Pete Sandoval of Morbid angel. But that's just a dream.

Were the drums always your instrument of choice?
I love playing drums, even if it's so incredibly hard, but I have never felt an urge to stand upfront on stage, playing guitar. Singing would be interesting, especially since I sound like a Finnish rallydriver with my accent...

That's about all I'll hassle you with for now :) Anything you want to finish this off with?
I sure hope that we can come over for a tour with this album! We're built for touring, that's all we want to do! The new album RIPS! We have a taster on our website - try it!!!

Thanks Janne! I hope everything continues to go well for you and The Crown. Keep it brutal!
Thanxxx Sherrie, cheers!!!

Links of interest:

The Crown
Metal Blade Records