TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
With “Reclaim the Beat,” Defleshed have returned to slice and dice your ears once again after a three year absence. In this phone interview with bassist/vocalist Gustaf Jorde from March 2005 by Lisa Magnusson with questions by American Editor Tony Belcher, among other topics Gus discusses why he likes R.E.M., how Anthrax is a “ploy band” and why Suffocation is great but Judas Priest is not. Read on…
Some of the people who will read this are probably -- and unfortunately, for their sakes -- not too familiar with Defleshed. Here is your opportunity to explain what your band sounds like and to whom Defleshed would appeal.
With each of our albums we have tried to pump them full of as much energy as we can possibly fit into their length of 35 - 40 minutes. Energy is our weapon!
Along those lines, tell us what you mean by the term “Solid Metal.”
A long time ago people often wanted to know what kind of Metal we played. If we would say that we belonged to a certain genre someone would always say that we were wrong. Therefore we stopped trying to figure out what box we could fit into and started, just for the hell of it, saying we play 'Solid Metal.' I mean, stop arguing over what genre we belong to and listen to the sound of our music instead! So, that's the explanation for why we once wrote that we play 'Solid Metal.'
Is anything meant by the title of the new record, “Reclaim the Beat”? Most of your previous albums have more obvious puns in their cleverly worded titles, not unlike your friends in Witchery. Also, whatever happened to the (I presume) working title of “May The Flesh Be With You”? In my opinion, “Needless to Pray” would have worked very well as the album title, too. Both songs/names have that tongue in cheek Defleshed attitude.
In the beginning we were going to call the album “May The Flesh Be With You,” and I think it could have worked, but I am not alone in this band and Lars [Löfven], our guitar player, thought that it might be time for some change. I think it's cool to have a theme in common for all the albums, and I know that many agree with me. But then again there are lots of people who think things like that are a bit silly and we don't want to be a ploy band like fucking Anthrax. So I said that it's okay by me if we were to choose another song title from the album as the name of the album. We chose “Reclaim the Beat,” and I think, although some people might disagree with me there, that this name, since it is a phrase that can be interpreted in more than one way, totally matches the names of our other albums. And it was easier to come up with a fitting album cover with that title. “May The Flesh…” -- What the fuck would that album cover look like? HAHAHAHAHA!
How is the new album different or perhaps better than your previous ones and how long did the songwriting and recording take?
Our first album is overflowing with clichés. I know that all bands claim to have evolved since their last album, but this time we really have moved on. We recorded this album in Uppsala -- earlier we recorded in Malmö where the recording has been more definite. What has been on tape after the three weeks we've been recording is pretty much what has been on the album since there hasn't been time to re-record. This album took longer to record and the mixing of it didn't begin until a month after we'd finished recording it....
This means that the possibilities to change the stuff that we could have done better have been totally different. It has been a process all the way from June till November or December and because of that I have to say that I think this album is much stronger than the others. The new album [also] feels more up to date than our earlier work. It contains samples, for example. It feels pretty timeless but not like it could have been done in the Eighties. There is a lot about this album that makes you think about just how good the other albums could have been.
So do you feel completely satisfied?
With this album we worked like this: Lars makes the songs and then he gives me and Matte [Modin, our drummer] a CD so that we can do our thing with it -- turn the song into something more ‘tailor-made.’ After that, Danne [Bergstrand, producer] and Örjan [Örnkloo, producer and additional instrumentation] have their say in it, too. The demos for this album sound completely different from the finished album since it has been such a long process.
Can you foresee any sort of “new influence” or new style creeping into a Defleshed song or album at any point in the future or are you satisfied to maintain an AC/DC-like approach? Never say never?
Haha! That's true. You should never say never, but one thing is for sure: it will not become softer! It is possible that the next album will be more calm but we have always promoted energy. All I can say is this: what we want to deliver is attitude and energy. Exactly how we choose to deliver it is less certain.
How was Mötley Crüe’s “Red Hot” chosen as a cover song? That is a far cry from covering Sepultura’s “Beneath the Remains” on Under the Blade.
We decided to do a cover song on the album and thought long and hard on which one to choose. First of all “Red Hot” is a bloody good song, a song that suits us and we enjoyed transforming it into our own style. When we had come up with the song we all felt that it was right on. The fact that Mötley Crüe had a reunion a month later had nothing to do with it.
Which is your favorite Defleshed record and why?
“Under the Blade” is very near to my heart. It was the first album we made where everything felt just right. I really felt like, “Damn, we're making great music!” Our new album has the same feel to it. It is similar to “Under the Blade” in the sense that they both contain really strong tunes. But the difference is that while “Under the Blade” took two weeks to record, we spent 7-8 weeks recording the new album. [“Reclaim the Beat”] sounds better but I'm not sure if I might have liked “Under the Blade” better if we would have had the same conditions then that we did now. The two albums [were] also made during different eras.
[Switching gears,] I want to address the sort of record label madness that has plagued Defleshed seemingly from the outset. Have you just been victims of bad choices as such?
We've always been the crappiest band in the world when it comes to economics! First off, we're lousy businessmen, and secondly, the labels we've been on have died one after the other -- there might be a connection there. They sign us and then they die. HAHAHAHA!! I hope history doesn't repeat itself with Regain! We're all sort of Swedish and naïve and we believe all the good things people have to say. We just want to release our albums and we're pretty useless at everything else.
[Changing the subject,] how is your left hand? Hopefully it is fully healed by now.
I have the strength back and also the mobility but it is very sensitive since they had to stitch up the nerves. I have a problem grabbing stuff. We recorded a video recently where one can see me wearing a Band-Aid. Our first gig since the accident is April 2, so we'll just have to wait and see how it goes.
The true Defleshed fan will know about Lars’ absolute love of AC/DC but what about music in general, what do you listen to when on tour, or while at home, etc.? Are there any surprises in there that your fans might not expect?
Like you mentioned, Lars thinks that AC/DC is the best band in the whole world and he also listens to some Exodus so there’s hardly any surprises there. Matte listens to weird stuff like H.I.M. and I can listen to anything worthwhile -- I look for some form of energy in return. I get that from listening to R.E.M.'s latest album, for example. I want things to be extreme in some way and for me, listening to R.E.M. is an extreme thing to do. So the surprising thing is that Matte listens to H.I.M. and I listen to R.E.M., haha! Other than that, we don't do much that is equally scandalous.
Further, what are some new bands that you enjoy, if any? Is there anything new and significant that you see coming forth from the underground?
Dediant from Uppsala, [whose members are] not even 20 years old yet, are really great. They play more of an American Death Metal -- intense, fast and brutal. I did a guest appearance on their album a while ago and I think [it] is fantastic. You can download some songs from their site and I really recommend it! Then there's Vatain, also from Uppsala. They're not a very new band but I expect them to do really well. I am not as involved in the underground scene today as I was 10 years ago, so I'm sure there are lots of other bands worth mentioning.
Speaking less of the underground, what do you think about the somewhat recent reunions of Suffocation and Obituary? Also, what do you think about Halford rejoining Judas Priest?
I don't care about the reunion with Halford since I've never liked Priest. Sure “Painkiller” is a good album but if you think about how many albums they've made, it's astonishing that they haven't been able to squeeze out other good albums.... I saw them last summer and that was enough. Never again! “Living after Midnight” -- is that [even] a Heavy Metal song? I don't think so! And about Suffocation and Obituary -- Suffocation most of all -- I mean, you just have to worship the ground they walk on. I saw them last summer in Belgium and it was FUCKING great! I would also like to see Obituary but [not as much as Suffocation].…
Besides the 2000 Decibel festival in Sweden and the Kaltenbach Open Air festival in Germany, what are your tour plans for “Reclaim the Beat” and 2005?
This Spring and Summer we will play festivals and this fall we're going on a tour. The question is where we want to go on tour. Personally, I would like to focus on the U.S. and Japan since we've never been there. Since we're doing all these festivals during the summer [including the Sweden Rock Festival] it feels like we've already done Europe. Maybe we'll do Europe next year or something.
That pretty much wraps up these questions. I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any parting words for your fans, friends, and listeners?
Fuck, I'm really shitty at promoting the band! All I can say is that if you're the kind of person who can't resist getting a fist in your face and you like metal then you really should check out “Reclaim the Beat.” It's a kick of energy that will last you a year at least!
I thank Gustaf for a conversation that, despite his lack of time, has been really rewarding. When I’ve hung up the phone, I smile to myself and think about a remark Gustaf made: “There are more dinosaurs at Sweden Rock Festival than in Jurassic Park.” I totally agree. Over and out.
Links of interest: