This live interview with vocalist Matti Kärki from the Swedish death metal veterans Dismember was done by James Ashbey prior to their show at Camden Underworld in London, UK, on November 26th, 2004. They played together with Psycroptic, Anata and Sanatorium that night.

Firstly, how are you and the band finding touring at the moment? Is the response as good as ever?
Yeah, it’s been a good response so far. On mainland Europe it’s kind of hard to make tours now – there are so many bands playing out there, and some people struggle to find the money. We’ve had a couple of bad turn outs, but crowd wise everyone’s been into the stuff so there hasn’t been a problem.

Have you played with any of tonight’s bands before, and if so how do you think you work well together?
No we haven’t, but I think it’s kind of cool because not all of the bands are exactly the same style. I mean, you have two bands – the Germans and us – who are kind of mid-paced and then the two really fast bands. Psycroptic is just so technical, and then Anata is more Morbid Angel-ish, so everyone adds their style.

How important is the UK as a place to tour for you? How have you found the UK crowds in the past?
Last time we were here was in 2000, and there are never any problems with response here, it’s excellent.

How broad were your influences when the band started out, and do you think your musical tastes have changed at all since then?
Erm, no! (laughs) Actually we still have the same influences as we did before – over the years we have developed technically, and so we can do more varied stuff than before, so our influences have remained the same but we are able to play more varied music now.

When writing songs, what is the normal process the band goes through? Do ideas start with a guitar riff, or lyrics, or anything else?
A riff, usually. When we are at home we all write riffs, then when we go to rehearse we just show all the riffs to each other and after that a song slowly starts to built, so that’s the main process.

What do you think of the media response to your latest album ‘Where Iron Crosses Grow’?
The response has been really good actually – it has been a couple of years since we’ve released an album, so we weren’t sure what people’s reactions would be like, but it’s had a good response – people are happy with the album, and that makes me happy!

Do you feel the move from Nuclear Blast helped the band to continue successfully? How have things been with your new label?
It hasn’t really affected us. We’ve always been – I wouldn’t say underground – but we’ve always kept very strong roots, so the success we’ve had so far hasn’t changed us at all. Of course we have standards to live up to, because we’ve been around so long, but when you’re used to a certain level of professionalism, it’s not a problem.

Why do you think your band have survived for over 15 years, where other bands have since broken up?
Cos we’re metal retards! (laughs) We just love metal! We don’t do this for money, we do it mainly for the love of the music, and it’s that pure sense that has kept us together so long.

What albums by other bands are you currently listening to?
I usually listen to the old stuff. It’s kind of sad, one thing that has come from all this music is that I have started to enjoy silence! But yeah, mostly the old stuff, the stuff I’ve grown up with, but there are always bands here and there that I will listen to as well. If I want to go for something really extreme, I go for Brazilian death metal – Krisiun, stuff like that – and that’s most of the “newer” stuff I listen to.

What do you think about the state of metal in Sweden at the moment, and are there any new bands there that you enjoy?
There’s a band called Hellfueled. They’re not death metal in any way, but they are really awesome sounding guys, with a refreshing sound.

Thanks for your time, good luck and enjoy the show!
Thanks. You’d better go and see Psycroptic now, you don’t want to miss them!

Links of interest:

Karmageddon Media
Camden Underworld
Regain Records