FACEBREAKER

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This interview with the guitarist Mika Lagrén and bassist Jonas "Jonte" Magnusson of Facebreaker was done by Vincent Eldefors on July 31st, 2004.

The Swedish death metal band Facebreaker was formed in the summer of 1999 by former members of Edge Of Sanity and Ashes. After having recorded the demo tapes "Use Your Fist" (2000) and "Hate And Anger" (2001) they signed a contract with the British label Rage Of Achilles Records. On July 31st, 2004, they were given the chance to play at the Gates Of Metal festival in Hultsfred, Sweden, alongside bands like Morbid Angel, Sentenced, Sodom and Stratovarius. We decided to talk a little to guitarist Mika Lagrén and bassist Jonas "Jonte" Magnusson after their show. Unfortunately it was very difficult to hear what they said on the recorder as Within Temptation was playing very loud in the background but this is basically what came out of our discussion.

Facebreaker has mostly played in Sweden so far but about a month ago they played at a small Finnish festival together with bands like Legion and Torture Killer. Both Mika and Jonas had just been to see Finntroll who unfortunately had problems with the sound. They were satisfied with their own gig though.

Discussing their debut full-length album "Bloodred Hell" which was released earlier this year, they mention that they were happy with the sales, considering the fact that they are an unknown band that no-one has heard of, but they hope for more. The first pressing of the album actually sold out. They are satisfied with their label who has done what they have promised so far. On the choice of record label they say:

- "We were very eager to sign a contract and they took a week to reply that they really wanted us."

They both agree that it's important to have a label who love your music and want to work with the band. Recently Rage Of Achilles announced that they will not release any new albums but only sell their back catalogue. Mike and Jonas says that they have not started looking for a new label home yet but they will soon. Recently they have focused on their festival appearance here.

In the middle of the interview a guy walks up to us and asks where he can buy their album. Apparently they managed to attract some new fans with their explosive and intense show this sunny summer day.

Mike entered the band as late as 2002 but Jonas has been there since the beginning. He says that Facebreaker was born as a reaction to the current trend when everyone tried to play faster and more technical than the other. They wanted to play more straight-forward, brutal music. They both like old-school death metal but also listen to other styles. Asking them what they think of the new albums from old Swedish bands like Unleashed and Grave they say that they have not heard those. Jonas liked the last album from Dismember though ("Where Ironcrosses Grow").

Jonas tells that the band members all knew each other even before forming the band and that they have played together before in various constellations. All band members live in Finspång, a small Swedish town in the province of Östergötland, which makes it easy to rehearse, something they do twice a week under normal conditions. They say that they have rehearsed more frequently now to prepare for the show.

Moving into the subject of recording the two musicians tell us that they recorded "Bloodred Hell" in two weeks together with producer Jonas Kjellgren (Carnal Forge, Centinex) who, being a good friend of the band, gave them a fair price, resulting in a very powerful sound. It was two weeks of fun, music and alcohol, they say. I emphasize that they have a very good sound quality for a band on their level.

- "Jonas bought a new amplifier only for this", Jonas explains. The studio was the choice of the band and the record company just gave them a budget to play with and then they had free hands to do as they wished.

Talking about their musical influences and tastes today they mention that they do not only listen to metal but also some other more symphonic music like Vangelis. Right now Jonas was very much into brutal technical death metal like Aborted and Dying Fetus.

The song writing duties are shared between all members of the band and both Jonas and Mika agrees that the music turns out better that way. The music becomes more alive, they believe. They write music both at home and at their rehearsal space.

- "In the rehearsal space you write all the simple riffs. At home you want it to sound more impressive.", Jonas analyzes.

Asking them how it works with their other bands they apparently don't have any problems scheduling all activities right now. It is what is most urgent at the moment that most energy is focused on. They have no demand that each band members needs to focus 100% on Facebreaker only but as it is the band which has reached the furthest of their current projects it is almost like that automatically.

They have already written a couple of new songs since the release of the album, one of which they played this day, and they are going to record these soon.

- "We have our own studio also at our rehearsal space.", Jonas adds.

Asking them what the music life is like in their home town Finspång, they mention that the house where they rehearse is full of bands and that the music life is quite rich at the moment. I mention Suicidal Seduction, a band that I have had some contact with in the past, and Mika says that his brother actually fronts that band.

So far they handle all bookings of shows on their own but connections have helped them this time as they know some people who work with the festival. Although they are not paid for this show (aside from food, drinks and travelling), they agree that this is a good chance for them to show themselves to a wider audience and hopefully things will happen now. They have looked for a booking company but so far nothing has been settled. Both Jonas and Mika wants to concentrate on the music and have someone else take care of the rest.

Discussing record labels they both believe that bigger labels like Century Media and Nuclear Blast don't sign new bands without previous releases. The chance of their record company booking shows in England for them is very small as well as a small label like Rage Of Achilles can hardly have one of their bands open up for bigger label bands like those of Nuclear Blast or Earache.

Getting into the subject of Edge Of Sanity, the band who put Finspång on the metal map for good, Jonas and Mika tells us that they know all the band members who still live in Finspång. "Drette" (Andreas "Dread" Axelsson) wrote some lyrics for the "Crimson II" album and one of the other former band members has become a dad and is busy with that.

Walking down memory lane I ask a few questions about their former guitarist Janos Szijart who left Facebreaker in 2002. Apparently they think that he is a very talented musician but his primary interest had never been music. As far as they know he no longer plays with a band.

We continue talking about how they all started out with music. Just like most other musicians they began playing punk music at youth centers in the late 80s / early 90s since that was the easiest music to play and they could not afford their own instruments. None of the band members have any formal training, Jonas tells me.

Facebreaker have no intention of giving up playing now. Their nearest plans are to rehearse new material and work hard throughout the winter to get a new contract for the spring / summer and try to play some festivals in 2005. I have now run out of questions and wish the guys best of luck for the future. Facebreaker is a band you should check out if you're into brutal and groovy death metal.


Links of interest:

Facebreaker
Rage Of Achilles Records