JOAKIM GÖTHBERG

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with vocalist Joakim Göthberg from the Swedish melodic death metal band Dimension Zero was done through e-mail by Vincent Eldefors in May 2004 with additional questions from Christian Andersson.

Dimension Zero has made themselves known throughout the world both as a professional studio band and as an intense live act who have now conquered stages as far out as Japan in their quest for the throne. Vocalist Joakim Göthberg started his career in Marduk but have now moved on to fronting this Swedish melodic death metal band. He was kind enough to answer our questions about past and present crimes.

Greetings Jocke, how are you doing?
Quite allright.

It has now been a while since you released the second Dimension Zero album "This Is Hell" which has already become a rather successful release, especially in Japan, how do you think it is different from "Silent Night Fever"?
It's kinda more of everything you could say. It's faster, heavier, more aggressive and darker than ”Silent”. It also has a more chaotic sound so I think it differs a lot from the previous album.

All the band members of Dimension Zero are veterans on the Swedish metal scene. Does this mean that there are many different opinions on how things should be done within the band or does everything work smoothly?
We are all heading in the same direction when we do our material so there is no problem really. Since we all know what we are doing we have no trouble in understanding each other musically. The music we do is the music we wanna do and the only upcoming changes in our music will be that it will grow even more in the faster and brutal vein. The only way for us is up, we will never slow down and try to do something else musically because then the whole idea of DZO would be lost, if we would change style then we would also change name if you know what I mean. DZO stands for fast and aggressive music.

Have you had the time to write new material for DZ yet? Do you have any time plan for a new album?
All the lyrics, song titles and album title are already done. There are a lot of ideas and seeds for new songs, yes. We want and we will do another album but we have absolutely no clue on when. Time shall tell.

You have always had many projects going at once, how do you find the time for all of them? Can you find some time living and sleeping as well or is that only for the mortals?
Haha…well, I believe that it sound like more bands and projects than there actually are. I haven't actually been working on all these bands and projects at the same time, they have all been done individually and for quite short periods of time. With DZO I only rehearse before recordings and gigs so there's not much time spent besides that on DZO. Also I live far far away from the other guys in the band. A couple of the other projects I never rehearse with, we only do recordings when we feel like it. Nowadays I am finally in a real band again, meaning that the band rehearse all the time and all the money, time and effort goes into it. I haven't had that since Marduk back in 1995 so it feels good to be in a traditionally correct band. The band is called Nifters and I am back behind the drums again, which really is the right place for me since I am a drummer from the beginning.

You have said that your father gave you the first drumkit when you were about ten years old. When did you start taking music seriously? Can you tell us a little about your first band experiences?
Correct. I think that I have been taking music seriously since that day back in 1980 when I was 6 years old and bought my first LP, “Unmasked” by KISS, which is still among the top 5 records of all time for me. I think that I sort of felt in some way that I had found something really important in music since I got so interested in that rush I got when listening to it. I started playing the drums when I was 10 years old and my first band was a 2-piece consisting of me on drums and a vocalist only!!! We called ourselves The Hunters and did punk-covers. I think we were 12 or 13 years old. After a while I got myself a bassguitar and an amplifier and started playing bass in another band called Speed Limit, which was my first “real” band, since it consisted of more than only drums and vocals. This band consisted of the guys who still are my oldest friends which I have contact with even today. 2 of them play in Axenstar now and our musical history continued in bands such as Tarmludd, Escape, Juw, Latrin and a couple more. I also helped the 2 Axenstar guys when they were in Miscreant by doing vocals on their 1993 promotape which led them to a record deal. The very same 2 people and myself recorded an album under the name Soulcrushed in 1996 which never has seen the light of day! It was an oldschool death/thrash metal album which took 24 hours to write and 2 days to record. It would be really cool to see that album released someday…

So those guys and me have a lot of for me, important history together which I hold dear.

How did you feel when Kire was fired from Marduk late last year? Would you have been interested in re-joining?
I was quite shocked since I thought that the line-up they had then was unbreakable. I was not interested in re-joining, no. But it was a lot of fun reading all the rumors and discussions on the internet saying that there was no doubt about it that I had re-joined, since some people had put together 1+1 after my guest appearance with Marduk at the Party san festival. They really thought they had figured it out, haha!

Speaking hypothetically, if In Flames were to part with Anders Fridén, and you were offered the vocalist position, would you accept the offer?
I would put a lot of consideration to it, yes. First off, me and Anders are a lot different vocally and second of all I believe that In Flames has one of the best entertainers in Anders in metal today and I know for a fact that I would do things different and that would not work out since In Flames are very depended on Anders in the live situation. I mean, IF would not be IF without him an therefor it would be a whole new band and a whole new situation which wouldnt be IF anymore so I would think twice before making that decision.

2003 was the year when Johnny Cash would pass on to the other side. What has this legendary musician meant to you and your own career as a musician?
Johnny Cash (R.I.P.) has a lot to do with my childhood since my father played Cash at home when I was very young. Cash together with Kiss and Creedence made me wanna do music so maybe without Cash I wouldn't be doing exactly the same thing as I do today. Cash is a part of my musical background and later on when me and a friend started a country-ish band (Mr Walker & The Hitman), we discovered that both of us had been raised on Cash so there was no doubt about who we got most inspiration from.

Speaking about country music, how serious is your own country project Mr. Walker & The Hitman?
We have done 3 full-length demo albums this far and for the moment we aren't doing anything, but when the time is right we will record more stuff. We do this band mostly to satisfy our own personal needs so therefore we haven't been that active in searching for a record deal or anything. It's a personal thing you know, and also we are just 2 people and that wouldn't work in a live situation for example, and we feel that this band is very much connected with just the 2 of us so we would have trouble working with other people on this project.

The projects and bands with whom you have been involved throughout the years are numerous. Could you tell us in short about these lesser known bands: Bellum, The Chainsaws, Escape, Grimorium, Rotten Remains, Soulcrushed and Speed Limit?
Bellum: Me and the Varg from Mr Walker & the Hitman had an idea once to do 2 improvised black-metal songs and record them on a 4-track tape recorder one Sunday afternoon. And we did, we pushed the record button and improvised and the things on that tape we called Bellum.

The Chainsaws: Once again, me and Varg plus Martin who was in both Grimorium and Darkified with me started a horror-rock band and did 6 demotapes in the late 90´s. We didnt get anywhere so we split-up.

Escape: One of the early bands together with my oldest friends, which I told you about earlier. I played the bass and we played some kind of mixture between heavy metal and punk.

Grimorium: The second band I started when I moved from Västerås to Söderköping in 1989. We played doom-metal mixed up with some grind. I played the drums and it was when we did our first show with this band that I met Morgan Håkansson(Marduk) and he came up to me talking about starting anew band which he wanted me in…and the rest is history: )

Rotten Remains: The first band I started when I moved from Västerås to Söderköping. A grindcore band, totally horrible crap!

Soulcrushed: In addition to what I said about this band in an earlier question I can tell you why we did this. It was in 1995 and Wrong Again Records had an idea to put together people from the bands they had on their label to record one-off albums in honour of the 80´s thrash/death metal music. Since I already knew Peter and Magnus(then in Miscreant) I got placed together with them to do an album. I think that we were the only constellation who actually fulfilled this task and the album never got released. Quite a pity since this album has a lot of charm to it.

Speed Limit: My first real band. This band was the embryo to both Tarmludd and Escape since it consisted of the same people. The only change was the name! The music was quite the same as Escape but more heavy metal oriented.

As if this wasn't enough you are currently planning a new death metal project together with Kari Kainulainen of Amaran, any news on that?
The only thing I know about this is that I am considered as one of many lead singers in the project. I have only heard a 30 second clip of the music yet. Its Kari's baby and when he is ready you will hear it.

Rumor has it that you are also working with some musicians from a local band called The Nifters, is there any substance in these rumors?
Nifters is my main band nowadays as I told you earlier. I am the drummer since January 2004. I have known these guys for quite some time now and I have been following their development since the start a couple of years ago. I produced their mini-cd “Cognitive eclipse” in 2003 and after that recording their drummer left and I jumped to the chance to be the new drummer since I already was in deep with their music and loved it. So Nifters is now considered as my main band along with DZO.

You have been playing many different forms of music - from country and punk rock to black and death metal, do you think it is important for a musician not to limit (him / her)self to one particular genre?
Absolutely! At least for me it is. I mean, I love music and that is my biggest interest and has been since I was 6 years old. I still get the chills when I get to hear something new which I haven't heard before and I get inspired to do more music of my own. You hear something which you can add a little of in your own music to make it sound even better and that's what it's all about, to grow musically and to be able to hear something good in most musical styles. When you are able to pick something up in a genre you haven't been listening to before you're heading in the right direction I believe.

If you only listen to for example Death metal, and you only play Death metal, then you'll never be able to progress and add a new angle to your creations. You'll get stuck and it will only sound like everything else on the market. Believe me, I know what I am talking about since I had a period of my own when I ONLY listened to black and Death metal and it got me nowhere except for out of Marduk. That's my opinion anyway.

What music do you listen to yourself? What was the latest cd that you bought?
The latest I bought was the Woven Hand album, leader of 16 Horsepower Eugene Edwards solo effort. More stuff I listen to right now is Darkthrone, High Noon Music, Pink Floyd, Vader, Ten Years After and tons of more of course.

What do you think about the music scene in Norrköping in general? Are there any bands that you think deserve more attention? In my opinion there are some very interesting upcoming bands right now aside from Marduk such as Sargatanas Reign, The Doomsday Cult and Misericordia.
Yeah, I agree, Sargatanas and Misericordia deserves more attention. Also a band called Dear Mutant REALLY deserves more attention than they're getting. In general the scene in Norrköping is very varied and more than 50% of the bands knows what they're doing so overall the climate is quite rich I think.

You will soon hit the road for a European tour followed by a short Japanese one. Why should people come to see Dimension Zero when you come to their town? [Editor's comment: this interview was sent prior to the tour]
Well, we have already done the European and the Japanese tours so I can say to the people who didn't show up that they missed a 1 hour long kick in the face, 'coz thats exactly what it was. We are very satisfied with our performances on stage and we look forward to doing it again.

What is the best thing about being a musician?
To get the privilege to play your own music in front of people who enjoy what you have created. That kick is the real deal!

Any final words for our readers? Thanks a lot for this interview and good luck with everything!
Thanks for listening to DZO, and if you didn't like it the first time, try again : )

Thanks for letting me waste some space here. Take care.


Links of interest:

Dimension Zero
Regain Records
Mr. Walker & The Hitman