TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with the guitarist / vocalist Rogga Johansson of Paganizer was done through e-mail in May 2003 by Sam Chronic.
The new album "Murder Death Kill" was just released. Tell us a little bit about the album and some of the feelings that inspired the songs within.
We actually recorded the album during two three-day sessions, last year in October and this year in February. At first we only meant to record stuff for our own amusement but after discussions with Xtreem Music we decided to do the second session and put together a complete album. Iíve written most songs the period after our last album "Dead Unburied" but some of the riffs are very old stuff I picked up again and used. The main thing we went for on the current songs was to get some more thrashing riffs into the structures which I think we succeeded with if you listen to tracks like "Meateater" and "Mourning life" but still we have our way of writing which is also clear in song like "Bleed unto me" and "Dead souls" which both incorporates older riffs I had in store.
How would you say this album is different from your past releases?
The main thing I think is the production by Mieszko/Nasum that managed to capture the whole spectrum of our sound, our previous albums has had more of a rough production with more edge and not as much power in the lower regions. Apart from that I think the songs also are the best stuff weíve ever written, the complete album has more of everything, both faster and heavier stuff than weíve recorded before.
In my mind "Murder Death Kill" is more extreme than the past albums (which are pretty damn extreme!). Did you try to top the older albums in terms of heaviness and brutality?
Itís cool that you say that since I actually think "Dead Unburied" are more extreme, at least soundwise where it totally blows away many earlier Sunlight productions with its sick bass drum sound and dirtiness. I never try to top the older stuff when I write the music, then I always end up with songs that suck...haha! I just write the riff that comes natural and put them together into songs, but since our first albums I probably has become better in doing that so thatís probably why this new album is our best so far. We have about 10-11 new songs so far and I can tell you that at least half of them really kicks the ass of this current album so I think weíll only be doing better and better albums for quite a while...
The lyrical content is definitely not for the faint at heart. Just curious...what makes you angry?
Life makes me angry! Most shit that goes on around me pisses me off in one way or another, may it be pathetic stuff or more serious shit that goes on. I wonít give you any bullshit about how I write these lyrics to channel my anger or some stupid clichť like that, I simply enjoy fantasizing about doing sick shit to other people since I mostly spend my time detesting them. However writing too obvious lyrics displaying my bleeding heart and crap isnít really that metal and I canít really say Iím too interested in singing about fucking some maimed girls intestines like all the gorenerds so Iím pretty much stuck in the regular misanthropic lyric theme and it actually suits me fine. I really hate people you know...haha!
It is understood that you have been responsible for writing most of the music. Are any of the other members involved in the writing process?
You got it right there my friend, I do most writing of both music and lyrics and I feel pretty content in doing so. I think our (now departed) second guitarist wrote three riffs on "Dead Unburied" and three as well on the new album and thatís fine by me. From now on Iíll be doing all music since weíre currently a trio but I donít think anyone will hear the difference. To point out his writing I can say that he was responsible for the first two riff in "Lobotomized" on "Dead Unburied" whichīll give you a clue that heís more into the Edge Of Sanity styled riffing and Iím more leaning towards Grave and Vomitory in that aspect.
Paganizer has been through a few different labels. Are you happy with your current label XTREEM music and do you feel that you have found the right label for the band?
Xtreem Music has done a killer job for us so far in getting this new album out and setting up interviews for us. When youíre playing death metal the harder way things are always slower than if youíd be playing popmetal like In flames or Gathering, so our album will be considered a new album quite a while longer than more listenable bands I think so I canít really say how the future looks on the label front for us right now. But if things work out the way I hope we will probably be doing at least one more album with Xtreem Music if they want us to. If they donít manage to sell any copies of the new album I doubt they would be eager to put out our next effort.
Mike Bohatch (Rotting Christ, Dew Scented) did the artwork on your last album "Dead Unburied". Did he also do the artwork for the new album?
No, we had him in mind for the new album though but heís a really expensive guy compared to many others that are equally (or almost equal...) good in graphics. The new album cover was done by a friend name Kristian Kaunissaar who also is the mainman in Portal, another Swedish death act. He had this artwork completed maybe a month before our deadline and when I saw it I though itīd fir perfect to our new album, I really like the whole feeling of the picture. I think he has more stuff displayed on his site; http://come.to/darksource so if anyone likes our cover and would like to work with him they can get in touch with him there.
I understand that metal mastermind Dan SwanŲ did the mixing on the past two Paganizer albums. What is it like working with Dan?
Actually he didnít do the mixing; he did the mastering of the albums. Anyway, working with Dan is both easy and fulfilling as heís been into the scene since the beginning here in Sweden. Their early stuff with Edge Of Sanity was and is some of my favourite albums and even if they fluctuate stylishly on most of the later albums they too are great music. Hopefully Iíll be working more with Dan the coming months as Iím (probably, you never know...) doing the death metal vocals on the comeback album of Edge Of Sanity.
Sweden is certainly known for it's metal bands as there are currently so many successful bands from the region. What would you say differentiates Paganizer from the rest of the bands in your homeland?
Most of the newer bands first of all doesnít play proper death metal I think... the so called new wave are mostly more melodic bands that are in the spotlight and I canít really relate to those bands at all. I think we have more in common with older bands like Grave and Vomitory, but of course we arenít quite in their league yet. But one thing thatís correct is of course that Sweden produces heaps of quality acts no matter which genre of metal they belong to, I donít think there are any other countries that can measure up to Sweden yet except from the US maybe but their problem is that for every good band they have quite a lot of really bad ones...haha! Donít get me wrong, Iím just cranky īcause I canít find any bands like old Deicide, Massacre or Cancer anymore... Most US bands seem to have jumped on this technically crazed trend where the only thing that matters is the speed and amount of beat changes per song. The new Dying Fetus are however a fucking monster of an album and Iīve also succumbed totally to the latest Malevolent creation cd.
I feel some musical similarities to Grave when I listen to your band. Would you site Grave as an influence and what are some of your other main influences?
Thank you for that, I canít really feel bad if anyone is reminded of Grave when listening to us...haha! Of course Grave is an influence, maybe the biggest together with Vomitory, old Hypocrisy and Entombedís first album. The problem I have is not so much avoiding to rip off riffs from (Iím too lousy a musician...) my inspirations but more that when I hear a band Iíd like to borrow influences from I simply canít manage to write stuff in their vein... Iím a huge fan of Vader and Morbid Angel for instance and when I try to incorporate feelings I find in their music itís simply too hard to do, so I must spew up the clichť answer here that I write what my fingers tell me (or allow me...) and thatís not very much influenced by other music Iíve heard I think. More influenced by my own musical shortcomings.
Speaking of Grave, JŲrgen SandstrŲm (ex-Grave) appeared on your last album "Dead Unburied". Do you think that there may be more collaborations with other artists in the future?
If the opportunity comes along Iīm pretty sure thereīll be more collaborations on future albums by Paganizer. The idea was that Dan SwanŲ would have done some vocals on the current Paganizer album but as it turned out his death voice was in no working order at all... Which in retrospect suits me fine as Iīm maybe doing the vocals on his album instead...haha!
While on the topic of collaborations, I hear that Oskar Vomitory drummer Tobben and you are involved in a side project. If this is true tell us a little about the project and what we can look forward to hearing.
The idea was to record some leftover Paganizer material after we had finished the current album but as it turns out weíll probably be doing original material instead. More influenced by Terrorizer and that kind of death/grind metal. Apart from that I canīt say much yet, as nothing is certain when it comes to time, place and release date. Expect a killer album though!
I also hear that Oskar is kind of aÖ..uh.......hippie?
Heís a fucking bum and a drunk, thatís what he is but I donít think heíd qualify as a hippie! I think youíve read his hate list on the old Paganizer site which simply contains the words "Too hippie to hate", right? I wrote that since he couldnít come up with a bunch of stuff that he hates which is fucking stupid since there a re more things to hate than not to. Iíll kick him in the head next rehearsal and maybe we can add me to the list...
HehÖI think that would certainly get you on the list!
I have never been to Sweden but I hear that there are some killer nude beaches. Do you ever visit these beaches?
Nude beaches? I didnít know beaches wore clothes in the first place... I think thatís a big misconception about Sweden that we have nude beaches and stuff like that, the thing is that itís legal to be naked on any beach so there is nudity everywhere actually. Mostly though itís just the top thatís off as not everyone is comfortable with walking around naked all day. I pretty much hang at the beach in the summer, or at least did since Iím not too popular at the local beach anymore...haha! Too many drunken nights ending up in being dragged away by cops isnít really popular when you live in a town with 4000 residents...haha! Oskar by the way isnít wanted there either.
I also hear that you get the good with the bad...for every hot women at the beach there is someone that should definitely not be naked......kind of scary!
Exactly! I mean, Iím no model (maybe a poster boy for the downside of too much beer...) but I donít walk around naked either. Iím more of an observer...haha! But I can tell you, since Iíve been to most European countries, not many countries has this concentration of beautiful women. Every summer is a pain, as you have to work around suppressing the hard on all the time...haha!
Paganizer has made an album every year for the past 3 years...that is some serious work ethic! Do all the members get along pretty well?
No so we are now but a trio... I intend to have Paganizer release (at least) one new album every year and thatís really not a problem as I write maybe a couple of new songs every month that well measures up to the standard of being recorded and put on album. Me and Fiebig (our drummer) are very good friends and share the same ideas about our music and Oskar is very easy to work with and he pretty much nails the bass lines to the riffs Iíve written in no time at all so we work exceptionally well together and I donít anticipate any changes in the Paganizer core for the years to come. Dea, our lead guitar player has left though as a mutual agreement since he was simply too fucking lazy and couldnít get his ass to rehearsal even the one time a week when we play. He actually doesnít play on half of the songs on the new album but we didnít want to kick him out at first so thatís why heís featured on the album. Weíve tried out new guitar players and also though about having Oskar switch to guitar and find a bass player but as it looks now weíll go on as a trio since the three of us works together so well and no one really has the strength to start trying to get a new guy into the band. The only thing weíll see how it works out is the live shows, if there will be enough with me doing the guitar or not but we think it will. I mean, Grave had their fucking prime as a trio! Haha!
Being that you seem to be a calm and peaceful bunch ; )....What if all the members of the band were placed in the woods and the last man standing were to receive a million dollars cash. Who wins the loot?
Thatís a hard one, Iīll have to think a bit about that... If Dea was there heīd die right away as Oskar hates him so then itís down to the current three in the band. Fiebig is a really down to earth guy while Oskar and me always get into fights and drink/smoke too much shit so I think weīd be the other two to go as weīd probably perish just due to the fact that there is no beer or pussy available. Iīd say Fiebig would end up with the loot which would be kinda a shame as his girlfriend would rob him of the money right away to "spice" up their apartment and since heís pussywhipped he wouldnīt be able to stop her...haha!
HahÖ.well at least they would have a new apartment because he would have to look for a new band!
What is on the agenda next for the band? A tour? Working on a new album?
We are already hard at work on material for the next album (4 of the songs nailed down in the rehearsal room and the rest written and arranged). As for a tour weīd very much like to do one, or at least some gigs throughout Europe, but as it seems now we have no shows coming up at all which kinda sucks. So I think weīll be continuing work on the new stuff as well as slowly getting a live set together that fits us as a trio.
To wrap things up would you like to say anything to all the readers out there?
Get "Murder Death Kill" if youīre into oldschool death fucking metal! If anyone would actually buy it since I say so and end up not liking it Iīll personally exchange it for a copy of a Linkin Park album of his choice. After beating him senseless and pissing on his carcass that is...
Thanks a lot for spending some time with us and I look forward to hearing much more from Paganizer in the future. Good luck to you!
And you will hear a lot more from us in the future! Hopefully by early next year or so. Thanx a lot for the interview, I especially enjoyed the questions about the nude beaches.
It was my pleasure! Everyone be sure to go check out a REAL death metal album and buy ďMurder Death KillĒ from PaganizerÖif you donít like it Rogga will even replace your copy with a Linkin Park albumÖexcept I guess you would not be around to listen to it : ) Be sure to also go to Xtreem Musicís website which has many features including an online store and a full arsenal of killer metal bands.
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