On July 30th, 2005, the second edition of the Swedish one day festival Metaltown took place in Gothenburg on the west coast. Once again they had really bad luck with the weather but a lot of people still stood strong against the rain to watch the spectacular live show of Rammstein and much more. One of the best performances at the festival came from Swedish gothic metal veterans Tiamat and I grabbed the chance to talk to band members Johan Edlund, Anders Iwers and Fredrik "Kulle" Åkesson, the latter once again stepping in as live guitarist instead of Thomas Petersson who continues to stay at home due to parental duties.

The whole band feels very happy to play in front of the Swedish audience once again, which is something that has not happened too frequently during their long career. When asking them which show or tour that has been the best one this far they have no clear answer. When I suggest their performance at Dynamo or their UK tour in support of Black Sabbath in the mid 90s, Johan explains his opinion very clearly:

- "We play for ourselves and because it's fun, not to kiss the asses of American rock musicians."

Tiamat has had their share of line-up changes throughout the years but now they have had a stable line-up for close to ten years and they feel that they act as a real band. They are still in touch with a few former band members now and then.

The most recent album issued by the band was "Prey" from October 2003. When asking what they have been up to since then, Johan fills in that they have been touring some, written some new material and recorded material for their upcoming DVD which is currently being finished.

Very early in their career, when only Johan from the current line-up was part of the band, Tiamat went under the less tasteful name Treblinka (the name of a WWII concentration camp). I asked him if it was pressure from their record company that made them change their name but apparently it was not.

- "We chose to change the name ourselves. When you are young you do stupid things and hopefully you realize what you're doing and change it before it's too late."

As Treblinka they recorded a couple of demos and released a 7" EP, requesting Johan's opinion on these early works of his he felt like quoting Nick Cave:

- "To listen to your own albums is like smelling your old underwear."

Johan says that he is about 50-70% satisfied with each album and has no clear favorite.

- "When you record an album you always learn new things that you can use in the future, things you could have done differently."

The well-known rock encyclopedia Rockdetector.com mentions that Johan Edlund was once active with the side project General Surgery, which is something that I have not seen elsewhere and that he also denies, saying that he has never even heard of the band.

When speaking about which artists inspired the band members when they began their musical careers they all agree that Accept and Kraftwerk have been highly influential.

Today every member of the band participates in the writing process and Kulle suggests that writing music in the rehearsal space with two beers and everyone jamming together is the best way to write new material. All good, simple and heavy riffs come up that way and Anders and Johan agrees with him.

I ask Johan what inspires him to write lyrics today. His answer is simple - everything that goes on around us. It's more a matter of excluding certain things and filter the flow of information that reach us. In the end it often ends up the same nonetheless. He doesn't think it's wrong to write about the old clichés - love, sex, alcohol etc. because that's the way we live our lives.

The last album was produced by Mr. Edlund himself and I wonder whether he has the intention of helping other bands out as well in the future.

- "No, I don't think so. It has mostly to do with the fact that people don't think I'm social enough to produce. It is just as much taking care of young musicians."

He also says that the producer's job is overestimated.

- "Just play rec and go!"

A friend of mine had pointed out that Johan both looks and sounds a lot like the singer of the Australian 80s / 90s pop / rock band Midnight Oil which he has heard a few times before. It's however a band that he has heard very little from.

In 2001, Johan released an album with his gothic rock side project Lucyfire. Speaking about the possibilities of a sophomore effort his answer is simple.

- "Don't know, it depends on if someone offers money."

The nearest future in the Tiamat camp is summarized with finishing the DVD and new demo material in order to secure a new record contract. With "Prey" the band fulfilled their contractual obligations for long-time partners Century Media. Although nothing has been decided upon yet the bidding war has started and German SPV / Steamhammer is one of the interested parties.

The working conditions while doing interviews at a festival like this is not exactly ideal due to bands playing in the background and therefore speaking to three guys at the same time is virtually impossible but it worked out ok in the end. I thanked the band members for taking the time to answer our questions and wished them good luck in the future as they rushed off to clean out their dressing room.

Links of interest:

Century Media
Border Music