VOMITORY

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with the drummer Tobias Gustafsson of Vomitory was done by Bruno Zamora in October 2003.

Many have thought that Death Metal is dead… Many thought it is now. But that is if you are as dead and stupid not to know what's going on around : Death Metal prevails! There is no need to meddle with kids and their "horrible looks”; there is no need to wear all that, as you will be ashamed of what you are. This band right here, VOMITORY will boil your guts out and let them all flow like a rusted pus on a damaged faucet - leaving you bloodless and gagged to death! Of course, myself never liked those stupid Porno Death Metal and all the likes of that life-loving concept. All those idiots still call themselves as Gore or shall say: Porn/Gore Death Metal. Since when that Porno has been associated with Gore, may I ask?! Only those self-proclaimed brutal "men" claim for such a word. And well, any true Death Metal maniacs should not bother themselves supporting those kind of ridiculous forms of "metal". It will just degrade the true elite meaning of Death Metal. And here we are lucky to have one of the most outstanding Death Metal bands of the genre, Vomitory! Traditional Swedish Death Metal is now on the loose…

Once, we've seen this "Death Metal is dead" among zines, but Vomitory has been so faithful playing DM without losing an intensity. How do you adapt on such a changing climate without harming that DM spirit inside Vomitory?
We just play the style we like and that happens to be death metal the Vomitory way. We're not in this for the money or something like that so we have never seen any reason to change our style because of the changes in the musical climate. If it would be for the money we would definitely not have been playing death metal or even metal at all since it's not where the big money is anyway. Especially not within death metal, that's for sure! Our gods within the brutal music are more or less still the same as they were ten years ago - Slayer, Napalm Death, Entombed, Grave and Terrorizer - and that's one of the reasons why we still are exploring the path of brutal death metal.

Searching for an identity is not an easy task. Many bands were falling into some cliché styled Metal Rather than being "original". Do you think you are now getting out on the typical "Swedish Death" and bringing out more heavier/faster songs that we can call it as for Vomitory fans only?
Yes, I think you're right in a way. Vomitory has never really tried to be original only for the sake of being original. We've always went for quality instead of trying to be as original as possible and one can clearly hear that on all our releases, including the demos. On our last two albums, though, I guess we've become more original with our style but without losing contact with our roots - i.e. the traditional brutal Swedish death metal. And the fact that we've always stuck to our roots and never compromised has also made us original in a way. Not many bands play this kind of death metal anymore, and that itself makes Vomitory kind of original.

Do you consider Wilko (Fadeless Rex) as a big stepping stone for the "career" of Vomitory? I think he have printed well-responsed flyers way back then. And as well as Mangled were also heading on their way to the top. Strong opinion I have is the fact that Fadeless really did a better job for both bands. What came up on you to shift on Metalblade? How did you get in contact with then?
Yeah, Wilko and his Fadeless Records has meant incredibly lot to Vomitory! Wilko is a great guy and it was nice working with him. We didn't leave Fadeless Records because we weren't satisfied or so, but after our second album "Redemption" we felt we wanted to take a step to a higher level. That wasn't really possible on such a small label as Fadeless since the financial part often is quite limited when it comes to small underground labels. We wanted to tour more and have better economical conditions so we decided to search for a "bigger" label. But we are still very good friends with Wilko and we are still working together since he is taking care of the re-releases of our first two albums that originally were released by Fadeless Records - "Raped In Their Own Blood" and "Redemption". After we released "Redemption" we sent that CD to a few "bigger" labels that we wanted to work with. Metalblade immediately showed great interest in us and since we liked Metalblade best of the labels we worked out a decent deal with them. Now a couple of years later, it has come to our knowledge that before we even sent our stuff to Metalblade, the labelmanager - Brian Slagel - had got hold of the "Redemption" album and played it for Alex and Pat of Cannibal Corpse and asked about their opinion. Alex and Pat really liked what they heard and told Brian "You have to sign this band! They're killer!". So perhaps we have them to thank for this deal as well... It's a cool anecdote anyway!

Obviously, BM audience were too many now, leaving DM almost 50:50. There might be loyal DM fans and bands but they are soon fading into oblivion. Has the support of DM people gone down to Vomitory?
No, I would rather say that it has increased. But that's probably mostly because we are still a band on our way up, so to speak. Our name gets more well-known for every album and every tour and we are gaining more fans all the time (hopefully!). Generally speaking it seems like the interest for death metal has increased the last few years, but now it seems like it has stopped a bit. It's not really growing that big that I would have thought, but the interest is still there, and that's what counts!

I think it will be evident enough for you to see their support as you are having tour almost every year…
Our fanbase has increased for every year and that's something we've seen during the years of touring, and the number of hardcore die-hard Vomitory fans gets bigger all the time, which is fucking cool!

Well, most Asian people look at Swedes as the "creative" gods of Metal. But the fact that some people never knew the real situation happening in your country. What are the "truths" among the Swedish Death/Black Metal scene. Somewhere I've read that the gig situation in your country was rather ineffective. Is this true? Why?
There are a lot of bands here but part from that there's not much of a scene here. There are not many shows here in Sweden and that's mostly because there won't be enough people showing up. There aren't that many good venues either. Maybe in the bigger cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg but in the rest of the country it's more difficult. People tend to be too lazy and too comfortable to go to the shows. And if people come the audience always tend to be boring and not very enthusiastic. I believe one of the biggest reasons for that is that there are so much people playing in bands here so most people in the audience are musicians that are more into watching the bands performance instead of banging their heads off and really go wild with the music. That sucks but it's the truth. But do I agree with you when you say that Swedes are very creative when it comes to music.

No love lost in Jussi's departure, but most bands claim in that way. Since then, do you consider this person as a real part of Vomitory? Even though you would say that Vomitory improved without him, I think Erik is still using a pattern made by him anyway. Stand me corrected.
Of course he has been a real part of Vomitory - he was for two years - but he was never of any major importance to the band at any stage actually. He didn't write lyrics or music and wasn't really involved in the everyday work with the band that took us forward. The band DID improve when Jussi once was out of the band and Erik is definitely not using some pattern made by Jussi. I don't agree at all with you at this point. What both Jussi did and Erik does now isn't really something original or new. I mean, it's just death metal grunts that every bands has. Jussi didn't really invent something new to the genre... The difference is that Erik does everything way better than Jussi ever did.

Would you be offended if I give suggestion to put Masse Broberg as a guest vocalist on one of your tracks someday, uh…
No, not at all! It's actually a fucking cool idea, since Masse is a really cool guy and I like his vocal style a lot! We've been touring together a couple of times so he's become a good friend to the band.

Now that Vomitory is under Metalblade do you think you will still have the priority that a small label once have gave you? Or is it that they treat the way they treat other bigger bands on them? You are now one of the best among the best in Metalblade bands. In this way, the label might force you to do a tour or make an album resulting for you to make Vomitory as your job?
No. The situation is of course different now when we're on a bigger label with bigger bands. But Metalblade does really treat their bands well. At least, that's the impression that I have 'cause they've treated us very well since the very beginning. Obviously, Vomitory is not a "priority band" on Metalblade, but that doesn't mean that they don't care about us. I mean, they signed us for a reason - they believe in us - and working on getting the band bigger is simply one of the basics of what labels do. I don't think they will force us to do anything we don't want to, 'cause I think that in the end that would damage our co-operation more than it would do good. It's very difficult to make a living out of music, especially when playing death metal. Even some of the biggest bands need to take extra jobs to pay their bills. But it would of course be the ultimate to be able to make our living out of what we love to do most - playing music.

I also want to ask about "Pressurized" CD, where you have to enter the studio unprepared just because of the label pushes you through? Do you think you will be facing this with Metalblade someday?
We've never been pushed to enter the studio unprepared by the label only to please them. They would probably never do so either 'cause working like that can't be good, I believe. Neither bands or labels want to work with such conditions. That's quite obvious since it won't gain any of the parts in the end. But, we do have entered the studio not having everything properly prepared. All our albums except the first one have been recorded that way. There are always some lyrics that have to be written in the studio, some song that have to be finished or even write completely new songs in the studio. But we have nobody but ourselves to blame for that. But it actually seems like that's the way it works for us. And - knock on wood - so far everything have turned out really well in the end. Nothing sound rushed or incomplete.

…and would you be able to get a vinyl version of your CDs with Metalblade then?
None of our two Metalblade albums ("Revelation Nausea" and "Blood Rapture") are available on vinyl and as far as I'm concerned there are no plans to release them on vinyl at this moment either. It sucks 'cause it would be really cool. I like vinyl stuff. But maybe they will be available on vinyl sometime in the future. Let's hope so...

People criticize Death Metal as a music with pointless views, where the band is only hitting people's neck with riffs, drums, bass, etc. - but on the lyrical side it contains nothing at all. So I guess that Vomitory supports this campaign about, "music first, other things come second"…are you?
The music is of course the most important and death metal fans and death metal bands that claim anything else are lying to themselves. I don't think anyone listens to death metal only because of the lyrics. But that doesn't mean that the lyrics are completely uninteresting to us. Our ambition is of course to write as good lyrics as possible that fit our music in the best possible way, but still, the music is the primary thing for us.

Was it too difficult to write a song when you're a drummer? Do you write songs with your main instrument or do you prefer to write a song using a guitar - which of these two might be comfortable to you?
I also play guitar and I write our songs on the guitar. But I often get ideas to songs, riffs or song structures when I'm playing the drums, so in a way one can say that I also use the drums to compose our songs. But the guitar is my main instrument when composing. Since I'm a drummer and I always consider the drum parts when I'm writing songs I think it can be an advantage to have me writing most of the songs since drums are very fundamental in death metal. But being drummer or guitarist or whatever - I still think it's kind of tricky to write really good songs that I'm really satisfied with.


Links of interest:

Vomitory
Metal Blade Records