Hi there, first off, can you tell our readers a bit about the origins of Mr. Death and how you guys got together?
Well, Stefan and Juck (guitars and bass - Sicktus) knew each other since their days in Treblinka (way back) even though Stefan was the last member to join the band. It was actually Juck and Alex (also guitars) who started talking about starting a new band together, since they both missed playing death metal. Alex met Jonas (drums) at a show (I do not remember which one) in Stockholm and asked him if he wanted to play drums, and so he did. Me and Juck have known each other for years, and have been in a punk band together before. At this point I was in a HC/punk band, but started to get tired of it. Juck asked me if I wanted to join Mr. Death on vocals, and after a while I did. I had been away from death metal for too long, and it was like coming home. All this took place in 2007. Stefan joined the band pretty much at the time we headed out to Sunlight Studio to record a four track demo. That recording was just for our own sake, but we put it up on MySpace. It took three days until the first record label got in touch. We declined that offer, and well, the rest is history.
So…. Which one of you is Mr. Death?
We are all great friends, but very different persons, with all kinds of backgrounds and we bring different things into the band. But when we get together and create music, we all think alike and we become as one. One unit so to speak, and that unit is Mr. Death.
…and who is Mr. Pink?
Hahaha! I guess we cannot all be Mr. Black, or Mr. Death in our case. So I have to say the youngest boy in our band. He didn't listen to death metal in the 80's.
The 'Descending Through Ashes' album is released exactly a year and a day after the 'Death Suits You' mini-CD. Since your first album 'Detached From Life' came out on Halloween 2009, it seems you guys like to play with dates (and D's for that matter). So, coincidence? Or is there a 'hidden message' somewhere?
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no hidden message to be found here, we have plenty of that elsewhere. It is just a coincidence, and actually the 'Descending Through Ashes' release was delayed. It should have been released before the summer, but sometimes stuff happens and it only got out now instead. If I remember it correctly, I think it was the same with 'Detached From Life', but I am not sure. So no, nothing planned regarding the release dates.
So what's up with the D's? Just a gimmick? Will you keep doing this 'D' thing with the album titles, like Morbid Angel sticking with the alphabet gimmick?
Haha, actually we did not realize this ourselves at first. It just got to us when we were finished recording 'Descending Through Ashes' someone of us noticed that all recordings, except our 7” 'Unearthing', had D as first letter. We joked about it and said that all of our coming albums must start with a D. But I am not sure that we will stick to that. Probably not. Perhaps we choose something else but make a song with d-beat and put it first just for the hell of it. Then you can start to talk about hidden messages!
Speaking of Morbid Angel… What do you think of the new Morbid Angel album?
Oh… I listened to a song from it, pressed stop, and did not listen again. I have heard both good and bad reviews of it from friends, mostly bad. I did not want to get disappointed to a point beyond repair so I did not continue listening. Morbid Angel are too important to me. I got into death metal through 'Altars Of Madness', which I still think is one of the best death metal albums ever made. All hail Morbid Angel, and I want to keep it that way!
How do you feel about the renewed interest in old school death metal in general? And more to the point, how do you feel about the mass of oldschool worshipping bands that have sprung up the last few years?
Everything comes back in every genre sooner or later. I do not think that the revival now is a big mystery. Death metal has taken different paths throughout the years. Some more melodic during the 90´s and then towards a more technical style. And for the last couple of years, a lot of this strange inhale pig squeal stuff and where bands try to play faster than they actually can. In my opinion it has been a loss of energy actually, and I think others think that too. People wanted to get back to the raw, energetic type of death metal as it used to be. Another reason might be that some of these bands consists of old folks (like us) and have found the inspiration to get back to their roots. And that is a good thing.
I ask this because the ODM aficionados never gave up on the genre, fans and musicians alike, but the amount of releases in this niche is definitely growing. You see both new bands, adapting the old style and bands (or musicians) from back in the day who pick up the old sounds again. At the same time, with the amount of classics in the genre, it is hard to really impress the listener or do something 'new' or unexpected, or even write an album without using at least one riff that has never been done before. And if you do something 'new' or unexpected, most purists will reach for their pitchforks and bring out the tar and feathers. Therefore the highest goal for most ODM releases is to be 'decent', 'good' or 'enjoyabe', with the reviewer adding in a sour tone ”…but it has been done before and better.”. Am I being too negative? Do not get me wrong, I love ODM, but what room is there left for improvement of the genre?
I think you are right about this in some ways. There is definitely a degree of 'catch 22' about it. The truth is that when you put a label on your music to fit in a specific genre, there are some elements that have to be there, otherwise it would be called something else. And when you also put 'old school' in front of it, there are even more elements. It has to sound in a certain way you know. But still, you can please the old listeners who only want their music in this way, and also listeners who just found their way to this specific style. Even though we make the kind of music we like, and are not aiming to please anyone. So it may be hard to stand out, but you can always have something unique in the songs you create. You are spot on regarding reviewers! Although, I am glad we tend to get good, or even great, reviews from people within ODM, and lousy from people who normally review new metal or pop music. And where we really stand out is when we are performing live. I am sad to say that most death metal bands stand still while performing their songs. Most of us in Mr. Death took a brief vacation from playing death metal, and did a couple of years in the punk and hardcore scene. We took that with us into our live performances. The energetic, raw power that you will find at a punk show, you also find in a gig with Mr. Death.
You recently played a gig with Facebreaker. Will 'Descending Through Ashes' get any further live and/or touring support? If so, when and where will our (Dutch) readers get a chance to check you guys out?
Yes, and do not forget Crucifyre and The Resistance! We had a great time during that show, and with the other bands. We actually do not have anything planned when it comes to touring, but we will most certainly do some shows during the winter and next year. It would be great to play in Holland, Belgium and other countries. We will see what happens, but I am pretty sure we will get to it someday. Getting the time is always an issue when you are getting older…
What are your plans for the (near)future with Mr. Death? Or what goals did you have in mind when you started the band?
We do not have any plans really. Hang out and drink beer at our rehearsal place, start to make new songs and then eventually record a new album I suppose. The goal when we started the band was to enjoy playing death metal with each other, and that we still do!
How many 'D' titled (or other) albums can we expect from you guys on Agonia? And will there be any special releases, or vinyl releases?
Four D and then a couple of Z. No, I really do not know. We take one album at a time, and there will be more, no doubt about that. When, I do not know. Look out for Halloween next year… Or the year after that.
Famous last words?
Do not believe in God. It is just rubbish.