Ereb Altor interview (10/2016)
|Conducted by:||Bad English (e-mail)|
Bad English: Hi. Thank you for doing this interview with us as Metal Storm!
Jonas Lindström: No problems!
BE: Can you tell us a bit about yourself, how you picked up the drumsticks and began listening to metal?
J: It all starts when I'm at the age of about 5-6 and my father, who plays the piano, are trying to make me a pianist. He taught me how to read notes, and at the age of 6 I had played through the easier note books. The thing was, I accidentally stumble upon a radio show playing all kinds of rock and metal, and I knew right away this was the thing for me! This was around 1984-85. For the Swedish readers that may be old enough, the show was called "Rock Box Rockradio", and the host was Per Fontander. Remember?
I remember I recorded one night's show, and two songs aired that night was "Last Caress/Green Hell" by Metallica and a song by The Sweet. This, and a copy of Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry album, made me sure I fucking loved metal and I wanted to be a rock star. When my parents split, I moved away with my mother, I quit playing piano and started thinking about playing drums. I was 8 at the time, the walls in my room was full of old Okej posters of W.A.S.P., etc.
My mom bought me my first drum kit the year after and I started to take drum lessons, and here I am today, 30 years later, hahaha.
BE: You live in Gävle, which is not so far from Stockholm. How would you describe the metal scene there (events, gigs, metalheads)? I ask because Luleå is so desolate we can't use the term "scene."
J: We have many bands in different genres here in Gävle. More or less successful. But I can't say we have much of a scene. We have the festival though, Gefle Metal Fest (earlier Getaway Rock Fest), and I think we all are very proud of that one! The close distance to Stockholm, however, makes the lack of good metal shows acceptable.
BE: Could you tell us about your past bands, Isole and Withered Beauty?
J: I don't have much to say about any of them. WB was the reason I moved to Gävle, and the reason I met Crister and joined Isole and later Ereb Altor. WB is on a huge piece of ice and I'm afraid that piece of shit will never melt. We have songs for a full album, but I don't think it will happen.
BE: What was your reason for leaving Isole? Do you ever regret it?
J: Isole was never my thing really. I always did my best though, and when I quit I had been doing it for ten years and five albums. I had fun, but I felt it was time to move on and play music that was closer to my heart, like death or black metal. Since Ereb Altor had moved away from the doomy kind of music, put in black metal elements, and things had started to happen, I felt it was something I wanted to give more time. I don't regret quitting at all. I had a good time but needed to move on. I think my replacement, Victor Parri, is a very good recruitment for the band!
BE: What kind of a beast was Withered Beauty? According to the internet, you joined in 1999. When did you leave? When did the band break up and why?
J: Thats right, I joined in '99. We did some shows and recorded demos the following years. But people started to drop off and in the end it was just me and Daniel left. There was never a break up, rather lack of time and energy.
BE: Your active bands are Ereb Altor, Undivine and Julie Laughs Nomore, correct? Are there any others?
J: Undivine is on hold because we all have other, more active bands. Tommy has Rimthurs, Eki joined Demonical and is doing Skulldrain, Sami has Skulldrain, Kristoffer has Ereb Altor and Skulldrain. I have a new project called Vapnvn, though, a black metal band along with Mickael Carlsson of Patronymicon. It's a "when we have time and feel for it" project.
BE: What is your involvement with Julie Laughs Nomore? Did you just play some gigs with them, or were you the official drummer "on paper"?
J: My appearance with JLN was just some live shows and a recording of new material that never was finished. I'm not involved anymore because of some disagreements when it comes to engagement.
BE: Undivine has been on hiatus since 2012. Does the band have any future plans? Is there a comeback in store?
J: We have songs for another album, faster and stronger, but I don't think it will happen.
BE: What about Julie Laughs Nomore, which has also been on hiatus since 2012?
J: As I wrote earlier, I'm not a part of it anymore. To make things happen you all need to be on the same track. JLN is not my own band, I was a late recruitment, that makes it hard to push the others as hard as I want to push.
BE: It seems like you are one of those metalheads who likes metal in general, not just some specific genre. Am I right in thinking so?
J: Yes, and no. I like good music, no matter of the genre, but I have a tendency to fall back to black metal and some bands with a lot of melancholy in the music. Like Katatonia etc.
BE: In Ereb Altor, you run with the nickname Tord. Why is this? Does it have a particular meaning?
J: The thing with the pseudonym was an idea of Crister and Daniel on the first album. And since they kept doing that thing for each album I was forced to join. We all use our second name, and Tord is one of mine.
BE: Can you make a living from music, or do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time to drum and hold band practice? You tour a lot as well; how does your employer view this?
J: It's almost impossible to make a living on metal music, especially if you want a decent kind of standard when it comes to your home, car etc. We all have day jobs, and kids. I'm the only one not living with my kids' mother. Everything is a question of dedication, how much do you want it. If one of us starts to take more interest in being at home, then maybe it's time to make place for someone else. For me and Crister this is our lives, and if we notice someone starts going that way we will definitely kick some ass and tell it how it is.
BE: This spring, I went through Ereb Altor's entire catalogue. Every album is different, but at the same time has the Ereb Altor sound and touch. What is your secret and why do you think your music works?
J: I guess it has to do with who is composing. It's always been mostly Crister writing music and lyrics. But the recent albums has in my opinion a better song structure than the first two. That's what happens when you let someone else in to produce. Nowadays Crister composes and I produce. I think this collaboration works very well!
BE: Your new album, Blot - Ilt - Taut, is a tribute to the Swedish metal god Quorthon. How did you guys come up with the idea for the album and pick those particular seven Bathory songs?
J: It started out with people telling us to cover Bathory, and that call kept coming many times through the years. We hesitated for a long time. I mean, a Bathory cover has to be perfect to be okay! But in the end we grew some balls and made a recording of what we had covered live and some more songs we like. The ones we had done live felt like obvious choices, and the rest was chosen by Daniel and Crister. I think it is a good mix of both the black metal and Viking era, but still with the Ereb Altor touch on all songs.
Blot - Ilt - Taut
BE: As a fellow Swede, do you agree that Quorthon perfectly described in his lyrics to "Nordland" this great part of Sweden? I think it's simply a masterpiece in terms of lyrical content. I realize you guys have only just finished an entire album of Bathory covers, but have you ever thought about doing that one?
J: Yes I think it describes Sweden in a very good way. It requires, however, that you stop rushing and let your eyes catch these beautiful things! We did talk about many different songs for Blot - Ilt - Taut, and I think "Nordland" was one of them. But now we have made a full cover album and it's time to move on. The year 2017 will be the last year for us doing these double shows, our own set and a Bathory set, unless someone is offering us a very, very good deal.
Many bands of your style also produce neofolk albums in addition to metal material. Do you have any plans for an acoustic-based folk release?
J: We have made a couple of acoustic versions of our own songs, and I think that is as far as we would go. I don't think you will ever find a neofolk album by Ereb Altor.
BE: Do you think such a thing as "true metal" exists? If yes, what is it, and if no, why not?
J: There are bands and/or albums that feels more "True" than others of course, but I think it can be very hard to point out exactly what makes an album "True". But I think it takes a true feeling of both music and the visual part of a band or album in combination to make it true.
BE: I'm a selfish bastard and I like to ask selfish questions. Is the band planning to ever come and play live in Luleå? Why do you think the metal scene in north Sweden is generally so poor?
J: We have some discussions going on about Luleå, but nothing I can tell you more about at the moment. Isn't the metal scene poor all over Sweden, except from maybe Stockholm and Göteborg?
BE: According to some sites, Kristofer Nilsson and Jimmy Mattsson are your current live bass players. Is this correct?
J: No, Jimmy was our session bass player earlier, and when he joined Isole we gave the job to Kristoffer. But today Kriss is a full time member.
BE: You might be the wrong person to ask, but do you know of any upcoming plans that Isole has that you could share with us?
J: I know Crister is writing new material, but thats all I know.
BE: What about Ereb Altor? Any news, gigs, album plans?
J: We always have album plans, but nothing I can tell you more about right now. Wait till next year and there will be more about that. Here's the so far official shows this year and next year.
09.12.16 SPAIN - Madrid / Sala Chango Madrid is the Dark
10.12.16 SPAIN - Madrid / Sala Chango Madrid is the Dark
24.03.17 SCOTLAND - Glasgow / Audio
25.03.17 WALES - Pwllheli / Hammerfest
26.03.17 IRELAND - Dublin / On the rod
13.05.17 AUSTRIA - Graz / Heidenwahn Festival
14.07.17 SWEDEN - Gefle / Gefle Metal Festival 2017
14.11.17 BRAZIL - São Paulo / Thorhammerfest 2017
15.11.17 BRAZIL - São Paulo / Thorhammerfest 2017
BE: Do you have any last words for our readers?
J: Keep the flame alive! And hope to see you at our shows!
Thank you again to Jonas Lindström for this interview. Be sure to catch Ereb Altor on tour and check out their latest singles (Bathory covers), streaming here and here. Blot - Ilt - Taut is available on blue vinyl from Napalm Records.
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