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úterý 30. října 2018

Home » » Interview - NECROPHOBIC - It was about time to pay tribute to the symbol Necrogram!

Interview - NECROPHOBIC - It was about time to pay tribute to the symbol Necrogram!

Interview with legendary black/death metal band from Sweden - NECROPHOBIC.

Answered by drummer Joakim Sterner.

Translated and questions prepared by Petra, thank you!

Hello NECROPHOBIC! Hi Joakim, I am happy that you found time for this interview. This year, your eighth record entitled “Mark of the Necrogram” was released and I am sure, you have a lot to talk about it. What are your feelings a few months after the releasing? Are you satisfied or it is there something what would you make differently? 

JOAKIM: The feeling is still good. I see people still buying the album and put pictures up on social media, which in a way is a proof that it’s not over yet. I thought we had strong material for this album and had a great feeling when I entered the studio, little over one year ago and started to record the drum tracks for the album. From there on it started to grow to become the beast of an that it actually is. I do not want to change anything with it.

Until now the Necrogram was depicted almost at all album covers as your personal symbol, but now you used it also in the album title. Did you have some reason for it?

JOAKIM: It was about time to pay tribute to the symbol we have had since early 1991 and later was first shown to the world on the cover of our second demo “Unholy Prophecies” that came out later the same year. By having a song and title track of an album is, at least in my opinion, shows what power we think it possess. It gets more focus from our fans point of view.

Someone could expect the tour for support of the new album; however, I didn’t notice any prepared concerts. Are you planning some bigger tour in the near future? I am delighted from your participation on Gothoom festival 2019 in Slovakia. Are you looking forward to the upcoming summer festivals?

JOAKIM: We do not do tours anymore, as in being on the road for months. We choose to do smaller tours and mix it with some festivals and weekend shows and that suites our lives better. I am not saying that we will not ever tour again, because there will maybe appear a tour that we really feel like doing, but again, doing smaller tours and playing festivals is what suites us best

Yes, we are looking forward to Gothoom festival and we are hoping to get really busy with the festivals for 2019.

Let’s say new old line-up is back in the band. I think that the return of Sebastian and Johan was the best thing what could happen. What happened between you and Sebastian years ago and how did you find the common speech again? 

JOAKIM: There is no simple answer for what caused the break between us in early 2011. We had been playing together for many many years and toured and we may have grown a bit tired and angry on each other. The energy and electricity was not there, simply explained. Sebastian wanted to have a long break and Johan followed the decision Sebastian made as well. 

As you know, me, Tobias and Alex later on was tired of waiting for them to come back, so we continued with Fredrik Folkare and Robert Sennebäck and went on tour with Morbid Angel and recorded the album “Womb of Lilithu” in 2013 and then came the shit with Tobias that made me take the decision to fire him and later Anders re-joined as vocalist, after being out of the band since 1994.

The band kept on playing, but I also started to get the feeling that I didn’t feel home in my own band. I did not know what to do with that feeling, but I know something had to be done about it. Time went on, and I started to have contact with both Sebastian and Johan again. And with that contact again, I came to find out what needed to be done about my situation. Even though it was a hard decision that I needed to do, I talked to Fredrik that I needed to let him go, even though we have had great years and great times together. 

Sebastian and Johan were feeling the same thing on their end, so when I asked them to re-join the band, they didn’t hesitate for a second. 

Now, everything is back where it should be. The joy of playing together is back 100% and I can say it’s electric again! So many things are going great again.

The previous guitarist, Fredrik Folkare took care about the production, mix, mastering of your latest albums and also the new one. Didn't have he a problem to abandon the place in the band to an inseparable couple of guitarists? It indicates, you broke up without conflicts.

JOAKIM: When I told Fredrik that he had to leave, I think he didn’t understand it at first. Nothing was really bad and as I just said, we have had a great time together and Fredrik is, like everyone knows, a fantastic guitar player and song writer. 

We didn’t talk for a long time after that, but no one was angry or anything from any side. So when we asked him if he could record us for the “Pesta” vinyl EP, it felt a bit strange at first, but also back to normal. Like how it was before Fredrik joined the band.

I don’t want to talk about the awkward situations during your career, but let me ask you something about Tobias. Did you suspect him that he might have some “personal troubles”? Once I saw your concert in Prague, and he drank out the whole bottle of whisky during your set. Was it common for him? 

JOAKIM: I had really good grounds to let him go. It wads not an easy thing to do, but still, the right and only way to go. I have no reason, and I see no reason, to talk much more about this. He had a good life, with family and the band. He did this to himself. 

Back to the eighties, how do you remember your beginnings as a musician? In which moment did you decide to establish the metal band? Was it difficult to find the right person into the band? Tell us about your beginnings alongside with David Parland? 

JOAKIM: Together with my two best friends, we started this band in 1989, but before that, we’ve been seeing this new underground scene rise from the beginning. We saw the early days of Morbid, Nihilist, Dismember, Treblinka, and many more, performing at small youth clubs, buying their demos, buying a great bunch of different underground fanzines and read about this new music and new bands from all over the world. That made us also want to start a band and create something of our own and form something that we thought were missing. 

Me and David had known about each other since the beginning of 1980, when we ended up in the same class in school. We didn’t start to hang out until a few years later, when we discovered that we both liked Iron Maiden, started to talk and from there, we became best friends.

Your music style is somewhere between black and death metal. In your beginnings, for example at the demo “Unholy Prophecies”, the vocalist used more "murmur" vocal, but after that, you switched into the more black metal vocals, which is specific for you till now. Why?

JOAKIM: Well, the thing with our music development from the very early steps and to what it later became is easiest to explain that we had a few years in the beginning when it was only me and David in the band, that needed help from session members to be able to records our songs for demos. The melodies were there from the beginning, that we tried to build a grand, atmospheric sound with, but vocally, we didn’t find the best way to match the sound we were aiming for. Of course, we liked the way our session singer Stefan Harrvik delivered, but it was not really what we were looking for. 

In 1992, after we had recorded our vinyl EP “The Call” (released in early 1993), we asked our friend Anders Strokirk, which was the guitarist and vocalist in the death metal band Hetsheads, if he was willing to step in and become our permanent vocalist. His voice was what we were looking for, that fitted to our mix of death metal and black metal. His voice was raw and he could do both the low pitched voice and the high pitch voice and screams. He also could do the vocals “hearable”, if you know what I mean. You could actually hear the words and still have the rawness in his voice. The bits and pieces were there, finally.

Have you seen the movie “Málmhaus”? It is a great image of how metal music can help in the most difficult moments in life, to get over the loss or failures. I think it could reflect the situation for many of us why we started to listen to metal music. Just to find some relief. Of course, only at the beginning. Do you remember your early years before you discovered metal and who led you to this music?

JOAKIM: I haven’t seen that movie, I guess, but thanks for mentioning it. I will see it. 

I really don’t know what led me to this music, but my mom listened to a lot of music and different styles of music in the 70’s, so music was a big part of my childhood. The early memories I have is that I remember that I liked most of it and especially music that had some sort of dramatic and theatrical vibe in the sound. If it also had a sad feeling, together with the dramatic and theatrical vibe, it was jackpot for me.

In 1982 I had started to listen to some Swedish punkrock that I was introduced to through some guys in school, but later that year, in the summer at summer camp, a summer camp friend played me some songs of Iron Maiden and I was hooked right there. THIS was my music. And from that day I became a metal fan.

Which kinds of movies do you like the most? What is your favorite one? 

JOAKIM: There are a lot of movies that I like the most. It’s hard to pick just one. I like movies from all the genres, but I specially like Sci-fi. That’s a wide genre and I am not particularly like sci-fi with monsters, even though it can be good, but more in the vein of “Contact”, that is asking questions. 

Which period of the band do you consider as the best, personally? 

JOAKIM: Right. Fucking. Now.

What about your development as a drummer. Do you have something special in your drum set? Have you ever thought about to switch the drums to guitar or vocal? 

JOAKIM: My playing style is very old school and I like to keep it simple. Let it be as a solid ground to lift the aggression up from the guitar melodies. I have tried to play guitar a little, but I suck, really. I write some music on my guitar once in a while and then I play it for Sebastian and describe with words how I want it. 

Some of my friends think that I would have been a great frontman, cause I have the skills and the details of a frontman, but…I suck at singing! Hahaha…

NECROPHOBIC is on the scene almost 30 years. Can you imagine that for example after the next 15 years you will still play? Play till death, haha 😊 !

JOAKIM: If our bodies allow us to keep this going, yes, I still think we’re still doing this in 15 years. 

Scandinavia is for many of us very attractive for visiting. You own an unbelievable huge natural assets, forests, untouched nature. It is a paradise for hiking tourists. Are you mostly the city person or rather you go somewhere into the forest to absorb new energy, power or maybe inspiration?

JOAKIM: I am a city guy. No doubt. I get my power and energy and inspiration from elsewhere.

Do you have some favorite pub, where you usually go for a beer, spend time with your friends?

JOAKIM: For me, it’s the company that is the shit that makes an evening great. Not a certain pub. I wish there were more metal pubs in Stockholm, though. 

I am very curious, whether you have some unusual hobby in your free time? I am sure that you don’t play the instruments all the time. 

JOAKIM: I am a sport nerd. I watch football and hockey. So that is my “hobby”. I “entertain” when I perform, so watching games of football and hockey is a way when I can get “entertained”. My team by heart is Djurgårdens IF (football and hockey), from Stockholm and I am also a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs (football) from London, England.

At the end on the interview I usually ask one specific question. Try to imagine that you play your very last show on the stage. Where should be this concert, who should attend this show and which song would you like to play like your last one in your life?

JOAKIM: Wow, my mind exploded with the unlimited possibilities to answer that question, hahaha. OK, let’s play with the opportunity to have an outdoor concert at Stockholm Olympic Stadium. I am on stage with the other guys of Necrophobic and we play covers of all our heroes, with those heroes on stage with us, playing the songs with us. 100 cameras are filming it and ends up on DVD or whatever format that is useful.

Thank you very much for your time and I wish you all the best in the band and in the personal life, too. I am looking forward for your concert somewhere in Czech Republic or Slovakia. Cheers! 

JOAKIM: Thanks for the talk. Cheers!

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