Alex Hellid - Entombed

September 2, 2004

It's pretty late where you are at.

It's all right. Not too bad. I'm up. It's 11:30.

Yeah, living that rock and roll lifestyle.

Of course. All the time.

Sounds good. You guys have been around since 1987.

Yeah, that's when we started out as Nihilist. It's pretty much the same band.

You guys had a different name before you became Entombed.

Yeah, we were called Nihilist. Then we had one line up change. The bass player had to go so we thought we'd change the name but it's basically the same band.

So since then up until now you have the same people.

Yeah, only in the first band it was just the four of us because we didn't really have a bass player when we recorded the album. Then in '98 the drummer decided that he wanted to play guitar and sing instead so he started The Hellacopters. It was 10 years or something that we were the same people. Then just now, the beginning of 2004, the bass player Jörgen decided that he didn't want to tour that much so now we actually have a new bass player. It feels like the core of us has always been the same people and the people that have been in the band still in some way or the other feel like they're part of it. We still work together on different projects. We re-released all our cover songs recently for example. Nicke came back and did some of the writing for the booklet and stuff like that. We're still good friends with everybody and Jörgen left this year. He's still part of the Threeman label with his new band. We're going to put that album out for example. It's one big happy dysfunctional family.

That's pretty damn amazing.

We certainly didn't think that we'd be doing this when we released the first album, that's for sure. It was never a plan. We were really deep in that whole tape trading and didn't even send out the demos to record companies. We just traded demos with other people around the globe and it turned into this. Here we are 14 or 15 or even more years later.

Who is your new bass player?

His name is Nico. He used to be in a band called Terra Firma. They released two albums I think on SPV and funnily enough he decided to quit a couple of months before we actually asked him to join and that was actually the case with Jörgen too. He quit. He used to be in Grave and he quit Grave in '95. A few months after we decided we needed a new bass player so we asked him to come in. Nico was our first person that we thought of because we know him and we know that he's a good player and we had recorded two albums with him because he's a studio engineer as well. He actually helped build one of the studios that we recorded in. We recorded Uprising and Morning Star with him. We knew that the chemistry was right so it was quite easy though it's always sad to lose a member. Still at the same time it's good knowing somebody doesn't want to be in the band. Then it's always good to get new blood in because you have somebody that's coming and is really hungry and happy to be in the band. That's cool.

Inferno is your eighth studio release.

Yeah, we put out some EPs and little bits and pieces like that but it's the eighth full length studio album. It's quite a lot.

It was released in Europe last year and this year we finally get it here in the U.S. and we're even fortunate enough to get a double CD set.

Yeah, for once we actually thought that it was going to be released at the same time. It ended up actually being released by Koch prior to the European release and we didn't know about it so we couldn't stop it in time because we had other plans for it. The label that put it out didn't have the rights to do so and we had a deal all ready to be signed for the whole Threeman label. It was going to be so good and then they screwed it up for us. As a result, the whole thing just took forever to sort out and we decided to make it a little bit special instead because the first low thing that came out in America of Inferno was actually a poor version of the European release.

Like a bootleg?

Yeah, for us it was a bootleg because it was released without us giving our approval and not approving the artwork. They'd taken some pages out of the booklet and basically it looked cheap.

Are those people out of their fucking minds?

Yeah, that's what we asked. We couldn't believe it and we've been around for a while so we're used to people not knowing what they're doing and maybe not being totally evil but clueless. Doing mistakes and we're used to it never being anybody's fault and that sort of thing. This actually took us by surprise because Entombed has never had a studio album come out in America before the European release. Even if we wanted it to, it would never happen. There would always be something slowing it down and this time it actually came out two months prior to the European release which even fucked up the European release. People over here started importing it before the label could set it up properly. They shot themselves in the foot. It feels extra good now to finally have people behind the album that really know what they're doing and are happy to work. Over in Europe, we used to release it or license the Threeman label to Music For Nations and in America we sort of released and I say sort of because I don't know if people even know that they were released, but it went through the Jive and Silvertone labels which are sort of more geared towards R. Kelly and Britney Spears. They weren't really interested in Entombed. Now hopefully we're going to be able to pretty quickly get those five albums back and release them properly in America through Candlelight instead. That's what we're working on right now so hopefully next year we'll be able to re-release a bunch of stuff that probably a lot of people haven't really had a chance to buy if they're not searching or importing stuff themselves.

The Candlelight people seem to be on the ball.

Definitely. Last time we had somebody knowing what they were doing, supporting us in America, was on Wolverine Blues. Then we had good people pushing the album that knew what they were doing and wanted to do it. We almost forgot what it felt like to be in good hands.

At least you're back in good hands.

Yeah, very much so.

Tell us a little bit about Inferno.

We decided after the last album, Morning Star, that we didn't want to go in and do exactly the same thing. Morning Star was pretty much produced by ourselves which is not a bad thing. It's just we didn't want to do it exactly the same and we'd been thinking about or been wanting to work with a guy called Pelle Gunnerfeldt who is also in a band called Fireside. I know they toured a bit in America. I don't know if they were that well known but he's got his own studio and he's a good engineer and a good producer. We'd always been interested in seeing what it would be like to maybe record a song with him. We just ended up asking him and we ended up doing the whole album with him so it was a good experience to work with him. He didn't have that many of our albums actually. He'd just seen us live because we had done some tours with his band so what he wanted to do was try and get that live feeling and that Entombed sound that he was used to. To try and capture that in the studio because that's what he felt would be the most challenging for him so without telling us really what his plan was, he had us set up and he ended up recording most of the songs live which we had never done before. We used to play everybody in the same room but then you go back and you redo most of the guitars and the bass. You end up just keeping the drums from the first run through the songs which is the way most people record. On this one we ended up keeping 99 percent of the basic tracks. It's a rougher, darker sound and then we were tuned down a bit more on this one too from Morning Star so it ended up being darker and more rough. It felt really good to do it this way. Next time around we might not do it the same but it's a good experience and we're really happy with the way it came out obviously. Otherwise we wouldn't have put it out. You make one album that people like, then they maybe feel that you should stay that way for the next album and maybe that's what the smart people do. We end up always trying to find new ways and learn new things and not make the same albums. That's what we feel is interesting anyway. Bands that I like the most are the bands that try and not make the same album twice. I still love AC/DC and all the bands that make the same album over and over again. Basically we just try not to bore ourselves by doing the same. A lot has to do with being in the studio and not just feel inspiration. We felt that doing the recording and setting it out exactly like we did on the last album would be boring and when you change something a lot, it changes the sound. We're doing the same thing but if it's being recorded by somebody else then it sounds different. We're happy with the way it came out.

With some bands like Def Leppard or AC/DC, making the same record over and over again works. With other bands, it probably doesn't work as well.

I think it's pretty obvious when the band is happy doing what they're doing and they're doing it because that's what they want to do. Then the band can do pretty much anything and it can't go wrong. I think it's when you start thinking about it too much and worrying about things and trying to do something that you think people are going to want, that's when you're in danger. I think that's the way it works for a band like AC/DC for example. They know what they want to do and they do it. It's cool.

On the Averno disc, there are a couple of videos on there. I guess "Albino Flogged In Black" and "Retaliation".

Yes, we were trying to add as much as we could onto the second disc to make the release as good as possible. Obviously, I think that nobody in America ever saw those videos. They haven't been shown anywhere outside of Europe or Sweden mainly. It's just something extra and especially the "Albino Flogged In Black". That's just a cover song that we recorded for a Swedish compilation. This guy was going to put together a compilation of cover songs of Swedish bands covering other Swedish bands. He asked us to choose any song and we chose the Stillborn track and ended up making a little video for it. We just thought that would be a cool thing for people to see because we know it's hard to get a chance to see a video that a lot of bands make.

Yeah, if MTV doesn't like it then we don't get to see it.

Yeah, at least now they've started showing more stuff I hear so that's very cool.

They brought back Headbanger's Ball again which I don't why they took it off the air. That was stupid because that was the only reason why I watched that channel in the first place.

Yeah, I guess they realized that and now it seems to be back on track. I know the track for "Retaliation" is supposedly going to be shown there pretty soon.

You guys are going to be in the United States in the fall.

It looked like we were going to be over in September for a long time and then as things can be sometimes, it got pushed back to December and I don't really know what's going to happen. If it's going to happen because we were going to do a few weeks with Arch Enemy and two other Swedish bands, the plan was. Then I think it got started on too late so I guess they couldn't get the venues or the routing together properly or something like that. Hopefully something else will come up but we're definitely looking to be back as soon as we can. We did a small tour with King Diamond actually last year in October and November but that's the first time we were back in America since '98 apart from one show at the Metalfest in Milwaukee in 2000. It definitely feels like we haven't toured properly over there for a long time so we're going to jump at any chance we get that makes sense to come over.

A lot of folks want to see you guys.

Yeah, there was this thing that felt like it was going to happen in September that sounded perfect because it was going to be in all the right places to coincide with the release of the album but you can't get everything I guess.

So much for that plan. Instead of coming here in the fall, are there any plans to do any stuff around Europe?

We just finished a tour of Norway actually so we just came back and we're going to do a few shows in Italy and then we have a few shows coming up in Sweden. Then we're still doing a few festivals. We actually got two festivals booked for October today in France and Spain. In between, if we don't go to America which seems like it's not going to happen in the fall anyway, we're just going to start working on new material and hopefully be able to record it before the end of the year. That's the plan anyway. To have an album finished and release it at the beginning of next year or early the first half of next year.

And hopefully it will be released in the right order.

Exactly. We'll see. We should have something finished by the end of the year and then we'll just figure out when to release it and hopefully we'll be able to come over and tour on it straight away.

Hopefully because I want to see you guys. Any other thoughts or comments?

It seems we're back on track as far as releasing albums in America now. The albums that haven't been properly released in America which are five albums prior to this one, Inferno, we're going to start working very heavily on getting those back early from Music For Nations and BMG and just put them out so people can at least find them if they want them. Over here the Threeman label which is the Entombed label, we started making that more into a real record company now so we're working on getting all the Entombed stuff under one roof and putting together what people ask us for. People will always ask us to release the old demos and stuff like that. In between other albums and releases, we're going to now and then put out all the Nihilist demos which turned into Entombed. I think the rest of this year and 2005 and 2006, there's going to be a lot of Entombed stuff coming out and hopefully I will be able to finish work on a DVD that we're going to release next year as well. We did a thing with the Swedish Royal Ballet which sounds very weird but it actually was a lot of fun. Some crazy people asked us if we wanted to do the music for a ballet that they were going to try and sell to the Royal Opera House here in Stockholm, Sweden. Somehow they managed to persuade them to have a death metal band in there. Usually they just have an orchestra so we were actually in the pit with our backline and behind us we had 35 dancers. We put together a 45 or 50 minute piece of music and two songs. It's so very dynamic too. With samples we just put a long piece together and we ended up actually recording it and it sounded so good, we're going to release it on a CD and then we're going to edit all the footage and put out a DVD too. In between recording and doing shows this fall and winter, we're going to edit the stuff together and hopefully release that next year too. We just hope we'll have enough days in a week to put out all the stuff we want to put out.

You guys are going to be so busy.

Yeah, that's the way we like it.

I like how some bands such as KISS and Metallica have done their material with a symphony orchestra. It sounds so cool.

They didn't try to tone us down or anything. They wanted us to do our thing in that house. It could have fallen flat on its face but it ended up being really fun to do and from what I understand, really great to watch too and listen to. A lot of people didn't get to see it so that's why we're going to put out the DVD and this CD because we have a lot of programs too. I'm going to put together an extensive booklet and make it really nice. Hopefully that will be out early next year in America. A few things are coming out.

Yeah, just a few.

A lot of people give a shit about our crappy website too so we're going to sort that out. Right now it's at www.entombed.org but there's a www.entombed.com site as well. We're going to work with that guy and make that into our own. It's actually a fan handling the .com site right now so we're going to merge with him and make that into the monster Entombed site. The .com site looks like a fan putting together everything he can collect like trivia and everything onto something that looks okay but it's not very well updated and it's confusing. I guess that's the site people end up on first when they start looking for Entombed on the Net and then they sort of find that it's us running it but maybe the last update was in 2002 and it's like is this band still around. It's a bit confusing for people I think. The .org site, people if they don't know about it don't even try and look for it. I don't. It doesn't really have that much information on it so we're going to get some professional help from a good friend and turn those sites into one and make them more pleasant to visit. There are a lot of things to do this fall.

Since you aren't going to come visit us.

As soon as we get the chance, we'll be over there.

Entombed