Interview with Lars L?fven of Defleshed
Interviewed in March 2000 by EvilG
Defleshed are one of the few newer EXTREME metal bands that I’ve gotten into recently. Their two CD’s that I’ve had the pleasure to hear – “Under the Blade” and the newest, “Fast Forward” combine thrash and blackened death metal. This is quite the potent mixture and is not for those searching for “happy” music or “melodic” metal. This is pure brutality played tightly and with riffs that would make even Slayer jealous.
Lets start at the beginning. You formed the band in 1991. Can you tell me about what you were doing musically up until that point and what “vision” you had in mind for Defleshed.
I used to be in a band called Convulsion and we played bad-ass thrash. Suddenly, one day the other guys in the band decided that they were going to go off doing some kind of progressive symphonical metal. Well, I thought, fuck this, I quit!!!! Then later on I formed Defleshed and my “vision” was to play brutal, aggressive, raw metal.
There were a number of line-up changes in the first few years but the line-up since 1996 has been Lars L?fven, Gustaf Jorde and Matte Modin. Are you hoping that this is the “permanent” line-up (well as permanent as anything can be in this life).
This feels like the final line-up. If someone quits or we just get bored of each other it’s probably the end of the flesh as we know it.
In your bio you state Angus Young as your favorite guitarist – I would have never guessed that from listening to your music! So what bands have influenced your writing?
My absolute favorite band is AC/DC, they stand above all! Others that have inspired me are bands like Dio, Autopsy, Carcass, Ozzy, Saxon, Death, Judas Priest, Kreator, Macabre, Helloween, W.a.s.p., Mot?rhead, Anthrax, Metallica, Annihilator, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Mercyful Fate, Manowar, I could go on forever…
Were any of your main influences bands like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction or was the 80’s bay area thrash scene with bands like Testament, Violence, Death Angel, Forbidden, Exodus, etc. more influential on your style?
In our music you can find the aggression of Kreator or Sodom, the technicality of Forbidden or Exodus. So I would say that both influence me 50/50 because I listen to all of those bands.
Your stated future goal is “to quit work” haha… I assume that is the plan if Defleshed gets the deserved recognition?!
No, it hasn’t got anything to do with us getting famous and making a million bucks, I hate work! You have to get up in the morning, spend like eight or nine hours doing stuff that sucks when you could have spent that time rehearsing with the band or just relaxing. I just have got to win the lottery so my misery will end!!!!!!
What do you and the rest of Defleshed do when you are not writing/playing/recording?
“We usually hang out in our spare time listening to metal, looking deep down the bottle…”
We all have regular jobs to attend. Matte works at a company who develop film, Gustaf works at a large medical corporation with computers and I work as a turner in a factory. We usually hang out in our spare time listening to metal, looking deep down the bottle and harassing the local metalpub.
How has “Under the Blade” and now your new release “Fast Forward” been received, and has reaction been what you expected it would be?
For “Under the Blade” we didn’t have any expectations at all and the reaction was huge, almost overwhelming. You could say that it was our breakthrough album though we have released one MCD called “Ma belle scalpelle” and a full-length called “Abrah kadavrah” before that. We didn’t feel any pressure following up “Under the Blade” and “Fast Forward” has been well received but with small complaints like it’s to fast, but hey speed rules!!!!
You are mentioned on the MetalBlade website regarding “Under the Blade” being your first release for MetalBlade. However, your new release is being distributed in North America by Pavement. What’s up with this?
After “Under the Blade” we had no deal with any label and MetalBlade were interested to sign us. They told us that they would send over a contract for us to check out but they never sent it, I don’t know if they wanted us to beg for a deal? Anyway, we had a lot of offers form other interesting labels and we choose Pavement for Australia, England, North and South America and it has been working out perfectly.
What’s your relationship with WAR records?
WAR is our European label. They also license us for Japan on Soundoholic records. The guy who runs WAR (Fet Bengt) is Swedish so it’s easy to communicate and so far everything has been working fine except that he might be a bit lazy.
It seems as if the guys in Witchery (Jenson and Sharlee in particular) have been dropping your name in interviews a fair bit. What is your relationship with the band? Have you opened for them or toured with them?
Hehehehe… There is a dark pact between our bands that we should promote each other… No, I know Jensen a bit and I like Witchery and they seem to enjoy our music as well so that’s about it. Maybe we will do some shows in the future, who knows.
[Note from Defleshed’s Gustaf – It might have something to do with me hugging Mr. Jensen’s leg while these whores had to over-sleep at my apartment after a show in our home-town.]
Where have you toured and what countries will you be invading for the “Fast Forward” tour?
We recently did a European tour whit Cannibal Corpse and that was a killer. We have been offered some tours in the U.S. but the arrangements haven’t suited us yet but hopefully we will go there before this year ends. We also are working on some gigs in Japan and a few festivals, so we will see.
Do you have any problems re-creating the Defleshed BRUTAL sound live because you are a three-piece?
Maybe we loose some heaviness but the aggression, speed and tightness – there’s no problem with. I recently bought a seven stringed guitar cause I broke the neck on my Gibson SG (R.I.P) so it’s going to be more down-tuned. Hopefully it will fill out the lack of heaviness in the sound.
Have you entertained the idea of adding another guitarist or are you happy as a three-piece?
Yes, we have tried out some guitarists in the past. But with more people in the band there’s always going to be more arguments and stuff. So we will stay as a three-piece because we know all what we want and all of us has a certain place in the band. We are a well oiled metal war machine.
What are you or your label doing to promote Defleshed outside of Sweden and Europe?
WAR covers Europe and Japan. Pavement deals with the rest of the world so that pretty much covers it.
There are so many cool bands coming out of Sweden that play slightly “similar” music to Defleshed. Bands like Arch Enemy, In Flames and Soilwork spring to mind. What do you think of those bands?
We have done a European tour whit In flames back in ’98 but I don’t like their style pretty much, too melodic. Soilwork played a few gigs with us during the European tour last year with Cannibal Corpse but I really haven’t got a chance to hear them so much. I like Arch Enemy, they play a bit harder.
I think that Defleshed is not so much a part of this “Gothenburg” sound or the “New wave of Swedish death metal” as SOME people call it. How do you see yourself in this larger picture of things?
Here in Sweden the west coast (Gothenburg) consists with a lot of melodic metal and where we come from, the east coast (Stockholm, Uppsala) there’s a lot more harder, aggressive metal and in the north there’s hardcore. This is my opinion but I could be wrong.
How would you describe the Defleshed sound? Would you call it death metal or maybe thrash metal with death metal vocals?
It’s hard to describe, we play hard metal I will refer it to SOLID METAL.
On the CD “Under the Blade” there are not an over-abundance of guitar solos – is this something deliberate? Do you think that your riffs are complex and brutal enough so that solos are unnecessary?
Solos for me is like just an excuse to fill up space to make songs longer. With the kind of music we play I feel it’s unnecessary to press something like that into the songs cause they already have all the power, aggression that they need. Or perhaps it all depends on that I suck on solos, who knows?
[Note from Defleshed’s Gustaf: I know…]
You do know that Twisted Sister had an album entitled “Under the Blade” in 1982 right? Do you think there are any similarities between the two bands? Haha! . (Twisted Sister’s “Under the Blade” referred to surgery – your blade however, is a Viking sword!)
Twisted sister rules!!! Yeah, we knew that TS had done an album with that name but the title just fit our music, you know. Hard, fast, brutal fucking metal under the blade.
Tell me about the artwork for “Under the Blade” – what does this pensive looking Viking have on his mind?
Just wake me up and I will give you a taste of my metal sword. The Viking suits the title perfectly. By the way, his name is Holger Danske and is a warrior-legend statued on Jylland, Denmark.
How has the Defleshed sound evolved from the early days to now or even from “Under the Blade” to “Fast Forward”?
From the beginning we played old-school death metal. We rehearsed, made some recordings and along the way we developed this style we have now. The difference between “Under the Blade” and “Fast Forward” is manly technical skills improving and faster songs.
What does the title “Fast Forward” refer to?
Straight ahead, no bullshit, just fill up the four-wheeled jewel and rock your ass off!!!!!!!!
How long of a recording and writing process was it for “Fast Forward”?
The mixing and recording took about two weeks. I think there’s really no point to be in a studio for several weeks cause then you might overdo everything, you especially loose the rawness. The process of making songs and lyrics took about one and a half year.
Are you constantly writing new material?
On and off, we usually make songs and work on ideas when we rehearse. Sometimes we might rehearse like four or five times a week and then we can have a break for a month. It’s important to be in the right mood and not to do everything in a hurry cause then it usually tends to sound like shit.
What is your future plans for Defleshed?
Do some festivals, probably a U.S. tour and write new material for the next album which we probably will record in the beginning of next year.
In closing, would you agree that “metal does rule” and if so why?
Yeah, metal totally rules. It’s not so hard to explain, what else could you possible listen to… Spice girls… I don’t think so!!!! Just put a good metal record in your stereo, pump the volume up, drink some beer. Nothing could ever beat that feeling.