Interviewed by HannTu
Thanks to Tomas Andersson for setting the interview up and generally getting the whole thing going.
I caught up with the guys from fledgling band Freevil from Sweden, Tomas Andersson (guitarist, former Denata), Roger Blomberg (bass, former Denata) and Mique Flesh (drummer and vocalist, former Witchery and Seance) to talk to them about their new album and what they’re all about. I also did a review of the press promo here on Metal-Rules, and they’re truly nice humble blokes with great music coming out of all seven ears. Tomas Andersson answered most of my questions, with Roger and Mique contributing some hilarious stories. Ladies and gentlemen…Freevil!
Hey guys, I’ve heard 3 songs from your unreleased album, FREEVIL BURNING, and I really like what I hear. Thanks for letting me ask you a couple of questions!< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
TA: No problems mate, your support is welcomed!
I’m quite ashamed to admit that I’ve never heard any Denata before. What was that band about, and why did it end?
TA: Denata was Roger’s and my main priority between 1998 and 2004 also featuring Ponta Sjösten which later was replaced by Åke Danielsson because of permanent damage to his ears. We are signed to Arctic Music Group in < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
How did the three of you get the idea of forming a band together, and what was your common goal, musically? What was your ‘vision’?
TA: Mique and Roger played together in a band named Total Death back in the 80’s and Mique recorded and mixed our last album with Denata ART OF THE INSANE. We had so much fucking fun together and after a while Mique actually picked up the microphone for a few rehearsals in Denata but it didn’t feel good as I mentioned earlier, not because of Mique’s vocals but it was like a last push to get the flames up again but it didn’t work…So we sat down talking and said, let’s do something different but let’s stay to the metal roots, something none have done before and that’s how it all started.
How would you personally describe Freevil’s music? I think it’s mostly thrash influenced with a very strong symphonic presence, with great vocals. What do you think about that description? What are/were your influences, musically and lyrically?
TA: I think that is a good description. We have a hard time explaining how we sound when people ask us. Almost all metal fans are used to comparing bands with other bands to get an idea about how it sounds but I don’t think it’s that easy with Freevil. We say you must hear it to get it because we can’t compare it to anything else in particular. We have our own sound and for those who have heard it, they all find different “influences” … It’s like most listeners are reminded of things from bands they listen to and enjoy. We have heard so many different suggested influences like – Dimmu Borgir, Accept, Children of Bodom, Bathory, and Mercyful Fate …. I can understand them but we don’t agree, it does not sound like any of those bands, it sounds like Freevil but still it’s good that we awaken feelings of the metal roots of different metal fans.
For the musical part we had no influences at all, that is the whole idea with Freevil. Let’s keep it metal but do it our own way. Of course there can be unconscious influences from the music we have listened to during all years but we have no frames or idea about the style, what feels good and feels “Freevil” is what we use writing the songs. For the lyrical part most of the lyrics reflects my inner demons while some are pure fiction and morbid ideas. I did all the main structures for the lyrics and Mique and I arranged them together and he did some complements to them where we needed. So the solid ground in all the lyrics comes from me I guess and it’s mostly about hate, depression, agony and suicidal stuff. I have been living with deep depression and agony for over 15 years now and many of the lyrics are an ironic view from my own experiences…I know how brainfucked I get sometimes and then you feel better, it’s like you are two different persons. Not that I’m schizo but it’s interesting to write lyrics reflecting between these sick worlds you live in most of the time. The positive nice guy and that depressed “fuck everything” guy and how you twist and turn everything from day to day…It’s an ironic view of something that is for real!
Are there any plans to recruit an extra musician (guitarist or vocalist) if and when you tour?
TA: If we tour we will have to add a session drummer and someone on keyboards, probably Phanatos that did most of the keyboards in Freevil. Mique will front and it wouldn’t be a good show to have a singing drummer!
This question is for Mique: have you ever sung before, and how did you come by that demonic King Diamond shriek?
MF: No, I have never sung before except in the elevator when I’m stoned. Tomas and I just did some takes with different vocals and found out that this was what we searched for. I never thought about any King Diamond shriek but if it sounds like that I’m just happy, he’s one of the biggest metal gods born on this planet.
Who came up with the name “Freevil” and what’s the story behind the name?
TA: It was Mique…We had decided to have another band name from the beginning but one evening when we came down to the rehearsal room Mique just got a idea of the name Freevil and we felt directly it would fit our music much better than our first suggested band name.
Is Phanatos a member of the band, or will he only be a guest musician?
TA: Phanatos is a lone wolf and did not want to be a permanent member of Freevil, but he does more or less work as a permanent member but he prefers to work alone, he doesn’t want any obligations and always wants to go as a session musician. But he will be on the next album as well unless something really strange happens. He’s sick and awesome, lord of keyboard but always on his own side of this demented world hehe…
What are the personalities like in the band? Is there a “leader”?
TA: No I don’t really think so. We complement each other very well. Mique is the ultra technical guy that can go on for days with details, I’m the one that pushes the train so it keeps moving so we don’t get totally stuck and Roger comes with his input as well.
What’s the songwriting process like?
TA: We jam on guitars and write the structures for all songs (all 3 of us can play guitars even if I’m the one that has it as the main instrument). Then we try the guitar parts with drums to see how they work. After that we record the structure in our studio and work out the rest of the parts…second guitars, bass tunes, lyrics, keyboards, solos. For this album Phanatos did all the keyboards at his home and we added them in the studio. So we write all music as a project where we add parts all the time; twist and turn until we are satisfied. We produce and arrange the tracks very much before we’re done and satisfied. We also re-record structures if we feel they don’t work in the end.
The album title FREEVIL BURNING is suspiciously similar to Judas Priest’s song “Freewheel Burning”. Was that purely accidental?
TA: Haha both to be honest. We thought it sounded like an awesome title on our debut and also with a little humoristic view thinking about the mighty Judas Priest.
Is there a theme to FREEVIL BURNING? Obviously I haven’t heard the whole album nor have I read the lyrics. Can you tell us a little about your album, without giving too much away?
TA: No there is not a theme for the whole album but there’s a line of sarcasm with sickness through the whole album as I said earlier.
The album is very well produced (in my personal opinion, the synths are slightly overpowering); how did you manage to get such an awesome sound with an unsigned band’s budget?
TA: Thanks! For the keyboards we tried different mixes and volume but we considered this as exactly what we wanted. The keyboards are different and dominate less in a few other tracks, those 3 tracks on the teaser are the tracks with most keyboard parts, at least in “Deathblow” it is very dominating. The keyboards have different mixes to create different feelings in the songs…I guess you need to hear the whole album to get the whole dimension.
We have our own studio, Mique is a hell of a studio tech and that’s how we can keep it high class with pretty simple stuff. We have the time and Mique knows how to do it. But still it’s not that cheap as it may sound, we always need to buy stuff for all new releases to get it as we want, local rents to pay, mastering cost a lot and all other additional costs…
How has the metal world responded to your new album (reviews, opinions etc)?
TA: Thus far we have only heard good words from everyone. The reaction is really good, at least until today so we are really happy with that part.
Who did the artwork for the new album, and who came up with the band logo? Also, who’s the hot babe on the front cover?
TA: Actually I did that artwork and logo. I do a lot of digital art when I have the time and inspiration. The wonderful babe is Fevil; she’s from our hometown and close friend to Mique. She is a gothic model and we asked her if she wanted to do it and she said yes…We had a hellish fun time splashing her up with fake blood!
Obviously you’re hoping for a record deal that will help promote your album and get you touring. Which labels have you approached, and what has the reaction/feedback been like?
TA: We have sent promos to almost all metal labels in the world that we thought could have some kind of budget. I guess it’s approximately 100 CDs alone to labels. We had six offers thus far but nothing that felt interesting for us as none of them wanted to pay a cent in advance for our production. We had a few major labels telling us they really like it but they didn’t “dare” to sign us because it’s too different? I think that’s weird, cause different means it could sell more?
Anyway we have a licence solution that will give us worldwide distribution in Europe,
What else have you done to promote yourselves and the new album?
TA: We used our old Denata mailing list with over 6000 emails with our news, added us to myspace, sent out a digital 3 track teaser to a lot of radio stations, zines and also CD-R’s to those who can’t download. So we’re trying to spread the word as much we can to get attention!
How long are you willing to wait for a record deal? Would you personally finance the pressing and distribution of the CDs?
TA: We have not really made up our mind yet but we want to play music, not run a distro and record shop, it takes too much time and infects the musical inspiration. Of course we can sell some merch and stuff like that but it’s easy to drown in selling records instead of writing music. So I guess we will wait until we get at least an offer that covers our own expenses and if don’t get any offers at all we will think about how to proceed then.
Sweden: Land of Metal?
Sweden: Land of Metal?
What’s the scene like in Linköping, and in
TA: Linköping is not the real city of metal in
TA: That’s a question we get often and I don’t have any idea about it. Maybe it’s the weather and that the government put a lot of money into music schools and support the youth playing music…Or maybe it’s genetic hehe…But I have noticed Finland has started to dominate a lot with good bands in latter years, and last but not least Germany with their awesome thrash scene!
When did you get into metal, and what got you into metal? What’s your all time favourite metal record?
RB: It was in the late 70´s when I bought my first KISS-album (metal?)…ALIVE if I remember it right. In the early 80s I began to listen to more extreme music…Speed, thrash and black metal. I don’t remember if it was anything or anyone special who got me in to metal. I just preferred distorted guitars and aggressive music instead of monotone synth-music that was popular in that time. If I must pick just one favorite record it must be Slayer’s REIGN IN BLOOD.
MF: Ohh shit, where’s those brain cells with that information. It started way back in the early 80´s with Judas Priest and Maiden. My brother Toxine (Witchery, Seance) also played metal when I was like 10 years old, so I guess I wanted to be like him haha. I think I bought my first Maiden album in ’81 and then I was stuck. I was a bit in that punk marsh before that, but I was fortunate…saved by METAL!
TA: I was fed with metal since I was born. I have a brother that is 10 years older and he played Dio, Iron Maiden, Rush and that stuff that was hot back in the very early 80’s while I crawled on the floor. While growing older I got into the extreme scene…Mercyful Fate and King Diamond made a hell of an impression on me and then the whole German thrash scene. Can’t say one record in particular but I can say King Diamond, he is and will forever be the King of metal!
Tell us something funny about each other.
MF: Haha, time to desecrate. Don’t you ever drink with Tomas, he will turn into evil Arne (Tomas’s nickname) and you will not get any sleep, It’s like having an octopus in the bed. Eight arms all over your body, so if you are a girl you would probably be happy. I guess Tomas is trying to defend Arne now but he can’t, he has never met him in person. He has only heard others talking about Arne.
TA: This never happened at least not in my head but I understood I had been possessed when I saw the photos taken of me that night. Arne that hides inside of me does evil things and I have been thinking of whether Arne could be gay but I guess Arne doesn’t care about stuff like that, he just wants to hug people and I can assure you my wife hates Arne more than anyone else hehe…
MF: Roger and I have played live and rehearsed for so many years and I never heard that man fart…haha. He must have a cork or muffler in his ass.
TA: You’re right, I have never heard that either? Roger do you have a silencer in your ass? I mean you work with auto parts for BMW?
RB: The biggest surprise from Mique ever was when he sang Taylor Dayne’s “Tell it to my heart” without missing any words in the lyrics when we were watching MTV. It was a big disco hit back in the 80´s, so when Mique tells you he never sang before Freevil it’s a lie hehe. Something about Tomas…hmm…I think I must get in line with Mique and mention Arne….that’s a sick s.o.b…..hehe.
TA: I think I will have to live with the Arne story forever but at the same time both Roger and Mique like Arne more than I do for sure hehe …
TA: Have too many stories on Mique but I can say I laughed as hell one night. I came down to the rehearsal as our electric flush in the toilet is broken so you can’t take a shit down there. I could see how Mique got more pale in the face and said, I can’t take this anymore I must take a shit…He mounted a plastic bag over the toilet, came out after a while with a nice knot on the bag filled with shit and when we left the local that night he threw the bag outside the entrance of a music house for youths. That night he created a new Swedish proverb “bajsa på’se”…. When you say “bajsa på’se” in Swedish it sounds both like shit your pants or shit in a bag.
Roger had one of the most awesome afro curly perms back in the 80’s like all thrashers had! I hate it that he doesn’t have this hairstyle these days hehe ….
What are your plans, hopes, dreams for the rest of 2007? (besides getting a record deal)
TA: Get a good deal so we can focus 100% on writing new material. Then we take things as they come…We have no dreams as we are depressed unless we hire a clown to entertain us in the studio hehe…
Do you guys have day jobs?
TA: Roger works with cars, Mique and I do not have any regular day work except trying to get our sick minds to work every time we wake up and that’s fucking hard work but we don’t get paid for it.
Does the band hang out together a lot?
TA: In between. We hang out a lot when rehearsing and writing music but then we take breaks. Roger has 2 children, a wife and house, Mique has a daughter, I have a chick, cat zoo, and house so in between we need to get home doing those shit things everyone does. But it just makes it even more fun to hang out…we don’t get sick of each other. Still we talk on the phone or email almost daily.
If there were only one album in the world that you would re-record, any album at all, which would it be and why?
RB: It must be REIGN IN BLOOD…Why??…Because I’m not playing the bass on that release. =) ….and it must be an orgasm handling the bass in songs like “Angel of Death”….YEAH!!!!!!
MF: Probably the first Seance album. Great songs but crappy sound.
TA: The first demo I ever did in my youth, the guy that mixed it pitched the whole shit so it sounded like baby vocals and messed it all up. But it was not good anyway but he did make it much worse hehe…
Guys, thanks for talking to me and Metal-Rules.com. I personally wish you the best of luck with the new album, I think its killer and I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before we’ll see it on shelves worldwide. Any last words to the fans?
TA: Thanx a lot for your support and words about Freevil, we really appreciate it! And to you metal warriors out there, please check us out and spread the word! It’s the fans (you) that are the most important. Last but not least we would like to thank Brent Monson (www.monsonguitars.com) for endorsing Freevil with his awesome custom made metal axes! You really need to check them out if you’re a bass/guitar player! Metal till death!