Bandleader/bassist Joakim Hedestedt – Mass Murder Agenda
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Black Lodge for the promo pictures of
the band taken by: Gunnar M. Petersen
From Stockholm Sweden comes a brand new act called Mass Murder Agenda. The band is led by former Face Down member Joakim Hedestedt and the music falls into the industrial metal genre. Their debut album is called BRING THE VIOLENCE and because I have always been a fan of Hedestedt I thought it would be time to check out what he’s been up to and what he has to tell us about the new band, the new album. We couldn’t but slip into some more personal questions and if you’re familiar with the earlier work of Hedestedt be sure to check out the interview.
Hi Joakim thanks a lot for taking the time to do this interview, are you ready to begin?
Yes I am ready, hit me.
When was the idea to form Mass Murder Agenda born and did you have a vision of what kind of musical approach the band was going to have?
Ever since the time of Face Down, I had an idea to mix thrash with samples and when we ended the band, I finally got the freedom to test in reality.
Was it hard to recruit member to the band or did you already know what kind of people you wanted to be involved?
I had already talked to my old friend Tristan, so the choice of lead singer was already clear.
Who was the first member to join the band?
Besides me, there was Tristan Agdler.
Had you written material with Mass Murder Agenda in mind before you formed the band or began the writing process when you had a solid line-up?
I started writing songs before the band was formed, I had 4-5 songs ready.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Mass Murder Agenda plays?
The basic idea is to mix thrash metal with industrial metal … easy listening, and without limits.
Are you personally influenced by any artist or band when you write music?
Slayer is my favorite band and I guess Ministry and NIN have been influences for MMA.
Where does the name Mass Murder Agenda come from?
Face Down’s fourth album would have been called MASS MURDER AGENDA I loved the name and wanted to use it for something.
How come you and the guys uses “costumes” and face paint when you perform live?
As I thought this maybe my last band, I wanted to do something special, I have never used make-up before and I want the audience to remember us…I want to give them more…
Does all of the members live in Stockholm?
Is Mass Murder Agenda a band or a project at the moment?
We are definitely a band, I have never had such a healthy sense when it comes to a band.
Is all of the members part of the creative process or is there any main songwriter?
I was the main writer on this album, but the next one will be more a band written album.
Were there many songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
It was a couple…but maybe we re-write some of the to the next album.
What are the lyrics about? I have read the following about the lyrics – “Strong, thought provoking lyrics, commentating on the dismal state of western society”. How would you respond on that comment?
I think that says it all, we are not a political correct band, so I guess people could find some lyrics offensive.
Does the title BRING THE VIOLENCE have any special meaning to you and the band?
It is the way want to feel on stage…we want to bring the violence.
Who has done the cover art work of the album and what do you think of it?
I have done it and it was originally made for Face Downs fourth album.
The song “One More Day” is a ballad and is quite different from the rest of the songs on the album. How come you featured a slow song on the album?
I love NIN and Trents slow songs…so I made one for us as well.
There is a female singer that sings on “One More Day” besides main singer Agdler, who is she?
Sara Heurlin, the very same who does the vocals on Nation Beyonds album…beautiful voice.
It’s been said that the band is mashing the music of Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Slayer and combines it to something of your own can you agree with that?
Yes, it was the main idea..
Are you happy with the outcome of the album and the effort everyone has put into it? In retrospect are there anything you’d like to change?
I think the album came out great, I have never been as proud of a album as I am over this.
Where was the album recorded and how long took the recording process?
The album was recorded in various locations, but we finished everything in A-Stream Studio with Alex Avelin. it took almost four months, we had to record it twice because of a variety of mistakes from our side.
Who has produced the disc?
Alex Avelin together with us in the band.
Is it correct that you recorded BRING THE VIOLENCE without the help from any record label?
Yes, everything is funded by us.
Who did the mixing and mastering?
Alex Avelin and we did the mixing. The album is mastered by Erik Broheden at Masters of Audio, same guy who mastered Rammstein.
Was it hard to find a record deal for the band?
No, I worked closely to Black Lodge in the past, so it was not a problem.
Were there many labels that was interested in signing Mass Murder Agenda?
We did not send it to any labels, we own are own product and get the help we need from Black Lodge.
How come you chose to ink a deal with Black Lodge?
As I said before, I know the label and we could easily come to an agreement.
For how many albums are you signed for at BL?
One at a time, so if we want we can change to another label.
You have been involved with BL before with Face Down and Construcdead how is it to work with them again?
It is like it is, labels are labels, but this one I know I been with many different labels and this is not any worse than the rest.
BL is cooperating with Sound Pollution is the work going well?
Yes, they have the same owners so I guess it works well…
BRING THE VIOLENCE came out on May in Scandinavia but has it been released in the rest of the world now?
Yes, it is a WW release.
Does the band own the mastertape to BRING THE VIOLENCE? Does BL only have license to it?
We own it, which feels very good.
If you can’t get a hold of the album in the stores is it possible to download in legally?
Yes, both on spotify and iTunes, and you can of course buy it in any web shop, CDON, Bengans (a Swedish record store) and GINZA etc.
The band also works with HR Productions how is that? Are you happy with the work they have put into the band?
Yes, we tried it and it has been OK so far…we wanted some help with our media exposure.
For how long have you played the bass?
24 years now
How come you wanted to be a musician? Have you been inspired by any special bassplayer?
I was a vocalist at first, but was fired with the only option to take on the bass if I wanted to stay in the band…hehe…and see what happened . I am not influenced by any bass player, I am not really a musician…more like a Visionary.
Can you play any other instrument besides bass?
No not really…I can play a little piano.
What was the name of the first band you joined? What kind of music were you into back then?
First band was called “Last Tale” and we rehearsed next to Dismember…amazingly we had Tristan on vocals and Joacim C from Face Down on guitars…but it was about 6 years before Face Down. The music was melodic Thrash, with a little Death in it.
You formed Face Down back in 1993, how was it to have your own band?
Face Down was a dream come true, I wanted to mix Pantera, Sepultura and Slayer, and we managed exactly that.
What did the media and critics think of the Face Down debut album MINDFIELD that came out in 1995 and the follow up THE TWISTED RULE THE WICKED from 1997?
Mindfield was saluted in media, 5/5 in Metal Hammer, double page in Kerrang, and our video was played on MTV. On the second album we change label from RoadRunner to Nuclear Blast…and it was not the best decision for us…everything went downhill after that.
Do you care about what critics and press have to say about your work?
Yes I do..I say to myself that I should not…but I do…
How did you come up with the name Face Down? Wasn’t the band called Machine God before or am I wrong?
Yes, the band called Machine God…but then one day a band came along with name Machine Head..hehe…and it was time for us to change. We had a billion band names before we chose Face Down..I think we just needed a name…
At the end of the 90’s did the band experience a lot of turmoil with many memberchanges how was that?
I guess we had musicians that other more famous band wanted..hehe…Peter went to Entombed and Marco went to The Haunted…
Do you have any contact with any of the past members of Face Down today?
Yes, It happens, but not very often. I spoke with Marco and Erik sometimes.
Today Face Down has gotten a cult status, how does that feel for you?
I was not aware of that, but if it is true that feels great
What were you up to after the fall of Face Down?
I started to write of my own, when I felt ready I went out to get members to the band.
The band re-united in 2004 and released THE WILL TO POWER the year after why did you decide to join forces with the rest of the members again?
Marco had left The Haunted so I asked Johan Haller at Black Lodge if he would be interested to sign us if I could gather the members again, and he was thrilled. I called them and the rest is history.
Is Face Down active today?
No the band is not.
You are also involved in the project called Nation Beyond together with Jonas Karlgren (Debase) how did you two end up doing an album together?
Jonas and me are old friends and we always wanted to do something together.
Nation Beyond released the album THE AFTERMATH ODDYSSEY in 2007 what happened then with Nation Beyond?
Nothing, the band was more like a project and we have never rehearsed or played live.
Did Nation Beyond do any live shows?
No, we didn’t.
Was it any different being a part of a band/project that didn’t play extreme metal but neo classical/progressive metal?
Yes, it is not really my style, but Jonas made most of the musical stuff and I wrote the lyrics.
When I spoke to Karlgren at the time of the release of the album he said that THE AFTERMATH ODDYSSEY was the first album in a trilogy, what’s the status on the trilogy?
Hehe…you never know, we have talked about doing a follow up as soon as we have the time.
You wrote the lyrics to the album that was a theme piece, was it hard to write lyrics in that point of view?
Yes it was hard, but I think I handled very nicely, I am satisfied with the result.
Are you happy with what you have achieved in your career so far?
I am very happy, I have released 9 albums with different bands, I have done a lot of great live shows…but I am not finished yet…
What do you do when you’re not writing music or performing live?
I work as a license specialist for Adobe software at Dustin.
Before the release of BRING THE VIOLENCE you released a single that you also shot a video to. What was the song and how was it to shoot a video?
We chose to do “Never again” for the first video song…we thought that had the most hit potential. I have made videos before and it is hard work and very little fun…
Who directed the video? I saw that the video currently have been seen by 9000 people on YouTube.
The video was filmed and directed by Gunnar M. Petersen.
Did you throw a releaseparty for the album? If so when and where took the party place?
Yes, we had the release and a live gig at Debaser Slussen here in Stockholm, great night.
The band is active on most of the various social networks that are around these days do you think it’s important to keep in touch with the fans on the internet? Whats the most common question they ask you?
Yes, today every band has to do their own marketing so social networking is necessary. People often ask when we can come to their town to play.
Are any of the bandmembers involved in any other band/project besides Mass Murder Agenda?
No, not now. The drummer on the album Christofer has left the band for Jesper (in flames) and his band The Resistance…also starring Marco Aro (ex- Face Down). Our new drummer is named Peter Viklund…and everybody is focused on MMA.
Has the band performed anything live yet? Any plans on heading out on the road soon?
Yes, we where in Finland and made 2 gigs 2 weeks ago with a great band called “Fear of Domination” and next Saturday we will perform on the rock bitch boat to Riga.
Is the band planning on try to conquer the North American/Canadian or the Asian market in the near future?
I hope so…it would be nice to go back to Japan again.
The band have had a few contest on Facebook recently could you tell us about that?
Just a thing to try to make people more active with the band.
Do you have any plans to release more albums in the Mass Murder Agenda name and shape
Yes, we are working on the second album now, release will be next year.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy BRING THE VIOLENCE?
If you want to hear something different, hard and violent…and like the industrial thinking of mixing hard music with synths and samples, then this will be perfect for you
What do you have to say to the unlucky ones who haven’t discovered Mass Murder Agenda yet?
Listen, enjoy and buy!
Well, that was all for me and metal-rules.com for this time. Thanks a lot again and I wish you and the rest of the band the best of luck in the future. I really hope to see you on stage soon.
Thank you…and don’t be a stranger if attend a show.