Swedish Death Metal act Degradead has recently released their debut album called TIL DEATH DO US APART and for the first time the band is interviewed here in metal-rules.com. The object of my questions was singer Mikael Sehlin and here is what he had to say.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Promo pictuers taken by: Gustaf Sandholm Andersson
Promo pictures provided by: Sound Pollution
Thanks to Joakim Stabel at Sound Pollution for setting up this interview
Okay, let’s take start from the beginning. When and where was Degradead formed and by who?
Degradead was from the beginning called "Septima" and was formed in 2000. In August 2007 Septima had to be changed into Degradead due to legal rights with that name. With the current line-up Degradead has played together since 2004 in Stockholm, Sweden. The band was formed by David Szücs (Guitar) and Kenneth Helgesson (Drums)
Have any of the members been part of any well-known acts prior Degradead?
No, it’s has been Degradead for 100%.
You have done several live gigs already, have you toured a lot? Have you only played in Sweden or have you played in other countries too?
We have played many shows in Sweden and we’re looking forward to our first concert outside of Sweden in France, Champagne April 19th. We are currently scoping for gigs in Europe also.
Is today’s line-up in Degradead the original line-up or have you had member changes?
There have been two band member changes in Degradead, the vocals replaced by me, Mikael Sehlin in 2003 and guitar by Anders Nyström in 2004.
When and where was your demo DEATH ROW recorded?
Death Row was record in Jakobsberg, Stockholm in 2006 at a studio called Off Beat studio, a very nice studio.
What kind of response from people did you get on the demo?
The response was great, I guess we were able to show that we had evolved into a better band than before, people started to understand our musical style and sound.
Where did you get your band name from? Does the name Degradead have any special meaning to you?
When we had to change our name right before recording "Til Death Do Us Apart" I felt that the other band name suggestions weren’t good enough so I just sat down and suddenly it came to me, Degradead. Just felt right.
Are you guys inspired by any person or band within the music industry?
Our inspiration comes from everything, not only music. For the musical inspiration I get it from the best metal bands such as In Flames, At The Gates, and Slayer and so on. But I can also be inspired by all kind of music like blues or jazz.
You are based in Stockholm, does all of the members live there and how’s the extreme metal scene doing in Stockholm today?
Yes we all live in Stockholm. Not far away from each other. The metal scene is growing explosively here I would say so that’s really good. You see more and more kids with their metal t-shirt on.
I think you’re playing melodic death metal with some influences from thrash but how would you like to describe what kind of music you play?
As many bands it’s not your favorite to label yourself but I would say that we play modern death metal. I try really hard to come up with original choruses and make it interesting to listen to.
You haven’t used any keyboards in your music, otherwise that seems to be a favorite tool in the modern melodic death metal music of today?
Yes it’s a very popular tool to use, we have some keyboard parts in some of our songs, gives the choruses a more powerful effect which I like. As long as the keyboards don´t steal any attention from the song I don’t mind it at all.
Jesper Strömblad from In Flames got a hold of your demo and wanted to work with you, how was that?
The best thing ever for us, it has been such an honor to work with not only Jesper Strömblad but also with Björn Gelotte, Daniel Svensson and Peter Iwers. The recording process went so smoothly and without any problem which shows how professional they are.
How long did it take to write the album and is all of the material written?
There are only a couple of new songs on the record, otherwise the songs were written over a timespan of three years.
How does the writing process proceed in the band, who does what?
All of us in the band contribute to the songs and we all write them. The writing process for now is going extremely well, very soon we´ll have enough material for another record. The inspiration from recording "Til Death Do Us Apart" is so grand that there’s no problem for us writing new songs even better.
How was it to go to Gothenburg and record in In Flames own studio?
Unbelievable, the whole process was so amazing. The studio is great and we loved it there every second of it.
The album was produced by a team called H.O.R.D.E, what can you tell us about that team?
H.O.R.D.E endures by Jesper Strömblad, Björn Gelotte, Daniel Svensson and Peter Iwers. These were the guys from In Flames that produced and mixed our album.
Who has done the cover art-work and are you happy with it?
A guy from Darkmouth called Mehran did the whole artwork and we are vey happy with it. It was a perfect match for the theme of the record.
What are your lyrics about have you written about any special subject or matter?
Mostly the lyrics are about life and death, both in the world and personal experiences. The theme on the record would be from the start til the end for me. The lyrics are also about how people can be able to do horrible acts such as murder.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album or do you feel you should have done anything different on it now in retrospect?
Yes we couldn’t be happier about the record. Even if there were something you think you could do better I wouldn’t want to do it over, it was recorded then and there. We are all thrilled in the band for our debut album, a dream come true.
You show a little softer side of yourself in the acoustical song “Til Death Do Us Apart”, how did that feel?
We thought it was a perfect ending on the record, end in death with a slow and easy song. Not what you would have expected maybe from a record filled with death songs. But we all like the song very much and think it fits perfectly.
Can we see more of this side of you on the next album do you think?
Hard to say right now, that song was not planned to be on the record, more of an impulse thing, but if we have a song that fits and sounds I guess we would put it on the record.
Did you send out the demo to many labels?
After we recorded the record everything went extremely fast and we landed a deal directly as we started to show labels the record.
Was it hard to finally land a deal?
Our manager Janne "Lunkan" Lundqvist went to popkomm and it was there he met up with Dockyard1. So I couldn’t say that it was hard since it all went so fast from recording to release.
For how long did the demo circulate before anyone took notice of it?
I couldn’t say for too long, which feels great for us.
You inked a deal with Dockyard 1. Why did you decide to join forces with them?
We checked them out and they seemed to be a good label and now we couldn’t be happier, Dockyard1 is an excellent record company.
Are you happy with the work and pr the label has put into the band and the album?
Yes, we are very happy about that. There’s been a huge difference since we landed the deal with the PR. We’ve really got more attention.
For how many albums are you signed for?
We have signed up for four records so there are three more to go.
Jesper Strömblad from In Flames says that you are the future of metal. What do you think of that statement from your bio?
I wouldn’t say our particular sound is the future of metal but he meant that we are a part of the future of the metal scene hopefully. To have such a great man believe in you feels amazing.
How have fans and media responded on your debut?
The response has been incredible! Which of course make us very happy since it´s our debut album. All the reviews when gotten has been really good, all the fans have really loved it. So we couldn’t be more happy about the release of our record.
My bio says that TIL DEATH DO US APART is the most important release of the year. Is it hard to be so honored already on your debut?
You get pressured but in a good way to make yourself work harder to live up expectations that exist. It also feels fantastic to be so honored.
You are going out on a tour together with Dimension Zero, how long are the tour gonna last and is the tour gonna go through Europe?
For now the tour has been postponed due to Daniel Antonsson and his touring with Soilwork, so we’ll have to wait and see. Degradead is however going to play a couple of shows in Sweden and France.
Are you gonna do any festival gigs during the summer? If so on what festivals are you gonna play at?
We are booked for a show in France, Champagne April 19th other than we are currently scoping for it. Other than that we a lot of live shows here Sweden planned.
What are the plans for Degradead for the rest of the year?
We are currently looking at different festivals and keep on going with promoting the record. We are looking forward going to France and also hopefully record our second album this year. We have man things planned, none certain for the moment.
When can we expect the next Degradead album out in the stores?
We are currently working on new songs and it’s going really well. It’s hard to say exactly when the second album will be released; we will record in late 2008 or early 2009 but sometime in 2009.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions and are there any final words of wisdom you have for the readers and fans?
We hope you listen to our record and enjoy and be inspired by it, keep a lookout for DEGRADEAD in the near future!
For further info about the Degradead debut album check out the data base