INTERVIEW WITH MATS AND MIKAEL OF KRAANIUM
Slammin Death Metallers Kraanium have been slammin’ since 2001 by releasing five albums. The band has undergone quite a few radical changes in the line-up. However the surviving sole member Mats Funderud has kept soldiering on. Metal-Rules.Com talked to the bassist Mikael da Costa and the founding member Mats Funderud. Get Slammed.
Interview and live pics by Arto Lehtinen
Good day – how’s it going in the Kraanium camp !?
Mikael: Hey Arto! Thanks for doing this interview. We are currently working on new songs for one upcoming split cd, and we are going to record it now in early 2021.
GIGGING AND FESTIVALS
You have been gigging a lot and played at festivals like the big one, Brutal Assault; What gigs or festivals were the craziest ones during this year?
Mikael: 2019, we had a lot of good shows. We got to do a USA tour with Waking the Cadaver and Goregasm headlining and a summer tour with Animetorment that ended in Brutal Assault. That was a crazy experience. We played early on the day but still had a great crow and a good response. Also, the Finland shows were fun since we haven’t played in Finland for some time.
How was it like to play at Brutal Assault for the huge and crazy crowd rioting in the pit?
Mikael: It was awesome. Before that, we played OEF also in Czech and that was a crazy fest, BA we didn’t expect to have such an amazing response from the crowd.
What kind of places do you usually play ?!
Mikael: We play all kinds of places, from small venues to festivals, for us it does not matter. Personally, I like more small intimate shows but doing both gives a good experience always.
SLAMMIN DEATH ALBUMS
The latest album, titled Slamchosis, came out in 2018. Could you tell something about the songwriting process for the album? Do you, Mats, write everything on your own, do other guys bring ideas to the table as well ?!
Mats: This was the hardest album I have ever written to be honest. I just had lost my dear bro and vocalist for Kraanium , Martin. And we usually wrote all stuff together and had our own way of doing it. So I had to fund the strength and a new way to write music and got a whole lot of help from our other guitar player, Jason. It took us a long time to write it cos we wanted to do something that would have made my brother proud, and hopefully, we managed. May he rest in peace.
What is the biggest difference between Slamchosis and other albums? What kind of things did you pay attention to when creating and writing new riffs and songs for Slamchosis?
Mats: I Would say that this album is a lot rougher and a bit is more technically written than anything else we have done before. We decided to step away from the normal Kraanium and kind of try and find a new way but still being Kraanium and slam. Of course, after losing our singer, it was time to kind of find a new way also since it will never be the same when u lose a close friend and band member. This time I took a lot more inspiration from other bands than just writing from my own head and ideas.
Do you have any personal favorite songs from this new album and why ?!
Mikael: My favorite tracks on the album are ”Blob of Inhuman Metamorphic Transfusion”, ”Forced Rectal Exhumation” and of course the new version of ”Midget Fucker” is one of my fav songs to play live.
Mats: The title track is my absolute favorite track, and I can’t wait to start playing it live, since we did not do that yet.
As for the title “Slamchosis” – I assume it is kind of word of the game. Does it have any deeper meaning behind it?
Mats: Yep, just a concept that I came up with one day listening to slamming brutal death metal as I always do, haha. I came up with that name and wrote the “medical” term, which is described in the Slamchosis song and we built an album and cover art around it.
I can’t help asking that the “Chronicles of Perversion” album had an entirely different line-up as now. Was it easy to come up with the new material with new players in the band ?
Mats: Well, I think I already answered it in the other question earlier already. But we have always changed so many line ups in this band that it honestly did never complicated the songwriting since me and my bro always did that together.
How much new material do you have in the works currently? Have you created some new lethal riff by now ?!
Mikael: Yes, Mats and Jason have been working a lot during the quarantine on new songs and we are expecting to record them in January 2021.
Mats: Yep all material for the split is already done and waiting to be recorded. But I am already writing and playing around with 5 new songs on our full length that will be out on a new label in 2022. I can’t reveal more than that for now.
You have a deal with Comatose Rec, who has several other brutal bands on their roster. Have you been basically pleased with them ?!
Mats: I Think again I already answered this, hehe. We are no longer on Comatose music for the time being. The split we release in 2021 will be on a CDN Records from Canada. Yes, Steve has always stepped up and helped us out in a great way! The only thing he can not help out with that much is touring and management of that. That’s why we have sadly decided to leave Comatose music for now.
TORTURE GORE CANNIBALISM
The lyrics of Kraanium are about Gore, torture, cannibalism. Hmm, how did you get interested in those topics in the first place ?! Were you inspired by old school gore/splatter movies ?!
Mats: Yep, it all started with those VHS tapes with Faces of death, hahaha. And I always was fascinated as well a lot by the evil and twisted minds of serial killers and what drives them. I always loved the gore movie genre after getting introduced to Day of the dead when my bro and I were about 10 years old.
Do you ever draw ideas for the lyrics from real-life stories about brutal and sadistic murders and tortures ?! Or do you rather use your own sick imagination ?!
Mats: Hell yes, serial killers and murder documentaries are an unending source of inspiration.
Bands having gore related lyrics have faced problems with censorship. What about you and Kraanium? Have you had to hide covers for the market of some countries !?
Mats: Well, one of our older cds got banned in Germany, lol! But besides that, we have never had any real problems with it to be honest. And these days, we have to censor our covers on Spotify and other music platforms, but this is the new norm, it seems. People are so more easily defended these days, geez!
Do you view the extremity’s peak in the artwork has been reached or can it be topped yet !?
Mats: Good question…hmmm… I think it might always be possible to top gory themed artwork, but not in the thought of gore, but in case of symbolic or more extreme topics, yes indeed.
The current growler is one hell of a character and frontman for Kraanium. Did you know before recruiting to the band or was it just a pure audition to find him ?!
Mats: I knew him and his other band, Septic Congestion, for many years before asking. We were also talking quite a bit and even trading merch n stuff. Then, to find out that Marty was his biggest inspiration and a good friend, that kind of made me realize that he was perfect for the job. He was quite intimidated at first, though, cos it’s big shoes to fill. But he has been managing perfectly and I’m sure my dear bro would be proud.
Kraanium’s members live in different countries in Europe. How do you coordinate all the schedules, rehearsal etc.?!
Mikael: Usually, before we do a tour, we fly in a day or two before and do few rehearsals together, but if we do a weekend show, only then is up to each guy to practice at home before the show. We try to keep active with the shows, so we are tighter live, but most of the times go good just some technical difficulties more than anything.
What about the rest of the members for Kraanium ?! How did you find them and make you ask them to join the band ?!
Mats: All of them were friends from before, except our drummer Tobi, who I knew from his involvement in other bands such as Oral fistfuck and Female nose breaker. But I never knew him personally before he applied to do an audition for us. And as for Mika, we go way back before Kraanium even started, due to our involvement in beatdown and hardcore. As for Jason, he booked us for a couple of shows and I got to know him cos we played some gigs with his old band Necrosis.
I assume you haven’t found suitable guys fitting to the world of Kraanium in Norway !?
Mats: Indeed, my friend, not too much slam heads up here, lol. I mean our former Norwegian member was into slam as well, but their other bands were more what you could expect of Norway, black metal.
Members have and come in Kraanium during these several years. What has been the basic reason for why the line-up of Kraanium has been unstable ?! Have members found being a band with full dedication is one big sacrifice ?!
Mats: I think I can say to almost 95 percent of the cases that the dedication has made them quit or we forced them to leave. I and my bro started this band to tour the world and play as much live and travel as we possibly could. And for some people, that is apparently too much to handle or have not had the financial possibilities and wanted to make sacrifices for this type of living. Over the years, we have also developed a huge fanbase and popularity in the underground, which might be too hard to handle for some. But I love it!
How do you see your band as a part of the whole slammin death metal scene?
Mats: Well, I don’t like to answer these kinds of questions to sound too cocky or confident. But I will say that we get a huge amount of praise and always seems to be mentioned whenever people talk about this genre so 😉
Before concluding the interview, name five essential albums those having had a huge impact on you ?!
Mikael: For me, Devourment ”Molesting the decapitated” and bands like Disgorge, Mortal Decay, Deeds of Flesh, Dying Fetus were essential on my brutal death formation from the early 2000s.
Mats: Devourment “MTD,” Abominable Putridity “In the end of human existence”, Cephalotripsy “Uterovaginal insertion of extirpated anomalies”, Waking the cadaver”Perverse recollections of a necro mangler”, Digested flesh “The answer tocinfection”
I for one thank you for your time to do the interview. The last words are yours …
Mikael: Thanks for doing this interview and keep up the good work!
Mats: Ditto, keep it sick and support the underground!
The Official KRAANIUM sites