Interview with Rogga Johansson
Interview by Demitri Levantis
With the release of their sophomore album, “Salting the Earth”, around the corner, we caught up with Sweden’s death metallers Grisly to find out what’s been going on in the band’s world and what they have planned for the future.
Hi, and thanks for joining us, let’s begin with “Salting the Earth,” what made you choose that title and why?
It’s one of the song titles, and I just thought it would be fitting the album, with an artwork that went along with it too. It’s a grim title that really describes too basically what humanity does to itself and earth these days.
Do the songs have an overarching theme or follow a set of shared narratives?
No, not really. In my other bands, some of them, I use concepts from time to time but this is more a collection of songs with different themes through them all. All the lyrics on this album were written by Peter Svensson from Assassin’s Blade, and he’s a great writer of lyrics.
What was it like recording your second album in comparison to the first?
The lineup had changed this time. The first album was written and recorded with basically just me and Henke on drums, during some rehearsals. This time I did most of it myself and then Nicke and Håkan added drums and solos. So it was a different way of working.
What made you choose artist Jose Vives for the album cover?
It was the choice of Dave from Xtreem Music, and I agreed too.
The band now has two new members, Håkan Stuvermark and Nicke Ohlsson, what have they brought to the band that you really value?
Nicke has a nice pace and urgency to his drumming, and Håkan does some really cool solo work on the guitars, it makes the songs stand out much more now.
Does Grisly follow any kind of ethos or shared perspective when it comes to writing the lyrics of the songs, are you expressing yourselves or just reflecting things?
As they are done by Peter I can’t really answer that, more than to say that Peter always does great lyrics and he always has interesting topics he uses.
How do you find being on Xtreem Music, is it a good record label for you and why?
I’ve known Dave for a long long time now haha. And have been on his label with several bands too, and he always does a killer work for the band so I am happy to have this album out there as well.
How does Grisly stand out from the other bands you’ve been involved with, what characterizes it as a unique act?
I think I actually tried a bit to make it sound a bit more Stockholm sounding than before in my other bands. I wanted the melodies and the higher tempos, and the dirty HM2 sound to the guitars as well.
Do you have a particular favourite track from the new album and why?
I like the opener a lot, I think it has all the stuff that a song needs in this style. High tempo, catchy melodies and still being heavy and dirty enough.
Is the area of Sweden you come from an influence on your music, and what has Grisly given Sweden’s DM scene through its music?
The area I come from is in the middle of Gothenburg and Stockholm, so from here there are not many bands actually, haha. Grisly doesn’t offer anything new really, but I try to offer something enjoyable that appeals to people who love this type of music.
Is your music a very personal expression, using personal experiences to influence the songs and music you write?
Yeah, would say that. I try not to copy stuff, and the stuff I write just comes out with really not too much thinking before writing it.
Has the Covid pandemic affected the band in any way, did you have things to cancel?
We didn’t have any things to cancel, but certainly, we couldn’t either book any new stuff. But for us, it’s not been too much of a difference compared to so many other bands.
What do you make of death metal in general today, is it going in an interesting direction or is the anything you’d like to happen to it?
I think it seems like there are so many new bands, many of them taking the music in different ways too, but I don’t listen to so much new stuff so I really don’t know much of it. But the scene is big and growing still, I’m very sure of that.
If you could play with any band you love – still going or long gone – who would it be and why?
Edge of Sanity would have been cool, especially since they didn’t play much live. it would have been very cool to been part of that when they eventually did it really.
Is there any particular country or festival you would really like to play when Grisly gets back on the road?
There are too many to mention I think, there are so many both big and small fests that are very cool. I just hope the smaller ones can survive now, if and when the gigs start happening again on a bigger scale.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician, does anything, in particular, give you a good kick?
Making music, haha. It’s a need really, something that just wants out I guess.
Finally, do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Check out the album if you like filthy yet melodic death metal!
Thank you so much for joining us, all the best to you for the future.