Hi Kenneth! We are great supporters of underground and I want to do an interview, in all right?
Sure, go right ahead.
As I as know, this is your first interview for an Hungarian fanzine, isn’t it?
Yes, as far as I know this is the first, but hopefully not the last Hungerian interview we do. I'm affraid I don't know much about your scene, but I'm dying to find out.
Let we start this chat from the very beginnings of the career of the band. Coercion was established in 1992. Which bands did you inspirated to create music? How was at that time the Swedish underground scene?
Coercion was formed by me, Rickard Thulin and Pelle Liljenberg back in 1992. We all had different musical backgrounds, but what brought us together was the will to make extreme music. We were listening to bands such as Dismember, Entombed, Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Autopsy etc. Besides listening to metal, we had quite different tastes in music. The underground scene was great at the time, but for less known bands it has always been hard to get a good crowd in Stockholm, because there are so many more well known bands around here.
At the early ‘90-s was death metal on the top of the underground. What was the reason of the popularity of death metal? Why did play so much Swedish bands death metal?
That's a good question, that I'm afraid I haven't got the answer to. Maybe the long cold winters has got something to do with it (haha).
The leader Swedish death acts were Dismember, Entombed, Grave, Unleashed. Do you agree with me? Which bands would you still mention, they have had an effect on the scene?
Yes I agree. The other bands I'd like to mention and can remember are Merciless, Desultory and last but not the least Edge of Sanity.
You have recorded two demos, “Headway” (1993) and “Human failure” (1994). What have we to know about these tapes? Why were you dissatisfied with “Headway”?
We weren't too happy with the sound on the first issue of "Headway". Therefore we decided to do a remix and re-record the vocals. We also excluded a song (Take the Pain) on the second release. "Headway" received a lot of great reviews, and the very first was 5 out of 5 in UK's Terrorrizer(!). Althought very close, it didn't get us a record deal. "Human Failure" was also received with alot of great reviews. But becase we got a contract very quickly, this demo wasn't printed in that many copies or spead as much as "Headway".
You have signed a four albums contract with Chaos Records, but it was invalidated. Why? I think, you were disappointed.
As we had started the recording of what was supposed to be our debut, we sacked our drummer. The recording was never completed. When we were about to go into the studio again we wanted to check with the label to make sure everything's all right. As it turned out, the guy that we had been in contact with had quit his job there. Unfortunatelly he was the only sane person at that place. So we and Chaos decided to go our own sepatate ways.
How did you get in touch with Perverted Taste? In your opinion, what are the differences respectively similarities between the underground labels and the bigger (for example Nuclear Blast, Earache, Century Media etc.) ones?
We were contacted by Perverted Taste after they has read about us in some German magazine. By that time we were looking for a label to release our self-financed "Forever Dead", that we had already recorded in Dan Swanö's Unisound. The main difference between the small-big labels must be the money for studio and advertising etc. The big labels can arrange longer tours with bigger bands and have more of the medias focus.
There are in the underground very much one man labels. In your opinion, it is worth to run alone a label? How can a one man label support a band, respectively the bands?
It seems to be really hard work to run a label. We are very pleased with what Animate has done for us this far. We have met with the guys and the are cool, and they seem to be driven by the same motive as us, namely to record and release albums that you would like to buy yourself.
Your first release was “Forever dead” (1996). Tell us please everything about the songs! I’m interesting in, how were the songs born, by whom were the songs and lyrics written, what are all about the songs etc.
Most of the music was written by me, at home, and then adjusted or rearranged in the rehearsal room. I find it much easier to make songs by myself than playing around in the rehearsal room. The lyrics were all written by me, and the topics are life, death, agony, violence, sadness etc. I don't think I could comment on them all, you'll just have to read them and get you own oppinion. And besides, I think they speak best for them selves.
What does it the title mean? Was it dedicated to the death metal scene?
"Forever Dead" - a state of not being, without end. The title sums up the some of the feeling of the album, and the lyrics deal alot with death. Perhaps it even makes you think about the unknown that follows after this life. Kind of poetic I guess.
The album was in the famous Unisound studio recorded. How was to work with Dan Swanö? Did he help you much? Are you satisfied with the sound of the album?
I'm glad that I have had the opportunity to work with Dan. He really is a musical mastermind, and a great guy as well! I would happily work with him again if I ever get the chance. I think the sound of the album really suits the songs.
Why did Unisound close their gates? In your opinion, were there differencies, similarities between Unisound and Sunlight? Both studios were very famous.
As I recall it, Dan shut his studio down to get more time for his many different bands, and for his family. He started working in a musicstore and recorded only his own stuff for a while. I'm not sure what he's doing studiovise right now, perhaps I should give him a call... I think the studios had their own sounds, but I can't put my finger on what the main difference was.
How was the tour with Impending Doom (R.I.P.), Purgatory and Cryptic Tales after the releasing of the album? Were the fans enthusiastic? Were you satisfied with the circumstances? What kind of experiences did you gain?
Our 2nd guitarist stod us up at the trainstation and didn't want to come along as we were leaving Sweden. Both me, Ola (bass) and many others on the bus got sick with the flu. So we had to cancel one show. Cryptic Tales only played a few shows and were then forced to leave the tour for different reasons. Besides all that it was a great experience, with alot of fine drunken memories to tell my kids (haha).
I think, in the middle of the ‘90-s have death metal from its popularity lost. What do you think about it? Most of the death metal bands have either splitted up or they have changed their style.
Yes. Death metal was not the hotest thing around back then. Black metal and more melodic versions of DM had become really popular. But we have never and will never follow any trend to reach popularity. We will stay true to no one but ourselves and continue making the kind of music that we like to listen to.
“Delete” was in 1999 released. Did you develope compared to the first record? How would you characterize your second one?
More blastbeats and maybe a bit more diverse than "FD".
It was released in Mieszko Talarczyk’s Soundlab studio. As I as know, he is the member of Nasum, isn’t he? Did you have good time with him? Is he from Poland?
Mieszko is a very cool guy, a member of Nasum, and he is probably of Polish origin but born in Sweden I guess. Mattias of Millencollin was also working in that studio at that time. Dan Swanö introduced us to Soudlab, since he had shut down his studio.
In 2000 you have taken part on a European tour with Resurrected and Fleshgirnd. Tell us please about this tour!
The tour was really intense. We played in Germany, Belgium, Holland and Czech Rep. We got along very well with the other guys. I hadn't heard Fleshgrind before the tour, but since then I consider them as one of my favorites. The shows went great and the biggest was at “Fuck the commerce 3”, where Nasum headlined that night.
In the same year you have wanted to write new material, but you haven’t done. In the biography I have read, due to lacking of songs and inspiration. What did it mean? Were you maybe tired because of the tour?
After "Delete" we started to complicate the songwriting. We felt like nothing we did was good enough, so it tired us out and the inspiration finally died. We had booked Sunlight for the recording of our third album. But as it was time to enter the studio, we didn't have enough material for an album. So we were forced to cancel it. Things were not looking too bright for Coercion after that. Rickard then left the band for a year to try his wings with some other band. Pelle and I kept on going, trying some new members but we didn't find the right ones at the time.
You have started in 2002 writing new songs and you have had a label change too. Why and when did you Perverted Taste leave? Were you dissatisfied with them?
It felt like Perverted Taste only showed interest in us when it was time for a new release. We still haven't received the royalties that we should have and we have no clue about how many copies our albums has been sold. The original contract was fullfilled after two releases. We were offered to release a third album which we declined.
How and when did you sign to Animate Records? A German label again ha-ha!
It's thanks to René in Purgatory that we got in contact with Animate. Andy, the head of the label is a friend of his and a member in Purgatory. "Lifework" was already recorded and we were looking around for labels when we got the offer to release it on Animate. A German label again - aber natürlich!
Are there differencies or similarities between Perverted Taste and Animate Records? Animate Records is a relatively new label, but Andy was a member of Xetal Records. Did you know this label?
At the present Animate is smaller than Perverted Taste, but I think they have great potencial to become much bigger. They seem to be working really hard to reach their goals. No I have never heard of Xetal records.
Now we are in 2004, “Lifework” EP was released. Tell us please everything about this stuff! Why didn’t you record a full-length album? When do you want to record a full-length album?
"Lifework" was initially ment to be a promo, and was recorded by ourselves. Since we were really pleased with how it turned out we couldn't see why not release it as a official mcd. It's our best release yet in my oppinion. Plan have been made to release a full-lenght album in the spring/summer of 2005, if all goes as planned. We are currently writing new stuff while checking out studio alternatives.
What kind of reactions did you get on “Lifework”? Did the fans like the material?
The reactions have been over my expectations. The fact that it not a "real" studio production has not been a burden. In fact most pepople, including me, seems to think that the raw and unpollished sound really fits the songs.
What would you say about the present death metal scene? Dismember, Suffocation, Vomitory have had new albums released, Insision will a new one release, and Obituary is back again too.
I think there are many good bands out there, both new and old. The "grind/metal" scene is really big right now. I think Purgatory's new release is totally awesome! and I'm NOT saying that because they are friends of mine! Suffocation's newest is also a killer.
As the matter of fact the Swedish death metal scene, it was and is always strong. What would you say about it? Such bands like Deranged, Insision, Immersed In Blood, Visceral Bleeding, Impious or the bigger, well-known ones –I think, I haven’t to mention them- are playing an important role in the underground scene.
Yes Sweden is still one of the leading countries in making good metal. Both well played and with some thought behind.
I have asked Erik from Vomitory, but I ask you too: as I as know, the Swedish government supports the metal scene, isn’t it?
What? Not that I know.
Kenneth, what would you say about your career? I think, you would have been more well-known, but your developement wasn’t unbroken because of the regular member changes. Do you agree with me?
Totally. We have been forced to rise from the ashes many times, and that has of course slowed us down. Nowadays our lives look somewhat different than when we started. With families and dayjobs etc there just aren't as much time to put into the band as there once was. But to make it big and become a huge success is not my no1 priority. I'm fist of all interested in making good music and expressing myself through my lyrics.
In my opinion, you have had so much members, that you could have established three or four other bands ha-ha! You and Rickard Thulin are here from the very beginnings, the other members were always on the move. Is the present line up permanent? It is hard to find the suitable members for doing death metal music?
I think the current line-up feels solid. But you never know... Dag (bass) is our newest member and he's been with us since 2002 I think. Pelle (drums) joined us in 1996 and is also playing in Grave, but his devotion to Coercion is unrelenting. Rickard (guitar) is also playing bass in Mynjun and Imperius on the side. Then there is me, I'll probably keep on doing this until death claims my frostbitten soul...
Kenneth, thank you for your answers, I hope, my questions weren’t boring. Some closing words at the end of the interview? Your future plans? What do you want to say for the Hungarian metal maniacs? Cheers:Leslie
Thanks for the excellent interview, and for showing interest in Coercion. I hope we'll get the chance to play in Hungaria someday. Stay tuned, and look out for our forthcoming releases. Pagan greetings from the north! // Kenneth
by David „Steel” Laci