Greetings Joakim! How are you nowadays? It’s a great honour for me to do an interview with one my favourite death metal bands. This is the first Necrophobic interview for an Hungarian zine, isn’t it?
Joakim: As far as I remember, I think it’s the first time. I cannot remember every interview that I’ve done, you know...
Do you know maybe other Hungarian fanzines? Or do you know Hungarian black metal or death metal bands? Are you in connection with Hungarian fans or people?
Joakim: Like I just said, I cannot remember everything, but of course, we have hungarian fans. We’ve never played in your country before, but I hope we will.
At the moment, my mind is blank regarding what bands from Hungury I’m familiar with, but I’m sure you’ve got a great scene in your country.
Let we speak about Necrophobic. As the band was established in the Swedish underground were such great bands, like Nihilist, Merciless, Grave, Treblinka, Carnage etc. In the underground tried everybody to copy Carcass, Napalm Death, Entombed, but you have chosen another way.
Your influences were Slayer, Morbid Angel and Bathory. That means for me, you didn’t want to join the queue, you tried to be original. Do you agree with me?
Joakim: We were not trying to be original in the way to really stand out among the others. We just wasn’t die-hard fans to the more gory english type of scene, like Carcass and Napalm Death. We were more into the dark and evil stuff and based our ideas around those kind of themes.
Of course, we were also fans of Carcass and that sort of music, because evrything was so new and interesting back in those days, but when talking music that really touch us inside, bands like Slayer, Bathory, Morbid Angel etc made bigger impact.
In my opinion is Necrophobic a death/black band. How would you charakterize your music?
Joakim: We call our music just death metal, but I understand the people that think we are a cross between death and black. Different people have different ays to make their categorisation. In my opinion, King Diamond for instance, is heavy metal, but King Diamond can be black metal to another boy/girl.
Necrophobic was established in 1989 by you and by the guitarist David Parland. Was it hard to find the suitable members? How many years old were you at that time?
Joakim: We were around 18 years when we formed the band. Me and David were in the same class since the 4th grade and during our last years in school, we became friends and started to talk about forming a band together.
At first, we had another schoolmate as our bassplayer/vocalist, but he quit the band just after the first demo. Me and David continued with session members for a few years until we finally got permanent members a few months before our first album was recorded.
How were the early Necrophobic rehearsals? How many rehearses did you have a week? Do you have some funny story about the past?
Joakim: Back in those days, we rehearsed 3 times a week. Me and David did a lot of rehearsals with just me and him, as we didn’t had come up with the idea to have session members.
It was quite hard to rehearse in that way, but both of us really love this music, so there were no other way to do it. Imagine just a guitar and drums...the sound is not your dream sound, ey?
You have drawn the attention to you with two demos and an EP. In what kind of reception did the stuffs participate? Were you surprised because of the reactions of the fans? Is the EP still available?
Joakim: Well, of course we got surprised to see how many copies our demos sold. We couldn’t belive it was true, but I guess we stood out with our type of music at that time.
Nothing of those are available today, but there is bootlegs circulating with those old recordings. I’m trying to get my hands on those albums myself.
Your first record „The nocturnal silence” was released in 1993. In your opinion, wasn’t the record released too late? I think so, at that time death metal wasn’t so much popular as two-three years before.
Joakim: Yes, it would have been better to have it out at least one year earlier, but having trouble finding members and also our way of writing music was a bit slow, so there is nothing to do about it. However, the album made large impact as it was released, so...
The album became the 9th position on the Rock Hard chart. Do you remember about it? Did it play an important role for you? Did you attach an importance to this?
Joakim: Our label called us up and explained how successful that was. OK, we were quite wellknown in the underground, but getting such a position for a debut was extremely rare. Of course, we felt proud, also surprised, but it is nothing that we thought about too much.
Doubtless, „The nocturnal silence” is a death metal classic. I think, you are/were more technical than Grave, Dismember, Merciless or Unleashed. The album became brillant. Do you agree with me?
Joakim: I like all our albums and can not pick a fave, but there is always something special with the first album. It’s a big step forward in your career, it’s for real and it was certainly a dream come true. I think every musician feel that way when the first album is released.
Why did leave the band Anders Strokirk a few months later after the releasing of the album? His voice was very brutal and deep, wasn’t it?
Joakim: Anders has another band (Blackshine) and he and his bandmates thought it was better for him to leave before things maybe became trouble, as far as tours and stuff like that.
Yes, his voice is killer for that album. Anyway, Tobias (bass) was the singer in a band before joining Necrophobic, so it was not a trouble finding a replacement for the vocal part.
Your second album came out four years later. Why did pass so long time? Did you have personal troubles? Weren’t you afraid of, that the fans will forget you?
Joakim: At that time, David had also formed Dark Funeral and started to focus more and more on that band. We are also very critical towards our music and will not, back the and now, put anything on an album that we’re not standing behind to 100%.
In that way, we put out albums more seldom than other acts, but when a Necrophobic album is out, it contains only top music, all killer songs and no music there just to fill time, if you know what I mean.
Of course, we worried a bit about being forgotten, as we had have such a success with our debut and I guess we lost some ground with releasing next item after such a long time. There were more reasons, but I don’t remember any of it now.
Between the albums came out „Spawned by the evil” EP. It was a foretaste for the new album, wasn’t it? Did you put the songs of the EP on the second record?
Joakim: „Spawned by Evil” came out in early 1996 and it was released as a foretaste of the „Darkside” album, but also a way to promote that we were still around. The song „Spawned by Evil” also appeared on the „Darkside” album, but a new recording of it. The remaing songs on that 4 track release („Spawned by Evil”) were 3 covers on Slayer, Bathory and Venom.
In 1996 leave the founder member David Parland the band. Why did he throw in the towel? ’Til when did you continue the band as a 3-piece one?
Joakim: David left to fully concentrate on Dark Funeral. He got tired of death metal and joined the black metal train.
We continued as a 3-piece and also did a show as a 3-piece, but a few months later, we met Sebastian, an old friend of mine and Tobias, who had been away from the scene for a few years and was really hungry to start playing death metal again.
I think, with „Darkside” you have put the standard higher. This record became more brutal, heavier and faster, the atmosphere of the album is evil. What do you think about it?
Joakim: I couldn’t agree with you better. There is only one thing I don’t like with that album and that is the sound. It’s a bit weak in my opinion, but hell yes, it reeks darkness and evil. It’s a satanic soundtrack!
For the next release we had to wait only 2 years. Was everything in all right within the band?
Joakim: Yes, the band was stable and music just came like running water. We changed our way of writing music a bit and up to date, it’s how we write music today, almost.
All the troubles with members were gone. We also had a permanent place to rehearse in. All small things fell into place. However, the album could have come out almost one year earlier. This time, we had trouble getting a studio time that was pleasent to our schedule at that time.
But that was not all. When the album was recorded, our label at that time, Black Mark Production, had some business changes to deal with, so stuff like that made delays to the release of „The Third Antichrist”.
„The third antichrist” became faultless too, your style didn’t change, do it?
Joakim: Not so much, like always. We are like the death metal version of Iron Maiden. The music is likewise from release to release, but never uninteresting. Just fresh and killer. Not boring as AC/DC, if you know what I mean.
The first three Necrophobic record was published by Black Mark Production. Please tell us about this period. I haven’t heard any good about the label. Did they altogether support the band?
Joakim: Well, I don’t want to talk shit about somebody that we’ve worked with, but they was not the right label for a band like Necrophobic. They have Bathory that makes their label go round, a band that just release albums that everybody buys and they don’t cost anything, except for promotional work and recordings.
A band like Necrophobic needs more money from the label to tour. Black Mark was not a label that pays money if it wasn’t necessary, like paying the studio, pressing albums and promote it. I have no complains regarding the later, but they did not support Necrophobic, never, when it came to tours.
Therefor, when we got contacted by Hammerheart Records (Karmageddon Media today), we talked to them about what we wanted from a label and they could fulfill that, we ended our business with Black Mark Production and signed with Hammerheart Records.
In 2000 you have had another member change, Martin Halfdan left the band. Why? What was his problem? What kind of music did he want to play?
Joakim: He wanted to play more strange kind of metal, still very dark, evil and brutal. The thing was that he didn’t feel like his material was so represented in Necrophobic and wanted to move on of his own.
I think so, 2000 was a lucky year for you. You have started to play more abroad, you played gigs, you have toured and you got in touch with Guido Heijnens. How would you sum up this period?
Joakim: Total progression in every way...
In 2001 you signed Hammerheart Record. I think, it was an important step in the life of the band. Was it hard to get rid off Black Mark? As I as know, you have had some troubles with them.
Joakim: No, we only have had this money-support problem with Black Mark when it came to touring and that is a big thing for us, so it was never going to work out more with Black Mark.
We met Guido here in Stockholm when he was meeting with a few bands and I got a great impression of him for the first second. Labels always want to get money, but on top of this, Guido is also very human in every way. You can actually talk to him and he is listening.
It may seem strange to read it like this, but those involved in the music business knows what I’m talking about.
Don’t you think, that the problems with your label and the memberchanges kept you from the work, hindered your career?
Joakim: In a way, yes. But I don’t regret anything. Black Mark was the best label for us to start with and all the members that has been in Necrophobic has made the band developed into what it is today, in some way or the other.
The fruit of the cooperation was the excellent „Bloodhymns” album. I acknowledge, I have got acuainted Necrophobic with this album. My favourite album from you.
I have tell you, you haven’t forgotten to write cool songs. Ha-ha! How would you charakterize the developement of Necrophobic from the first demo ’til „Bloodhymns”?
Joakim: Characterize? Difficult one. I’d say we started as soldiers with visions, but didn’t really know how to handle the mission. Now, we are armed soldiers riding in a tank and destroys everything in site!
Are you satisfied with Hammerheart (now Karmageddon Media)? Do they help a lot you? What do you think about their promotion? Don’t you know, why did change the label their name?
Joakim: We are very satisfied with our label so far. We’ve worked with them for 3 years now and they do pretty much what we want them to do. They changed their name because they wanted a new start. It’s a business thing that does not affect any of the bands.
You have released an live EP. I think, this stuff is rather an album and not EP, because ten songs can be listened to on the EP. Where did you record the stuff? With which band or bands were you on tour?
Joakim: It’s not a live ep, it’s a collection of songs from our previous albums and also most of our recorded cover songs. It’s called an ep only because we could sell it a lot cheaper and we released that „sampler” while we did our last european tour. One can say it’s a collectors item. Our support acts on that tour were Impious and Satariel, both swedish bands.
On the EP are four coversongs. Whose idea was to put these songs on the EP? Why these songs did you choose? Are you satisfied with sound of the EP?
Joakim: It was our labels idea and it contains songs from our re-mastered first 3 albums and also from „Bloodhymns”. The cover songs are covers of Slayer, Bathory, Venom and Autopsy.
Let us speak a little bit about your image. Is Necrophobic an Anti-Christian or a satanistic band? Or are you occult? In your opinion, what is the difference between satanism and Anti-Christianity? Are these notions equal?
Joakim: All of the mentioned things can be interpreted differently from person to person. I’d say that anti-christian is the same as satanic. It’s just two different words describing the same thing. Occultism is more magical, so I’d say we’re all of that, as we also have a lot of magical ingreedients in our lyrics.
What’s your opinion about the organized religions? There is in Sweden the congregation of faith? Do you know what about I think? This is an organization, they don’t go in the church, they hate the Catholics, they are very violent and aggressive, but they call themself Christian.
Joakim: I hate everything about religion. However, I’m not really sure about what you mean with that organization you’re describing...
In your opinion, did Jesus live? How was the world created?
Joakim: Jesus lived. He died for me, but I will not die for him. The world was created through chaos.
To what refer your demo and album titles? What does it mean for example „The third antichrist”?
Joakim: The third antichrist is...our third album. It came out right before 2000...what did the christians say about 2000?
What’s your opinion about bands, like Deicide, Acheron, Necromantia, Immolation or old Exhorder, they are also satanistic or Anti-Christian? Do you agree with their lyrics? What does it mean for you to be satanistic or Anti-Christian?
Joakim: Like I said before, those are just words describing the same thing, at least in my opinion. I haven’t read all of their lyrics, but I’m sure they’re all good in one way or the other. To me, being antichristian or satanic, is critisizing and/or fighting against religion.
To make a stand that I am myself and I don’t have to live by the words of the Bible. I am strong and thinks for myself. There is nothing I can’t do, that’s forbidden for me, without breaking the law, but I’m not a fucking teen that search for my identity. Comitting crimes has nothing to do with that.
Could you imagine in the future that your child pray? Do you believe in the force of prayers?
Joakim: My children are free to be whatever they want to be. I will let them make their own decisions like I have been free to make mine. I will not influence them in a way that lead them into something they haven’t decided themselves, if you know what I mean.
Tell us please about your future plans! When do you come to play gigs in Hungary? When will be released the next Necrophobic album?
Joakim: We will start working on our new album in just a few weeks. There is a lot of new material written and we will start with presenting all the stuff to each other and build it from there.
Hopefully, the new album is out in the spring next year. Next summer would be perfect to play a lot of festivals and a tour in the autumn 2005. I hope we’ll come to Hungary.
Joakim, I hope, you didn’t get bored from my questions. I’m very happy that I did the interview with you. I wish you luck and all the best. Necrophobic rules!!!
by David Laci