Greetings Johnny! How are you man? Everything is all right by you?
All fine thank you! Just in back from the studio. Did 7 songs on vocals so far and I’m extremely happy with the result so far.
Please, let we fly back to the past. You had begun your career in Nihilist. How old was you at the time? How did you get in touch with the metal music? Did you play in other bands before Nihilist?
No, Nihilist was my first band ever and I was 19 at the time or 18, don’t remember. Most of my friends were either punk/hardcore or metalfreaks so it was an easy choice to start playing death metal.
Who were the members of Nihilist and on what kind of instruments did they play?
Well, me + the Entombed guys of course.
How many demos did you record? Please, speak about the demos and about the songs! You have had serious successes in the underground, haven’t you?
Oh, yeah, that’s how it all started for us back in those days, Nihilist was really popular in the underground movement and traded demos and shirts with people all around the world. We played only in Sweden though since show were hard to set up in those days. I gues the world wasn’t quite ready for that kind of sound way back then.....
How often did you play shows? Do you remember with which bands did you play together? Please, speak about that underground scene!
We played with Dismember, Treblinka (Tiamat today) and a few others.
Why didn’t you record an album? Did you get offers from several labels? Why did Nihilist disbanded?
Well Nicke was the leader of Nihilist since he formed it and wanted to take another direktion with the band. I then formed Unleashed instead. We had 3 labels to choose from as I recall it.
At the end of the ‘80-s/early ‘90-s was death metal very popular. From Sweden have come a lot of talented death metal bands which have had a big affect on the underground scene. Please, comment in few words the following albums:
Left hand path (Entombed)
Like an everflowing stream (Dismember)
Dark recollections (Carnage)
Where no life dwells (? – I don’t know ha-ha!)
Into the grave (Grave)
…Of darkness (Therion)
Nothing but death remains (Edge Of Sanity)
The nocturnal silence (Necrophobic)
Ohh I don’t need to, these are all classics of course!!!!
The breakthrough of Entombed opened the way for the Swedish bands. Many bands tried to copy the sound of Entombed, they became popular. Do you agree with me? Why was popular the Sunlight studio?
Well, you tell me. I never went there with Unleashed cos we wanted a different sound.
I read in an old Unleashed interview, you didn’t like Tomas Skogsberg. Why?
I have no problem with the guy, I just prefered other studios for Unleashed that’s all.
In the middle of the ‘90-s have lost death metal their popularity, the scene has diluted. Why? Such bands, like Entombed, Edge of Sanity, Therion have left their death metal roots. Why did they change their style?
You have to ask them, I can only guess and that wouldn’t be fair.
You were always devoted to your fans, weren’t you? Your 4th album “Victory” should had been originally “Death metal victory”, shouldn’t it?
Well that’s one of the songs and yeah, the album could realy had that name for sure!
Did you split up after the releasing of “Warrior” or did you take a longer rest? Why did you stop temporarily? What did you do during your stopping?
We needed a break after 8 years of hard touring and recordings in order to get some new inspiration, and come back with some more energy. Also the entire scene was pretty low at the moment and it really was a good time for a break. We never did split up.
When did you decided to return? Your line up hasn’t changed, this is rare nowadays. You are playing with the same line up, which has recorded the first album.
Well we actually played with a new guitarplayer on Hell’s Unleashed but few saw this, the really look the same and also have the same name; Fredrik!!! Course we are all the same...it’s called dedication my friend!
What kind of reactions did you get to “Hell’s unleashed”? Are you satisfied with the album? I must admit, I wasn’t faint from it. It became for me a little bit modern, sounds modern.
Yes very! And you can’t please them all. We still love the record.
Your track “Death metal” was a cover version of “Black metal” from Venom. Are you big Venom fan? On the “Shadows in the deep” was at that time “Countess bathory”. Do you like playing covers?
Yes you’re right. Venom was one of the first bands to play real brutal music. I think they have many songs that lasts a lifetime.
Were you on tour after the releasing of “Hell’s unleashed”? Where and with which bands did you play? Why was Hungary left out?
I guess we play where people wants to see us but there is also a financial aspect to it. We can’t play for free and going around the globe costs money. Of course we’d love to play Hungary one day! We made festivals only after Hell’s unleashed was released. Lots of people can be reached that way and our fans realy supported us during those festivals.
You are entering now the studio. Where will you record the new album? What will be the title of the new record? With whom will you record the album?
We are in the studio right now. The record should be done recorded in end of February. It’ll be the most brutal one in the history of the band! I won’t give the title away just yet...sorry.
What could you say about the new tracks? How would you characterize the new album compared to “Hell’s unleashed”?
It’s gonna be much more intensive, about twice as fast as our previouse release. Also some more brutality in the vocalsection. The songs are tha same kind as always....Pure death metal hell!
Please, speak about your work-system! How is written an Unleashed song? Do you enter the studio if the songs are ready or do you jam in the studio?
When we enter the studio, all songs and lyrics are already written and done! Some solos and extra effects perhaps added but all material must be done before entering the studio.
How many times do you spend in the studio? How was your mood during the recordings?
Really good mood since things work out as we plan them to. We spend about 40 days int the studio...I think.
Please, speak about the lyrics both of the new Unleashed songs and about the old ones. What is it all about the lyrics? What about do you write?
About all kinds of things since life is so complex and full of surprises. I’d be bored to just do one kind of lyric, the importance is to put a death metal feeling to it, meaning some darkness and evil, sheer brutality and aggression.
On the Unleashed photos was an Thor hammer in your neck. Do you wear it nowadays too? What does it symbolize for you? What is the importance of it?
I always wear it! It’s the sign of my ancestral believes. It symbolizes power, strength and the fact that I’m a just guy. You don’t get no bullshit from a viking! Lots of other things to but these are the most important ones.
Do you read often about the viking mythology? Please, tell us about this theme! I’m interesting in history.
Oh, man let me tell ya’ that’s a couple of hours right there.... I’m happy to hear you have the interest. All nations and people have an interesting history to tell... I couldn’t possible write a book about it though so I think you would have to ask me specifically about something?
In your logo is an inverted cross. To what refer this? Is Unleashed an antichristian or an satanist band? In your opinion, is a difference between satanism and anti-christianity?
Is what you want it to be.....the inverted cross stands for independence....nobody rules over me but me. I am my own god and slave! Be it satanist or anti-christ....all fine to me....
Are you interested in occultism? What’s your opinion about the organized religions, sects and the bigoted christianity? Does religion infect the life of the people? Does it make stupid the people?
Sometimes, sometimes not. I hate religion that wants me to believe in sagas if I don’t prefer to myself. Religious behaviour for mans ego can be good. While as religion for a god is pathetic in my opinion.
How do you see the present and the future of death metal? Which death metal bands do you like? What do you think about the Swedish scene of nowadays? Do you follow the formation of the underground scene?
I really enjoy bands like Grave, Necrophobic, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and such. The scene never dies....it might change but it’ll never die. The Swedish scene is allright I guess. Unleashed is here to stay and that’s a fact!
Do you have some information about Grave?
You should talk to them......I talk with their bassplayer Fredrik just about every day....
Please, characterize the career of Unleashed from the first demo ‘til the newest record! Tell us please few words about your releases! Are you proud of the career of Unleashed?
Am I proud? I am so fucking proud of Unleashed and of our true die hard fans all over the world that it’s almost insane. We have a new song on the new album dedicated to this „metal family”......the immortals! Never surrender! Death metal victory!
What are your future plans? When will be released the new album? Will it be released by Century Media? How is your connection with label? Do they support your career?
We have a good relation with C.M. and they will release this new album. Probably early summer 2004. It’ll be done recorded end of February. Then we’ll do some festivals in this summer.....that’s the plans for now, check into our website for more......www.unleashed.nu
Johnny, thanx for this interview, I hope my questions weren’t boring. Please, close our virtual chat. Ha-ha! I wish you all the best! Before creation of time, …and the laughter has died!
Thank you for this cool interview Leslie! Take good care and cheers to all fans of Hungary!! Keep up the spirit! Johnny/Unleashed
by David Laci