Recently we reviewed the new release by Swedish rockers Corroded, so when the opportunity came up to ask them some questions via email we jumped at the chance.
Questions by Paul, Answers from Tomas Andersson (Lead Guitar)
MoM: Thanks for fielding the questions by email. Many congratulations on Defcon Zero which I think is a very solid release. It’s your fourth album so let’s start by asking you how you feel it stands in terms of the progression of the band?
Tomas: Thanks! As you said, we also think it´s a very solid album. It kind of sums up all of our albums and still takes our music a step forward. One thing that has enabled Corroded to keep growing is maybe the line-up changes over the years. With every new addition to the band the chemistry and feel of the band has changed a bit. I, as the new guy, can only give an objective view on the history of the band and when it comes to the present time and recording of this album the only thing I can say is that we wanted it to be honest. Corroded has always been an honest band when it comes to the music. We do what we want to do musically and it´s been that way since day one, even long before I got in the band.
MoM: How did you find the writing and recording process for Defcon Zero in comparison to previous recordings?
Tomas: The first three albums had similar proceedings. The band worked together with producer Patrik Frisk and came to the studio with some ideas and took it from there. This time around we had come to a sort of crossroads with the label/producer so it just happened to be that we did most of the album ourselves. Except for a couple of songs we worked all alone in the studio and even did the mixing and mastering ourselves. This is probably one reason to how the album sounds. It is our vision from start to end. We could probably have done some things better now that we think about it, but still the album is exactly like we wanted it to be. We did it like we did before everything started to sound the same. We recorded most of material live and we haven´t tried to manipulate everything into perfection. On the other hand, perfection to us is when it sounds perfect, not IS perfect.
MoM: There is a track on the album called Fall Of A Nation. It seems very apt given the political unrest across Europe and of course recent events in your own country. Tell us about this song, what prompted it and what it’s actually about?
Tomas: The song itself got into the process pretty late. We missed a song that was fast and thrashy so we started playing around with some riffs and we just loved it from the beginning. I remember the process was really fun since we haven´t done anything like it before and Per got to play some old school double-bass drum. I know Per is really into the old drum heroes like Bonham and such and doesn't fancy the new way so much. Even if he admires and respects the awesome musicians of modern music I know he likes groove over technique. It was fun to watch him grow into the more modern style of playing on this record though. Lyrically Jens write most of the lyrics when the song is already recorded, as did he with Fall Of A Nation. The song was written 4 years ago so things weren't really as fucked up as today, but still we all could see where we were heading. The title says it all, that´s what the song´s about.
MoM: There is a difficult line to tread when making social and political commentary in music. Many bands in the metal genre steer well away, hence the dungeons and dragons fantasy lyrics of power metal in particular and of course the anti-religious themes of many of your countrymen and neighbours in the black metal fold. How do you approach your themes for song writing?
Tomas: I know that the previous producer didn't want the band to take any political stand points and maybe scare some people off and also Jens had many dark feelings he wanted to write about so therefore we haven't been so political before. It´s a two-way street I think. On the one hand we're in the entertainment business and on the other hand we have the best chance to make difference. All I can say is that there's nothing holding us back from making political statements and when it comes to religion none of us are active members of any religious community. Personally, I believe in the cosmos and surrounding energies, both good and bad.
MoM: I’ve listened to Defcon Zero several times and there are a huge number of influences in the mix. You have a crunchy sound similar to American bands like Godsmack, Soil, Shinedown and Alter Bridge but with a heavier edge, for example on Burn It Down and Rust And Nail. I’ve noted bits of Machine Head and even Baroness in certain tracks. Who are the major influences for the band?
Tomas: We all listen to both the old goldies and the modern bands like Lamb Of God, Slipknot, Meshuggah and so on. I think you summed it all up pretty good. We don´t ever try to mimic anyone. We are very proud of our sound and we know that if we just do what we want to do it´ll sound awesome and people will make cool babies listening to our music.
MoM: It’s only been out a couple of weeks. How has the initial response been to Defcon Zero ?
Tomas: It´s been over the top! We are so happy that people love the album as much as we do. Most recordings I've done in the past I was already fed up with before release but this one has been ready for three years and I still love it so that´s a good thing. I know that the album will keep on growing on the listeners for years to come. A wonderful feeling. I think it will open a lot of doors for us in the business and maybe close some as well. But we don´t care, we move forward, not backwards!
MoM: Back in 2009 your song Time And Again received a lot of exposure – how did that help and/or hinder the band?
Tomas: It helped the band to reach a broad audience by being used as the theme for Swedish version of the TV-show “Survivor”. I don´t know if you have that show in Wales, but it was huge here in Sweden for a long time. Bandit Rock, a national rock radio station played the song about six times a day during long time so that was awesome as well, but as stupid as it sounds it made some of the metal community yell sell-out. We didn't care though, they were just pissed it wasn't their song playing around the clock on the radio hahaha!
MoM; Moving to the metal scene in Sweden for a minute, we get to review huge numbers of Swedish bands which range from the crazy 70s psychedelic rock all the way through to crushingly heavy black and death metal. It would appear to the outsider that Sweden’s metal scene is very healthy. How would you describe it?
Tomas: I would have to agree. It IS very healthy, but the music scene as a whole is not. It´s getting harder to get good gigs and decent pay since all these great bands are playing for almost nothing and the venue owners are really using that to drop the prices even more. Internet is a blessing and curse in that way. Today you have the entire world of music in the palm of your hand at any given point. That wasn't the case 20 years ago. I loved going to see rock shows even if I hadn't heard the band. Today you need to sell platinum to be sure to fill a decent size venue. IT SUCKS!
MoM: I have some friends who love Eurovision; in fact they are obsessive about it and each year its huge business to get to the Meldodifestivalen. I saw Eclipse recently and Eric Martensson talked about their entry last year where they came in at a reasonable position with Runaways. How integral to the Swedish music scene and culture is the whole Melodifestivalen? Can you as a metal band relate to it?
Tomas: Hahaha oh my god! I can tell you this: For the public it´s a huge event. People sit in front of the telly every Saturday to watch the “semi finals” and in the end the big final and there's nothing else being discussed on media except Melodifestivalen and the competing artists. BUT - If you are a rock/metal fan it´s the worst case of profanity against the whole scene! We have seen mighty bands get ice cold after being on there. It´s funny to hear how popular it seems to be outside Sweden, but for a metalhead inside these borders it´s a big no-no.
MoM: Obviously I have to ask if there are any plans to enter?
Tomas: We will enter when hell freezes over and the only way to get a blanket is to enter that competition. Hahaha (Still a chance then - Ed)
MoM: I can’t find any reference to Corroded having gigged in the UK so far. Is that right?
Tomas: Corroded did a tour there back in 2008 I think. It might have been 2007 as well, I wasn't in the band at that point so I´m not really sure. They played a handful of shows in England and as far as the legend goes it was a total success. Like with everything we do. Hehe
MoM: It must be a nightmare trying to arrange tours and the UK has the added difficulty of being an island hence flights or ferries. Do you have plans to tour the album and if so, do they include any dates in the UK?
Tomas: There are worse things than planes and ferries, believe me! When we toured Europe with Airbourne and The Black Spiders (god have mercy on their souls, may them rest in peace) we were denied to go through the tunnel from… I don´t recollect from what country, but the destination was Italy. So we had to go over the alps in the middle of the night. Our bus driver tried to navigate best he could and at one point he came to a dead-end. He had to back the bus for several kilometers because the road wasn't broad enough to turn the bus around. I've never been so glad to be asleep my whole life. According to what he said it was a nightmare with mountain on one side and a huge death drop on the other. We will definitively tour with this album and we have a couple of support slots we hope to get. Otherwise we will have to make it over to you guys on our own, it´s been far too long since we toured the UK.
MoM: Hopefully we we can get to see you guys live over here some time. You received rave reviews for your support slot with Airborne. How was that for you?
Tomas: We had a wonderful time, best tour so far. We learned a lot from touring with those guys. They are really professional and great guys as well. It was fun to be on the road, longest tour we've done and we hope to get back there. Hopefully with Airbourne once again! It would be a blast! We met so many cool people and we got to meet fans we normally don´t play for so that's something we really miss. We got a whole bunch of new fans as well and we can´t wait to get back on the road to see them all again!
MoM: Airborne are a band I’d always put on if I was going for a run or if I needed something energetic to listen to. I don’t know if you are keen on exercise but if so, apart from the new album (which is a great workout album) what would you recommend as ideal for high intensity listening?
Tomas: For me it would be Slipknot, no questions asked. They have the best music to get your heart pumping and adrenaline flowing. Great band all together. There´s another band we´d love to tour with by the way!
MoM: Finally as we are Welsh we have an obsession with sheep so what is your favourite sheep
from the 2 Sheets we've attached?
Tomas: Hahaha! Sure thing! I´d have to go with Jacob. They have the same markings as a cow and who doesn't love cows? I mean, we love both sheep and cow so Jacob´s the sheep for Corroded, hands down!
MoM: Many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions and best of luck with the album.
Tomas: Thank you sire, it was a pleasure. Delightful questions indeed! See you on the road! Baaaaaaaaaa!