You started as a punkband. Was it that typical Swedish punk like Millencolin, No Fun At All or Dia Psalma?
Jonas Carlsson:WE did not start as a punkband. Three of the original members (Johan, Johan and Johan) were previously members of a punkband (Powerpig). Carnal Grief has never been a punk band in any way, just wanted to iron that missunderstanding out. Powerpig aimed to play some kind of punk rock but I canít really compare it to any other punk music Iíve heard. Powerpig were some kind of unique in our own crappy way ;o). The other members have played in several local punk bands before joining Carnal Grief, but nothing too serious. Although itís very cool that you know of the band Dia Psalma, since theyíre a band playing punk-rock in Swedish (and we didnít know that they were known outside Scandinavia).
How comes you finally changed your style to melodic death metal? I'd say it is a quite unusual development from punk to extreme metal. What has happened from then to now?
Johan Olsen:Well, the only one in Powerpig who actually was into punk was me. However, Johan Lindgren and Johan Larsson were pretty much into death/heavy metal at that time and Johan Lindgren convinced me that we should play heavy/metal or something and I saw it like an opportunity to be a better bass guitar player. It didnít take long time until I was into metal as well, but, this was a long time ago.
Jonas Carlsson:The change from Punk to Death Metal therefore came instantly as we started the new band Carnal Grief. Letís just say that the one member of Powerpig who decided we should play Punk never was considered as becoming a member in Carnal Grief. Furthermore many members of metal bands in Sweden have played in punk bands prior to playing metal.
You went all the way to Asia to sign a contract. How did you get in contact with Soni? Did you have in mind that Amon Amarth also started on an Asian label?
Jonas Carlsson:To get ourselves a contract in Europe is not very easy, since the competition is very hard. And prior to signing to Trinity Records we had contact with other south-east-asian labels and got kind of good response there (with a contract failing at the last minute btw). So, we used the Internet to find some good labels and found Trinity Records and sent him a promo. Soni (the boss of Trinity records) really liked our stuff and is a very nice guy and we agreed on signing a deal almost right away. About Amon Amarth, well maybe in some small way we had it in the back of our heads, but we did not aim ourselves at south-east-asia only for that.
Have the album tracks been finished before signing the contract or did you write further tracks after sealing the deal?
The songs were written before sealing the deal. Furthermore they where also recorded like 2 years earlier. What happened is that a company showed huge interest in us 4 years ago. Then they realised they lacked the funding for a good studio in Sweden so we where about to get dropped until we came up with the idea that we would take care of the recordings ourselves.
Recording the songs took a while and the contact with the label faded away. So there we where, with a fully recorded album and no label. Well, there were a few labels along the way that showed interest, but the deals didnít sound appealing enough for us until Soni at Trinity Records HK showed his interest in us.
Tell us a bit about the album and describe the 11 songs in your words...
Sure, weíve separated the answers so that the person responsible for the lyrics will answer for each song.
The new era
: At the time I wrote the lyrics I had a girlfriend that wasnít of the most caring kind. So itís actually a love ballad in hi velocity. ;o)
: Itís about a guy in my class during school that always had to be... an asshole (as described in the lyrics).
: Well, this is kind of a fictional story of a guy going mad and ending up in a sanatorium. I donít really know from where I got the inspiration, but probably from a movie or something I saw.
:This lyric was written by a friend of mine and I would interpret the lyric as to be about atheism, donít let religion fool you. But itís open for interpretation, as are all our lyrics.
Just another RPG
: One of my philosophical lyrics. Itís really not that deep but deals with the concept of people having different roles depending on where they are and who theyíre with.
Entangled in chaos
:The lyrics for this song were written by the time of the composing the songs for our second demo, back in 1998 and was written in some state of anxiety I guess. Itís about expressing some kind of angst towards your whole life. The idea was probably good when I wrote it, but itís not that very great lyric-wise.
Poem of the impossible
: As I love to write about people who pisses me off, this lyric are no exception. This time itís about people who think they have solutions to everything... even things that works fine and hence doesnít need to be fixed.
Theatre of the flesh
:Oh, politically correct Jonas. Itís about motherfucking racists and their effort to separate some people from other, a topic I feel strongly about.
Rapid eye fiction
: The oldest song on the album. The lyrics are really thin in this song. Itís just about dreaming and daydreaming. There is really no point to the lyrics in this song.
:I got to explain the lyrics for this song, donít know why, since I didnít write it and I donít know the girl who did. Iíd say itís a vampire-romantic lyric I guess. The original lyric was shortened to this to fit the song, so the full message of the lyric might be lost somewhere.
:Ah, a tribute to our hometown and to boredom! Itís about a REALLY boring place from where we all are from (Arboga), a small, boring town. It seems to fit three persons in the band still though. It was written at the peak of my boredom of that town, just before moving to my new hometown.
The reactions to "Out of crippled seeds" are pretty good..So let's talk about the distribution: Where can I order the CD? As far as I know you've no distributor for the strong German market so far. What about the release in Sweden?
Jonas Carlsson:At the moment we do not have any official distribution in Germany, but Soni is working on it and hopefully itíll be a big distributor so that we can satisfy the German metal-market. The record can be ordered from some Internet-shops delivering within the EU such as CDON.com or GMRMusic.se (see our homepage).
From my point of view the strong emphasis on the extremely melodic (almost Power Metal like) leads is the trademark of Carnal Grief thus adding self-reliant touch to your music. How would you classify your music: More Death Metal or more Melodic Metal? Do you still feel influences of the punk-past in the music nowadays?
Johan Lindgren:Hard to say, I would say more Heavy Metal, but ignoring the Death and Melodic influences would just be plain stupid (was going to say "ignorant" but that could be interpreted as even more stupid ha-ha). As for punk-wise I have no clue how the ones that reviewed our album could hear any punk influences at all, but metal has some similarities with punk. I only played drums in that punk band; I never really listened to punk. As for the other guitarist who was in both bands, he was more eager to play Black Metal.
Jonas Carlsson:From my point of view itís always a bands goal to find a niche of their own and not to sound like everyone else. But itíd be as Johan stated, stupid, not to see that there are places that our music sounds a bit like other bands. In the beginning I guess we sounded more old school deathmetal and has from that developed to the metal we now play, which Iíd categorize (if I have to) like heavy-metal with a death-metal influence. Categorization of music in my opinion is good in one way, to describe music. Itís easier to say that a band plays Gothenburg-style death metal rather than trying to describe the style.
Johan Olsen:Yes, I believe we have some Gothenburg and Carcass influences. But when people hear our melodic parts in Carnal Grief they in my opinion takes it as classic Gothenburg sound and to that I donít agree. More rather we take melodic influences from heavy metal and classic music. Thereís one more thing that I think should be straightened out, we donít really want to be placed in some ďmetal categoryď. We make a song that sound great for the moment and if people think we sound Gothenburg death metal. Well... then we might and thatís not the point. The point is that we only make songs that we think sound great and if it sounds Punk, Gothenburg deathmetal, black metal or whatever, wellÖ then it does. But it feels great to be compared with great bands such as Carcass since they were a great metal band.
In unison many magazines described your influences from Carcass to Gothenburg's Death Metal bands. What bands are your personal favourites?
Jonas Carlsson:Carcass is right on target when it comes to being an influence in our music.
Johan Lindgren: I would also like to mention At The Gates and Purusam as well. But bands like In Flames, Children of Bodom are not as accurate.
Jonas Carlsson:As Iím the main composer (writing about 75% of the music) I would like to say that though neither In Flames nor Children of Bodom in no way play crappy music. I havenít fallen for their stuff and I have made no attempt in making Carnal Grief sound anything like them. The similarities in our music are totally coincidental since I still to this day havenít heard that much of their work. Could it be that they also are influenced by bands such as Carcass, At the Gates and Purusam.
Talking about other bands: Did you hear the music of your label mates Deathguy and Sword of Darkness"? If so, what do you think about them?
Jonas Carlsson:Yes I have at least, and I must say that I was positively surprised. Both bands are very competent black/death-metal bands that deserve a lot more recognition in Europe than they have gotten yet (theyíre also available from the links posted above).
What are your future plans: Promoting the album on tour, writing new songs for the second album or anything else?
Jonas Carlsson:At the moment, finding somewhere to rehearse. Weíve been out of a place to rehearse for some time now and we need to get that fixed to be able to rehearse for upcoming gigs. Otherwise itís at the moment mostly promoting the album and trying to figure out stuff for the next album, to follow up our debut.
Johan Olsen:If you ask me I am looking forward to write new songs. Some of the songs on the album were written as far back as -98.
Thank you for answering the questions. I wish you all the best and hope we can meet soon on a concert. You may say the last words..
:Well, letís hope that the distribution in Germany is fixed in the near future so that you Germans can get hold of our music and drag us down for a BIG European tour and some of your legendary metal-festivals!