First tell us about your new release 'Deathraider' . What are some
differences between this and your previous 'Postmortem Tales'?
I guess it's easier to get a grip on the new MCD. "Postmortem Tales" is really dark and has tougher sound picture then "DEATHRAIDER". But the main difference is probably that we've recorded a couple of tracks that we'll never play live, songs which are named as bonus tracks on the album. One is called "Iron Corpse" and is a primitive old school pure gut-ripping death metal song. "Whiskey Driver is a track that only will be released on the limited LP-version, and is a live rock 'n 'roll song with more "normal" vocals. And then there's a cover song too - "Stand for the Fire Demon" by Roky Erickson and the Aliens. A band which I been a fan of since I was a kid, so it was really nice to record something to tribute Roky. The difference is that "DEATHRAIDER" offers more musical styles than "Postmortem Tales".
Your style and imagery have certainly changed a lot since the beginning. Could you explain the motivation behind these changes?
We've just done what we felt like. It's really as simple as that. A thing that you last but not least notice on the new MCD. The motivation has always been the challenge of it all; taking on new inspirations and making something different from what we've done before. The next album, which is going to be recorded Jan/Feb 1999 is going to be much rougher, yet a bit different from "Postmortem Tales". But we've only made three new songs for that album, so basically only time will tell what it will sound like, but it's for sure going to be a ride on burning highways!!
To someone who had never heard Swordmaster, how would you describe the music?
As the Devil's fist in your face! Death metal to the max with influences from thrash as well as heavy metal.
A lot of bands that debuted wearing 'corpse paint' have stripped it off forever, including Swordmaster. This is motivated by various reasons, one being that it seemed to become a trend. What was your reason? What is your opinion now on corpse paint?
Corpse paint is cool! But we had our differences already in the beginning if we were going to use it or not, but we stripped it off pretty soon after our first recording. But you can find us in "corpse paint" on the "Postmortem-album" as well, and I can't promise that there won't be something like that in the future. The thing is that that is not something we make a big deal of - we can use it, but it's nothing that makes a big difference to us. Basically we don't use corpse paint, but if we unlikely would feel like it sometime - we'd use it.
Tell us about some of the lyrics of your new release and what some of the topics you deal with are.
The track "Death Rider 2000" is a song that I wrote about my fucking nightmares and how I would like to control 'em to use in the physical world. The two other original Swordmaster-tracks - "Firefall of the Fireball" and "Necronaut Psychout" - are about the pathetic devotion to the word "soul". While "Firefall..." talks about the strength of flesh "Necronaut Psychout" is using the same rules as the belief in a soul, but talks about the weakness of that mind and are using those weak spots to attack it and wipe it from the face of the earth.
How has your touring situation been? Could you tell us about some of the places you've toured and with whom? What are your plans to tour in the future?
We've only been on one tour so far, "The World Domination Tour", with "Dark Tranquillity", "Enslaved", "Bewitched", "Dellamorte" and "Demoniac". We went almost all over Europe and it was fucking great! Hopefully we'll go on tour again in '99 with the release of the next full-length album. It was some economic problems with the tour though, which affected Osmose's future tour plans. But we'll return next year, I promise.
What sort of good and bad experiences have you had on your tours?
The bad experiences is always when you don't get what you are supposed to get at the time when you're supposed to get it, but things usually turn up after a while. Good experiences is all the cool fans which bang their heads and raise their fists in the name of metal! The people that come to the shows are always the best so we give 110% every night, just for the fun of it.
How is the metal scene in Sweden these days? Are you well received there by the metal scene? How about worldwide?
Yes, with the "DEATHRAIDER" album things have really started to move. We've had a lot of extreme good response and that makes us feel totally motivated to make a bonecrushing super-action full-length album.
What can we expect for the future releases of Swordmaster? Any goals you'd like to reach?
We, like any other band, would like to make records that fucking kick ass. Records that means something for the listener. 'Cause in these times with all the bands that are releasing records, you got to play really great music to reach out. All the circus around the physical image feels so dead that it really is pathetic, you can wear a twenty thousand spikes on your penis, but can you make 2000 heads bang to a song that you've written? That's where I wanna reach!
What did you do before Swordmaster, were you in any bands? Are you working on any side-projects now?
I played in a couple of different death metal bands, but we never recorded more than demo-tapes. But right now I'm in the middle of starting a band (not project!) with Ole "Bone" Öhman (Ex. Dissection, Ophthalamia), Peter Palmdahl (Ex. Dissection), Emil "Nightmare" Nödtveidt (Swordmaster), Niclas "Terror" Rudolfsson (Swordmaster, Sacramentum). We've been rehearsing a couple of times and are soon to record our first demo-tape. The band is called LOADEAD. Remember that name 'cause I can promise you that it's going to be a cool record in the future. We're only hoping for a good record deal.
How have your experiences with record labels been?
Osmose has been great. FMP wasn't so great.
Do you have a favorite song you've done? How about a least favorite? If there was one song you could play to represent Swordmaster, which one would it be?
Too tough question to ask me. When I come to think of it I can't really mention one particular song which would be more representative than another, but - to be contradictious - the two first tracks on "DEATHRAIDER" are fast, tough yet melodical, and I guess that wraps it up pretty much when it comes to a Swordmaster song.
Such things as religion seem to be deeply entrenched in the scene from the very beginning. What are your thoughts on religion in general?
I despise religion. It's the thing that you want to kill to free the power of man, but - just as everything else in the world - it's very hard to escape the yin & yang effect. I mean, there's nothing more I would like then a life without religion, yet of course there's no utopia. To try to convince myself of this privat eldorado I would think in a religious form of way, and that is something that I never will do. Conflicts is something man must have to keep the balance. To believe in something that is perfect forever is like biting yourself in the tail. Yet we must fight Christianity!
What are your thoughts on the world and its future? Will it get better or worse in the coming days?
What do you like to do in your spare time outside of music?
Just hang around with my friends, drinking booze and having a great time.
Explain some of the things that inspire you when writing music for Swordmaster...
It's mostly thoughts on different things. On "Postmortem Tales" it was more like many different strange fantasies, yet with a symbolic tune in it. But what inspires me the most is if I listen to a new Swordmaster song, then it itches in my fingers and I park myself just to write new lyrics.
Alas, to the final question. If you could sum up Swordmaster in a word, what would it be?
Five guys with a mission to rock' n' roll their whole lives! Burn speakers and raising Cain. Party around and just be death's answer to hell!
Closing comments ? Thanks for the interview, and good luck in the future. 'Til next time... Bang your fucking heads!!