Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: ENTOMBED A.D
“You don’t need to look at the line-up: you just have to go to Hellfest. Perfect!” – L.G.Petrov – La Cigale, Paris – 02/08/2016
What was the last bit of music you listened to today?
Nico Elgstrand (guitare): John Coltrane’s “Olé”. It’s 18 minutes of pure magic. This is death metal even before death metal was ever born.
Olle Dahlstedt (drums) : Trve black metal too! (laughs)
Tonight’s concert is sold out. How does it feel, knowing what happened in Paris a couple of weeks ago?
Nico: Not so good but I didn’t think about it until you mentioned it. It’s one of those really hard ones that you just push out. Because if we have it in our system, it would basically just make us go home. So we try not to think about it. Today, like 10 minutes before you mentioned it, as this was mentioned for the first time, we were like “Oh yeah, shit! This is Paris” and that was about it. You just don’t want to think about it even if there’s always a day to die…
Olle: We played the venue in the States where Dimebag Darrell was shot as well. And I didn’t know about it until I was told about it afterwards…
Nico: If I start thinking about stuffs like that, I’ll stay home. So no.
L.G. Petrov (vocals) : So we do what needs to be done.
Nico: It’s like the fear of a plane crash: if you have that phobia, it’s really hard to fight it. But if you’re going to be on a plane, please: think about something else! And it’s better for everybody! (laughs) Basically, we just go on but if you think about it, it’s awkward. What happened is insanely horrible.
What about the current tour? How is it going so far?
L.G.: It’s been sold out every night.
Nico: Even better is that all the bands, the whole dynamics – we call it the rock star dynamics – is perfectly balanced. Everybody is happy, constantly. Each band gets its spot and everybody is really happy. This reflects on the audience because the audience likes everything. And this is rather unusual for a package. Unusually the first 2 bands have a really hard time. Normally, the first band plays in front of 30 people. But for that tour, it’s packed from the early beginning.
And what are your basic riders for that tour?
Nico: What you have here! 2 bottles of vodka, some whisky for Inquisition (Inquisition and Entombed are sharing the same room), beer…
L.G. : And like he said before, nobody is better than the others so we split this all together. It’s not like “This is mine, this is yours”.
Nico: If Abbath has no vodka for some mysterious reason, he comes to us and if for some mysterious reasons we have no ice, we ask each other. Everybody shares. It’s only common sense and that works. For the first time in 25 years of touring, this tour looks like a fucking machine to me. With everything.
The whole thing must be very different that the Masters Of Death Tour (2006) with Grave, Unleashed and Dismember…
Nico: That was more intense! (laughs)
L.G.: These are two different stories. Rotating headliners every night… And we were all friends in the first place so it was far more crazy! (smiles)
Nico: Fuck yeah! Too many Scandinavians! (laughs)
Isn’t it kind of awkward touring without having the album released?
L.G.: We just play one, yes.
Nico: It is a bit awkward. We would have preferred the album to be released before the tour so as to play more songs out of it. If you haven’t heard the tracks before, especially if the sound is bad, it’s going to be “What the hell is this?”. We chose to start with a new song though. As the song is on YouTube, at least the people have had a chance to hear it. And it goes down very well. So a short answer would be: “yes, it’s a little bit awkward and it would be really nice to play a little more”.
You’ll have the opportunity to properly promote the album live in the States as you will tour with Amon Amarth in March? What about Europe? Will do another European tour in the months to come to do so?
Nico: Unfortunately! (laughs)
“Unfortunately”?. Why so?
Nico: No, sorry, we’re just tired. At least, I’m tired. At the end of the tour, there’s another tour starting. And that’s why we do albums: to go on tour. And yes, we’ll come back and do a proper set with a bigger part dedicated to the new album.
Can you already assess the impact of the new album?
Olle: It feels really good.
L.G.: Yes, really good.
Nico: It’s been really well received so I’d say it’s one of those on which you do the best you can and all of a sudden people are excited. It’s really great to see that the pre-release interest is spontaneously really high. It’s really nice to realise that.
L.G.: There’s been a lot of interviews and that’s good. That’s really good that people still want to talk to us! (laughs) Yeah! I need to talk! (laughs)
What can people expect from the album?
Nico: It’s a bit more all over the place…
Olle: More energetic, more diverse doo.
Nico: I would say we do shit which is really off the shelf but the rest is much more energetic, more direct, I think. It’s been really straightforwardly comfortable when doing it. This whole debacle about changing, blah-blah-blah… Now, it’s more of a relaxed musical approach, I would say.
L.G.: No confusion. (smiles)
It’s been only 2 years between the release of Back To The Front and Dead Dawn. Was it somehow necessary to have some new music out so quickly?
L.G.: Not necessarily quickly but we tried to maximise the time and worked, like, properly. We only started working on it recently. We tried to set up a deadline from the beginning and we tried to work without stress. There was a little bit of stress obviously but not too much.
Nico: It’s pretty like this: we were eager to have an album out but it was not just to have an album out. Obviously, it’s good market-wise to have a new product out but this doesn’t help us a bit unless it’s a very good product. Even though this one has been done more quickly, it’s more focused and there’s more emotion put into the actual music than there was on the previous album because we were pretty occupied with the whole… Considering the surroundings, we did very well but there was really a lot of outside shit at the time. This inflicted on the focus of the album and this time, we didn(t have that.
L.G.: We just put it in another dimension. We didn’t have time to care about that. 2 years is fast, yes, but if you don’t work, nothing is going to happen.
Alex (Hellid) used to be in charge of the artwork in the past. How do you deal with art covers nowadays?
Nico: It’s much lighter now.
Olle: Eric from Watain helped us out with Dead Dawn.
Nico: I think that Eric has a certain feeling graphically. He doesn’t do a lot of colours or artistic… He has a touch that I, and the rest of the guys, think that is full-on. If he has a good idea, he gets a feeling about it.
Olle: He just listened to 3 songs and that was it.
Nico: I think his touch is fucking one of a kind. It’s really nice when you have a friend who has a lot of talent. Let’s hire constantly Eric! Right?
L.G.: Right! (laughs)
I saw you live for the very first time in 1997 in Newport, Wales alongside Machine Head and Misery Loves Co. Any memories of that tour?
Olle: Yes! (laughs)
Nico: Yeah, he was in Misery Loves Co at the time. (smiles)
L.G.: Partying, drinking…
Nico: So it was a good tour then!
L.G.: I remember when we were in Nice. We were sitting outside and we saw Gérard Depardieu doing a film. He was walking into a car, driving , waving at us, about 50 times! And we were waving at him too(laughs)
Olle: And we saw Max Von Sydow too. I remember that Peter (Stjärnvind) was just starting to play drums with Entombed at the time and somebody shouted at him: “You’re the best, Nicke!” (laughs) [Peter Stjärnvind was just replacing Nicke Andersson] That was quite a long and crazy tour, actually…
L.G.: I have it on VHS somewhere at home…
Nico: The whole tour? (laughs)
L.G.: Yeah! 3 weeks of filming constantly! One shot! (laughs) There wasn’t Facebook and stuffs like that…
Hellfest now. So, this is going to be your fourth time there…
L.G.: It’s always a great place. Ben (Barbaud – director) keeps getting us back, that’s great too.
Nico: And food-wise, it’s very…
L.G.: Healthy. It’s going to be Health Fest! (laughs)
Nico: But seriously, the food is really good. And there are arrogant French bitches everywhere! (laughs) Love it!
Olle: Many great bands as well.
L.G.: A couple of years ago, it was another location, which was great. I told Ben: “Don’t make Hellfest any bigger than this”… And then… He made it twice bigger ! (laughs) But he did a good job and he keeps good bands there: the line-up is always great.
Here’s the line-up this year. Bands you’re interested in?
L.G.: Once again, Ben has done an excellent job with that. Even though it’s a big, great festival now there’s still a little festival feeling to it.
Nico: Black Sabbath! My old buddy Tommy Iommi! (laughs) Ho! Terrorizer?!
L.G.: In-qui-si-tion! (laughs – the members of Inquisition entered the room a couple of seconds before)
Nico: Foreigner? Fuck, man! I don’t believe that: Foreigner, Joe Satriani, Glenn Hughes and Loudness on the same fucking day!
L.G.: There are so many great bands. You don’t need to look at the line-up: you just have to go to Hellfest. Perfect!
Nico: In the close proximity of Napalm Death, chaos will arise. It’s always better to play before Napalm Death because Napalm Death is Napalm Death. What can happen after Napalm Death? Nothing because everything is dead: it’s been napalmed! (laughs)
L.G.: This is a festival you want to stay during the whole festival. If we don’t have a festival there (Friday) or there (Sunday), I’ll try to stay. Loads of friends too: Amon Amarth, Ghost, Grand Magus…
Nico: This is cool, man, very cool.
Last question. I just need one of you to finish that sentence for me: “This is a story I’ve never told before and I probably shouldn’t but…”
Nico: I jerked off 5 minutes ago! (they all laugh)
L.G.: That’s right because he told me before! So that’s true!
Nico: I had to make a choice between behaving like a rapist or jerk off and then I jerked off! But I shouldn’t have told you this! (laughs)
Damned, you also shook my hand when I came in!
L.G.: We all did! Fucking hell! (laughs)
La Cigale, Paris – 02/08/2016
Many thanks to Valérie et Isabelle (Century Media)