- Hello, Daniel! Let's get back in time, to the moment when you decided to start playing the drums. How old were you and what did actually drive you to that decision?
- Well I always loved the drums, since I was little kid listening to my dads records by Deep Purple and Rainbow. Cozy Powell & Ian Paice blew me away so I was really into drummers at an early age. But I didn’t start play seriously until I reached the age of 15 in 1989. The decision was due to the fact that I had played bass in a band called Brainwarp (who later morphed into Nihilist) and I didn’t wanna play bass in the future and I was the only one among my friends who where interested in playing drums so I guess I just took it upon me sorta speak.
- Lobotomy, at that time still being called Rapture, was formed in 1989. Tell us how did it happen? What bands did inspire and influenced you to create your own group? How did you meet each other?
- The band was something me, Fredrik Ekstrand and Leif Cuzner (Nihilist) talked about forming. We got Lars Jelleryd in the band and a singer called Jonas. We all went to the same school. This was in January of 1989. We took the name Putrefaction, then it morphed into Evocatory and finally in Rapture. Leif was the driving force in the beginning since he was also playing in Nihilist, but the basis was that we wanted to play together again after I was out of Brainwarp. The bands that influenced us back then in ’89 were Slayer, Carcass, Celtic Frost, Sepultura and Necrophagia. We covered ”From the past comes the storms” by Sepultura and ”Mental Decay” by Necrophagia.
After a while Leif moved to Canada. Lars switched to Guitar and we took in Patric Carsana on bass.
- At those days, Stockholm was the epicenter of the Swedish metal scene. What do you remember about that early underground? What were the first bands that you hung out with? Did you have any favourite concert place?
- I have shitloads of memories. Would be hard to name all the bands we hung out with. But I think Entombed, Necrophobic, Dismember, Unanimated, Grave, Hetsheads & Excruciate where bands we usually hanged out with. It was mostly me and Fred. We where doing most of the ”networking” I guess. But eventually I guess we hung out with most of the bands from time to time. The only difference was that we where the only band from the suburb Kista, which is in the northern part of Stockholm area. And most other bands where located in central Stockholm or the southern parts.
- Your first demo, "When Death Draws Near", was released in 1990. First of all, why did you have to change the name? Who came up with it and did you have any other names on the list?
- We changed the name of the band to Lobotomy by pure incidence. Alex told me Nihilist had changed name to Entombed. I was pretty sure he said Lobotomy. Well I was wrong but the name stuck. And we thought Lobotomy was a cooler name than Rapture.
We changed to a four-piece with Jonas out of the band and Lars switched to guitar & Vocals.
The name "When Death Draws Near" was by Lars. He wrote the lyrics to that song and it sounded evil and grim so we choose that for the title.
- That demo was recorded at the Sunlight Studio. Was it your first time experience working in the studio? How long did it take you to record everything? Was it live sessions?
- Yes it was our first time in the studio. And it was also the first time I used double bass-drums so I was shit scared. Hence my very reserved playing style on that demo. We recorded the drums and some guitar the first day and the other guitars, bass & vocals plus mixing the second day.
- The next demo, "Against the Gods", was released only 2 years later. Why did it take you so long? And what was that label, Raptured Anus Productions? Was it the one that you came up on your own?
- Actually, in the summer of 1991 we recorded 4 songs. 2 songs where intended for and 7”ep on Corpsegrinder rec. We sent all the stuff to them but nothing happened. They didn’t release any more records so I guess they went out of business or something. We thought about releasing the stuff in 1991, but we decided to record a new demo instead. By the time bands such as Phantasm, Sindrome and Dr Shrinker had loads of songs on their demos, so we though it would be cool to have that too, so instead of releasing a 3-4 song demo in ’91 we released a 7-song demo in ´92.
Raptured Anus production was just something I made up when we where printing the demos. The manufacturer wanted me to list the company that ordered the cassettes so I just wrote Raptured Anus Production. It was also meant to be our publishing company, for the copyright. That never matured but we put that on our next 3 releases as ”our label”
- By the third and last demo you lost Fred Ekstrand, and it was recorded as a trio, what happened? Were you looking for a replacement?
- I guess he got fed up with us ha ha. No, not really, we still became friends but he went on holiday to London and when he came back he said he wanted to leave the band and concentrate on his new band Sin which he had with Tobbe from Necrophobic. He wasn’t so much into death metal anymore at the time he said.
We had another guitar player for a while but he was never serious so we remained a 3-piece for a while. Masse Broberg had tried out to become our vocalist in’91. Nothing happened but we remained in contact and he joined Hypocrisy. So he recommended us to record with Peter Tägtgren. Peter phoned me and was really into recording us since he had mostly only done his own projects and not any ”established” death metal bands at the time (remember this was in ´1992). So we went to his place and recorded some songs as a 3-piece. Obscure plasma Records later on released 2 of the songs as the ”Nailed in Misery” cassette-EP in 1993
- When you released your "Hymn" EP in 1994, you finally came up with a stable line-up, that was active until the end. How did you find Etienne Belmar, guitars, and Max Collin? Why did Lars decided to focused on the guitars only?
- Lars was fed up with singing around Against the Gods demo, thats why we tried out Masse and about 3-4 other singers. He wasn’t comfortably doing both while playing live. I guess he’d rather concentrate on just the guitar bit on stage. Both Etienne & Max shared rehearsal place with us. They had a band called Votary and we where in need of a guitar player and a singer so we asked them. And we recorded the Hymn 7” ep about 3 weeks after they joined the band.
- How was it to work on the material with new members? What do you remember about the time you spent working on your first full-length? Did everyone contribute to the song-writing?
- Well it felt good because we finally had a stable line-up so we could do proper gigs again. Both Max and Etienne had some really great contributions in terms of arrangements etc. They put their own touch to our old songs and at the time I think we needed fresh thoughts because we had problems for a while to get stable line-up and these guys where mates of ours already so the transition was really easy.
- Your debut self-titled album was released in 1995. First of all, tell us the story of how you got the contract with Chaos Records? Considering the fact the initially there was another label to take care of it...
- Everything with the first album is a mess and I hardly consider it a part of our discography because everything with it is just so wrong.
Yes, we first signed a contract with another label that just disappeared when they where about to pay for the studio costs. Just vanished. So we had to take a loan and sell the finished product to labels. We got some interested labels. I remember both Napalm and Spinefarm records where interested, but we settled with a Swedish label. Today it might sound strange as both Spinefarm and Napalm are big labels but back then they where just small labels. And we where so fed up with faxing labels and calling to other countries from Sweden etc so we settled for a local label so we didn’t have to get all the hassle and just knock on their door if there was anything we need to settle. Chaos records was actually the in-house label for the distributor House of Kicks, which was the leading independent metal/punk-distributor in Sweden. They wanted a death metal label and I was friends with them so they bought us out of the loan and released the album.
- How did the recording sessions go? How long did it take you to write everything down? Did anything funny or weird happen to you during those sessions?
- Well first off we had been going thru some major problems in the band before we entered the studio. First we lost our rehearsal place and it took us 2 months to find a new one, then we had some serious family matters with losing family members and on top of that I had to remove my tonsils ’cause I had been struck with throat abscess and had to remove my tonsils after a month of problems, so we didn’t rehearse for 3 months. We did some demos. And I don’t know why but we eventually decided to record the album in a studio with top of the line equipment but the engineers didn’t have a fucken clue how to record metal. We did some 4-track demos before the recordings to present it to them, and we should just walk thru the dour before their response, but somehow we thought it would be cool to record an album where no one had gone before. Bare in mind that both Dan Swanö and Peter Tägtgren offered us their service to record our debut. But stubborn, and I blame it entirely on me, we went the other direction. I was really into Type O Negative, Sentenced and a lot of metal bands that had abandoned their more extreme sound and somehow I thought this would be cool to incorporate into our songs. So somehow I wanted the album to have more hardcore-type vocals, distorted but not to crunchy guitars and weird percussion. All in all I think I just wanted this to get the chicks to like it.
The recording was done in the end of ´94 and we had a good time but luckily there is a lot of weird things that we recorded that didn’t end up on the final product. Which is very fortunate because it already was a disaster.
- Together with Lars, you did the cover concept. From the first look, it doesn't have anything to do with Lobotomy or even Death Metal at all. So what is behind this cover? What was the meaning of it for you?
- Fuck, who knows? Ha ha. Well the cover was from a photo session. A friend of mine Neil Rapi was doing a lot of photography and he took the band pic for the album and those turned out really good. (So good so he got to do the band photo for Entombed’s ”To ride…”-album)
We then discussed the album artwork and I wanted something with water, I can’t tell you why. Some of my ideas back then. We eventually went to our local stream in Kista called Igelbäcken and threw rocks into it and photographed it. Somehow one photo looked like a figure standing. So I decided to use it. As for the logo, I don’t know. We used the logo on the actual CD but I think the layout guy who did the job was someone that House of Kicks knew, suggested we should use some fonts and that they should be cut at the top..It was the ”in” thing that month I guess. Lars helped out with the booklet. He wrote down all the lyrics and thank-lists and together we decided what the booklet should look like.
So the meaning was this: ”This is our debut, great songs, recorded not the way they should be, hence the logo missing. We’ll make it up the next time”
- 1995 wasn't an easy time for Death Metal. What do you remember about that time? Did you face any particular challenges? And how often did you play live? Do you remember any great concert?
- Yes these where hard times. And we felt that we where one of the few bands left doing death metal, everyone else was either playing more black orientated death metal or have broken up. The only bands I remember that were still doing the old-school death metal at the time that we did was Vomitory and Dismember.
- In 1997 you released your second album, "Kill". How could you compare it to the previous CD? What are the main differences?
- The main difference was that we decided to do what we do best. Straight up death metal, with a little thrash thrown into the mix. We decided to not jeopardize the recording so we got Fred Estby from Dismember to record it with us in the Sunlight studio with Tomas Skogsberg overseeing the production and have a final say. We recorded the album in dec ´96 and mixed it in Jan ´97. The only thing I feel bad for is that I had Duanne Morris who played with Slaughter Nun and Incantation visiting me from USA, and one morning I went to the studio to work with the mix of the album. Forgetting that he really wanted to see the classic Sunlight studio. I just let him sleep on the couch all day. He wasn’t happy about it, and I understand him 100%. Sorry bro.
The album was released on the”No Fashion” label which House of Kicks had recently taken over the administration and ownership. Let’s just say that it felt weird being on a black metal back then for death metal band. However they started to release more death metal eventually…
- After some time, you came back to Tomas Skogsberg to work on this material. How was to work with him again? Did he bring any fresh ideas to your sound?
- It was fun. Especially since Tomas remembered us. The other thing was that both me and Etienne are huge Beatles fans and so is Tomas. And we shared that and discussed albums and songs in the pantry between takes. The others didn’t understand our fascination…
Yes he did bring some cool ideas, especially when tracking the guitars and also adding the cool ”Escape from .N.Y.”-keyboards to the song ”Swerve”. But Fred, coming from the same influences and being in the mighty Dismember had a lot of cool ideas for both arrangements and sound.
- How did it happen that Jorgen Sandstrom (ex Grave and Entombed) did some guest vocals? How did he like your material?
- He is an old friend of ours. Iv’e known Jörgen since ´1990. So we just asked him to come along and he agreed right away. He’s stamp of approval was there right away otherwise I don’t think he would sing his guts out on ”Rise and Hate”
- In 1999 you did your last and very powerful opus, "Born in Hell". What do you remember about the pre-production times? What inspired you to write such a heavy and evil album? Is it a conceptual one?
- I am really happy with this album. For the first time we all agreed in the band what we wanted. We rehearsed around 15-16 songs and recorded 14 songs that eventually where cut down to the 10 songs represented on the album.
The inspiration was probably that we didn’t give a fuck about current trends, what the hot chicks wanted (ha ha), or what our friends said. We just went back to our roots. Slayer, Master, Death, Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Dark Angel, Carcass and Death. There you have it. We got the almighty Jocke Petterson (from Regurgitate and Dawn) to record it with us together with Tomas Skogsberg as executive producer and It was the most fun recording we did. This was in the summer and autumn of ´98 and I remember the whole recording was a blast we got along really well as a band as well.
It wasn’t a conceptual one but we toyed with the idea. All the songs are stand alone tracks. But I remember we said that the next album should be a concept album. We all liked King Diamond….
- And in 2000 you called your quits. What was the reason for such a decision?
- Actually we called it quits in 2001. In 2000 just after the release of our final Ep ”Holy Shit” Lars decided to leave the band. I was then working for Dave Constable (Metal Forces, Active records etc) and his distribution company and record store, and somehow I just didn’t care. I was caught up in the music business sort to say. Even though I knew that Lars was the driving force together with me especially when it came to producing music. We decided to go on with Jacob Lescinsky on guitar. We where offered a European tour in the summer of 2001. But somehow it didn’t happen and we played our final show in August 2001 at the Anchor pub in Stockholm.
We never decided to call our quits but we had once again lost our rehearsal place and we just never got the spirit back. I had the title for our next album worked on in 99-00 and it was supposed to be called ”Dislocated in Emptiness” and I had the concept ready. But when Lars left the band I just scrapped all the drafts and the demos I made on a 4 track just went back into the drawer…
Then Etienne moved to Germany and joined Undercroft and somehow we just leaved it at that…
- Are you still in contact with other band members? Since then, have you discussed a reunion possibility? Nowadays it happens to so many bands. Or was Duelbarrel the attempt to do it?
- Yes I am in contact with them all from time to time. There are no hard feelings at all. And we all enjoy each others company when we get the time to see. We have been approached by several labels to release our demos on CD and Vinyl. And some labels want to release our albums on vinyl, however the rights belong actually to Universal Music nowadays, so we’ll see. However we got them to release ”Kill” and ”Born in Hell” on Spotify and iTunes. But we will definitely release our old demos again. We have got some good offers and hopefully we can have them available next year. As for new recordings. I don’t now. Would be fun, but would there be a demand for new stuff? Isn’t that just sad?..he he..
Duelbarrel was a band I had with Lars and Jacob. Lars did actually all the writing and not like Lobotomy where we shared. I was comfortable with that because it was fun to just hit the drums and not care. Duelbarrel was not Lobotomy first and foremost because I think we both wanted to be able to just have some fun and try out different sort of extreme music that wasn’t associated with Lobotomy. We recorded a few songs but as soon as I got my second daughter I didn’t have time to rehearse for a while…and that ”time” has now become 8 years…
- Thank you for this interview, Daniel! Would you like to add anything in the end?
- Thank you Dima for the interview. It was fun to take a trip on memory lane…as they say. Keep supporting the real Metal. And hopefully the Lobotomy fans out there will get some cool stuff available in 2017.