- Hello, David! Could you introduce Feral to our readers please? How and when was the band formed?
- Viktor and I got together a long time sometime around twelve years ago when we were about 15 years old to start playing some music, this was back in our small hometown Norsjö in north Sweden. We had both just started playing, I handled the guitar back then and Viktor did the vocals as well as the bass. I think I had played a bit longer than Viktor, but since he is a very quick learner I think he was already a bit better than me. Anyway, since we had just started and only were two guys using a drum machine at the time, not a complete line-up, we didn’t want to take it too seriously. That way, we didn’t have to be self-conscious about the music, since we could just say that we were joking around. I later relocated to Skellefteå, and so did Viktor as well a year or so later. Skellefteå is far from a huge town, but we found other people who were likeminded and into the same music as we were and we got a chance to actually try to play some real metal along with a complete band. That is when we really started trying to make something out of the band, recording demos and sending them out to labels as well as ´zines and playing shows.
- Being a representative of the Swedish Death Metal scene, what does it mean to you? Does it apply to you any kind of responsibilities and strict frames to follow?
- I would say that I am pretty stereotypical death metal fan, but of my own will. I don’t feel dictated to think or act in any certain way, and if I did feel that way I wouldn’t be involved in the scene. The posers aren’t the guys who doesn’t have any tattoos or that have short hair, it’s the people who sew patches to their vests and grow out their hair to look like a metalhead when they are actually something else. Metal is about doing what you want, when you want to. And putting strict rules around that defeats the purpose of metal to begin with. If you are talking about the music however, not the people, then yes. I think there are some lines you would have to be kept within to be able to call it Death Metal. For me it’s something primal and raw, concentrated aggression without any bells or whistles attached, stripped of trappings and just downright dirty. These are my own opinions though and I wouldn’t give anyone shit for experimenting with the genre, but we didn’t start playing this kind of music because it was hip a couple of years ago. And we are not going to start playing something else now because something newer might be considered hip at the moment. Other bands can do whatever they want, it does not matter to us. We are already doing what we want, and will continue doing so. And that is the only responsibility you as a person have to the genre, if you want to do it: do it. And if you don’t: don’t.
- In May you released your second album, "Where Dead Dreams Dwell". So, where do they dwell? How does the title reflect the message of the whole album?
- The title has a couple meanings actually. First of all, it is a line from the lyrics of the opening track “Swallowed by Darkness”, that is fairly obvious, especially since we put out the lyric video for the song. The album itself is also where dead dreams dwell in its own way. We had a couple of rough and slow years within the band after the release of our first album, we weren’t satisfied with the distribution of the album, we had problems with the line-up and the years seemed to pass by much faster than expected and we just sat by and watched as the scene got flooded with new bands. We kept on writing new material, but it seemed like “the dream was dead”. But we finally got the line-up solid and through some help within the scene we got determined again and finally landed the deal with Cyclone Empire to release the new album, which became kind of a compilation of the “dead dreams songs” and thus “Where Dead Dreams Dwell”. There are a couple of links to where we live as well within the title as well, but let’s leave it at that for the moment.
- In comparison with your previous release, how can you describe the evolution of your music with the new album?
- We’re a bit less heavy on the rock’n’roll influences this time around. In some reviews they seem to think that they are completely gone, but I don’t think that is the case. I will admit that they aren’t as much present as on the debut though. However I think that “Overwhelmed” is a downright rock song and certain parts of other songs have their fair amount of rock influences also, like the middle parts of “Inhumation Ceremony” and “As the Feast Begins” and the verses of “Carving the Blood Eagle” to name a few. Other than that it is just much better executed, everything is very thought through and nothing is done by mistake so to say. We experimented much more during the recording process with playing certain parts in different ways which resulted in more surprises and variation throughout the songs. We did very little of this when recording “Dragged to the Altar”, which is too bad since some of the best ideas for the songs on “Where Dead Dreams Dwell” came when we tried new stuff out in the studio. We have matured a bit as song writers and the album feels more uniform and well put together this time. On “Dragged to the Altar” Viktor and I wrote all the songs, this time Markus has also contributed with material and we have written more stuff together than just finishing our songs on our own before presenting them to the rest of the band. I think you can hear that the band plays more “together”, small stuff like the bass playing along in a guitar solo for a couple of bars or similar things of the drums.
- What are your top-3 songs from the new album? What is your choice based on?
- I’d say “Carving the Blood Eagle” first, since I was the most surprised by this song. It was one of the few songs we hadn’t recorded any preproduction of before actually recording the album version and I was really skeptical towards the song since I thought it was a bit too much punk to it. It’s hard to really evaluate a songs when you have only played it in the rehearsal room, because you’re focused on playing (or on my behalf, singing) your parts right. The sound when rehearsing isn’t always perfect as well and I might have missed a lot of stuff that the other guys play during the song that I don’t realize until I hear them playing it during the studio session. Anyway, I thought the song was great once I hear the recorded version of it and it one of my favorites by now!
“Swallowed by Darkness” we have played live for quite some time, since long before the album was released and it is definitely one of the songs I enjoy the most, both live and on the album. It is just the right amount of catchy and kind of brutal as well and also has the really heavy part in the middle where you get to do some serious headbanging.
It’s hard to choose a third one since I like all tracks on the album, but I think that “Mass Resurrection” turned out great as well! It stands out a bit from the rest of the songs since it’s a bit more “epic” in some way. It was also really great to do some vocals along with Jonas Lindblood out of PUTERAEON. His contribution to the song was great and on the parts where we both sing on top of each other’s voices we work really well together even though our vocal styles are kind of similar.
- When you start working on the vocals, what is your usual approach like? While working on "Where Dead Dreams Dwell", what kind of challenges did you face?
- I always do whole takes on the songs, it puts a bit more strain on my voice but I think the results are better. As well as it will sound more like the performance will sound when playing the song live. The problem I have is that I am very impatient, I want to go into the studio and finish all songs in as little time as possible. This time we recorded a total of 14 songs during the session, of which 10 ended up on the album. This resulted in me doing vocals for at least about 6-8 hours a day, a couple of days in row. I am very used to doing these type of vocals as I have been doing it for several years and it doesn’t damage my vocal cords or throat, but imagine just constantly speaking loudly for this amount of time, it’s going to make your voice sound very tired. So in the end it makes me have to re-record some of the stuff from the day before and eventually having to put even more strain on my voice. A better working method would probably be to do half a day of vocals and then rest my voice and record some guitars or something else instead during the evening. But I am usually too stubborn to stop. It is something I will have to have in mind for the next recording. Other than that we didn’t have to deal with much of challenges. All equipment worked as it should, which is usually the most common problem, and we were very well rehearsed before entering the studio so we knew all songs both forwards and backwards and could basically play them in our sleep. Going into the studio prepared if very important and makes for a much smoother recording session.
- Tell us a bit about the cover. This time you cooperated with Costin Chioreanu, what can you say about the work he did? Who does the concept belong to?
- The concept is all Costins. We gave him totally free hands to do whatever he wanted, with very few directions. We started off with sending him the opening track “Swallowed by Darkness” along with the lyrics and the name of the album and said that he was free to interpret the material on his own. We thought that we would be most likely to get the best results if Costin got to do what he wanted and enjoyed the work as much as possible, and we were right! Costin sent us the first sketch and we were thrilled with the results. We sent him a couple of more songs to listen to while he finished the work and the end result was amazing. We are damned proud to have such great art that fits our album perfectly! Costin was a pure professional and a pleasure to work with.
- Now you are working on some footage taken during your release party. What kind of video will it be and when and in what format will it be available?
- Yeah, I actually just finished editing the footage yesterday. We have a couple of live shows uploaded to our youtube channel, sometimes the entire set has been uploaded by us in the band ourselves. We have a festival shows from 2008 and 2011 uploaded. These are just filmed with a single camera and the sound is just taken from the camera as well. When we planned our release party we thought that we should take the time to do a somewhat proper documentation of the show, since the ones we have available at the moment are kind of old. So this time we filmed the footage with several cameras and also recorded the sound from the soundboard. We didn’t expect the result to look like something we would put out on a DVD or anything like that, but the results were actually way better than we would have guessed when we decided to do the recording. Petter Nilsson, who played guitar on our debut album and also mixed and mastered “Where Dead Dreams Dwell” handled the sound at the live show and also mixed and mastered the live recording, and it turned out really good! At the release party we played two sets directly after each other, one where we played the whole album straight through, and one where we had chosen a couple of covers. We have made a couple of DVD’s for a select group of people containing the whole show, but this is nothing that we will have available for sale. Most of the show will probably be uploaded to youtube soon though, but not the entire gig. So everyone will be able to take part of the footage we have collected. Since we also have a lot of footage we will probably put together some kind of music video as well, with the audio from the album and footage from the live show.
- How often do you play live? Is there any Tour planned to support your last CD?
- As I said earlier, we had a couple of slow years after the release of “Dragged to the Altar” so our live activities has been somewhat sporadic. We wish to start playing live more again now that we have a stable line-up and a new album out. Hopefully we will be able to book some festival or club shows in Europe soon, though the latest album came out a little too late in the year for us to be able to get in touch with the summer festivals. Doing a month-long tour is a bit harder now though when we all have to take time of work, some of us has children as well and other things that makes such long trips hard to commit to. But we definitely plan to start playing more again than what we have done the last couple of years. We would still be up for doing mini-tours and festival gigs.
- What do you do in your free off Feral time? Do you work, do you study?
- I have been working at the same place for several years, even since I finished school. I have an administrative position at a local factory. I am married and the wife and I have been living in our new house for little more than a year now. Otherwise most of my free time is dedicated to music, whether it is writing and playing music or collecting records and listening to them. I spend my free time hanging out with the guys in the band rehearsing or visiting the pub with the other metalheads in town, when I’m not at home.
- How could you comment on the current state of Swedish Metal scene? What are you favourite Swedish bands?
- The Swedish metal scene has a history of being strong, and I think it still is, whether you are talking about Death Metal or the metal scene in general. Death Metal though has become quite flooded, with new bands popping up almost every day. You have to be really good to stand out, and even I who still am very fond of the genre don’t give new bands many minutes of a listen. If it doesn’t hook me immediately I am not likely to give it a second chance without a recommendation of someone else. Some bands are abandoning the traditional sense of Death Metal, I guess to stand out more among the masses of other bands, but that is not for me.
As for my favorite Swedish bands I have to say GRAVE, I collect their stuff relentlessly and try to catch them live as often as I can. CANDLEMASS should not go unmentioned either, I have seen them live quite a few times as well and they are always great. I listen to them just about every week at least. Apart from GRAVE I’d say that among the best Death Metal bands around right now would be INTERMENT (I can hardly wait for their new album!) and NOMINON.
- Thank you for this interview, David. Would you like to add anything in the end?
- Thank you as well! Check out our new album “Where Dead Dreams Dwell” and keep your eyes open for the footage from our release party!
Thanks to all supporters, rot’n’roll!