Thursday, May 22, 2014

Splattered Mermaids Interview: In "Reforged Gore" We Trust!

Wilhelm Lindh- Well hello there! I hope I find you in a good mood! Would you mind introducing yourself?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Hey man, yeah man besides my bursting sinuses and a cold from hell I’m pretty fucking good. Well, I am Johan “Frallan” Bergström and I spend my time squealing and barfing in the Death metal/goregrindband Splattered Mermaids.

Wilhelm Lindh- So is it just Mermaids that get the short straw with you guys, or do you house animosity against all mythical creatures?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Haha, oh all those creatures can share some of my rough love, but we apparently ended up with just ripping apart the fishy people.

Wilhelm Lindh- As someone who is not the biggest fan or super brutal death metal/grind I must compliment you guys on making chaos that is listenable, so kudos for that. The mix and sound on your latest album Reforged in gore is really great. I mean you can actually hear what the individual instrument is playing. And now to the actual question, was this sound something you strived for or where you just lucky?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- First of all, thanks a lot man, really cool to hear you notice stuff like that and like our music even though you might enjoy other kinds of tea more. My favourite tea is beer by the way. Now onto the question: To tell you the truth it’s somewhat of a mix between the two. We always wanted to stay above the gutter sound of toilets collapsing (even though we are huge fans of brutal death metal that sounds like that). This is because we are four different music lovers in the band so we found a way to compromise.We really loved the sound on our debut album Stench of flesh but we also knew that we didn’t want to make a same sounding record. So we found out what we wanted to change in the sound to make it a bit more brutal and gritty. After a long time we came up with these words to describe our idea – Brutal and Clean.

Wilhelm Lindh- The guitar tone on your albums is a bit dryer and “modern” sounding than what a lot of your colleagues are using (it is not an over distorted, inaudible mess that is all I am saying). Was this a calculated move to make the music audible or did the guitarist simply forget a distortion pedal at home at the time of recording?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Yeah well I think it’s kind of the same answer as last question, we just wanted it to be brutal yet clean. I mean, we put down a lot of energy and time to get the songs the way we want them and then it might feel a bit better to put the extra effort in to make it audible so you hear that we actually play these riffs. And also, if we were to forget a song or two it’s good to be able to hear the shit a bit, haha. No but seriously, we spend a lot of time deciding what kind of guitar and bass sound we want to get it clear sounding without losing the edge to it.

Wilhelm Lindh- Last year you fine fellows did something really cool. You went to Cuba and did a tour there. How did this come about? And can you tell me a bit about it?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Ah man, it was CRAZY. One day I get a text from the drummer asking me if we want to tour Cuba. The obvious answer is FUCK YES. So we said yes, with no idea how to get there or what it was going to be like. We were confirmed to the tour as the first Swedish metal band ever in Cuba, which was a huge thing for us but also for the people there. They could name all the older bands from Sweden. So as you can see we were pumped up Rambostyle for this trip.
We got a great stay and were treated very well by the organizers of the tour which was the Cuban ministry of culture and a French guy who moved to Cuba and started a record- and booking label. The tour is a festival of 5 bands from Europe and at least 1 local band at every show. So there were a lot of bands playing every gig. It was beyond our expectations of what it would be like. Except the food, man oh man. There were all in all 4 fights (some of them broken up by the police) that I know of and two of them were started during our shows. So it was pretty far from playing in Europe and the kind of madness we see at our show here. Also, the tour was sponsored by Havanna Club so… there was a lot of rum there to get drunk on. As you probably can imagine,it was a crazy experience.

Wilhelm Lindh- After traversing the globe, what is you guys fav place to play live?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- To be honest I would have to say Germany and Czech Republic. Might be because our style of music hits home a lot more there than anywhere else, but seriously the shows you have in those two countries always kicks fucking ass. We just came back from two shows in Germany and it’s a long time ago since we had so much crazy fun. And every year we visit a small festival in Czech Republic called Antitrend and maybe play some more gigs and every time when you think you know the place shit goes down and curveballs on you. In a really fucking good way and you end up with a crazier show than ever before with people screaming for more even though the power went out and you have no more songs. Also, you get to know people really fast, which is not a common thing in Sweden, and all of them so far have been really fucking friendly. So if you want to see a good show – go to Czech Republic and Germany.

Wilhelm Lindh- Being in scene or genre with very specific aesthetics is there something that you guys simply said: Hell no! We aint doing that! Or do you feel that you have ticked of every box? Do you feel it is important to fit in within your scene? 
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Woah tough question, I don’t contemplate the theme too much since I have a mindset I just go into when writing for Splattered Mermaids. I remember in the beginning of the band, that I was hard to get myself to write horrifying lyrics that transcended my own boundaries of what I considered to be okey. But when I got into it and saw that people write really fucked up lyrics and still go home to their jobs and love their women I think the line faded kinda fast and made it more fun to deliberately cross the line over and over again. So I could say no, but I think I would be lying, I think I write what fits Splattered Mermaids in our kind of fucked up sexcrazed murderous world.
Every time I’m done with a song, cd, demo or whatever I feel like I’ve ticked off every box I had in mind. But somehow it just keeps coming. To be honest, I think for a lot of the bands in the scene the aesthetics are more important than the music. For us, we focus most of the energy on the music and then I bring a rehearsal recording home and listen to it to write my lyrics to. And also, when you read a lot of the bands lyrics they are random acts of butchery. I want there to be a funny twist, sometimes that only I know and think is funny but there has to be something there for myself.

Wilhelm Lindh- How is the writing process for you guys, do you write songs on your own or do you create everything in the practise spot?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- We actually do all of the above, sometimes “Falu” (Johan, guitar) comes with a bunch of riffs and sometimes I or “Body” (Martin, bass) got some riffs we wanna show. Most of the times that is how we start a song, with an idea brought from home and then we build on it in the rehearsal room. Most of the stuff we write gets thrown away for not really fitting the band. Actually we threw away a large portion of Stench of flesh before rewriting it and going into the studio. Three days before the studio we made a last change on one of the songs. And even in the studio we change stuff or come up with fun things to put into the recording. When it comes to music, I just want to have fun with it and see where the song takes us. All of a sudden you might end up with some pretty fucking awesome songs.

Wilhelm Lindh- The last track on Reforged in gore is a master piece in my mind. Is that something you guys have created or is it a classic that have been lost on me?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Hahaha, I guess you are referring to what comes in at the absolute end? (Yes I am /Wilhelm)Well it is one of those ideas we came up with while being in the studio. Falu, who is a great pianist and composer,wrote this lounge version of the title track Refored in Gore and we all thought it was great so we put it in. That’s what I meant by just have fun, there are so many bands being better, more brutal, faster, heavier or whatever than you already so why not just have fucking fun? Sure it’s great to play really serious also but with this band it’s all about the fun and decapitated necrophilia.

Wilhelm Lindh- How do you view the music business these days? Do you feel that there is any music left or just business? 
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Depends on how you see it I guess, the underground is booming with labels and distros that can easily help you get your music out. But you don’t get any money from it. I guess if you peak up above the trenches to other kinds of metal it might be more business than music. But I guess that’s the world some of us created for us all. I don’t like the business at all, whatever way you look at it. I think if you look at Sweden as the best worst example. We have a great reputation for putting out great metal yet we don’t have a scene. I think all us Swedish metalheads are guilty for this. We don’t support each other the way we should to get a scene going. People don’t go to shows to have fun or discover new bands they go there to support the band they like. And the whining - shows are too expensive, it’s shitty bands, it’s not a good venue, I have to work tomorrow… I mean it’s easy to see why we don’t have a scene.

Wilhelm Lindh- As a musician in Splattered Mermaids, what has been the highpoint and low point so far?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Wow man, high points are easy. I would have to say playing in front of a couple of thousand people at Obscene Extreme in 2012 was fucking awesome. The Cuban tour is another one of those things none of us expected when we started. And the tour with Rectal Smegma in 2011 or whenever it was, it’s hard to have so much fucking fun again. For example we had a really shitty gig on that tour in Poland, I think there were 8 people attending or something but we still ended up with some of the craziest moments of the entire tour. With those guys you can’t go wrong.
Low points are also easy but there are a lot more to choose from. But some gigs we made in Sweden many years ago ended up in total shit, which now is funny to look back at but was horrible back then. I would have to say a gig outside of a small inbred town called Svalöv was the worst possible gig. All power went out half way through the first song, there were only five people attending and they were sitting on a blanket drinking coffee and eating cookies. That’s when we learned how to play really fast.

Wilhelm Lindh- So, lyrics, a necessary evil or how do you view this matter. Are you the gore soaked poet? 
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Haha, dude you really nailed it. I fucking hate writing lyrics. It’s the most boring part of being in a band. Even though it’s really easy to write stuff for Splattered Mermaids, it’s just a fucking burden to have to write lyrics. But when I write I want to have some certain things that only I know or a very few people understand. There are a lot of details which are there for me and the other assholes in the band. And if someone gets the funny parts it’s awesome otherwise it’s cool.

Wilhelm Lindh- Have you found something that truly offended you recently, in music that is. Or have we gone too far, are we to jaded, is there “Nothing left to mutilate” to quote the old gods.
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- I am not easily offended by music, since music for me is a concept of art. I don’t think all kinds of music are supposed to be taken seriously all the time. Sure, there are styles that are more serious than others but I mean if you see an album cover with a corpse being defecated on, it’s probably not going to be from a band of shiteating masturbationists.
What I get offended by is people trying to view all music as political or as a way of describing your thoughts in a deep way. Some music is just good shit without meaning or further thought than the music itself. Stop trying to force a political or mature perspective on music which clearly isn’t written in a way to be taken seriously.

Wilhelm Lindh- How do you view technology and the internet, in the terms of being a musician. I mean from pro tools to internet piracy. Is it helping or just destroying?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- Oh, dude you’ve come up with some hard ones for me. I’m sure this is where I am supposed to say “yeah man, it fucks shit up, it was better before.” But I’m not sure. In some ways yeah sure, it was better. It was more for real in the sense that you had to really fucking rehearse the songs and know your instruments. But what people tend to not think about is the fact that studios cost a shitload of money and as a band starting out you are likely to have to pay for that yourselves. Even if you’re in a semi-known band because most underground labels don’t want to pay for that. So making the recording processes easier is a good thing I think.

It has also helped a lot with making a home recording possible and made it sound fucking good if you know what you are doing. The internet is, hands down, the best way of distributing your music and will help you getting gigs, labels and what not. So I’m pro technology but I also know it comes with a high price. Studios and labels have a much harder time now than before. But hey, fuck the system right?

Wilhelm Lindh- What are the plans for Splattered Mermaids? What do you have coming up?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- At the moment we don’t have much planned. We are taking a slow year during 2014 because of us doing a lot of shows and stuff with all our bands combined in 2013. Right now the only thing booked is a gig at the Antitrend Festival in Czech Republic, where we played every year for the last 8 years, so now it will be our 9th time there and it always grinds your mind. A very small but really great festival.  After that we will focus on writing some new songs, we have two at the moment and they sound really great so wanna keep the gridiron hot.

Wilhelm Lindh- Thanks for your time and is there anything you want to add that you feel is important?
Johan “Frallan” Bergström- No man, thank you for giving this interview. It’s been a blast. And all I can think of saying is keep grinding motherfuckers and we’ll see you in the pit… or by the bar.

Sweden`s Wilhelm Lindh*, "Portuguese by adoption," guitar player,  composer and owner of the Doom / Death Metal band The Gardnerz, reviews here in Careful and professional analysis to the music and albums with suggestions of what there is to see and hear ... not to be missed. "The wisdom is found in the extremes, all extreme Metal here!".

Complete Discography:
Bloodfreak - EP 2005  
Creation of Wounds - EP 2006  
Stench of Flesh - Full-length  2008  
Illegal Grinding - An International Grindcore Gathering - Split 2009   
Splattered Mermaids
Reforged in Gore - Full-length 2013
Johan (Frallan) Bergström - Vocals
Johan (Falu) Hallberg - Guitar
Martin (Schreck) Schönherr - Drums
Martin (Body) Eklöv - Bass

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