Interview with vocalist L-G Petrov
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: November 2, 2014
Interview pictures + live pictures taken by Marcus Tallberg
Nothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to band line-ups. Even once colossal empires, like Rome, can be shattered, even if no one believed it possible. Swedish Death Metal pioneer Entombed is no more, not officially. The original members tussled over the rights to use the Entombed name in 2013 and this drastically delayed the release of the band's 10th studio album, Back to the Front, which features only vocalist L-G Petrov from the original. Because the Entombed name is owned by all four original band members, it was announced in January, 2014 that the name was deep-frozen (for time being, at least), and none were allowed to use it.
Back to the Front was finally released in Europe in August 2014 under the Entombed A.D. moniker, and the new band hit the road in Europe for several weeks, with long-time friends and label mates Grave.
The last stop on Entombed A.D.'s European tour was in Helsinki, Finland on October 24th, where The Metal Crypt caught up with the maestro, L-G Petrov himself, to ask about the tour, life after Entombed and the band's future plans, of course. Read on...
Luxi: First off, welcome to Finland, L-G. You have been here a few times with your previous band, Entombed; can you recall how many times you have played in Finland?
L-G: Actually no, but the last time we were here was a couple of months ago when we played at an indoor festival (called Lutakko Liekeissä - Luxi) in Jyväskylä, Finland.
Luxi: How was it? Was the place crowded?
L-G: It was a good show for us; there were a lot of people there and we already knew what to expect from Finland, ha ha!! It was a great event. Now, we are here again and I think it's been like six months or a year since our last visit, excluding the show in Jyväskylä.
Luxi: Your first gig with Entombed happened on August 18th 1990, when you played at the famous Lepakko Club in Helsinki. What can you remember about this show, 24 years later?
L-G: I remember it very well, actually, because I have at least some of it on videocassette in the cellar. I remember we arrived by ferry. We were already pretty drunk when we arrived in Finland. We drank some beers at sauna, which they had backstage at the venue. I remember it being a great show even though my microphone hit me right in the eyebrow during the gig. I have even a scar left from that "accident," as you can see. It was definitely a night to remember, ha ha!!
Luxi: Too bad the Lepakko Club is no more. It was dismantled in 1999 and they built an office building right in the same place...
L-G: That's both sad and tragic. It always happens. All the good (concert) places seem to go away...
Luxi: Back to the present. You have been touring under the Entombed A.D. moniker since early August, crisscrossing around Europe and playing a respectable amount of shows. How has this tour been for you, keeping in mind that you have been doing the shows under a different band moniker but still playing mostly Entombed material, which is just natural, I suppose.
L-G: The tour has been really good for us, actually. It's been our showcase tour under the Entombed A.D. name and people have naturally been kind of curious about it, as you can well imagine. It's the same Entombed as before, musically, but done under a bit different name this time. But the big difference is it's more aggressive sounding now, ha ha!! We are all suffering from flu and our bus broke down once, which always tends to happen. The engine broke down, but it was eventually fixed though we had to switch to another bus to get to our concert venue in Estonia. Basically it's been the same every day. It's always fun to meet new people and hang out a little bit and, of course, try out some local beers. That's one way to spend your time on the road; it's always good to drink some beers, ha ha!!
Luxi: Sure is. Rudely, it could be said that Entombed A.D. plays mostly cover songs of Entombed, so, for all intents and purposes, Entombed A.D. is a cover band, if you know what I am trying to say somewhat sarcastically here... ;o)
L-G: Yes, I have heard this quite a few times already, but it's not about doing cover songs, as you know. In fact, it's more Entombed now than it has ever been, ha ha!! We just added the letters "A" and "D" to the name, making it possible for us to go out and play. Obviously, we don't want to sit at home and cry. We want to go out and headbang.
Luxi: I am sure everyone has asked questions about things related to the Entombed name and I am sure you are sick and tired of answering them over and over again, so I am skipping that part as I feel like it's none of my business anyway. Do you think you'll carry on with the Entombed A.D. name as long as necessary, allowing you to focus on new music and giving the fans what they want to hear; Entombed/Entombed A.D. songs.
L-G: Exactly. Right now, nobody can use the name Entombed. So it's just bullshit. Let the music speak for itself.
Luxi: Talking about your set list for this tour, it looks like you have tried to include the whole spectrum of material from nearly all the Entombed albums, even songs you originally did under the Nihilist moniker back in the day, like "Supposed to Rot" and "Revel in Flesh." Have you noticed any specific songs that have helped the crowd to go berserk when you play them live?
L-G: Yeah, it's more or less songs like "Revel in Flesh" or "I for an Eye," but it depends on where we play. Usually, the crowd gets warmed up and their legs get going in the middle of the set. It's always a slow start but then it starts picking up, you know? It really depends, from one country to the next, and the mosh pits get going for different songs. You kind of never know what to expect.
Luxi: I am sure you rehearsed a bunch of songs with this line-up for the tour, so was it difficult to nail down the songs that you wanted to perform were the decisions on which ones to play democratic?
L-G: Well, we took 4-5 songs off the new record and rehearsed them well, just to introduce them to the crowd and get a feel for how they sound live. Then we chose some of the songs off our past records that work live, that people want us to play and that we want to play, as well. Also, our new guitarist, Johan Jansson, is a total metalhead and he does not really like this "death 'n' roll"-orientated stuff as much, ha ha!!
Luxi: Did you choose the songs in a democratic way with each of you writing down your favorite Entombed/Entombed A.D. tunes and then voting on which would make it into the set list?
L-G: Pretty much so, yeah! Then we started rehearsing, to find out which ones sounded good. It's fun to work that way and it's also kind of a roller coaster ride at times, ha ha!!
Luxi: Your label mates, Grave, who obviously are old and close friends of yours, have been with you on this tour. What made Grave such excellent touring mates for you, besides being cool drinking buddies, of course? Monty Python on wheels, in which some old farts meet, ha ha!!
L-G: Ha ha... yes, we have known them since the demo days, even when they were known as Corpse. They play cool music and the guys are easy to get along with. We have known them 25-30 years and it's great to know someone for that long. It was very easy to suggest to them something like "let's go on tour together and kick some ass'" and they were like "alright, we are in." It is also nice that the spark is still there; otherwise it would be pretty damn hard to do this. Grave is a good band; they are great. Besides, they know what touring is all about. Neither band starts crying after being on the road nonstop for 2-3 weeks, ha ha!!
Luxi: After this show here in Helsinki, which is the last show of this tour, do you have some dates for Sweden and England (your home countries) or are you taking a break from this touring thing?
L-G: Yeah, we have two more shows in Sweden and a festival appearance in Denmark with Cannibal Corpse. Then we'll go to England do some shows there and in Ireland, also. Oh, and I almost forgot; we will also play in Holland and at a festival in Germany before our UK/Ireland tour. And then, believe or not, we have one day off (*laughs*) then we go home and play some shows in Norway. Plus, we have shows already booked for Russia, Israel and Greece. Then, in January, we'll start making some new songs again.
Luxi: Have you started writing for the next Entombed A.D. album already?
L-G: We have some ideas but it's pretty hard to concentrate on anything else but touring itself when you are on the road. You are surrounded by music all the time while on tour and, when you get to the bus/hotel after the gig, all you want to do is relax a little bit. But, of course, when you hear some cool riff in your head and start humming it, you want to capture and record it, and then listen to it afterwards when you get home, to see how it sounds.
Luxi: So it's a bit too early to predict what the next Entombed A.D. album will sound at this point...
L-G: Yeah, sort of. It's going to be, you know, heavy, fast, aggressive...
Luxi: ... and uncompromisingly Entombed/Entombed A.D., I suppose?
L-G: Exactly! And I can already promise you that it's not going to be another seven-year-wait to get the next Entombed A.D. release, either, ha ha!! That's the most important thing for us. It may come out in 2016 and even if that sounds like a far-out thing, it's not. It's just a year away, basically. We are now working for this band and not against it. Everybody is working toward the same goal. Also, with a good record label, things are easier and everyone is happier and, most importantly, it does not have to take a hundred years, ha ha!!
Luxi: Have you set any sort of a timetable for when you will start concentrating on the songwriting process again? Maybe just a one-off show, here and there...
L-G: One-off shows are okay, actually. It's just fun to go away every now and but obviously we are going to set a deadline for ourselves for when it's time to concentrate on making the next record. Without any sort of a deadline you run the risk of getting lazy. That's what happened to us before. You tend to push things further and further into the future and nothing happens because of that.
Luxi: Do you think you may record the next album this coming spring?
L-G: Yes, we are aiming to do it in March of next year or something. When we have a bunch of songs ready the recording process is normally pretty fast for us. In any case, it will be recorded in the next year for sure.
Luxi: Have you talked about ideal producers for the next Entombed A.D. album?
L-G: We have some names in mind but, to be completely honest with you, I don't know anything about the producers' names. If someone suggests a name, I'm like "okay, let's go with it then, to see how it works...," ha ha!! You can always check and see what they have done in the past. If you want a rougher or cleaner sound for your record, then you may go with one producer over another. Overall, the whole recording process should be quite easy for us, I think. There are already producers that are interested in working with us. But's let's see...
Luxi: As your European tour wraps up, I was just wondering if you have any touring plans for next year, maybe in the USA, Canada, Australia and so on.
L-G: Yeah, definitely it's going to happen at some point. It's just a matter of setting things up. It's a must for us to tour as much as possible. It's important to find a reasonable tour and not go somewhere and play 50 shows and nothing happens. A really good set-up would be nice, like going on tour with a band like Amon Amarth, for example. That would be great!
Luxi: What have you learned from all this touring as you are getting older? I guess everything tends to get tougher when you are aging. Some things just aren't so easy to handle, like partying.
L-G: I can hear what you are saying. The older we get, the faster we play, ha ha!! But seriously, some guys in the band have kids and families to take care of, so naturally you have to take all that into consideration while planning all of these tours. That's why we cannot tour the States for six months straight but we can still go there for 2-3 weeks at a time. When you have a working Visa for the whole year, it's no problem to go there. It's just a matter of setting it all up for yourself and making it work.
Luxi: And it is different from when you were younger and knew nothing about touring. Many bands get fucked by tour managers, tickets sellers and so on, especially when on tour for the very first time.
L-G: True, true... it makes you feel more comfortable and confident when you actually have some sort of an idea how things should go while being on tour. That allows you a chance to concentrate on playing music only, which should be your main focus. It's going to be fun to go to the States again. We haven't done the States in along time, so it's time to change that. Plus, we have some connections to Australia, also. We were in Japan in September of this year (2014) and you never know, maybe we'll go back there again soon.
Luxi: You also have another band, called Fireborn, which Victor is also a part of. What is this band like? To me, it sounds like very technical and fast Death Metal, bringing such names as Poland's Vader and even Finland's Demigod to mind.
L-G: Yeah, the band has been recording a little bit now and they found a drummer, Matte Modin, who's also in bands like Raised Fist, The Hidden and so on. Then we have Alex (Friberg) from Necrophobic, Fredrik (Folkare) from Unleashed and Necrophobic and Victor (Brandt) to complete the line-up. We just have to put the pieces together when Entombed A.D. isn't doing anything. And there's nothing wrong with that. I don't think someone can accuse you of cheating if you are creating more music, ha ha!! We don't see Fireborn as just a project, but a real band. This band is not going to interfere with our other bands, though.
Luxi: Do you believe that Century Media might be a willing candidate to release the first Fireborn album someday?
L-G: It could happen...
Luxi: I firmly believe they might have serious interest in Fireborn, knowing who is in the band...
L-G: I hope so. I have already had talks with them, but we'll see later. I am not rushing it, you know, so there's no stress involved with it, whatsoever...
Luxi: How curious or hungry are you to follow what's going on in the underground Metal music scene these days? I'm sure, when you were in your twenties, you got excited about almost every new brutal and aggressive act that you managed to dig up from the underground tape trading scene but nowadays, some 25 years later, with the existence of the internet, it has become easier to find those true pearls. To shorten my question, do you still find yourself as much of a Death Metal fan as you were during Nihilist's demo era?
L-G: I am definitely hungry for new stuff and those cassette demos have been switched to CDs these days. We have a whole bunch of them that we try to go through. When we have a party on our bus, we put some of this stuff on and try to listen to what we have. Some of this stuff is really bad but some is really great. I prefer getting all this stuff by mail, though. Like I said, it's always good to have some new music instead of having AC/DC on all the time, ha ha!! However, I don't actively go out to search for new music. I am a little too lazy for that. If it comes by, and it's good, then "hell yes...!" That's the difference when comparing today to when I was younger. Whenever something good comes by, it makes you to buy the record later on.
Luxi: I bet you still have a bunch of old school, underground demos in your possession. Have you kept all of them or have you gotten rid of this stuff, for one reason or another?
L-G: I still have a bunch of them in my mother's apartment, in her cellar actually. When I go there next time, it's possible there's a huge spider web around them (*laughs*). It would undoubtedly be fun to dig them up and see what's there.
Luxi: Plus, you could always make some $$ selling them on eBay, which is full of totally crazy and fanatic die-hard collectors...
L-G: Yea, sure, but that would be too stressful for me. I'd rather keep them all. But maybe some day I might change my mind and sell all that stuff, along with the spider's web and shit, ha ha!!
Luxi: Thank you for chatting with me, L-G. All the best for your tonight's show.
L-G: No problem, thank you guys, also.
|Other information about Entombed A.D. on this site|
|Review: Back to the Front|
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