Interview with Séance
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: November 20, 2016
Swedish Death Metal troops Séance have kept a low profile for many years. Formed in 1990, they released one demo and three full-length studio albums. The latest, titled Awakening of the Gods, was released by Singapore's Pulverised Records in January 2009. Awakening of the Gods broke a recording silence of 16 years with some fans under the impression that these Swedes had called it quits after the band's second album, Saltrubbed Eyes, was released in 1993. Séance never quit officially, they just went underground for many reasons as opposed to being a corpse in a casket.
This is the first interview with the whole band since Saltrubbed Eyes and the band members explain the many reasons for Séance's inactivity over the last seven years.
Luxi: How's life in Sweden these days?
Séance: Honestly, Sweden sucks right now but thanks for asking! =)
Luxi: It's been seven torturous years since Séance's well-received comeback album Awakening of the Gods was released on Singapore's Pulverised Records. Why the recording silence since then? Naturally people are hoping Séance's comeback will last more than just one album...
Séance: Actually, it was never a "comeback" album. We have been in hibernation mode. The pre-production was done many years before it actually got mixed and released. On top of that our other bands take up a lot of time, there were some member changes and a lot of personal issues.
Luxi: Tomas Andersson is the newest member in the Séance line-up. I guess it's no coincidence that he's a part of the line-up these days as 3/4 of the band's current line-up come from Freevil so, obviously, the chemistry was already there. Getting Tomas was no-brainer, right?
Toxine: That is indeed correct!
Luxi: Could you tell us what makes this chemistry in the band special?
Séance: We have been friends for such a long time that nothing is complicated. Most of the time we do not even have to talk about things because we think the same and even though we enjoy the same kind of music, everyone has their own little touch to the songs which makes everything perfect. We can't recall a time when we had any disputes during all the years we've been together and if we do not agree on something we talk about it. We know and accept each member's strengths and weaknesses. That makes going to rehearsal something we love to do. We meet up over coffee, in the studio, writing or rehearsing...
Luxi: What are some of Tomas' best assets as a musician/songwriter and as a person/band mate from your point of view?
Johan: Tomas fits from both a chemistry standpoint and musical wise especially when writing songs and besides, he is a proud owner of three Africans goats. =)
Luxi: A ton of water has flowed under the bridge since the days of Awakening of the Gods so is it right to think Séance might have an album's worth of new material ready?
Séance: No, but the intention is to go into Séance mode after the new Freevil record is done. Whether the plan really works is another cup of tea entirely.
Luxi: How are things standing regarding that new Freevil album? What can we expect from it?
Tomas: We had so much bad luck during the recording of the second album that it was like a bad joke. Personal issues, close ones passed away, member changes, erased guitars, redone guitars; I could go on for ages. BUT the good thing is that right now we only have two tracks left to nail on guitar and then fix up the bass. Then it's time for mix.
So, after seven hard years it will finally be finished! As for a release date, I'm not sure as we never work under pressure but I hope for late 2016 or early 2017.
Luxi: Will there be any drastic musical changes compared to the stuff that you churned out on this new album? Seven years is a long time and things may have turned toward some unknown musical territories where Séance has never been before...
Séance: Séance will still sound like Séance. The studio will bring the sound into the 2000s yet not modern. The old fans will not be disappointed, that's a promise!
Luxi: What are some of the elements in a Séance song that always need to be there to make it a "Séance" song?
Séance: Johan's vocals are what make it sound like Séance!!
Luxi: Are there other elements that separate the band from the rest of the pack?
Séance: The music is more Thrash-oriented with Death Metal elements. Top that with Johan's vocals and you get the Séance sound!
Luxi: If you return back to Awakening of the Gods now with seven years of distance from it, do you still feel like the songs satisfy you as much as when the album was pulled from the oven, fresh and shamelessly ripping?
Séance: We are not completely happy with that album. We want to make a new album to reclaim the legacy of Séance.
Luxi: What are some of the things on the Awakening... album that need improvement?
Séance: The mix could have been better. Also, some of the lyrics are not even the "final" version. During that album, everyone went down to the studio on their own and did their thing and there was no passion. It felt like everyone just wanted to "get it done" after all the years...
Luxi: Do you find it disturbing when people try to tag your sound as "typical Swedish old school Death Metal" when the reality is it's much more than that?
Séance: We don't consider what we play the "typical" Swedish old-school Death metal as we never try for the "Sunlight sound". If people consider us a part of the Swedish old-school Death Metal movement, we have no issue with that.
Luxi: What's your relationship with ProTools? Do you see it as an integral part of Séance's studio work or is it something that you would not touch with a 10-foot pole?
Tomas: We would never touch a ProTools system but we have no problem working with Cocos Reaper and computer recording. It's a brilliant way to record, try out ideas and write songs.
Luxi: What makes those other systems more useful for Séance over ProTools? Familiarity from past experience with them perhaps?
Tomas: It's more or less the same but I was kidding with you. There is no real difference between ProTools and any other DAW but I personally hate ProTools. It's a mess working with that I want to leave a room when I see ProTools. That is just my personal taste though =) I know Mique feels the same.
Luxi: When you gather in the studio to work with your songs, are there some essential things that you need to have around to get the right Séance sound? What are some of your favorite studios in Sweden that you are considering for the next Séance opus?
Séance: We will record in our own studio (HellSmell). We have the equipment and tortured souls around us to get in the right paranormal mode! For Séance, we will not record anywhere else but some of the best studios right now we would say Fascination Street!
Luxi: Would you ever see Séance as a studio-only band that never goes out to play live for the fans or do you think the opposite way and as long as you can go out to play for your fans it's like a pinch of salt into your dinner that makes your life way better?
Séance: Right now we would need a session drummer and at this moment we have not planned any tours. What the future brings, we will see...
Luxi: So, in other words, Séance's upcoming live shows are not completely written off yet, right?
Séance: That's correct! We don't want to give false hope so it's better to hold back a little and make it a good surprise if/when it happens.
Luxi: It's hard to find any updated information about Séance from the depths of the Internet as you don't have any official websites (except Myspace which has basically been long dead) where people can go to read the latest comings and goings of the band. Is this situation about going to change any time soon?
Johan: This is the first interview in many years and we have not been so "updated" online. All future news and happenings will be posted at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SEANCESWE
Luxi: The latest email that I received told of how Séance will take a part in a Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead tribute. Would you kindly enlighten the readers of The Metal Crypt about your participation in this tribute?
Tomas: Mats E. Eriksson called me up one day and asked if I wanted to write a song with my solo band Denata for a fossil named after King Diamond (Kignities Diamondi). A close collaboration between Mats and me started and then I asked my mates in Séance if they wanted to do a song for the upcoming fossil album. Everyone said, "hell yes!" We wrote a song for the fossil named after Motorhead/Lemmy entitled "Kalloprion Kilmisteri." Unfortunately, Lemmy passed away during the work on this record but at least he knew about the fossil that Mats named after him.
Luxi: How important has Motörhead's whole musical heritage been to you personally? Do you believe Motörhead plays an essential role in why you wanted to become musician when you were just a kid?
Séance: We all really like Lemmy and his unique sound and way of living and his invention of faster Rock/Crossover, of course, impacted us all.
Luxi: How do you view the current state of the Swedish Metal scene? Does it fascinate you as much as back in the "good old days" or do you think it has lost its spark due to the great number of bands that operate on the fields of the Swedish Metal scene these days?
Séance: Too many bands these days and it's impossible to keep track of everything. Most of the time we fall back on the old stuff.
Luxi: All so true. Are there any new Death Metal bands out there that have managed to grab your attention? Any recommendations would be more than welcome...
Séance: Harlott was a good surprise; a young Thrash Metal band from Australia. Firespawn is a killer band and the last Cattle of Decapitation release was ace, too!
Luxi: Séance's debut demo, Levitised Spirit, originally released in 1991 on cassette only, will be released on CD at the beginning of October 2016 thanks to Mexican label Chaos Records. How did the cooperation get started between the label and Séance? Did you feel there was so much demand for this release that it simply screamed to be released on a proper format someday?
Johan: We were asked by the label and as it was the 25-year celebration so we simply said yes go for it and he did.
Luxi: This demo goodie from Séance has also been remastered which is great, of course! Does it also include special liner notes written by you, original members, telling the story of Séance's past and so forth?
Johan: Yeah, it has been remastered and sounds a little better now but unfortunately has no liner notes written by any of us.
Luxi: Time for the last question. What do you believe will happen for Séance in 2017?
Séance: In short, probably writing new songs and putting a new album together.
Luxi: You said "probably" so does it mean nothing has been decided yet whether Séance's next move will eventually lead into the band's fourth full-length studio album? Is the determination and willingness to create something new still there inside the band?
Séance: That is correct! Right now we are focused on Freevil and when we start to write new material we do not go into Séance right away. We will go for what we feel at that rehearsal and then see whether it leads into a new full-length or not. We'd like to do it though. It's just whether life takes us there or if there will be three more Freevil albums first. Time will tell but the will of making it someday is with us for sure, definitely!
Luxi: I want to sincerely thank you for your time and wish you all the best with your future endeavors with Séance and your other bands. Last words (if you have any) rightfully belong to you, so...
Séance: Thanks for the interview! Hope to see you out there. Thanks for all support!
Till death do us join... Skål!
|Other information about Seance on this site|
|Review: Awakening of the Gods|
|Review: Awakening of the Gods|
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