Grave (SWE-1)

Grave, the legendary death metal band from Sweden came to play in Los Angeles on September 19th during their 2011 North American tour. SOM had the privilege to have a chat with the lead singer and guitar player Ola Lindgren. Check it out!

interview Grave (SWE-1)You guys have been touring a lot this year: Europe and now North America. How have the tours been so far?
It’s been really good. We did a split headline tour with Misery Index in November [2010] in Europe, which was very good. We did an Obituary tour in Europe in April, then we did the summer festivals and then finally we came over here again. We haven’t come here since 2006.

It’s been a hectic year but this tour has been very good actually. We didn’t really know what to expect but it’s been really good.

After this tour is done… what’s next?
After this we are going home to write a new album and hopefully start to record it early next year.

Burial Ground is your latest release. Was this a successful album, in your opinion?
Yeah, I think so. It kind of went back to our roots, where we came from. The songs are very simple and straight forward. That’s what people like to hear, you know? Keep it within the “Grave boundaries”, not doing anything experimental or something like that.

There were many different reviews for this latest album. Some people said that it is not “innovative” enough. Do you agree?
Yeah, totally but, we have never been innovative anyway, so... I mean, if you listen through the albums, from the start, it is pretty much the same thing. There are a couple of albums where we might have tried to progress it a little bit. It worked for fans but for me personally, those are the albums that I like the least of everything that we have done.

When is the next album coming? What can your fans expect?
The plan is to have it out before the summer. This [album] will kind of pick up where we’ve left off with Burial Ground. We will put more time into it. This one was kind of a rushed album [Burial Ground], we did everything, I think, in 2.5 months, both writing and recording. Now we will have a bit more time. We have all of the fall to write material and we don’t have to start recording until February.

The band has changed line-ups several times. Do you think that this line-up has already come to its fullest stabilization? Are you guys already used to each other enough so you could say that the albums are as “mature
interview Grave (SWE-1)” as they can get?
Yeah, I would say that…totally. The biggest change for now is the change of bass players. We got Tobias in, from Dismember. He is one of those guys who “live and breathe” metal, pretty much. It’s going to be very interesting starting to write stuff with him.

How do you guys work together for the release of an album?
I guess I kind of have a leader role in the band because I’ve been around the whole time [he has been with the band since it started]. But, we don’t have any kinds of restraints of who can put ideas into the band, write stuff, or anything like that. Everybody is welcome to contribute. I guess I have the final “hand” of what goes in the album or not.

For the last album Ronnie [Bergerståhl], our drummer, and I wrote a lot of stuff together. A lot of the stuff that he sent me, I thought it was too technical so, I took the ideas he had and broke them down and I made it simpler to fit the band. And that is a really good thing because I don’t want all the pressure on me to write all the stuff.

What are your main inspirations when you are writing music?
Humm… it’s hard. I really don’t know. I don’t think I get inspired by other bands when I’m writing for Grave, really. I don’t ever set myself in the mood for writing by listening to something.

Anything that triggers it?
No, not really. But it has to come by itself. I could never force [myself[] writing. That would never work. We usually set our mind into it and start with some jamming or sitting at home writing riffs, and stuff. It is usually how it starts and then we build stuff, we meet and put everything together in the end.

Talking about your day-to-day routine now: how’s life in Sweden?

What do you do when you are not on tour?
I don’t do anything else, really. I take care of all the bookings, management and stuff for the band. So, it is a full time job for me. The other guys have “normal” works. We are lucky to have band members who can really take time off for touring, pretty much whenever we need to.

Do you think that this is common in the metal scene? Band member that have other jobs besides the ba
interview Grave (SWE-1)nd?
Yeah, I think every band, pretty much has some kind of a leader who has to deal with the boring part of everything, the logistics. It takes so much time. Seriously, I wish I could get more money out of it than I can. I’m working for myself and for my guys.

I don’t want to put that off to some agency, or something like that. We have tried that a couple of times but it didn’t work out.

Do you follow the metal scene somehow?
No. I’m one of those old boring guys. I mean, if I listen to music I listen to the stuff that I grew up on, that I like. I may hear something every now and then, like bands that opened up for local bands, or on a tour like this you can pick up stuff that you really get into and then follow it afterwards.

If you were not a musician… what do you think you would be doing now?
Probably something that has to do with music. I really enjoy recording. We have our own studio in our rehearsal place. We recorded the pass 3 albums there. It is something I really enjoy doing and it is something that I would like to do on a bigger scale, recording other bands. If I ever stop with Grave that’s probably what I’m going to do.

What are you main motivations to keep playing?
I don’t know really. There are so many bands that struggle to get an album out or get on the road. We’ve been kind of blessed throughout the years to have record labels, offer for tours and stuff like that. In the other sense, there is an interest in the band. I think that that is what drives us forward.

We have signed back with Century Media again, with whom we did 7 albums in the past. That means that they still believe in us and want to work with us. That is a really good thing.

I would say that in the past 3 or 4 years we have more to do than we had in a really long time. We got more offers for tours, summer festivals in Europe and stuff like that. These last 3 or 4 years have kept us really positive and moving us forward.

Any messages you want to send to the SOM readers?
Big thanks for supporting the band throughout all these years. We have been around for such a long time and as I said before, it is because of the interest that people show in the band and the new albums. That’s what keeps us going.
Interview done by Deesse_de_la_nuit

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