AFGRUND blew me up at the concert in my hometown during their tour over Poland! It's a young band, totally unknown, but they murder as very few bands! So it was obvious that this interview must be made. About pizza in Auschwitz, Christmas in Sweden and other metal things you can read below, even if you aren't into grind.DISCOGRAPHY:
H: Hell-o! What's your impression after touring Poland?
Crazy! Mad! We were drunk for 10 days in a row but what we can remember it was great fun! Our impressions were mixed, some gigs were very small and in places we'd never heard of before, also the food was a bit strange sometimes but overall we had a great time, met loads of nice people and played with some damn good polish bands too!
H: What Polish places and towns did make a good impression on you? Did you have time to visit our country?
Well, we saw some of Poland actually. We started of in Warsaw and went to the old part of town, it was really nice actually. But we were really hung over so we only stayed for maybe one hour. Other than that we seldom had time to check the towns out properly but we saw and experienced some of it on the way to the next gigs. In Czêstochowa we did actually go into town to see Jasna Góra which was interesting as the place has a historic connection to an old Swedish king. Even though I dislike Christianity the place was definitely worth visiting. We briefly saw some of the city centre of Krakow when we went out and partied after the gig there. It was actually really nice there too. Last but definitely not least we went to Auschwitz which wasn't even planned but me and Andreas (our guitarist and singer) really wanted to go there to see the place and experience it. It was important to us to see the place for our own eyes and get an impression of the horrific reality of the concentration camp and what actually happened there. It was pretty horrible place, but we're both glad we experience it. Jokingly though at least I can say to my friends that I ate a pizza in Auschwitz!
H: You're connected with our country also because of the record label - Lifestage Productions! How did you get in touch with this young label? By the way, do you know some good Polish bands?
Well, I am the organiser of Uppsala Blodbad which is a grindcore/death metal festival in Uppsala Sweden (www.uppsalablodbad.se) and I booked Squash Bowels to play. So by speaking to Arthur from SB/Life Stage Productions he also heard my band (Afgrund) and then wanted to release our album.
Good polish bands? Yes loads! One of my personal favourites isn't even grindcore really and that's Decapitated, other bands would be SB of course, and all the other bands we played with on the tour like Parricide, S.A.T.A.N. (fucking good band!!!), H.407, Exit Wounds etc. There are loads! To be honest I really didn't know that many bands from Poland before the tour so to find out about all these great bands when we came on tour was cool as hell!
M: What do you think of the latest album from your label-mates - SQUASH BOWELS entitled "LOVE SONGS"?
It's good! It's got a really good, grinding and crunchy guitar sound to it which makes the album stand out a bit! Good old grindcore as it should be!
M: I'm also curious what are your favourite pop love songs? He,he
Hmm... well when we were really drunk in Warsaw at the afterparty (after Napalm Over Warsaw Fest) the guys from Ingrowing started singing a quite drunken version of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" which was nice! So I guess that's our favourite at the moment!
H: What are your musical inspirations?
Oh, hard question! We get it quite often but we all have a quite broad musical taste and background. Me and Andreas (guitar/vocals) probably both are inspired (grind-wise) of bands like Nasum, Napalm Death and Pig Destroyer but also crust punk like Skitsystem and for me Tragedy. But generally I think that I come from a more metal background while Andreas comes from a more hardcore/punk background. To go back to the beginning of Afgrund, the stuff is very inspired by the shit that happens in life. That's more or less a reason why we started the band.
H: So you've been listening to punk... Many Swedish punk bands are well known in our country! My favourite band from the 80's is Strebers and more contemporary is eg. Intensity. What are your favourites?
For me personally I prefer bands like Skitsystem and Wolfbrigade, not really sure about the others exactly but I know they like that style too. At the moment I'm listening to a band called Ambulance, good Swedish melodic crust-punk from the north of Sweden!
H: And what about literature? What do Afgrund members read, except musical press, of course?
I personally very rarely read any books, I just don't have the patience. I don't know about Andreas. I actually read most of the book "Lords of Chaos" which is about the black metal scene and all the murders. Very interesting.
H: Are you still going to record your first full-length at Polish Hertz Studio? Why? In Sweden there are many good recording studios though...
No we are not, things got delayed and then the studio never got booked for some reason, Arthur should know why, we don't. So now the plan is to record at our new drummer's studio in Helsinki, Finland. He's name's Panu, also known from the Finnish band Büfo. Great drummer!
The reason we agreed to record in Hertz Studio in the first place was the fact that we were invited by Arthur of Life Stage Productions to record the album there. We thought it sounded cool as some very good bands like Vader and Decapitated have and still record there. But no big deal, we'll record it ourselves, it's gonna be all good!
M: Are you going to re-record the tracks from the demo?
Yes, some of the demo-CD songs will be on the album and some will appear on our upcoming split album with Relevant Few (great grind band), also from Sweden.
H: You are a very young band as for both age and length of existence and e.g. your drummer is 17 years old! Where did you find him?! What was your pre-Afgrund musical experience?
Young? Well I'm soon 26 and Andreas is 25 so I guess that isn't THAT young but yes, our new drummer is only 17. I heard of his band Büfo from my friends in the band Splitter and like them. After that I decided to book them to Uppsala Blodbad IV festival. Some month after the festival our drummer Olle (who plays on the demo-CD) decided to quit the band, seen as we just said "yes" to doing the "Grind Tour de Pologne VI" tour we had to find a drummer. So I asked Panu a little jokingly if he wanted to do it (as I didn't think he'd do it or even could do it) but he said yes and came along. During the tour we decided to keep him as a permanent drummer.
Our pre-Afgrund background? Well I played in a band called Penile Suffocation and Andreas has/had several bands like Mareridden and Vi (among others).
H: What does your routine day look like? What do you do for a living?
I work with orders and shipping at a company who deals with skin care products (yeah I know it isn't very grindcore he,he) and Andreas studies media studies, a lot of video stuff it seems. Panu goes to school, not exactly sure what he studies though, probably music or something similar. He's a real music nerd!
M: What does Afgrund name mean? And why your lyrics are written in Swedish?
It means "abyss", a dark fucking hole (life ha,ha). We write in Swedish because it kind of came naturally through the reasons of why we started the band. Both me and Andreas were going through some rough shit in life and it was easier to express the feelings and thoughts in Swedish. So the lyrics are quite dark, depressive, frustrated, angry etc., quite personal.
M: You label your music as grind/crust. How would you explain to a young listener differences between grind/crust, grind/core and death/grind, for example?
Hmm, I guess it's as easy as saying that we mix grindcore and crustpunk and then just explain the two different styles. Deathgrind I guess is generally simply closer to death metal with growling vocals and less punky guitar riffs. Genre-talk can go on forever really and everybody has their own views on what is what, so the discussion can easily lead to nothing. It's just names for people and record companies to label bands and their style with.
M: How was the New Year's Eve? Where did you spend it? Did you vomit all the walls? He,he
I started of with having some friends over at my place and then later on before 12 we went to my friends party 1 km away from here. Yes, we got pretty damn drunk, because my friend from Finland was visiting me and brought two cases of beer 7,5% strength and one bottle of vodka 60%! But there was no vomiting at all actually, we're professional drinkers! He,he
M: And what about Christmas and Christmas Eve Supper in Sweden? How does it look like? You know, in Poland people eat and drink a lot as if they never saw any food nor drink! It's pretty stupid…
Well, my family isn't Swedish actually, my mother is half Czech and half Slovak and my farther is English, so we eat a more Slavic Christmas dinner with duck, knödel (knedlik?) and zeli (that cabbage stuff). Otherwise Swedes eat a table full of different meats like small sausages, ham, meatballs, potatoes etc. There's a lot of different stuff, but I'm not too sure about it. Other than the food Swedes love hyping Christmas, they plan for it ages ahead and spend loads of money on Christmas shopping and presents. I personally think it's ridiculous. The drinking part is quite popular here too, Swedes like their alcohol!
H: When will you visit Poland again? What are your gig plans for 2007? OK, thanx for the intie.
I'm not sure really, personally I was thinking of going to "the Napalm over Warsaw fest" with the guys from Regurgitate, but I'm not sure yet, I think it's going to be a question of money. Other than that I'm not sure when Afgrund will play there again. As it seems we're going on a European tour in October, so maybe we'll do some gig in Poland then. Only gig booked at the moment is Obscene Extreme fest in July! But we're hoping to get some more gigs booked shortly. We want to play as much as possible!
Don't forget our upcoming split album with Relevant Few!
"Hjärtslag och Djupa Andetag" ("Heartbeats and Deep Breaths")" - DEMO 2006
Split w/ RELEVANT FEW - split CD 2007
ANDREAS BAIER - Guitar and high-pitch vocals
PATRIK HOWE - Bass and low-pitch vocals
PANU POSTI- Drums
NIKLAS HOLM - Guitar live