Hi, hello, hi Tomas!
I didn’t get it used to… – hi, hi! Start with video, start with… join with the audio, I didn’t get that. But now…!
OK, thank you very much! So, it’s such a pleasure to have a chance to talk to you! Thank you for coming! My name is Zsolt, on behalf of the Hungarian webzine kronosmortus.com – and let me start with that I hope you’re fully aware, how great the music you play is? It’s awesome!
Thank you so much, thank you!
So, Bloodbath vas formed in 1998 – and since then, several albums have been released. The band is formed from many famous musicians, but still: could you please tell us a couple of words about the band? What can the listener – who eventually don’t know you -, get from you?
Good death metal, in… I don’t know… very good, very good death metal songs, you know, it’s… very… usually very brutal, very … it’s Bloodbath it’s not that melodic as well, it’s more like… it has melody, but it’s more „eviler” melodies, if you say – so, great death metal with some evil melodies.
It’s awesome, thank you! Tomas, could you please tell me what exactly do you like the most in the music of Bloodbath?
I like to play the riffs, that are… the intriguing riffs that are very, you know, crazy, if you’d say that, that’s what I like about Bloodbath. Great, crazy riffs. There are very you know… they get into you quite fast you know: oh that’s cool, that’s cool!
OK! And what is it that you like so much in death metal? What could you tell us about it?
Death metal is… you know I’ve something that I found as a kid, and that feeling that it was mine, you know… it is my music, that not that much people in my school listened to. Of course, there were a few guys that liked it, but you know, it was mostly my music, it… you know, it just blew me away when I heard it. First of all, I was scared but still, you know… it was something that was a… when you got like yeah, it’s so cool you know. Still is one of the coolest genres – maybe THE coolest genres even! So… yeah, I don’t know, it’s very… you know… emotional. I get so happy when I hear you know… if I put on like for me it’s like, like an ever-flowing stream or something that’s what it’s meant… I just wanna YEAH! – it’s so, yeah, because it’s so… It brings back so much memories, and it’s so good still you know, I don’t know thirty years is it like that or something even more? – it’s so good still, you know it’s yeah. You never… My parents said that I will grow out of it, but I never did. Not yet anyway, so…
That’s good, that’s good to hear! So, you joined the band not so long ago, so actually you’re the band’s newest member. However, as far as I know, you know each other for a very long time. Did you feel surprised when they asked you to join? Did it take a long time and consideration to answer their offer?
First time… When they first asked me if I could play some live shows, because Sodo was playing with another band… something like that, and I was supposed to do three live shows. And I said yeah, sure, why not, it’s cool! It’s a good challenge. And then they asked me, yeah… stuff happened, and they asked me if I could join… before Arrow of Satan is Drawn in that area they asked me, but I didn’t have… I didn’t have the time, because I was studying and stuff like that – I didn’t want… I think the band needed someone who could, you know, fully commit to the band – so I said, so we decided no, maybe it’s not the time. And then they made Arrow of Satan is Drawn, and then it was back to live stuff again, and you get Karlsson from Craft were on that album and also made some… they made the music on that album and stuff like that and played some live shows but then all of a sudden, they called me again and asked, if I could do live shows with them. And here we are – this time I said: yes. When they asked if I would want to do this next album and I said yes – why not?
And how different does it feel for you in Bloodbath, compared to your previous bands? How fascinating your first days in this band were? What was new or unfamiliar for you?
I don’t know. I know the guys, so it was nothing really unfamiliar or anything you know. I have never met Nick – that was really fun, and also Martin I didn’t really know – so that was fun to meet those guys. Also maybe play death metal on a higher level, you know… also quite interesting because death metal is usually cellars and stuff like that, you know… You know, go to a gig, and it’s there aren’t like huge death metal gig, usually. So that was quite cool as well, but other than that… I don’t know: I know the guys so it’s so hard to say, yeah…
How fast you could grab the world of Bloodbath? What was the reason the band decided that you are the most suitable person to recruit as their new guitarist?
I don’t know why they chose me, but maybe they like me. I don’t know. We have good time when we’re out playing and stuff like that. It’s easy going, we’re all having a good time – so I guess that’s what why they chose me. They know I can write music, they know I can play guitar, blah blah blah, you know… Quite easy going. That’s not very much needed when you play live shows and stuff like that. You have to be you know it can depend on people and stuff like that, so.
I see. And, several albums have been issued by the band, but now you have a brand new one: it was released on the ninth of September by Napalm Records, under the title of “Survival of the Sickest”. I suppose you’re happy with the final result, aren’t you?
Oh yeah, its all in all, great. Turned out so good! It’s really cool!
Which song contains the most of your musical ideas? How much pressure do you need to put on each other to accept each other’s ideas?
I was on three songs: Zombie Inferno… oh I’m so bad with names: Environcide and Malignant Maggot Therapy. That’s mine. The first one … me and Nick, the other songs is me and Jonas. No, not much pressure – we just try to have, we have fun when we do the songs you know and there’s no really, there’s no pressure at all or anything. That’s a cool riff – let’s put it in, oh that riff sucks, take it away, you know, maybe try … you know it’s no pressure really: it’s just try to make good death metal tracks.
And how far do you think you deviated from the roots of Bloodbath with the new album, or do you think you’ve stepped on a new path in some extent?
I would say no, because you should go back to Breeding Death – this is very much Breeding Death, the EP in this album. No HM-2 pedals and the more Florida death metal-ish sound: that’s very Breeding Death era. So it’s basically going back, evolving that EP into like an album instead of you know… yeah, instead of doing something else. So it’s very much Bloodbath, I would say.
I see. The sum of my personal impressions on the new album is that it contains killer riffs, killer growls, death metal from Florida with some Hypocrisy vibes, and it somehow resembles to Morbid Angel plus Dismember. But in short, it’s pure characteristic Bloodbath! What would you tell us about the new album? What else would you tell us about the new album? Could you please give me a short overview, a short summary?
Oh yeah, sure! It’s very in-your-face death metal, you know, if you play the album in a row, you know, all the songs are very much they start and end quite fast and the next one starts it’s very much *hörgés* the production is like in-your-face, but also it’s also it’s like Morrisound in 2022, so it’s you know we try to have some homage to that, but with the standards of today. I think, you know, it’s a regular death metal tracks, death metal album with all death metal ingredients that you could ask for in a death metal album, it’s very much you know. Yeah, it’s very death metal. No fucking around. That’s what I would say – it’s a homage to more the Floridian, you know, death metal gods. Then the Swedes this time, but still, you know…
Guest vocalists also appear on the album, like Barney Greenway from Napalm Death, Luc Lemay from Gorguts and Marc Grewe from Morgoth. All of them are well-known, professional vocalists. Would you please tell us, what kind of feedback did they give to you on the new album?
I was not that involved in the process of talking to them, so I don’t really know, but I think that they’re all happy with what they contributed with to the album, so in a sense I guess they liked. I guess, I don’t know about them, but I would never say, if I didn’t like the music that I someone wants me to try to do something on, I’m not sure I would do it. I hope that they liked it. I don’t know – I haven’t spoken to any of them.
During the years, Bloodbath used multiple approaches, but always remained faitful to death metal. What do you think, in which extent is this current album more developed compared to the previous ones?
I don’t really get, what do you mean?
I mean, is there a difference between the new album versus the previous albums, and if there is a difference, what do you think the essence of the difference is?
There is no HM-2 pedal, and also like the previous two albums they are more black metal – not black metal, but more black-ish in their sound. And this time it’s full of Florida death metal again. I don’t really know, maybe it’s a… maybe its really-really brutal, maybe its one of the most brutal Bloodbath albums I think. So, yeah. I hope that answered your question!
Yeah, sure, thank you! And how many shows do you plan to give? Will you be able to visit a lot of places?
Unfortunately, nothing is booked yet. But we hope to, and we would like to, play full the new album and stuff like that, so… But everything is yeah… nothing is set, so…
OK, let’s hope we will see you at many places!
Yeah, that would be great!
I suppose this year will be dedicated to introducing „Survival of the Sickest”. And based on the reactions to the video clip and also the streaming platform ractions, how successful do you think „Survival of the Sickest” will be?
Oh I think it will be really successful like actually I don’t know. Like I said, this is my first Bloodbath album so I can’t compare with anything else, but still, I think it’s one of the strongest Bloodbath albums in the catalogue of Bloodbath. So, if you’re into Bloodbath I guess you’d like this one, and anyway… because it’s really-really good, so I really hope people will enjoy it and the fact that we had fun making it and people would hear that you know. And enjoy death metal.
Oh sure. And I think this album may give your personal life a double-fold impetus – taking into considerations not only the album release, but also your appearance as a new band member! How have you been feeling recently? Are you more excited or more fascinated compared to an average day in your life?
No, I’m a boring guy, so I’m not. I’m not really, no. I haven’t thought it that way. I just wanna play music, I don’t really… yeah
I see. Finally I’d like to ask you an even more personal question. What would you share with us about yourself? What kind of personality you are? What are your motivations in life? What do you value the most?
I value most is music. I really like music. I’m very picky with music. and anything. I really like different kind of music you know, from death metal to pop music, if you say. I don’t really care about that just… if it’s a good band or good producer or good music, good song, I like it. If I like it, I like it. I’m not ashamed to say that. Kind of stuff I don’t have any problems with that. And I think I’m quite boring: I play video games when I’m at home. Yeah.
Thank you, but I don’t think so. I don’t think that any death metal guitarist can be boring.
I don’t know. I try.
Tomas, thank you for your answers!
Oh, thanks for having me!
Thanks for taking time to talk to me
I’m sure that a lot of people will listen to your new album, and I really wish you success in the future!
Thank you so much, thank you! That’s very kind of you!
The interview was taken with Tomas Åkvik on 15.09.2022.