Those of you who deal with the Extreme Metal scene, surely know the Swedes NECROPHOBIC, one of the first extreme Metal bands from Stockholm! On the occasion of their upcoming concert in Athens, we spoke with the band’s guitarist Sebastian Ramstedt! Read some interesting things at the interview that follows…
– Hello Sebastian! Welcome to THEGALLERY.GR! How is life going up there in the north?
Sebastian: Pretty good! Been a long cold winter and it is still chilly so I look forward to come to Greece!
– What is NECROPHOBIC’s status at the time speaking? Are you touring in Europe? Preparing new material? What are your plans for the near future?
Sebastian: We have just finished the writing sessions for the next album and started to record. I believe we will have a final mix this summer. But then it usually takes a year till the vinyl plants have printed the vinyls and we can launch the album. It’s not like in the old times when you recorded in February and released the album in April. At the same time we are back gigging again. We had a break from November till March so that we could write new music.
– You are coming to Greece for the second time, in all those years of career. What are your thoughts and expectations about that? What should the Greek audience expect?
Sebastian: First of all I love going to Greece just for the food, culture and sights. But my experience from the metal scene there is great. Lots of metal bars and crazy crowd. So I really hope we are going to have a great time ther. To bad we are only there for two nights. You will get a full set with a lot more old school songs than we did the previous years. Sometimes it is fun to bring back old material into the live set again!
– Is the upcoming live show in Greece going to be focused on your latest release “Dawn Of The Damned” or are you going to play songs from the whole NECROPHOBIC’s discography?
Sebastian: More or less. But now with 9 full lengths and some eps. We have too much material to cover all albums. But we will play stuff from most eras!
– It’s been 30 years since the first full-length release of your band and 34 years from your creation. How do you feel about NECROPHOBIC’s musical career till now? Are you satisfied of how things went on or would you change some decisions in the past, as you see things now?
Sebastian: The fact that we are still here and bigger than ever is a success. We still release albums that are not tired and actually the audiences tend to give the best feedback to our new stuff. I think that is pretty rare for a metal band. Think of Slayer and Metallica and people come to the shows to hear songs from the first three albums. But our latest efforts go very good with our fans.
– NECROPHOBIC took part in the outbreak of creativity in Stockholm’s scene, along with bands such as GRAVE, DISMEMBER, DARK FUNERAL, UNLEASHED and others. What were your thoughts when you became a member of the band back in 1996?
Sebastian: I just like many had lost the interest in the overflooded scene in 1992. It was just to many bands around and the scene was watered down. To be honest I did not even listen to “The Nocturnal Silence” when it was released and I had not heard it when I first joined the band. It is actually true. But the people in NECROPHOBIC where my friends and we used to hang out on the bars in town. When they started to work on the follow up to the debute my band at the time MORPHEUS made some gigs with them. They played the song “The Call” live which later would end up on “Darkside”. I thought it was a great song and had the feeling that Necrophobic had something interesting going on. When they released the “Spawned by Evil” EP I listened to it at Tobias place and I really liked what I heard. So he asked me to join the band. I had no expectations at all. I just wanted to hang out with my friends and I had no other band at the time. But I really liked the direction that the music took at 1996. To be honest I am not much of a Death Metal fan but I love Black Metal.
– The band is entitled NECROPHOBIC with this word coming straight from the Greek language! Which bands do you list as your influences?
Sebastian: Yeah the original trio took that name from the slayer song when they were very young. There was no real meaning behind it other than that is sounded good and that Slayer was a big influence. In the beginning I thing VENOM, POSSESSED, SODOM, CELTIC FROST and old school bands where a big influence. But nowadays I am more influenced by regular Heavy Metal and 80’s stuff. I love METAL CHURCH, MAIDEN, PRIEST and the classic bands. But I also listen very much to eastern European metal like ARIA, POKOLGEP, CITRON, TORR and ROOT.
– Which album in which you have contributed in NECROPHOBIC is your personal favorite till now and why?
Sebastian: Hard to say. I think “Hrimthursum” is the most important one. Because it was on that album that se found the style that we have played ever since. A perfect blend of Death and Black Metal with strong choruses and great melodies. But I think the two latest albums are the strongest ones from a songwriting perspective. We did not really know what we did back in that days but now we have a more refined understanding of what makes a song good.
– The whole pandemic situation must have been a difficult time since you released your latest album “Dawn Of The Damned” without having the opportunity to promote it with live shows. Why did you decide to go on tour now?
Sebastian: We still wanted to “tour” that album before releasing the next one. It’s in the whole package where the album and shows are one thing together. It would have felt strange to just let the pandemic album disappear without proper live performances. So we have playing a lot since the rules of the pandemic lightened up.
– “Dawn Of The Damned” has a little bit different inclination within the songwriting compared to the previous releases, which were more into occult and Satanism. What led you into that choice?
Sebastian: We have drifted more and more away from the pure blasphemous lyrics into esotheric ones that actually means something to us. I mean you can only write so many lyrics about crushing Christianity before it gets watered down. When you have the opportunity to release you own words for the masses to read and hear you better make something good of that opportunity. Most people don’t get that chance. So I guess I as the main writer got tired of writing the same old song.
– In NECROPHOBIC except from being the guitar player, you also have a main role in the songwriting and lyrics writing as well. What is the process you follow in order to get inspiration and compose new music?
Sebastian: I don’t really know. It starts almost like hallucinations. It’s not something I choose. The insanity of an artist might be real. I get drifted away from reality and can’t concentrate on anything else than the creation of the visions in my head. So I just try to manifest what I see and hear on the inside to get it out of my head. Then when the song is born I am free. And really that is what it’s all about for me. I got to get the voices out of my head. I don’t write music because I wanna be in a band. I write even when I am not in a band. And I don’t really write for NECROPHOBIC. I just write and sometimes it fits NECROPHOBIC.
– As far as I know, you play the guitar since the age of nine. Can you remember the first song that inspired you to dive into the guitar’s charm? Did you ever want to play any other instruments?
Sebastian: At nine I wanted to play singer/songwriter stuff. But I discovered metal a year after that and then a new world opened up. The first riff I learned was “The kids are back” with TWISTED SISTER. That was how I learned power chords and it opened up a new world to me. I play very little piano and drums. But I don’t have time to practice as much as it takes to be good on more than one instrument. But I would really love to.
– All the band members wear corpsepaint and special clothes on stage. Is that a concept that makes you feel more into the whole mystical and dark atmosphere that you want to pass to the audience through your songs?
Sebastian: I like image bands myself. Always preferred WASP and MOTLEY CRUE over MOTORHEAD and SAXON image wise. I think it is a good thing to dehumanize the musician so that the audience can concentrate of the message of the music instead of thinking: haha that is Sebastian Ramstedt that have four kids and a happy marriage with Johanna. I wanna leave that side of me backstage and enter the stage purely as the musician I am. It is not fake. It is just an exaggeration of the person who writes the music. The one who I am when I am in a creative phase.
– Thank you very much for your time! See you on the 22nd of April, 2023 in Kyttaro Club, Athens! The last words are yours…
Sebastian: Thanks for the interwiew! Can’ t wait to get there! See you on Saturday!
Interview: Filomeni Riga
Cover Artwork: Alexandros Soultatos
Design & Editing: Alexandros Soultatos
Photos: Jens Rydén (photos Νο.1, 2), Kimberly Goss (photo Νο.3), Joakim Stabel (photo Νο.4), Jenny Ramnér (photo Νο.5)
Date: April 18th, 2023
External Link: NECROPHOBIC – Official Page
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