Massgrav (14.10.13)

Hi, guys! How’re you doin’? Opened a beer already?)

Johan: Yo, doin’ good over here. But of course! I was born with can of Bud in my hand.
Ola: On my way to get one now.

You played in Kiev recently at international Zverovidenie. What’s your impressions of the city and the public?

Johan: Great city and a great crowd. I was quite blown away by how huge the city is. It’s hard not to like a city with a huge shining statue called “Iron Maiden”. The gig was great too. Most of the people seemed to be into our style of rock’n’roll. Too bad though that the stage was so far away from the crowd. It could’ve been really intense with a closer contact.
Ola: Yeah, what’s with that “the stage is gonna be 5 meters high? Apart from that, the whole trip to Ukraine was great, I hope we can come back some time. We walked around quite a bit and it seemed like a nice city with lots of parks and a lot of stuff going on.

Massgrav exists for a long time, and for years you’re having troubles with drummers. What’s the situation today? Is everything settled down now?

Johan: Yeah, things have pretty much settled down. Fenok has been behind the drums for three years now. And you know, he’s a freak of nature, a puritan who mixes the drumming with a healthy Kung-Fu lifestyle. So I’d say the risk of him falling to pieces is pretty small. The chance of me or Ola breaking down is probably much, much bigger (at least Ola..)
Ola: Hell, I’m breaking down all the time, I’m a fucking wreck! Fenok will outlast us for sure! So that’s nice, having a solid line-up.

There’s one thing that bothers us, why was the band inactive until 2000? Is there any reason?

Johan: Well, it’s not correct to say that we were inactive. Both me and Ola wrote songs and we also did some rehearsals when we had the chance.
Ola: The thing is, we had to sack our first drummer for reasons we’re not allowed to talk about and then I moved to Stockholm and Johan stayed behind for a few years, so we couldn’t really do much without a drummer and a place to rehearse. I didn’t even own a bass for a few years, until I could steal one at work. But yeah, we’d get together now and then and play in my living room and write some new songs. But all in all, we didn’t do much, it sucked.
Introduce the current members of the band. And please, tell us a few words about every one of them.

Johan/Norse: Captain America, plays guitar and sings, major football freak.
Ola: Bearded bass wonder. Only communicates via computers when sober.
Fenok: Drums. Kung-fu legend and pinball wizard, cat lover and the nice guy of the band.
You’ve released a great CD last year! Is there some plans for the future, what to expect?

Ola: Thanks. There’s some stuff in the works so expect a cover 7” soonish some other stuff as well, too early to mention though. The next full length is probably a little ways off still though, we haven’t really written a lot of new stuff yet.
Johan: No, we’re too busy touring the world. And after all, since Still the Kings is such a great album, you can all stand a little waiting. You know it’ll be worth the wait!

What’s the roles of every member of the band? Who’s author and who’s bringin’ a beer?)
Norse: Handles the merch sales and writes the fastest songs
Ola: In charge of artwork, website and gig/trip planning
Fenok: Photographs, mainly. Since Indy did fuck all, all the chores were already taken when he joined the band.
After all, band’s a collective, and collective is a strange living creature. How do you get along with each other, is there a frequent disagreements between all of you?

Ola: We get along great. I don’t see the point of having assholes in a band (which a lot of bands seem to have). If we didn’t get along, I’d see no point in spending so much time with these guys.
Johan: Me and Ola have never had any big disagreements regarding Massgrav. It has always been pretty clear to us what our mission and vision with the band are. And since we’re a very democratic band we tend to avoid all unnecessary fighting and shit like that. Its better to take out our rage on all the other assholes around the world.
What album was the hardest to make and why?

Ola: The split with Blood I Bleed, because at that time, Indy was really fucked up and we just barely managed to record the songs. We couldn’t afford to do many takes on the songs, we had to try to nail them on the first attempt and the last song, we had to put a break in the middle so we could record it in two takes, his arms were giving him so much pain.
Johan: Yep that one was quite tricky. But during the recording of “Napalm over Stureplan” I also had a lot of problems with my throat so that one got pretty delayed in the recording process .. At the end I had to give myself a shot of cortisone in the throat before I started to work on every new song.

Needless to ask about sweden underground scene, ’cause everyone knows about it)) Tell us about you national cuisine, what do you prefer the most?

Ola: the best swedish dish is Tjalknul. You take a large lump of frozen meat, stick it in the oven over night, then dunk it in very salty water for half a day and then it’s done. Time consuming but easy. Most Swedish food sucks though – that’s why there aren’t any Swedish restaurants in the rest of the world. Kind of like Ukraine, actually. And England.
Johan: Well, as you can see Ola is way out of his comfort zone here. The swedish cuisine is quite good. Next to the american cuisine we are the best in the world. Since its a part of the gastronomic scene known as the Scandinavian cuisine that the last five years has been very popular and critically acclaimed all around the world, and I’ll say we pretty much deserve it.  Our cuisines are famous for their fresh flavours and foraged produce. From sweet berries to wild game and cured fish, the Swedish (and the Scandinavian) cuisine relies heavily on wild, natural ingredients. Most swedes are great foragers, bakers and preservers, making for a wonderful array of dishes and delicacies.  My favourite, traditional swedish dishes are crayfish, herring with mashed potatoes and Christmas ham
How do you make your own sound? What effect pedals you’re using, i think, this would be interesting to our guys 😉

Ola: In the studio, I always use an old German tube pre-amp called Tubeman (has to be the first edition though, the flashy one they made later sucks). Don’t understand why noone else uses these, they’re great. Live, I use a BOSS DS-1 or a TC Electronics Rottweiler. Norse uses nothing but the Peavey 5150 these days, no extra effect.
Johan: Yeah, no need to make things complicated. When we play live and there are no 5150 around I use the BOSS DS-2, turbo distortion, together with an BOSS GE7 equalizer.
You all adult men. I dare to assume that you’re giving your all to the band, and don’t give a damn about prestigious job and career and all this bullshit.

Ola: How could I afford my lifestyle without working. We’re not crusties or hippies – of course we work for a living.
Johan: Hell yeah!!

What recent music releases pleased you? Can you define some pretendents for final top of the year?

Johan: My faves so far are:
    Diskonto – Diskontinued
    Night Birds – Born to die in Suburbia
    Livids – All their 4 EP’s
How do you see yourself in, say, 10-15 years?

Ola: Retired. From the band definitely, and hopefully – by some sort of miracle – also from work.
Johan: On a beach chair in Hawaii with a Bud in my hand.
What’s the most attractive things to you in underground scene? Ever thought about playing something fashionable and share a scene with Shakira, or, for example, pinch her after the gig in backstage (what else to do with her?)) )
Ola: I can honestly say I’ve never thought about pinching Shakria until you put that thought into my head. The most attractive thing in the underground scene is probably all the people you meet, at least the nice ones, and all the free beer. If Shakria started showing up at our gigs, she would be on the list too. As for playing something fashionable – I think the music industry is something very different from what we do. If this was a career and we considered ourselves a product, I think that might suck the fun right out of it all.
Thanks for the interview, all the best and keep your beer always cold!

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