One of the longest running death metal bands in the world, itís been a while since Grave has been active. Having risen from a six year hiatus, Grave is ready to plunder the world, having released a brand new album approporately entitled Back From The Grave. And now, the returnÖ
What took six years to get this album out?
Ola Lindgren: Good question. (Laughs) But youíre not the first one asking, Iíll tell you that. After the Hating Life album, we did a lot of touring both in the US and also over here in Europe. After that, we observed that the whole scene was kind of slow in those years Ė a lot of people turned to the Black Metal scene and the interest for death metal really wasnít that big. We had basically said that we would take a break and see what would happen Ė it just took a hell of a lot longer to get something together again than we ever expected. Between 96-97 and up until 2000, nothing really happened. In early 2000, we got a full line-up again and started jamming, rehearsing and writing new material.
There was also that debate going Ė did Grave break up or did they not break up?
No, we never official declared that the band had split up. It was a very long holiday.
During that time, were you involved with any other bands or projects?
Actually, none of us had anything musical wise to do basically. It was very strange; weíd be doing that for most of our lives. But we have normal jobs and families and so on. I guess that kind of contributed to our getting back together Ė that none of us were really satisfied with our lives in general Ė like having 9-5 jobs and going home, having dinner and watching TV Ė and then starting all over again the next day doing the same thing. We wanted to write music and do what we always were best at and have fun again. And thatís basically what got us together again.
What prevented you guys from starting a Black Metal band and what do you think of Black Metal scene in Norway?
Not much actually. There are very few of those bands that I listen to or could even say that I like. None of us were ever into that kind of music. We never had any intentions to start such a band as a side project or would join any other such band. There are a few that are really good Ė Dimmu Borgir, I like them a lot, also Darkthrone and Dark Funeral from Sweden. But thatís pretty much it.
On this new record, you have an extra disc containing all of your early demos. What made you decide to release those?
I run the home page for the band, and I had a lot of mail from fans who would ask if they could buy copies of the old demo tapes. And I got the idea to put them all on one CD, and I was going to sell it through the homepage pretty cheap for basically change and postage. Century Media heard about it and asked me if we could put that on hold for a year or so and have it as a bonus disc for the first pressing in Europe and in the States. We thought it was a pretty cool idea too. That way, a lot more people can get access to it. And it shows the whole evolution on what happened to the band before we got signed and started making albums. The demos were from 88 and 89.
How does Back To The Grave compare to your classic albums?
Pretty good I think. It has been very well acknowledged and recognized over here in Europe. Itís been out here since October 25th, 2002. And I havenít done this many interviews for any of the previous albums. Weíve had a lot of response through very good reviews in magazines, very good interviews and a lot of mail through the homepage. It seems the interest in the States is also very big. The whole album is pretty much based on heaviness Ė very heavy, brutal, groovy in the kind of Soulless groovy style with darker vocals back again, as Grave should sound.
The Extremely Rotten Live album is out of print. Will that be re-released and why is it now out of print?
I donít know really. Itís been out for a couple of years I guess. I know they are planning re-releases of some of the older albums now since weíre getting active again in the band. They already did Into The Grave with some bonus tracks and the Youíll Never See album with And Here I Die (EP) on there as re-releases. And I know they are going to put out Soulless as a second edition with some bonus tracks on it. I donít know if itís planned, but itís possible that the live album will be out again.
When you look back on your debut album Into The Grave, what do you think of it now?
I actually think itís a pretty great album still today. I hadnít listened to it for many years, and when I got the re-releases from the States a year and a half ago I listened to the whole album through. Itís re-mastered, so itís a lot more powerful I think than the original version. I listened to it all the way through and to the bonus tracks and I think itís a pretty cool album. Itís not this typical Swedish Stockholm sound like Entombed and Dismember had back in those days. Itís a little bit different than the typical Swedish sound I think.
When you guys came out here in 1996 to play in the States, how did those shows go?
Pretty good actually. You live in such a big country, so itís pretty hard to book a tour where every show can be crowded with people, because you have to move around to get from the bigger cities. You have to take the smaller places in between and preferably put the big cities on the weekends. In general, I think it went good. But itís always cool to get over there. People are always very friendly and really appreciate us taking the time to get over there. We get very well received over there.
Are there any plans for you to return to the States this year?
Absolutely. Weíre trying to work everything out right now. We have a European tour, which will probably start at the end of March and go all the way through April. Weíre actually doing this festival in Jersey Ė the March Metal Meltdown. Weíre flying over just to do that one show like an exclusive gig. It should be a pretty cool weekend, so if youíre planning to go, we will be there for sure. But as soon as the European tour is taken care of, weíre planning to get over to the States like in May or June.
What to you is the best and worst part of going out on tour?
The best part is of course that hour when youíre onstage performing and getting immediate feedback from the audience. The worst part has got to be all of the travelling which pretty much sucks! Over here, you almost always go by night Ė itís not hard Ė you just pack up your stuff and get on the bus Ė you can get drunk, have a good time and then go to sleep in a bed. But over in the States we often do a van tour because itís very expensive to rent stuff. Itís a little bit worse there, but most of the time if itís not a very long drive weíll have hotels anyway. But all the travel time really kills you Ė itís like just staring out the window for ten straight hours. And being away from families and friends at home also.
So do you guys have any Grave groupies floating around Europe?
Thereís always a couple, yeah, but you pretty much know them and see them every time so you donít want to touch them really. You know theyíve been there before.
When performing live, do you prefer playing the newer or the older songs?
Itís pretty even. Since the album has been out here, weíve played a couple shows here in Sweden and Finland. It seems like people know the new songs also and itís very nice for us to play them live. But itís always those old songs like Into The Grave and Soulless are very appreciated, but also the new songs get the people going also.
Does everybody in the band have day jobs or are you all rich rock stars?
We are no rich rock stars for way long. Right now we all have day jobs right now, but weíll see what happens with that situation when the tours get booked. As long as you can be on the road and do what you like, thereís no need for anything else basically. When youíre out there, thereís not much to worry about. Itís always those months in between when youíre home and you have no income. But weíll seeÖ
What kind of jobs do you guys have right now?
Iím in sales, computers and electronics. Jonas is a very well paid computer engineer Ė a rich bastard. Fredrik is in construction. And Jensa works in a big place where they have fairs all year round.
With Entombed being mentioned a few times in your bio, I was wondering what you thought of them.
Theyíre good friends of ours. We live in the same city. Weíve known each other forever. We traded demos with those guys back in 88 or 89. If we went to Slayer or Iron Maiden shows, we always met up with those guys and had parties. They always got the most attention from the Swedish press. They hardly ever mention anybody but Entombed in the press. But theyíre very good friends of ours and we go see each otherís shows and we see each other and have a couple of beers every now and then. Thereís no rivalry between us.
How did you feel when they stole one of your band members back in 1996?
Ahh! That was not so well taken care of, but mostly from Jorgenís part. We didnít really mind. If he wanted to do that and jump on the wagon, then we wished him the best of luck. It just could have been handled a little bit smoother. We basically didnít know anything about it, and then suddenly he was playing with them. The first show we played with them I had heard about it afterwards that he had played with them Ė and I hadnít even heard from him that he was going to quit with us first. But itís nothing Ė weíre still very good friends.
Do you have any messages for Grave fans here in the States?
A big thanks to everybody for supporting us all through the years and also these years when we havenít been active at all. People still writing letters and writing through the home page Ė and just making us feel that there was an interest for the band again. And thatís why we got together. A big thanks to that and hopefully weíll see everybody on tour when we get over there?
And a final question. Will we have to wait another six years for the next Grave album?
Absolutely not! And thatís a promiseÖ
INTO THE GRAVE: Their Official Home Page!
CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS: The Record label for the mighty GRAVE!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!