Interview with Torbjörn Weinesjö, guitarist of Swedish doom metal legends Veni Domine, by Curumbor Elendil.
C.E.: You have 6 songs for the new album recorded already...What's the name of the new album, if you've decided yet? How would you describe it musically? Will it be released on Massacre like the others?
T.W.: Yes, six songs ready. We don't have a name for the album yet, I would say
musically that there are a little less keyboards so far and the guitar is
taking a step forward. We don't have those long songs on this album, I would
say they average about 5 minutes. As I listened to the mix of the six, I was
kinda surprised that we have good glow on this album, more like on the Fall
Babylon Fall cd. Could be that we recorded this one ourselves and that the
chemistry of the band is shining through....At least that's my
opinion.....but Veni never really cared what other people said about the
music so If we´re happy.....we're happy!!! I have no idea abot the release
C.E.: So you said the last 4 songs can't be recorded yet because Fredrik, your
vocalist, has been sick for almost a year...Is it anything serious? I
certainly hope not!
T.W.: Well.....I would say it's pretty serious becuase he can't sing the high
pitch any more!! And even the low notes are a problem, he can sing them but
it hurts. He's been seeing a lot of different doctors and throat specialists
and most of them say it's due to the stress factor, that his belly is
putting up a fight and restrains the vocal chords from functioning normally.
He's taking medication and we'll see what happens. It's totally out of the
question to replace him!! We'd rather wait it out and continue when he's
well. I know the time factor is always critical when having a band that is
making records but it's not important to us if Fredrik's not in on it.
C.E.: I've always thought that your lyrics, especially on "Fall Babylon Fall,"
were quite spiritual and insightful in a unique way, more so than other
"Christian metal" bands that took a more evangelistic or preachy stance.
Somehow the language captures the tone of ancient Christian writings,
particularly the Bible. Any comment?
T.W.: Yeahh!! I like the spirit on Fall Babylon Fall, the bible has so much to
offer when it comes to lyrics. We really did not want to become a "Christian
heavy band" like Stryper etc. We wanted to have another type of depth
lyrically and musically, hey...in the end we're just humans that will face
our maker and I hope that we will bring a few with us that not would have
been there otherwise. For me/us it's very important not to pass judgment on
anyone...I consider myself lucky not being the one to judge. Let's face
it....life can be kind of difficult at times and I would rather talk to
people about it and share some of my experiences than just throw them a
bible in the head. (No offense Stryper, diversity is good!! I was really
into you guys.)
C.E.: Now some members of Veni Domine have participated in side-projects with
"mainstream" metal bands (Zoic for example), and I'm sure you've played
some shows in non-religious venues, and so on...How has the metal scene
there in Sweden - or northern Europe in general - reacted to your music?
Do you find that you are accepted for your musical ability, or is there
hostility from some quarters?
T.W.: There sure is some hostility; we rehearsed next door to a band called "Dark
funeral" and those guys were not thrilled to have us around I heard from
secure sources, and we've done some TV stuff with Satanic bands....We don't
have a problem with that but they sure seem to have. ;-) But other than that
we get along great with the secular scene and as soon as you start to know
people they judge you for who you are and not what the history says about
Christianity. We can have good laughs about anything actually, but I guess
it's all about who you are and what your intentions are. In Europe we've had a big 80's thing going and everyone wanted to play traditional British Heavy Metal, no problem with that but sometimes there is a little too much recycling going on.........We though are not totally
hip and we know that, I mean you can't hook up with every new trend, that
will only devalue the name of the band, as I see it. Veni Domine will always
search its own way and I'm very proud of that.
C.E.: Oh yeah, I know Dark Funeral. I don't like that kind of music myself
(never mind the lyrics!). What kind of TV stuff have you done?
T.W.: Not much, a couple of them explaining heavy music and Christianity.
C.E.: Your music definitely has a distinctive style and isn't identical to that
of any one band, but whom would you describe as influences on your
T.W.: Wow...how much space do you have....? The guys in Veni have some common
grounds like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Rush, Yes, Kiss, etc. Other
influences are Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Rick Springfield (that's mine...I
know it's pretty lame...but anyway...), Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Spocks
Beard, Depeche Mode, classical music, Saga, Jerusalem, and the list goes on.
I tend more and more to listen to productions from the big artists like Michael
Jackson, Madonna, etc. because it's so well done!!
C.E.: A friend of mine insists that he hears some Queensryche in there on
occasion. Any truth to that? ;-)
T.W.: Your friend is right! Just forgot to mention them. Both me and Fredrik
listened a lot to the "Rage for Order" album wich I think is their best album
by far, "Operation Mindcrime" and "Promised Land" being 2nd and 3rd. People
tend to think that Fredrik's voice is a carbon copy of Geoff's - sure they have
a lot in common but Fredrik always sounded like that (as a grown
man, of course ;-)), so if we had been famous before Queensryche it would
have been the other way around... I can't compare Veni with Queensryche;
they're huge and/but we're heavy ;-)!!!
C.E.: Weren't you friends with the guys from Seventh Angel at one point? Do you
still keep in touch with them? What are they up to these days? They
broke up a few years ago and were never heard from again.
T.W.: We had the same record company in the early 90's but no, we don't keep in
C.E.: Were you pleased with the sales of "Spiritual Wasteland"? How about your
tour with Saviour Machine - how did that go? Are you planning any tours
yet for the promotion of the new album?
T.W.: "Spiritual Wasteland" did OK, I would say... It's a big problem nowadays that
you have to release a new album every year or second to be remembered. For
us it's almost like breaking a new band in every time we release because you
can't release an album every third or fourth year, that's just suicide. And
it's nothing we ever wanted but that's the way it is. I mean we had songs
ready for every new album just after finnishing the last mix on the
previous, but somehow things always seemed to take forever...none
mentioned, none forgotten... The tour with Savior Machine was great! It was a dream come true to get out on the road! S.M. were totally the nicest guys alive (hope I don't wreck
the image of the band!!!) and were very cooperative and everything. Many great
moments... Actually Thomas the drummer of Veni will help S.M. out on a couple of gigs
in Germany I think. Well about the new album...we'll just have to wait and see.
C.E.: Personally, I think these bands that release an album every year start to
sound stale after a while, most of them. I think most bands should take
longer on their songwriting to make sure that every song is a good one.
Anyway, I think the "doom metal underground" still knows about Veni
T.W.: Thanks mate, I guess you're right and I agree with you. It's like there are two different
types of music. One side for the commercial interest, you know, consumers'
music - and one side for the musicality, for people who listen to music, not
consuming it!!! If you get my point... The strange thing is that we always
wrote the songs pretty fast. It's kinda frustrating, I have
already 15-20 songs ready for forthcoming stuff and it's been like that
the whole time. No shadow on Massacre Records though!!