Anyone who is a major fan of old-school thrash should rejoice knowing that The Defaced are around! A Swedish "supergroup" of sorts, with two members of Darkane and a member of Soilwork under their ranks, they've been able to grab the attention of many fans already. With their debut album, "Domination Commence" just released here in the US (released last fall in Europe), I decided it was time for a little chat with the band, and guitarist Mattias Svensson was able to fill me in.
Wayfaerer-Just to get this out of the way early, with the line-up you guys have, is this a full time band or just a side-project?
Mattias-I get this question a lot and I can of course see why. My answer is that The Defaced is by all means a regular band and most definitely not a side project. The five of us are totally dedicated to The Defaced and the band is a priority for all of us. We really believe in what we've got here and want to make the best out of it. We're a hard working metal band just like any other.
W-Could you give a brief history of the band?
M-You could say that we started out in 1995 (!) under a different band-name. As well as the name was different so was the musical approach. But although important, this was the embryo for The Defaced. From this time three The Defaced members featured: me (Mattias Svensson (guitar), Klas Ideberg (guitar) and Henrik Sjöwall (vocals). Demos were recorded but nothing big really happened record company-wise, (maybe because we didn't send them around a whole lot) although that the demos contained some cool songs. Gigs were played gaining a good on the local scene, supporting bands such as Hellacopters and the late Mary Beats Jane and Skintrade.
In late 1998 the bassplayer were replaced by Jörgen Löfberg who was an old friend of the band, who brought a more distinctive bass-sound.
With this the name was changed to The Defaced. All old songs were thrown away and we started writing completely new material. And it was here that we sort of found our formula for real. In late 1999 the former drummer left the band due to musical differences and were replaced by Henry Ranta. With him the line-up was completed and a new dimension were added to the rhythm section of the band. New songs were written and recorded, which immediately gave result in a contract with Scarlet Records in Italy for the European release. We started to work on the debut album which as you know was given the title "Domination Commence".
W-Is it hard to get together with everyone's busy schedules and other band involvement?
M-It takes a bit of planning but up to this point it hasn't caused any big problems as a matter of fact. We're all quite disciplined and like to get things done in a proper way. Probably because we're dedicated to our music and what we're up to in The Defaced. You know, theres always time for The Defaced.
W-Are you happy with the end product of Domination Commence?
M-Well its a somewhat scary feeling being in the studio laying the last hand on an album. Because you know that when thats done you have to let go of it. After that no changes can be made. But to answer your question: yes, very much so! We aimed at making an album that wasn't typically Swedish-sounding. Therefore we decided to record it in a different studio than in the ones used more frequently by Swedish metal bands. I think we achieved the natural raw power in the sound that we were looking for. And also that we managed to capture the dynamics of the songs in a good way. It was a quite intense recording period and the album was recorded and mixed in 16 days. Since the studio that we used, called Hit-Parade, is located in the middle of nowhere we could totally focus on the making of the album which was quite cool. To live, eat and breathe the production.
W-You guys have a bit of a cross of American and Swedish sounds coming through, what do you think is the biggest cause of this?
M-I think that the best explanation for this is that the main part of our musical influences can be found in American bands. Speaking for myself I can say that bands like early Metallica, the bay area scene in the 80's, Faith No More and Soundgarden are examples on stuff that has meant a whole lot to me. I've never really been into the domestic scene here in Sweden, or the European either as a matter of fact, with one exception, early Maiden. Growing up listening to that kind of stuff youre bound to letting it show in someway. And as for the Swedish bit, well, were Swedes no argue about that.
W-Domination has been out in Europe since fall of last year, hows the reaction been to it over there?
M-Were satisfied with the response that it has got. Weve been able to do quite a lot of interviews with both magazines and webzines and also that the main part of the reviews have been very good. What were lacking right now is that were dying to go live with this. We cant wait to get out on the roads and most hopefully that will happen in a not so distant future. That would be the icing of the cake.
W-You got Domination Commence licensed for release here in the states by Nuclear Blast, how are things going with that promotion-wise and whatnot?
M-Yep, thats right. Were of course very excited being a part of the Nuclear Blast family which gives us a great way to reach a lot of people in the American territories. Initially weve been hooked up for a whole bunch of interviews just to get the wheels spinning. And Im very glad to say that it seems like many people really dig what they hear from us. It feels like weve got good back-up from NB so well see what the future holds
Thats all I can say at this early stage.
W-Have you written any more material yet?
M-Were always working on new songs and as a matter of fact weve got a bunch of cool songs ready. Were very excited about the new stuff. Its got The Defaceds sound all over it and everything but the sound has developed in a natural way, for example it feels like weve developed the grooves even more. Well continue writing until we feel that weve got enough material to enter the studio again to record a second album. One things for sure though, we refuse to go lame in the process of developing our sound. Were The Defaced and weve got our base, around which we progress. Some bands change almost too dramatically which gives the audience little chance to follow. We do what were good at and we are what we are.
W-Where did you come up with the slogan "Music to rip your face off"?
M-Well we figured like; the way we sound combined with our band name, that it was a quite cool thing to write as a press statement around the time that the license deal with Nuclear Blast was announced. It wasnt anything that we sat down and planned but all in all I think it has a nice touch to it
W-What was the image you were trying to portray with the cover art?
M-The artwork is made by a guy called Carlos del Olmo. We simply gave him the title of the album and he handled the rest. While our thoughts around Domination Commence were placed in the musical area, his interpretation of the word domination took a slightly more physical turn=) What he came up with is very raw and have some hidden stuff too in it. (I.e check for the $-bills in the logo). We liked it immediately and with only some minor changes it was all set.
W-Will there be any live shows of The Defaced in the near future?
M-For the moment nothing is confirmed but I surely hope that there will be some festival dates this summer. Were totally dying to play. I know its a cliché saying that youre a live band but what the hell, thats the case with The Defaced. So we cant wait to get out there and kick some ass, I can tell you that.
W-What have you been listening to lately?
M-Lately two albums have been spinning a lot: Blind Melons soup that I just discovered this week, even if its from the mid 90s. And also Opeths Blackwater park which was a big surprise to me since I normally dont go for domestic metal. The clean vocal parts on that album are brilliant, a lot of Pink Floyd vibes I think.
W-Whats one question you would liked to be asked but never are asked?
M-Why is your dick so big, ha ha ha. No seriously
Something in the line of being suggested the opportunity to support a fitting band, lets say Skinlab, on tour. Hopefully thats a type of question that we will get, well just have to keep our fingers crossed.
W-Any closing comments you'd like to make?
M-I really hope that the overseas metal-heads will check Domination Commence out and give it a chance. Hopefully theyll love what they hear and hook up with TheDefaced family. I also really hope that well be given the opportunity to play in the American territories in the near future, which is something that we think would be awesome. Stay metal let the domination commence