They don´t like it to be called supergroup, they are not another band from Sweden, that cares about local traditions too much, they profits from different musical backgrounds and have an awesome album ready for you. This is OVERTORTURE – listen to it and feel the pain!
Mazeltov to a wicked album, I suppose you are curious like a bow about the reactions of the crowd out there to the new album, right?
Joel Fornbrant: Thank you! As of answering this interview, the album release is only a few days away, and it's going to be very exciting to hear people's opinion on it. All the reactions we have had so far, from reviewers and people who've heard the album early, have believe it or not been positive. I'm sure there will be a couple of guys who hate the album, but so far it's been great reactions which of course feels awesome.
The press gives you (partially) the imprint of a super group. What’s your opinion of that?
Joel Fornbrant: I personally don't like that term. Super groups are usually boring as hell. Also, we are not THAT recognizable, even though some of us have played in bands that are well known in the scene. Sure, we're no newcomers either, but I'd much rather see us as just a regular band.
Why is the band walking on planet earth, and where did find each other?
Magnus Martinsson: It all started in the beginning of 2011 when I was home sick for a long time, recovering from fatigue syndrome. When I started to get better I got extremely creative and riffs, ideas and songs started pouring out of my hands like crazy. But it didn’t really fit GRAVE, the band I played in at the time, so the thought of a new band was born. When I felt that I had some good tracks I sent them to Fredrik Widigs to see if he wanted to make reality of my ideas and it didn’t take long before he said yes…. Shortly after that I contacted Jonas Torndal that joined shortly after Fredrik. But we needed a singer.
One day at work I listened to a lot of different bands and came across COLDWORKER, and I was really blown away by the vocals! Exactly what I wanted for this band! So I took a real longshot and sent an email to the band’s email address asking for Joel’s contact info. We clicked right away and Joel immediately started writing lyrics for the tracks I sent him, and In October 2011 we layed down vocals on several demo tracks.. And that’s pretty much how it all started.
After this my old friend Andreas Hemmander joined shortly before the recording of the album, and Jonas quit in November 2012 and was replaced by Joakim Antman.
Who are the guys who are responsible for this new bloody Swedish butchery?
Magnus Martinsson: Just five Swedish guys born in the good old 80s who loves the art of Death Metal! We have all played music since we were teens and have played/plays in some known (and unknown haha) death metal bands like Grave, Coldworker, Demonical and Witchery prior to founding Overtorture.
Is it more than just a pastime?
Magnus Martinsson:Music is a way of life and a part of you, so it’s definitely more than just a pastime, but we’ll probably never be able to live and support our families by playing the music we love. But if we could do this fulltime we would! Who wouldn’t… ;)
Tell me about the album. And are you releasing it just on a German label? Is it because we have the biggest and best scene here in good old Germoney?
Joel Fornbrant: Overtorture was founded with the sole intention of only releasing music on German labels. No, just kidding, but you Germans have a great appreciation for most things metal so naturally a lot of the interest in the band has come from there. Swedish labels are few, and the next natural step is of course Germany. I'm very happy with Apostasy releasing our first album, and hopefully this opens up a lot of opportunities for us to play gigs on their home turf.
You have produced it by yourself. So you don ‘t like it when other degenerated brains fudge in your work, eh?
Magnus Martinsson: Haha!.. Basically we decided to do it this way because we realized that we had all the tools and equipment to do it by ourselves, so we wanted to try it out. It was actually never a question of doing it any other way when I think back, and it turned out very well! It’s a more relaxed way to record than in a studio you pay per hour, and cheaper *blink*.
Ola Englund (Six Feet Under) is a good friend of ours, and we really like his work! So we knew we’d be in safe hands when choosing him for mix and mastering, and we have many common musical references so we were on the same page from the start concerning the sound. We wanted to keep it raw with a lot of punch, and it really turned out great!
What about the “fun – factor” while the songwriting, rehearsing and recording is going on? Was it all serene and relaxed? Anyway, I can’t hear any pressure and cramped arses.
Magnus Martinsson: You won’t find any cramped arses even how deep into them you look haha… We’re all relaxed and easy going guys and we have fun when rehearsing etc. These tracks are very fun to play and they’re damn heavy live! So can’t wait until we hit the stage! During a normal rehearsal we drink a few beers, crank our amps and blast away.. But if someone does any mistakes I kick their balls so they won’t do it again… Hahaha.. Just kidding.
“At the end the dead await,” mhm not exactly Nobel Prize wisdom. What about the album title and the song?
Joel Fornbrant: Wisdom is boring and has no place on a death metal album. The song is about the murdered getting revenge on their killers in the afterlife. How's that for an intellectual subject? We thought it had a nice “albumy” ring to it, so it became the record title as well. And it also made for a good cover.
What is the album mostly about? Are you fulfilling typical stereotypes, maybe you write lyrics because you just need them? Is blood and pus flowing over the dance floor? Or is it more?
Joel Fornbrant: I like writing lyrics, so they are there is definitely more effort behind them than just having some cool words to grunt along to the songs with. I don't try to be overly smart with them though, so they deal with the typical death metal topics, like murder, insanity and general death and mayhem. I threw in a couple of science fiction-type lyrics as well, because that's always fun. I try to write them in a coherent way, so they fit together despite dealing with different subjects.
Musically, is it classic Swedish evils meet the sun-drenched Florida?
Joel Fornbrant: Yes, it's a little bit of both I guess, like wearing shorts and sandals to your Dismember shirt and leather jacket. We like all kinds of death metal which shows in the songs. And we should not forget good ol' England either, because Bolt Thrower is of course a big influence.
Is Overtorture a democratic construct? I mean with all the experience you guys have, no one can move in the foreground without getting a black eye.
Magnus Martinsson: It’s pretty much democraticJ.. I’m taking care of the most of the daily “business” and run every important thing by the rest of the guys.. But some less important things I take the decision by my own. It’s a danger if everyone would be involved and have a saying in exactly everything, then you wouldn’t get anything done. But we listen to each other and we mostly have the same view on things.
Can you still learn from each other, or is this point already overstepped?
Magnus Martinsson : You never stop learning and especially if/when you play someone else’s riffs for example, because we all have our own style of playing and writing stuff, so there’s always something you can learn from each other I think.
As for the experience of Overtorture members being other bands, is this a bonus, or is it sometimes a challenge for pig heads?
Joel Fornbrant: I think it's mostly good, since everyone can use their experience do bring something different to the table. It will hopefully contribute to creating a unique synergy of ideas. All bands do things a little bit differently, but I don't think this has presented any difficulties for Overtorture so far. I think we are lucky to not have any really pig-headed people in the band!
Are the different styles you come from, or still play, an advantage for the band?
Joel Fornbrant: As I said in the above answer, it's probably an advantage of having everyone in the band adding their perspective to the music and ideally creating something that feels uniquely Overtorture. This will perhaps come more actively into play later in the band's career rather than now, since all the songs on this album were already written before we had a full line-up. But I'm very excited to see what we can come up with as a full band in the future!
With a well-stocked back catalog it is much easier for a real newcomer like you guys, right?
Joel Fornbrant: Of course. When you come from bands that have already made some impact it's much easier to raise eyebrows and get people interested in a new band. The downside to this is that everyone has very high expectations from the start, so you have a lot to live up to. I must note though that we are very far from a level where we can just be lazy, pick and choose among gigs and have all sorts of money thrown our way on a regular basis. We still have to work hard to get anywhere.
And another band from Sweden! Your scene must be bigger than ever. And there are only musicians, no fans who don´t play an instrument … or am I wrong. I mean, when you play shows, you play in front of your fellow musicians! That must be scary!
Joel Fornbrant: Haha! You are correct, there are shitloads of bands from here, so playing in a band certainly isn't as special as it used to be. There are people who just dig the music without playing it though, even if it's hard to believe. The scene is also very concentrated to the bigger cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg. In Örebro were I live there are maybe five bands total in the history of death metal... But yes, some gigs have A LOT of musicians and scene people in the crowd. But it's fun to play “spot the semi-celebrity” when you're at shows, so it's all good.
As your first bass player left the band, you had a replacement very quick. Is this a positive thing?
Magnus Martinsson:: It’s of course always sad when people leave, but we’re still friends with Jonas, no hard feelings there.. So this has been a very positive change, we got to know a new great guy and musician namely Joakim Antman who’s been a great addition to the band.
As the death metal plague flooded the putrid world in the end 80s, you were all still kids. What was it that brought you to the point where you are today?
Joel Fornbrant: I discovered death metal in the mid- to late nineties, when the scene was pretty much dead. There was I and maybe two other guys in my town who liked that kind of music, so we started playing together and a few years down the line peoples interest in this kind of music started coming back, which was great. But when I started listening to it, it absolutely felt shitty to have missed the glory days of death metal.
Thx to have you here on Fatalgrind, last spot is yours!
Thanks for the interview! Overtorture is releasing its crushing debut album, “At the End the Dead Await”, January 25th on Apostasy Records. Be sure to pick it up! Check out our facebook page or overtorture.se for more info on the band and hopefully we'll see you on the road in the future! Cheers!