Monday, August 18, 2008

Interview, live - and off-stage pictures by Luxi Lahtinen

There has been a lot of fuss around Dissection, the Swedish masters of Satanic black-ish Death Metal, especially with Jon Nödtveidt, the band's founding member, frontman and true mastermind, getting a completely new Dissection line-up together. The band is ready to step forward from the shadows with a 'big bang'.

The band started their 'The Rebirth of Dissection' European tour from a completely sold out gig in Stockholm, Sweden on the 30th of October. When they finally arrived in Helsinki, Finland on the 4th of November for the very first time in the entire history of the band, I decided to use the opportunity to find out more facts from Jon Nödtveidt about the band's '2nd coming' and about the things that eventually brought the band back again.

The whole band was present backstage and the new Dissection members Set and Brice wanted to give their own input for the interview as well. Also, I guess it should be mentioned that Dissection's new single titled MAHA KALI was released just a short while ago and it has been sharing opinions amongst the Dissection fans quite drastically indeed due to its a bit different approach musically compared to the band's past releases.

The rebirth of Dissection is here... and now I let Jon, Brice and Set to talk more accurately about it and to clear up some rumors about the band as well.

Dear Metal dudes and dudettes... Dissection speaks out.


First off, how does it feel to be back with Dissection and making around some 'noise' again?

Jon: It's just unbelievable!! It's so great, I really cannot put any words to it how I feel to have this band back in action again. It really feels unreal, over the top. I'm just happy that we can be around again to make some 'noise' again as you put it so nicely, he-he!!

You recently played a completely sold-out gig in Stockholm and received some amazing response from that particular gig. How did it feel to notice that your fans have never forgotten Dissection and have been there for you for all these years, awaiting the return of Dissection?

Brice: It was simply a very special atmosphere coming from the fans of the band as we played for them for the 1st time for many years, you know.

Jon: Yes, the audience was very strong and very powerful, you know. The feeling overall was energetic and... the audience was just very good and supportive toward us, so I cannot complain a bit, he! The response from them was incredible. They were screaming and singing and being supportive toward us 100%, so it's definitely nice to be back. It also feels so great to see and meet all the people who have been there all these years for us, kind of waiting our return back to the scene again. It's also something that I cannot put into any words to describe my innermost feelings well enough over the whole thing as this is absolutely beyond any words.

Set: It was kinda weird because people came from all over the world to see us playing our reunion in Stockholm; from the U.S.A., Mexico...

Seriously, did you just say, even as far away as from Mexico...?!

Jon: Yeah...

Wow...! That must have been something for you then...

Set: Yes, definitely! That really meant something very special for us...

Jon: Yeah, it was a very special gig for us all in all, I can tell.

I read that the place for your reunion gig was 2-3 times for a bigger place because originally there were more people coming to your gig than they had tickets available to that particular gig...

Jon: Yeah, exactly. That's what happened.

And finally this gig was booked to a venue called Arenan ? and even that was sold out like in no time...

Jon: Yes, it was simply amazing that so many people came to see us there.


You also played the whole STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE ALBUM on that particular show in Stockholm. Did you feel like playing all the songs off that album, was some sort of 'necessary evil' toward your fans?

Jon: He-he-he... in a way, yeah, I think people were waiting so long to hear us playing those songs again and with the rebirth of Dissection wanted to, you know, reconnect people with our past and start off this band again by playing most of the old songs for everybody who had waited for us for this long and haven't seen Dissection live for many, many years. And for those who also waited for this long and didn't get to see Dissection in the past when we were around back in the day, you know. I can tell that we really enjoyed every second when we were playing our songs for the audience. It was amazing. We picked up the songs for our set that we felt we liked to play, so...

How would you view the amazing success of your last album STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE? What are those key elements on that album that made it such a success story in the entire career of Dissection?

Jon: I think that particular album has a special 'black' essence that's hard to put into any words, you know, put the word into the feeling and all the music on that album. But apart from that, I think, you know, it's amazing to see how big effect it had for the whole Black/Death Metal genre in general. For us it was just like we wanted to express ourselves musically as well as we could at that time, do our best we were capable of doing back then, you know. But we could never imagine that this record would be such a success for us as it turned out eventually. Even now, today, after all these years in prison, it's like a shock for me to see how many people know the songs in it so well and come to our shows and are totally about the band, you know.

Did you ever get any sales figures from Nuclear Blast how many copies of STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE album have been sold worldwide?

Jon: I simply have no idea at all, but I'm positive they sold quite a lot of albums worldwide, that's for sure.

You are the only one left from the line-up of STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE. How did you find the rest of the guys for the new Dissection line-up?

Jon: Well, when we started to put the band back together, I had had a contact to Set for a while already. Then I got a tape from Brice and Thomas, our drummer, he got in touch with us when he heard that Faust left the band. And it basically was as simple as that. We figured that everything suited very well, you know, it suited perfectly when it became evident that with this line-up everything was so perfect and smooth in our rehearsals, on the personal level and even on the philosophical level where we see Dissection ourselves as a Satanic band. So these three elements were the most important to us and they just clicked, you know, they worked out right from the start with this line-up. And that was what I was looking for, you know, people who had these ambitions there already, you know. That was not a very easy thing to find in the beginning. We got lots of video tapes and we received lots of mails, but I gotta tell you that finding the right members for this band was actually very hard. But eventually when we came to the point to try these other members out in the new Dissection line-up, it really clicked right from the start. It was an immediate thing, you could actually feel it.


So you didn't have to try out like dozens and dozens and dozens of candidates to find the most suitable guys for the new Dissection line-up?

Jon: No, no, no.... after we tried out these three members, I knew that, well, this is it, so... We just wanted to have time for rehearsing together and all that, but we felt, well, this is just so perfect line-up for the band, you know.

You have Thomas on drums who has played drums for Dark Funeral earlier; then you have Seth on guitar (ex-Aborym) and Brice on bass (ex-Nightrage). How would you compare this current line-up to the previous line-up you had on the STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE album? How would you say the chemistry between each of you in this current line-up differs from the past Dissection line-up?

Jon: Hmm... tough question, but I think the biggest difference is that we all are very focused persons and more like a band compared to the previous Dissection line-up as that wasn't always the case before. And because of this, the feeling and the atmosphere in the band is a lot better and I think we have even common goals about the satanic concept we have in the band. And that's is the most important thing as we are a satanic band. But it's still very natural for us to have this image because this is one of the things that we have been looking for right from the beginning, to have as solid line-up ideology-wise as possible, too.

As far as I know Set is originally from Italy and Brice from France? Do you guys still live in your own home countries?

Brice: No. we are both located in Stockholm now...

Ok, that's why I needed to ask this because I was simply just wondering how on earth you guys would able to have band practices if you still lived in your home countries, quite far away from Sweden. But that definitely clarifies this situation quite much...

Set: I've been living in Sweden for 2 years and half now.

Alright, I didn't know that at all...

Jon: Set moved up directly to Sweden when he became officially a new member of Dissection, so... This is also one of those things as we wanted to be an active band. We don't want to do a tour and then, you know, something else and then just look around what will happen. We want to be an active band and work together full time. And to be able to do that we have to be in the same spot.


You have this new Dissection single coming up titled MAHA KALI?

Jon: It'll be coming out soon, but it's not out yet. Right now it's still in the factory under a pressing process. I think it probably should be out 9th of November. It will hit the stores a little bit after that date.

Set: During this month (November) anyway...

Jon: Yeah...

How many songs will it have?

Jon: Two songs; the title track 'Maha Kali' and a new recording of 'Unhallowed' to reconnect the old material with the new line-up.

Ok, I see. Also I suppose you have already written a bunch of new stuff for your next album, so how would you say this new Dissection stuff is different compared to the material on STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE, for example?

Jon: Our new stuff is heavier and more straight-forward type of stuff, I think. But unmistakably Dissection all the way. you know, 7 years since we were an active band and with the new line-up, but the essence of Dissection is the same. We always try to take it a next step forward and create something new.

Was one of your main targets musically to try to maintain at least partly the same old Dissection vibe that you used to have in the past so that people could hear right away that's it still sounds like Dissection?

Jon: I think that's what comes naturally from us anyway because it turns out like that. We always wrote music in a special way that like... well, we just write music and then we simply find out that this stuff sounds like Dissection anyway.

He-he, so it's as simple as that actually...?

Jon: Yeah, it's like that. It has always been like that for us.

How much do you think you're able to stretch your sound in order to still be recognized as Dissection?

Jon: I think it's hard to say what are those particular elements that make us sound like Dissection, you know. It's not one or two specific thing (-s) because if you found that formula, what would it be, what would you say it was, you know. It's about the feeling; it's really about the feeling and if you listened to our previous recordings, you could notice there's a lot of different variation and different moods in our music from very brutal and fast parts to very calm and clean parts, you know. So I'm just wondering what is that single element or those single elements that make us sound like Dissection because we play a wide variety of different ways within our style. So it's something that has to do with this special feeling in the end, however. You just feel it if it's there or not. So far we have felt that the new stuff, you know, very much Dissection and to us it feels like we are creating like the ultimate Dissection album right now. We'll not copy the old style that much we had on our previous albums because that's not too interesting to us any longer. Our music would be dead if we tried to make it just an exact copy of our past albums, you know. So we always try to be as dynamic band as possible, step forward and create something new, but with the hands that create the music, the basic sound of Dissection, will always be there.


Generally, I have seen many people debating whether Dissection belongs to the Black Metal genre or Death Metal genre or some other genre of Metal? What's your own view about this? Is there any particular musical genre where you fit better than to some other known genre of today?

Jon: I have a simple answer to your difficult question: We belong to 'anti-cosmic Metal of death' genre, he!

He, he... could you explain more accurately what this particular description includes?

Jon: Well, it's the Metal of death, you know. It's all about death; the key to liberation. And it's the anti-cosmic Metal of death because our music is, you know, in harmony with the forces that are surrounding this cosmic universe, the destructive and dissolving powers. And it's Satanic Metal; anti-cosmic Satanic Metal of death. That's the musical,- lyrical- and philosophical point of the band.

Yeah, and I think to write both very focused music and very focused lyrics seems to go kind of hand-in-hand in Dissection...

Jon: Yeah, both of these aspects have always been very important to us. It's really both of the same thing. Two different parts of the same thing... So both the music and lyrics are an inseparable thing to us. They always go together for us as two very important things as far as Dissection's songs go.

Brice: Everything in our songs to us is equally important, both the music and the lyrics. Everything...

Jon: Exactly, because the inspiration that we get to write this music, comes from the topics that we write lyrics about. The music would not sound the same if we had other sources of inspiration. This is just different ways of expressing this, you know, through our music and lyrics.

How do you guys share the song writing process inside Dissection nowadays?

Brice: Jon does everything...

Jon: Yeah, because I already had the up-coming album written before I found the new line-up for Dissection. It's too early to say how this thing will be in the future because we haven't started with any more additional song writing at the moment because we have been focusing on this 'Rebirth of Dissection' tour so much lately and rehearsing the old material as well as the material that we are intent to put on our next album. So at this point it's just too early to say, you know.

I suppose you already have some nominees for working titles of your forth-coming album...

Jon: Yes indeed we have, but it's unfortunately way too early to reveal them.


And Nuclear Blast will eventually release it... or are you still with them?!

Jon: We are not on Nuclear Blast any more.

You are not?

Jon: No, we are not. We haven't signed any new deals yet because we want to make sure that we pick the right label for the next album. So we get a lot of offers, but we'll wait a bit longer before doing our final decision 'til we come back from this tour. I can tell that we have got lots of interesting offers.

But that's still like a 'hush-hush' thing inside the band, not to be revealed for a curious public?

Jon: Yeah, because we haven't even been negotiating with any labels yet.

Can you tell how many songs it will contain then?

Jon: Eleven songs altogether.

And all these songs are going to be new Dissection songs; no remakes of any old songs or whatever?

Jon: All songs will be new Dissection songs on our forth-coming album.

So there still isn't any other members of this band touch in any of these songs that will be featured for this upcoming Dissection album?

Jon: Not in terms of writing the music, but when we play this stuff together and rehearse it, it comes to a high level. When we rehearse this new stuff as a whole band, all the members, you know, color the music in their own way and they always bring it to the high level. That's how it was since the beginning, so it something that happens when the chemistry of the band works well together.

Have you already booked a studio for the recordings of this forth-coming Dissection album?

Jon: Not yet.

But obviously you guys already have some plans where you might record it, I assume?

Jon: Yeah, but we don't know yet where we could record our next album as we are still planning it.

Set: It depends on a lot of different things.

Jon: It depends on certain circumstances...

Set: Exactly...

What about some producers then... do you have any names in mind that could possibly have the best understanding to produce a band like Dissection?

Jon: Well, we have some names in our minds already, but the thing is basically the same as with this studio thing because we haven't made any decisions yet. It's really way too early to say anything about producers of the next Dissection album at this point, you know.

So when is this tour, 'The Rebirth of Dissection' going to end?

Jon: By the end of December 2004. We are coming back to Sweden right before X-mas.

And right after this gig here in Finland you'll play... where exactly?

Set: In Villnius, Lithunia 6th of November.

Jon: And right after that we'll play in Poland, Germany, Greece...

Set: ... Bulgaria...

Jon: Yes... Hungary, Slovekia, Austria, Italy, France, Spain and Czech Republic.

Wow... that's quite a lot of different countries...

Jon: The Netherlands, Belgium, England and Ireland.

Do you have any advance info from the booking agents whether some of these gigs are already sold out?

Jon: Some of them are sold-out already.

Brice: For example we already know that our gig in Munchen is sold-out already. Also our gigs in Poland are sold-out in advance already.

Jon: Some other places are also sold-out, but there are some places on this tour that we have no idea how they have been selling thus far, you know. But we are getting informed about them all the time, though.

I already heard that even this gig here at Nosturi is already quite near to be sold out; almost 900 tickets sold...

Jon: That sounds excellent, it really does.

Brice: It's pretty damn cool...

I don't wonder it a bit because this is your first time to play here in Finland anyway, so...

Jon: Yes, yes... this is our first time to play in Finland and it feels really great to be able to come and play here. We feel very great about playing here because it's been seven years since Dissection played live last time and there's a lot of places that we never got to play, for example countries like Finland, so it's always sort of a victory for us to be able to come to those places where we haven't played before, you know. Especially as Finland is so close to Sweden, it's great to be here for the first time and play our Dissection fans over here as if our Finnish Dissection 'fans have wanted to see us playing live, they have always had to travel to Sweden to see us, you know. So it's really cool that we finally managed to get this gig booked here.

Set: And that's only the beginning from us...

Jon: Yeah, absolutely as we will definitely come back to Finland!!

Sounds like a cool plan... I don't think I'll be the first one to complain 'bout it...


What do you think of some of these latest comebacks...I mean, bands like Exodus, Death Angel, Destruction, etc. - Judas Priest getting together with Rob Halford and so on? And now even you came back with Dissection! Undoubtedly there has been a huge 'boom' for all these reunions of some certain bands...

Set: I see Dissection's case as very different compared to these other bands' reunions.

Jon: Because we never really quit in the first place at all...

Set: Yes, exactly!

Jon: The old line-up dissolved, but before I was arrested, I was putting a new line-up back together. So in this case we had obstacles in our way that made us absence from the scene. But it was never a case that we consciously or intentionally made the band to take this break. This happened because of the circumstances, you know, the circumstances that we unable to change.

Set: As for those other bands that have been reunited after being away from the scene fro many years, I think it's up to every band whether they are in for it because the spirit or just for the money. Personally I'm not interested in judging or commenting any bands' purposes why they do it, being it for the spirit or for the money.

Jon: I don't know how they feel about themselves, so it's very hard say anything really.

Thank you guys for this nice conversation. I'll let you go now to do your sound check for tonight's gig. If you have any messages to your Finnish Dissection fans especially, then feel free to spit them out...

Jon: We are finally managed to get here to play for all of you crazy Dissection fans and we will definitely kick your ass tonight.

Thank you guys again...

Jon: Alright, thank you very much!

Set: Thank you to yourself...

Brice: Thank you!

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