Entombed A.D. - Nico Elgstrand

Entombed A.D. - Nico Elgstrand

ENTOMBED A.D. have dropped the Death Metal monolith “Bowels Of Earth” straight from Sweden earlier this year, and METAL KAOZ got guitarist Nico Elgstrand on the phone to get a behind the scenes look of how the album-making went. But that was not all; Country music was discussed and even “Star Wars” was thrown into the chat... Curious? Read below then.

Entombed A.D. - Nico Elgstrand

Hi Nico, welcome to METAL KAOZ!
Hi Dimitris, thanks for having me.

How cool was it having the album’s release date fall on the same day with your birthday?
That was a good one (laughs). We played in Romania the day after and I got very hammered. Anyway, it was a cool thing to have the album released on my birthday. I am not much for Christmas, and to be honest, the birthday thing gets less and less fun the older we get. But this was a good one because I had something to be happy about instead of just getting older (laughs).

I feel you, man, I am 44, so I see what you are saying…

It’s all downhill from this point, bro (laughs)...

Don’t say that, man, come on!
A lot of stuff get better with age and in fact I would not like to be 19 again.

Oh yeah, being 19 in this state of the world? Count me out also.
No, man, no way.

However, and although I am not a fan of this question, I will do it anyways; do you think as you get older playing in a Death Metal band gets harder? Do you get to point to say ‘I cannot do this anymore’?
Definitely, I mean physically I would say any job that involves traveling does get harder as you age. Obviously this did not apply to Lemmy but he was the only one in the fuckin’ planet. For the rest of us, there is an age when the frickin’ tour bus is just not cutting it for you. I guess, it is a matter of staying in shape relatively so this will not happen anytime soon. But eventually you just have to stop this.

Although my question had more to do with actually playing Death Metal because I am sure at some point it gets tough. I mean, Tom Araya also said that he cannot keep doing this.
Well yes, I mean, you may be able to do this physically but mentally it may get tough with age. Don’t forget about headbanging because it does quite a lot of damage in the neck muscles.

Ok, enough with getting older, let’s talk about something more fun. How long did you work on “Bowels Of Earth”?
We started off around 6 months after the release of “Dead Dawn”. We recorded it but then we realized that it was not cool enough. So, it was done into two parts and it end being a lengthy process. When we started recording the end result of the songs then it was done pretty quick like a couple to three weeks if you count the back-and-forth between the different studios. The recordings we did with the entire band in the studio went really fast. I would say the long and painful process was putting the songs together and choosing the right ones which I guess is the horrible part (laughs).

You said that you chose the right songs; are any of the ones that you left out of the album worth to be released?
Oy yeah, those are not bad songs; it is always good to write too many songs so that you can pick and choose what to use. It is hard to say though; there may be two of them but we may have like five that we can do. We will discuss how we can release them because some of them have been already mixed. It is always good to have something because Spielberg may call us one day asking for a song and then boom, you are in “Star Wars”, man (laughs)...

That would have been extremely cool!
Yeah, wouldn’t it? (laughs)

Absolutely! You mentioned that for some of the recording sessions the entire band was in the studio at the same time; in the press sheet that came with the album L-G says that you recorded the drums in one studio and the rest was done in a small studio. How did that work for you?
The fact that it was smaller meant that we were on top of each other (laughs) and this made everyone feel more relaxed and not really think that we were recording an album. And we realized that next time we will do the same thing in a really small because at the end of the day it is the performance that you want. Of course you want to have the best snare sound but if you have a great take with five guys and you have a little bit of a shitty snare drum you can always fix that. After all, you can use modern day technology to fix such things instead of being enslaved by it. It is crazy how many things you can do nowadays with technology. Also, everyone is doing a mistake at the same time it does not matter if you have a good groove. This makes the process more exciting. Being an old dog like me it is a relief having the technology following you; I mean, you can record straight into a computer and it will tell us what tempo we are; it is amazing man, I love it.

However, there is also the other side of the coin with bands and guitarists in particular who use a laptop to make them sound awesome.
Of course, but the cool thing with me is not that I want to sound better. I just want to capture the shitiness [sic] of us. But yeah, you are right I mean for a player growing up with all this help... Shit, I would have never learned to play the guitar. I could download this thing, press a couple of buttons and you have this super-great powerful riff pumping in stereo. As long as you fuck around with notes and you develop your hearing and your sense of melody and whatnot, then I support you’ll always become a great musician. But yeah, I am happy I grew up in a time when instruments had to be learned.

Got it and I agree. Guilherme [Miranda] has been with the band for quite a long time playing live so when did you decide to make him a full-time member?
He’s been full-time since he started but we were in the process of finishing “Dead Dawn” and he pretty much jumped onboard before its release. So, he did not have the opportunity until now to contribute to the song-making. It took some time because he had to move to Sweden as he was stationed in Brazil. In fact, this is how we hooked up; we were on a tour in South America touring with KROW and he was playing with them.

Did he contribute on the songwriting for the new album?
Yes, he did. In fact, he brought some Brazilian Death Metal vibe into the songs and I think this is very close to the Stockholm Death Metal or maybe we should say it’s a bounce off Stockholm Death Metal. His concept and approach are obviously different but in a very refreshing way.

Talking about the guitar work I love what you did in “To Eternal Night”; there are a lot of nice leads there.
Thank you, man. I am quite happy with that one and it is a really weird one. It has a Gilmour-esque solo because I am trying to be him and be able to play like he does (laughs).

It would be interesting to switch bands with him and have him play for ENTOMBED A.D.
Yeah, man, that would have been something else.

And then, you have the Hank Williams cover although L-G does not sound Country at all…
No, he does not. It was really that the record company asked us to record a bunch of covers for the fuck of it. We ended up with some Metal ones and some – how to put it – pretty given ones but those were lame versions of the originals. I am fan of when you’re doing covers you should be doing something different with that especially with songs that are different with what you do. I had already in my head L-G singing “A lawyer proved I wasn't born, I was only hatched” and I thought right away “oh man, I have to hear this”. The original plan was not to put this on the album but use it as a bonus (we have four more songs that are going to be used like that). We did the MOTÖRHEAD song [“Back To The Funny Farm”], “Cross-Eyed Mary” from JETHRO TULL and one from Tom Waits...

Tom Waits? That’s interesting…
Yeah, man, we did “Misery Is The River Of The World”. We also did a Swedish protest Reggae song that is a favorite of mine where L-G is singing in Swedish. That was also like “are we really going to do this?” but it sounded great!

What’s the name of the band?
It’s a guy and his name is Peps and his band is called BLODSBAND.

Cool, it is awesome to cover a song where the singer is outside his “singing-box”.
Yeah, at the end of the day if the lyrics are really good, like in the Hank Williams song, it will work in pretty much any form.

The old school Country songs have awesome lyrics.
Oh yeah, in fact I have started liking Country music more and more. It is mind-blowing that the lyrics can make the three chords come to life and make you say “holy shit”. I am really getting old, man (laughs)...

I was about to say that, Nico (laughs). And you also have “Bourbon Nightmare” where you have some guy saying something in Spanish, right?
Oh shit, they’ve told me about it but I have forgotten. I think he is saying something like “let’s go get hammered or have a party”.

Well that makes sense, I guess…
I have to double check but that guy is a really famous singer from... I can't remember the country but he is from South America.

The European tour ends on November 17th, so what have you planned after that?
There are talks about North America and hopefully South America too in the same stretch. Last I heard was that it will happen in the beginning of next year and that’s the only thing we have planned right now.

Got it.
But nothing has been confirmed yet.

Have you chosen the songs from the new album to use in the setlist?
Yeah, we have already played two, “Torment Remains” and “Elimination”, and we are going to play quite a few.

Well, you should.
Yes, the new songs are fun to play and this also because the way we recorded them. I mean, it is much more comfortable playing the live. I think everybody is going for like half the album at least. You can really tell from the rehearsals that these are very good live songs.

Yeah, in fact while listening to the album, I get the ‘live' feeling. Sometimes Death Metal albums tend to sound ‘plastic’ if you know what I mean. The album breathes on you…
Thank you very much for saying this, I appreciate it. It is really important to let move around and breath.

It is also funny to read some online comments saying things like “this is not Death Metal”…
I did an interview yesterday and was asked how the Gothenburg Death Metal scene came in and it has nothing to do with what we do. But for people who got into that at that time they think it is the coolest and is the definition of Death Metal and not what we do. At the end of the day, everybody is entitled to an opinion but I definitely hear you; it is a weird thing to say.

I remember back in the day we had may five different Metal genres and that was it. And now we have everything under the sun. It is Metal and that’s the only thing we care about.
Yes, you are right, it is pointless to use so many different distinctions. Some has said that there are two kind of music; bad music and good music.

And that’s the best way to close this interview. Thank you so much for your time, Nico. Have safe travels and hopefully we’ll see ENTOMBED A.D. live in Chicago.
Thank you, man, I am looking forward to it. Cheers, have a nice one.