Interview by: Brendan O’Mahony
Pics: © Olga Kuzmenko Photography
MGM: Hey Sven thanks so much for taking the time to sit with us for a chat.
SDC: Oh no problem, happy to do it.
MGM: So, I have to ask how was your trip over from the UK?
SDC: We were on the ferry with the storm and it was not fun. Four hours and people getting sick everywhere.
MGM: Yeah you guys have made a gigantic effort to get across here and we do appreciate it.
SDC: Oh no man we are happy to be here.
MGM: Talking about the tour, this is the third show in three years for you guys in Dublin. You had Kataklysm and Septic Flesh in 2016 and then the Kreator and Sepultura tour in March of last year and now tonight so three times in three years, you guys are doing something right?
SDC: Yeah, well I hope so.
MGM: Especially for the Kreator gig you were the first on at half five in the evening, much like Unfathomable Ruination tonight, so how does it feel to go from first on to headliners now?
SDC: It’s been great. Obviously, it is a very different circumstance because the Kreator tour is a much, much bigger tour. The European dates, some of the shows like Essen in Germany was six thousand people. They are a massive band and it was a massive package so the conditions were very different but it feels good to be out here doing our thing and some good turnouts as well.
MGM: Yeah, most of this tour on the mainland European tour leg have been sold out for this run.
SDC: Yeah seventy or eighty percent were sold out or upgraded to bigger venues, I think the average was four or five hundred people so it was really good. We were very, very happy with how it turned out. I mean London was crazy as fuck and yesterday in Nottingham in a small venue but the crowd was super cool and really into it. We are stoked to see what Ireland will do because we are playing two Irish shows with one down in Limerick tomorrow.
MGM: Yeah Dolan’s is a great venue.
SDC: I don’t know of the place as I’ve never been, so I’m curious to see what that is going to be like.
MGM: Well some big metal bans have come through there recently in terms of Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death so you’re treading a very good path there. Traditionally it’s been Dublin and Belfast for shows but Limerick and Galway are starting to get shows now too so it’s great.
SDC: We’ve never played anywhere else but Dublin so it’s very surprising and cool to see there are two Irish shows.
MGM: On this album tour you’ve had some dates over in Australia and New Zealand in September and then after a short time off you started the European tour. You are doing thirty-one dates in thirty-two days. How intense is that? What’s the preparation like for that?
SDC: Well I think we don’t have any days off on this tour actually. It’s like any tour, we usually don’t do days off because they cost you a lot of money. You see the thing is if you have a day off and allow your body to rest then the day after you’re just (mimics being passed out). You’re way more shot than you were before though I will say, since we did the US tour earlier this year with only one day off for forty shows maybe, and then this one as well, we noticed that maybe we will take a couple of days off because it’s nice to recharge a bit. It’s more like about halfway through the tour you hit a certain dip because it’s intense and very physical but at some point, you get back over that dip and stabilize. There are days when you are tired and days when you can push on through but really it doesn’t matter because you have to give 110%. To the people it doesn’t matter, they don’t give a shit if you had a day off or not, they paid the ticket money to see a good show so you gotta’ give it to them no matter what.
MGM: Reading about the new album ‘Terrorvision’, you guys got to do a lot of pre-production for the album because you live so far apart, so in terms of the tour then is it difficult prepping for the tour?
SDC: We do the same thing each time for the tours, we book a venue for about three days before the tour because we’ve brought a lot of production stuff too for this tour. We want to watch our lights, stage props and all that kind of thing. We have a very modular setup, we can’t do it tonight because the stage is a bit too small, but we have a bunch of shit so we practice with the lights and the P.A because we have more mixing desks. We invested a lot to be able to bring the show in both smaller and bigger venues and to make it as a professional or as a big a show as possible. We practice the set, interchange stuff, feeling it out to see which songs work and which songs won’t be for this tour because it’s a very brutal package. We didn’t want to go on full on brutal, we also wanted to have few other things in there and then we noticed after a few goes that this song works and this one doesn’t until we had the set worked out.
MGM: Speaking of having a brutal package for the tour, between your last album ‘Retrogore’ and now the new album ‘Terrorvision’ there is a noticeable difference in sound and style. ‘Retrogore’ just didn’t let up, just pummelling all the time but you’ve introduced some melody into the new album so that has obviously affected the choice for songs.
SDC: Yeah, we have more atmosphere on this record. We play four new songs in the hour set. I mean there’s a new album but people want to hear a bit of everything and I don’t think it’s fair to be like here’s eight new songs and just two or three old songs. We made it so everyone gets a bit of everything and we get to play some new songs. Actually, for the UK and Ireland shows we changed the setlist, making it a lot more dynamic.
MGM: Yeah you can hear on the record that you guys have been listening to a bit of Suffocation and Carcass which has then blended into the sound.
SDC: Yeah definitely.
MGM: For the new album, having that chance to do some pre-production due to living so far apart, do you feel you’ve made a better record because of this?
SDC: It’s not so much us living so far apart, I think it’s that we had the time to do it. We hadn’t played a show since the Kreator tour finished until the American tour in May/June, so we had a lot of time to focus on the writing and send stuff back and forth. A lot of songs went through something like twenty revisions and we were being very picky, you see some potential in something but it’s not there yet and you get the time to change it and go yeah now it’s where it should be. I think it really helped with the tracking too because we did pre-production of the vocals and samples and everything. We had a pretty good idea of how everything was going to sound like so when we went to record we had time to look at arrangements, fine-tune vocals and look at the production itself. There are four songs that didn’t make it to the album that we are going to do later which we are very, very happy about too but the album would have been sixty-five minutes and I think for this kind of music it’s a bit too much, too intense. Even us after forty or whatever minutes in a set it’s a lot. We also didn’t want the new songs do not get the attention they deserve. We actually recorded the sixty-five minutes in two and a half weeks so the pre-production definitely helped.
MGM: On the new record you have a couple of guests, Seth from Septic Flesh, Sebastian Grihm from Cytotoxin and Julien from Benighted. With the new style of writing, was that all passing files over the internet or how did it come about?
SDC: With Seth it was. For each singer we picked the songs where the vocals would blend in the best or add the most, I should say so for Seth we took ‘Terrorvision’ and then both Grihmo and Julien came to the studio where we recorded, Kohlekeller, because that’s also where their band’s record. Julien actually had a show the same night, in the same city so just came over during the day to record and Grihmo just drove over with the guitarist and they spent two days there with us.
MGM: Now that the album has been out for a few months, released on September 21st, how has the reaction been to the new songs?
SDC: I think good. It’s quite dense material that we are playing. I think the album needs a bit more time to process. It’s different, it’s got a lot more layers and a lot of things that you may miss on the first listen. There are a lot of details and guitar layers going on. We had the exact same thing with ‘Retrogore’, every time you play a new album the first couple of tours that you play people are kind of watching and absorbing it whereas the old songs that they really know, they are much more into it because they’re familiar with it, so with something less familiar they will have to absorb it. They don’t know what’s coming, they don’t know where the breaks are, blasts are, head-bang parts are so real it takes a year for people to really grasp a record.
MGM: In terms of the lyrics on the album, you’re talking about people trying to find fame in quite a vapid world. Where are we going as a society? Are we in trouble? Are we fucked?
SDC: That’s a very difficult question because we have a lot of mental health issues, a lot of conditioning and behavior. I think a lot of the real mental health issues are being spoken about which is good but then also the experiences of those who are attention seeking have gotten a lot worse because there is a platform for it now that everybody has access to. At the same time if you look at numbers, as a society we are progressing a lot. It’s very weird to see that there is less illiteracy, less disease, technology is advancing very rapidly, all these things that make progress, but at the same time, there are all these stress-related problems that are becoming more and more frequent. There are issues with people getting burnt out and suffering from depression and I don’t know if it’s a symptom of the time where it’s more acceptable to say that you are burnt out or depressed, especially for men, where before it was, you’re a man and you have to suck up your feelings and stomp them down or now we are just more aware because people are talking openly. There is constant exposure to everything, constantly being judged by everything. An eighteen-year-old now versus an eighteen-year-old twenty-years ago, back then you could do whatever the fuck and no-one would know besides your closest friends. There would be no judgment besides jokes between friends. You do this stuff now, your kids twenty years from now are going to know.
MGM: Social Media never forgets.
SDC: That’s what I mean. It’s this constant eye and pressure on everybody and sometimes it takes such a big space in your life where in relationships, for example, some people give more focus to their relationship status than the real life around them, than the actual person there in front of them. It’s a very strange thing to me.
MGM: Well you’re bringing the discussion to the table and it’s good that it’s being spoken about. Bringing us back to tonight and this tour you’ve brought some great bands as support in Cryptopsy, Ingested and Unfathomable Ruination so how are you picking the bands for the package?
SDC: Well Cryptopsy has been very good friends of ours since 2001. We did our very first European tour with Cryptopsy seventeen years ago now and we’ve toured maybe five or six times with them over the years. The main thing for me, especially with the European package, we want to have a good time without bullshit or ego and just have a bunch of friends on the tour. Not only did we want the friendship there but we also wanted a package where it’s not like one or two bands and then a bunch of stuff nobody knows or cares about, we wanted four solid bands, bands people want to see so when you pay for a ticket you’ve got quality death metal. I think it’s working and that’s why there has been such a good reaction to the shows.
MGM: So, then with metal in general what albums have impressed you this year? We’ve had some great releases from High on Fire with ‘Electric Messiah’, Monotheist released ‘Scourge’, Alien Weaponry and their album ‘Tú’ alongside YOB releasing ‘Our Raw Heart’. What has really caught your attention?
SDC: Wow eh that’s a tough one because there have been a lot this year. I listen to a bit of everything, I listen to synthwave and that kind of shit because it’s very different from metal and it reminds me of my youth in the ’80s, a bit of nostalgia maybe. There’s also a darkness to it that I really like. For metal I think the new E.P from Benighted is killer, the new Cryptopsy is killer, the Cytotoxin record was fantastic. I really liked the new Architects record too because it was very different. I don’t know if you know the band Humanities Last Breath but they are a Swedish band that is a sort of death metal/ deathcore kind of thing. They are really heavy and have really weird riffs. Their heavy, slow parts are really weird and strange which I find interesting and the singer is really good. As far as new bands I don’t know if you know the Danish band Baest?
MGM: Yeah, they’re coming here soon enough (playing support to Decapitated in February in Dublin).
SDC: I haven’t seen them live but I really want to. The record is really cool and I haven’t heard a singer sound as much like Mikael Åkerfeldt in a while so yeah, they’re really great.
MGM: Excellent so there are a few records to check out. Coming back to Aborted as a band you’ve had many, many line-up changes since you started in ‘95. Do you feel you have the line-up that will stick together?
SDC: I hope so. I mean we are all really good friends and I think it’s more of a matter that we will stick together if priorities in life don’t change. Family or work commitments are things that, as a band, we don’t have control over. I mean you can be great friends but if someone decides right well, I’m going to have kids or I don’t like touring anymore there’s not really anything you can do about that. Tours are thirty or forty days at a time and you are away from home so it can be a lot.
MGM: So, what comes next for Aborted? You’ve just been announced for the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic and you’ve got the Vagos festival in Portugal next summer but what does the early part of the new year hold for you?
SDC: We are actually looking to do a US tour as well. We’ve been talking about it and we want to do a similar line-up to the Hell Over Europe package in the States. It’s either going to be the same or very close to the bill we have had. It’s still being decided so not official yet but we hope to do it.
MGM: Great news so I hope it gets sorted for you guys. I have one last question for you. There are quite a lot of jokes or memes about yourself and Joe Rogan so how do you feel about that?
SDC: Hahaha apparently all bald people look alike. Hey man if I look like Joe Rogan, I’m not going to be mad and if I made his money I’d be even better.
MGM: Well Sven I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Best of luck with the show tonight, Limerick tomorrow and the shows beyond.
SDC: Man, thanks to you for taking the time to do it and I hope you enjoy the show tonight.