– Hi there Andreas. Thanks for answering to our interview. How are you guys doing having just released your third album?
Hey! We’re doing good, feels great to finally have the album out. It was a long process getting this one out, considering we had the album almost fully recorded over 2 years ago.
– This newest ‘Vortex of Disgust’ is your third record. What significance does it hold to you? I guess a debut full-length might be more like a learning experience, an experiment from which you get to know what methodology works better for you and what works better for the band, a sophomore somewhere where you can learn from the previous mistakes and a third maybe a step forward into establishing your signature sound.
That’s actually the best description I’ve read, sums it up rather good. The first album was just getting to know we were gonna play this shit, we had never played straight up detah metal before. ”Diorama..” was a direct response to that one, slowing things down and finding an other doomier groove. In hindsight maybe slowing it down a bit too much. With this one I think we’ve landed in a tempo that suits us perfectly, a bit faster than the previous one, but with lots of doomier elements and a little more experimentation. It feels like this how we are supposed to sound. But one never knows, the next album may be totally different.
– And to what extent this process/experience is linked to a personal process? As you might know yourselves and each other better now.
Hard to say. I have always been the one who writes the music in the band, and of course I’ve evolved and matured in how I write the songs. But I’ve been writing music for 25-30 years by now, so I know how I work. But as far as the process in the band it’s been fairly consistent how we create our music since our last album. Mainly me, Peter and Daniel going through the mess of different riffs I come up with, dissecting and putting stuff together.
-Anyway, how would you compare your three records? Is evolution in the band a constant process?
The evolution of the band is pretty clear, at least to me. The first album was just a punky old school swedeath shamble of songs I had to get out of my system. Growing up with that stuff as a kid I needed to do an album in that vein. I remember being a bit lost musically after the first album was released, not knowing what to write for a while. I couldn’t do another song in that vein anymore, that much I knew. ”Diorama..” was a direct response to that, trying to find a new way of playing and writing. With ”Vortex..” I think we managed to find our way of playing and are happy with how it all turned out.
-On this album you present a new vocalist, Tiago. How did everything start? He’s also writing lyrics, right? How do they match with yours?
Yes, Tiago joined after our previous singer Rille left in 2021. We had the album recorded except for the vocals when he left, and the first person I thought of was Tiago. I knew him a little from before, and really liked his vocals, he has a great range. So I contacted him right away and he was down from the start. Worked out smoothly. He’s great at writing lyrics, so I now can take a step back in that department. I have mostly written lyrics out of necessity, not really being something I wanted to do, but we needed lyrics and someone had to do it. But Tiago has his own style, a bit more sci-fi/mythical/esoterical way of approaching writing.
-Delving deeper into the album, first off I’d like to know a little bit how and who worked on the cover artwork and how did you want it to be, since it’s a very clear and visual depiction of the title.
The cover was done by the mad german artist known as Necromaniac. He had previuosly done the cover for our split 7” with Graveyard Ghoul. At first we had friend do the cover. He’s an amazing artist, but has a more cartoony/cut n paste style of doing his art, which didn’t really fit our concept. So after some debating in the band we decided to go down a different path visually. But we were really short on time, and Necromaniac agreed to do it in just 2 weeks. He got the songs and lyrics and got free hands to come up with his own vision of it. It turned out great and we are all really happy with it. It’s a vortex, and it’s disgusting.
-The title itself is very visual too, was that the idea or is it also maybe a metaphor for something more abstract?
No, it’s just something I came up when writing a lyric about nausea and vomiting, haha. I work as a nurse at an emergency surgical ward, and I get to see a lot of fucked up shit on a regular basis. People puking and shitting blood, stab wounds, shootings, cancer and death in general. I tried writing something about some of those experiences, and the line ”Vortex of disgust” came up and it sounded good, I so it turned out to be the title of the album.
-You wrote and recorded this album during the pandemic. While you’re working on it are you actually aware of how a dystopian situation is it? Has this record become some sort of haven for you? A means of escapism?
I was more than aware of the dystopian side of the pandemic, working at the local hospital. Always dressing up in protective gear, daily reports of the increase in covid patients, taking care of people not being able to breath etc. I was spared from the worst though, since I work at a surgical ward the worst covid patients were placed at medical wards or the ICU. But still being able to play and write music was definitely a way of keeping myself sane in all of this shit. It was actually a blessing, since there were no live shows we could focus 100% on writing new music, not having to go through old stuff. So ”Vortex..” is definitely our pandemic album.
-In practical terms, how did the whole situation affect the process behind the album?
We still met up at our practice space regularly. There wasn’t a total lock-down in Sweden, so we could still meet up and play together. I have zero skills with recording on computers and sending files. I still just use my mobile phone to record riffs in my basement so I wont forget them. If I would have needed to just sit at home and write and send stuff around to my band mates nothing would have happened.
-How does an exceptional situation like this affect what you’re writing? I guess even if unconsciously, it’s always there, in the back of your head. Does it show in the lyrics or sound in any way?
No, I don’t think it affected our writing in any specific way. Maybe the album is a bit more focused since we could focus on just writing and rehearsing. But that is hard to say, we don’t know how it would have sounded without the pandemic. The album would maybe have been delayed even longer if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, since we would have to do shows and rehearse old songs too.
-Once more ‘Vortex of Disgust’ has been released by Pulverised. Even being support big a established label in extreme Metal you somehow seem to operate in a kind of DIY way. How important is this for BASTARD GRAVE? How much do you value a DIY ethos in underground scenes?
Most of us in the band grew up as some kind of punks, and have been involved in the underground punk scene for years before starting Basstard Grave. So the DIY ethos is firmly imprinted in us, for better and worse. It’s just the only way I know how to do stuff. If you want something done you can’t sit around and wait for someone to hand it to you, just go out and do that shit you want to do. I’ve booked all our tours myself, since that’s what I’m used to. It’s hard work, and maybe would be easier to have a booking agent taking care of that shit. The DIY ethos is what makes the underground flourish, because this is something we do for ourselves, just for the passion of it.
-And finally, what’s next for BASTARD GRAVE? I’ve read you have a split 7” coming out. Is there anything you can already tell us about this?
Up next is a tour in the autumn, haven’t announced the routing yet, waiting for the last shows to be confirmed. We haven’t been very active with booking live shows, since getting the album out took all our focus. But if you want us at your place, just get in touch. And yes, we got a split coming out soon, about to be announced in early april with a band from japan. Feels great to have things happening on different fronts. (If this interview comes out after the split is announced, I can add that it’s with Gravavgrav from Japan, the new-ish band of japanese death metal stalwart Naru. The cover is again done by Ragnar Persson who did our first album cover, and it’s gonna be released by polish labbel Behind the Mountain Records.)
-That was all we had. Thank you once more for taking the time. If you feel like adding any final words; it’s your turn.
Thanks for the interview, thought out questions and continued support! Always appreciated. Hope to see you all down the road somewhere. Cheers.