– Hello and thanks for your time. To start, could you do a little history of PORTRAIT to all those who don’t know the band yet?
Portrait formed in Kristianstad, Sweden and became an active band in the spring of 2006, though some of the songs on the first demo date a few more years back. We released our debut album in 2008, and just recently released our second album, “Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae”.
– And why PORTRAIT? Is your music some kind of portrait (to a music style, a concrete attitude, a concrete period…)?
There naturally is a certain esoteric meaning to the name which is a bit difficult to elaborate upon within a few lines of a music interview. The name was inspired by the song “Portrait” by Coven, and also by the novel “The picture of Dorian Grey”.
– Next month you will release your second full-legnth album, «Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae» but I guess you have already heard some feedback. How has been so far?
The response this far has been solely very positive, which was honestly really what we expected.
– I think this is, overall, a darker and heavier album than your debut. Was this something intended?
Not really. Music turns out the way it does; it’s hard, not to say limiting to set a definitive direction in advance. But of course your moods, emotions and the phase of life you’re currently in might play a certain role for the outcome. I guess everything I ever wrote was dark and heavy in some way.
– Maybe, due to this, comparisons with bands as MERCYFUL FATE can be stronger this time. How do you feel about it?
Well, if people think we sound like Mercyful Fate or any other band that’s fine and up to them. What I’d feel about any comparison would depend solely upon its foundation.
– Anyway, beside an obvious 80’s Heavy Metal influence, I also noticed some details similar to bands as TROUBLE, for example. So, what are your main musical influences?
Hard to say, and there would be many. To make it easier I’ll just namedrop a standard set of bands: Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate, Motörhead, Judas Priest, Blue Öyster Cult, Venom. I love the first two Trouble records of course.
– And what could you say your fans are going to find new in this record?
Eight amazing songs they never heard before they listened to it.
– I have read from you, this is your «first real album» or your «real debut». What can you tell us about this?
What I meant by this is that I regard that debut album of ours as more of a demo. It was a home recording done with zero budget in a couple of days, and the material was not really done any justice at all. The performance of our former vocalist on there however is my major reason for dissatisfaction. He had a hard time to sing the songs, and that is all too audible. I wish we wouldn’t have released the album with him on it, but what’s done is done.
– I think you have always played old school Heavy Metal but with a «modern» sound, and this time you have recorded the album at Necromorbus Studios. Do you think it was the best choice for your sound? As I have always thought Necromorbus achieve these two elements fit quite well.
Whether we ever had much of a modern sound I don’t know. But I would say the new album has the first worthy production in the history of this band. Necromorbus clearly was the right choice. We are very satisfied with the work of Mr. Stjerna.
– And it has been produced by Tore Stjerna. How did everything go? Is the result what you were looking for?
The recordings were done in between two and three weeks. Things overall ran pretty smoothly, and as I just said, we are very satisfied with the result.
– «Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae» is your first album with a major label as Metalblade. How’s everything going with them so far? And how did you hook up with them?
Mr. Nemtheanga (Primordial), who had just started to work as an A&R for Metal Blade, saw us play at a German festival called Hell’s Pleasure. Some time afterwards, we were offered a deal.
This far, things have mostly worked out fine.
– Sweden has always had an important extreme Metal scene, nowadays and back in the day, but Heavy Metal seems to be, somehow, overlooked. During the 80’s we could find bands as HEAVY LOAD or AXE WITCH, and nowadays bands as IN SOLITUDE but, anyway, didn’t get the recognition some bands got in Germany, the US or UK, for example. So, how’s the Heavy Metal (or old school Heavy Metal) scene like in Sweden?
I am not sure about whether the Swedish traditional heavy metal scene was much more overlooked than many others back in the days – I mean, at least there were a few bands here to actually make themselves some kind of name even abroad. Like Heavy Load and Silver Mountain. But of course there were also a few excellent groups that would never make it above the underground level, like everywhere else. As for today, recent bands like Enforcer or In Solitude are fairly recognized even here I’d say. All kinds of old school stuff within metal are pretty trendy over here right now.
– You recently toured UK, how did the tour go? And how was the acceptance for the new tracks?
Those were mostly Irish dates, actually. I think the shows went fairly well, though the crowds could have been bigger. We played three or four tracks off the new album, and people seemed to enjoy them a lot.
– I also read at your MySpace that «Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae» will be followed by an European tour. Could you advance us anything about that?
We were supposed to go on a European tour in May, right after the release of the album, but unfortunately things fucked up in different ways with some unserious bookers etc. The tour will happen later.
– And finally (and beside touring), what are your near-future plans? What can we expect from PORTRAIT?
There are plans for coming releases, but I don’t want to go official with anything yet. You’ll have to wait and see. The main objective right now is to tour the hell out of this album.
– That’s been all from my side, thanks once more for your time. Now feel free to add any final words to the interview.
Thanks for the interview. Buy our new album. Hail Satan!