Interview: The Crown

interview by rinaldo

The Swedish death metal outfit The Crown have just finished work on their new album, “Crowned In Terror,” which is set to be released in April, and followed by a major US and European tour. I met up with Tomas Lindberg (vocals), and Marko Tervonen (guitar) in front of Anaheim’s Chain Reaction.

Is this your first time in America?
Tomas Lindberg: No.

How many times have you been here before? Many times?
TL: Many times.

First time here at the Chain Reaction?
TL: Yeah, actually it is.

How did the recording of the album go?
TL: It went great. It took us awhile to get it finished, because we were not satisfied with the first mix of the album. So we went back, mixed it another place. It went smooth, you know. It was quite an inspirational time. That remix thing took us awhile to do so, we actually delivered the final masters after we got over here.

Marko Tervonen: Once we got finished, it was worth all the work. It was all good.

How long did it take to remix?
MT: Let’s see, first we did a normal mix, one week, then we remixed another week. But it was like a couple a weeks in between there, because the studio was so booked. The album should have been done in like November, but it got done in January.

What’s the title?
TL: “Crown In Terror.”

Have you started work on the cover?
TL: Yeah, everything’s quite much finished I guess. You know, it’s only the insert left. The photos, the art, our end of the deal is finished. It’s up to the Germans.

Any places you’d really hope to play in America?
TL: El Paso. (Laughs)

MT: Mostly the places we didn’t cover for the last tour, to be honest. I mean, I’d like to play, like, Texas–I want to play fucking everywhere.

TL: Me too. I mean, I’ve come here with At The Gates, so I really want to go back to those places [where] I had the most fun, which would be like El Paso, Boston, stuff like that. Some parts of Canada were amazing. I really can’t wait to get back on the road this time.

Have you been playing any shows recently?
TL: Well, we’ve done some festivals in Europe, but when I joined the band they were still developing the songs for the new record. So we didn’t really want to play much live, `cause we wanted to focus on the new album. So I guess when touring starts, then we’ll fucking go for it.

MT: Then we’re going to prove to everyone.

What’s your favorite track off the album?
TL: Oh, that’s a hard one. It’s so new, so I really don’t have the time to reflect on it.

MT: I would say “World Below.”

TL: That’s a black metal track off the album.

MT: Heavy and kind of groovy, definitely a good live song, gonna get a pit going.

TL: My personal favorite right now would be “Death Metal Holocaust,” `cause that says it all.

MT: Over the top song.

TL: That’s the over the top song on the record, total opposite of “World Below” actually. Right now I can’t really say, the songs are really new to us still. When you play them live, you can realize your favorites more and more.

What sort of influences came into play in recording this album?
MT: I think it continues what we started with two albums before. That’s to bring in all the influences into the band that we really like. We just continue with that, and with this album especially, we continue with that more focused. We put in the thrash metal, put punk, put rock and roll into it. We just do it a little more better.

TL: I’d say it’s a much more together album, because before it was spread out. We’d have one song that was more punk oriented, one that was more thrash, one more like old school death. Now it’s more together, every song sounds like The Crown.

MT: More together everything.

TL: Yeah, its more of a unite thing this time.

What do you think the most important scene in metal is right now? What do you think the future holds?
TL: I can’t really judge, you for me, I get into so many different styles. To me, everything is important–all styles of brutal music [are] important. I’m really not good at judging what’s going to be the next trend or shit like that. I mean, the next trend always goes over my head anyway. You know, with Slipknot and all that shit, so I don’t really care either [way]. I mean, what The Crown does, we do it from the heart. What’s most important to me is honesty, and the heart of the music. We’re a serious, honest death metal band, with a lot of heart in it. We don’t really judge, you know, what can we do to jump on the next band wagon. We’ve never thought like that.

So then, would you guys describe yourselves as a death metal band, or would you stray away from that, and just call yourselves a metal band?
TL: I think we’re pretty [much a] death metal band.

MT: We’re a death metal band. I mean, within death metal there are so many styles. Death metal is In Flames, death metal is Cannibal Corpse. There is a huge difference, but to keep it simple we call it death metal.

TL: Over all, at the same time, with the final mix of the album, we try to make the classic metal mix of it. Everything audible, the drums, the leads, the vocals and everything. So I guess normal metal fans could get into it as well, but still, we’re definitely a death metal band.

Who do you think is the most important band in terms of metal’s influences?
MT: For me, I’d say Morbid Angel. It’s like, I’m so into them–it’s almost like an obsession. I’m so fucking into them.

Which do think is their best album?
MT: Everything, I can’t pick one. They’re so fucking talented, every album is so unbelievable.

TL: For me personally, it would be Judas Priest, but you know, that’s personal. But there is a lot of really good stuff out there today which is really inventive as well. We still get influenced by the newer bands as well, like Creation and Rebellion, and stuff like that. That kind of stuff still influences us as well. We listen to the old shit, you know, whatever. We keep updated, and try to develop from that.

There are metal bands out there, especially some of the older ones, that try not to change at all. Do you guys think you continue to reach artistically and musically?
TL: Yeah, we try to go forward with every album.

MT: I really hope so. That’s always been the goal, to push ourselves forward all the time, and I really don’t care if we develop into whatever. As long as its honest we push ourselves forward, I’m happy with that.

TL: We do whatever we feel is right, and right now this album is really what The Crown is all about. You know, I think this album has a trademark sound, Crown sound. Like Marko said, we don’t care if the next album would be like, all of a sudden turn into a grindcore record. Whatever, who fucking cares? We do it from the heart.

With metal, there is this odd pressure where when a band is unknown, it’s seen as being true to the underground, and the bigger it gets, that attitude changes. Do you see that?
MT: No

TL: So far its been kind of easy, we’re still an underground band.

MT: Yeah, death metal is underground, so it doesn’t matter how big you are. Death metal is underground. So far, we never had any pressure from any labels [like] “You have to sound like that and that.” Its still all us, and that’s what we appreciate most.

TL: Even though the album sells really good, and whatever tours we get, there’s no thought of that. You know, we still consider ourselves an underground band. That’s what we’re all about.

Do you think there is a difference between the European scene and the American scene?
TL: Of course there [are] differences, but you can’t really point your finger at what they are. It’s more like a feeling you know. What I notice, I think the American scene might be a bit more open-minded–the line between hardcore and death metal is not that hard here. For example, in Germany, if you’re a death metal band and you say you like Poison ID or Black Flag, they will fucking dis you forever. Here, you know, hardcore and death metal [are] joined together a bit more, which I’m a bit more comfortable with personally.

MT: Yeah, I agree.

So it’s better to have music more open, go where it needs to go?
TL: Yeah man, as I said before, we go wherever our minds put us right now.

MT: Basically, there is only good and bad music. It doesn’t [matter] what genre it is. We’re at that stage right now. We only like good music, [and] we don’t give a shit if it’s black metal, thrash metal, punk, or whatever. If we like it, we like it.

Who was your friend who called you on the phone? (Immediately prior to the interview, a Century Media publicist at the show got a call, which she handed over to Eric amidst much yelling, laughter and excitement.)
TL: Sharlee D’Angelo, from Mercyful Fate [and] Arch Enemy. Quite funny, because he knows the Century Media girl–I was quite amazed. He’s one of my personal best friends. I don’t like Mercyful Fate that much [and I] don’t like Arch Enemy that much, but Sharlee D’Angelo is still one of my best friends–personal friends. So whenever we get together, it’s mayhem.

Any messages to the masses?
TL: It’s great to be back in the States again, and we can’t wait to get on tour, on the road and meet all the people who support us.