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Bjorn Petterson (Disfear)

Interview with Bjorn Petterson from Disfear
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 24 May 2008, 8:23 PM

I was so freaking amazed with the latest DISFEAR masterpiece Live The Storm that there was no way I would miss a chance to interview the band's guitarist Bjorn Petterson and make him confess everything about DISFEAR. Even though he avoided answering some questions, he is generally a talkative person (yeah, even via mail) and a great musician, something that he proves in Live The Storm.

Hello Bjorn. It is really nice to talk to you! Where do I find you now? Home in Sweden I suppose?

Yes, right now I'm at home in good old Sweden. We will leave for touring USA in a couple of weeks though. It's the real start of touring in support of the new album. Really looking forward to it!

First of all, congratulations on your new album. It surely did beat the living shit out of me! Tell me a few things about Live The Storm. How was the recording process?

Thank you very much for the kind words, really appreciate it!

Well, to be honest it was a bit stressful at first as we had to be done on time due to recording in USA. After a few days it turned into calm though. Things went really smooth we were done on time and even had a few extra days for mixing. Kurt did a really good job and made things easy as well as coming with great inputs. Really hope we can go there again for the next album.

Even though I did fall into the trap I dislike, calling you a Lindberg's work, you have formed the band on your own along with Frykman and Lindberg joined the band later on. How do you feel regarding people's opinion that this is one of Lindberg's projects?

I don't really care that much to be honest. DISFEAR is real, no side project. The reason we take such long time to release new recordings is just because we don't want to put out anything we don't feel 100% for if that's the reason people think this is a project. Quality before quantity you know. We want to release albums where all the songs are thought through and all the songs are songs we want to hear ourselves.

All of us have other projects but DISFEAR is everyone's main band, that's for sure.

What really amazed me in Live The Storm was the incredible cover artwork. Who designed it and who had this idea?

It was Orion Landau at Relapse that designed it and came up with the front cover idea. He did the cover art work at the misanthropic album and since we were happy with that we decided to use him for this one as well. Some of the Relapse releases for the last couple of years had a, hm… How should say, bit photoshopish look and we didn't want that this time. Not that they are bad done or look bad, we just wanted something totally different. It turned out great but there was some really cool ideas that unfortunately had to be scrapped. Hope we can use them if they decide to do any different pressings or so…

How did you manage to get Lindberg and Cederlund play for DISFEAR? Were you friends or did you just ask them and they accepted?

I didn't really know Ulf before we toured with ENTOMBED in 2003. We hanged out a lot in the back of the bus and since I've always liked ENTOMBED a lot it was simply great to do that. After half the tour he asked if he could join us on stage for one song and who could refuse that? =) One song became two that became the last three or four songs of the set. We decided he would play guitar with us on a second tour in Scandinavia with ENTOMBED he came down for rehearsals during a couple of days off their schedule. It was just great to add not only a second guitar, but a great and really good guitar player to the ranks. I wouldn't trade him for anyone else, he's my hero…

When it comes to Tomas, I have never been a huge AT THE GATES fan so it was mainly through his duties in SKITSYSTEM. I started to think of contacting Tomas to ask if he could fill in for a couple of shows. It was actually Mats at Distortion Records that told me Tomas had no other real band than SKITSYSTEM at that time and gave me the number. We had only seen each other at some shows before but never really talked. When I called him I felt already at the phone that this was right. I remember meeting up at the train station and it was like we had been friends for years and talked all the way to the rehearsal room. We sat down all together for a beer or what ever and when I asked what song he wanted to start with it, he asked me to just pick one and we just started. I think we all felt immediately that this was what the band needed. He was simply awesome and a well needed energy injection in the band.

I wanted to clear things up regarding something I didn't really understand. Was ANTI-BOFORS the first form of DISFEAR or was it a band that has nothing to do with DISFEAR?

Yes, ANTI-BOFORS was the first form of DISFEAR. We started under this name and released a 7, contributed at some compilations and played some shows. At the end of we changed name to DISFEAR as we though it would fit the bands musical direction better.

Who chose the name DISFEAR for the band and what does it represent for you?

I'm not really sure but if I remember correct it was me who came up with it. DISCHARGE was, and is, our biggest influence and I guess naming our band starting with Dis was our sort of tribute to them. Lots of bands had already names starting with Dis but DISFEAR wasn't really a real word so it wasn't occupied! Guess that's why it was chosen…

Who is responsible for writing the music and the lyrics in DISFEAR?

We pretty much write all the songs together actually. The riffing is mostly done by me and Uffe though.  Tomas has always been the poet, but when it comes to putting everything together and tweaking stuff, everyone is equally involved.

How is the feedback you have received until now? Are you satisfied with the reviews you've got from the press and the reaction your fans had?

Yeah, I guess we are really satisfied with the response so far. There are a few negative reactions, mainly from people who are into our old stuff and don't get what we are doing today. Most reviews and judges have been overwhelming though…

Are there any touring plans for now? I guess that the fact that AT THE GATES are back together is some short of a problem for you.

There are lots of plans and still more to come. Of course the ATG re-union has affected this years summer activities but we try to solve it as smooth as possible. It's all about logistics. We are in no hurry; we have a good album behind us and will try to tour every continent as much as our life/families allow us to…

Live The Storm is a rather weird title for an album. Why did choose this one? What message do you want to get through with it?

The title is meant as a positive, inspiring cry for justice and freedom. Stand up and be counted, if the storm is upon us, we might as well live it. It is about standing up for your beliefs and to spit in the face of the capitalist authorities of today's post-modern grief ridden world.

Even though DISCHARGE and ENTOMBED elements are obvious in your music, I would like you to tell me which other bands have influenced your sound.

DISCHARGE and ENTOMBED have influenced DISFEAR as well as AC/DC and TURBONEGRO. Guess there are lots of other bands that I/we have been listening to through the years that have affected our songs. There are just too many to mention, maybe ZEKE and ANTI CIMEX should be there too when I think of it…

This is your second album through Relapse Records. How are things with them? Are you satisfied with the effort they have put on the band?

The deal with Relapse has pushed the band in the right direction as they are a quite big label with a professional organization. What is cool is they still release high quality underground extreme music and makes this music available for the main public. Everything is not good being a small band on a bigger label though. As the music industry has problems with downloading etc. they have to take care of business and we, as a small band on the label, can feel that at times.

How was it working with someone like Kurt Ballou? Are you satisfied with his work as a producer?

It was simply great to record with Kurt. We had been talking about doing it since we visited his studio after the last show of our tour in May/June 2006. We felt it was the right place, Kurt was the right dude and we are happy, to say the least, we could make it back there. There are some strong wills in this band and we needed someone that we actually knew really wanted to do this album, had opinions, ideas and could guide us to do the best we could. It felt right from the start and we discovered early, when we started to send over demo recordings, that we just had to make it to Salem, MA to give the songs justice. Hopefully we will be able to record the next album with him as well.

Really, are you listening to any other stuff besides Metal?

To be honest, I am not really listening to metal at all. I'm more like a punk rocker liking some Metal bands… I prefer listening to uncomplicated, straight forward honest music. If it's called Punk, Metal, Hardcore, Hard Rock doesn't really matter to me. For me it's good or bad music played with the right attitude.


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