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Johan Lindstrand (One Man Army And The Undead Quartet)

Interview with Johan Lindstrand from One Man Army And The Undead Quartet
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 31 October 2008, 7:23 AM

After reviewing the latest ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET album, I immediately tried to contact the band for an interview with Johan Lindstrand. When I learned he accepted to answer some questions, I was kind of anxious, even if it was a mail interview. Having the chance to talk to such an amazing musician is something that doesn't happen everyday…

Hello Johan! It is an honor to talk to such a talented musician that has offered many things to our beloved music. First of all welcome to Metal Temple and congratulations on Grim Tales Tell us a few things about the album. When, where and with who was it recorded?

Hello and thanks. Well, we recorded the album in June this year at Black Lounge studio together with engineer/producer Jonas Kjellgren. We had a total blast doing it and everything went really smooth. The whole atmosphere was very relaxed and working with Jonas was great. He really knows his shit so we'll definitely work with him again.

Why did you decide to name the album Grim Tales? Is there any hidden message behind this title?

The thing is that we have this mascot called General Grim that's been on the front of all 3 albums, so we thought it would be a cool thing to use the grim word and describe the album like a collection of 10 different brutal stories and with the general to sum it all on the cover. No bigger philosophy behind it, hehe.

Are you going to shoot any video clips for the new album? I watched a trailer you have uploaded for the new album that features the song Cursed By The Knife. Is this something like a hint for which song will be the one to become a video clip?

We would love to do a video clip but at the moment there's o plan. I mean, this stuff costs money and there's hardly any channels showing these kind of videos anymore. But then again, there are a lot of DVD compilations out there that you can be a part of so maybe it can be worth it. But if we decide to do a video I'm not sure on what track we'll use.

From what I read you left Nuclear Blast and you signed a brand new contract with the German Massacre Records. Why did you decide to make such a move? Have you regretted it or has it turned out to be as good as you expected?

To be on Massacre records is kinda new so it's hard to say if this was for the best. But I can tell you this. To leave NB Europe was not intentional. They called me up and I was kinda shocked on what they proposed, but then after 10 minutes or something I soon realized that what they said made total sense. The thing is that being on NB can be very tough for a smaller band. You need to fight with the big bands all the time and you always loose. So instead of drowning in the masses of Nuclear Blast they released us to Massacre Records where we now are a high priority artist which feels great. And I think it was a great thing to do from NB to do this cause it really shows that they care and do what is best for your album and band. But then again, it's hard to say if this will turn out for the better but I have good vibes about it anyway. There are more possibilities here.

Except for label, you also changed your rhythm guitarist. Why did Kiviaho leave the band and how did you find Bolander? Was it easy to find a new guitarist that would talented and dedicated enough to be a part of ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET?

Mr Kiviaho left the band due to lack of motivation combined with an anti touring personality. We always had issues on tour and we always had to have band meetings to clear all problems out. This was an ongoing this for a while and it kinda got to us all in the end. But now with this new guy hopefully these problems will go away and we can start enjoying being on the road again.

About finding Mattias. Well, we had like 50 applications for this job, from all around the world. But in the end we decided to try Mattias out, cause he had played with Marek in RECLUSION and he had helped us out before with all kinds of different roadie stuff so we knew what he was made of. Plus, he lived nearby which was very important to us, so he could be more close to the band instead of being a guy that you hardly never see other than on the road, hehe. Anyway, he's got the right skills to be in this band without doubt. He hasn't been around that much but he's growing and growing and we love having him.

Grim Tales has a more Thrash oriented approach to your music. Is it something you aimed for or did it just naturally happen?

We knew that we wanted to take away the experimental stuff that were on the Error album. And we knew that we wanted to do a more straight forward punch in the face album so you can say that it was a bit intentional, but on the other hand we know what we want a bit more nowadays. We've become better songwriters, we know each other more now, we know what is best for the band and hopefully we'll grow even more unto the next couple of albums.

This is your third album with ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET and you have already managed to have a glorious musical past, as well as a particularly new band that has already two albums out through Nuclear Blast and one more through Massacre. Looking back, how do you feel? I guess you are more than proud for what you have achieved…

Yeah, I'm really proud of course. It's been almost 20 years since I started with THE CROWN and it's been one hell of a ride with both ups and downs.  And I feel like I can do this for a very long time. The funny thing though is that while getting older and older I do it more and more cause I love doing this kind of shit and not worrying about anything. Earlier in my career I often had way to high expectations on things as well as believing that I would be able to earn a living from playing Death Metal. Nowadays reality has caught up with me so to speak, haha. No, but seriously. I have more fun than ever being in The Army and even if I still can't pay my bills after doing a tour I'm still more than proud on being a part of this great thing.

Let's get to something else now. I guess you get this question a lot, but is there any chance, even the slightest one, for a THE CROWN reunion? You definitely know that many people would love to see you back on the streets. Do you miss those days?

Well, to be completely honest I recently said no to be a part of a CROWN reunion. The thing is that I don't want to put anything on risk with THE ARMY and now when we have a killer album out it would be a stab in the back on the other guys to start up with THE CROWN again. I mean, I know that a lot of people would die for a CROWN reunion but sorry, I can't do it. For me that band belongs to the past and THE ARMY is my future no matter what people thinks about that. I'm as loyal as it gets with this band.

Something that made a huge impression on me was that you were the drummer for IMPIOUS when they first started. How did you decide to play drums and most of all play drums for IMPIOUS? Everyone knows the singer Lindstrand, not the drummer, hehehe…

Yeah, and after doing their first demo in /94 I stopped playing the drums! Haven't touched it since. IMPIOUS is a great band and they come from the same town as I do and I also went to school together with the singer Martin so we go way back but there were not that many Death Metal youngsters in this town back then, so I decided to help them out at the same time I sang in THE CROWN. A really cool thing and I would love to get that demo on CD cause it's only on cassette and I haven't listened to it since 10 years back at least.

You were also the vocalist for INCAPACITY for some time. Why did you leave the band? Was it because you wanted to commit 100% to ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET?

The funny thing about that was that I actually never was the vocalist of INCAPACITY. We were a bunch of people on paper who had never met and even before doing something together I was told that the best thing would be that the main man Christian does the vocals himself. But I was totally ok with that cause it was basically just a friend to friend thing that I even was asked in the first place. Me and Christian did the military service together so we got to know each other back then and always discussed on doing all kinds of things together and INCAPACITY would be that thing. But I said yes in the beginning despite the fact that I didn't have the time to do it and when these news reached me I was relieved and said to my self that I would never join another band again. One cool thing to say about it is that I'm probably the first singer to get fired before even being a part of the band, haha.

From what I read you are really busy playing live, since you have the 'Hammer Battalion Tour' with UNLEASHED and KRISIUN. How do you feel sharing the stage with such bands?

It will be a blast. I know KRISIUN from before cause we did a tour back in 2000 consisting of THE CROWN, KRISIUN, NILE and CANNIBAL CORPSE and these guys were awesome. Great guys both on and off stage but UNLEASHED I haven't met but I've heard that they should be really cool as well. I mean, we all know their music so I think it will be a great mix for the fans. Anyway, I can't wait to get on stage and play new stuff.

Speaking of live shows, is there any chance we may see you playing live here in Greece?

I would really love to play in Greece but as far as I know the interest for ONE MAN ARMY isn't that big and not many tours go there but hopefully this will change soon. Maybe we can jump on another tour or something next year cause I know that we have a couple of die hard fans over there. Let's just hope for the best.

I remember Nuclear Blast had a contest asking people to name your mascot. How did you end up naming it?

The thing is that we had this creature on both our 2 first albums, and this monster plus the 4 undead dudes were kinda reflecting on what kind of sound THE ARMY was all about so we said that we must name him cause he is already family, haha. There were like 150 people sending names but General Grim was the most suitable name and a guy from Chile won the grand price which was my old guitar that I wrote 90% of the Killing machine with.

From what I know, Axelsson and Dobrowolski have some projects, too. Has this ever created any problems with the band's schedule?

Robert Axelsson has recently quit FRACTION OF CHAOS due to lack of time. A band that Pekka formed a couple of years ago. And Marek plays in RECLUSION together with Mattias but this band is put on ice and even if they would start up again it will never affect THE ARMY cause I know how much this band means to them. The bottom line is that side projects is never any problem until you make it a problem. As long as you know what band you put first there's no worry. Otherwise you're in the wrong band.

Thank you for your time and keep kicking asses! The last words are yours…

Thanks for the interview Yiannis.  It means a lot to get promotion like this in countries you hardly ever visit, but hopefully we'll come for a couple of future shows. Who knows? Anyway, thanks and to the Greek fans. Check out Grim Tales. You won't regret it.

Keep supporting metal!


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