Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

59 guests

Welcome to our newest member, willtravers

Jonny Pettersson & Hakan Stuvemark (Wombbath)

Interview with Jonny Petterson & Hakan Stuvemark from Wombbath
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 June 2018, 8:42 PM

WOMBBATH is a Swedish Death Metal band who just released their newest album, “The Great Desolation,” to much critical acclaim. They have been stomping thru the scene since the early 90’s and have returned with a vengeance!  We at Metal Temple recently awarded it with a perfect 10, as we felt it represented the best in Death Metal currently. Metal Temple writer Justin “Witty City” Wittenmeier, Alex Sutton, and Said El Hirech recently had the chance to ask the band a few questions, speaking with Hakan Stuvemark (Guitars, Bass), and Jonny Pettersson (Vocals, Guitars). They offered insight on the Swedish Metal scene and what makes it so great, in addition to their thoughts on mixing different elements into Death Metal and the possibility of it ever becoming mainstream.

Congrats on the upcoming album, “The Great Desolation.”  Is there a specific meaning behind the title, perhaps a commentary on our times?

Jonny: It follows the title of the “Downfall rising”, the start of end of the world. Whereas with desolation, total destruction has occurred. We wanted the title to reflect the dark atmosphere in the songs, like a state of absolute despair.

What led to the reactivation of the band in 2014? WOMBBATH has been around since 1990 but have had large gaps, at times, in between full-length releases. Was there ever a worry that the scene had passed the band by or you might have been gone too long?

Hakan: In 2013 I recorded a ”modern version” of Silent As The Grave for Pulverised records  reissue of ICT. 20 years anniversary and I named the song Silence Unveiled. After that in 2014 I quickly wrote a bunch of new songs for an ep/album to be released on Pulverised records which felt very good! Short story. I later chose between continuing Skineater or Wombbath. I chose Wombbath and I don’t regret it for a second though I have Skineater as a project now.  I wasn´t exactly worried but yeah, it had gone about twenty years since the first album and I knew more or less people wanted to hear a new ICT album. Quite impossible to think like a sixteen year old when you're 38 (my age when I wrote Downfall Rising).  More strategic now. However my idea is to not repeat an album. It should give new impressions and of course be solid and I believe a red line can be heard in the sound, from 1992 to this day!  Over all the songwriting is affected a lot by mood and time for example.  Downfall Rising did great, better than I excpectedand The Great Desolation even more!

Early buzz for “The Great Desolation,” is looking really good and it came just few years after your previous album “Downfall Rising.” Is WOMBBATH going to be a regular beast on the scene now, perhaps releasing full lengths more consistently?

Hakan: Yeah a very nice piece. Awesome cover art by SV Bell who also painted the cover art for the ICT album. Yes, the album took its time to be finished and released but now it's out and I think it all had a purpose. Absolutely, we are here.

Jonny: We had a feeling that we were making a good album as we were working on it. But you never know until it’s been released, so it’s good to see the excellent response to the album. With our new lineup we are stronger than ever and here to stay!

Tell me about your favorite songs on the “The Great Desolation,” and why?

Jonny: For me "Cold Steel Salvation" just because the dark feel to it, it’s like the sound track to the end of the world. "The Weakest Flesh," because of the bleak melodies, and the Paradise lost feel to it. Both will be great songs to play live. In-fact we have already done two shows playing "The Weakest Flesh," and it kills live!

"Internal Caustic Torments" is often times considered one of the better albums from the era and somewhat of a benchmark. How do you feel about these accolades? Is there pressure in the studio to compete with this album?

Hakan: It's fun to hear and read about.  Been some times young musicians been messaging saying that Wombbath and that album been an inspiration to begin playing.  That is very flattering! No not all, I don’t feel any pressure to compete with that album. It's pretty much as I said in question two.

Jonny: The good thing with Wombbath is that we never repeat the same album twice. So, whatever we are working on, the focus is on just that. What we have done in the past, is in the past. I think any band where the members have passion for the music they play and write, the focus will always be pushing forwards, homing your skills as a song writer, and to make the next album the best it can be for themselves, not for the reason of pleasuring others. If others then like what you are doing, then that’s just a positive side to it.

People who can do Death growls have always fascinated me; Jonny Pettersson’s vocal delivery on the album is quite intense.  How exactly does a person reach this level?  Born natural?  Are there any type of exercises or training involved to help the vocal chords from being wrecked?

Jonny: I think some have it natural, while some have to practice getting it. I was lucky enough to have the right technique when I first started and after that it’s just been a matter of improving my vocals. I think anyone can be taught how to growl and do it right, but getting a personal voice, and not sounding like a million other growlers is a whole other thing. You can’t teach someone that.

In this age of information and social media, the world often times seems so small.  What is it like being a band in the Death Metal scene today, compared to when you first started?  Obviously, DM or Wombbath isn’t part of the mainstream but has Death Metal branched out a tiny bit from the underground?  Do you think it has the potential to “break through” or is destined to remain outside the scope of most people? Should it?

Hakan: When we were active early 90's the scene was smaller (still big) new bands and demos all the time and it wasn't easy to stick out or get gigs easy, not for us hehe. Nowadays it's even harder, this modern internet era. Can't even count how many bands there are and how many new bands every day. All about dedication and a burning interest to the music even if we all as young wanted to earn the big bucks but already knew there wasn’t any money in it haha..

I haven't considered that much thought. I think it always will be underground with band growing and becoming more "mainstream". Many times, that is all natural.  People changes by time and so does their creation vein. I don't bother if a DM band somehow goes mainstream earning millions.  I wouldn't say no to that except that it still must be as fun playing and composing!

It seems like in these modern times, Metal continues to get put into more and more subgenres with bands incorporating everything from techno to saxophones to full symphonies.  I appreciate WOMBBATH keeping everything a bit simpler with straight up Swedish Death Metal. How do you feel about all these subgenres, does it seem like Death Metal has lost its purity or identity at times?

Hakan: I find that good, interesting and exciting with Metal. There's metal for everyone. No rules carved in stone even if some think there are. I like metal with many elements but it can be made less interesting of course, to me.  If you go back to the first wave of DM and listen to most of the bands, demos and albums you'll get to hear an exceptional blend of sounds and styles. DM itself is a wide spectrum.  We think that in our songwriting anything can happen but maybe it hasn't yet!

Between the Old School scene and the Gothenburg scene, Sweden was so important to extreme metal in the early days.  What do you suppose made Sweden such a great source of Death Metal?  How is the scene today?  I imagine its near impossible to catch the feel of the early days but is there still a lot of major activity with people trying to form new bands?

Jonny: A few things that factors into why Sweden always had such a prevalent music scene. Before the times of online gaming, social media, blogging and all that, majority of teens in Sweden either got into sports, motors or music/art. And government has always been good when it comes to supporting those activities. From around the 1930’s you can financial aid to be able to be active as a band, there is also a lot of free rehearsal spaces, that is fully equipped. So as a teenager that can’t afford to buy a full backline, those things does a lot. Another thing is that music is mandatory in school, and you get a chance to get more in-depth practice to your chosen instrument as well. You’ll even be able to lend an instrument if you are unable to buy one yourself. Add on to that, the winters in Sweden are really long, really cold and really dark. So, locking yourself up to focus on music was a good distraction from that. The scene today is very good, there is a strong sense of community between the bands, and each festival we play, we always end up with a lot of other great Swedish bands, which makes for great after-parties. Obviously, the special feeling of the tape trading days can never be reached again. But then again, today you can write to a fellow musician on Facebook and have an instant reply, and that form of exchange is the present and future of the scene.

Are there big plans to tour a lot for support of “The Great Desolation?”  What are your favorite countries to play?   Outside of festivals, are there any countries you would like to invade that you haven’t?

Jonny: We are aiming to play as many festivals as possible. We are not really a big touring band. We all have responsibilities that keeps us from being on the road for too long, families, work etc. Playing death metal you can be happy if you break even on a tour, so if you lose out on missed salaries and stuff like that, you end up with bills you can’t pay and such. Which might be fine if you’re a young one with no one depending on you, but with a family to keep roof over and mouths to feed, it’s not possible. Smaller tours five to nine days is of course possible, but for us playing festivals is the perfect outlet. We would like to play all over the world, as many countries and continents as possible.

Hakan Stuvemark, you are and have been in several bands throughout your career.  Where do the riffs come from, and how often are they transferred from band to band?  Does an idea from one session with one group get tried out with another?

Hakan: Uhm, sometimes I wonder that too. The riffs are just coming. It happens that I sit down to write a Wombbath song/riff i.e and it turns out to be a Skineater song or vice versa.  Rex Demonusand Geist are two projects so far from Womb and Skin that situation never appears!
I'm not hyper like Jonny producing albums haha…but I think I have written 4 albums last two years beside The Great Desolation.

Pettersson is also involved with many bands, how do you make it possible to sit down and write up music together?  Do you two do it separately and send it to each other or are there any all out jam sessions?

Jonny: We both have the ability to record stuff at home. So, we usually start writing a song, and then send the ideas to each other for feedback. Once the song is done and ready for the studio, we sit down together to go through the structure of the song, to make sure it comes out the best it can be. With the addition of Thomas and Jon to the line-up, they are now involved in the writing process. Thomas already has a song written for the next album, and it sounds pretty damn good! With Jon, we send him a blank version of the songs without any drums, and it’s all up to him to come up with drum parts. So we are working in a much more interactive way now.


You do not have permission to rate
Edited 03 February 2023

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green