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Thomas Josefsson (Evocation)

Interview with Thomas Josefsson from Evocation
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 12 December 2008, 9:43 AM

Lately I have noticed that we have many nice old school Death Metal albums coming out, and most of them come from the Swedish market. The fact is that after titans like ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER and GRAVE, I didn't expect EVOCATION to come out of the blue and present a Death Metal masterpiece like Dead Calm Chaos. The band's vocalist Thomas was kind enough to answer some questions and explain the reason why EVOCATION were lost all these years.

Hello there! Congratulations on your new album! It was surely a blast from the past! Hehehe. Tell us a few things about EVOCATION.

Thank you so much! A few things about EVOCATION, ok let me see.

Well, we have two talented brothers named Janne and Vesa who have almost always been side by side and they are very forward in working together. Vesa is the one that freaks out all the time while Janne is the one who is very serious about what ever he does, which includes partying. They don't fight that much nowadays though. Then we have Marko, the theory or lets say the study guy, the kind of guy that a mother in law would melt for (not by the looks though). The kind of person that can be very focused and concentrated, so concentrated that he could fall off a bridge when reading a book while walking and yet wouldn't notice the fall. If there is anything he knows, then it is everything and anyone. Tore is the new guy, the new bassist that is growing in his role so steady and cool that it is unbelievable. The kind of guy that sees that EVOCATION needs to be seen. He should have been a football pro if it was not because of the alcohol. Then you have me, the person who is always up for doing the opposite of what people tell me to do, just because I like to go on peoples nerves. The ones I like to bother most are Marko and Vesa, they have so short fuse and it is really easy to make them freak out. EVOCATION all in all is big cocks, great fun and a whole lot of love.

 Tomas Skogsberg named EVOCATION as the best demo band he ever had recorded. Previous to the second recording though you were formed pretty early and you were considered as one of the most talented bands you were put on ice. Why did this happen?

We had way too many ideas that went in different directions and way too less patience. Keep in mind that we were only 17-19 years old and when you are that young you want everything to happen over night. We worked too hard and put too much pressure on our selves and after a while we burnt our selves out totally. The happy days went into frustration, and we lost our communication within the band. Even today we are very close to that border, but we think twice nowadays. At the time of our peak; press, record companies, audience and media needed more extreme bands like LIERS IN WAIT for an example. We were disorientated in our process, and went blind. Death Metal was also on its way to crash and burn, only the strong survived. We were strong but not ready. That we parted was the best for all of us. Today, we appreciate what we have.

What made you rise from the dead after so many years of silence?

You guys, the audience and the press. We got so good reviews all over the world for our old demos re-release. 12 years later after they were recorded it still hit the scene with a bang, it made us hungry. We saw our chance to maybe have a really good time together once again, not only musically but also in private. This whole thing has given us so much hunger for life, and we enjoy almost every moment of it. We are having the best time ever.   

This is your second album through Cyclone Empire. First of all how did you manage to sign with them and secondly, are you satisfied with the work they have done for you until now?

It was actually Andreas Reissnauer (A&R) at Metal Blade who gave Martin at Cyclone our demo 2006; both companies are located in the same building. Martin was interested and so were we. He has a really good reputation in the scene and had been working for labels such as Nuclear Blast and Metal Blade in the 90s. So far we are satisfied since they have us on the top priority list and also good contacts within the whole metal scene. I think if they don't grow bigger in the same way as we do, sooner or later we'll need something bigger. But until now, yes we have a really good relationship with all the people at Cyclone.

Your new album features two guest appearances, Anders Bjorler and Dan Swano. Did you know these guys from before? How was it working with them even for a while?

No, we didn't know them in private earlier. I met Anders sometimes, we lived in the same area and we spoke a few times, we knew each other since I've been living and hanging with the same people here in Gothenburg in the 90s. Anders was really easy to work with. There was a THE HAUNTED gig in Boras so he came down to our studio before the gig. We just put on the songs and gave him the guitar and instantly started to paint the song with his ideas, he is a pro and he is very easy to communicate with. We gave Dan instructions and sent over some files and he did it in his own studio, easy and smooth of course. But no, we have never met Dan in private. I mean we all know each other but nothing more, until now of course.

What amazed me was the cover artwork, pretty cold. Who designed it and what does it exactly represent?

Travis Smith (OPETH, KATATONIA etc.) designed it together with us. It was my idea from the beginning but we all put our ideas in it until the final result. It represents a statue of an angel of hope which has fallen backwards and she is slowly eaten up by time. She is just left there and there is not even anyone bothering cleaning the area up. The thing is, time eats everything.

Really, what feedback do you have from the press and the fans until now regarding your new album?

It has been amazing really, we are so happy so far. I really hope it will follow us further on as well. We got 15/15 and pole position in Legacy mag as no 1 in the soundcheck and album of the month, in Rock Hard we got 9/10 and spot 6 on the soundcheck 10xDynamite, Metal Hammer 6/7 and soundcheck no 5 and in Heavy Magazine 11/12 and soundcheck position 3 and the list of other magazines just keeps on putting us on top. Could it ever be better after all the fucking frustration and hard work behind the album?

Lately there has been a renaissance of old school Swedish Death Metal with bands like GRAVE, ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER and many more releasing pretty good albums.

What do you think caused all this need for old school rotten brutality? For the couple last years people have been totally deaf for the music and only cared about how extreme a band can behave and look like. People are fed up with this I think, what would next step be? Blow someone's head off on stage with a shotgun or commit suicide on stage? I think also bands wants respect for what they produce as musicians in the end. Death Metal for me is plain and simple honesty and a whole lot of fun. We are in it for the music and we develop, there are few rules in Death Metal as long as your voice stays the same all the way. We want to have fun, we want honesty and most of those old bands stand for this, we miss it don't we?

While taking a look at your MySpace page I noticed that you haven't scheduled any shows except from your appearance at Party. San Metal Open Air. Aren't you going to do any shows to promote your new album?

We want to do as much as possible of course but everything is still fresh. We are waiting for the right time, Death Metal is not much or any money at all involved. We all have regular jobs, families to support, own companies to run and a first born child for Marko coming up. We cannot loose money in private, we would go bankrupt. But I can assure you we are biting our nails bleeding for the right tour, believe me we are hungry as hell. I think also at this moment we are confirmed for Summer Breeze 09. We love this people; we are heading your way as soon as there is a fair chance, so have patience.

You have shared the stage with bands like ARCH ENEMY, TESTAMENT, ENTOMBED, SABBAT, SATYRICON and many more. Which one made the best impression on you and why?

All bands are amazing of course. ARCH ENEMY and TESTAMENT I saw them both, I prefer TESTAMENT in private. SABBAT blew me away and made me feel ashamed that I forgot about them, really nice people. The mighty SATYRICON I love them to the bone but at the time they were playing I was running around naked backstage totally wasted. But to be honest the best band I saw this year is easy the mega fucking mighty KREATOR. I saw them at Wacken, they crushed everything. I've always been a KREATOR fan, Mille is one of my biggest inspirations in writing and singing. I saw them 1989 first time and ever since I always loved them.

Even though it is too early to talk about something like this, have you started preparing stuff for your next album?

Yes, we are already working on it actually. We have many ideas and are pretty sure about how it would sound like and look like. I am also pretty sure about what I will write about in my lyrics, which is really nice for me of course. The boys are already rehearsing and working on new material, it's amazing isn't it?

Which bands have influenced your sound?

No bands actually I think, only one studio from the beginning, Studio Sunlight of course. We all grew up with all kinds of bands both from Stockholm and Gothenburg, but we got hooked up on the Stockholm scene. The sound was always better and the structure of the music from the capital city was always well done.  If you really want influences I can draw the line so far there would not be an end of it, we listen to all kinds of music from all over the world. I think if I speak for the other guys I think they would rather prefer individuals as influences than a whole band.

I noticed that Tales from the Tomb was released on vinyl as a limited edition. Are there any bonus goodies in the specific version?

No I am sorry to say, but we talked about it and thought it would feel unfair for the listener. It would feel like we tried to force the real fan to buy it one more time. Cyclone thought so also!

I guess that you haven't managed to live by what you make out of music. What jobs do each of you do?

If I told you, you would not believe it anyway.

Who is the bands main songwriter and who writes the lyrics?

For the moment Vesa writes the most music, second Janne. They are brothers and they are driven once they got hooked on something and they also communicate very well. I write all the lyrics, except for one song on Dead Calm Chaos which Janne wrote. We don't have any rules, anyone is allowed to write but for the moment this works out just fine. I mean we all have something to say in the end anyway. We share all the money fiveways, if there will be any money someday.

Thanx a lot for your time! I wish you all the best! Anything last you'd like to add?

Thank you so much for taking your time, it's an honor all the way. Until next time, stay out of trouble… there will be plenty of it anyway when we visit your area…

Thomas/the EVOCATION tribe


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