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Wombbath's Jonny Pettersson: "We are on a course of self-destruction, blindly drowning in our own inability to realize that we are a disease driven by greed, hate and blind faith"

Interview with Håkan Stuvemark & Jonny Pettersson from Wombbath
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 12 February 2020, 10:52 PM

Feeling old school is bound to remain playing old school, there is no reason to stray from an already known path, if their heart is still there. Of course, there is always a means to create a twist in the music. The Swedish Wombbath argues that their inspiration not necessarily comes from Death Metal, but I guess one will have to find out in their interview made with two of the band's veterans, Håkan Stuvemark & Jonny Pettersson, about the band's new album, “Choirs of the Fallen”.

Hello guys, it has been a while for sure, last time that we talked Håkan was when you promoted the debut Skineater album. However, it is not the first time doing the same for Wombbath for Metal Temple online Magazine. Anyway, I am very pleased to have you again. How have you been sir?

Håkan:  Hi! For that long, really!? 7 years or so. Time flies and even faster the older you get.   Everything is all good here, many balls in the air. Beside Wombbath, I’ve been working on my other projects, mixing others recordings and of course Reality, the daily life haha. Can’t complain!

It didn’t take that long for Wombbath to reorganize after “The Great Desolation”, yet it appears that something did happen to the band, with the larger part of the lineup replaced. What happened that led to that rather massive change in personnel?

Jonny: We had some members that didn’t feel the same passion for the band as we do, and some members that felt that they couldn’t put in the time and effort required for the band, and rather than holding us back, stepped aside. We respect their decision fully and wish them best of luck.

Håkan: Similar to what Jonny said here and the attitude is that it shall be fun and no one should feel forced or feel bad if he’d like to leave the band.

Wombbath’s fourth album, “Choirs of the Fallen” is about to hit the streets, maintaining the band’s chief element, which is the preservation and continuation of the old Swedish Death Metal saw blade. I wonder, with all that has been happening in the world of Metal worldwide, shifting towards a modern form of the genre, what still drives you in composing and writing old school kind of Metal?

Jonny: We write and play music that we have a passion for. We all play in different bands outside of Wombbath as well, with a range of old school to more modern stuff spanning across several underground genres. If it’s something that we like we’ll play it, regardless of trends or current hypes.

Håkan: That’s a good question. Personally when I’m writing music, or for Wombbath in this case, it must not be / sound like Swedish old school death metal. I am inspired by everything around and not much of death metal. Actually, I just play and record whatever comes out, with some twists perhaps. But, I had periods, a couple of weeks periods, that what came out resulted in many other projects. When you get an idea, whatever it may be, just do it and create it! No rules! Never know what the next Wombbath material will be like.

I have to admit that while listening to “Choirs of the Fallen”, I couldn’t escape the notion that it is gloomy and mournful in comparison to previous Wombbath releases. The state of mind is disturbing, and has its ways on the thinking mind. How do you find the overall atmosphere of the album’s music? Is it in fact sorrowful in comparison to your previous material?

Jonny: In some way it’s hard to escape the Scandinavian melancholy which bleeds into the music. As well as with Thomas added as a songwriter, he brought a certain creeping darkness to the songs.

Håkan: Yeah it’s what we call The Swedish Melancholy haha. It can be heard in a lot of Swedish music. I like to write such music; it touches me in a positive way. And as you said it’s more sorrowful than the earlier releases. The first album, "Internal Caustic Torment", is quite melancholic too, yet still spirited which it should be since we were 15-16 when we wrote those songs.

Who is the Choir Of the Fallen that you speak about on this album? I noticed a group of down faced in the artwork, which is pretty amazing. What is the relation of this choir to real life?

Jonny: It refers to the symbolism of a dying world. We are on a course of self-destruction, blindly drowning in our own inability to realize that we are a disease driven by greed, hate and blind faith.

Håkan: Jonny gave a good enough answer. I just thought it was a good title haha.

Regarding the Artwork, which was made by Benny Moberg, what do you make of it? What was the vision behind this mystery displayed?

Håkan: When I saw the basic idea of the art work I felt for it, melancholic, dark, haunted and by that coming up with the album title. Benny worked on the color scheme and details after that and then Voila!

How do you find yourself connected to the various themes that circle “Choirs of the Fallen”? What inspired you when it came down to the lyrical content?

Jonny: The inspiration for the lyrics have been the same for the last few albums with Wombbath. It’s all taken from old Scandinavian folklores. About malevolent myths and creatures that caused harm, terror and death. Each region has their own lore’s, so there is an abundance inspiration to draw from.

Though Wombbath has been a pretty constant band in its music, as I mentioned earlier, there are always changes, in particular where there are new band members involved. How do you find Wombbath’s musical development within the stretched arms of “Choirs of the Fallen”?

Jonny: Wombbath will always sound like Wombbath, but at the same time I don’t think we’ll ever release two albums that sound exactly the same. We always circle back to the sound on "Internal Caustic Torment", and the bands that inspired that album. But we also constantly develop as songwriters, and we always find new angles to approach the music.

Håkan: Exactly, we will never repeat an album, not consciously. Overall I think there will be something Wombbath in the notes; I have my way of playing and thinking ever since 1991 or so. About the development on the new album, it’s darker, it’s more melodic, mm…tough one….I dare to say it's an easy album to listen to and discover new things.  And as usual it’s varied. It is very important for both us and the listener. 10 songs that don't sound the same!

The track “Wings Of Horror” is the sort of the Black Sheep of the album. It has the spirit of old, yet also with a slightly different approach, I might even call it progression. On the other hand, it turned out to be one creepy tune. What can you share about it? Do you find it as an example of the next step in Wombbath’s music?

Håkan: That’s the melancholy Me haha. I have always loved Entombed, ever since the first album and this song is inspired by them. Not saying it sounds Entombed! Thomas and I talked a lot about Entombed when we played at Gamrocken 2018 and afterwards I had this "Clandestine" energy pushing, so I just sat down and threw it together. It could be an example of what to come but I dare to say there’ll be some vibes of my other gods as well. I missed that detail earlier in the interview. Take Carcass for instance, their "Necroticism" era. Damn, that’s a masterpiece from beginning to end. Well, that doesn’t say much anyway what it will sound like in the end. I’m curious too!

One of the best album’s specimens, which is a turnout that is no less early 90s driven, is “From The Beggars Hand”. It has a massive groove, Death Metal in its classic form. However, it has its atmospheric moment. What can you tell about the creation of this tune? How do you find yourself connected to it?

Jonny: This song was written by Thomas. He channeled his inner Morbid Angel on this one, and added on his own touch, and his wealth of musical knowledge.

Håkan: And Obituary. I don’t have more to say about that. Solid tune though!

Talking about connection with songs, here is a hard question for you. What is your album’s finest track? That one song that stops you in your place. Please elaborate on your pick.

Jonny: For me it’s “From The Beggars Hand”. It’s got that old Morbid Angel feel to it but mixed with an almost Black Metal(ish) feel to it. After I recorded the vocals to it, I found myself humming the riffs for hours after, so it slithers inside your brain and stays there.

Håkan: I have several tracks but one I told Thomas today is one of absolute favorites is "We Shall Remain", which he also wrote. It shares 1st place with a couple of other tracks.

This year marks three decades of Wombbath, without counting the band’s earlier disbandment / hiatus. What is planned in order to commemorate this rather great achievement? Will there be special shows or merely a focus on promoting “Choirs of the Fallen”?

Håkan: I have barely thought of that it’s 30 years this year. Maybe we should think of something. Thanks for the info and “reminder”. Got to consider this!  In general, nothing more special than usual.

There have been various discussions, coming and going, regarding whether the phrase Metal as a way of life, still exists nowadays, in our modern times. Do you still find Metal music as a life leading element, more than simply a musical genre? Does it make us better people in general?

Jonny: We have dedicated our lives to music, and death metal being one of the biggest ingredients in that. Before “Downfall Rising” we all had been going strong playing death metal since the mid-90s. Every member of Wombbath is in several other bands, and we live and breathe this.

Håkan: It’s in a way a life; something needed for the mind and soul. Without it something is missing. And not being “trve”, and respect the music, then it’s for real.

What do you think are the main challenges for Wombbath, looking forward let’s say five years?

Jonny: No real challenges. We have a pretty solid concept, write, record and play live. The more places we can play live the better. The music comes naturally.

Håkan: Exactly.  And have fun!

Are there plans to support “Choirs of the Fallen” in 2020? Will there be shows in countries or places that you have yet to perform in? Perhaps South America, Asia etc.?

Jonny: We have a few festivals and shows booked for 2020. Nothing in South America or Asia yet, so if anyone wants to book us there, give us a shout and we’ll make it happen.

Håkan: It would be very nice to visit South America and other countries outside Europe of course.  Oh Japan has always been a dream to visit. Fingers crossed it will happen one day.

Guys, it was an honor having you again for an interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. Thank you for delivering yet another old school bomb our way. Cheers.

Håkan: Thank you, it’s been a pleasure and thanks for the kind words about the album! Till next time, Take care and cheers!



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