Music is all that matters in the end
Bloodbath is a near-perfection super-group from Sweden combining some of the highest advocates of the Stockholm death metal scene. Formed in 1998 Bloodbath is a collaboration between the creative minds of Martin Axenrot from Opeth, Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renkse of Katatonia, Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost and Peter Eriksson who previously worked as guitar tech from both Katatonia and Bloodbath. The band brings back classical brutal death metal sounds and they certainly leave no room for mediocrity, ripping and shredding and creating mind-blowing songs. Bloodbath released four studio albums and two EPs for Century Media and Peaceville Records and they performed at big metal festivals such as Wacken and Bloodstock.
HMA: Are there any plans for a tour any time soon? Or summer festivals performances?
Per Eriksson: We don’t really have any plans for touring due to everyone’s busy schedules. We are, on the other hand, looking into a few festivals offers that have been thrown our way. But so far nothing’s been booked.
HMA: How difficult is it to work around everyone’s schedule and commitments with their own band? Especially when it comes to touring?
PE: It’s not been that difficult. We are all (Opeth, Katatonia, Paradise Lost) under the same management, so they pretty much make sure nothing clashes. The problem is usually to find time for rehearsals and so on since everybody is out touring/recording all the time in between Bloodbath stuff. We are also based in different countries, so that doesn’t help either.
HMA: What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a super-group?
PE: I haven’t really experienced any advantages or disadvantages, to be honest.
HMA: How do you approach writing, what’s your writing process?
PE: Usually it’s pretty stressful as I do everything in the last minute, and I always feel like I’ve written rubbish songs when it’s time to record. For Grand Morbid Funeral I wrote my own lyrics for the first time, which was a totally new experience for me since I’ve always left the lyric-writing to the singer in the past. I do a lot of writing outside of the studio. I like to take my dog to the park, just hang out there and play the tracks or riffs in my head and “try out” different approaches.
HMA: Where do you get inspiration for the music and lyrics?
PE: Well, it’s hard to say what inspires me when it comes to music writing. Everyday things, I guess. People’s stupidity tends to piss me off quite often, and that alone makes me want to write music about killing off the human race. The lyrics I wrote for Grand Morbid Funeral were inspired by real-time events mostly. I’ve had a “passion” for serial killers since I heard Macabre the first time, so a lot of it comes from that.
HMA: What other forms of art, besides music, inspires you and helps you through the creative process?
PE: I’m not sure about art, but as I said above, everyday things inspire me to write. I play a lot of video games, but that doesn’t really inspire me if anything it takes my focus away from writing.
HMA: Which are your biggest musical inspirations?
PE: King Diamond’s Abigail changed my life, so King Diamond is definitely a big inspiration for me to write darker music in general. I also love a lot of different bands, everything from Morbid Angel to Toto. It’s hard to pick the biggest ones, they are all great.
HMA: How important is the album artwork for you?
PE: It used to be super important. When I was a kid, before the internet, I used to buy a lot of records just because it had cool artwork. I bought King Diamond’s Abigail just because I loved the artwork; I had no idea what it would sound like. Nowadays, however, I don’t care that much.
HMA: Are you involved and to what extent with the artwork creative process?
PE: I’m not really involved in the artwork process, we have other people in the band that are more into that kind of stuff.
HMA: How important do you believe it is for the artwork to reflect the music and do you think Bloodbath achieves this?
PE: Not at all. I mean, of course you want a cover that represents the album and it’s awesome to have a cool cover on your album, but at the end of the day, it is the music that speaks for itself. If you have shit songs and a cool cover, your band is still shit.
HMA: Which is your favourite artwork between Bloodbath albums and why?
PE: If I had to pick one of our covers it has to be Unblessing The Purity EP. Why? I don’t know, it just looks great. If I’m not mistaken, that cover is inspired by the movie The Omen. I remember that we loved the black dogs that sort of just hang around and protect young Damien in that movie. Everybody thinks that it is wolves in robes, but they are actually dogs.
HMA: Do you have a favourite album cover from another band?
PE: Favourite? I don’t know. I’ve always liked what Travis Smith comes up with for instance; he has an eye for these things that is beyond me. There are a lot of great covers out there. I love a lot of old Iron Maiden covers, but that is probably just because I love the album and loved the cover when I was a kid. Artwork means shit if you can’t back it up with the music. The music is all that matters in the end. But a few covers I like: King Diamond/Mercyful Fate – Abigail, Them, Don’t break the oath. Macabre – All of them, maybe Sinister Slaughter is my favourite. And all the classics from when I was a kid, Dio, Black Sabbath, Maiden, Judas Priest and so on. Not because they are all great covers, but that the album has had a big influence on my life. I’m a long time collector of band merch, and I love t-shirts, so I rather see that bands today have cool shirts than cool album covers.
HMA: Bloodbath had some lineup changes, is the line-up solid enough now to stay as it is at present?
PE: I hope so. I’m pretty happy with the line-up we have right now, and if there is to be another Bloodbath album, I’m pretty sure we are going to stick with this line-up.
Interview by Manuela Mattera – Copyright 2015 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.