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DEAD REPRISE: Keepin’ Both Feet On The Ground!

Sweden’s DEAD REPRISE will release their new LP “Dystopia” on the 3rd of February 2013 through Demons Run Amok Entertainment, Monument Records and De:Nihil Records. Pre-orders are up now, so don’t lose your time and order your copy at this location. As previously reported, they have teamed up with MADBALL‘s Freddy Cricien for a song called “The Hammer of Justice”, which can be checked out below.

IDIOTEQ has teamed up with the veteran member of the band Anders Löwgren (drums), who discussed lots of interesting issues around the new album, their sick featuring with Freddy MADBALL and Anders from AT THE GATES, the history and current state of hardcore in Sweden, and proved that DEAD REPRISE are one of those bands that stand the test of time with their DIY aesthetic and standing for something more than just a musical group. See for yourself – check out our interview with DEAD REPRISE below.

Hey, guys! So you have a new LP out on February 3rd! How are the reactions to the new tunes so far?

Hi there! Yes we have a new LP out entitled “Dystopia” and it’s our 4th release. I think the response has been great so far!

I mean, we only uploaded two new songs online for streaming just recently and people seem to like it. The guys at the Black n Blue Radio Takeover in NYC played a song on the radio in the episode with Andrew from STRIFE which was cool. We played a few of the new tunes live just to try em out and the kids we’re beating each other in the face so I guess it worked [laughs]. I think we always had more appreciation from people outside of Sweden and with the new songs we got comments all the way from Asia and the States which is pretty awesome. We’re just making music that we like and it’s cool that kids from allover the planet wants to listen to what we have created in our own little world up here in the North.

Sounds like fun [smiles]. Tell us about your collaboration with Freddy from MADBALL. How did you hook up with him for “The Hammer Of Justice”?

Well, I work as a professional drum and guitar tech for tons of metal bands and when we tour in the summer we usually bump into other bands at festivals. I met the guys in MADBALL a couple of times and since our longtime friend Rob from BORN FORM PAIN tour manage MADBALL over here, it’s been easy to interact and become friends with them. Rob was also the guy who signed us to GSR for the release of “Day Of Defiance” so he always supported DEAD REPRISE and put in a good word for us.

For “The Hammer Of Justice” we had a couple of dudes lined up that we wanted to do the guest vocals but it was just a coincidence that we ended up with Freddy! I was on my way to Metal Camp in Slovenia with AT THE GATES when I was reading the lineup and saw that MADBALL played the same stage right before us. I got super excited and thought I should ask Freddy on the spot if he wanted to sing the parts and he didn’t doubt it. I was unprepared of course, I went through my phone to find the lyrics and borrowed a mic and some shitty cables from the main stage. Of course the shit didn’t work so Freddy ended up singing straight into my iPhone in their dressing room. Guitar player Mitts was getting undressed in the background on his way to take a shower [laughs], it was a weird situation but we managed to get it done! We did a couple of takes and even though it distorted a little bit here and there, he nailed his part and it turned out great! We did the same kind of procedure with Human Furnace from RINGWORM on our last record. But that time we had at least a real mic and a computer with Logic on it! In any case, being old fans of MADBALL, it is a true honor to have Freddy on the song and I will never forget that fun moment in their dressing room, it was epic!

Wow, I didn’t expect that [laughs]. That’s what I call DIY [laughs]. The other guest appearance is Anders from AT THE GATES. What’s the story behind this featuring?

I have been touring around the world with THE HAUNTED and AT THE GATES since 2008 so I spend a lot of time with Anders. He’s very unique and probably one of the best guitar players in the world. His picking and feel for solos is unreal! I love how he use the feedback from the cabinet in his leads and it sounds almost like a violin at times, amazing!

However, I was in his apartment in Gothenburg drinking a beer after watching SLAYER and LAMB OF GOD at a local festival. It was during the summer around the time when I was in the recording process and I told him, “dude, we need a Kerry King-influenced solo for the song “Killing Fields! and I want you to do it!”. He did like two takes on his computer in his living room and that was it. He’s a pro!

Alright, let’s dive into “Dystopia”. Is there a certain concept behind the album? Tell us about the meaning of the title and the lyrics for this outing.

Ok, the title is “Dystopia”. It’s obviously the opposite of “Utopia”. As we live in a really dark and cruel world, we thought that would be a good title! The concept deals with different topics related to the dark or negative side of utopian ideas. For example, oppression under totalitarian regimes, social tensions and environment issues. There are still many societies where citizens pay with their lives just to express their opinions and inborn rights. It’s fucking horrible! In the age of economic instability we also see the obvious rise of populist and racist movements, especially here in the North were they made all the way into politics and mass media. Humans still treat the Earth as something infinite, like we will be here forever, it doesn’t make sense. All this shit together is like a big train wreck going too fast without breaks and heading for disaster…. These are some topics that Andersson write about in his lyrics.

Now that the record is complete, what are your thoughts looking back on it? Are you 100% satisfied with the record?

In fact I am! There is a much wider range between the songs now than on the previous albums. It was more straight forward before but this time we explored a little more to find new influences. We wrote riffs and songs like we always did but somehow when I listen to it afterwards I hear a much darker and heavier sound than I expected. I’m really proud of it!

We share the rehearsal room with our guitar player Daniel’s old band PATH FROM NO RETURN and their drummer Martin built a real studio in there. That made the whole recording process so much easier. Really nice to just walk 5 minutes from home to your own rehearsal space and record everything on your own gear. Nice and smooth!

It’s always been great working with Jonas Kjellgren in the Abyss studio on the previous recordings, but you always feel so much pressure when you’re on the clock with a limited budget and 2 hours away from home. On “The Unveiling”, I recorded all the music in 2 days and Andersson tracked all the vocals in one day, it was insane. Every time we recorded in Abyss we only had like 1 day to mix everything too so it was always way to stressful. This time we could try different things and new ideas in the studio without feeling the pressure!

That’s how the whole instrumental track “Dystopia” came together between me and the producer Martin, we could throw around ideas and even try different instruments, percussion and keys to get the right vibe to that track, which was meant to create some dynamics on the record. We’re all big fans of SEPULTURA so we wanted to reach that tribal and primitive sound which I think we did. Martin is a very talented musician with great ideas and also an old friend that have been part of the DR family since we started. He knows what we want and how we want to sound like.

Andersson did a great job putting the concept and lyrics together for the whole piece as well. He read a lot of books and study history and religion, so I think he brought up some interesting topics in the lyrics without being too obvious so the listener will have to use their own imagination. Our friend Adam, who also filled in on bass for us a couple of times, did a killer job with the artwork! I found some epic drawings and sketches online by a French artist named Jean Giraud, I thought it would be cool to have something similar for our artwork and Adam really captured the right feeling that I wanted with the crow and the eyeless man. Go check it out!

I will, thanks!

The trio of great labels are working to put it out. What formats are you using this time? Which part of the promotion job lays on Monument, Demons Run Amok and De:Nihil Records’ shoulders?

First of all, we’re a independent underground hardcore band, so as you know there is no money to make here. We like to work with people we know are real and do it for the right cause. This time we choose to work with Johan again since he has supported us since the beginning with his distro and label Monument. He works really hard to keep the Swedish hardcore scene alive and has a bunch of cool releases up his sleeve including FINAL EXIT, ANGERS CURSE, CHAIN REACTION, HARDA TIDER, and our last CD/LP “The Unveiling”. The man behind De:Nihil is Larzon from MILLENCOLIN, our hometown heroes. He obviously has a lot of experience in the music business and his label release more punk and cool vinyls for “diehards” so we’re hoping to reach out to some new people through that. Since we released “Day Of Defiance” on GSR (KNUCKLEDUST, MADBALL, BORN FROM PAIN, DEVIL IN ME) in 2008 we reached out to some new kids outside the Swedish border so it’s great to have Marcel and Demons Run Amok distributing our new LP on the mainland. We all do our best to get the word out there! The cd format is pretty much dead right now so we choose to only release it as an LP and through online store such as iTunes and Amazon. It’s also available for streaming on Spotify.

What’s “a special deal” that comes with pre-orders for the album?

I wanted to print some new shirts and stickers in time for the pre-orders but we ran out of time and money so it’s just a regular pre-order were you can book your copy of the LP and it will be sent out on the release date! The reason we do this is because the first press is strictly limited to 300 pieces (white) only, so hopefully they will sell out quickly [laughs]!

You’ve been doing the thing you do for 13 years! How has DEAD REPRISE been able to stay together for such a long time? Where does your motivation to write and record music come from?

Billy, Andersson and Me are the only original members from back then but we have all been friends since we we’re kids. Our current bass player Daniel is a friend that we knew forever through previous bands, shows and skateboarding. I kinda forced him to learn how to play the bass so he could join the band cause he’s just a stand up and loyal dude that always travelled with us to shows anyways. He’s da Godfather of the Örebro Hardcore scene and was always around so I thought, what the hell, he never played an instrument before but we’ll make it work and it did! We had about 5 bass players through the years, mainly because of distance and logistic reasons.

We added Daniel from PATH OF NO RETURN as a second live guitarist when they went on a hiatus around the same time as we started touring and doing shows for “Day Of Defiance”. I think our songs needed that extra punch and heavy guitar sound so it made sense, he also has a great voice for back up vocals. I think it’s a solid lineup right now and it’s easy to run a band with your best friends that share the same interests I guess. Even before DEAD REPRISE, all of us we’re deeply involved in the hardcore scene playing in other bands, making fanzines, putting up shows or whatever, I guess the passion for hardcore music has always been the driving force for us. It keeps us going!

It’s a good way for us to get rid off anger, frustration and other emotions through music. I guess the band is also a great way for us to get together and hangout, party and travel a bit. We’re all busy with our kids, families and jobs so it’s hard to make 5 schedules match you know. We managed to keep it together so far and I’m sure we’ll keep going for many more years as long as it’s fun!

Could you please compare and contrast the hardcore scene you first fell into with the 2013 version of it? I remember you saying that “not enough bands in Sweden make the music you make” in an interview few years ago. How did that change?

I think it changed a lot since then. I would say it’s way better now and also more united! Plenty of bands and shows poppin up all over the country. All the kids seem to be excited and sometimes the old grumpy faces show up too which is great [laughs]. Maybe the social networks brought us more together, I don’t know but it seems more peaceful now.

When we started playing, the Swedish hardcore scene had died a slow painful death and just a few kids we’re left in the ashes of REFUSED, ABHINANDA, OUTLAST, etc. At least that’s what it felt like. I don’t know of any bands that played as hard, aggressive and heavy as we and PATH OF NO RETURN did in Sweden back then. And trust me, we got a lot of shit for it! Our bands, the Örebro hardcore scene and the people we hang out with came across as violent and ignorant. The few bands around in other cities would play fast “positive” old school youth crew kind of hardcore with political correct lyrics. They would often make fun of us and talk shit on the internet but it turned out most of them we’re all hypocrites selling out later or whatever. I appreciate that whole old school thing, I love the old bands from Boston, New York and Cali… But we came from a totally different background, we grew up listening to bands like EARTH CRISIS, INTEGRITY, MERAUDER, ALL OUT WAR, COLD AS LIFE, MADBALL, metal shit like SEPULTURA, OBITUARY, SLAYER and some hip hop. On top of that, we got caught up in some serious gang violence in the town where we grew up. We always ended up in fights with the local nazis every weekend for years and sometimes you could get threatened by a knife or teargas on the way to school. I was wearing a steel pipe in my jacket for years just in case the nazis would show up and jump you. Shit got nasty and we ended up in court against these boneheads and put some of the fuckers in jail.

Our band became a base for us where we could kinda hide and get our frustrations out and I felt like we we’re misunderstood by some other people in the scene and in other bands at the time. Posers and fakes that talked the talk but never walked the walk, so to say. We were beating the shit out of nazi boneheads and lived under serious death threats from some fucked up insane people, while these lame-ass posers were writing songs about killing nazis and pretending they were… Sorry, I got a bit carried away here, but the point is, we’re still here, writing music we love and believe in. We’re true to ourselves and that is what we stand for as a group and what’s most important. I love to see some of the new bands that show up today and kick our asses, it’s great to see their hunger and I can really relate to that. The scene up here in the North is still really small but it’s nice to see that kids that likes different kinds of music and have different opinions can get together and have fun at shows without talking shit or killing each other. I hope it stays this way.

And how would you describe your audience a.d. 2013? How have they changed? [smiles]

Like I said, I guess it’s better now. Everyone is doing their thing and seem to enjoy the shows, doesn’t matter if you’re upfront singing along, stage diving, slam dancing, karate kick, stand still or act like a monkey, it’s all cool. Earlier there was a lot of negative tension at the shows. I guess the empty “horse-shoe” is passed. People are not afraid to make fools of themselves anymore and just enjoy it. I put my dancing shoes in the closet though, I feel too old now and I see shows almost every day at work so if I go to a show I prefer to watch and listen from the back. I still get an adrenaline rush from it!

If you could go back in time to when you started this band, and give yourself a piece of advice, what would that be?

Hmmm not much. Maybe “Don’t take shit too serious!”. I guess from the past answers I might sound a bit old and grumpy… but the fact is, we’re pretty mellow dudes and we enjoy ourselves and the band way more now I think. It’s obvious that when you’re 15-16 years old you want to conquer the world. If anyone stand in your way you would deal with it, often in a negative way. We have grown a lot as musicians and on a personal level so it’s more about having fun together. I mean, it’s always been that way but the difference now is that we don’t make up impossible goals anymore. We take it day by day and enjoy it that way. We do things when we feel it’s the right thing to do.

Has DEAD REPRISE gone through some line-up changes throughout the years? How solid is your line-up?

Yea we did. We started out as a four-piece but our original bass player quit after the first MCD, I think it was in 2004-2005? After that we had a handful of dudes fillin in on bass including Chris aka Boris who is the man behind most of the hardcore shows and festivals in Sweden the last decade. He released our first MCD “Death Of A Nation” before he joined the band but had to leave after “The Unveiling” as he was super busy in Stockholm and got a kid and all. The lineup today and for the last couple of years is: Patrick Andersson on vocals, Billy Eriksson on guitar, Daniel Cederborg on guitar, Daniel Nätterdal on bass and me on drums. It’s a solid lineup and all “ex-members” are still good friends and part of the DR family.

OK, you’ll be doing some shows in Finland in a few days. It’s so close yet you haven’t been there for 10 years! How come?

That’s right. It’s crazy how we got that gig 10 years ago. Time flies…. It was our 3rd gig ever and it was across the Baltic sea in a big indoor skate park in Helsinki with some of our favorite bands! I believe it was like 500-600 people there? Maybe it was way less, maybe it was more… but It felt like a whole lot!!! We we’re really nervous, young and inexperienced and got to share the stage with DOWN MY THROAT, BOLT, ENDSTAND and some other Finnish hardcore bands. We became friends with a lot of cool people over there and it’s gonna be a blast to come back and play with BOLT again! We have mad respect for all those guys, they have been around forever they know what’s up. DOWN MY THROAT inspired us a lot, it’s a shame they broke up! “Real Heroes Die” is still a record we put on in the car before a show to get some extra energy!

The last time we were there, everyone got mad food poisoning though. Me and Andersson are vegetarians so we had different food, but the rest of our band and SPIRITUS SANCTI that we were traveling with were all throwing up and shitting allover the boat home [laughs]. I hope that doesn’t happen this time.

What other shows do you have planned already for this year?

There are no dates scheduled after Finland but we have plans to do some release shows in our hometown Örebro and some other cities in Sweden. We really wanna go back to Holland, Belgium and Germany again. We did some really cool shows down there. We did a tour in Poland about 10 years ago and it was fucking killer! Hopefully we’ll go back there this year as well as England where we also enjoyed playing. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Cool. Hopefully we’ll meet someday [smiles].

What music have you been into last year? Shoot us your “best of” summary for 2012.

Shit, that’s a tricky question to answer cuz we all listen to so many different bands and different styles of music. Me personally are really into PINK FLOYD at the moment. To be honest, I mostly listen to the old classics in my collection. Preferable MERAUDER, EARTH CRISIS, INTEGRITY, ALL OUT WAR, SEPULTURA, OBITUARY, DEATH, MAYHEM, COLD AS LIFE, or some good hip hop or rock music. We dig a lot of shit, even house and pop music.

The best records to come out in 2012 were probably DEFTONES – “Koi No Yokan”, NEUROSIS – “Honor Found In Decay”, GRAVEYARD – “Lights Out” and CONVERGE – “All We Love We Leave Behind”… Hardcore…? Hmmm definitely SAI NAM – “”Crush”, the MADBALL EP or BORN FROM PAIN – “The New Future”. Billy just played a great Swedish hip hop album for me the other day from CHORDS.. I believe it was called “Looped State Of Mind”.

 What does the new year look like for DEAD REPRISE? What is next for the band?

We just keep going man. Slowly, but steady. Try to book some shows, write some new tracks…you know. Just keep it rollin!

Thanks so much for your time, guys! It really means a lot! Feel free to add anything you want.

Support DEAD REPRISE and check out some other Swedish bands like xANCHORx, BITTER TASTE OF LIFE, ANGERS CURSE, ELAPSE, KEEP RISING, LESRA, HARDA TIDER, GUILTY, LOSE THE LIFE. Like us on Facebook if you wanna be up to date on new shows, merch and releases.

Peace out, stay true to yourself!

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