The Swedish all-star death metal project Bloodbath caused quite a stir in the underground when they released their debut MCD Breeding Death a few years ago and the buzz didn't become any lesser with the release of the debut full-length album Resurrection Through Carnage which was thick and juicy old school death to the tips. Now the band is ready with their second album Nightmares Made Flesh which shows a slightly lesser old school approach towards the music than we've grown used to. Jonas Renkse called me on a Friday evening much to my surprise since I was told that it would be Dan Swanö I was going to talk to but none the less Jonas turned out to be a talkative guy and ended up answering all my questions about the new album as well as others.

Jonas Renkse interviewed by PSL

How would you compare Nightmares Made Flesh to Resurrection Through Carnage?
I would say it's maybe a little less old school because we felt that we probably took the old school concept as far as possible. So I think this new record got more elements from the recent death metal scene as well as of course some old school here and there. But overall I think it's more technical and faster.

What struck me while listening to the new CD is that the production doesn't quite seem as thick and juicy this time around! Have you deliberately tried to go for a different and somewhat clearer sound?
I think that when we did the songs we realized that they needed a cleaner production because there are more details in the music this time and they would probably disappear if we kept the same sorta sound that we had on the previous records. I think this sound we have on this record allows the listener to hear all the small parts we did on this one.

All of your releases seem quite different from each other both sound and music wise. Could you explain why that is?
I guess it's because there's some time between them. It's been two years between every release. In two years time you get new ideas and new things you wanna try out and you probably also get better at what you're doing. So I think as time goes by you always come up with new stuff and want to try different things. With Bloodbath it's important to keep the things within the death metal range so it's not like we're going progressive or whatever. It's supposed to be death metal and I think we all wanted a little bit more brutal approach with this new record.

Yeah and it seems a bit more technical too!
Yeah, small parts. We're not that kinda band that can play ultra technical stuff but we wanted to include some technical parts to make it more interesting.

How involved in the creative process has the two new members been?
Not so much because the songs that we did were already done when they came in. But as far as their own parts go they have been involved because when Peter was doing the vocals we provided him with the lyrics and sorta the rhythms to sing but he came up with a lot of cool ideas on how to use the voice and the drummer he had a very free rein when it came to playing the drums because we just recorded demos for him with a drum machine playing very simple and then he was free to come up with stuff. But maybe next time they'll be more involved.

Peter's vocals don't seem that different from Mikael's!
No, I don't think so because Peter knew what we wanted and he knew that he actually could deliver top notch death metal vocals. It's not the type he's got in Hypocrisy but he knows what it takes to do some real death metal so I'm very satisfied with Peter.

Why did Dan switch from the drums to the guitar?
I think that was one of the first things that he said when we were talking about our next record that he wanted to play guitar and let somebody who's more into death metal drumming do the drums. Dan is a very good drummer but I don't think he has been playing so much death metal drums before and I think he felt somewhat limited with his style so he said that we needed someone more experienced within death metal.

How come Mikael Åkerfeldt quit the band?
Basically because he's so busy with Opeth. They were constantly doing tours last year and first half of this year so he wouldn't probably have the time and I think also he would be too stressed about having two bands. Especially now that Bloodbath is becoming more of a real band so maybe Mikael didn't had the time to put his heart into it.

How did you hook up with Peter and was he the first choice?
Yeah, I think he was the first choice actually because Dan he's a friend of Peter and he proposed that we should talk with Peter and try him out and as everything went so smoothly with Peter there was really noting to discuss and we were all very happy with him. My first thought when Mikael said he wouldn't be a part of the band anymore I was like thinking for myself maybe we if we can get a lot of money maybe David Vincent from Morbid Angel can do it but it would take so much time and probably a lot of money as well.

It seems like he's back with Morbid Angel!
Yes, that's very nice.

Is Bloodbath strictly a studio project or is there a possibility of seeing you play live at some point?
I think now that we've done two full-length album and we heard the recent demands for us playing live. We have been talking about and I think it all comes down to the members different schedules. Every one in the band got other bands but we are definitely going to try our best to play live maybe not a full tour but at least some gigs sometime next year hopefully.

So Bloodbath is a band that we can expect more from in the future?
Yeah, I hope so… That's what I hope for because I'm dying to play this kinda music live I've never done it so it would be killer.

Was it a surprise to you back then that Breeding Death caused such a stir in the underground?
Absolutely because when we first started to fool around with the songs we didn't had the intention to release it at all. I was just a fun thing because Dan had bought some new studio gear that he wanted to try and he called us up and said; "Lets do some death metal just for fun" but then Century Media somehow got hold of the tape and they really wanted to release it and we said yeah of course. It's still a fun thing but things have gotten so much more serious now and that's not what I thought to begin with.

The Bloodbath sound is pretty different from the other bands that you're all involved in. Was that a goal from the start that Bloodbath should nothing alike the other bands?
Yeah, I think so because the initial idea was to create some really badass death metal. Our other bands are not that kinda style especially not Katatonia that I'm in. We definitely didn't wanted to make a mixture of Katatonia, Opeth, Edge of Sanity or anything like that. Basically we just wanted to go for death metal the old way.

I assume you write the music individually but how is the whole process of putting a song together?
We're doing it individually. We've been doing that way because everybody is living in different cities. It would be very different to get together and rehearsal so for this record Dan wrote four songs, Anders wrote four songs and I wrote four songs. Speaking for myself I just sit down and let things come naturally as far as that goes and try to put myself in the mood for death metal.

From where do you get the inspiration when writing music?
Of course listening to the old death metal style. There are some different sounding death metal bands out there and you like bits here and there and maybe you want to work something out by listening to something that you like. Basically the inspiration for Bloodbath comes from listening to other death metal bands.

What kinda music do you listen to these days?
Well apart from death metal of course which have been like a very big thing in my life I've been listening to all kinds of stuff like mellow like sing and song writer stuff but I also basically like everything that's a bit dark.

Could you tell a little about the cover artwork? It seems far more obscure this time around!
Yeah I think so. I don't know so much about I've just seen it like a couple of times. It's a girl from the US who's been doing the cover this time and we provided her with the lyrics for the record and she was reading the lyrics and then she had like free hands to do whatever came to her mind and yeah it looks pretty obscure I agree.

So it's not the same artist that did the artwork for Breeding Death?
No. For Breeding Death we wanted to use the guy who does it in true old school fashion. We wanted the guy who did the first two Morgoth mini albums. So they asked Axel and he was really thrilled to do death metal stuff again. And for Resurrection Through Carnage we used Travis who we have used in Katatonia.

So it wasn't an option to use for instance Dan Seagrave?
Well, actually we talked much about it and we also contacted Dan Seagrave but as he's painting everything, large paintings and stuff so he was pretty expensive so we felt that for this record we didn't have the right money to use him but that would be like the ultimate thing since he's a legend in the death metal circles.

What are your own plans at the moment? Do you have anything new on the drawing board?
My plans right now are that we're going to focus on doing the new Katatonia record this winter and hopefully next year play some live shows with Bloodbath which would be awesome but also a lot of touring with Katatonia.

Do you have any closing comments?
Thanks to you for doing this interview.

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