Interview with drummer Tobias Gustafsson, Vomitory (June 21st 2007)

Not all of our readers might know you guys, so maybe you could start off and tell us a bit about the background for Vomitory

Vomitory – The band was formed in the end of 1989 by guitarist Urban Gustafsson, who is still in the band. We started out more like a death-thrash act, influenced by bands like Slayer, old Metallica, Venom, Sodom, Entombed, Celtic Frost and Kreator. Very soon we developed our sound into pure Swedish brutal death metal. After a number of line-up changes, a few demo tapes and a 7" single, we released our debut album, "Raped in Their Own Blood" in 1996 on the Dutch underground label Fadeless Records. Our second album, "Redemption", was released on that same label in 1999. At this time we also began touring in Europe. In 2000 we signed a deal with Metal Blade Records and have been with them ever since. We have released four albums on Metal Blade - "Revelation Nausea" (2000), "Blood Rapture" (2002), "Primal Massacre" (2004) and our recently released new album "Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize". We have done a number of tours in Europe together with acts like Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Vader, Dark Funeral, Amon Amarth and Krisiun. Vomitory 2007 consists of: me, Tobias Gustafsson on drums, Urban Gustafsson and Peter Östlund on guitars and Erik Rundqvist on bass and vocals.

How has the response been on the new album, and what kind of expectations do you have for it?

Vomitory – The response has been nothing but great. Both fans and media seem to just love it and it feels great that it seems that people haven't forgotten about Vomitory despite the long time that have passed before we finally got a new album out. People seem to have noticed the small improvements we've done since our previous albums, and that is very satisfying to us. We hope this album will state very clearly that Vomitory is still alive and better and stronger than ever and that we'll get out more and play live.

If you should choose one song, which represents the essence of Vomitory on the album, which one would that be and why

Vomitory - Oh man, that's a tough one. But I think I'll pick "Flesh Passion". It contains parts and styles of riffs that are so significant for our sound. It's one of the most brutal and intense songs on the album. It also has a cool breakdown in the middle that represents the more heavy sides of Vomitory that you can hear more of on the new album.

If you had to describe your music to a complete musical ignorant – what would you tell him?

Vomitory – I'd say that our music is controlled musical chaos. I think it would be useless to go into any further detail to such a person. That description says it all.

How important is the lyrically side of Vomitory – and what has inspired you on the album?

Vomitory – We have always considered the music as the most important, and it still is. But writing good lyrics has become more interesting to us the longer we keep on doing this. Even though the topics in our lyrics aren't anything groundbreaking at all - you know, gore, blood, war etc - we still try our best to write good lyrics that fits our music. 

How did you get the name Vomitory, and is there a story behind it?

Vomitory - I came up with the band name in beginning of 1990. I remember it was quite difficult to find a suitable name for the band at the time since there were quite a lot of death metal bands around at that time. When we came up with something cool, it was often already taken by either a band or a fanzine. But then when I was listening to the Treblinka (pre-Tiamat) 7" vinyl EP, I checked the names of its band members and saw that one guy was called Emetic. I looked it up in a dictionary and found that emetic means “something that causes vomiting” and I also found the synonymous word vomitory. We thought vomitory would be a very appropriate name for our band since it was extreme, referred to what “normal” people would think of our music and that it ended with an “-ory” which was very death metal back then, haha! So we went with Vomitory from that point.

What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Vomitory, not necessarily sales wise?

Vomitory – The biggest accomplishment is to have kept doing this for so many years now, 18 years to be exact, and still enjoying it as much as we still do. Actually, we enjoy it more than ever right now!

What are the strengths and where can Vomitory improve?

Vomitory – Our strengths are that we write good and solid songs with solid arrangements - very straightforward and no bullshit, just the way we like it, we know what we're doing by now and we know what we want - we don't experiment nor compromise with our music, and I definitely think that has gained us in the long run. There are of course always things where a band can improve. We can still improve as songwriters and as individual musicians. We can also work more on our live performance.

Do you have any touring plans for 2007, maybe on the European Festival scene?

Vomitory – We are working on getting a tour together before the end of this year. We also have a few festivals this summer. We've already done a couple of them, like the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore, USA and Sweden Rock Festival. In a couple of weeks we're playing at With Full Force in Germany and a couple of weeks after that we're playing at Arvikafestivalen here in Sweden. We are also waiting for confirmation from a few more festivals so hopefully there will be a couple of more dates before the end of this summer.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?

Vomitory – Iron Maiden's second album, "Killers", marked the start for my love and dedication for metal. That was in 1982, I was eight years old and it was the first time I heard Iron Maiden. I had heard about them before and read about them in magazines and such but never actually heard them. So when I finally did I was blown away completely. Iron Maiden has been my number one favorite band ever since. There are a number of persons that have had a big influence on me as a person and my life, but two of the most important ones are my girlfriend and partner for eleven years and one guy named Patrik, who was one of the owners of the company that I worked for prior to my current employment. During my first years there (my first job after graduating school) he was kind of a mentor for me and taught me quite a lot about almost everything and he made me more self-confident, which I am very grateful for today. There are a lot of good decisions that have gained me in the long run that I’ve made since then that I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for him. My girlfriend is the foundation of my everyday life – my mainstay – and we live a very good life together. She’s 100% supportive to everything I do.  Yeah, it sounds cheesy but this is simply how it is.

Which five albums would you bring on your iPod to a deserted island?

Vomitory – Metallica "Master Of Puppets", Exhumed "Slaughtercult", Iron Maiden "Somewhere In Time", The Beatles "1967-1970" (the blue album) and Queensrÿche "Operation Mindcrime".

Which album(s) have put a big smile on you face and has made you bang your head in past year?

Vomitory – "Slaughtercult" with Exhumed really revived my hope for really dirty and brutal death metal. When I heard it for the first time at a local record store, I really had a hard time to stay still to not embarrass myself completely. That album is so fucking raw it’s ridiculous! I always put on a big grin on my face when I put on that album and “Decrepit Crescendo” kicks in! Fuck, I get excited just by thinking of it, haha!!!

I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?

Vomitory – Thank you for having Vomitory! Well, I round off as usual by commanding people to check out our new album “Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize” for some serious musical violence! Also, check and for additional info, music samples, news on tours, festivals etc. Keep it metal! Skål för helvete!!!

Interviewed by Kenn Jensen.

Vomitory - Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize

Album available on Metal Blade Records.

For more info on Vomitory - click on the album cover.