martes, 5 de noviembre de 2013

Interview with Stefan Pettersson, singer of Usurpress and ex Diskonto


This interview was given in an atypical way. It turns out that I am a fan of Diskonto, and while i was listening to the last record of the group I thought "i should interview these geniuses". So I entered to Facebook's account of the group and left a message inbox. The one who answered me was who I wanted that I answer me: Stefan, the singer of the group, the guy to most admire of all who have passed through the rows of Diskonto. Bad news: Diskonto has stopped playing as band, already they do not exist any more. But Stefe is a good guy, and with all his good vibes, said to me that he is the singer of Usurpress, band of Death Metal that I love. Then why not to do an interview speaking about each and every one of the bands in which it was and is the great Stefe? We did it, and this is the interview.

Puro Ruido: Hi Stefan, how are you? How are things over there?
Stefe: It’s quite ok, a bit slow at work today so I have time to do band stuff like this. The weather is not too cold yet, which is always nice. Gonna rehearse with Usurpress tonight.

PR: I start talking about something that makes me sad: Diskonto are no longer active. Unfortunately, all that begins must end. What happened, why split up?
S: Well, we never really decided that we should split up, it rather just slowly died. We recorded the A-side of a new album in spring 2008 and the idea was that we should record the B-side in the autumn but it never happened. It became more and evident to me that some members really didn’t had time or interest for the band anymore. We did a tired and not too good show in April 2010 and two weeks after that I quit the band and started Usurpress together with Påhl and Calle instead. Diskonto had been around for 18 years and, like you said, there’s always an end to things. However, the recording we did in 2008 was released as a 12” earlier this year and in connection to that we did one last gig at a festival here in Sweden in August. It was a great weekend and a good end to Diskonto, I think. The other guys wanted to do more gigs but I wasn’t interested in that at all. I think they were a bit pissed off at me but I don’t care, I can’t go out on stage and fake an interest.
PR: This year, Diskonto released a great album called "Diskontinued" one of the best albums of the year. Think it's one of the best albums you recorded, the perfect album to say goodbye?
As I explained in the previous question that record is an old recording and is actually only half an album as we never recorded the other half. I think Diskontinued is the best record we ever did and I’m really happy that it actually came out. I have no idea how much it has sold or what people think about it since I haven’t found any reviews of it, but I really don’t care.

PR: Let's change the band, talk about Usurpress. Last year released the first full lenght, "Trenches of the Netherworld", a very good record. It was well received by the maniacs? Are you happy with the work done by Selfmadegod?
I think Selfmadegod has done a really good job promoting us and the two records we have released there (Trenches of the Netherworld and In Permanent Twilight), so we will continue working with them. The Italian label Iconoclast released Trenches on vinyl, they are great and honest people but I believe we will work with another label for future vinyl releases. Later this month we will release a split with Bent Sea (members from Soilwork, Napalm Death, Aborted, etc), it’s a 10” vinyl on Doomentia (Czech) and a mini-CD on Selfmadegod. You can listen to one of the songs from it here:

PR: Why Usurpress born? It was something that had spoken among group members in advance? Or just happened?
S: Well, since Konto had really slowed down and didn’t do very much, I started to think about forming a new band, slower and more metal sounding. On April 30:th 2010 I went to a gig with local progrock band Klotet, I had talked to their guitarist Påhl a couple of times and I had found out that he was interested in playing heavier and more primitive stuff. This suited me perfect so I just asked him if we should form a band together. The next day I phoned Calle and asked him if he wanted to play drums with us. I had known about him for almost 15 years but never really been friends with him but he turned out to be a great guy and a cool primitive drummer. I then asked Lawrence (FKÜ, Darkane, etc) if he wanted to play bass with us. He’s also a really cool person (that’s why I wanted him in the band) but after only one gig he left the band because he wanted to focus on singing and FKÜ. I then asked my old friend Daniel (Iron Lamb, ex-Dellamorte, ex-Tyrant, ex-Insision, etc) if he wanted to play bass with us. We had played together earlier in Diskonto and always wanted to do something together again. So I guess I/we had a plan behind forming Usurpress. I am very happy with the line-up in this band; Calle, Påhl and Daniel are all very intelligent and funny persons. Very easy to work with.

PR: Listening to the full lenght of Usurpress can not avoid thinking about the similarities between the Old School Death Metal and Crust, and especially in Sweden, where it is normal to find bands Death Metal with Crust influences, and vice versa. But I want to know what do you think about the similarities between the two styles. Think that in a country like Sweden, where both styles have a rich history of great bands, it is almost inevitable that both styles are mixed?
S: I don’t think it’s in any way inevitable, I can’t think of that many Swedish bands that mix both styles, maybe Bastard Priest and, to some extent, Bombs of Hades. In fact, I think most band should stick to what they are capable of doing. When most metal bands try to incorporate crust/punk in their style it sounds stale and rigid and when punk bands try to incorporate metal it often sounds really weak and laughable. But, yeah, if you have knowledge, understanding and respect for both styles you can be able to create some really powerful music. I would say we are a death metal-band inspired by crust rather than the other way around.


PR: Stefan, I recently found out that you were the lead singer of Sportlov a very funny black metal band. You were Count Wassberg, right? What happened to that group?
S: I can’t believe you know about this. There isn’t that much to say, Sportlov is probably of little interest to people who don’t speak Swedish although the music is quite ok black metal I believe. Sportlov consisted of me, Kaj (ex-Diskonto), Matte Modin (Dark Funeral, etc), Lawrence and Lars (Defleshed), we made an EP and an album and some gigs. After that I thought it had gone too far and we were starting to get too big so I quit the band. It was a funny side project and so on but I don’t miss it. Yeah, I called myself Count Wassberg.

PR: Let's make a little history. What do you remember from the times of Embalmed?
S: I don’t think any of your readers know about Embalmed but it was a death metal-band I had with Wallenberg (now Skitsystem) and Matte Modin back in 1989-90. We recorded a rehearsal demo and we never played live. We sounded a bit like Autopsy. In fact, the stuff we did isn’t that far removed from Usurpress. Wallenberg is still a good friend of mine and Matte’s band has their rehearsal place next door to Usurpress so I see him from time to time

PR: Let's talk about Usurpress. Have been on tour, presenting the album? What are your plans for the future?
S: We did a Eurotour after Trenches was released in June 2012 and after that we have made two shorter tours in 2013 of Italy and Czech. Right now we have no gigs planned at all and instead we are writing songs for the next album, we have 4-5 songs ready and they are all among the best ones we have written, more complex and varied but still short and to the point. We have decided to record the album in two sessions with about 6 songs on each occasion to be able to concentrate as much as possible on each song. We have planned to do the first session in Jan 2014. But right now it’s the split with Bent Sea that is in the works, we’re really looking forward to this release as we think it’s a big step forward from Trenches. I think the song “A Tidal Wave of Fire” will surprise some people as well.

PR: What can you tell us the promo cd you have made for festivals, concert promoters, etc? What has this cd?
It’s just a CD-R with our side of the Bent Sea-split on it. We sent it out to promoters of European festivals in hope to play some in the summer of 2014. We do all our bookings ourselves. I know Selfmadegod have started to send “real” promos to magazines, fanzines and radio stations now. People out there reading this who have their own fanzines should contact them for a copy.

PR: Usurpress played at OEF 2013, right? Tell us how good was that experience?
S: Obscene Extreme is a wonderful festival in every aspect so we were very happy when they invited us to play there. I have played there with both Konto and Uncurbed many years ago so it was good to come back and see that it was just as good now, if not even better. We played there on Thursday and we did an ok show, of course grind bands are most popular there, hahaha!, and then we just hanged out Friday and Saturday, drinking beers, watching bands, talking to people. It was like a holiday really.

PR: Steffe, were a member of Uncurbed for 3 or 4 years, if I remember correctly. What memories do you have of your time in Uncurbed?
S: That’s correct; I joined after their singer Jens left the band. If I’m not mistaken I was in the band 2001-2005 and then I left because I would become a father and also start to work in Stockholm so I decided I only had time for one band and I choose Diskonto. The years with Uncurbed was funny but very chaotic, these guys are not very organized, hahaha! Having said that, I think all of them are totally great people and I’m still good friends with all of them. I just don’t want to play with them anymore... I have a lot of fond memories of my years with them; I start to smile when I think about it. 

PR: Much is spoken of the revival of the old school sound, etc.. But, it's really old school? I mean, after 30 years, Death Metal, Crust / D-Beat, and all these great creations, they are still so in force as 30 years ago behind, without losing his power, his fury. Whereas more modern styles become fashionable, they turn into the "new great thing" during 15 minutes, and then they disappear. Do you believe that the sound Old School is kept younger than the supposed new sounds?
S: You raise a lot of interesting theories here, but we must not forget that these styles that we now consider “old school” or “timeless” once was considered old fashioned and simply outdated. For example, if you wanted to form a band that sounded like early Sodom or Sarcofago in 1991, people would laugh at you because you were so “unmodern”. And when black metal was on its peak in the mid-90ties, very few people started bands that sounded like, for example, Malevolent Creation. Now, kids start bands that sound like Anthrax/Exodus and think that this kind of music is old school and have always been around and appreciated when in fact most people in the scene puked at it when death metal was considered the “new great thing” in 1989. My son is 8 now, in 10 years time he might have a band that’s “doing it just like the ancient masters Bring Me The Horizon did back in 2008”, I don’t know.

PR: Ok, bro, the last question. Do you imagine what had been of your life of not having been a musician?
S: I don’t know if I’ve ever been a musician... But I think that having the privilege to be able to travel/tour so much and meeting so many interesting and intelligent people really have made me a better and more open minded person. I also met my wife at one of my shows so that’s another important thing that the whole music thing has given me. And I’ve had a lot of fun as well!

PR: Steffe, a million thanks for the interview. If you want to leave a message or greetings to your fans Latinos, do freely. Hopefully one day we can see you in South America with Usurpress...or Diskonto hahaha
S: I don’t know how well our records are distributed in Argentina or South America but hopefully some weird distro has them. I’ve toured North America (USA/Canada) 4 times but I’ve never made it to South America, maybe someday!
Thanks a lot for this insightful interview, Manel, and if any of you wanna check out Usurpress, feel free to visit: or
Take care!

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