After a ten-year-long hiatus, one of the most interesting metal bands to emerge during the 90’s have come back for an encore. With Revenant, Tad Morose set out to prove that they are still going strong after a lot of turmoil within the band’s ranks during these ten years of silence. We spoke to guitarist and founding member Christer “Krunt” Andersson about the new album and line-up, the events in the band that had transpired during the hiatus, and the general situation of the scene today.
Read our review of Revenant here!
Everybody has their fair share of saying when it comes to songwriting. It’s a total democracy in the band.
Metal Blast: You have a new album out, aptly titled Revenant as it marks your first studio effort after a ten year long hiatus. What can you tell us about the record, how does it compare to your previous releases?
Krunt: It’s really hard talking about your own music, but I think that it’s a natural step from our previous album, Modus Vivendi, and it’s a step in the same direction as the Undead album. It’s more basic heavy metal in my ears. But it’s still a typical Tad Morose album.
MB: Yeah, I’ve noticed that there are less progressive elements. Modus Vivendi had a slight Blind Guardian vibe, but that might be because of the vocals and the way were recorded. This one seems slightly more US Power Metal?
KA: Yeah, perhaps.
MB: Although you haven’t been publishing any new material, Tad Morose was never actually broken up or anything. You’ve gone through a lot of line-up changes before finally coming back with this line-up. Can you tell us a bit about the new members, how did they become a part of the Tad Morose story?
K: Well, after Urban [Breed, former singer] left it was really hard for us. And for some time, five or six years ago, it was basically just me and Peter [Moren], our drummer, in the band. From there on, we talked to each other, clenched our fists even tighter and decided that we just had to work harder. Then we got Ronnie Hemlin on vocals, as he was our long-time friend. It was not that hard, just a matter of asking him to which he said “yeah!” Tommy Karppanen, the bass player, is also a friend of ours. I’ve known him since our early teenage years and we’ve actually been playing together in various bands when we were young. We asked him, to which he replied “it was about fucking time you asked!” After that we brought in Kenneth Jonsson on guitars, and he was very eager to join the band as well. So it was fairly easy to get this line-up together.
MB: Before Ronny Hemlin took on the vocal duties, you’ve been fronted by Joe Comeau, formerly of Annihilator and Overkill. I wasn’t able to find anything about the reasons he left the band, so could you tell us what happened?
K: When Urban left the band we first talked to Ronnie, who was very interested but a bit to occupied with his former band, Steel Attack. We were there with no vocalist, and my friend from Norway suggested I give Joe a call. I figured “he is a very good singer, but he lives in America, so how the hell would that work?” After a while, I thought “what the hell” and contacted him. He sent us his audition tape, and was by far the best of all the guys who auditioned. We talked to him and he was very keen to join the band. We knew there would be some problems because he lives in America. Regardless, we flew him over and did a couple of shows and some recordings. But in the long run it just wouldn’t work out. It was hard for us in Sweden to function as a working band with him over there.
It felt really bad when I gave him a call and said “It really can’t go on like this.” It was really sad, and I felt like a fucking asshole telling him that. But to make the band work we had to do something. It’s really sad nothing got released with him on vocals, because he’s a great singer. But we couldn’t do anything else, and decided to find a Swedish singer. So we talked to Ronnie again, and this time around he wasn’t occupied with Steel Attack, so he joined.
MB: Going back to Revenant – Were the songs on the album accumulated over the last ten years, or did you write them together with the new line-up?
K: A little bit of both. Some songs and parts of some songs date way back, but most of them are fairly new.
MB: What lyrical themes does the album cover?
K: A lot of them. There’s life, death, morbid tales and whatever [laughs]. It’s about how important it is that people make up their own mind, and not believe everything they hear or read but instead to question things.
MB: How much input did the new guys have in writing the material?
K: Very much. Everybody is and has always been involved in the songwriting process in Tad Morose. Everybody has their fair share of saying when it comes to songwriting. It’s a total democracy in the band. Everybody has their own input, and everybody plays their respective instrument the way they do which contributes to the way the songs sound, so in a way everybody is equally involved.
MB: Since it’s the 21st century most bands rely heavily upon the internet sometimes not even seeing each other just sharing music through Dropbox. How does Tad Morose work? Do you see each other frequently and work together, or just share ideas on the web?
K: We see each other pretty frequently. Me, Tommy and Peter all live here in Bollnäs in Sweden. Ronny lives an hour south and Kenneth lives in a small town which is two and a half hours away. Us who live in Bollnäs see each other a couple of times a week, Ronny joins in one or two times a week and Kenneth comes down a couple of times each month. We all believe that it’s a very important thing to actually meet up in the practice room, play together, have fun together and do things together instead of just sending e-mails. But we also use Dropbox for musical ideas, of course.
MB: Do you have any touring plans for the future?
K: We’ve got nothing booked at the moment, but our management is dealing with a bunch of booking agencies and hopefully everything will be settled pretty soon. But of course there will be shows, tour and perhaps a bunch of festivals during the next year. We’re really looking forward to getting involved in that.
MB: What is your opinion of the metal scene today? Any new bands that caught your attention?
K: Sadly, no. [laughs] But I’m kind of stuck to the 80’s and 90’s when it comes to music, anyway.
MB: How do you feel about digital downloads replacing the traditional, hard copy method of music distribution?
K: I don’t really know. I mean, you can’t stop digital or illegal downloading. The illegal downloads killed a lot of bands in a way. But again, I’m a bit old fashioned. People downloading one song here or one song there – it’s just how it is, and you might as well adapt to it. We’ve still got the live thing, and that’s the most important thing for us. I mean, you can’t illegally go see a band.
MB: Well, you can if you know the security and go “man, can you get me in for free?”
K: [laughs] Yeah, of course, but you know what I mean. You can’t fake the real thing. Again, I’m old fashioned and miss the good old vinyl days. But on the other hand, the mp3 players are really convenient.
MB: I’ve actually read that the vinyl is experiencing quite a resurgence. The vinyl sales have peaked in the last two years compared to the situation five or six years ago.
K: I’ve also heard that vinyl tends to sell more than the CD’s. Sadly, we’ve never released a vinyl and we were actually joking around about putting out Revenant on vinyl, just for the sake of it. I don’t know if people would like it, but we sure would. So perhaps we will do this as a limited edition to please ourselves.
MB: Well, from my experience the people who love Tad Morose and traditional metal in general were always into vinyls. Any traditional metal fan I know has a huge collection, so I think you’d do well.
K: Well, we might just do that.
MB: Do you have any final words for the fans?
K: I hope everybody loves the album, and when you play it play it loud – because it just sounds way better that way! And if we play near where you live, please come see us live because then you’d realize what Tad Morose is all about.
MB: Thanks a lot for the interview. Good luck with the sales, good luck with the tour when you schedule it, and hope to see you on the road!
K: Hope to see you too, I’ll buy you a beer [laughs]