Interview with Perra Karlsson of In Aeternum
Sweden's black metal masters IN AETERNUM, after being on Poland's Agonia Records label are now residing with Singapore's PULVERISED RECORDS, the home of great acts such as Dissection, Watain and Sathanas. The highly anticipated first release for them will be the brand new Mini-CD "Curse of Devastation" that's been produced at the Abyss Studios with engineer Tommy Tägtgren. This MCD will be available probably during late January/early February 2007. I fully believe this is one of the more important underground metal acts around, mainly due to the fact that they keep it honest and true in concern to black metal's original meaning, while not getting bogged down too much in that over the top snynth'd-out production that you get now from Cradle of Filth and so many other in this sub-genre. I am beyond honored to have landed this Q&A in with one of heavy music's more remarkable drummers, Perra Karlsson.
Rocket: When did you first begin playing the drums?
Perra: I started breaking the sticks when I was ten years old. Since then I have progressed a lot and formed my own style of drumming, more or less. I mean, after all, that was twenty-four years ago.
Rocket: Very simply stated. And who are some of your biggest playing influences? Past or present.
Perra: To me as a drummer I would say Tommy Lee, Cozy Powell (R.I.P.), Snowy Shaw, Mike Mangini, Mikkey Dee and some others. For bands: Sadus, Grotesque, Annihilator, Possessed, Dark Angel, Death, Forbidden, Confessor, Motley Crue, Demolition Hammer, Incantation, Slayer, Morbid Angel, Autopsy and tons of others.
Rocket: I really respect that you mention Tommy Lee. That guy takes a severe ritualistic bashing in the press and public eye, so much so in fact, I feel we lose sight of what a phenomenal musical talent this guy is. It gets lost in the headlines. And yeah, definitely... Cozy was a badass. But really the last band I would've ever expected to come out of your mouth would be Motley Crue. Haha. That is one of the finer moments for me here. Now if I may be so inclined to pontificate a bit more, my entire reason for doing the very work that I do for metal is pretty much singularly due to Iron Maiden and Motley Crue, after having seen them each live at their respective legendary 'Number of The Beast' and 'Shout At The Devil' Tours back in '82-'83 here in Los Angeles. For me, it's the same thing too with Kiss, though they are a complete corporate-style run rock act today, they had at one spot of time such a fascinating and mysterious persona back in the day. They were the first ones to do that makeup bit and of course Crue followed. But in the end what I am most proud about for Gene Simmons, Steve Harris and Nikki Sixx, bottom-lining it for everyone here right now is the very fact that these three men are incredibly gifted songwriters on the bass guitar. And yes, this kind of music was very controversial and frowned upon here in the states during those early years and is now much more widely accepted. Please give us the specs on your drumkit.
Perra: I use Pearl export series because I can’t afford other more expensive kits, I do have two Pearl Export kits, one at IN AETERNUM’s rehearsal room and one at NOMINON’s rehearsal room. At home I do have a Roland electronic practice kit as well, which I actually use at least every other day. Good for just keeping up the double bass drumming and hand-techniques. I would never use that for recording proper albums though, as I prefer the acoustic kits. Much more dynamic and power for sure! On the Pearl kits I do use two double bass drums 22”, then I got two toms 12”, 13” and one floor tom 16”. For cymbals (mostly Zildjan, but also a few Sabian); 14” hi-hat, 6” Zil-bell, 10” splash, 3 x 16” crashes, 2 x 18” medium crashes, 20” china cymbal and 22” ride. I am sponsored when it comes to drumsticks, by WINCENT drumsticks (www.wincent.se). Very good sticks for sure, and I can easily tell people / other drummers to check them out.
Rocket: I know IN AETERNUM just switched labels. Can you tell me why this band signed onto Pulverised Records? And what kind of criteria was involved when making this type of crucial decision.
Perra: We had a lot and lots of problems with our previous label, so that was not a hard decision to make leaving them. After years of lies and stuff we decided that we needed to change, if we still wanted to continue with the band IN AETERNUM. Pulverised was supporting us directly without any doubts at all, so we felt like home more or less directly. We look forward to work hard with them in the future, and that label will also be held responsible for the re-release of the two first CD’s; “Forever Blasphemy” and “The Pestilent Plague”, that has been sold-out/deleted for quite a few years now. Of course they will also be releasing the next album by us, hopefully sometime at the end of 2007, or at least early 2008.
Rocket: IN AETERNUM will be releasing a new mini CD that should be available probably in late January/early February 2007. Who produced it and can you give us a hint of what to expect?
Perra: Hell yeah! We did recorded four songs at the well-known ABYSS STUDIOS here in Sweden last December with engineer Tommy Tägtgren (brother of Peter from Hypocrisy/Pain…etc). The new songs are a bit more melodic one could say, but in a brutal way. A little bit back to basic, not maybe when it comes to my drumming, as that it’s more or less always a bit far out. But if we are talking about the music it’s a lot of Metal in there and I am sure people/fans will take notice of that.
Rocket: So how exactly does the songwriting process work with IN AETERNUM?
Perra: Lately it was a bit chaotic, since we NEVER rehearse properly. We did rehearsed about 5-6 hours altogether in 2-3 days before we entered the studio. We did had the structures for two songs since our last rehearsals, early 2006, so we just worked on them, made a new one pretty fast and re-recorded the song “Reaper In Black” from the debut album. We had been talking about re-recording that song for a few years now, so it was an easy decision to make when this mini-CD recording needed an extra song.
Rocket: IN AETERNUM will be doing its first American touring in six years coming up in 2007. That's got to be exciting. What do you think of the American metal fans reaction to your type of music versus how it's accepted in your homeland?
Perra: Well, this might change. Because at first we were told that this tour was only going to be for three weeks altogether. The latest we heard was that it will be for two months, and that is a little bit too much for us to handle since we do not live off our music. We all have regular daily jobs, rents/houses/flats/bills to pay you know. If we go to the USA for two months we would have nothing when we come home, and we are not like 18-20 years old living with our parents. So for now I don’t want to promise too much for our fans over there, because if this tour will be for two months we have no other options than to say “No!” That’s a fact.
Rocket: IN AETERNUM was supposed to tour a couple years back with DEICIDE but it was cancelled as I understand it. Would you guys still be interested in touring with Mr. Benton and Co. maybe under a different set of circumstances?
Perra: Of course we were pissed at the cancellation of that tour back in 2004, but as time went by we realized that it’s not really their fault that the tour was cancelled, the booking agency fucked up a bit too, you know? And the thing is that we were promised another tour as a compensation, by the booking agency, but they never gave us/sent us out on any other tour. The truth is that we just finished paying off the bank loans for that trip. We had to take a loan to pay the rent for the van/motorhome, t-shirts and stuff like that. After all, we do not have anything negative to say to DEICIDE anymore. We would definitely be honored to play with them in the future, even though they have changed line-up and have an “AOR” melodic guitar player in the band…Ha Ha Ha!!!
Rocket: Oh shit. He went there! Awesome, man. I tell you, that poor guy has been taking tons of heat since joining that lineup. Who are some of the other black/death metal acts on your local scene that have impressed you?
Perra: Our guitar player plays in a band called UNDIVINE, they are a bit influenced by bands like the mighty DISSECTION and such, really good shit. Check ‘em out. I also like bands like WATAIN, of course, the CHAOS OMEN stuff is brilliant. We do have some great new bands in Sweden, but there is also tons of shit, so it’s up to each and every one of you to find your own favorites.
Rocket: Absolutely. That's why I do what I do, brother. To help school everyone on where to start at lest you know... kinda like giving them 'cliff notes' to real fuckin heavy metal. Now I like to have fun with this next one. What is the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing on the stage?
Perra: When the drum chair and me was falling backwards and disappeared behind the drum riser. I also remember that I was blasting/grinding away the whole song of “Sin” from the “Nuclear Armageddon” album in London, England back in the summer of 2004. I skipped the regular stuff and just blast away, that was funny, maybe not for the rest of the musicians in the band, but after all we all had fun.
Rocket: I asked David Larsson this question, so I'd like to repeat it with you. What is your definition of a satanist?
Perra: It’s very personal and I don’t want to talk or define my views about it in this interview.
Rocket: I can totally respect that. I am the same exact way about speaking on the topic when asked myself. It's almost too personal and hurts to try and even make sense out of with other people, for me at least. Gorgoth from Vanmakt, one of your labelmates on Pulverised Records, had a really fascinating take on it in during our last interview. Everyone reading this that didn't see that needs to check it out because I think it's very spot on. Now, changing gears and doing some reflection, it was a great year for metal in 2006. What album was your personal favorite?
Perra: IMPALED NAZARENE released a fucking great album in “Pro Patria Finlandia”.
Rocket: I love that band! Talk about one of the greatest metal acts to not ever get the true credit they deserve. But they are still kicking ass and on their own terms. And I have heard some of that live stuff from them and it simply cranks.
Perra: Also DISSECTION “Reinkaos” is a milestone. SLAYER proved once again with “Christ Illusion” that they are one of the best Death Metal bands around.
Rocket: You know it's funny, I didn't really get into that album until like last week! Haha. I mean, it just wasn't hitting me as hard as the old stuff... Reign-era, and well, unlike many I simply loved 'God Hates Us All'. But I must say that I really do think Slayer is remarkably still killing it even after all these years. And the video for 'Eyes Of The Insane' is probably the most disturbing and well conceived music video I have ever seen. Hardcore and in your face reality that has a serious anti-war stance... and it is a great thing for extreme metal that Slayer is up for that Grammy... so the shit talkers about them selling out need to get back to mowing the lawns at their parents house, where they still live at thirty years of age. Haha. Tell me, what are some of upcoming shows for you guys that fans need to be aware of?
Perra: We are not one of these bands that actually play a lot live.
Rocket: Yeah, I can sense that, Perra! Haha.
Perra: Not here in Sweden anyways. This country sucks when it comes to smaller shows.
Rocket: That's terrible to hear. But I tell you, my friend that it' ain't easy all over. Unless you are actually involved and have all the needed connections in that area to try and book professional gigs like I do for bands, you have no shot in hell really to even get up on a stage today, most notably here in the rock world's most notorious scene: Hollywood's Sunset Strip, my hometown scene that I haunt and report from regularly.
Perra: Festivals are OK, but the rest, well…. nah!!
Rocket: I could be wrong but it seems to me that with a lot of you more traditional black label bands, it's really more about the experience of recording and carrying out a theme or purpose for the overall musical content within, then to actually care about duplicating that live. Plus with the way technoogy is on the net today, you can market youself and sell units without peforming out.
You better be damn good though, as your great band certainly is.
Perra: If we do tour during 2007 we might play a small show at the bands hometown of Sandviken, just for the fun of it, but it’s not really necessary.
Rocket: Listen, you are a real cool person and I love your band's music and I very much appeciate the effort you guys put in to keep the wheels on the road with your band, okay? Thanks very much for taking the time out on this with me. Go ahead and give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.
Perra: Hail the horned one! Check out the website: www.inaeternum.com and www.myspace.com/foreverblasphemy for further information and details, as well as listening to some extreme Metal. Email contact: email@example.com or to me personally: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a lot to you Rocket for the interview and true support. See you around!.
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