NEGATIVE SELF interview w/ Tor

By Jean

Awesome crossover thrash band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. If you’ve never listen to their brand new first s/t LP on High Roller Records, and if you’re a great fan of late 80s SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, this record was made for you. I’m speechless!

1/ Hi Tor, thanks for according your time! First of all, I’d like to personnally thank you and congratulate you for that INSANE record you released this year with NEGATIVE SELF on High Roller Records: this is the most perfect crossover thrash record I’ve listened to in years. Are you proud of it? Are the critics and the reception of the record satisfying? Thanks man, I’m very happy you like it! I must say I’m very proud of the album. The reception’s been amazing and we have received so many kind comments, emails and even phone calls. I don’t think I’ve ever been this proud of a recording and I’m so happy it get’s some recognition. The reviews have been mixed, just as we suspected, but that dosen’t matter at all. Some reviewers love it and that always nice. Theres also a bunch of critics who doesn’t get it all.

I red on Facebook you’re already working on a second record, writing a following record isn’t a hella challenge if we figure how good your first s/t LP sounds? I also red you guys are still looking for the “right drummer” to start playing live. Any news about that? Of course it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m certain that we’re going to deliver and live up to the first one. We’ve got 10-15 songs more or less ready and they are going to come out really nice. We’re doing pre-production at the moment and will hopefully start to record autumn/late 2015. For the first record, it was only me, Andreas and Frank. Me and Andreas wrote all the songs and lyrics, did all the arranging and Frank only came in to do the bass and engineering. This time he’s been with us throughout the writing process. We’ve also added Viktor Svensson on rhythm guitar. He used to play in GUILTY and his style is super heavy. He’s raised on a solid CRO-MAGS diet so he’s really bringing an edge to the new songs. As for drummer, we actually have found someone! A guy called Oskar who played with DR LIVING DEAD during the early days. He’s a great drummer and a really easy going guy so he’s perfect for the job!

  The record sounds like my favorite period from SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, that 1988/1989 era (“How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today” and “Controlled By Hatred/Feel Like Shit… Deja-Vu” originally on Epic) – both in terms of the guitar sound and that incredible Mike Muir’s vocals imitation you do! Is NEGATIVE SELF a tribute band to SUICIDAL TENDENCIES/NO MERCY, Suicidal Records, the Venice Spirit…? Is that an accomplishment, like if you guys had always been great SUICIDAL fans and had always wanted to pay homage to that legendary  Not sure if I want to call it a tribute band, but I still realise that it’s being perceived that way. Me and Andreas have been huge Suicidal fans for a really long time so of course that’s going to show in our music. Since there’s not so many bands “mimicking” the ST sound, people think we’re a tribute band. If we would have sounded like SLAYER no one would mention it due to the fact that there’s already an abundance of those bands around.

Is NEGATIVE SELF a “nerd” band? A part from CHRISTER PETTERSON, you guys play/played in so much different bands (including DR. LIVING DEAD, OUIJABEARD, UNDERGÅNG, HEADED FOR DISASTER, OPPRESSION…) I must admit I’m a bit admirative towards  the different interests you guys seem attached to express! Yeah, we’re a complete nerd band. Andreas is probably the nerdiest guy I know. Completely in to Star Wars and stuff like that. Frank is going after a PhD in theoretical geophysics, Viktor is a coffee nerd, I’m a film geek and working at a Film Festival. Oskar’s a soccer guy, so yeah, we’re pretty nerdy. When and how did you start NEGATIVE SELF? Where did you record the songs and who’s the genius behind the console who perfectly worked on the respect of this super old school sound? Me and Andreas started Negative Self late 2013. Neither of us had an active band and we both had a bunch of ideas lying around. So we started writing songs, me on guitar and Andreas on drums. Wrote songs for a couple of months and started recording. The album’s recorded in Studio Radioskugga, Andreas brother’s studio. Frank did all the engineering, mixing and mastering. So we’ve done everything on our own except releasing it. Andreas did the amazing artwork. 2/ What’s the message behind that name “NEGATIVE SELF”? Parts of me really do believe in PMA and I think it’s important not to dwell on shit and loose yourself in negativity. With that said, you can’t ignore the state of the world and all the shit that goes on. And instead of just ignoring shit you can let it fuel you. If you’re angry, let it fuel you. “I use my anger as a tool” like Andreas sings in our song “Negative Self.”

These are quotes from THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER’s singer Trevor Strnad on Metal Injection website: “Swedish crossover thrashers NEGATIVE SELF will transport you to the George Bush-era for a total retro-rager with their new self-titled album.” Can we figure, concerning the spirit and the lyrics of such a record, you try to transpose the feelings of old-school Venice thrashers to our more contemporary political History which is maybe more depressive than late 80s America? For example, you once posted on Facebook you received requests from nazi-labels, and wanted to make it very clear that you have nothing to do with that shit. Far-right seems to be a real issue in 2015 Sweden… The far-right (and the not-so-far-right) is a huge problem all over Europe. The nazis and facists pose a bigger threat than any islamist fraction, especially since they aren’t treated as a threat. A bunch of nazis that attacked a demonstration in Stockholm got a slap on the wrist while people protecting themselves and others in the demonstration got sentenced to years in prison. Free Joel!

  Who writes the lyrics? Since I just ordered the LP from a French seller on Discogs I still haven’t read the entire lyrics, that’s why I’d like to know what the songs “Another Year”, “Dancing With The Dead”, “Tied Down”, “No Tomorrow”, “Call It Depression” are about? Andreas and I wrote all the lyrics. They deal with personal experiences of mental illness. There’s also songs dealing with dwelling on lost love, something I’ve been very good at. “Self-destruct… The Pain Never Ends” seems like a straight edge song (!), what this song Is about? Viktor’s the only one who’s edge in the band. The song’s about getting into a relationship knowing that you’ll probably fuck it up due to your own issues. The song’s about someone telling someone that “I hope you know what you’re getting into. I’ll do my best but most probably I’m going to hurt you in the end”. Is the song “Negative Self” the best way you found out to sum-up that first record? Yeah, basically. I previously asked you stuffs about the second LP you’re currently working on, will you keep the same direction concerning the lyrics themes? Not sure. I’m sure there’s going to be some changes but it’s hard to tell at this point.

3/ How did you guys get in touch with High Roller Records? I gotta admit I’m not that much into metal anymore, but when I sometimes want to purchase metal records on the Internet I always check their website. They’re the Euro Metal Institution! Andreas released two albums with DR LIVING DEAD and one with OUIJABEARD on High Roller so he’s known them for years. They were really excited about working with him again and said yes to NEGATIVE SELF straight away. What do you think of Metal Injection writing “NEGATIVE SELF is more suicidal than SUICIDAL TENDENCIES”? Haha, no, we’re all family. We joined the army.

4/ Sweden has always be a dedicated place for hardcore/punk/metal. What are the different nowadays bands, the different records released these recent years you can advise us to listen? There are so many great bands at the moment. Everyone needs to listen to SVART STÄLHDJÄP , BADDÄT FÖR TRUBBLE, a new band called POWER FACE, OBNOXIOUS YOUTH is coming out with a new album soon . Then there’s HARDA TIDER, AXE RASH,  LIVET SOM INSATS and so many others.

Thanks for the interview, we really appreciate the support. Thanks for taking the time!

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