Interview by Winter Torment Webzine (September 5th 2017)
1. Hails, please introduce yourselves to the readers! When did you two first meet each other?
H: We got to know each other around the time Devourer formed. I wasn’t involved in the band at the time, it was Falk and a guy named Kvist who started it and released the first demo, “Malignant”. After the demo was released Kvist left Devourer and they both got involved in other projects so Falk put Devourer on hold. A couple of years later Falk and I played in a band called Panzerschreck and we started talking about playing black metal together so Falk decided to pick up Devourer again with me on vocals.
2. You two formed Devourer in 2002, what gave you the idea to start this band?
F: I didn’t play in any other black metal band at the time but wanted to create the sort of black metal that I want to play and listen to so I had to start Devourer to do that. It still serves that purpose. Kvist started to get into black metal at the time and wanted to learn more about composing black metal so he sort of tagged along on the first demo, writing a couple of riffs and so but let me lead the project. Not that long after we released “Malignant” he asked me to join the grindcore band Radioskugga on guitar, which I did, and by doing so I later met Håf which was a perfect fit for both me and Devourer.
3. I believe Devourer is a two-man band, would you like to add more musicians to make a full line-up or do you prefer to stay a two person band?
H: We’ve talked about adding more band members to be able to do live performances and have some guys we could work with. It isn’t planed at the moment though.
F: I can be a bit anal about my compositions sometimes so I prefer to play all the instruments myself when we’re composing and recording but as Håf says we’ve talked to some guys about playing with us for live performances. It seems a bit pointless to rehearse for some local show performing for a crowd who don’t really know Devourer but if a proper label supported us so we could go on tour that would be a different matter.
4. Across The Empty Plains is the bands newest release which will be released through Iron Blood & Death Corp. records. How did you come in contact with this great label?
H: They contacted us after we released the album online on our website, Bandcamp, YouTube and so on. Historically we’ve only released our stuff online without doing much PR at all since Falk and I used Devourer mainly as an experimental platform and a creative output in between other bands we’ve played in. This time was different though and Falk did a massive PR job to get some attention for the album.
5. How long did it take you to write the music for this release and do both members work on the music or do one member usually write everything?
H: This album took a very long time to complete because it was a turbulent time, I think I’ll pass this over to Falk to elaborate.
F: I write almost everything but Håf’s advice and musical ear is invaluable to me and his lyrics and vocal arrangements define Devourer as much as my riffs do. I also confide in a friend outside Devourer whose advice is also very valuable to me when I delve deep into my own musical world. I started writing the songs for Across The Empty Plains shortly after returning home after a lengthy stay in drug rehab. Eventually they gave up so now I get my drugs prescribed to me and get them from the pharmacy. It actually didn’t take that long to write the music, a couple of months maybe, but when Håf was working on his contribution to the album I relapsed a few times and got so depressed that I had to stay in a psyche ward about one-third of the entire year of 2016. I had electroconvulsive therapy seven times or something like that and at one point my brain was so fucked up that I couldn’t remember where I lived or who Håf was. I recognized his voice on the phone but that was it. My memories slowly came back to me and now I can at least take care of myself, stay at home by myself and write music, which is what I want to do. I’ve written about half an album now so it won’t take as long until the next one is ready.
6. Who usually takes care of writing the lyrics for the band what are some topics written on Across The Empty Plains?
H: I write most of the lyrics and do the vocal arrangements. Falk writes some lyrics and sometimes we co-write songs, “Nexus Of Evil” and “Throne Of Agony” are two examples of that. Most of the lyrics revolves around death, the human psyche, a misanthropic view of the human collective along with occult and esoteric topics.
7. Besides the upcoming release do the band have any past releases still available to buy? Besides the new release do the band have any other merchandise available?
H: We haven’t planned anything like that but if a label shows interest we’re open for suggestions. We do not have any physical copies or other merchandise of earlier releases at the moment.
8. What does black metal mean to you all?
H: I think I’m speaking for the both of us when I say that black metal is important to us. Devourer isn’t just black metal though, we have a lot of influences from other genres too and we don’t want to limit ourselves by staying within a single genre.
9. Besides working in Devourer do either of you work in other bands or solo projects?
H: I play with Patronymicon and Sordid Flesh.
F: The last band I played with before totally fucking up my life and being forced into drug rehab was Sorcery. We’ve had a lot of good times together and we’re still friends but in 2014 I was in too bad shape to continue playing with them so they asked me to leave the band. When I finally got my shit together a couple of years later and felt the need to start creating music again I saw an opportunity to put all my focus and energy on Devourer, and so I did and continue to do.
10. Devourer comes out of Sweden’s black metal scene, what is your opinion on the Swedish black metal scene?
H: Sweden always had a strong scene and have been a part of shaping the sound but being one of the countries with the most metal bands per capita there is a lot of shit too.
11. Who are your all-time favorite Swedish bands? And are there any new bands you feel the readers should watch out for?
H: I can’t answer that question since I don’t keep an absolute favorite.
F: In my early teens I listened mostly to death metal but when Marduk released Opus Nocturne in 1994 that changed to black metal instead so they do have a special place in my record collection so to speak.
12. Besides bands are there any honest and reliable Swedish labels or distros you could recommend? And are there any good fan or web-zines you could recommend to the readers?
H: I can vouch for Cryptorian, Bifrost and Carnal records.
13. Thank you for taking the time to answering this interview, do you have any final comments for the readers?
H: Pick up a copy of Across The Empty Plains, you never know when the opportunity comes again.
Interview by Occult Black Metal Zine (June 11th 2017)
1. Can you give us an update on what has gone on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
F: I’ve put a lot of effort into promoting Devourer and the new album, something I didn’t do for the album we released in 2013. It didn’t get much attention at all because of that, which is a pity since I know a handful of people who hold it in very high regard and I think more would if they knew it existed at all.
2. Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound presented on the recording and how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
F: Reviewers usually describe Devourer better than I am able to, I am better at writing music than describing music in words, but I would like to call the album a Swedish Black Metal album with elements of Death Metal and Doom Metal presented in a way that is unique to Devourer. I don’t think that naming genres says much about the music so I’d also like to say that it has a lot of anger, hate, horror, despair and an ambiance reeking of sorrow and dread. Devourer has always been a band where we create music freely and without limitations so I don’t think much about how our earlier releases sounded when I write new songs and instead just let the new songs write themselves, then we keep the good stuff and throw away the bad.
3. This is your first album since 2013, can you tell us a bit more about what has gone on during that time span?
F: I was playing the drums in Sorcery in 2013 and put a lot of my time into that band at the time, writing songs, touring and rehearsing. In mid 2014 I had to leave Sorcery and stopped playing music altogether because my depressions and opiate addiction got really bad. I spent almost all 2015 in rehab and about three months of 2016 in a psyche ward. I recorded a three song EP on a four-track digital porta in rehab that I released as Nastrand. That EP is called Addicted to Death and can be found on YouTube, SoundCloud and so on. It doesn’t sound like Devourer and that’s why I came up with a new name for that project. While I was still in rehab I also recorded Devourer’s single Pest, and that’s why I did the vocals on that one instead of H. Now it’s almost business as usual so our next release won’t take that long to complete.
4. Some of your lyrics deal with Occultism and the Left hand Path, can you tell us a bit more about your interest in these topics?
H: You are somewhat correct that Devourer delve into aspects of the left hand path. I’m studying a lot of occult mythology, qlippothic aspects of the Kabbala and have a belief in chaos Gnosticism. But the main theme of Devourer is really about life and death and a journey into the human psyche. I find it interesting that we have the instinct of survival combined with the impulse to destroy ourselves and everything around us, that contradiction is intriguing and truly something to explore. Take dreams and nightmares for example, what is reality, is it our awakened state that is reality or is it in our dreams we are truly awake? I consider Devourer musical alchemy, the strive to merge social science with myths and religion.
5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name ‘Devourer’?
F: To me Devourer is the demonic equivalent of a black hole, devouring everything and leaving only horror and dread behind. I came up with the name back in 2002, 15 years ago, and can’t really remember what I was thinking then, but I think it was something like that.
6. What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and how would you describe your stage performance?
F: Devourer has never played live, but we probably will sometime.
7. Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
H: At the moment no. We are a two-man act at the moment, which we have been for over a decade. We have been talking about it though and have people who’ve expressed interest in working with us so it might happen at some point.
8. You are currently unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
F: We have received some offers, none of which has resulted in some sort of deal yet though.
9. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
F: So far the feedback I have received has been very positive, but I haven’t got that much of it. I’ll continue working on promoting Devourer as best I can, so hopefully there will be more feedback coming.
10. What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
H: I am working on a new album with Patronymicon at the moment but other than that it isn’t much going on.
F: I’m probably going to join a blackened thrash metal band as their new drummer but we’re just talking about it now so I won’t mention which one it is just yet.
11. Where do you see the band heading into musically in the future?
H: You never know, not even us. That’s the thing about Devourer. It has always been an experimental platform where we explore ourselves and the world around us.
F: Like H says, it’s as much a surprise to us as to the people who’re listening what will come next. We’ve started working on our next project and so far it’s just starting to take form so I can’t really tell yet.
12. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and what are you listening to nowadays?
H: Mgla, Deathspell Omega, Mayhem.
F: Right now I am listening to Taake’s self-titled album from 2008 but other than Taake I have to mention Marduk, Gorgoroth and Thorns too. A band that sadly enough is both a bit underrated and are never going to play again is Abandon from Gothenburg. Their album The Dead End from 2009 is an absolute masterpiece so fans of funeral doom should check it out.
13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
H: Life is random, death is certain!
F: Our newest album is free to stream and download from our website so head over to devourer.se and get it now!