1- So, KAAMOS exists only since 98, but you managed to impose a huge respect with your last three productions (7´ep ´99, "Curse of aeons" demo´00, and your first full length selftitled "Kaamos"´02). How comes that you knew exactly how to define your style in so few years? It´s amazing to hear that you obviously are strongly rooted in the swedish death metal from the beginning of the 90´s, and in the most dark and aggressive thrash metal, but you know how to perform your own stuff without being any copycats at all...
Well… Fundamentally when we started up Kaamos, (today it is only Nicklas and I from the original members) there was a clear idea concerning what field we would be active in. It just came so naturally that the first three songs that we did, ended up on the promo/7”. And came pretty much to define the path that we had entered. Having in mind that the bands and standard of Death Metal when we entered the scene was Altars of Madness, Left Hand Path, Symphony of Sickness, Mental Funeral, etc. I’d say that it came to pretty much standardize our own musickal taste. And naturally it is going to have an impact on what we create ourselves. Albeit we’ve never really tried to sound old-school, that has come naturally. We do not have the intention of being copycats, or being retro. And that I think shows.
2-Could you tell me how comes that Sweden seems to give finally a second birth for good and real death metal bands, especially in the Stockholm area? I think of REPUGNANT, VERMINOUS, INTERMENT, STRANGULATION, SERPENT OBSCENE and VOMITORY, DEFACED CREATION, THRONAEON from other parts of Sweden for example. Do you often party or play gigs with such bands?
I guess the reason is because people who listen to Death Metal miss the days when one could hear quality, at least from Sweden’s behalf in this genre. So decided to do it themselves. When the bands that were considered as gods an pioneers in their field all of a sudden started mixing in non Death, Black, Thrash elements, I know for fact that many turned their back on them. Understandable and recommendable. However I do not think that many of the mentioned bands including ourselves has as a goal to re-create something that has been dead for almost a decade. We just continue in that tradition and the spirit comes along so to say. So it may look like that there has been a revival. But mind you that many of these bands were existent even during the big Black Metal boom/period. Thus far we have played with Vomitory, Throneaon and Repugnant from the mentioned bands. All have been good bands to play with. And as for Verminous, revenge for the klibba!
3-Is your drummer still in connection with REPUGNANT, or is he full time in KAAMOS now? Do you think that your line up is stable from now? How are the relationships in the band? Is it like some metalhead connected by the love of death metal, but not really authentic friends, or are there strong links between the members?
Nope there’s no connection left to them except that both Karl and Chris once played with Repugnant. Yes the line-up is stable and has been for some time now. As for relations in the band. Well fundamentally we have come to know each other through Death Metal. And it has from thereon evolved to a strong friendship. So authentic, yes indeed. I wouldn’t tolerate it any other way. Nor would the others.
4-What is great with KAAMOS is that there´s a really thin evolution between each records, but one can immediatly recognize your style, and the composition seems to still not have reached its limits. I´d like to know your meaning of this far way too much misused and misunderstood word called "evolution". Do you agree with the guys from DECAYED who say in an interview printed in LEATHER ´n´SPIKES #6 that "metal has its limits, and you must accept it or not being metal at all" ?
agree to a certain extent. Evolution for starters is something that
I do not think you can avoid. This because nothing is static. Whoever
disagrees with this is a filthy liar! However you can control it.
In our case it would mean that we stick to our gut feeling that
says, this is Kaamos, when working with new material. Metal has
its limits when someone has defined what metal is. And as far as
I know I’ve never read any definition that I truly support. For
example, were we to exclude keyboards, a lot of bands like Entombed,
Dismember Morbid Angel wouldn’t pass the test. Female vocals and
Celtic Frost wouldn’t pass. I personally think that they are metal.
So if the usage of non-traditional tools aids to express the idea
I am all for it. However a lot of bands fail when it comes to self-criticism,
and that is the biggest lack that I see in bands today. Thus the
result may still be metal per definition, but reek if shit. However,
evolution is usually used when a band changes style as a masque.
In a somewhat defence kind of way. In order to justify a change
of style. Metalllica as an example had a rather good evolution during
4 albums. And then they didn’t, Slayer is another good example,
and not to forget Morbid Angel.
5- Tobias from REPUGNANT said that he viewed death metal in a very strict and particular way, because all the old bands where still experimenting something new back then, but now people have to fully know the past of metal (and here especially death metal) in order not to produce crap and not to propose a vulgar copy of the ancient gods. What do you think about that? What do you think about all this "old school" revival?
Perhaps that is the case if you are a new band that started today. Nothing wrong with that tough. But in Kaamos case we have been along since atleast 90 so I’d dare to say that we know history. Imagine if a band like Mortem, Murder Squad, Revenge, etc would follow that statement, kind of bizarre, but I doubt that is what he meant. But yes the history of a genre is always important, especially if you have an aim in actually belonging to the genre in question. I’d have a hard time with people who play genuine dark black metal and don’t know Bathory, Venom, Dark Throne etc. And the same would go for Death Metal people who don’t know Altars of Madness, Seven Churches. I dare to say that there would be something lacking, and the sad thing is that this is usually the case today. As for the old-school revival as you put it. I do not like retro for retros sake. However, if you belong to a tradition then you do, nothing to argue about.
6- Another particularity of KAAMOS is the really great artwork that goes with each of your productions. Did you take the Gustave Doré´s artwork for your 7´ep because you know well the man´s work, or because you liked the MERCILESS´"The awakening" cover? Please tell us more about Dauthuss´artwork, because this person really captures very well the atmosphere delivered by your music. Talking about atmosphere, what do you think of the last IMMOLATION, INCANTATION and FUNEBRARUM albums? What are the moodiest bands you enjoy to hear (metal or not).
We chose Dore’s artwork because we found it suiting rather well with our aura. His artwork is something that we have seen quite a lot of in the scene. Both from the Death and Black Metal camps. And having in mind why he even drew them is reason enough to make him interesting. However that motive in question I stole from my E.A. Poe book that at the time I had recently purchased. I was actually a bit surprised to find something from him that hadn’t already been used by some other band. So naturally it tickled my mind from the very start. But it was only decided upon after the recording was a reality. I’d say we nailed that one rather good. Dauthus you say. Well, what can I say. For starters he is like the fifth member of Kaamos. He has had an equally big role in forming Kaamos as we the musicians have had. Important indeed. One can say that he is in charge of our visual appearance. And he truly captures the essence of what we musickally represent. So a natural outcome to say the least. Immolation surprised me big time with their “Unholy Cult”. Man that is a good album. The funny thing is that I worship “Dawn of possession”, but I haven’t liked a single one of the others until this latest effort. With Incantation I prefer “Diabolic Conquest” best. The immense sound on that one is mind blowing. The latest I’ve only heard in haste on cassette, but it did capture my interest. And Funebrarum are sometimes a bit too doomy for my taste, but I was impressed none the less. Non metal mood bands. Well aren’t you romantic! I forgot you are French, ha ha ha. You can seduce me to the tunes of Dead Can Dance, Raison Detre (or how the fuck you French spell it.) Zero Kama, Bones, and some others.
7- How do you consider what some people called a kind of "renewal" of death metal especially on the american continent with bands like DIABOLIC, NILE, KRISIUN, CRYPTOPSY, DYING FETUS, HATE ETERNAL. Do you enjoy these bands? I myself would rather give attention to bands like INFAMY, ENGRAVE, INSANITY; SADISTIC INTENT.
I’m on your side on this one. But I would put Diabolic in the latter one. Krisiun as well if it weren’t for the latest two releases. Abhorrence does it better.
8- What´s great is that your music is brutal, but not only for the sake of brutality only. Songs like "Doom of man" or "the chasm" with their mid tempo parts are also really killer. How do you proceed to compose songs? Is it a kind of common contribution to the songs, or are you the main guy behind the riffs? How comes you used a spoken intro in arabian language for the song "doom of man"? Is it as another reference to Abdul Al Razed, the mad arab one can find in Lovecraft´s litterature?
The way of composing songs differ rather much from song to song actually. In the beginning I pretty much did most of the material myself. But going with this line-up for some time now we all contribute. It can be all from a riff or two, to having half a song ready and presented. Rather varied as you see. And we do try to have some variation in the songs too as you point out. The Arabic intro thing is not connected to the Lovecraft myth, however I do understand that one easily makes that comparison. It was actually Karl’s idea to start with and since we know a bloke who studies the language we asked him to write down something and chant it. However it is quite blasphemic so it wouldn’t surprise me if we can’t visit certain countries due to fatwah, he he….
9- Your lyrics are really deadly without being cliché, and one can feel a huge portion of darkness sweating through them. Who´s the main lyric writer in the band? Which kind of litterature inspires you... Nietzsche, Lovecraft, Cioran? What kind of books, movies do you enjoy reading or watching? Do you enjoy Ingmar Bergman´s cinema and theater? What´s KAAMOS biggest influence?
I am the main lyrick writer. Well, the only actually. The lyricks exclusively deal with the left hand path and areas in this field. Books that are related to the aforementioned topic are the main interest. And also what inspires me to write. However it is not exclusively books, but everything that comes within this field such as art, movies, musick, literature etc…Of course Nietzsche and Lovecraft are a must in my world. I’m not familiar with Cioran though. However a writer that has taken a lot of my time recently is a countryman of yours called Huysmanns, especially his book La Bas. As for Bergman, he is most certainly a talented artist. The interesting thing with his movies are that they hold a strong theatre tradition, which is more or less dead today. Like for example also Leni Riefenstahl holds together with few others. Kaamos biggest influence I’d say is spirit, and our biggest mission is to express it.
10-Messiah Marcollin took part in the engineering of your album!!! It must have been great to work with such a cult guy. How did it happen? Lots of beers emptied with him?
That Messiah was on the record was a pure coincidence. Coincidences seem to be happening rather often when it comes to Kaamos though. The thing is that we booked the studio and when the day of entering came the owner and other engineer said that he was going to have a person doing some practice there cause he is studying engineering. He said that his name was Messiah and perhaps we knew if him. We thought he was just messing with us. But along the road came the man in question and we were quite stunned.
11- As a metalhead, I guess you enjoy to collect cool metal items. What are your jewels, and are there some demos, lps, eps, cds you are actually looking for? What do you like to see in a coverart, or to read in the lyrics of a metal band? What kind of riffs drive you insane? Are you also a huge heavy metal fan? Do you enjoy METALUCIFER, METAL INQUISITOR, CIRITH UNGOL and stuff like that?
As a matter of fact I do not collect as frequently as I used to. Perhaps because I already got what I want and only get newer stuff that comes now. But indeed I do have some jewels, Vulpecula 10”, the Abominations bootleg of Morbid Angel that is black and white. Man I love that one. What more, some Bathory, Devil Doll, Zero Kama, Danzig, Morpheus MLP, Necrophobic 7” etc. We are of course only talking vinyl now. But occasionally I do find very interesting titles, but I do not actively look for them, they just come my way. Well, I would like to get my hands on Protector though. Covers and lyricks should be representative of a bands “aura” and express an idea that has affinities with the band. As for Heavy Metal, not that huge fan of it. I like Iron Maiden and they leave little to actually miss in that sphere.
12- It seems that you don´t play so often live, am I wrong? Now that you are on Candlelight, will it be possible to watch you assaulting the european roads one day? How are your relationship with Candlelight and the other bands on this label? Do you intend to move from this label soon? What do you think of a label like IRON PEGASUS?
Well, I think that we play live quite often. Or as often as we get the chance to. But of course it has to be a bill that we feel comfortable with as well as good arrangements. So we have turned down quite a few as well. As for tours there are no plans that I know of, so the answer would be no. But we do assault Europe none the less with or without the aid of Candlelight. We are going to Hellas in about a weeks time, and also France will feel the wrath of the beast. And there is some loose talk about Germany towards the autumn but nothing confirmed. There isn’t really any relation between us and the other bands on Candlelight. They do their thing we do ours. However it is cool to be label mates with Incantation. Relations with the label are occasionally good and occasionally they suck. I don’t know too much about Iron Pegasus, but I think Costas is a dedicated person that runs a label based on fan principles to metal. At least that is my impression. And in the end you can’t go wrong as long as that is one of your foundations. To bad there aren’t more of those around. Instead you have persons who don’t give a fuck about the music and think in terms of sold units.
13- Please tell us what are the bands to keep an eye on in the swedish underground at the moment. Do you feel a strong connection between the ug bands in Sweden, or is it more like everybody following its own way? Are there some parts of the world that really impress you due to the quality of the bands coming from the same area? I mean are you involved with what happens in South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, Europe???
Some bands that I recommend would be Murder Squad, Repugnant, Craft, Watain. Well there is a connection between the underground bands, but I don’t know if it’s strong. There certainly is a mutual respect between most of us though. You usually know one or two guys in almost every band so the connection usually comes from there. There aren’t really any parts of the world that impress me currently, but there are bands that do. Man have you heard Old Death’s Lair with Throneum? That is a good example of polish satanic death metal….. But generally I’ve never had like a favourite country when it comes to Death or Black metal. Most countries mostly have 10 bands that are even worth mentioning in the end.
14- Something I can´t explain is why so many people dare to call them "metalheads" as they only follow the trendy shit, may it be fucking stupid goth/pseudo forest black metal, or the last useless ultra guttural and jumping so called death metal. I mean, bands like these are doing the big mags covers, but real metalheads like SADISTIC INTENT, PENTACLE, REPUGNANT, EVILUTION, FUNEBRARUM, NUNSLAUGHTER and your band are left behind and it´s often when good bands are dead and buried that people begin to worship them... Could you help me to understand this situation?
People have always let others decide what is good and not. So if a big glossy famous mag says that this is awesome, their readers, without hesitation will become followers of the band in question. Look for example at the phenomenon called Cradle of Shit. They don’t even have credibility for the genre they say they represent and still their fans call it Black Metal. An ironic thing is that Death and Black Metal, at least in the late 80’s and early 90’s were counterculture to the metal scene that was represented in the big press. That is why we have such a long history and culture of UG. However that is almost a sinking ship today. In the end most people are like sheep, complaining as they are being brought to the slaughter.
15- Your band has a Finnish name. Are some of you of Finnish blood? Have you had the chance to play in Finland? What and where are the best gigs you played with KAAMOS?
Yes, I am part Finnish. And no we’ve never played in Finland, sorry to say. As for the best gigs. I think it is difficult to say because first it is a rather subjective experience. And secondly because you can have a bad day but the rest of the band play great. But to answer your question. Deathfest in Gothenburg was quite alright. Also when we opened for the Haunted ages ago, and the last time in Gothenburg too.
16-OK, here comes my current question, in the vein of UNHOLY TERROR.... Please could you define what death metal is for you? And if death metäl was a beer, which one would it be according to you?
Hmm….. I don’t know if I can do this really. But I’ll try. Death metal is a form of expression that covers the black and darker currents. This means that in order not to undermine its reference it ought to be expressed with spirit. So that the musick actually can “manifest” itself in the listeners conscious and inspire him. Death Metal can’t be a beer, cause the buzz you get from it is but an insult to the genre. It is a hard drug that will fuck you up and turn you inside out. And then run you over 385 times.
17- Would you like to ask me a question?
Not really but since you insist I might as well do it. Why do you want me to ask you a question? (Well, I mean that it can show what is preoccupying you. And as the interviewer is always putting a bit of himself in the questions he asks, it can be cool to see how the guy who’s interviewed may react, and how he would himself ask some questions. Moreover, it often turns to be interesting. Ha!-Nathaniel.)
18- I think that this interview is over now, Hope you didn´t fall asleep too much while answering to my boring questions. Keep up the good work and please give the last words without forgetting to tell us a bit about the KAAMOS´future!
Thanks Nathaniel for the support and an exhaustive interview. The future for Kaamos holds heresy and darkness.