1. First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. Before we really get rolling, please introduce yourself and can you please give us some information on your band and its background?
Pagandom was founded in 1987 in Gothenburg, Sweden by myself (Christian Jansson, bass/vocals) and Martin Carlsson (guitar). We released three demos and one full length album before disbanding in 1996. Then in 2013 we were asked to reunite for a gig at Gothenburg Sound Festival in January 2014, a festival celebrating the harder sound of Gothenburg. Without knowing it we had a significant impact in the early years on a bunch of teens that later would form bands like Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates and In Flames, so this was some kind of thank-you-for-the-inspiration-thing. Extremely honoring.
Failing to engage the other two original members Johan Zackrisson (guitar) and Rikard Ligander (drums) for the festival help came from drummer Sören Fardvik (ex-Slow Death System) and living guitar legend Anders Björler (ex-The Haunted, ex-At The Gates). Since both the chemistry within the band and the feedback from outside the band was beyond our expectations, we decided after the festival to continue playing and write material for an album, and in october 2016 we released “Hurt as a Shadow” through Gain/Sony. Anders left the band in mid 2016 and was replaced by Martin Meyerman (ex-Zombiekrig).
2. Please describe your band’s style. Genre, similar bands, etc. What should a potential new fan expect upon hearing your music for the first time?
We play thrash metal, but we are using what we did back in the day as a starting point and adding influences we picked up since then.
3. What other bands have you played in previously?
During the hibernation of Pagandom I played in The Eleven Pictures and From Now On, both Martin Carlsson and Sören played in Flow and Slow Death System, and Meyerman has a history playing in Dead By April, Zombiekrig, Transport League, M.A.N. and also Slow Death System.
4. What are some of your musical influences both in metal and maybe in other styles of music?
Apart from more obvious bands like Slayer, The Haunted, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest we find inspiration in pretty much anything we like including Meshuggah, Neurosis, Morrissey, Behemoth, Depeche Mode, Mastodon and Isis (the band, not the religious lunatics).
5. Can you please share with us your band's recording history and any interesting stories and experiences from the studio?
Well, our self financed demos “Instead Of Watching Your Funeral I Watch You Live” 1989, “Hear Your Naked Skin Say Ashes To Ashes” 1990 and “Demo 92” 1992 were truly tough and great learning experiences ranging from pretty bad production to pretty good production. The 1990 demo became a local classic and at the GSF gig we played all four songs from it. Making demos nowadays is both cheaper and easier. Our debut album “Crushtime” from1994 was recorded in Delta Studios in Wilster, Germany. Stress and poor communication made the stay and the production less pleasant than expected, even though a lot of people like the outcome.
6. How about your bands live experiences? Any amusing or memorable shows you would like to share with us?
The old club gigs from 89-90 all have a special place in my heart, as does the 1994 tour of Germany with Suiciety, but more recently I must say GSF in 2014, supporting Meshuggah in Gothenburg February 2017 and at club Sticky Fingers Gothenburg in March with a smiling Mikael Stanne in the middle of the audience. Awesome.
7. We have all heard of the big 4 of thrash. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. It has been talked about in the past and critiqued quite often. In your mind, what are the Big 4? You don't have to just list thrash bands, lets open it up to all metal genres, past or present, what is the big 4 in your mind?
Hard question, but for me personally it probably is Black Sabbath, Slayer, Neurosis and Mastodon.
8. What would be your dream supergroup? Again lets open it up to past or present musicians, what would be the dream band lineup?
Drums – Ben Koller (Converge, All Pigs Must Die), bass – Cliff Burton (Metallica RIP), guitar – Jeff Hannemann (Slayer RIP) and Anders Björler (ex-At The Gates/The Haunted/Pagandom) and vocals – Barney Greenway (Naoalm Death).
9. Now if you were to be a member of any band, who would you love to join up with?
10. Now it’s time to get philosophical. What IS heavy metal?
The foundation on which all hard music lies upon.
11. What has heavy metal done for you thus far both in music and in your personal life?
Besides making me feel good it has propelled my creativity, got me life long friends and expanded my social network.
. If you were not playing in a metal band, what do you think you would be doing currently?
Playing in a punk band!
13. What is your heavy metal dream? I am not talking about goals here, I am talking about going to bed and dreaming...what is the dream you are having? Or is it a nightmare?
See question 8, the resurrection of Burton and Hannemann!
14. What is your view on the current state of heavy metal?
It seems to alive and well. As always.
15. What are your thoughts concerning the digital era of metal. I am curious what you think of digital downloading, recording in the modern era and anything else that has changed since the early days of the industry.
It is what it is, both a blessing and a curse. It´s easier to record, release and promote your band but production wise it often becomes too perfect.
16. Heavy metal has gone through some changes since the early days. New movements have come and gone as has its overall popularity. With that in mind, what direction do you see heavy metal going in the future?
New blends of metal will see the light of day as well as bands going back in time to find inspiration and being loyal to specific genres.
17. Several musicians have gone on record to say that the full length album is dead. That with the digital age there is no need to produce a full length release. What are your thoughts, is the full length dead or still viable?
Definitely still viable! There might be a lot of younger persons who doesn´t give a shit about albums and that are merely into random songs - and that´s fine, but there are still many of us who will kneel before a thought through well put together album.
18. Okay time to talk and promote your band some more. What is the current news coming from your camp. Any new music, tours, festivals or anything going on?
Well, we have just started writing for another album which feels great. We started writing for Hurt as a Shadow three years ago so it´s about time we got creative. We are performing at Gefle Metal Festival in July and shows for this fall are taking shape.
19. What are the immediate short range goals for your group?
To get as many as possible to give Hurt as a Shadow a listen, play gigs and continue to write new music.
20. What about ultimately any long range goals?
To keep Pagandom alive and kicking as long as possible, and to keep having fun while doing it.
21. Finally if you have any last words you wish to express to your fans and the metal community in general please do so here.
A million thanks for all the love and support we have gotten so far, you know who you are! And if you haven´t heard us and you´re into music that kicks you in the teeth – please give our album a listen. Take care!