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Beastiality Interview With Henrik Johansson

Beastiality are a crushing death/thrash/black metal band and after hearing their newest release called "Sacrificial Chants on Invictus Productions I got in contact with guitar player Henrik Johansson and here is what he said to my questions:

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

HJ: Born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden. Frölunda to be exact. The same part of town as GROTESQUE, LIERS IN WAIT, AT THE GATES, IN FLAMES, LUCIFERION, DARK TRANQUILLITY, CEREMONIAL OATH etc…

What kind of kid were you growing up? Did you have a lot of friends or were you more of a loner?

HJ: Grew up with a good bunch of friends. Normal childhood. Metal took my life at the age of 9.

Now I’m from the US, what are some things you did while growing up in Sweden?

HJ: Just like any kid really, playing, doing sports, exploring your surroundings, pushing boundaries.
Pretty similar to what I imagine a kid growing up in the states at the same time would do. Metal and rock music, WWF Wrestling, action and horror movies, video games, and physical activities.

Did you develop a love for music early on in your life? What was the first style of music you heard?

HJ: One thing I did do that was of major importance growing up as a kid was spending hours and hours in front of MTV. They were still about music during this time. Headbangers Ball was still around and a general selection of rock and metal music was daily. METALLICA and GUNS N’ ROSES changed my life and I was forever to be a slave to metal. My first idols were ABBA but it quickly turned to metal.

How did you discover the wonderful world of metal? Were there many ways of getting your fill for metal over there? By that I mean record stores, radio stations, etc.

HJ: Well I was the only person among my family, friends and classmates into this kind of music. Before the internet and without some cooler older brother I had to learn all myself. MTV helped a lot. There were not that many record stores in my part of town but downtown sure—no radio stations broadcasting rock or metal music except some smaller local attempts.

Sure there were means to get your share of metal but I was not exposed to that til after some years I had already gotten into it.

At what point did you really start to get into the underground?

HJ: Mid-teens, discovering extreme metal.

Now before Beastiality, you were in a previous band and you played bass in that band and now you currently play guitar in your current band. Any reason for the switch from bass to guitar? Who are some of your favourite bass players?

HJ: Yeah well actually I’m more of a bass player. BEASTIALITY started with 2 bass players so I was encouraged to grab a guitar instead. That’s really the reason. I’m still a bass player playing the guitar. Fortunately. It has been crucial for my songwriting.
Cliff Burton, David Vincent, Tyrant (Nifelheim), Joey DeMaio. There are many good ones.

How easy was it to make the switch in instruments and who are some of your favourite guitar players?

HJ: Pretty easy even though I struggle still.James Hetfield, Jon Nödtveidt, Glenn Tipton.

Now from reading, it looked like your former band broke up and then Beastiality has formed not long after. How did the band come together and how long did it take before you began writing songs that appeared on your 2013 demo called “Ancient Bell”Chimes”?

HJ Well pretty much as a result of my departure from MORBID INSULTER, the previous band I played with. A continuation of the musical vision which I shared with the late E. Expulser.

Unfortunately, he passed away before our demo was recorded. I wrote those songs in 2011, recorded them in 2012 and later released in 2013. Curse of the Devil was originally written for MORBID INSULTER in 2006 but never ended up on their first EP as intended.

It pretty much started with me and our original bassist E. Von in Gothenburg. We relocated to in Stockholm 2012 and put together the first lineup.

Was the demo released as sort of a feeler to see how the underground would react to your music? How was the response overall to it? Looking back what are your thoughts on your debut demo?

HJ: Not at all. We intentionally reached out to the ones who appreciate and understand real metal. And they did get our message and embraced the manifest. This demo caused a big fuzz in the UG worldwide. We got nothing but good reviews and people within the scene we ourselves were inspired by praised this first release. This is still my favourite release with the band. This is to me what BEASTIALITY is all about. The sound, the diverse songs, the full package.

In 2014, you had one tune on a 6-way split called “Evil Spells, Volume I”. How did you come on to be on this and did it help you much or not really? Did you the song that appears on it exclusively for the split?

HJ: We were contacted by 2 companies doing vinyl comps and went along with New York’s Electric Assault Records (the other one was the Swedish Critical Mass compilation series). They both worshipped our demo and we asked to have the opening track to proceed, which we got. I think it helped us.

Yes, I wrote the ‘Apocalyptic Storm’ song and lyrics. It was chosen from a session of 3 recorded songs, together with ‘Sadistic Fornication’ and ‘Shadowside Path’ for this comp. All 3 songs later ended up re-recorded on our debut 2017 debut album.

You next put out a 6 song live release called “Live in Stockholm” on Chemical Structure Records. Whose idea was it to make this a live release also 2 cover tunes are on this, one by Merciless and the by Sarcófago? Great bands obviously, but what made you pick each tune by each band and how did you think you did? Do you know if either band has heard those tunes?

HJ: Just a strict 18-copy release within our own circle. Official bootleg. There was an Indonesian reprint also. Well both MERCILESS and SARCOFAGO are first-wave extreme metal bands and represent in many ways what we are about and where we come from. Our initial musical vision was and is still a MERCILESS with BATHORY in the rehearsal room of SARCÓFAGO 1987.

I think we did alright, the aggression and violent atmosphere is there. If they’ve heard it? I think not.

So how do you think you are as far as being a live band? Do you feel you have your own style so to speak? Is the live EP still for sale by chance?

HJ: I think we are a good live act, the nights we get our act together… But the energy, fire and force are always there. That’s how people see us, that’s how people remember us.
Not for sale anywhere by any chance.

Now, who came up with the name and the logo of the band?

HJ: Name, don’t remember. Logo our original vocalist M. Molester.

Now before the release of your next release, your singer at the time, Marcus Sjöberg, left the band. What happened?

HJ: M. Molester was kicked out because of the lack of engagement.

In 2016, you put out a new 2 song demo, with a guest singer, P. Penetrator. How did you find him and I think he does a pretty good job on the 2 songs. Thoughts on this demo?

HJ: He does a fantastic job with those songs! I really dig this release. We played together in MORBID INSULTER and stayed friends since. He has helped us here and there.

In 2017, your 1st full length came out on Invictus Productions (a great label) and you used 3 different singers on it. How did you approach the songwriting on this, in other words, did any of the songs, the actual writing, did you have a particular singer in mind while you were writing the tunes?

HJ: Not really, just a vision regardless of who was to execute it.

How did the underground take to this release? Did you get to play many live shows behind this release or not many considering you didn’t have a full-time singer yet?

HJ: At the time of the release there was a lot of commotion and conflicts around and within the band. On top of not having a full-time singer, one by one the band parted ways with the previous members. Not until the band was reformed in 2019 were we out doing gigs and promoting the album. In 2020 we had scheduled dates but the pandemic put it on halt for all of us. But finally, we have a functional lineup for the first time and are ready to crush, kill & destroy.

Now it took 5 years until your next release, “Sacrificial Chants” also on Invictus Productions. This release I feel is a million times better than every other release and it left me craving for more. Who sings on this new godly release?

-Well thank you! Million times better really? 😎

HJl: Well we are in the making of an album as we speak. Hope it will not be as delayed as our previous releases… Totalitarian Commander of Unearthly Perversions (Bass/Vocals) handles the vocals with additional assistance from A. Död (drums).

With COVID finally going away do you hope to do some live shows to help support this release?

HJ: Yes and we did! Restrictions were lifted here on 9/2 and 12/2 we did a release ritual in downtown Stockholm playing a full set and some new songs to promote our new EP. The place was packed with raging, metal starving maniacs. It was our best show to date. Talk to promoters over there and get us to the states!

What are some of the best shows you have personally seen and what are some of the bands that you have shared the stage with?

HJ: Well there are too many… MANOWAR, IRON MAIDEN, SLAYER, NIFELHEIM, METALLICA, JUDAS PRIEST… I’ve seen magic concerts with DISSECTION, seen MANOWAR play their entire 6 first albums in full at the Magic Circle fest 2008, seen a private SLAYER gig along with a crowded one (only playing old songs!) in a small club in Malmö, Sweden 2014 to mention a few. Also, the first time I saw Chile’s FORCE OF DARKNESS 2009 over in Chile was magic…
BEASTIALITY has shared the stage with bands like BLASPHEMY, NIFELHEIM, VULCANO, FORCE OF DARKNESS, MORTUARY (Mex)…

For those who have not heard of the band, what would you say you sound like musically?

HJ: Black deathrashing satanic speed metal hellstorm.

Please plug any websites or social media pages you have as well as merchandise.

https://beastiality.bandcamp.com/

We have shirts, vinyl and CDs available. Contact us for bookings or merch at [email protected]

If someone wants to pick your EP where is the best place to get it?

HJ: Invictus Productions, local distros. We still have some copies also.

Henrik, horns up for doing this interview, any last words to say, the floor is yours.

HJ: Thanks for the support! Beware of what’s coming!

 

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