HEARSE :  interview with Max Thornell, Johan Liiva and Mattias Ljung


organized by

Irascible Distribution and GryphonMetal.ch

e-mail interview  by 

Boris "Azrael" Witta ___             






Boris GM- Hail Johan, Mattias and Max, thank you very much for the interview! Here we go:

  First of all let’s talk about the new album: What’s the meaning of the title “Armageddon, Mon Amour”? To me, it sounds a bit ironic.

Max: Ironic? How come? Anyway I guess that Johan got the title idea from the old classic movie “Hiroshima mon amour”. Well, I guess that each day we´re getting closer to the end of it all and somehow humanity seem to want it that way, cos´ we´re doing absolutely nothing to change that! So somehow it looks like humanity is in love with Armageddon, doesn´t it?


You seem to like long and extravagant classic guitar-solos. Who are your guitar heroes?

Mattias: When it comes to looonng solos there´s really no one that can equal David Gilmour.
I also really like Ace Frehley (my first guitar hero), Gary Moore, Mark Knopfler, Eddie van Halen, Randy R, Zakk W, Brian May and Hendrix to name a few.


Max: My guitar hero would be Fast Eddie Clarke! Not because he´s the best technical guitarist around, but what he did in Motörhead still rocks big time! One ton of attitude!  A dirty metal hero! Then of course there´s a bunch of other dudes whose style I really like; all the Ozzy guitarists, Dimebag, Ace Frehley, Blackmore, Alex Lifeson and a bunch of others. Guitar solos rocks!


When I look at the lyrics, they’re all very negative, kind of angry and discontent. What’s the reason and where do you take your inspiration from?

Max: The lyrics mostly deal with the world of today and I guess you don´t have to be Einstein to notice that the world we live in ain´t exactly paradise. This world is actually a pretty ugly place and...and what the hell. I guess you just have to do the best of it.


How would you declare your music? At my opinion, it’s more than “only”Death Metal.

Max: It´s always kinda hard to describe your own music. But I´d go for groovy, interesting, sometimes weird, heavy, cool, loose, fucking awesome metal! What about that!?

I´d say we´re heavily inspired by the old death metal bands, but I´m not that sure I´d call our music death metal really. At least I don´t think in terms like “now I´m gonna make a death metal song”. Guess you can find a lot of influences from 70´s rock, death metal, 80´s heavy metal and even some pop music in our music. Guess it all has to do with the fact that we don´t just listen to metal. Feels much more evolving to listen to all good music, whether it´s metal, pop, rock, samba, calypso or whatever!


Your sound shows a lot of influences, for example Rock’n’Roll but also modern elements. Do you make yourselves any frontiers how far you can go with the songwriting for Hearse or is everything possible?

Max: I say like Tom Petty: The sky is the limit! I definitely don´t feel much of limitations when I make the music for Hearse. Well, I guess we try to keep it within some heavy rock´n roll, but otherwise I don´t see any reason to set up limits. I´ve always been a lot into bands that you can´t really categorize. Guess we´re making it a bit difficult for us, he he! We could as well just copy some of the big bands and probably sell a lot more albums, but that´s not really what we wanna do. So I guess we have to live with the fact that some people will really hate the stuff we´re doing, he he!


Can you tell me something about the Cover-song “Cambodia”? I didn’t find anything about it.

Max: It was originally recorded by Kim Wilde back in the early 80´s. I still think her two first albums are just awesome! And Cambodia has always been a favourite. That song is just awesome! Guess I had a real crush on Kim Wilde back in the days, he he!


Johan, you played once in Arch Enemy. What’s your relation to the guys from the band today?

Johan: We naturally don't hang out quite as often as before, but stay in touch via e-mail and so on. I'm glad that it turned out this way, not that I ever could imagine that we'd ever talk to each other again, but you know - it's not just one big smile when you have to leave a band which you care for so much as I did for A.E., so..."


How difficult was it to restart from zero with a new band? I men, with Arch Enemy, you had a big status in the scene. How is this with Hearse?

Johan: I don't mind starting from scratch every now and then - it's in my 'nature' kind of I guess. It's part of the fun to build up things from dust and turn it into gold, haha! With Hearse it was little of a "silver-plate"; line-up, songs and a lot of the basic stuff was already there - the only thing missing was lyrics and one helluva singer who is able to scream like a little piggy."

Max: Like a little piggy? So that´s why you sound that way, Johan?


What about the people when they hear the name Hearse: Do they say, “Ah, that’s the band of the Ex-Arch Enemy-singer” or do they remark that Hearse is a completely own band?

Max: It seems that people are talking about the band of the ex Arch Enemy vocalist. And that feels a bit weird as it automatically makes people to compare us with Arch Enemy. And well...I´m pretty sure that if Johan hadn´t been in the band they wouldn´t even have mentioned Arch Enemy. But what the heck...Arch Enemy is one helluva band, so I´d rather be compared with them then some other shitty band.


Can you tell me something about the Swedish Metal-scene? Here in Switzerland, it sounds often like Utopia when we read about the bands, the community and the Live-clubs which you have in Sweden.

Max: Hmmm...if I´d have this question like ten years ago I´d probably agree with you. But today? I might not be the best updated person around but... I wouldn´t agree on that today. Back in the days, like 10-12 years ago I think that the death metal scene here in Sweden was just awesome! A lot of cool bands, clubs, zines and...you name it! All the bands also seemed to help each other out back then, instead of competing. But I have to admit that I´m not that updated nowadays as I´m just not that interested. Guess I got stuck back in the late 80´s / early 90´s when it comes to death metal. The bands from that time are still the ones I listen to; Entombed, Dismember, Grave etc. Guess I´m just old and bitter, he he!


Ehm, do you know the band The Crown? Because for me, the beginning and the and of “Tools” sounds exactly like their song “Face Of Destruction – Deep Hits Of Death”. Or is this just chance?

Max: I saw this band back in 1993 when it was called Crown of Thorns and to be honest I don´t even know if I´ve heard this band since then. So it´s definitely a coincidence if we sound anything like that band. But I guess it´s a cool band, so perhaps I should check it out, right?


What were your best and your worst experiences of playing live, and may we hope that you play once in Switzerland?

Max: The thing is that Hearse hasn’t done any live shows yet! We´ll do the first gigs in September in Holland and Belgium. Will be superduper! Otherwise I can´t come up with any terrible experiences when it comes to live gigs. I really love playing live and it has always been a true pleasure!


Now our typical gryphonmetal -last- question:  the game. To the bands we interview for the very first time we propose the Game of the Tower: there is a very high tower, and on the top of this tower, 3 bands are waiting for you. You must kick down 2 of them, saving only one. The 3 bands for you, Johan, Matthias and Max, are: In Flames, Manowar and Dark Funeral.

Max: Hmmm...that´s a tough one! But I could start by kicking down Manowar. I´m not that fond of halfnaked men in leather to be honest. Don´t mind the women in leather though! Xena is no. 1!

Then it´s more difficult really! But what the heck! I kick down Dark Funeral! Corpse paint has never been my thing really. So then we have In Flames still left on the top of the tower. It´s truly a great band, even if it´s not really my kinda music! And they seem to be nice people!


So, that was it, thank you very much again and good luck for the future!

Thanx a lot for your support! Take care and live well! /Max

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