Dismember are currently in the process of reissuing their merchandise and back catalog to combat rampant poor-quality bootlegs. Brett Stevens reached out to the band for an email interview and drummer Fred Estby most graciously agreed to answer our staff’s questions:
You came from a background of mixed crust/hardcore punk and heavy metal. How in your minds did you combine the two, and how did it work out in the music you composed?
Well we just listened and got influenced both by heavy metal and faster type of hardcore bands. We didn’t think too much about it, it was just a simple fact that we listened to both types of music a lot…
Why do you think Swedish death metal was so popular back in the day, and what does it have to offer us still?
It was non-compromising and aggressive and was a new take on metal basically. As it seems this style is just being even more appreciated today since it has a quality to it that new generations of bands have adapted.
In your view, what are the differences between Carnage and Dismember? Was there any alteration in the approach, or more of “turning up the metal” in the mix?
Half of the Carnage album consists of Dismember tracks so it’s not a huge difference between the two but I guess Carnage had more punk influences whereas Dismember is more heavy metal influenced.
You are probably tired of this question, and may murder me for it, but for the record, will you tell us how you got that delicious, crunchy, bassy, evil distortion?
Haha, it is an ever popping up question.
It’s just HM-2 pedal with Marshall or Peavey rigg.
Like An Ever-Flowing Stream remains not just a classic but a perennial fan favorite of the death metal genre. Can you tell us what you did so amazingly right on this album, and how it came to you
It was just a determination and drive from five young death metal enthusiasts in a great small studio at a time when the underground scene was thriving. All the bands and musicians in the Stockholm scene was helping each other and spurring each other to make great albums and shows. We worked hard on the songs with a pretty tight deadline which was a good thing for us. Tomas Skogsberg also did a great job working on the album with us during those twelve days of recording.
How did Nicke Andersson end up playing leads on Like an Ever-Flowing Stream? His leads were bluesy and sound very Ritchie Blackmore.
Simply because of the tight schedule of writing and recording the album. There were some spots that needed some leads and we only had like a couple of hours to make it happen. David play some leads on the album too not to forget apart from all his amazing rhythm guitar work on it.
The Pieces 45 was so crazy I thought the needle was going to pop out of the groove and my speakers were breaking when I cranked it for the first time. How did Dismember get such a ridiculously filthy and hellish sound for that one?
Hehe, yeah that recording is raw indeed. We just did what we did together with Tomas again and it just turned out that way. It was also a really quick recording.
Did anything non-musical — books, movies, ideas, history, Satan — influence your writing, and if so, can you list those influences for us?
Oh yes! Horror movies like The Exorcist, Evil Dead, Phantasm etc. were of course inspiring from both the image but also soundtrack side. Authors like H.P Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Clive Barker also were great influential factors. History and news regarding wars and killings also inspired the songs.
When you composed songs, how did you start — with an idea, or a riff, or a melody, lyrics or a story idea (“it was a dark and stormy night… then, total war”)?
Its always different from song to song. Sometimes there is just a riff, other times there might be a story to write music around. But mainly the music starts the process.
Where Ironcrosses Grow and The God That Never Was have obvious New Wave of British Heavy Metal and Mercyful Fate inspirations. Were these a way of harking back to your influences and the genesis of The Dagger?
Maybe. David has always written melodic parts but on those two he did a little bit more than usual I guess mainly because we used to mainly listen to heavy metal while touring back then.
Was The Dagger project the reason you didn’t play on the final, self-titled Dismember album Fred? The drumming was competent but somehow felt lacking in inspirations.
No, I had to stop touring for a while for the sake of my kids. And because of that we thought it was better to have a new drummer in the band. But at the same time I quit Dismember I started working on my solo project Necronaut. After that we started The Dagger.
Why did you decide to return to death metal as independents, if that is the right term, by opening your own store for official Dismember merchandise? What else do you plan to add to the store?
It’s just a way to have a base for the band so that people who like the band have an official forum to turn to. We also wanna stop all bootlegging of our albums and merchandise.
When history is written, if society lasts that long, what do you think will be remembered as death metal’s contribution to the history of ideas? Did death metal teach us a new philosophy, or way of looking at life? How influenced was it by the history at the time (80s-early 1990s)?
I think death metal will be considered a mile stone in music history not more than that but hey! Thats a great accomplishment in my opinion :)
Thank you Fred! We’re incredibly appreciative of you taking the time to answer us.