Interview: Fred Estby of Dismember

fred estby promo pic

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 :)

Thanks Brett!

Thank you Fred! We’re incredibly appreciative of you taking the time to answer us.

Official Dismember merchandise can be purchased at their Big Cartel page and readers may keep updated on their web and Facebook pages.

Fred Estby Jesus 2

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18 thoughts on “Interview: Fred Estby of Dismember”

  1. Wrawn Shite says:

    Brett, are the webmasters able to track each page that I view, based on IP address? Put another way, are you able to robotically blacklist a site-user via IP identification, or even through email address recognition software?

    Cuz that would be tight.

  2. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:


  3. C.M. says:

    What does he mean by this?

    “Half of the Carnage album consists of Dismember tracks so it’s not a huge difference between the two…”

    Did the two bands share members at some point? Or is he just saying that Carnage ripped off Dismember songs?

    1. AzureMurakumo says:

      The tracks “Blasphemies of the Flesh,” “Deranged from Blood,” “Self Dissection,” and “Death Evocation” are all re-recorded songs from Dismember’s first two demos. Dismember had split up after their second demo; then Etsby joined Carnage and pushed them away from the Carcass-y grindcore sound on Carnage’s first demo and more into the style on Dark Recollections. Then, Blomqvist joined Carnage as well and played on Dark Recollections along with Etsby, Amott, and Karki. Shortly after Dark Recollections was released, Amott was offered to join Carcass (which he did) and Carnage broke up with the remaining members going on to reform Dismember. The rest is history.

      1. C.M. says:

        Ah, that clears things up. Thanks!

      2. Etsby joined Carnage and pushed them away from the Carcass-y grindcore sound on Carnage’s first demo and more into the style on Dark Recollections.


  4. Steve says:

    I love Dismember. But this article highlights what sucks dick about this site:

    This site is a cuck for already established bands
    while shitting on the majority of underpaid hardworking underground bands .

    1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

      “This site is a cuck for already established bands”

      This site calls things as it sees them. When it thinks that something is good, it says so. When it thinks that something is not good, it says so.
      It is not cucked for established bands. When a previously good band releases an album that this site thinks is bad, they will say so. They won’t pretend that the emperor has no clothing.

      It has even criticized established generally hailed classics from the 90’s, like Nocturnus – The Key.
      “while shitting on the majority of underpaid hardworking underground bands”

      If it’s not good, it’s not good. Don’t be mad that they don’t like it. That’s childish. This site doesn’t judge composers for their overall character, but for their work.

    2. Erik The Red says:

      “shitting on the majority of underpaid hardworking underground bands .”

      As far as I understand, working *hard* is not the standard here. Communicating a worthwhile message about reality & what to do about it, *IS*.

  5. Steve says:

    My criticism is for the so called “staff” written articles. Not for the sites founder. But overall metal needs to reach a much higher level of maturity. Metal used to be a community of misfits who embraced each other because they did not fit in . Bands were seen as expressing themselves. Now the whole thing is about trying to be cool, trendy, and popular. Metal community is turning into something very lame – not unlike American Idol – but for metalheads. The more you are hated by zines such as this – the better a job you are doing frankly of not following their butt-wad trends.

    1. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

      So they didn’t like your album. Stop being a fucking baby about it.

    2. BlackPhillip says:

      You know, musicians like you are the reason for the metal community turning into something very lame. Grow up, little girl. Critics will criticize when necessary. Get used to it.

    3. C.M. says:

      Is this guy a level 99 troll or a level 99 diva?

      1. Johan P says:

        Hey, everybody knows that this website worships Relapse…

    4. Marc Defranco says:

      I do not think this site panders to those trying to be popular or something. I’d say sites like cvltnation are trying to.This site just expresses their opinion even if it’s hard for some to swallow heh.

  6. Son of the Damned says:

    I’d like to know if the 2012 Hammerheart version of Like An Ever-Flowing Stream has to be considered one of those poor-quality bootlegs.

    1. Billy Foss says:

      I was wondering the same. His answer was vague regarding the question about the store, but the official Dismember site mentions updates to merchandise and records. I’m curious if Brett has any confirmation beyond this or if that’s what he’s referring to in the first line of this interview.

  7. Ludvig B.B (vOddy) says:

    “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)?”

    Death metal doesn’t preach, but it does present visions. Those visions appealed to me, and I realized that I wanted what they depicted. This changed me and made me better.

    It made me think and ask good questions in response to those visions. It sounds silly, but I must say it, because it is the truth: metal made me a better human.

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