***Interview completed in 2010 and originally intended for Waters Of Phlegethon printed zine, which never saw release due to faulty printing.***
Some basics out of the way first, and always a good way to begin an interview; could you please provide some background information on Deadwood, detailing your initial impulse to create your brand of blackend Death Industrial? What is the grand purpose driving Deadwood?
Deadwood started out under the moniker Deadwood Murder early 2003 as a creative outlet for me to explore a more experimental form of communication than before. One where I could work without boundaries dictated by others and create atmospheres to my own liking. When working on Deadwood the main goal is to deliver dark atmospheric soundscapes inspired by the occult as well as society, the dark depth of the human psyche and mankind’s catabolic state and drive. After a split tape with my former Black Metal band Blodulv (out on Forgotten Wisdom prod) I got signed to the British label Cold Spring where my both my debut album 8 19 and my more resent publication Ramblack has been released.
Ramblack shows a more refined and complex sounding Deadwood. How has the public reaction been in comparison to your previous output?
From what I am aware of the response has been mostly positive. I don’t think anyone would be happy with me just doing another 8 19 album. For me it’s all about progressing in whatever I do, evolving to make things more interesting both for myself and for the people listening. If I found myself just producing the same thing over and over again I would most likely move on and concentrate on something else.
Your comments on the evolution Deadwood has experienced between “8 19” and “Ramblack”, both musically and conceptually?
Well, for 8 19 I used mostly digital equipment to process samples/field recordings. I had very little knowledge about the programs I was using as well as very little outboard effects. I think I had one distortion pedal. This really held me back while recording and producing the album. With Ramblack however I had accumulated more knowledge and equipment thus making the whole process much more efficient in getting the sound I wanted for the album using almost all-analogue gear. And I had a very different approach to the two records as well. When working on 8 19 I had a firm vision about the tracks and the album as a whole, wanting everything to almost overlap and portray something visual. Whilst the Ramblack album was more about making each song something unique, not focusing so much about the concept of the whole album.
Most label Deadwood as Death Industrial but I find your music is difficult to categorise, should one have to. I hear some parts that are pure Death Industrial, and others that could easily be classed as “Black Noise”. Even some more ambient / drone passages. What works for you, or are labels irrelevant?
For me labels are irrelevant, call it what you will. Im not against labelling music to make things easier, or to explain what category it falls under. But whatever works for the listener is fine by me. I don’t approach Deadwood with the intention of doing a specific type of music, I approach Deadwood to have it sound as I want Deadwood to sound, not focusing on being part of a genre.
What was it that lead you to become interested in the darker sides of music and thought? Did music influence your interest in occult subjects or vice versa?
Ever since I can remember the “darker” aspect of things has intrigued me. Growing up I could mostly just relate to the “outsider” and that way of thinking, not really liking the structures and morals that I was spoon-fed by society. The Occult has always been apart of my family though, growing up I had relatives that were involved with various practises. One even had an exorcism done one herself at one time, that ended her involvement. So when thinking about it, I think they were two separate interests that didn’t really come together until my early teens when I started listening to BM. Nowadays though, I don’t really practise any teachings. I still use it as inspiration when creating but besides that it’s not really apart of my life anymore.
The sigil present on some of your release covers includes such symbology as “666”, inverted triangle, and Crux Sathanas. What relevance do these symbols hold as a representative emblem of Deadwood?
The “Deadwood Sigil” will always be relevant to the project. Representing the origin of the music and the left-hand path ideology of it. When creating the sigil I wanted something empowering that would make a clear statement of what inspires the band. And maybe something’s has changed with time and self-evolution, but Deadwood will always have its roots in that ideology. In one form or another.
You have released an internet spread mp3 release through the Radical Matters label entitled “Tombs, Confinement and Absolute Silence”. This is a concept piece that I think differs slightly from your other material in terms of structure and delivery. Can you elaborate on the subject matter and feelings explored within this?
First of all Tombs…. was released by myself as a web edition for my homepage and not by Radical Matters. But yes, it’s quite different from the usual Deadwood experience. I had been working on this piece for quite some time, and when it felt done I remember thinking that this sounds really Deadwoodísh but yet nothing I would want to use for a standard release. So a free Web edition felt like the way to go. The 35min+drone/album/track really got me feeling like the walls were closing in, kinda like being buried alive, lowered down, scratching inside the coffin hoping someone would hear, hence the title. This is just me however, everyone listening is free to interpret it as they will.
You reside in Sweden, which is a fertile ground for the spawning of quality Death Industrial acts such as Brighter Death Now, Megaptera, and MZ.412. Did residing in a country that is home to such artists play any part in your choice to begin creating this kind of music?
No, not really. I had only been listening to a few acts when I started out and besides BDN all of them were non-Swedes. So it wasn’t until about a year in I started to go through what Sweden had to offer. It must be something in the water.
How is it to live in Sweden? There stems a large quantity of music in all forms of a bleak, negative nature from your country. Do you think there is anything about your surroundings that inspires these feelings within these artists? I’ve always had the impression that Sweden is quite a harmonious and benevolent place.
Well in comparison to some other countries I guess it is. Sure we have the same kind of lowlifes and scum here as anywhere else, but all n all things are quite good here. Once I had this theory that it was all connected to the weather and that since we are covered in darkness and snow more then other countries that might have something to do with it. The cold seasons making us gloomy and disconnected from each other, forcing us to find a vent for our thoughts. You should see the difference in Swedes when the sun starts to shine and we get a wormer climate, its hilarious. Anyway, maybe we are just gloomy by nature? Or maybe bored people think too much when not forced to face anything relevant or life changing, digging deeper into themselves grasping after straws to make their existence feel worthwhile. Shackled by the bonds of a society created to keep our urges under control, backfiring, only to make us even more demented and perverted? Ha ha I’m brainstorming here …you tell me.
Deadwood invokes strong feelings of negativity within myself when I listen to it, and is simultaneously very hypnotic and semi trance inducing. I assume this is the intention you have when constructing a piece of music? Do you have to be in a certain state of mind whilst composing yourself?
When focusing on Deadwood yes, I really need to be in a certain state of mind. When working on other projects I can usually just handle things on the spot but with DW things need to just right. Its like, I don’t create anything for Deadwood for about 6months to even a year but it builds up to the point where I just cant focus on anything else but Deadwood. And then it’s all that I can focus on, everything else just gets pushed aside.
It appears you’re no longer a member of Blodulv. What were the reasons behind this parting of ways?
The usual things, we had different views on how to proceed with the band and what direction we should take. And I had been somewhat uninspired for a while regarding Blodulv and took the chance to leave when it was presented. So after some minor bickering I decided to leave, nothing I regret. I’m still in contact with the guys and there are no hard feelings from either of us, it was just time for us to go our separate ways.
Have you any desire to be involved with creating Black Metal again?
We’ll, right now I’m not thinking about getting more on my plate. Its quite full as is. And I get my regular Metal fix through Culted, a Doom/Black/Experimental Metal band that I started up 2007 with some guys from Canada. Culted is more influenced by the likes of Khanate, Swans, Godflesh etc. but with some Black Metal influences weaved in as well. Culted got signed to Relapse Records 2009 and they released the debut album Bellow the thunders of the upper deep that same year, also a MCD called Of death and ritual was released a couple months ago, also through Relapse. So right now I’m all good. Nothing new planed, but who knows what the future will bring.
A split tape was released with Blodulv back in 2004 on Forgotten Wisdom Productions, a popular underground Black Metal label from France. How was the reaction to this release from the Black Metal crowd? I find that audience usually loves or hates this kind of music with the majority leaning towards the latter, depending on one’s tastes…
I actually don’t know. Didn’t get that much response from the metal crowd when it was released. Not that I can remember anyway.
The photography present in the packaging of “Ramblack” is that of your own. Is photography a hobby of yours? Have you had other work published anywhere else, or perhaps plans to?
Yes, the photos on Ramblack were by me, and I have actually had some of my work on other of my releases. The Keplers Odd album Strena Seu de Nive Sexangula for instance, the photo on the back is one of mine. I have always been into photography and working with visuals. In my first apartment I made my bathroom into a darkroom where I could work and develop my photos. Now I manly work with digital equipment though. And I have always been involved in the layout process with all my bands, going back to the Blodulv days. So its an interest I have had for a very long time. No plans to start doing layouts and photos for others though, I barely have time to create for myself.
Does the majority of your photography reflect the grim images found on “Ramblack”?
Not always, but that seems to be the general theme of the photos I take. Even when I was on vacation in Greece (one of those holyday resorts) instead of taking pictures of the hotel and such I came back with loads of photos of rundown, rusty, eerie looking stuff. Its what interests me, not a fat guy relaxing in the pool.
Ex Mayhem and current Skitliv vocalist Maniac lent his vocal chords to a few of the tracks on “Ramblack”. Can you share some insight into how this collaboration came to be?
It was presented to me by Justin of Cold Spring. He had been in contact with Maniac for quite some time and Justin wondered if I would be interested in collaborating with him on a track for the upcoming album. Since I grew up on Mayhem and the whole Norwegian BM scene I just jumped on the idea and gave the thumbs up. The rest is history.
What does the future hold for Deadwood?
I’m actually just finishing up the new Deadwood album (working name Sheolic), been recording like crazy these last few weeks. This time around I have been working a little like I did the first time when creating 8 19, I had a vision when I started working on the album about how it should sound and I hope I can make that vision justice. This time around it’s a bit more ambient but with strong PE influences….if that makes any sense. As usual it’s hard to explain by a guy that’s too close to the music. But in my own humble opinion I truly think that this is as good as Deadwood has ever sounded and that it is the strongest album I have ever made. Pitch black as always.
Final words are yours…
Thanks for taking an interest. Praise and hail.