Friday, May 11, 2012

an interview with Mikael "Mr PENTAGRAM chest" Olofsson

You probably have that in mind now : I love to do interviews !!! not only with musicians, but also with people that keep the scene alive through various connected activities and their immense passion for DOOM... One of the guys that correspond the most exactly to this profile is Mikael Olofsson from Sweden, passionate for more than 30 years by all forms of Obscure UG Metal with a growing emphasis on Doom over the years. Michael is not just one of the best connoisseurs of the genre, he also makes nice videos and will be soon starting a out for his works !
The idea of interviewing Mikael took form after we met last month at Roadburn, thanx to him for accepting and having been so interesting \m/

Hi Mikael, a part of the readers know your name, that you come from Sweden, are around 40 years old and one of the most passionate Doom fan in this fucking world but could you present yourself briefly please ? How did come you to Hard rock / Metal ?
Hi Stéphane, You and Temple Of Perdition are very cool and Doom dedicated so im very honored and excited about this interview.
I was born 1970 in Sweden, i am an only child. My parents named me after Rolling Stones, my second name is the drummer of Stones :),
I grew up listening only to loud rock and RNB: The Rolling Stones, Troggs, Kinks, The Who, Angry Young Them and that kind of music were all i heard, i listened to did this and read/looked at pictures in Horror comixs all untill 1975.
I was then five and traded a Hard rock record for a child nursery rime record (with my next door neighbour, she had just won it at a tombola at a fair and thought it sounded horrible she were Four years old)
For me it has been Love at first sight, i took one look at the record cover, then thinked to myself: i got to have that ! It was Kiss - Kiss from that day on i been a Hard Rock and Metal fan, got my first Black Sabbath vinyl in 77.
In the 90s I went to see all the good Thrash and Death Metal bands but still Black Sabbath were my favourite band, and have been so since 1977.

You discovered the underground in the mid/late 80's with the explosion of DM, like many metallers of our generation, but you had the luck to kind of live it from the inside with your friends of MORBID and ENTOMBED… only good memories I presume ? How is the scene now in Stockholm ? Is there a common interest from Metallers to DM and DOOM or do you feel this is 2 different worlds ?
Stockholm had a rather small Brutal Metal fan base in the beginning. We were only a few into this music in Stockholm, we had only one place to go to and that were the only hard rock record shop in Town: Heavy Sounds (for people intrested in how the store looked like go to Youtube type in: Quorthon signing in Stockholm 1987)
So we all meet there and at all the gigs and that way we got to know one another.
Candlemass got popular in Swedish press because Kerrang liked em, all the sudden they played everywhere and they were not always liked by everyone at the Thrash scene, they still had alot of fans among the DM kids back then. And everyone was into Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and  bands with doom elements.

How and when did you come to DOOM ? Do you remember when you heard DOOM for the first time, was it CANDLEMASS or ST VITUS or … ? Did it become instantaneously your fave genre or did it take time to mature ?
Doom matured into my favourite music over the years, but have at the same time always been a part of my music taste, been a Black Sabbath fan all my life.
First doom bands I got to see live must have been: Stormvarning, Count Raven, Candlemass, Sorcerer, In the Colonnade, Stillborn and Cathedral
All my life I have listened alot to bands like: In the Colonnade, Sorcerer, Stillborn, Dream Death, Saint Vitus, Count Raven, Witchfinders General, Cirith Ungol without knowing that it were later to be called Doom metal.
I was totally into Stoner Metal in the 90s, bands like Kyuss, Acrimony, sHeavy, Fu Manchu, Sleep, Electric Wizard were what i listened to,
It evolved into a Stoner Doom and Death Doom metal interest for me, and have now evolved into me mostly listening to: Stonerdoom, traditional doom, HM Doom, Occult rock, 70s Hard rock and proto doom.

One of the reasons I wanted to interview you was because of your (fan) VIDEOS… you did quite many lately with ACRIMONY “Tumuli”, INTERNAL VOID “chasin the dragon”, WAR INJUN “no worry woman”, etc… All those on your youtube channel are pretty recent, what did decide you to start this ? You use Muvee to make your videos, is it the most accessible tool for you ?
I'm a film nerd, and I used to do horror film fanzines and trade vhs in the 90s, so im deeply intrested in trash movies, horror movies or weirdness,
Sometimes back then when me and my mates were drunk, we sometimes redubbed crappy horrors with our vocals recorded on top of the film, by useing 2 vhs and a microphone, or sometimes to fill out video tapes when tradeing we put in funny trailers,cool monster fights, music videos and stuff, i used to record certain cuts and play music on top of it. so for me its a thing i did in the 90s but with better technology. :)
Muvee is a fun and simple to use tool, started doing a video because Weekend Beast needed a music video, because i wanted people to see the guys and how cool they are, while listening to the awesome music.
But after I had finished with the video i started useing the program more and more and i got hooked :)
It's because I see a future of unlimited of combinations of horror films and cool songs :)

Your most successful video is “this will be mine” from YEAR OF THE GOAT which reached more than 1500 views in about two weeks, where all your other videos have much more limited views, do you think that the fact this song is an ADVANCE from their new lp is the main reason of this success and/or do you see it as your most achieved work so far ?
Its like some girls have said to me here on Facebook (hi Abbe and Sarah ;) ) "there's sometimes too much gore in your videos Mikael". So this time I deliberately did very little of that in the video, mostly because I try to have my videos following either the lyrics of the song or the meaning of the song, and "this will be mine"  is about the rise of the morning star and the descend of it , down to earth.

                                               YEAR OF THE GOAT "this will be mine"

For the video of “the rising sun” from RISING DUST, you did choose the movie “Metropolis”… a great prediction of the modern world deviances :( - this is one of your fave movie, why exactly ?
Love old classics movies, always have, I adore movies like: Metropolis, Häxan (witchcraft through the ages), the phantom carriage, Der Golem, the cabinet of Dr Caligari and Nosferatu they all have a very doomy feeling to them as movies. I like them because they feel and look very Doom. I play them with doom metal as soundtrack if i watch em.

Let’s speak now about the WEEKEND BEAST video which includes many many photos of those Doomed guys who are among your closest friends… are they all your photos or did they bring some to your complete your work ? A great part of these photos have been taken in a log-cabin that seems isolated in the woods, is it where the band rehearse ? There’s even one photo where the drums are installed on a terrace, do they sometimes play outside ?!!!
Yeah Weekend Beast are great people and great friends ! everyone of them, they are very easy to get along with and very funny :)
For the first version of the video for King One I used alot of diffrent sources for the pictures to be honest, Sarah Ericksson, my own ones and Weekend Beast own pictures most of them, mixed with some Goatess art and a special hug.
The outdoor terrace drum picture were from the first gig they ever had (and the only gig sofar) theres alot of nice picture in the video from the Birthday party gig.
My second version of King One, have live footage of Weekend beast mixed with the old 1967 classic Ironborder horror film Вий / Viy
                                                       WEEKEND BEAST "king one"
Do you have plans for more videos ? how do those ideas come out : while you watch movies or when you listen to a song that inspire you especially ? do you think some bands could ask you to make something official for them ?
I have plans for lots of videos :)
Yes I do requests, the ones I've done so far and as requests are: The Devil, Year Of The Goat, War Injun, if any band asks me, I will think it over.

You told me that you also lived some time ago in Den Haag (Hol) in a big house full of doomsters including some of the guys of CHURCH OF MISERY… how did that happen exactly ?
It was a magical place ! a squathouse at the old Ministry of Finance, I stayed there and helped out.
When my friend Fast Mike had his club that was called The Morlock Gallery.
At this Squat Motorwolf records had a recordstudio, and warehouse. Motorwolf records and Leafhound Records (japan) were very good friends, so thats why Church Of Misery stayed there.
It was a place for them to hang at, during a Eurotour or for Roadburn festival. COM are all very cool people.
Morlock Gallery was the best club in town, a lot of cool bands play there : Suma, Lucid, Orange Sunshine, High On Fire, Toner Low, Asteroid, Apache, Dzjenghis Khan played there :)

Also you did run a Fanzine in the mid-late 90’s that was dealing with horror movies… could you speak about that too please ?
Black with Mikael Bomark, it were blaxploitation and monsterfilm oriented mostly mixed with weird humour. Done by two Swedish, trying to type in jive, as spoken in the blaxploitations films :)
We were once asked to do a lecture about blaxploitation in Harlem Usa.....dont think they would have liked the 2 Swedish guys that would have shown up, hahaha.
We did meet alot of other cool people by trading fanzines and movies.

                                                      WAR INJUN "no worry woman"

When we met last month at Roadburn, you told me it was your 6th edition there ? How do you see the evolution of this festival throughout the years ? Which were your highlights this year ?
Your fave fest is the Muskelrock in Sweden, what does make it different and so particular ?
Roadburn is Roadburn and its a Shrine to pilgrimage to and keep sacred, but i dont think it should take in more people, as its been a bit crowded this last years.
Roadburn is great specially in meeting new cool people, the sound quality of the live shows are usually very good aswell.
Some of the highlights were: Lord Vicar, Saturnalia Temple, Year Of The Goat, Internal Void, The Obsessed, Sleep, Sigiriya, Huata, Voivod, Witch, Devil, 40 Watt Sun, The Wounded Kings and Bongripper. And meeting alot of my friends :)

Muskel Rock is a very D.I.Y metal fest run by real love for metal, it always have a killer lineup every year!
The stages that exist are one outdoor stage, and one old 196x looking dance palace (the indoor stage)
The fact that it is in the middle of freaking nowhere, next to a cow meadow and a small lake, all of this is very cool (with a rather small crowd) Its a festival for diehards and metalfreaks only.
The festival got the heart in the right place,I never seen a fight or any bad things happening there :)
Another festival I wont miss next year is Heavy Days In Doom Town in Copenhagen it looks very cool, and both Griftegård and Lord Vicar enjoyed that festival alot this year (atleast thats what they told me).

Sweden has always provided lots of great Metal bands but one of its most representative CANDLEMASS is gonna stop now, who do you see as a great successor to them ? Does GHOST get as much success in Sweden as in the States or other foreign countries ? What do you think of these Death Metallers getting success in a very different style... ?
I dont know who will step up and become the biggest Doom band now that Candlemass will stop, but I think it will be one of the band that are mentioned somewhere in this Interview !
It could even be Weekend Beast Or Saturnalia Temple
Ghost won lots of prices in Sweden and been very promted in the Swedish music press so they are popular everywhere. If Ghost makes the young kids discover and later they go out and buy some early Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Diamond Head, Cloven Hoof, Hell or Satan its all good.
I think its great if metal is popular, and its good if music evolve into new styles, helps it from getting stagnated.

Except WEEKEND BEAST is there any new interesting Doom bands out from Sweden ? What do you think of SORCERER coming back and recording a new album ?
Bands to watchout for includes: Saturnalia Temple, Year Of The Goat, Atlantic Tide :) Other great ones just starting to get more famous are: The graviators, Nymf, Doomdogs, In Solitude, Noctum, Skogen Brinner, Skraeckoedlan, Horizont and many more.
I love that Burning Saviours, Atlantic Tide and Sorcerer have re-unioned again ! infact i think its awesome \m/

Now you’re planning to do a radioshow called THE SUPERPSYCHE DOOMADELIKA SHOW !!! how did this new idea come ? do you enjoy the Soggy Bog, Steaming Heathen, etc… ? do you have all the necessary material for this ? Do you have contacts with radios that could host your show ?
Soggy Bog, and the Heathen are inspirations and great shows !
I'm proud and happy that my Bro´ Robert John Anglum Show Soggy Bog were picked by Earache to air the all new Hour Of 13 record (H13 Rules) All Hail Soggy Bog !
I got lots of love and respect for internet radio that plays Doom Metal. I helped out some in Foundry Of Doom and played music there.
Been asked why i dont do a radio both by people on FB and by friends in real life. I used to be a music DJ, Mostly dj at my friends diffrent clubs.
For instance i DJed when The Shrine hosted Electric Wizard, Terra Firma, Norrsken, Candlemass, House Of Aquaris and lots of other cool bands. A lot of other things happened at The Shrine in Stockholm.
I have done some funny music compilations of rare 70s Metal, psych and Proto Doom with a friend called Otis (Hi Michael!) that were kinda popular it were named: The LSD Connection by Kuma and Otis. (Im sure you find some if you google)
I have (if i say it myself) a rather good and extensive collection of music, i figured that it must be time to for me to spread it around a little on the radio waves.
Way too little Obscure 70s Protodoom, traditional doom, Stoom and Heavy Psych music in general on the airwaves !
But my microphone is busted i noticed, so i will have to buy a new one very soon.
I test recorded and it sounds very Swenglish (i only speak that, I kinda sound like the Swedish muppet chef )
Will send them (my radio host contacts) a full show when its ready, and then the ones intrested can air it
Goatess made the logo and it looks awesome (shes among the coolest artist ever)

About Tattoos, one of your most significant is the ST VITUS logo on your left arm… any other that you’re particularly proud of ? Any new tattoo planed ?
Most proud of my Pentagram chest tattoo (oh... didn't see that one before ! wonderful indeed) , and the Celtic Frost Morbid Tales record cover on my leg.
On The Hooded Priest Record im on the thanklist as Mikael The Pentagram chest, thats a great honour for me. I'm going to tattoo in Doom on my fingers and the logo of Lord Vicar next week.

After 25 years, how do you see the evolution of the underground METAL scene ? Did internet help to enlighten it ? Do you download stuff or just listen on the net and then buy the albums ? Today if a band releases an album just on TAPE format, would you buy it ? same question for vynil... ?
The informations of a band to new fans are instant, that is great with internet, but waiting at the mailman for new music demos, VHS, or Fanzines had it charm aswell and taught me patience (well some)
I download and listen alot to music, i buy anything i find worth listening twice to on original (if i can find it)
Today i would buy Tape format only releases, but i dont 100 % get it, Its not a practical format.
Vinyl i love and it got my full support \m/

Thanx a lot for your time Mikael, all the best to you man.... add something if you feel there's anything important that I forgot to speak about !!!
Thank You Stéphane, its people like YOU, that keep the underground scene alive \m/ Doom On !
I will leave with some Finnish words of wisdom, Minotauri - Doom Metal Alchemy :

The old scroll of doom hides the secrets...
It tells about the recipe of this sinister art...
The music is dark, from the funerals...
The lyrics are full of agony, taken from the grave...
Playing doom metal it's like a crusade...
But instead of cross we have the electric axe...
Being on stage it's like being possessed...
The volume moves like a vortex in your head...
Into the void we'll play our art...
Into the oblivion we'll sing our songs...