When I heard the new release by a band called Sorcery I was blown away as it is death metal primt time all the way and I knew it was time for an interview so here is one with singer Ola Malmstrom
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Born and raised in Sandviken, Sweden.
Were you always into music at an early age or did that come later on?
I was into music from the very early years. Discovered punk in the very early 80th but turned my soul into the devils music around 1982 and has since been a metalhead
How did you com e to discover heavy metal music and then the underground scene?
I was, and am still; into the classic heavy metal bands and I guess I heard it for the first time at some friends. This kind of music almost never got any airplay here in Sweden. The underground scene come more like a natural thing when we had started our band and the whole Death Metal movement was created
Now when you discovered the underground metal scene was this style of music that you got into right away or did it take a few spins to get into?
No I can’t say it was. As I said I was more into the classic Heavy Metal bands but somehow I grew into the underground bands and have stayed there.
Now once you got into it was this style of music that you wanted more and more of?
It was very nice to discover new music but I mainly listened to other kinds of metal along with Death Metal so I choose wisely and listen to the good bands and didn’t give the bad ones so much chances. Of course I wanted more as long as a band was in my taste but I never became the maniac that loves everything because it was brutal or someone sang about Satan.
Now did you help form Sorcery or did you end up just joining the band? Were they your 1st band that you played in?
Yes, I was in the original line-up of the band. We had some other bands some time before but it was when we tried to learn to play so you could say that Sorcery was my first proper band.
Now before I go into all the band questions are you aware that there are 2 other bands with the same band name, one is a hard rock band from the US where I am from and the other was a black metal band that changed their name after recording one demo?
Yes I know there is and have been a lots of other bands with this name. At the time when we named the band we didn’t but we discovered the US band quite early. We are often tagged in posters of festivals and gigs in South America where there is still an active Sorcery that have started to play. It can’t be fun to them if they want to promote their gigs and they promote our band instead. But that is what happens now in the age of Facebook when you name your band exactly the same as an already, since 30 years, established band. But at the same time, a few people have written to me throughout the years too believing they are speaking to the US Sorcery from the seventies.
How did you come up with the name Sorcery?
It was one of our guitarists that came up with the name. At first he suggested something else but it was taken and we choose this name instead. For a very short period in 1989 the band was called Sorcery´s Malediction but we changed it back after just a few months.
Now in 1987 the band released their 1st demo called “The Arrival”. You guys were around as was I with the early days of the underground with all the tape trading and stuff that was going on. How long was the band around before you recorded this demo?
We were formed in the early summer of 1986 and we recorded this first demo in February 1987. So we hadn’t played a full year by then. It was released in April 1987.
How long was it before you recorded this demo? What are your thoughts on this demo these days?
This particular demo was recorded before anyone had heard the term Death Metal. It is some actually well-written songs but more in a thrash metal way of style. The sound could be a lot better and I sing terrible. I was just about to become sixteen when we made this and it was larger than life to have this cassette in your hand. The problem was that we didn’t actually know what to do with the., This was before the tape trading and I guess we just passed copies to relatives and friends. It wasn’t until much later this one has become a rare collector’s item.
How was the response from fanzines and such to this demo and di you manage to play live a lot during the early days of the band?
Absolutely zero. Initially the demo never reached far from our inner circle but as month passed it slowly had some attention to it. I only know of one fanzine that reviewed it and he really hated it. I guess it was the worst thing he ever had heard until he came across our next demo, which he hated even more, haha. Still got those mags saved somewhere. I actually met this guy once on a train to a Kreator gig and when he found out who we were he was quite sure he would be beaten up. But in the end, we are swell guys and we all had a pleasant journey. Anyone can think what they want about our music but sometimes, like this guy, they all have gotten it wrong. We should play our first gig in May 1987 with the first line-up but our drummer disappeared. We found out that he decided to take a vacation without telling us and we got pissed and parted companies right there. We actually rehearsed three new songs the very same day with another drummer and made the gig anyway. Worst gig ever, first gig ever.
Now in 1988 you released your 2nd demo called ‘Ancient Creation”. What are your thoughts on this demo?
This demo was a speedorgasm from the beginning to the end. The new drummer could play really fast and we made sure to take it to the absolute limit. Again recorded it by us and the sound is far worse than on the first demo. We wanted bass, a really fat bass and the result was a blur. I really like the songs on this one and we still play the song Lucifer Legions on ever gig.
In 1989 a 3rd demo was released called “Unholy Crusade”. What are your thoughts on this release and did you ever send any of your releases back then to labels in the hopes of signing a deal with them?
On this demo we had settled in the style of music that you could say is Sorcery today. Some of these songs ended up on the first album. This one was released when tape trading had become huge and it was spread all over. We sent this demo to all sorts of fanzines and also a bunch of labels as well.
In 1990 the band was rolling right along as an Ep came out called “Rivers of the Dead. Was that on a label or self-released?
It was released by the French Thrash records label. Two pressings were made. The first one with black labels and the second with red.
Was it easy for you guys as a band to write songs and do you think you’re an original band and for someone who has never heard the band how would you describe your sound?
Yes, it has always been pretty easy to come up with songs even though even our ideas dries out sometimes. I don’t know if we are that original. We do stuff that we like to listen to and play and that may be some of our originality. We don’t, at least on purpose, copy other band just for the cause of it. We once learned to make songs like this and we stuck with it. We are more straight forward than technical and tries to concentrate on melodies to get killer riffs. The vocals are a bit clearer but still brutal enough to fit in with the music.
In 1991 a full length came out called “Bloodchilling Tales”. Was this released on a label? If so what label and what was it like finally having a full length out? Did you get to play live much to support it?
It was released on a very small label called Underground Records here in Sweden. Of course it was a very big thing for us to finally have a full length album out. We thought we made it and from now everything was just golden times but things like that never happen. Promotion and distribution was almost zero and the album quickly got lost and was for many years forgotten. We never toured to promote the album. It was just some gigs here in Sweden.
Now where is the band based out of and is there a heathy underground metal scene there were your based out of?
We are since 2009 based in Åshammar. Earlier we were based in Sandviken but nowadays we rehearse at my place. There isn’t much of an underground scene here at all. There are a couple of places that arrange gigs nearby and some other bands, but that is it.
In 1992 you released “Maculated” demo. What are your thoughts on this demo these days?
The intention of this demo was to get us a new recording deal. We had contact with a management at the time and they should take care of it all. It ended with us getting dropped from the management and the demo was never released until much later. The three songs on it very strong and have been re-recorded on our last two albums. Maculated life is on Arrival at six while Mass Murder and Insanity arise ended up on Garden of bones. Maculated life has been part of our live set since it was written and we have played Insanity as well lately.
Ok I read where the band split up in 1997, yet there was no releases from 1992 from 1997 why was this?
During this period there were very many line-up changes in the band. There was a core of Paul Johansson, Peter Hedman and myself. Every time we needed to play a gig we borrowed people to fill in the gaps. We actually had a new album written and had a new deal but in the end it all faded away. Paul ended up playing with other bands, I quit music for some years and Peter vanished from the scene as well.
Now how soon did the band get back together to record your 2009 demo called “Master of the Chains?
We spoke about it so many times during the period 1997-2009 and sometimes it was really close but in the end it took us until summer 2009 before we got it all together and had the right people in the band to work with.
How many original members are in this new version of the band? How many members are still in the band from 2009 till the present?
There is only me, Ola Malmström, vocals and Paul Johansson, guitar who is the original members. We also have changed everyone else since the restart of the band in 2009.
Now when the band returned in 2009 the underground had changed much. Fanzines were replaced by webzines and sites like Facebook were around and You Tube as well. How did you as a band think about these changes and how did you embrace this technology?
The major change is that you can get your stuff out to so many more people nowadays than you could before. Everything is so much easier. Correspondence that could take weeks before is done instantly. The downside may be that the scene becomes over flooded with new bands and music. Earlier you needed to have some quality to make a recording, now almost everyone with a computer can record themselves and put it out. It is a danger that really good new bands disappear in the majority of crap that is unleashed.
What is on this compilation called “Unholy Creations” and who put this out?
Almost everything from the early days are on it. All four demos, some unreleased rehearsal recordings, a song for a compilation we made as our last recording before we quit in 1997. Stuff like that. It was To The Death records that released on vinyl and later Hells Headbangers released it on CD in the US.
In 2012 you released another demo called “Warbringer”. Did you put this out in the hopes of getting a record deal? Was is it pretty easy by now to go in the studio and record?
Yes, this one was purely intended to get us a new record deal and it did. We still sold it to the fans but stopped as soon as a deal was made. We recorded this one all by ourselves so it was very easy. The main parts is recorded at our rehearsal room at my place and in the basement of our then drummer.
In 2013 you released a full length called “Arrival At Six”. Who put this out and how long did it take to put together this material and who released this and what are your thoughts on it these days?
We landed a deal with Spanish label Xtreem Music and they put it out. We had worked on some of the material quite a long time by then but still there were some songs that are made in the eleventh hour. We recorded everything but the drums at my place and did the drums and mixed the album in Studio Sunlight working with the same guy as we did on Bloodchilling Tales, Tomas Skogsberg. I think the result turned out very well. Daniel Devilish made a great cover to it too.
In 2013 another compilation came out called “Legacy of Blood”. What is on this release and who put this out?
This was a remastered version of Bloodchilling tales but to not interfere with the original label we decided to give it a new name and a new cover. This time also made by Daniel Devilish. To The Death/Blood Harvest released the vinyl version and Xtreem Music made it on CD.
You recently released “Garden of Bones” on Xtreem Records. How was it going into the studio for this release and how easy was it for these songs to come together?
We started to write some of these songs right after we had made Arrival at six. Some of the songs are made by the latest line-up. It is great that the new members contribute in the songwriting and still get the old Sorcery vibe into it. We ended up with Jonsson and Dark prod to record this album. Recordings took a week, Mixing and mastering about the same.
How did you hook up with Xtreem Records and how has it been working with them?
We got in touch with them with the Warbringer promo/demo and it has been great to work with them. They have always delivered what they promise and Dave, who runs the label, is a very easy guy to deal with.
Do you think the band’s sound has changed much over the years or stayed true to form pretty much?
It changed much during the earliest years and of course we don’t sound exactly the same as we did 25 years ago but the basic of our songs are still the same.
Have you ever had the chance to play out of your country and do you think you’re a good live band?
Yes, we did a tour in USA following up Arrival at six and we recently played in Denmark and Germany. We are going to Finland in a couple of weeks and have some unannounced gigs in other European countries later this year. I think we can manage ourselves pretty good live. But you know, no one have good days everyday.
If you had to choose 3 cover tunes to do, what songs would they be and why?
I guess most songs from Motorhead, Slayer or Venom would be good tunes to cover.
What are plans for the band going forward?
We are playing some festivals here in Europe and we will also slowly put together ideas for the next album.
Horns up for doing this interview, any last words the floor is yours?
Thank you very much for having this interview with me. Hope to see everyone out on the roads someday. Be sure to check out our new album Garden of bones. You will like it.
Interview by Chris Forbes