Perracide - Interview

When it comes to extreme metal bands hailing from Scandinavia, one person that probably has his fingers in it is Perra Karlsson. Joining such prominent bands like Nifelheim, In Aeternum, Nominon (and the list goes on much longer) he has recently released his first solo album "Underdog" (review can be found here). Talking about his long career and the reasons why it took him so long to do this album, I had a pretty long chat via Skype with him. Enjoy reading the interview and check the album!


Hi Perra, how are you?

All fine here.

Before we get to your first solo album, you've been active in the scene since the 80s. How did you get into it?

When I was ten years old, I picked up on drumming and started to get some lessons. I had probably around three different teachers the following years and they all wanted me to more or less study one thing and do that very constantly and intensely and for a very long time. I got bored with that because I wanted to do all the stuff all the time. I got confused and decided to quit taking lessons and sit at home playing drums to some albums and stuff that I had at home like classic hard rock albums. I'm not sure if that was the right decision at that point but for me it felt natural. I knew the basics of drumming so I just wanted more or less to play and perform as a hard rock and heavy metal drummer at a very early age. I continued and formed some crappy bands in the beginning. I think when I was around 14 or 15, it got a little bit more serious when you met other people that could actually play the guitar, bass and singing. So we started to record some very early demo rock stuff. It felt good and like a natural environment at that point and time. We also started to do some local shows for about 50 people and that was cool. But that was more rock music and a bit melodic stuff – I remember we did cover "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath, "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor and also our own material was this way. It all felt normal at that time even though I was more interested in heavy metal like Accept, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden… I still had to play that kind of softer music because that was the kind of people I could play with in my local area. After I changed schools I started to hang out with other people who were a bit older than me and they knew even more about the hard rock and metal scene than what I did. So I hung around with them and started to go to concerts like Stillborn or Candlemass, a lot of doomy stuff. That led to finding the fanzine scene in Scandinavia like Slayer Mag, Bloodthorn or Morbid Mag – it was so easy because I had the hunger to find out more about the underground and extreme music. I picked up on everything that was served in the fanzines. I started to send letters around the world to everyone and everybody and started my own fanzine as well.

Cool! How many editions did you release?

The first one was "Mould Mag" and it was mainly a death metal fanzine. There was also some black and thrash metal in it – to me it's pretty much the same as when I started reading the other fanzines, there were death, black, thrash, doom and even heavy metal on the same sides and very diverse. I never got this tunnel vision to go only for death, thrash or black metal. If I get hooked on something, it doesn't really matter. If it speaks to me I buy it. After the mag I started a mail order distribution thing called Megagrind Productions where we started to release some 7' with bands like Memory Garden, Entity, Evoke (UK).

Musically I got a little bit more serious with the band Suffer. I played with them between 90 and 94 and the guys were a few years older than me. So when I met them for the first time it felt that I had to step up a little bit because they were at a different level than me. But when I think back now, it was probably just something that I felt as an individual. I had visions and thoughts that they knew much more about everything compared to what I did but that wasn't the fact. I was probably the one that was most keen on practicing my own instrument as well as being in that band and being the leading force. I really like pushing things harder and harder every day and when you realize that the other guys have different priorities, it just turned out weird after a couple of years. When we recorded the full-length album "Structures" in spring '94 I knew that this was the last thing that we're going to do as a band. They started even before I joined them and had already released one demo. When I joined them we recorded a second demo "The Manifestation Of God" at Sunlight Studio in '90 and that was like a starting point for the band to be a little bit more professional. Then we got signed and we started to release two 7', a mini-CD and the full-length album. So we built up the band in a way but it also got more and more fucked-up. There were so many mental states in all four members of the band and at the end of the way it was impossible to even try to be a band, I guess. Unfortunately.

Hm, this story reminds me of Edge Of Sanity and what Dan told me in an interview….

In a way I guess you're right. I mean you can't take for granted that four guys can get along and write good music together. It's almost impossible. It was the same with At The Gates in their early days as well. That's the reason why they broke up – because they really disliked each other.

I remember about my "career" as a metal fan. I had to get some more extreme stuff every month when I was a teenager. Did you evolve similarly?

I don't remember each and every step on the way but as I said there were a lot of heavy bands like Stillborn and Candlemass but I also remember I heard Grotesque, Dismember, Unleashed – that kind of early Swedish scene. Nihilist of course, Treblinka (former Tiamat; M.) was one of the first bands. I can't really remember how I got to hear all of them. I know that I went to some stores in Stockholm and Gothenburg, especially Dolores Records in Gothenburg, which had a very nice store with a lot of fanzines and demos. You could get everything. And there was even mailorder like Underground Records and I ordered their stuff, too and started to buy shitloads of demos and fanzines. I was actually more of a demo cassette guy than what I bought on records, I collected demo tapes for many many years. I still do but I haven't saved everything and got rid of the stuff that felt useless to me. Of course I still have the ones I love but it's only probably around 500 and not 3000 (laughs). All in all it started with classic hard rock over to Candlemass and Stillborn over to the early Swedish scene and a lot of Destruction, Kreator and Sodom. And I got totally hooked up on the Florida scene in early ́90 with Morbid Angel and Deicide. It was a very interesting time because each day I wrote at least 25 letters, sent them out and it came back even more. So I had to continue, it was some kind of a circle. It was total fucking mayhem! (laughs) But it was underground and I loved it from day one.

And now you have with "Underdog" your first solo album at the start. Why did it take you so long to decide to do this?

Well, I've been part of so many bands over the years, especially in the late years: Dreadful Fate, Nominon, In Aeternum. A lot of those bands were very active and even toured and did a lot of good releases. But then again, it's like when you realize that you are the leading force of the band you're supposed to be a gang of at least four or five people but you're the only one that tries to push things further because most of the other guys have families and decent jobs, the priorities are somewhere else and you cannot push it more than to a certain point. Then it's fucked-up and I started to do some other drumming projects and really wanted to continue because my main thing in life is to play drums. Of course I also have a job but I don't have any children. I understand that people with families can't have the time to be somewhere else that much but to me it was do or die, especially with this project. There was this guitar player in England – I won't mention any names because it all turned out to be something else – who was hunting me to record some drums for him and he would do some riffs so that we could do some music. So when I finally did it, I arranged five songs in total, sent them over and he said it was cool stuff he could work with. So I just waited because he had a lot of other projects and bands going on and not only music. But after a year nothing had happened and I don't want to have it like this again because I want to be active, I want to write music and want to play drums. So I told him to scrap this idea totally, I could record some drums that would fit better and I could send the songs I'd written to some mates that are interested to write riffs on them.  So the following day I contacted Simon (Wizén; M.)with whom I played in Nominon but mainly in his black metal band Valkyrja and a very good friend of mine. He is very serious and if he says yes to something, then he will definitely do it. I sent one track to him, the same with Juha (Sulasalmi; M.), the guitar player of Nominon because I wanted him to be part of it as well and also Kræn (Meier; M.), the guy who is nowadays in Artillery. We got to know each other better during the years we spent together in the Danish band Thorium with which we together released an album in 2018. But none of us really felt that comfortable in that band but we still felt very close to each other both as musicians and friends. I've known him since his days in Sacrificial and stuff like that and we were pen pals between 1990 and 1993. I always had a lot of respect for him and still do. These were the people whom I instantly contacted and to my surprise after about 48 hours later I had the leads and riffs back and everything was there. I was surprised because I thought first that this is going to take some time because it is a new to work. So I was completely blown away when I heard the result. Still there still were no vocals on the songs but that was my less concern because I know tons of many good vocalists. When I heard the songs, I thought "okay, I can contact Marc (Grewe; M.) for this one", for example. The only thing I didn't really know was if I was going to release it as a five-song mini CD or if I was going to push it further. It took me a week to come with the idea that I was part of so many bands so that I could record at least one or two songs of some of the bands that I didn't had the chance to record with like Benediction, Nasum, Nifelheim or Internment but I really wanted to include Deströyer666 even though I recorded "Wildfire" and "Call Of The Wild"-12' with them. I sorted out if I should use random musicians and friends that I know or should I just contact the members that used to be or still are in the bands when I was in there. When that thought hit my head I thought that this is what I gonna do. I had to contact them to see how they react, if they are interested and if they still are members in the bands which is the fact in Benediction where both guitar players are still in and Keith in Deströyer666. Nasum as well even they are disbanded since Mieszko died in the Tsunami in 2004. To me it felt with Nasum, even though the songs don't last about a minute, there is a lot of passion and heart in there for me to do this as a tribute to Mieszko since we grew up and got to know each other not far from each other. We both did fanzines and had the same underground drive so the Nasum song has a very closer meaning to me. I'm really happy that Anders could do it with me and also Rickard who was the drummer whom I replaced in 1995 when I did the live shows with them took part on it. Also Urban, their guitar player who did live shows a couple of years ago and plays with them nowadays for some reunion shows, played on the songs. All the songs I could do with friends from the bands I played in, it means a lot to me. Maybe it means a lot more to me than to them. I am not sure but the support that I got from the guys when we recorded the songs was great since there is a lot of variation on the album like from thrash and death stuff to grind core. To make everything fit and round that was our main concern. I am grateful that I could hook up with Gord (Olson; M.) in Canada who is also the singer in Darkened and he has done a brilliant work with this one. I don't know how he did it but having him on board saved my day.

One of the musicians you worked with is Hellbutcher from Nifelheim. There were so many stories to be read lately about them – do you know if they split-up or not??

They are inactive. Both brothers have their own bands now that they focus on. They had a lot of mixing issues with the latest album, they did the mixing maybe five or six times and the situation is confusing. They have such strong disagreements when it comes to the mix of the album, I don't know what's gonna happen. The only other thing is that Tobias (Gustafsson; M.), their drummer quit the band even before they broke-up so he could concentrate more on Vomitory.

Will there be another Perracide album or was this just considered as a single album project?

I have a lot of thoughts and ideas that there sure will be another coming but I don't know when. As I said earlier when I started with this first album and I finally came to the conclusion that I had to do it that way with five own songs and nine cover songs up to that I hold the CD in my hands, it was approximately nine months. It's totally insane because I had thirty musicians on board. I didn't know each step on the way already from the start. I took it step by step and had to see what happens. But all the pieces of the puzzle came together really quick. Some of the musicians I wanted to have on the album couldn't do it because they didn't have the time or were on tour. Some of them tried to record some stuff on the road but shit happens, they couldn't make it. Some of them I will probably connect with and I have some plans with the other bands that I've been part of in the past doing the same thing with the line-up and so on. I also have the idea I had with Nasum with another Swedish band, it's not exactly the same story but it's also very close to me as their drummer passed away. I will most likely get something done but I'm not sure if I will have the energy to do it already for next year or maybe in 25. The plans are already in motion and I talked to some guys and they already said yes. If I want to do it, I can do it but I know how hard I have to work and I also know that I want to do it because it's fun and not to have that pressure to work, work, work to make it happen. I know that I have to work, that is not the issue but when you see it as a proper job, it gets boring and takes too much energy from you.

You played in so many different bands with so many different styles – from extreme fast grindcore like Nasum, black metal up to some death-doom stuff. What would you say is the most challenging style to play drums?

Right now I'm working with the drum patterns for the next Darkened album. Since I joined them in August last year we recorded one 7' that came out in July. These songs were more or less like pretty much straight forward death metal in a way. For some of the new songs we have to think twice – they have some programmed stuff like basic beats but if I just would copy them I would hate it because that would be pretty boring. The drum programs are just there to have some sort of beat at all. I understand that and they always keep telling me to forget about that and just do it my own way. So some of the passages and riffs on the album are very diverse and almost like a movie soundtrack. I think it is like Bolt Thrower or some classic death metal, very primitive and I have to come up with some more passionate and even more jazzy stuff at times to make it sound interesting. Otherwise it would be good music but shitty drums (laughs). It's a big challenge for me but at the same time I want to do it and I really hope and think that at the end of the day it will come out fantastic. I also think it will be pretty much different compared to the previous albums. If you think about that they had Andy Whale on the drums before me, drumming-wise it will be completely different. I would never try to copy his stuff, it's impossible.

What can we expect from you in the future? Are you going to play some Perracide shows? And will there follow an AngelBlast full-length? And what about In Aeternum? The last album is from 2005……

Before I joined Darkened I was pushing for AngelBlast every now and then because I love that EP. It is the best I have recorded for some time really. That was even recorded a year after the Perracide songs which aren't the cover songs. Somewhat will happen there, I'm not sure because the guys are so much involved in Darkened and other stuff as well. We have to wait and see but I hope there will be more with the band. Also with Nominon - we have been talking for ages and ages to do something. We did some sort of reunion because we played live here in Sweden and people loved it. Also young people came up and they didn't expect anything from us because they never heard of us before and they were totally blown away. It is really cool when you can touch the younger generation as well. So the latest thing I've heard that we will do with Nominon is to sort out a 3-track promo demo for labels. I know that Emanzipation Records released a compilation of 7' that we did two or three years ago and they want to do an album with us. I was running the band for many years even though I'm not an original member. I joined them in 2001 and they have been a band for 5 or six years at that point. They had already released an album and the first thing that happened when I joined the band was that we signed with Relapse Records for an international agreement and I ended up with a chronic kidney failure only three months after I joined them. It was tough luck because that cut off everything for quite some time. So the label started to shake their heads and having thoughts weeks after we signed the contract we sent back to them. We thought that we had a record deal but then they completely ignored us. What we heard later on was that the guy who was responsible for Nominon on Relapse got kicked out and also more or less the rest of the team got replaced. At the end of the day they had a lot of stuff going on at the label and it ended up for us without a record deal and I was going on dialysis for about 1 ½ years. During that period we also recorded a mini-LP "The True Face Of Death" in 2003. Only a couple of weeks later, after I recorded the drum tracks, I ended up having my first transplantation all of a sudden. I just got the call from the hospital that I was on the list and they had a kidney that might fit. So I had to come and be prepared for that surgeon. That was totally insane. The surgeon and everything went well and I almost got reborn in a way. It felt like I was a completely different person at that time. I was only 30 that year and when I think back now it's that I had a vision of drumming before the first transplantation but I was thinking differently after that drumming-wise. I come back to that in my mind every now and then. Everything got serious and everything got much more on a different level. Nominon started to record and became much more of a band and it was the guitar player Juha and me who kept running the band for years. When he became a father, he couldn't really tour as much so the rest of us had to run the frame so to speak. Though he was still doing the recordings and the albums and writing songs. It was the same with In Aeternum. That was in 2004 and the first thing that I was going to do was to tour five weeks as support to Deicide in Europe. We printed merch, we made a reservation of a motor home in Sweden and went to England, booked all the ferries and when we came to London, the first thing we heard was that Deicide were not accepting the tour bus. They would be thinking of buying their own flights back to Florida. There we were. It turned out that they actually did it and we and the other support acts did the show and just went home afterwards. We had 250 shirts and the rent of the motorhome we could get half the price off because someone else could take over the rent. It's like shit happens all the time.

Alright, last question…do you have some favorite albums in heavy, death and black metal?

Oh, that's a hard question. Dio – "Holy Diver". I listened to it since I was 10. My sister who is 5 years older than me got it as a birthday gift and I think she held the LP in her hands for probably 10 seconds before I stole it. I was totally blown away by just the cover artwork. This had to be good! So I considered this as my album. My sister could listen to it but it was in my room (laughs). That album changed me in many ways. But I've also been a huge fan of Mötley Crue. When it comes to more extreme music, it's probably Possessed, Morbid Angel, it's just the classics.

Entered: 8/28/2023 7:38:45 AM

Send eMail 1.11k