It is an honor and a pleasure to interview this band that started in 1984; one of the first obscure bands from the underground Swedish scene. Despise the long time hiatus, MEFISTO was always “there” for a lot of underground maniacs and today the band is standing strong. They had recently released a great self-titled album, true to their essence and old-school roots. Robban kindly answered the following questions…from the Frost of Inferno...
What a great album you guys have just released, so first words should be about it, tell us about the writing and the recording process, about the essence of this album and how you personally feel about it.
Thank you. After the 126.96.36.199 album I felt so strong that we could have done it so much better. At least when I speak for myself. That album was not the kind of oldshool death metal that Mefisto stands for. Itś not a bad album. Itś just a good metal album but itś not Mefisto. When I decided to do this album, I really went back in time. I wanted the songs and production to sound really dark and raw like it did in the 80: ies. So we recorded the guitars and drums live in our rehearsal room. We wrote the songs together (me and Mogge) and we were and still are in this creative phase. It all came natural. And to get new blood into the band, to have a new musical partner that has the same taste and ideas as myself made it all very easy. This album feels very genuine and am proud of it.
To me it seems that this is the darkest work you recorded so far, do you agree? What were your musical and nonmusical inspirations to write these songs?
It is definitely the darkest album so far. During the process of this album we only listened to oldschool stuff. A lot of Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, the first Slayer and Metallica albums, everything else were banned.
How would you describe the lyrical content and the whole concept around the band nowadays?
On the demos I wrote most of the music and all the lyrics. On the last album (188.8.131.52.) Omar wrote 90% of the music and we did 50/50 on the lyrics. The difference now and then is that this time I took over the vocals and sung everything by myself. That made it more genuine and I did not have to tell someone else how to do the phrasing and how to harmonize the song parts. It all came very natural.
You use to post and share a lot of occult related stuff on your facebook page…so at what level are you interested/involved in the occult?
We love the oldshool Satanism and occultism that Anton Lavey stood for. We are no activist that run around and burn churches… We don’t use corpse paints… We are just a band that enjoys a dark atmosphere around us.
How did you get linked with gmr music? What made you sign with them?
We wanted to try something new… We wanted to have full control and the right to our own songs. They are a Record/Distribution company and they really wanted to work with us.
Back to the album, I´m intrigued about the last song on the album, Mefisto (Anno 1892), I´d like to know about the musical and lyrical concept of this song.
That song was in the beginning supposed to be an intro for another song, or just a bridge between two songs. Then our manager gave me this old text written by an old Swedish poetry/writer, Gustav Fröding. I started to read the text over the music…. What you here is actually the first and only take. So we decided that it would be a great song to end the album. The meaning of the lyrics feels so up to date thou it was written a 100 years ago. And it´s so evil in a funny way…
The album cover is a new version of the design used for Megalomania demo, this time designed by Zbigniew M. Bielak, It shows a clear "back to the roots" attitude, doesn't´it ? Please tell me about the desicion to use this design and the collaboration with Bielak.
Early in the process of the new album we were sure we wanted reuse our logo for the cover as a statement that we are back and that we definitly were back to the roots. We wanted it because of the oldschool feeling. And also it is our logo and it's now known as our trademark. As you say we had it on our first demo as a cover. In the begining that logo was made by me and Sandro. We found the baphomet in a book, it was not a well known symbol in the scene back then (we are talking about 1985).
Then I started scetching the Octagram as a occult symbol so that we could fit the name Mefisto in it's corners. I thought it was better to use the eight point star instead of the pentagram which almost every band used. Even bands like Motley Crue...I couldnt relate to that. Then Roger our artistic leader and manager came up with the idea to contact Bielak because he is a big fan of his work. He showed me some album covers Bielak had made and I was like...can you get this guy? Then we will definitly go for it. I loved his work with Paradise Lost, Entombed A.D and of course the Ghost album. So we gave him free hands, but he did'nt want to change stuff too much. He just wanted to update the old baphomet design, our logo and make it more oldschool and evil. And that is exactly what we wanted to have as the cover. A brilliant work.One of the album tracks "Lety Go Life" features LG Petrov on vocals, how did this collaboration come about?
We have run into each other a couple of times. He has always supported us. He is an outspoken Mefisto fan and I always have loved his work, his voice. Our manager got in touch with him thru a mutual friend, Alex from Necrophobic/Firespawn asked him if he would like to do the vocals on one of our song and he said yes without a doubt. His voice is so powerful and was perfect for that song.
How would you compare the new stuff to the previous album “184.108.40.206.”, what are the main differences and similitudes between both albums?
It´s a completely different album. I don’t think 220.127.116.11 is a Mefisto album. Don’t get me wrong. We recorded it, the two original members but Omar composed almost everything on that album. He honestly never understood this Death Metal thing, not even back in ´86. It was me and Sandro that had to tell him how we wanted the riffs to be played, the songs to be composed. But back then we needed him because of me and Sandro was quite bad musicians, but we had a vision….(I admit that I felt kinda dissapointed with "18.104.22.168." not a bad album but I expected something totally diferent and I really didn´t like it that much. - Chris)
Do you think that the band changed somehow after the release of the debut album?
We tried to make a band during the process of 22.214.171.124 but it did not work out. We couldn’t stand each other. Even Before we started recording Sandro left the reunion. And me and Omar… Let me put it this way…the ship can´t have two captains…one had to leave. So when I and Mogge started writing the new songs for this album we did not want Omar to compose any material, just play the guitar. Then he called me and said that he is out. I didn´t try to talk him into staying.
What would you tell us about the time that passed since the publication of the second demo to the release of the debut album? How would you define that period in a few words?
I can just say that I left the scene… lived my life… In addition, it took almost 30 years before I found my way back and felt the lust to be productive. That probably saved my life. I was too young to make it and if we had made it I would probably been caught in every trap there is…
What place / status do you think Mephisto is in the current scene?
I think we are still very underground. Only the diehard oldschool Death Metal lovers knows about us.
What is your vision of the Swedish scene? do you follow current bands like Watain and Degial, or did you attend to special events like the Mörbit gig?
After we broke up 1987 the scene exploded… A lot of good bands made it back then. Specialy from Stockholm. Entombed, Dismember and so on.
Now let´s talk about the past again, what are your memories from the early days and the beginning of Mefisto and metal music back in those days?
We mostly kept us for ourselves. I guess none really knew us back then. We did hang out with Quorthon a few times. He was so cool and gave us his support. He was a bit like us, odd in a good way. He did not hang out with people from the scene… It was bands like Bathory and Celtic Frost that made me start Mefisto. Then Sandro was a friend to Pelle Dead (Morbid), he hang with us a few times. A weird guy even back then I can tell you…we called him Geten (Goat). This was before he joined Mayhem.
"Megalomania" and "The Puzzle" have been reissued on a couple of times, compiled on cd and a vinyl version too, but the latest was a special and limited box set with both demos on cassette with the original layout. How this idea came about?
I guy contacted me and after 5 or 6 times I said just do it. I think it’s cool that the demos was re-released as cassettes, just like back in the old days. I love the format.
Did the idea of re-recording old classics like Frost of Inferno ever crossed your mind?
We did re-record 3 old songs on 126.96.36.199, Frost of Inferno was one of them. But again we shouldn’t…we should have left the past behind. Nothing good comes out of that. (I agree, in fact as you see mi mind totally forgot about those re-recorded versions :( - Chris)
If you had the chance of doing a video clip for Mefisto, how would it be? Any Plans to do it in a near future?
We just started working on the next album. And it will be even more dark than the latest one. We are in this creative phase right now. And I have some ideas about a video for the next one. I work very close with our manager Roger about everything that has to do with the atmosphere/image thing.
Tell me about your current line up. Do you feel it is a strong and stable line-up?
Mefisto today consists of two members, me and Mogge. We will not bring new people to the band, but we have two musicians that will support us on stage. We have done some rehearsals together and it sounds great and tight.
Any plans to play live and touring? How do you describe your gigs?
We have some plans but they are still a bit secret. Nothing booked yet. All I can say is that the gigs will have a real dark atmosphere…
What is the strangest and the most shocking place you have been?
Tuff question… but I have to say that I have visit some really poor and dangerous country’s and people…
Priority is this new album to be released later 2018. It will be a kind of concept album. I can´t really tell you anything more about that yet…
Ok that´s it, thanks for your time. Is there anything you would like to add to end this interview?
Join The cult of Mefisto. Thank you for the support!