The Italian zine Dagheisa have published an interview with Steffe about Ordained. Since a lot of people don’t speak Italian we decided to publish the English original here. You can read the Italian version here.
First of all congrats ’cause the new album is totally a blast!! How much time did you need to compose and record the material?
Thank you! Yes, we like it ourselves as well. I think we wrote the first song in June 2013 and finished the recording in June 2014 so a year all in all. I believe we spent around 8 days recording and 5 days mixing. Something like that.
Where did you record?
We recorded it in our own little studio called Is Charged Studio, it’s our rehearse place actually. The reason for this is that we can record for free and at times that suit us. Påhl’s brother Erik handled the recording and engineering. I am aware that most bands rather record in a “real” studio but for us, this was much easier on every level. We feel at home and secure there.
What did you ask to Lawrence Mackrory of Darkane for mixing?
We felt like since we did the actual recording for free we could spend some money on the mixing instead. Lawrence and his studion Maskinrummet was the obvious choice for us, he has recorded all our earlier records (except the split with Bent Sea) and he knows and likes our music. In fact, he played bass with us in the very beginning before Daniel joined us. So he’s a great guy and a friend of the band.
What did you wanna improve or develop after Trenches of the Netherworld?
Well, we were quite happy with Trenches and the only thing we wanted to improved was making the next bunch of songs better. We did the split with Bent Sea as a transition to test some new ideas and elements and we were satisfied with the result and because of that, Ordained sounds the way it sounds.
At first we only thought it was a cool sounding word that would be a good name for the album but then I thought more about the meaning of the word and started to develop ideas around it. When the next album is out eveything will fall into place. Wait and see!
Now your mix of crust and old school death is flavoured with sludge-doom and prog influences. How did you come up with that? Which bands did you take inspiration from?
It just felt natural to start incorporate more of these elements since we all like to play these kinds of music, and it’s a way to make the songs more dynamic and interesting. We just felt that our music had lacked these elements a bit and now we feel confident enough to start use them. We’re still experimenting with the sound of Usurpress and that will, hopefully, never stop. I think we’re influenced by slow/doomy death metal rather than “real” doom/sludge actually. The prog influences? I don’t know, all sorts of 70-ties music really but I think I must mention Camel. One of the few benefits with being a very unknown and unpopular band is that you don’t have any fans that can be disappoined, you are free to do whatever you want.
How is the songwriting process inside the band?
Påhl writes most of the riffs, he comes up with one or maybe two riffs and then we jam around them and creates new parts in the rehearse room together. Daniel has also written two songs on Ordained. I write all the lyrics. These things are not important at all in my opinion, the songs sound the way they do because of all 4 of us, that’s why we always write “All songs written and arranged by Usurpress”.
How is the collaboration with Magnus Stjenberg born?
Magnus is an old friend of mine and a master of all sorts of instruments. I thought it would be a cool idea to have him play some nyckelharpa (traditional Swedish instrument, especially in our part of Sweden) on the introriff to “Dethroned by Shadows” since it had a bit of a folk music vibe to it. When we come up with the basic ideas for “The Undeification” and “As the Monolith Comes Alive” for Ordained, it felt natural to bring back Magnus to develop the themes. I think he did a good job. It’s fun and very rewarding to work with people outside the band and that is something we hope to continue with. We also had Helene Landahl playing flute and David Hallberg doing piano on the album.
Why did you choose to cover Bo Hansson’s ‘Lóthlorien’?
Well… I think the basic idea was to see if we could pull off a pure prog piece and make it sound good and we didn’t really have the confidence to write one ourselves so we tried to do something else, a cover song. Our version of “Lóthlorien” is quite different from Hansson’s original since we have changed the arrangements quite a bit and also added another Bo Hansson-riff in the end so infact it’s a medley of the songs “Lóthlorien” and “Skuggfaxe”. And, of course, our main instrument is guitar and not organ. Since everything turned out good we now believe we are ready to write our own pieces like this, actually we already have written one.
Please review ‘Storming The Mausoleum’ and ‘Fire In The Minds Of Men’ for our readers.
Uh! I really don’t know… Both are good songs in my opinion. “Storming” was written around an idea I had about the chorus and the break in the middle, it turned out really good in the end. “Fire” was written as an experiment to see if we could do a song with only slow parts and make it sound interesting. Both songs are important parts of the album.
Who’s ‘The Eyeless Spectator’?
I don’t like to discuss my lyrics at all, but it’s based around a real event, that much I can tell you.
What’s the meaning behind the artwork?
We wanted the cover to portrait a lifeless dead landscape that although it’s devoid of life, the entire soil and sky is alive. An extremely frightening place but with beauty in itself. Ola Larsson who did the cover is a fantastic artist.
Steffe Pettersson’s vocal parts are awesome! What are his main extreme vocals references?
Hahaha! Thanks again. My favorite [death] metal vocalists are Tom G. Warrior, Nick Holmes, Tom Angelripper, John Tardy, Karl Willetts, etc.
Sweden is full of good metal bands! Any cool underground acts that you think deserve our attention?
Apart from the more famous ones like Tribulation, Morbus Chron, Bombs of Hades and so forth, I think Rust, Rite, Third Storm and some other ones are really good. Some of the old bands are still killer as well!
You released three split albums. Are you comfortable with that format? How would you describe the bands you’ve collaborated with?
They are not split albums, the splits with Pyramido and Bombs of Hades are 7” and the one with Bent Sea is a 10”. I don’t think we will do an actual split album, that feels a bit too much. But splits are cool, no doubt about that. Apart from the fact that they are all really good bands, they have very little in common soundwise. Pyramido is a sludge/doom band and Bent Sea is really fuckin’ fast and grindy, you know. Bombs of Hades have similar influences and ideas as us but they come out sounding quite different than Usurpress, which is very cool.