Fuck, we are a band that people actually LIKE!

Candlemass

My interview with Mappe from Candlemass was a fun one. We were a bit delayed because, as it turns out, Mappe really takes the time for you. What followed was a very pleasant conversation with a down to earth friendly man, who just happens to be one of the founding fathers of the doom metal genre.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! How are things with you?

It’s cool man, really cool. It’s time to do interviews for the new album and stuff, and the anniversary, so I should be really happy about that. But most of the time it’s such a tight schedule. It’s like half an hour there, half an hour there, without a minute in between. It’s constantly “time is running out”.

It’s hard to fit a good interview in half an hour right?

Yes it’s very hard. And I’m one that tends to speak too much I think, but the journalists are usually very happy about it *laughs*. Sometimes I say “sorry I’m speaking too much” and they’ll be like “no, it’s so good, we get so much information, all cool”. Sometimes it’s maybe my fault.

Usually my average interview time is around forty minutes, so I don’t blame you there.

Cool, cool. Thanks! So how about the new EP? Have you heard the new EP?

I’ve heard it and I love it!

Thanks! I’m so happy. I’ve done like 20-25 interviews now in two weeks and everybody loves it, and not just to be friendly with me *laughs*. They sound like they like the new EP. They all have some reflection on it, and that’s very nice, you know? Let’s see what your reflection about it is. Just go on and ask your questions now, it’s going to be perfect!

Well, what can you tell us about the new EP? The new sound, I really like it.

Cool. Well I think the EP is something that we… I mean from the beginning, the Psalms for the Dead album, everybody said that was your last album, you said that was going to be the last Candlemass album, blah blah blah. Yeah, there was a really really different situation in the band at that time. We still had Robert as a singer. He is still a great friend, he as a great singer on the albums. I have total respect for him as a singer. Death Magic Doom was one of my favorite Candlemass albums of all time, but it was very very hard playing live and we couldn’t promote the albums. We did great albums, we promoted the albums, but we unpromoted the albums, because he didn’t learn the lyrics and we got bad reviews off of that and stuff. So we said we had to end somewhere. I don’t want you part of Candlemass playing live if we unpromote the albums. And Leif said yeah but we do have to do Psalms for the Dead because I wrote all the songs for him, so we had to record. And it was cool. It turned out very well.

But then we had the new band with Mats and everything. Leif said I have two new songs. He played them for me, and it  was like, yeah!. It was Death Thy Lover and Sleeping Giant and I thought, this is brilliant. We have to record this now. So then we talked about how about we do this new EP with Mats on vocals. He has been in the Candlemass family for many years, he’s been with Leif’s sideproject Krux. Candlemass had used lots of keyboards the last few albums, how should we do everything. And we said okay, we go back to how we were in ‘89. No keyboards. We used to do guitar based songs without keyboards, we could just work very hard on our guitar sound. And that’s what we did. And it worked out very well. It was supposed to be a two song EP. We talked about having some of the live stuff from Wacken on it as a bonus thing, and then the record company wanted like maybe one more new song so Leif one more new song. Then Leif said I have another new song, so it turned out to be a thirty minute EP. That’s something I’m very happy about right now. It’s cooler for the fans to have four new songs instead of two new songs, and none of the songs is filler. Even if The Goose is an instrumental, you have to listen to it a couple of times, but I think it’s a brilliant song. I think the EP spans over the whole Candlemass career. If you listen to Death Thy Lover, it’s a little bit up-tempo song with a bit of an easy listening chorus. Sleeping Giant is a little bit of Bewitched / Nightfall style. Sinister, you can listen to a little of sorcerer and the other stuff in that. And then you have Ghost. That’s so heavy. Actually, if you look at Ghost today, it’s where we were with Epicus in ‘86. You have to listen to it, you have to listen to it, you have to listen to it, and then… this is strange, but it’s very cool.

I really like what you said, the pure guitar sound on the EP. Less keyboards and full focus on what rock should be: guitar.

Yeah, exactly. And actually, even if we had keyboard for on the songs for Death Magic Doom, I think it was a good stake turnout point for Candlemass at that time. We still had a Candlemass sound, but we put some keyboard in it. I love those albums. But I think it was cool to go back with Mats to what we did in ‘89, and in the end I’m very very happy with that decision. And I’m really glad you like the guitar sound, because me and Lars were playing together in the studio, each playing some parts. Then we tried out some amplifiers together and tried out different sounds. That was the first time we actually sat down together and really really focussed on the guitar sound. I said now it’s going to be guitars. And it sounds amazing.

It’s really good, yeah. What would you say it is on the EP, about the sound, that makes it a typical Candlemass record?

It’s a typical Candlemass record because it spans over all Candlemass records I think. The typical Candlemass record is like a combination of proper good hard rock / metal, and what they call it today: doom metal. Because if you listen to just doom metal today, it’s not what Candlemass has ever been. Candlemass has always been a combination of metal and doom metal. I think we have that on all our albums. It’s a combination of songs that are uptempo and slow tempo. But it’s not that heavy that it becomes so slow that you fall asleep, you know? *laughs* I love those new metal bands and stuff, but I think it’s more a combination with metal. We’re influenced by bands like Judas Priest, we have Black Sabbath of course, Uriah Heep, we have so many influences in Candlemass. I think this is more typical Candlemass, because we put more focus on the guitars than the last two albums.

I really agree. You are usually mentioned as one of the founding bands of the doom metal genre. So, what is Doom to you?

The thing was, when we started out in ‘85, me and Leif, there was no talk about doom, you know? There was no name Doom. Of course the first album was called Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, but that was just a funny thing, it wasn’t meant like here’s a genre that’s going to be called doom. So for me, and it’s very hard to say, doom bands today… And I came out of South America two weeks about and we did great shows there, and I got like fifteen songs from South American doom bands like, you have to listen to this. And this. And this. Like, you are our big influence, you are the main doom band, you started the whole thing, you know? And I can’t say I agree with them. We did something very special with Epicus. But when I listen to those albums, that these guys are doing today, it’s so slow. The slow riffs are so… I think it’s cool, I like it. I don’t dislike it, I think it’s very fun to listen to, but I think how can they be influenced by Candlemass. It’s not the same thing today. I think Candlemass was more a metal doom hardrock band. Of course we have doom riffs sometimes. Some songs are slow riffs like Solitude, but it’s not that doomy as the bands are today.

The genre really evolved, absolutely.

Yeah, yeah yeah, it’s totally different to me. But I’m proud of it. I’m proud of, okay these guys playing so slow are influenced by us, we are their heroes. For us it was like Trouble, it was Pentagram, it was Black Sabbath. And they are not even as slow as these new bands are. And what Sabbath and Trouble and Pentagram were for Candlemass, there was no name Doom, they were slow metal, you know? That was just metal. And today there’s this genre called Doom that’s inspired by us. And that’s fantastic. So I can’t say what doom is for me. Well you have the Hammer of Doom festival. I know there are going to be lots of slow bands playing slow stuff, and then will be there like an uptempo band, but we are their heroes. *laughs* It’s very confusing, but I’m very proud of it and I must say I’m very honored.

You’re the fast founders of Doom *laughs*

*laughs* yeah. We are the speed metal of Doom. So Doom for me is more like something that somebody came up with, a name of slow heavy music, and that’s cool. I like it, because there are so many bands around now, you have to have a name for that. And it’s festivals with Doom. It’s very cool that we are actually one of the bands that started that, I can’t believe that. What an honor you know? When we recorded Epicus nobody believed in us. We were just three guys. People were laughing at us and our twelve minute long songs. Just let them be, they are funny guys, you know? It was like that. Today, thirty years later, that album has not been out of stock for thirty years. It’s unbelievable.

You mentioned Black Sabbath. You have often been compared to Sabbath. How big of an influence was that band to you and Leif?

It was very big for Leif, as a songwriter. When I met Leif the first time, he was a big Black Sabbath fan, he has always been. When we met, when we did our first rehearsals with Candlemass, we didn’t even know we were going to have a record at that time, but he played so much good stuff for me. As did Matt the drummer. Matt was also very influenced by Trouble, they were influenced by the first Venom stuff, and Pentagram. That was a band that I hadn’t heard that much about. It was very cool to listen to be able to listen to stuff that nobody else had heard, you know? Of course Black Sabbath was a big influence to him, but it was more like listen to the first Trouble album, the guitar sound here, we should have it. We should try out the same microphones as they have. We should try to get this same sound as Pentagram, Manilla Road, that was our music scene and we were very small as an independent band, you know? They liked it, and I went more and more into that. When we rehearsed with Candlemass when we were recording, I was totally into that as well. That was my thing, all the independent small bands from America. But Sabbath was a big thing of course. But we were also influenced by Uriah Heep, me and Leif were big Uriah Heep fans. Old Uriah Heep is one of our favorites, it still is. I can play the old Uriah Heep albums and still get goosebumps.

I understand what you mean. A friend of mine once gave me a mixtape and it had Uriah Heep on the B-side and it really blew my mind.

That’s so cool. You should listen to the Demons and Wizards album. The Spell and Paradise, the last tracks on that record. Listen to the songs, how they build up. They are the big influence for lots of bands. The sound they had at that time. Yeah, cool that you like them. The old Uriah Heep is fantastic.

Absolutely. Where it comes to your current mindset, how is the inspiration in the band for writing new songs at the moment?

The thing with the EP is, two years ago I wouldn’t have believed it that we would come up with new ideas, so that’s something that was a big bonus for us. We haven’t talked about doing anything new. This is the point in time now, and we just go on with gigs and stuff. We were very focussed on live music. Of course we had the 30th anniversary stuff but where it comes to new songs we don’t know. We just take one day at a time and we see what happens next year. We are now talking about doing Nightfall anniversary shows, 30th anniversary shows for Nightfall where we play the whole album and lots of festivals are interested in doing it. So 2017 will be more focussed on live music.

Okay, that’s also a good thing, we love to see you play live.

Yeah, because Candlemass is also a band where it’s so fantastic that you have so many albums from 30 years, from the ‘80s that you still can play. There are so many bands that did albums in the ‘80s with nothing that you can play live these today, because nobody wants to listen to it. It was that time, and today is 2016 so those albums are gone. But we have albums, we can play the whole thing straight in a show, the Candlemass fans will love them. The songs are still like, very heavy and sound good live. The things we’re playing from Ancient Dreams today, A Cry From The Crypt for example, it’s one of the best live songs in the set. It sounds so good. And it’s like 30 years since we’ve done that album. And that’s fantastic. Therefor we can focus on our library, like now we play those songs. We can choose a different setlist from one day to another with totally different songs, and it’s still going to be a good setlist.

That’s a great position to be in.

Yeah, yeah. It’s cool. So we are very happy that we are in this situation. It’s a luxury problem sometimes. We have a sixty minute set on a festival, shit, what songs are we going to play? We have to put that one out there, what… but that’s a luxury problem. It’s not that we have three hit songs and the rest is just filler. *laughs* It’s totally the opposite for us.

You just put them up on the dartboard and let it determine your setlist for your show *laughs*

Yeah yeah *laughs* but it’s very cool.

Leif is usually credited as the main songwriter and founder, but how big is the influence of you and the other bandmembers where it comes to the creative process? Who does what?

Leif comes up with ideas, he’s sending us demos of the songs with some singing on them. We listen to them and we go in the rehearsing place together, with or without Leif, that doesn’t really matter. Then we just play the songs. Me and Lars always do the guitar chord thing together when we try out what kind of tunes we are going to uses to make it sound like Candlemass and then we get this to Leif and he almost always says “that’s exactly how it is”, or sometimes “no, it should be a little bit more like this or that”. But the structure of the song and the structure of the vocals is Leif, it’s the way he wants it to be. But then we come up with ideas or small parts like some guitar stuff that me and Lars think sound good, and almost always Leif says “yeah that sounds very good, do it like that”. And sometimes it’s “no no no, I didn’t think that way, I think that way”. So he’s the biggest part of the Candlemass songwriting process, he’s the main guy. But he doesn’t carve it in stone, like “you have to do this, or you can’t do this song”. It’s not like that *laughs* It’s more like he wants us to like, try out a little here and come back to it later. But the main riff and the main chorus and everything is of course how he wants the song to be, because of the vocals and lyrics and stuff.

Now when we did the EP, Leif came into the studio for one hour and then went down for one day and me and Lars were sitting there with our guitars and record it. The Goose was a perfect example, because that  song didn’t even have a demo, well almost no demo. So we had to work it out, like we wonder what Leif wanted to hear. So we tried out things. And he came into the studio and said about a small part no, no, we have to change that and this, but otherwise it’s good. So therefor I think it’s a good combination. I don’t want it to be any other way, and Lars doesn’t want it to be any other way. We want Leif to be the main man to do the Candlemass tracks, otherwise it wouldn’t sound like Candlemass. It would be very stupid if me or Lars would come up with songs. We don’t want the credit for that. We don’t want to be Candlemass, we would shoot ourselves in the foot.

Yeah I get that. That’s what side projects are for right?

Exactly! Exactly.

I read you started your own side project this year as well?

No, I didn’t do that? There was a side project last year that I was supposed to do. It fell apart sadly for reasons I won’t put in the magazine. But I don’t like side projects. If I do side projects, they have nothing to do with music, or it’s something very very different. Like the work I do with a guy who is a comedian in Sweden. He calls people up on the telephone and says stupid things, he was very big in the seventies. I’ve worked with him for five years. It are things that have nothing to do with music, that’s what I like as side projects. When I do a side project, it should be something very opposite of what I do in Candlemass. I’ve done that thing, but nobody knows that outside of Sweden, there they know I did that side project. I was a big part of that. But that’s not something I talk about in metal magazines you know? *laughs* And I like that. One year I helped out a Swedish punk band, because I’m a big fan of them. That was my only musical side project, that I was really keen on doing.

Well, we’re not your usual metal magazine. We even had a monthly horror section for instance.

Okay! Well maybe that should be my next side project, so I can be in the magazine again *laughs*

Yeah why not! This was your first recording with Mats on the vocals. I think he really did a great job. How do you compare his work to your previous vocalists?

I think he’s totally different to work with. Vocalist always have other ideas on how they should put the vocals on the music, it’s very personal. If you play the guitar or other instruments, you can change the strings and you’re a fit. But they have to be like, that’s the way I want it to be and that’s what I want to sound like or I can’t relax. And Mats is a singer, he wants to do it at home, and I can understand it. He wants to do it by himself at home, with nobody standing there, watching him doing the vocals and stuff. He did things exactly how we wanted them to turn out. The thing with Mats is, and I’m very happy about that, he knows Candlemass so well from the old times that he doesn’t go in like I’m Mats Leven and this is how I think Candlemass should sound. He’s more like, the good Candlemass is the old Candlemass. The good Candlemass, Mats has respect for it. Therefor he puts his voice down a little bit and tries to figure in how Candlemass’ sound should be in 2015, instead of putting his vocals all over everything.

He fits in very well with the music. I was very happy with how it turned out. And where it comes to Robert, he was more like what you call a doll that you put in your studio. Sing like this, go like this, sing like this, we gave him a shot of vodka, now drink a shot of vodka. It was more like, okay, you do exactly what we tell you. Mats is more professional. He wants it to be his way a little bit, you know? There were no arguments about it, but it was more like can you do it like this? And he was like no, I have to do it like this. But he did it in a Candlemass way. I think that was very cool. Even where Leif is the one who sets all the lyrics and the music harmonies for the vocalists, so they don’t have that much span to do whatever they want to do with the music. They have to do it a little bit how Leif wants the songs to be. And that’s exactly the same with the guitars and the drums. Okay we have this band, we can come up with the ideas, but it’s not like we have this new song, I’m going to sing it like this because I’m the vocalist. No, you sing like this because he is the songwriter. And Mats did it very well. I think it turned out very well as a Candlemass project.

You can hear he understands the music and gets where you guys are coming from.

Exactly. That’s exactly what I mean. You can hear that he understands. Mats could be a singer that didn’t understand and just wanted to be part of a band saying “sing my way because I’ve done it before, this is my vocal”. He didn’t do that, he did it like “I’m Mats but I have to do it how I would like Candlemass to be, how Candlemass sounded in the beginning”, because he knows Candlemass.

And yet he does it without copying exactly what it was. He does bring his own swing to it.

Yeah. He did it very well.

Absolutely. What would you say are the qualities that a Candlemass singer should have at the very minimum?

If you listen to all the Candlemass records, even from Johan and Messiah and everybody, they all are harmonic vocalists and they are all very good vocalists. Many doom bands have vocalists that are not that great, but they fit in that particular band very well, but they’re not a vocalist that could be in another band. We are influenced by the old Rainbow, and Uriah Heep, and Ozzy was not a good singer in that way. But Dio was a very good singer, if you look at Black Sabbath. And Candlemass was heavily influenced by Heaven & Hell. I think that’s the kind of vocalist that Candlemass should have all the time. I love Pentagram, I love Ozzy Osbourne, they are unique vocalists. It’s very hard to put another vocalist in their position and try to make the same thing, so they are unique in another way. But in that way, I think it would be very strange for Candlemass to have a vocalist like that. I think Candlemass needs a more proper metal vocalist, like Dio. That sounds very good. We actually had that, I think, from the beginning.

I agree. Definitely. When you look at Candlemass’ turbulent past where it comes to band members, you and Leif are the two most constant factors in the band. How do you see your role in Candlemass?

My role in Candlemass? I don’t see myself as a guy who is not replaceable, you know?  No way. But where it comes to thirty years with a band, when I meet people, they think I’m the  great father of Doom. I told them, I’m not that, but the thing is, I’m very proud of that and I see myself of course as a big part of Candlemass, even if Leif is my main man who did this all. But when I think back thirty years, in the beginning when we were in the rehearsing phase, when I see all the old pictures and stuff… it was the ground of Candlemass today, even if it was me and Leif starting it, it’s me, Leif, Lars and Jan. Because we and Leif did all these things together. I don’t see myself not replaceable, but I think there is a part of me in Candlemass. Maybe the sound of my guitar playing, the rhythm guitar. And i’ve never tried to do like, guitar solos, or lead guitars in Candlemass. That’s for Lars.

It’s the same in a hockey team. You have a couple of forward players, a couple of guys in the back. If I was in the back position and would be like “I want to go out and make more goals together with you guys” then the other team would go back and do all the goals on our side because we don’t have a back player anymore. I think it’s important when you play in a band that everyone has their own role. I think that’s a very good thing between me and Lars and all the other guys in the band, that we have very important positions, all of us. I’m not trying to take Lars role, he’s not trying to take my role. Together we’re a perfect team, and I’m an important piece of the puzzle as well.

So it’s more about the dynamic. I always like it that the best musicians are the most modest.

Cool, cool. I think that’s one of the things we have in Candlemass. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that people are around for so long with lots of respect, that no one tries to take on another part in Candlemass. We don’t have two lead guitar players. We don’t have two songwriters. We don’t have two or three guys trying to bring their songs out because they think they are the best. We know our roles in Candlemass, and when we’re together, we are very good. It doesn’t matter if you’re the lead guitarist that goes out and does the solo, or you’re the songwriter, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter now that Leif is resting, he’s the songwriter, we play the songs and everybody is satisfied.  And the audience loves it, we get better reviews than ever right now. It’s fantastic.

You’re all connected in the circle of Metal *laughs*

*laughs* yeah, we are!

How important is the band in your life?

I have my dayjob, I have my family, I’m a grandfather to two, I have three children, I have a big family, I have my wife, of course. But Candlemass is very important, because it’s been a part of my life for thirty years. Even if I did other stuff for eight years. I will not die if Candlemass goes in the grave, but it’s very important for me to have respect for Candlemass. If we go out and start playing lousy gigs, if Leif would come up with bad songs or a bad album, then I would tell Leif I wouldn’t want to be a part of it anymore, because I won’t die if Candlemass is no longer there. It’s not like that. As long as people want to hear it we can go out. My wife goes with me now on our first trip to Japan. I take my family with me there. Of course, that’s because of Candlemass that I can do that. And when I see the fans, every time I go out, fans come up to me and I sign records and stuff, it makes me so happy. It gives me energy in my life. It’s a big energy in my life. I’m proud of it, I’m honored. Of course it’s a big part of my life, it’s been there for thirty years. Jan the Drummer is like my brother. The thing is, it’s been my life, and it’s still a big part of my life. But I won’t hang myself if the band is no longer around. It’s more like a big bonus thing in my life.

It’s very cool to have that. Sometimes I can sit down and think about it, like fuck, this is strange. Thirty years we’ve done this, from the first album to where we are today. We don’t see ourselves as big rock stars. We’ve very friendly, and we just have fun. We can laugh about guys that think they are rock stars. We just have fun, you know? I think that’s one of the biggest reasons why Candlemass is still around.

You mentioned your Epicus Doomicus Metallicus album from 1986. You re-released it this year as a picture disc. Thirty years, how do you look back at that record?

Nobody would have believed thirty years at that time. But if you see how we worked at that time and what happened at that time in the music scene, we were very underrated. We were a band, people laughed at us. We didn’t have a record company, were just friends having fun, we were rehearsing without a record deal. Now I can’t believe that was thirty years ago. I have to sit down and think, is this really that long ago? Yeah it is. And I can’t see where all those years went, you know? But I’m so proud, like I told you before. Thirty years ago we did that album, it was out on CD and vinyl, and it’s still there! You can still buy that album. Even if it’s on a different record company, we’re doing this picture disc now, we also had a 25th anniversary cd with a bonus thing, it’s like, I can’t believe that. It’s fantastic. I’ve been on that album, I was a part of that history. I’m so proud of it.

The great thing I think, is that you can still play it live these days in total, and still feel good about it.

Yeah. And actually the songs we played live in South America now, when we do Crystal Ball and Solitude, people go crazy. You can’t imagine that those songs are now still such high quality live songs. They are more high quality songs now than lots of bands are playing live, and we did those songs thirty years ago. That’s unbelievable. I can’t believe it actually. I’m so happy about playing those songs live.

Do you feel the band has changed a lot since those days?

Of course if you listen to doom songs today, of course it’s changed. You mean musically, songwriting? We have. I think we changed in a good way, all the time. Even from Epicus to Nightfall is a big change, if you listen to the songs. Song wise I think the band remains quite similar, but we changed in a good way, we went the right way all the time with Candlemass. It was hard with Chapter VI, but that was an underrated album. Today people like that album. When you see our live set, we play songs from all the albums, and it’s a very good live set. The live set is like one unit, there is not much difference in the sounds of the songs live, but it’s a good combination of songs of the whole Candlemass career. I think we changed musically in the right direction.

I think so too. When you look at your whole catalog over thirty years, what would you say is different now, and what stayed the same from the very beginning?

That’s a hard question. I think we never went back musically, from one record to another. I think we never looked back and said we should do an album like that again. We never talked about that. We haven’t talked about changing either, it’s more like we changed naturally. But if I look at it now, actually the first time we talked in that way, is when we did the EP, to back to doing more guitars than keyboards. That’s actually the first time we talked about changing musically and have a plan for it.

A brave new world!

Yeah it is.

Thirty years, that also means you’ve been on and off the road with Candlemass for over three decades. What are your favorite tour memories so far?

I know we’ve done some good tours, we’ve never done bad tours I think. We of course did some things that all of us regret, that was nothing good for Candlemass in our way of promoting ourselves, but the start of Candlemass, that’s the best memories I have. Of course when we played the Marquee back in ‘87 for Nightfall, the old Marquee, that was the first show we did outside Sweden. That was fantastic for us. It was a good start for Candlemass. One of the most important things that we did with Candlemass was the Dynamo festival in Eindhoven.

Oh, I was there! *laughs*

You were there?

Yes definitely, I loved that festival.

Really. Then you’ve seen the most epic Candlemass gig of all time I think. I see that as the start of the whole Candlemass career, because when we came there, it was our first festival. We didn’t know what to expect. We were like okay, we play with Exodus, and Forbidden, thrash bands and such, and we thought nobody is going to like us, it’s not the same music. Like I said, we’ve always been underrated. Everybody laughed at us, but the thing is, we had the same feeling there. They are going to laugh at us, we are not the band they want to hear, you know? But we go on and play, we’ll have fun. And they were like screaming and singing to Bewitched and lyrics and stuff, I remember it like yesterday. Everybody afterwards was like “that was the best thing we ever heard”. They were writing letters to us and stuff, there was no email at that time. Letters came into our Candlemass office, and we were like fuck, we are a band that people actually like. We are a band. And that was fantastic. That was the most important thing in the Candlemass career I think. That’s why that show is in the Candlemass 30th anniversary box that Peaceville is releasing. It just came out I think, I haven’t seen it yet. Therefor me and Leif were very keen on having it in there, that one has never been released. It’s never been out on YouTube, the whole Dynamo festival gig. It’s in the box.

Then I really need to get it! *laughs*

Yes you, you do! You were there! That’s the first time the whole gig is on DVD. That’s why, when Peaceville said what should we do for the anniversary box, should we do something special? Me and Leif talked about that, and he actually got that tape, and he never released it or put it on YouTube or anything. He has it in his home and helped us out to restore it. The most important thing in the Candlemass career.

I’m really excited about that one. I loved that festival and I really want to see that again.

Yeah, then you must have the box. There’s a really good Candlemass book in that box as well. A hardcover book with tons of pictures and memorials and such.

Very cool. Would you say you still bring the same power to the stage as you used to do in those early days, the Dynamo days?

Yes I think we do. I think we’re a bit older and a bit more lazy, so the knees are not bending so good anymore *laughs*, but the power, I think we almost have a better power now than we used to have. In those days we had power, but we were a more nervous band when we were on stage. We tried our best, but now we go out with a hundred percent power. And where it comes to sound, we sound much better live now. That is more powerful. We have a better sound, a better sound engineer. But where it comes to energy, of course thirty years ago we had more energy on stage maybe, but we are still a powerful band live. On that end we haven’t lost anything. No way!

Power is more important than energy, definitely!

I think so! Even in Doom it’s more important *laughs*

Absolutely. How is Leif’s health doing by the way? I read he took a year off in 2014 for health reasons, we hope he is doing well?

Yeah, he was supposed to  be around in 2015 for some gigs, but he said he wanted to be taking some rest that year and now in 2016 we said to him, whenever you’re ready you can come and play with us. We will hold the flag until then. We do great shows and he follows all the reviews with us and he’s very proud of what we are doing. But his health is like, I met him two days ago, he’s cool when you talk to him, but he gets tired when he does something for an hour. He gets so tired that he has to rest for a week, and he’s still on heavy medicine. He has to rest, so he can’t go play live. It would be chaos for him. But he writes songs to rehabilitate, I like that! Now he gave me some records for his new side project Doomsday kingdom with the singer of Wolf. He is writing songs at home and records them, that’s the best rehab for him. He was actually rehabilitating writing Candlemass songs and various songs for that project, but he just can’t go and play live, and he doesn’t have to do that right now. If Candlemass wasn’t playing live right now I would be very frustrated waiting for him and we would be like “come on, we have to be live!” but now we don’t have to think that way. Leif is not feeling any stress about it, he is very happy that we are playing and doing the shows, as long as we do good shows. If we did bad shows I don’t think he would be very proud of it, but he reads the reviews and he’s like “I saw an interview from South America, it was fucking brilliant! It was 10 out of 10”, stuff like that. And I’d say yeah we were good! It’s like that.

His work is still out there and it’s being appreciated, he doesn’t need to be on the road to enjoy that.

No. And I think if the people don’t want to see Candlemass without Leif, they don’t have to buy tickets. I don’t force anyone to buy tickets, but we have great audiences. Big audiences on all the festivals and gigs we’re doing, and they love it. They know the situation but they want to hear good music. And they can hear good Candlemass music live if they want. It’s up to them, you know?

Absolutely. Where will we be able to see you live this year, on tour?

Not on tour, but we’re still doing festivals. We go to Poland now in June, and then we do this Swedish 30th anniversary gig in Gefle, we have a festival with lots of bands. Then we go to Barcelona, and do Bang Your Head festival in Germany, shows in America, our first show in Japan with Candlemass ever, the Loudpark festival in October. We’re very happy to be on that one. That’s actually proof that we are a good live band now. They look at those things, what we did, what we’ve done before, and they want us there now. And we do Montreal in Canada, so we have like 12 festivals this summer, and then maybe, we start talking about 2017. We will start booking those festivals now actually. And it’s going to be the 30th anniversary gigs for Nightfall.

I was hoping for a 30th anniversary gig at Graspop, but you are not there this year.

No. We were supposed to do that, I don’t know what happened there, but I think they maybe wanted us to do the Nightfall thing next year in 2017, and you don’t do a festival two years in a row. And they decide when they want to book, you know? And a lot of festivals now want us to do Nightfall in 2017. But we have really good festivals as well this summer I think.

Festivals are fun to play I think.

Festivals have always been really good for Candlemass, ever since Dynamo in ‘88 actually. And it’s like that, I think we are a good festival band. Even if you’re on a festival with thrash bands or black metal bands or whatever, with Candlemass in the middle of those kind of bands you can breath and get air. It’s very slow but more metal, it has a good sound, and for us it’s very comfortable to be on those festivals. We always do good gigs there.

I understand that! Wow, a Dynamo band. *laughs*

Dynamo, yeah. I haven’t seen that yet, I don’t have the box yet. Nobody of us has it yet, but it’s around. A friend of mine ordered it and got it two days ago. We just didn’t get it yet. That’s very stupid *laughs* It’s always like that with records. Bands get the products last. But I know what’s in it, and I know the Dynamo is in there and it’s going to be very fun to see that again.

I know what I’m going to do first thing I hang up the phone *laughs*

Did you see the box set yet?

I’ve seen it, I haven’t had it in my hands yet though, I only saw it online. Will you be playing the new EP live on the festival gigs?

No. We’ve been talking about doing like one song off it or something, because we have to do something off the new EP, but the thing is, we have a luxury problem. We have to do a 30th anniversary gig over the whole Candlemass career with a lot of the old stuff. We have to put in stuff from Epicus, there are so many songs we have to put in the setlist. But we are talking about doing one song from the EP. We don’t know what song yet but we will be promoting the EP, it’s our new product that’s out. We just don’t have a decision on a song yet.

Alright! So, where do you go from here? What are the future plans for Candlemass, when can we expect more music from you?

We have no plans doing new music, we haven’t talked about it. We never plan that. It wasn’t planned doing the EP, It wasn’t planned doing the Songs for the Dead album, it comes up how anything around goes. The only plan we have now is to play live as much as possible to promote the 30th anniversary and the EP, because we are so happy about how 2013 to 2015 turned out with Mats and the way Candlemass is live now, with all the reviews and such. The reviews are getting better and better. I think we keep improving as a live act, so now we’re talking about doing those festivals really good, there are the plans for the 2017 Nightfall shows and we will put lots of focus and effort on doing good live shows, because we see that that’s the thing that puts Candlemass further on, you know? And that puts Candlemass further on to do new music. If we hadn’t done the live thing the last few years we wouldn’t have done the EP. Because now we get new fans. I see people in the audience that are like 25 years old, they weren’t even born when we did Epicus. And they can sing all the lyrics on that album, and Nightfall! And they weren’t even born! That’s all new audience for us.

That’s one of the great things about the metal scene, at this point in time it just keeps getting bigger.

Yes. That is fantastic. As a band, when you see that, that’s the best proof of the good quality songs you play live. That you have people that weren’t even born when the songs were written enjoying it, that’s fantastic, you know?

Definitely. I’m through my questions! That means I have one last one to ask you and that is, do you have any last words for our readers?

Of course I have. The only thing I want to say is that I’m so happy about people that actually read about Candlemass in this article, and are still interested in this band that’s been around for thirty years. I’m so proud and honored to have you all around us. Without you guys we wouldn’t be anything. Like I said, there will be people reading the magazine that are 25 years old that weren’t even born when the music was written but they’re interested in reading about Candlemass and what’s going on with us. So, thank you very much for that.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, I really enjoyed our talk.

Thank you very much for taking your time for the band Candlemass and for me and I hope to see the magazine, it’s going to be great! Take care now my friend!

Metal on Loud!

Randy Gerritse