Deathstars: How to Make Dark Aspects Glammy

Dissection and Swordmaster were well known Deathmetal bands from Sweden. What is not that well known is that after they were buried, some members resurrected out of their graves and worshipping Gene Simmons & co, they founded The Deathstars. Although it contains the word Death, there is nothing of the Deathmetal roots touchable here.

This new Swedish Glam Industrial Gothic Metal band looks like a sort of Manson and sound like the grandsons of Rob Zombie. After their Debut in 2000, there was no life sign of them till now. With a new album and a lot of encouragement they are back. Reason enough for us to talk to one of the bandleaders, singer Whiplasher. Perfect circumstances, a journalist with a cold and a singer with fever and a bad cough. But other than expected this interview turned out to be lots of fun for both sides.

First of all, how do you want me to call you? Whiplasher or by your real name, Andreas Bergh?
Ah, it doesn´t matter; you can call me your boyfriend, if you like to.

I guess my boyfriend wouldn´t be amused.
Well, you can call me your girlfriend then.

Could you tell me something about the personalities of the band members? Starting with Nightmare Industries maybe.
Nightmare is a depressed guy.

Why is that?
Hmm…he is my best friend. We complete each other very well. The last few years he had a really hard depression, its better now, but that´s why it took us so long to write this album.

Then we have Bone, our drummer. He is a real misanthrope. He hates people and he never goes out, just if he really has to. It´s really hard for him even then. He really tries to avoid meeting people. He doesn´t respect anyone and it´s hard for people to get to know him really. But if they eventually get to know him, they find out that he is a guy with a big heart.

Skinny is the party man. He is a really social guy and the nicest of us.

About me… do three dots after my name, okay?

Hmm… you said you are completing Nightmare, so you are an enthusiastic, happy sunshine?
I think I can be, but this of course depends of … well a lot. Let´s say I´m a pretty social guy and quite okay. Right now I´m ill. I was supposed to be in the Nuclear Blast office today to do the interviews, but I just came back from the doctor and I have fever and hope you excuse me; I´m not very bright right now.

If you fell too crappy, we can do the interview someday later. I´m not really healthy neither.
No, if you don´t mind, we can try and see what we get together

The first album was a pretty heavy jump from your former Death Metal bands Dissection and Swordmaster to this kind of Industrial-Glam-Gothic-Metal. Why were you guys doing this change and not continuing with the old bands and starting Deathstars as side project?
We had done all stuff we wanted to do with Swordmaster and it was time to start something completely new for us. Dissection ended when Jon had to go to jail. The audience is completely different now. Much more girls

Okay, let us talk about the new album. Your music has pretty much matured since your debut. You´re still having a lot of Rob Zombie, but more personality in it. Could you tell us something about it?
This album is more serious, more personal, but it´s also more cynical than the last one. It contains a cold humour. Also the sound picture changed; we got deeper into that kind of expression that we created on “Synthetic Generation”. We were feeling more comfortable in writing the music and everything. It was no problem and went very smooth. To describe us and our sound really, I have to ask you a question first.

Do you know Angelina Jolie?

Not in person, but yes.
Do you think she looks good?

She is one of the sexiest actresses I know.
Do you think that she would look good in the dark?

Everyone looks good in the dark.
Well, okay. Deathstars is the Angelina Jolie of music.

Big words. You obviously don´t have a problem with a small ego.
Well, Deathstars is more Death Glam. This is the Angelina Jolie of music. So, if you like to kiss her, just put our music on and kiss the speakers.

I saw you last year on the Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig. You were wearing a white feather stola. That was pretty gay glam… but your voice and the music isn´t fitting to it.
That´s it! We´re darkness in Gucci. We celebrate… no… let me start the other way around. If you see life as a sexual disease with a deadliness of 100 % and we will surely die from this then life is just a slower version of AIDS in that aspect, so life is pretty much based on death. Why not celebrating it? Why not celebrating the mother of all, which is Death? We do this with champagne, good looking clothes and 24 carat gold.

What is your opinion about Glamrock bands without Gothic touch, like for example The Darkness?
They do music for the circus! That´s the worst I ever heard. If I listen to it, I can see the elephants and the four clowns on stage.

Aren´t you afraid, when you go with feather stolas on stage and play with that glam attitude, that you get compared to bands like Hanoi Rocks, The Darkness, Bai Bang and others, as a kind of Marilyn Manson style evil Glammy?
No, I never thought about that. I´m not really up to date and don´t listen too much to what is up today. I don´t really know how people got their references because of our attitude. We are not a band who thinks strategically about an image so that we get a profile or something. The Darkness… we are the ultimate darkness. We have darkness in our blood, spine and heart. We are the 24 carat darkness .

You changed with your new album the label from Universal Sweden to Nuclear Blast. What was your reason for it?
Yeah, but we were on a sub label called Lab recordings together with Hellacopters and Death Metal bands. They got in a conflict with Universal and confined with Warner. Our album was stocked between the labels. It was supposed to be released by Universal world wide, but it was fucked up then. So we released the album then under Warner in Sweden. We had to talk to our record label and decided that we go separate ways, because they couldn´t make the best for the band and we knew that Nuclear Blast really wanted us. We´re quite happy with the new label; just they could have some more cats at Nuclear Blast office.

Your new album is going to be released in the end of January 2006. Is the release-date the same outside of Sweden?
Yes, it´s the same.

The title track “Termination Bliss” is pretty rough. Was there a blissful time before which ended, or is this name just fiction?
Yes, it was the end of an era in my life. The song is about a murder of illusion. The end of a relationship was my trigger. Emil (Nightmare´s real name is Emil Nödtveidt – The editors) wrote this song when one of his family members committed suicide at the same time. This song is very much about the murder of hopes. It´s very important for us to write songs about ourselves. We don´t write music about fiction like demons. It´s about dark aspects of every day situations. The people in the band are pretty much self destructive. Everyone is so much looking for kicks all the time. The music is a lot about that, but also about seeing the quality in the darkness and taking the down sides to grow as a person. That is the reason why we glorify the dark parts and celebrate them.

Do you think you and your band mates could deal with a real big breakthrough, success and its side effects like parentally huge attention and no privacy as well as the holes between?
Whatever we do, it becomes a problem. So, I guess it will be more problematic, because of the strong individual characters inside the band. Except Skinny we´re best friends since our childhood and we´re playing together since we were 14 or 15 years old. So I guess there is no problem we can´t handle together. Otherwise you could become our therapist.

I guess I need one by my own, doing this job.

I guess most people would think that you got your inspiration from Manson, because of looking like that, but I read that Kiss was your and Nightmares trigger to do it…
Manson has nothing to do with us! I had all Kiss albums when I was something like 8 years old. I worked extra to buy them. For me and Nightmare they were the coolest and best band in the world and they still are, because what they did. No-one else has achieved that. I mean they created a world! It was not just a band. This is the reason why we tried to do Deathstars with that image of make up.

Arrgh that sucks.

You should do yourself some tea.
Well, there is no tea maker in this crappy hotel room. This is really the most boring hotel room I´ve been in so far. It´s like a mental institute room for handicapped persons. Can you bring some tea?

You are in the middle of nowhere
Yeah, I got my self some DVDs here so I take some antibiotics, continue coughing and watch movies. What is really crappy, is that I´m invited to a party in Austria on Saturday, but now with the medicine… no drinks for me… but hopefully it´s okay with women. Well, and if it´s not okay with women maybe some hermaphrodite would do just fine.

Oh yay… you sound like a really old guy.
Yeah, I feel like I´m almost 30.

Upps… (guess how old this journalist is going to be soon…? – the editors)

Do you have any news regarding a tour in the next future?
Yes, we will headline the Prater Festival in Vienna. There is a lot of things going on right now, we got very good response regarding “Termination Bliss”. Our booking agency is planning some tours and we are discussing it right now. It´s about gigs all over from South Africa, to America, to Russia and Europe.

South Africa?
Yeah, wired isn´t it? We got some offers from there. They have white sharks over there I guess. A friend of mine, the drummer of Entombed, he played in South Africa and they went to that shark safari and he was so hangover that when he got in the water in that cage and the white shark came… he is like the biggest Hard Rock Metal guy there is… well, when the shark was close, he puked all over the white shark. Well, but back to the touring topic… we will tour a lot in Germany and also many festivals for sure.

I guess I need a shower now, you and your questions made me really feverish again.

Oh, well I wasn´t asking you about groupies, because you might get another fever attack.
Oh… yeah… Groupies Was that all questions you have had?

Yes, except you like to add something…
Well, yes there is some… I… ah… nothing…

Oh come on… that´s unfair starting with something and then don´t telling it!
Well… ähm… but ah… no


I guess we won´t find out what wisdom he wanted to add here and so all that is left is waiting for the next tour to see if they are able to keep what they promise with their new album… We are curious.

Author: Saskia Meerbaum, Photos: hfr.

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski