(It seems that Swedish songwriter, musician, and vocalist Jonny Pettersson is always extremely busy. This year he participated in a new album by Massacre recently released by Nuclear Blast, a new album by Wombbath that’s coming out in late December via Transcending Obscurity, and a lot more. In this new interview NCS contributor Karina Noctum caught up with him to discuss these events.)
Massacre has always been one of my preferred bands when it comes to American DM, so when I heard that a new album was finally in the making, it was pretty awesome news. It became even more interesting upon learning that there were talented and experienced Swedish and Norwegian musicians participating in on the album. So I took the opportunity to talk with Jonny Pettersson, not only about Massacre’s Resurgence, but also about Wombbath’s upcoming release, Agma, which is definitely a must for fans of Swedish DM.
Tell us about how you and Rogga Johansson got involved in the making of Massacre’s new album?
Kam and Mike were looking for guitarists to join to work on a new album, and since Kam has been working with us both in other bands/projects, they knew that we already work well together, so it came about pretty naturally.
When did you start working on Resurgence?
We started working on the album at the end of 2020, around October if I remember correctly.
How long did it take for Resurgence to be written and recorded?
I think it took us just over a month from the first riff being written to the whole album recorded. We had loads of fun on the way so the flow of writing went super smooth.
Which songs or parts did you write?
I wrote songs 2, 3, 5, 9 and 10 as well as a few melodies on Rogga’s riffs. I did the arrangements on both mine and Rogga’s songs with some input from Kam and a pre-production of the album. All in all, I wanted to give us a clear picture of what the album would sound like before it was sent off to be mixed, so we could do any changes beforehand and make sure the album was as good as we wanted it to be.
What was the vision you guys had when it comes to bringing Swedish DM sound into Massacre?
Me and Rogga talked about this a while back and we both consciously avoided writing riffs that would sound Swedish, we wanted the essence of the songs to be Massacre, not Jonny or Rogga. The Swedish DM sound has always been inspired by those early US bands like Massacre, so I can see how someone would think that it is that sound when it’s two Swedish guys writing the songs.
Were there any challenges while making a new album without being able to travel much due to restrictions?
There wasn’t much of a challenge to be honest. We had really good communication through the whole process, and it all went super smooth. Our main goal was to have fun while writing the best possible death metal album we could. And I think we achieved that on all points.
You are going to release a new album with Wombbath as well called Agma. When is it going to be released?
It is going to be released 31st of December, along with a few singles leading up the release.
How would you describe Agma soundwise?
Agma is everything that makes Wombbath good. It goes away from the typical Swedish DM sound, which never was typical for Wombbath anyway. On Internal Caustic Torments, the sound is way more of a mix between the UK scene with bands like Napalm Death’s Harmony Corruption era and Benediction, and US bands like Malevolent Creation and Monstrosity. So I’d say, this is the most Wombbath sounding album of all the ones we have made since the return in 2014, even with the extra elements that we have brought into the sound.
What do think Wombbath have accomplished with this new release?
This is our most ambitious release to date, blending the old Wombbath sound with a bigger sound, taking our brand of death metal to the next level.
How long did it take for you guys to write Agma?
It’s hard to say in a sense of writing the album, as some of the riffs, ideas and all that is stuff that we have been sitting on since before we did Tales of Madness. But from the time we sat down in the studio and started recording the album, to the finished mix/master, it took us about 2 months.
How does Agma show the band’s sound development from previous efforts?
I think the first thing the listener will notice is a step up when it comes to the production and sound, the next thing is the expansion of songs and elements within the music. We have never been a band that’s been held back by the genre we are in, there’s always been small elements that don’t fit the mould, and with Agma that has been pushed even further.
How many bands are you currently active with? How do you find the time for all of them?
I’m active with 11 bands. Some bands are just pure studio projects, some are more than that, and some are also live bands. So each band takes up a different amount of time and energy, though all are given the same amount of passion. I make time for music. I focus on the things in life that are important to me and cut away the rest.
Which other releases from your other musical projects are coming out in the near future?
We have just released an EP with Heads for the Dead, and we are working on the next full-length as well. We have a new album with Wormveil coming out early next year, and I’ve re-awakened an old band called Human Harvest which will have an album out later this year as well. We are just finishing up an album with Kargh (former Vholdghast) and I have recorded a melodic heavy metal album under the name of The Hangman’s Sorrow which we are hunting for a label for. There might be a new Ursinne album in the making, but it’s unsure when that will be released. And I am making one final album with Henry Kane that will hopefully be out early next year as well.
Did you write and record lots of material for the new Massacre album? Or did you have a clear idea on what to do since the beginning?
When writing the album, we wanted to make a natural follow up to From Beyond as we felt that anything released after that could be disregarded. We ended up writing more songs than would fit on the album, so there will be an EP released next year with the songs that didn’t make the album.
A single called “Halloween” was released… Was it a seasonal thing or are you guys planning to release an EP later?
That was a seasonal thing. We are all horror junkies in the band, so it felt natural for us to release something for Halloween.
What are the touring plans you have with the bands you play with?
It’s so hard to say still. We have a few shows booked with Wombbath that will hopefully happen. I will be joining Massacre live on the European shows as well, whereas the US ones will be a bit harder due to travel restrictions and all that. But then again, the world is on a constant stand-by, so things can change from month to month.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for a good interview, and thanks to everyone supporting the underground death metal scene and extreme metal in general!