I am a bit nervous before meeting Johan Edlund and Anders Iwers for a short conversation as I have no idea what to expect. All in all, my concerns are in vain and everything goes well, as the two of them are in a quite good mood – I presume the bottles of beer around have something to do with that.
MAD: On your first time to Romania, you said “somebody bring some garlic to the concert”, if you remember, and somebody did. How do you feel now about being exactly in the vampire land?
Iwers: Bring even more garlic!
Edlund: I ate a lot of tzatziki when I left Greece so I’m fine.
Iwers: I ate a mean spaghetti con aglio and peperoncino, so I got a lot of garlic.
Edlund: For sure you don’t want to kiss any guy in the band, but we’ll be safe, we’ll sleep safe tonight.
MAD: What does a good concert mean to you?
Iwers: Interaction. We give a lot to the audience, and when they give a lot back we give a lot more and they give a lot more. It’s all about that.
Edlund: Exactly. They are half of the show. We are doing our job as good as we can, but when they help us it gets a lot easier.
MAD: How do you prepare a concert and, more precisely, how did you prepare this one?
Edlund: Aaa, we skipped until here (shows me the almost empty whiskey glass and the bottles of beer) – hey, I was honest now. Maybe it sounds bullshit, but…
Iwers: No, it’s alright. What happened before the whiskey was a lot of mailing for the set-lists, trying: how about this song, and we have a long set, should we be playing this, and we haven’t played this one in a while, let’s try it; stuff like that. And then we traveled for 24 hours and we’re here and that’s when the main preparations start.
Edlund: The good thing is that we arrived yesterday, although we had a long drive, especially these guys that came from Sweden. A very long day – yesterday; but still we could sleep in a nice hotel and the scene is across the street so we’ll be having enough energy.
Iwers: We’re ready, yes.
MAD: What do you expect from the audience tonight?
Edlund: Because of the last show we played, we have high expectations.
Iwers: We expect a lot.
Edlund: And we’ll get disappointed if it’s not up to that standard.
Iwers: The audience the last time was… great doesn’t even start to cover it. It was amazing; I’m not saying this just because we’re in Romania, but that last show two years ago was one of our five best shows ever.
Edlund: It is great to come and play to places where people don’t see you very often, where they really appreciate that this band is playing here. There are some places in the world, especially Central Europe, where we play quite often, where people maybe like us, they are still a good audience, but they have seen us before and they take us for granted: sooner or later Tiamat will play in our town. First time we played in Bucharest was like they had waited for it for a long time. And it felt really cool to be finally there.
Iwers: About that show: usually, the things we complain about – technical stuff, you can’t hear yourself on stage, whatever – I don’t really remember how the sound was on stage; the show was… I mean I could have left my bass there and it would’ve played itself. That was such a great show. So to answer your question shortly we have quite high expectations for tonight.
MAD: Hopefully we’ll meet them. This year you released Amanethes; can you tell me a bit about the concept, the atmosphere?
Edlund: The concept is very difficult to talk about, because we just write songs and we somehow worked our way to complete the record.
Iwers: The one thing I think we talked about when starting rehearsal was to let each song take its way to where it needed to be. However it needed to be. To take everything to the extreme, be it softer or harder – it didn’t really mater, but let every song dictate the way it should be and let’s just work that song after we’re done. Then move on to the next song and start over. So the songs are really worked through in many ways.
MAD: And what about the feedback that you got?
Edlund: It’s been pretty good.
Iwers: At least in Sweden, that’s the critics I mostly read or hear about, it’s been amazing. We got grades from which we were closer in school (laughs). It was the first 5 I’ve ever got.
Edlund: Yeah, that’s very true.
MAD: Edlund, you are Swedish, you lived in Germany, now you live in Greece.
Edlund: Next time I’ll move to Romania. Beware…
MAD: Did being in these places influence you in your writing and in what measure?
Edlund: I don’t know, of course, but I don’t think it has really. I mean you live somewhere, you write your songs; it’s very hard to know why you write certain songs and lyrics, but I don’t think I would be a different person if I still lived in Sweden. I wasn’t so much of a different person when I lived in Sweden. There are other things that may fuck you up sometimes.
Iwers: I think Greece has given us some cooler song titles, but apart from that I don’t think… We recorded everything but the drums in Greece and I think it still sounds very much like Tiamat. And we’ve recorded in Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Greece and the sound is pretty much the same I would say. You can hear that it’s us.
MAD: Is there anything else in your lives besides music, professionally speaking?
Iwers: I had to cancel it and take upon any free time I have. I mean I have a lot of free time, but with two small kids you don’t really do anything else.
Edlund: I have a lot of free time, really. And I don’t like to fill it with anything. I like free time, that’s good.
Iwers: If I would be given more free time I would enjoy fishing, cooking, running.
MAD: Do you have any special message for your fans in Romania?
Iwers: I guess a big one is thanks for having us the second time.
Edlund: And hopefully a third.
Iwers: Let’s see if we can make tonight good enough to be invited back.
MAD: We hope the same way.
Edlund: We will do our very best and we really appreciate everything we have gotten from this country – the hospitality, the reaction from the fans last time. We really hope that we won’t fuck up tonight, but I’m sure we won’t.
Iwers: If we do, it won’t be our fault, not for lack of trying.
Edlund: We will blame somebody else.
Iwers: Even if the guitar is breaking down and we’ll have to borrow from other bands, we will still play.
MAD: Then I just have to hope that we’ll give back the same.
Iwers: So do we.
MAD: Thank you very much and have a nice show.
Iwers: Thank you.