Interview with Lord K. Philipson
(Domedagen, The Project Hate MCMXCIX,
ex-Leukemia, ex-Torture Division)
Questions compiled by Andrey Tolkowiec and Georgius
Andrey: Hail Lord K. Philipson, for me and my closest friend is a big honor to make an interview with you for our weblog Archangel’s Lantern. (I had fortune to see an excellent Torture Division live show in Close-Up Båten Cruise and meet you at two festivals in Sweden).
- Hey, buddy! Thanx for the kind words on everything, it’s always nice to meet cool people like you, so... cheers to that! Also, awesome you got to witness the Torture Division massacre at the CU-boat. We played that thing a few times and always had a fucken blast, to put it mildly.
Andrey: How and when did you join extreme metal music and decide to play the guitar? Which bands inspired you to be a musician?
- When it comes to me being involved with the more "extreme” side of metal, well... I think I have to blame Slayer for that first and foremost. They changed everything for me when I heard ”Hell Awaits” the first time many, many moons ago.
Before that I, as most of my generation of metal people, held Iron Maiden, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Wasp etc, etc as flag bearers of hard rock. Slayer pretty much introduced me to something way darker though... Venom and Mercyful Fate, to name but two bands, helped as well. I eventually got hooked as a muthafucker on the Bay Area thrash scene, not to forget, before what we know as death metal hit me with all its force when bands like Morbid Angel entered my world.
As far as picking up the guitar goes, I originally started out as a drummer actually. I fucked about with them drums for some 13 years but I played guitar on the side as I, from the get-go, tried to write some kind of songs. I didn’t identify myself as a guitarist though, not at all, that came much later as I grew bored with drumming and found out that playing guitar was really my thing. I never looked back. Eventually I picked up the bass as well and found an interest in drum machines and keyboards, so I guess I get it when people label me as a multi instrumentalist, even though the guitar is, without a doubt, my main instrument.
When it comes to bands inspiring me to do my own shit, well... Along with the ones I mentioned earlier you could also throw in shit like Europe, Helloween, Dio, Accept, Metallica and so on and so forth.
Andrey: Where did you buy metal albums from?
- I ordered my LP’s from Svenska Skivklubben, I think that was the name anyways, who always had an ad in the Swedish music magazine OKEJ. And I also took a walk to the local record stores and picked up some stuff. I clearly remember finding a 100 SEK bill in the street where I lived at the time, money that I spent on buying ”Among The Living” with Anthrax 10 minutes after finding the cash. But usually I mail ordered my music, or my mom bought some good shit for me for Christmas and birthdays.
Andrey: What was your very first metal show you saw back in the day?
- I saw both Slayer and Candlemass for the first time back in 1988. Those 2 are the first ”big” concerts, but I did see a few local hard rock shows at youth centers prior to that. All this definitely played a part in making me want to become a musician when I think about it. But Slayer and Candlemass... that was insane. Next level for a 15 year old kid. And to think that some 30 years later I have had the honor of helping Candlemass out on both bass and guitar for a bunch of shows, as well as considering them actual friends, is just mind blowing.
Lord K.Philipson with Candlemass, 2016
photo credit © Sebastián Domínguez Photography
Georgius: You had a fanzine called Hypnosia. Would you be so kind to tell the readers about that fanzine? When did you started with it and how many issues you published?
- Damn, now we go way back, huh? This was definitely a very special time, the very early 90’s that is, and the camaraderie in the scene was absolutely stellar. Everyone helped everyone out and fanzines were fucken everywhere. Absolutely beautiful. I did 3 issues of this fanzine, but the first one went pretty much under the radar whereas issue 2 and 3 really got things going. I printed 500 copies of those 2 issues (I think the debut issue was made in a 100 copies, can’t really remember) and they all sold out pretty fast.
This fanzine opened a lot of doors for me and I got to interview some of my fave bands at the time; Deicide, Morbid Angel, Sepultura, D.R.I., Atheist, Morgoth, Pestilence and a fuuuuuckload of others. Truly special times, as mentioned. Most fanzines from Sweden were written in Swedish but I aimed globally and thus wrote it in (decent, at least) English. This publication really got me friends from all over the world and it seems like it was a respected piece of work at some level.
I stopped doing Hypnosia as I was working on the 4th issue and found out that the printing company I used only printed in A5 and I had done everything up to that point for issue 4 in the A4 format. I still have that work in progress lying somewhere in a box. It would have been a killer issue but it was not to be.
Eventually I started the Global Domination website tons of years later; that were a lot of fun and it was a widely recognized webzine for all the years it existed before I terminated it so I could spend all my time on more important things. I always loved writing, and who knows... maybe I’ll do something in the future but it’s nothing I really think of. Creating music is way more important to me than writing about it. Hypnosia ruled though, just so you know. And I have the Kerry King picture with him holding the magazine to prove it (unfortunately I can’t find the goddamn thing!).
Georgius: I like a lot your amazing Death/Doom horde, Domedagen. Jörgen almost told me all the important details about your band. I would like to ask: where do you get inspirations to write lyrics for Domedagen from? What is the latest news around you?
- Ah... Domedagen. I love this shit. I know J already covered this in the interview you did with him so I won’t go into detail with it. Writing lyrics isn’t very hard. Just as with the music itself, inspiration comes from bands such as Bolt Thrower and Candlemass. Simple as that. The latest about us is that our 7 songs that we released so far will be available on Spotify and whatnot shortly. Until then you can listen to us over at... some other sites. Bandcamp for example. Google it and take a listen. It’s a fucken fantastic ”band”, if I may say so. Hopefully we can bring it to a live setting some day. Or not. Fuck it. It’s yet another collaboration between me and Jörgen. That’s what counts.
Andrey: Your first band was Misery (if I’m not mistaken) what after the recording a demo changed name to Leukemia. Let’s talk about your first releases and changing the name.
- Goddamnit, we’re going old school here for real, haha... The first band, back in 1987/1988 or so I believe, was actually called Legacy (and for a brief second before deciding on that moniker, without knowing Testament used to be called just that, we were calling ourselves Hiroshima. We sure knew how to pick names. Huh?). Legacy actually did one demo. And it’s horrible from A-B, but you have to start somewhere, you know.
Misery that you’re talking about though, that band was initially called Braincancer (there we go again with the fantastic names!), and as Braincancer we recorded one demo and in the middle of that recording we changed name to Misery.
Misery then shut down its business and me and Misery vocalist Jocke started up Leukemia, who actually managed to make some kind of name in the world of the early 90’s with our one demo (recorded in late 1991) and 3 full-length albums (debut album recorded in 1992, second and third albums both recorded in 1994).
Andrey: Leukemia recorded a demo “Innocence Is Bliss” in 1992 and you released debut album "Suck My Heaven" a year later. The full-length was recorded as a duo: Jocke - vocals, you - drums, the fewer instruments were played and recorded by the session musicians. Among them were such cultic personalities Lars-Göran Petrov and Jörgen Sandström, who put their growls to a few tracks. How did you meet them first time? How went the recording process of “Suck my Heaven”?
- Almost correct on the years there, haha... ”Suck my heaven” wasn’t actually recorded as a duo, (but Leukemia as a band were a duo to begin with) as guitars and bass were recorded by the brilliant Mattias Kennhed from House Of Usher (a band I drummed for during a few years, so it was easy to ask him coz I hadn’t switched to play guitar and bass just yet back then). He did such a phenomenal job on that recording. The poor bastard had to sit in the studio and record everything after I was done with the drums while I and Jocke went out on town to get drunk. Real nice work on our part, I guess, haha... I believe Mattias did his work over a couple of days and I can’t for my life of it recall when I actually taught him all the songs on guitar. He did a fantastic job, to put it mildly, as said. I don’t think there would have been an album hadn’t he been gracious enough to help us out once again after doing the demo with us a year earlier. Huge thanks to Mattias!
And yeah, on ”Suck my heaven” we really managed to get the cream of the crop death metal vocals wise included. I have no fucken idea how that came about or how I actually managed to get in touch with all these fantastic people, but I suspect Hypnosia Magazine is involved somehow with it. I might have interviewed them at some point, reviewed their demos or albums... Something like that. To see L.G., Jörgen (in Grave at the time) and Lalle (Mastication, Excruciate) sing some ridiculous lyric lines in the studio is a great fucken memory. Leukemia were way ahead of its time, haha... And we sure did some amazing music for what it’s worth.
Andrey: You played the drums in two demos of House Of Usher. Tell us more about that band and the main reason of their split-up after the third demo please.
- Yeah, I had the honor of playing with those guys for a while and they really made me step up my game as a musician, for which I am eternally grateful. I have absolutely no idea why we split up, to be honest. I don’t even think we said it out loud that we’re splitting up, it just seemed like it faded away for some reason. I’m not sure if Martin (guitar) joining At The Gates had anything to do with it or if it was some other reason. It was a great fucken band to be a part of and I love all of the material even to this day, even the stuff I’m not on myself. I was never in the same league drumming wise as the guy before me; coz that dude was a fucken beast. Still, I’m proud of the recordings we did together, especially the second demo which was recorded live in a room, except for some solos and the vocals if I remember shit correctly.
Andrey/Georgius: After the releasing "Grey-Flannel Souled" Leukemia changed its name to Lame. Under the new band name you recorded "Love" album (which one has been released only in 2012 through Cyanide Syndicate Records co-released with Vic Records) and then Lame disbanded. Why did you stopped activity and what did you deal more than 4 years without music?
- Hmm... I need to think about this one for a bit... Yeah, after ”Grey” we decided to call ourselves Lame, and as Lame we recorded the amazing ”Love” album with Dan Swanö in 1994. That goddamn album is, despite its terrible drum machine sound, so special to me for a lot of reasons and I still... ehum... love that fucken thing. After Lame disbanded, or wait... I don’t think we even disbanded... we just changed moniker to Toolshed and recorded a couple of demos with a slightly different sound so the Leukemia/Lame moniker wasn’t really fitting us anymore.
Either way, one of those demos was stolen when Jocke’s car was broken into and that was the only copy we had of it. I’d love to hear that fucken demo today coz it was killer! Or, I would like to remember it as just that… But it probably was. The second demo is still in my collection though and it has some glorious moments on it. I’m not sure when the second one was recorded but I believe it could be 1996/1997. So there’s never been a ”break” from music since I started, it’s more like I did music that for some reason or another never was distributed to the public, more or less. And a year or 2 later I found my musical calling and fired up Deadmarch, the band that made me go full in with The Project Hate MCMXCIX in 1999.
Andrey/Georgius: You returned to the scene with a super project namely The Project Hate MCMXCIX 20 years ago (our congratulations!) in 1999. The project has been original experiment for those days: you united Death metal with electro-music, female vocals and antichristian lyrics. Where did you get inspiration to create that fruitful project band? Why did you choose namely Jörgen Sandström for other vocalist?
- Jörgen was actually involved with Leukemia/Lame/Toolshed, so as you can see I have played with/known him for a while now. He’s the one guy I have done music with the longest in my life, and he’s my best friend on top of that. When I knew I had to do TPH (after putting Deadmarch to rest) I decided I wanted the best goddamn death metal vocalist around to be a part of it. Welcome Jörgen Sandström.
And it’s at this very point, after getting this demo done, that the whole TPH concept came to me big time. I just knew I had to create something that incorporated absolutely everything I love about music; be it metal, techno, female vocals, what the fuck ever... Since I had worked a little with keyboards and drum machines over the years I just came to the conclusion that there’s so much I can do if I don’t limit myself to just guitars, bass, vocals and drums. I guess it’s safe to say that over the years TPH really has grown into something out of the ordinary. And that was exactly what I wanted to make of it. It is my perfected vision of music and it’s what I am here to do. I need this. And yeah, it’s mind blowing that I have done TPH for 20 years now in 2019. And Jörgen has been with me all the fucken way, with every step I’ve taken. I raise my glass in his honor.
Andrey/Georgius: How was the recording process of the first The Project Hate MCMXCIX demo? You invited to put some growls Lars-Göran Petrov and Dan Swanö beside Jörgen Sandström. What should we know about that Svensk old school alliance?
- I just asked him (he was in Entombed at the time and they had played a gig in my hometown the night before if I’m not mistaken) and LG to come down to Swanö’s studio and put down vocals for this demo I had recorded. And so they did over a few hours, hangovers intact and everything. It turned out spectacular. It was a great fucken day.
Andrey: Enlighten us about Deadmarch: Initiation Of Blasphemy LP in details.
- I’ll make it real easy and get you the info off our official site, coz it covers everything you need to know.
”Deadmarch" was the seed to what eventually became TPH, and this album was never meant to be released until Holland‘s Vic Records thought it would be a shame not to get it out to the masses some 10 years after it was recorded. The memories from this recording are many, and they are of mixed emotions. The first thing that comes to mind is the hell we went thru while recording it. After putting down all the guitars we were about to start fixing some minor playing mistakes, just to notice that Tomas Skogsberg‘s new equipment in Sunlight Studios couldn’t punch in and out on the tracks without leaving a small silent space just before and after the actual punch in. 2 days of recording guitars, all in vain. We got a new tape recorder and re-did all the guitars, but this time we only put down 3 instead of the original 4. All because we were so fed up with the situation and K didn’t have the strength to re-do all 4 guitars after the massive work that already had been done once.
Some other anecdotes: vocalist Mikael sounded like shit in the studio and when Jörgen Sandström came down for some backing vocals, Mikael had enough. He simply couldn’t do vocals after Jörgen had been there dominating, understandably. Mikael later recorded his vocals by himself on his own 8-track portable studio and then went to Stockholm where Skogsberg added them to the material. Bassist Kenneth couldn’t play the material for shit and after 4 hours of struggling thru one song, K had enough, took the bass and recorded the rest of the bass lines in an hour. All fantastic memories.
Unsatisfied with the lackluster performances from some of the members, K killed the band and started The Project Hate MCMXCIX. This album contains a lot of parts that later ended up being used for TPH in other songs.
Years later, we planned to have Jörgen do all of the vocals for this piece, and Skogsberg said it would be no problem since he still had the tapes and all. The day before the recording Tomas calls K up and says he can’t find the tapes. Re-doing the vocals never happened and the album is now released pretty much as it was recorded. There are definite flaws on this one as far as production values goes, but in its entirety it’s still a very important recording since it led to the birth of TPH.
Andrey: The Project Hate MCMXCIX perhaps would be as a studio-project except of a recorded live show in Finland. It has been your single live performance or will you any plans to make other ones in the future?
- We did something like 4 or 5 gigs back in the day actually. And at what led to be our last one I decided TPH is not meant to appear in a live setting. Programmed drums and electronic parts didn’t really work as I imagined it should, so I made the choice to bring everything to another level recording wise, making it impossible to recreate live without 50 other musicians and whatnot. TPH will never play live again. It’s a studio project, and it has been since 2003. It’s my very personal journey that I get to create with the best fucken people in the world. It’s not a band, it’s a vision. And a very, very egoistical vision at that. One that wouldn’t be possible without the people I am blessed to work with.
The Project Hate MCMXCIX live 2002
Andrey/Georgius: From your ninth full-length "The Cadaverous Retaliation Agenda" to “Of Chaos and Carnal Pleasures” you released a few The Project Hate MCMXCIX - albums through Swedish Mouth Of Belial Productions. How happened that co-operation and why did you stop to co-work with the label?
- I grew extremely tired of working with labels and safe to say, TPH has been on a few. It just seemed like none of them understood what to do with us marketing wise, which makes me wonder why the fuck they even signed us in the first place.
And the fact that some labels tried their hardest to tell me what to do with my music and/or what to say and not to say in interviews... well, safe to say that won’t work. I just had it and thought ”fuck it, maybe I can do this by myself with the help from the fans when it comes to funding the recordings, and in return they will get my music, recorded and mixed the way I want it and I can pay the people involved to do it with me.”
It’s absolutely spectacular that it has worked for 4 albums up to this point, and we’re very close to make it happen again for a fifth time, meaning our 13th album will see the light of day in 2020 if we reach the monetary target. You can read everything about the TPH DONATION EXPERIMENTS over at www.theprojecthate.net. We’re approximately 400 dollars short of being successful, so if you feel like it, you who read this shit and give a fuck about TPH, feel free to help us out and make it happen.
Mouth Of Belial, by the way, is not a ”real” record label. It’s just the imprint that I choose to release the limited edition CD’s on.
Andrey: You started to work with a new material for The Project Hate MCMXCIX. Where do you plan to release it then and what the fans could expect from it?
- We’re quite far into the recordings actually, but we can’t finalize it until we have reached the budget as mentioned. I hope it will be in the spring of 2020, but you never know. As for what you can expect, well... simple; TPH. Even more intricate, even more brutal, even more catchy than ever before though.
In 2014 everything came together for me with TPH as Ellinor Asp joined the fold. I love everything we have done, needless to say, but in 2014 TPH turned into the TPH I always envisioned and hoped I could achieve one day. What I have been doing since then is bring it further... and further... with every goddamn release. I write music for me. The beautiful thing is that I have a small but extremely extra ordinary fan base that make it possible for me to actually hire the people I want to work with. It feels great to be able to pay everyone involved at least something for their efforts, which never could be done when we dabbled around with fucken record labels.
Andrey/Georgius: Name us five your favorite albums from Swedish scene which influenced you a lot and 10 of your eternal fave ones.
Seance – Saltrubbed Eyes
Agony – The First Defiance
Candlemass – The first 4 albums
Grave – The first 3 when Jörgen was in the band.
Entombed – Clandestine
Edge Of Sanity – Purgatory Afterglow
Fallen Angel – Faith Fails
That makes it 12 when I think about it. There’s tons of more, but this will do for now. I guess you wanted the ones considered ”metal” or I’d thrown in everything by Melissa Horn and be done with it.
Eternal faves though... This is hard, but I’ll give you a few that come to mind instantly.
Slayer – "South of Heaven", "Seasons in the Abyss" and "Reign in Blood". In that order.
Bolt Thrower – Everything from ”The IVth Crusade” and onwards.
Napalm Death – Everything from ”Harmony Corruption” and onwards.
I could go on forever, there’s so much brilliant music out there and I have missed out on mentioning a ton of my faves, but hey; I have other things to do tonight besides listing fave albums, haha...
Andrey: I knew you worked with a lot of musicians like session and guest ones. Name us those musicians with whom you would like to co-work or invite as guests.
- For TPH I have always wanted to work with people I respect and admire, and over the years I have managed to cross off a huge bunch of them. To have been able to get all these people into my songs is so humbling. There are a few who have said they would join in as well but for some reason, after getting the files and instructions, they vanish into thin air. That is puzzling. I rather you say you’re not interested instead of going about that way. But yes, there are 3 people that will always be impossible to have participate; Melissa Horn, Liam Howlett and Yngwie Malmsteen. But those 3 are highest on my short list, haha...
Georgius: What are your favorite tracks from Torture Division heritage?
- Pretty much all of them, to be honest. That was the perfect death metal band. But ”Invoking The Knifer” will always be just a little bit ahead of the others. That fucken break in the middle of the song is something every musician wishes they would have done. But I had to do it coz no one else could. Boom!
Lord K. Philipson and Jörgen Sandström (Torture Division 2011)
Georgius: You and Jörgen both played live with legendary Candlemass. How do you remember that period?
- This is without a doubt one of my most precious moments in my ”career”. To be asked to help them out on bass and guitar for some gigs is something out of the ordinary. You know, they are one of my fave bands of all time, so... I sometimes have to fire up some of the gigs that I was involved with on YouTube, just to make sure they actually happened. It’s so fucken weird, and I’m so fucken honored. I love those gentlemen.
Georgius: What is the situation with Kadaverkult nowadays?
- I’m busy with TPH and other things and Erik is busy with the resurrection of Vomitory, so there’s nothing happening.
Georgius: What are your recommendations from Swedish cuisine, drinks and interesting places to visit in your area?
I live in the woods. I don’t give one single fuck about cuisines, drinks and interesting places to visit.
Tack så mycket, it was an honor for us. Your message to the readers to complete this interview…
- Thank you so much for giving a fuck about what I do. It was fun walking down Memory Lane with those old school questions and shit. Good luck with the webzine and again; huge thanks to you guys, as well to the Haters out there who keep TPH alive at this level.