FREE! Magazine has access to all areas! This time, we entered the backstage at Jäähalli in Tampere to meet Andreas “Whiplasher” Bernardotte, singer of Swedish metal sensation Deathstars.
I have an appointment with the singer of the new Swedish sensation in death metal scene: Deathstars. An interview scheduled early in the evening, since the band is the first of the three that will appear on stage at Jäähalli. The heading band is legendary American Nu Metal Korn. Actually, it is so early that I find difficulties even in getting inside the venue. Finally, I am able to contact the tour manager, and meet “Whiplasher” in a tiny room close to the showers of the Sport Hall. The singer looks tired, probably consequences of a hangover after a party night in Helsinki. Deathstars played in the mythical club Tavastia the previous day, heading the show there. Quite different from what we can enjoy in Tampere, since the tight schedule let them time to play hardly six or seven songs. In any case, Andreas is a very interesting character, who has traveled and worked all around the world, and conversation turns to interest him specially when focused on topics not directly related to music business
You were playing yesterday at Tavastia in Helsinki. How was the gig there?
It was great! It was really fun!
In most of the tour dates you are playing with Korn. But there at Tavastia yesterday you were heading, so I suppose that it was a great feeling. Were you playing much longer there?
Yeah, with Korn we play 7 songs and with our gigs we play 15 or 16. It is a bit different, but you get the best from both of it. You get club gigs and also the arenas, so it is a good variation.
How has been the tour so far in general?
Very, very, good! Absolutely fantastic! It is very surprising the reaction of Korn´s fans, that we get the response that we do. It has been good like hell!
How did it happen that you got involved in this tour with them? Did they choose you?
Yeah, Jonathan Davids really likes Deathstars, so he called and invited us to come and join them on tour.
Any special venue that you remember during the tour?
Together with Korn we had a gig somewhere in England, I think it was in Plymouth, with 4000 people and they pretty much knew every song, because we are quite big in the UK. There were a lot of people; we had never played there before, and it was really nice.
And in Finland, had you played before here?
Yes, we played before in Tuska and Ruisrock summer festivals last summer.
“As long as in Deathstars we don´t know what the fuck is going on, it is perfect!”
You are pretty big in Sweden, but looks like your previous company, Universal, did not promote you well enough in the international scene. Do you feel that things are getting balanced now with international promotion in this tour?
Yes, of course! This is perfect for us! It is a big promotion. We were in a mainstream label and they really did not know where we came from, so they did not know how to promote it. Nuclear Blast is maybe better in that way. But still, we have just started. Termination Bliss is just the second album, it feels like the first album for us, and the band is starting to “increase”.
You come from underground Swedish metal, being former members of bands like Swordmaster or Dissection. And your sound evolved to what you call “Death glam”. How did this change of style come up?
I don´t know really… We never really said that “this is how we should do it”. As long as we feel stimulated by it, and we feel entertained by it. As long as we don´t know what the fuck is going on, it is perfect! We are just idiots! It is all about ourselves, about “us” in the band. We don´t keep updated with new bands, it is very internal matter. It is more like a rollercoaster ride. It is just crash, bum, and bang!. Darkness, chaos, party… and then let´s see what happens. That´s it.
Your second album Termination Bliss was darker and with topics like pain and death much more present than in the first one Synthetic Generation. I know that your guitar player went through a lot of personal problems. Do you use music as a catharsis?
I think that sounds so pretentious to say that, but yes. It is of course what you reflect upon. You write music to understand yourself, and you write music to understand others. You reflect about things, but in the end you do not get any answers, but well, it helps.
During that album, so many people died around us and a lot of break ups. It was tough, that it reflects that time. It has been a couple of years since we did that album, and now I can really look back and see it better.
I heard that you have been working on the new album during last months.
Yeah, we have been recording in New York, but I think we will continue recording after the tour. I don´t know if it will be in Sweden or anywhere else. Nightmare (their guitar player) has been living in NY for quite a while and he is producing all the stuff, so it was practical for us to go there and work in the studio there.
Is the new album going to be “lighter” than the previous one?
No, no. It is going to be very dark. This band takes care of your dark side! So I guess that it is a bit more outgoing, straightforward, but also more “Deathstars”, feeling the progress we have done. It is difficult to talk about something that is not completely finished.
Why is Bone, the drummer, not coming with you on this tour?
Because he had to take care of his kid, his son. He said 1 year ago that he could not follow us during January-February, whatever we would be doing. It is nothing bigger than that, it is just for this tour. It is nice to have Adrian stepping in. He is a great drummer.
Your music, although being death metal, has a “sexy touch” that attracts to a lot of female fans. It comes to my mind, now here in Finland, the reference to H.I.M. that also uses a strong link between death, pain and love. What is your opinion about them?
I can´t really say that I have, because I never listened to HIM. It would be stupid to say something about it, but it seems to be very successful. Maybe a bit too soft music for me to listen to, but I respect them, of course. We played with them in a festival, but I did not get to see them. It was EXIT festival in Serbia, a huge commercial festival there with people like Pet Shop Boys and Billy Idol, not a metal festival.
I know you have worked as a journalist also. What did you exactly do?
I was working in the Middle East. Writing about every day situation, writing chronicles for TV4 in Sweden and filming for the news. I am still a TV producer, but now it is getting harder and harder to fit that in, because of the band. But it is interesting, I love telling stories. I happened to work in Kosovo, in Albania, in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey…I have also worked in documentaries about the Maoris, been in Tonga, and also in the Atlas mountains. I was in Moscow doing a documentary about new rich people 3 months ago.
How do you feel about that?
You have seen a lot of hard situations happening in the world, and you are also in this rock world that can become sometimes very superficial.
Do you have a different perspective?
Yeah, I think we are spoiled, to have it like this. It is not something in the band, it is nothing really, and you do not challenge yourself that much. I have a lot of respect for people who do not have it so easy. But walking on the stage… I think that maybe people have too much respect for musicians. Then again, music is an international phenomena, it helps. What I mean is that waking up on stage every night is not like working in a grocery´s shop in Jerusalem. You do not have to put so much effort in it. Music is very important, so as long as people gain something from it, it is important. Hopefully we do something right in the end… For me it would be nice to combine those jobs more, but for now it is tough.
-We get lost for some minutes talking about Russia, the censorship in Scandinavian countries, the double moral here, and our love for Estonia and Estonian women (Andreas´s girlfriend happens to be Swedish from Estonian family)- Russia and particularly its capital Moscow seems to hypnotize him:
There is a lot of about Moscow and Russia in the new album; a lot of about conflict. The place symbolizes very well the state of mind of the band, the scenarios there. Russia is portrayed as “the bad boy of the world”, but that makes it interesting. It is so complex…I was hanging out with this young girl. She was 16 years old and she had 2 limo cars, her own driver, her own hummer vehicle, you could not see the road from the back seat because there was a huge flat screen there all over, and her name in diamonds and pink leather seats. Just going from one saloon to the other and partying… It was very weird. It is another world!
Sounds totally crazy!
Moscow is fantastic. I would love to live there, but my girlfriend does not want too. Maybe I should break up with her and start a relation with a Russian…
But your home city Stockholm is quite nice too. I have been there several times and I love it!
Yeah, it is very nice. I just moved back there from London. I have been living in London. But I think I will move back to London in the future. Stockholm is very beautiful. I have a lot of friends in London. When being on tour is not so important where I live, as far as my girlfriend is ok with it. I am away for 2 months and then coming back and then leaving again…
“My future project after the tour is to practice sex as much as I can”
I know that you are a great Kiss fan. Actually your nickname: “Whiplasher” comes from a Kiss ´song, doesn´t it?
Yes, it is true. Kiss is the best! They are so big! They represent so much! I think I worked extra when I was 6 years old to buy Kiss albums. I had everything when I was 7. They are the reason also why we started to use make-up on stage.
What are your future projects when the tour is over?
I am going to practice sex as much as I can. I want to get as possibly can get. That is the main thing. And then we have to focus on the album and trying to get that just perfect as soon as possible.
Do you have any confirmed release date?
It was supposed to be released on May but we don´t know now. We will see. I don´t know how the summer festivals and the next tour will look like.
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