Interview with Totenwelt – Misanthropic Black Metal from Sweden

Today I spoke with the guys in Totenwelt – an up and coming Black metal band from Sweden, we talked about life in small town Sweden, bitterness against society, The raw beauty of the German language and much more. Read on.

* So you guys are from Gothenburg? How’s the black metal scene there these days?
That’s not entirely true. One of us resides in Malmö in the southern part of Sweden but since two of us live in here and we all spent our formative years in a small town just outside Gothenburg it felt convenient enough. I am not the right person to ask since I close to never attend any live events anymore, due to lack of time and perhaps commitment. Jocke would be the one to ask since he is more active in the music scene although mostly in Malmö. I must however mention a band called Walk through fire which In my opinion, although perhaps not black metal, create the most beautiful misery and darkness and did a great show last year I think it was.

* Did you all grow up in Gothenberg? If so you must have seen some great metal shows back in the day. Which ones were most memorable?
As previously mentioned we all grew up outside Gothenburg in a picturesque little shithole of a town called Alingsås. But we tried our best to catch shows whenever our limited funds allowed us. We had the pleasure of seeing a lot of inspiring (and the opposite) foreign and Swedish acts such as Dissection, At the Gates, Morbid Angel, Dismember and Dark Funeral to mention a few. Those shows played a significant part of our own ambition to create music. The impact that these shows had on us, at the time, was truly significant.

* How did you get into Black metal growing up? Who were the first bands that really made you sit up and say “God damn”?
The first time I heard “In league with Satan” by Venom my pubertal senses peaked over the charts. It felt almost overwhelming and you just wanted tear shit apart. Same experience when I first heard Chemical Warfare by Slayer or Arayanism by Napalm Death. A few years later, this repeated Itself when records with bands such as Mayhem, Dödheimsgard, Emperor, Enslaved, Burzum, Dissection, Darkthrone and Dark Funeral, to mention a few, started to present themselves to me. The grimness, raw aggression and mysticism appealed to me and one just wanted more, and faster and uglier…

* Totenwelt means world of the dead – correct? How did you come up with the name? is it more in the Zombie / Walking Dead type of thing or does it have a different meaning for you guys?
In our interpretation it is more something in the line of a dead world, lifeless and it reflects the overall concept of Totenwelt which revolves around more hands-on matters then the stereotypical themes of the genre. Topics such as is pessimism, general resentment and bitterness against society, humans and to an extent life itself. Together with cynicism, general discontent and strong antireligious values. Life sucks and then you die and it’s never too early to quit.

* I really like the work on your ep. Människohataren is a nice change from the break neck speed of many black metal artists – almost has an industrial feel to it – how did that song come about?
Actually, it was first considered, more or less, an introduction to the song, Äta skita sova dö and it revolves around the same Chords as the verse riff of that song. The ambition was to create something that felt slow, monotone and hopeless. And, as we messed around with it, the result we ended up with became lengthier and disgusting enough to deserve an own title and spot on the recording. We do enjoy a lot of different genres of music and industrial music has a lot to offer in the way of creating darker moods in my opinion.

* Were you pleased with the response your EP got you guys?
So far, we haven’t received that much response but the response we have got has been overwhelming and we are truly grateful that people find it appealing. And as we haven’t actively spread our music that much either we are all quite busy individuals with our respective careers, families and commitments that consume a lot of our time it is great to see.

* It sounds like the spoken word is German and not Swedish – is this correct?
It is indeed German which is a language we tend to use in our lyrics because it carries a certain rawness and an overall classic tone which we find suiting to this concept. Our first lyrics were all in German but over time we have moved more towards our native language. But who knows maybe our next stuff will be all in English.

* What does Människohataren mean in English? is there a direct translation?
It means the nihilist or the person who hates people and derives from the fact that we used the German dubbed monologue from the movie “Seul contre tous” which is something of the lead inspiration and concept for this Ep. If you haven’t seen it yet you must. It is a fantastic portrait of human downfall.

* How old were you when you first started playing guitar? Did you take lessons at all – or were you self-taught?
I am indeed self-taught and started quite late playing the guitar since all other guitarists and musicians surrounding me did a far better job and put a lot more effort into becoming good at their instruments. I did a few efforts at playing the guitar in bands back in the nineties but never felt I was up to the task and lacked the motivation and needed to evolve into a real guitar player and never really aspired to be one either. The guitar was more of a tool for creating music for me and I ended up singing or playing the base instead. Over the years, I have grown a bit more accustomed to playing it but it is still mostly a mean for composing although I have reached some level of skill and taking some enjoyment in playing it.

Robert on the other hand started playing about the same time as me and evolved to a whole other level of skill then me and is overall a far greater musician than me.

* Has the band played many live shows yet?
None so far. Totenwelt began as an outlet for my personal need to write this kind of music whilst either playing other genres of music or not playing at all, at times. Over the years, it evolved into a band containing three people preoccupied with a lot of other engagements in life. It is only in the last few years we have become more productive and even touching the topic of performing live. The other hand of the matter is that I have never really felt the need to perform live and never really enjoyed it all that much especially without numbing myself which sometimes took a toll on the performance.

With all that said I wouldn’t want to exclude the possibility of a debut show in a near future but it would require us to involve more people that share the same attitude towards the music which can sometimes prove to be a delicate process.

* When you guys are not making music what do you like to do in your free time?
Family commitments, sex with oneself and others and self-medicating to numb the sometimes-overwhelming boredom of existence.

* What can we expect from Totenwelt in 2017?
We are just starting to rehearse for an upcoming full length recording which we hope to record late this summer if all goes as planned and who knows, perhaps an on-stage appearance.

* Any final words for your friends and fans?
Att leva är att lida så bit ihop och lid! And thank you for the support and listening to our music.

Go listen to their EP here: