Swano's Edge
CoC chats with the legendary Dan Swano
by: Pedro Azevedo
After the epic _Crimson_, much was expected of Edge of Sanity's sixth full-length album, _Infernal_. Having always been one of Sweden's leading bands, EoS never were predictable, and _Infernal_ surely isn't a predictable album - many thought this would just be a soften-up album, after _Crimson_ showed more melody than their previous album, _Purgatory Afterglow_. However, _Infernal_ turns out to be overall harsher and less melodic than _Crimson_, and still a great album in its own right. This time the songwriting has been split between Swano and Axelsson/Larsson, with Swano playing all instruments (except drums) in the songs he wrote, as well as doing all the vocals except in a couple of tracks where Axelsson takes over. However, they have undergone some tough times lately, and, get ready for this, EoS ARE SPLITTING UP. Dan Swano himself told me (after the interview) that he was going to go on his own now, although he wouldn't "give up metal" (in his own words). Therefore, this might very well be EoS's last interview, at least as you and I knew them so far... so enjoy our e-mail chat with EoS's creative genius and frontman Dan Swano.

CoC: Would you like to tell our readers some more about your new album, _Infernal_?

Dan Swano: No! Just kidding! What is there to say? It is one more album with this weird project. This time we split the songwriting between me and the rest of the band. I think it turned out okay.

CoC: Why did you choose to go back to the old Edge of Sanity logo, which wasn't used in _Purgatory Afterglow_ and _Crimson_?

DS: Ask Black Mark. I would never have let that happen if they had asked first but they didn't so what can I do?

CoC: Speaking of those two, what's the meaning of all those short silent tracks in the end of _Purgatory Afterglow_?

DS: We wanted to have 99 tracks but it took such a long time so we did it just to confuse people and to avoid the "shuffle/random" play for the consumers, ha, ha!

CoC: About _Crimson_, what process did you use to write it? Did you write a few melodies and riffs and put them all together, or was it a sequential process, or none of the above?

DS: We wrote it sequential (nice word). We jammed and had DAT tapes running. Once every hour we listened to what we'd done and then we wrote something more serious out of it and all of a sudden it was 40 minutes!

CoC: What exactly is the meaning of the _Crimson_ cover art?

DS: It shows the young child encaged in the crimson water that brings eternal pain.

CoC: How well have Edge of Sanity been doing in sales?

DS: We have sold about 100,000 records worldwide until now. I think it's cool!

CoC: Do you think EoS's quality and success should be measured by that kind of number (sales)?

DS: Not really. Our records are really good compared to some shit out there that sell a lot more but these bands tour and really exist as a band while we are a project that hardly even meet when we aren't recording!

CoC: Back to _Infernal_, which I found to be a very good album and a very worthy follow-up to your previous works, why did you use Axelsson's voice in the two fastest tracks instead of inviting Mike Akerfeldt again? Was he unavailable?

DS: Mike was not a part of the plan. These songs were written by Andreas and he just wanted to sign on them. I don't know if I like it, but it gives the whole thing a different side. Mike is not into doing session stuff anymore, he did too much!

CoC: Why didn't Sami Nerberg appear on this album? Is everything alright with him?

DS: He is not totally alright. He had serious drug problems and went to jail/treatment a few months before the recording and now he's out, a bit better I guess but they easily fall back, but I hope he is strong enough to not do so. I hardly know the guy so I don't know which I believe is the possible outcome.

CoC: How did the work go at The Abyss studio with Peter Tagtgren?

DS: Perfect. Peter is the perfect studio engineer. He is eager to make things better than possible and I like that. He made a good job in a short time for our album.

CoC: Is Unisound "dead"?

DS: Yep. Totally fucking dead. I have a new studio now for personal use only called The Sanctuary.

CoC: Why did you choose to have such different writers for your lyrics?

DS: Mainly because I didn't have any inspiration or time to complete them myself. Lyrics are the worst thing! If anyone out there have some cool stuff laying around, sent it to me!

CoC: What was the reason behind the strange tempos used in the beginning and end of "15:36"?

DS: My weird mind! Did I fool you? Every one gets fooled by that weird change. Benny had a tough time playing it but he did it finally! I will fool you even more with the next album! Beware!

CoC: What was the idea/concept behind "The Last Song"?

DS: I wanted to show you all what I feel deep inside. It is the most personal song I have ever written and I wanted the end of this album to be first soft and then almost chaotic because that is the way I feel when I write. But for the next album, I will hopefully have more time to record and fix and tricks. Like a year or so!

CoC: I heard that Pan-Thy-Monium was coming back to life without you. What's your view on that?

DS: It is all up to them. I have kArAbOuDjAn which is my version of PTM but much more weird and bizarre! Then can do what they want but I don't think too many will enjoy it. The finesse is gone.

CoC: I'd like to ask you your opinion on a few Swedish bands I personally enjoy. Please give a short opinion on each, if that's alright with you

CoC: Katatonia.

DS: Good band with some problems to find their style. Their latest releases are kind of different to the first ones but it is fine with me.

CoC: Dark Tranquillity.

DS: Haven't heard much. The stuff I have heard is better than Septic Broiler!

CoC: In Flames.

DS: Among the best bands to come out of the metal scene in Sweden. They really make great material and have a great sense of quality and their records have a wonderful sound.

CoC: Dissection.

DS: I think this band would be the best in the whole genre if Jon did all the stuff alone with lets say Hellhammer on drums. Some moments on the first album is superb while some stuff on the second album is Zzzzzzzz.

CoC: Opeth.

DS: The best metal band Sweden ever produced in my opinion. This is the way I want my metal. Progressive and with long epic tracks and a combination of evil and beautiful things. They rule! They kicked out their bass player by the way! And have studio time for the 3rd album in Fredman in September.

CoC: Therion.

DS: I think their death metal had some good sides, especially tracks like "The Return". But they have too much junk in the music nowadays. I think it was cool to sing on their latest record but the best song wasn't on the album! I am not a fan of horns and choirs, etc., let the normal 5-piece speak!

CoC: Hypocrisy.

DS: Peter is a clever bastard. He is writing death metal with the same vision as myself. I think their next album might kick some serious ass! "Roswell 47" might be THE death metal song of the 90s.

CoC: Godgory.

DS: Good outfit. Good ideas, and whatever people say, [they have] a style of their own. There are things that could be done, like the lyrics and the arrangements, but all in all a fucking fine piece of flesh, and their rhythm guitarist is the robot from hell. James Hetfield go home!

CoC: And, of course, Edge of Sanity.

DS: We suck!

CoC: A lot of bands have been quitting the death vocals lately, but you haven't (and I'm glad for that). Why? What are the chances of death vocals for the next EoS album?

DS: It will probably have about the same balance as _Infernal_. I like that combination. Growlings fuck your throat but having a lot of spare time between the takes now enables me to give 101% in every song, not having to think about doing all 10 songs in one day. That rules!

CoC: Well, wrapping up, anything you'd like to tell our readers, any final message?

DS: I want to do some serious eating now! Sorry for some limited answers but I am not used to typing my answers. Call me up and you'll have 10 pages worth of conversation. Ask anyone who tried me out!

(article submitted 9/4/1997)


CHATS
1/1/1998 A Bromley Edge of Sanity: On With the Saga
5/10/1996 G Filicetti Edge of Sanity: Over the Edge of Sanity
11/8/1995 G Filicetti Edge of Sanity: On the Edge of Complete Conquest
ALBUMS
9/29/2003 C Flaaten 9 Edge of Sanity - Crimson II
11/17/1997 A Bromley 8 Edge Of Sanity - Cryptic
4/9/1997 D Schinzel 7 Edge of Sanity - Infernal
4/18/1996 G Filicetti 9 Edge of Sanity - Crimson
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