Digging Graves and Hating It
CoC converses with Grave's Ola Lindgren
by: Gino Filicetti
Since their debut record _Into The Grave_ (1991), Sweden's Grave has been a much revered underground band. Starting their career as one of the most brutal death metal bands around, Grave has evolved to include other elements in their music; although never losing touch with their roots. CoC speaks to singer/guitarist Ola Lindgren, one of only two surviving members of Grave (the other being Jensa Paulsson). Here's what he had to say.

CoC: Tell us what the band has been up to lately.

Ola Lindgren: We did like three weeks of touring in Europe. We played some festival shows with Cannibal Corpse and Impaled Nazarene, and we played some headlining shows.

CoC: Considering there are only two members in Grave now, how was it playing live as opposed to having more members in the band?

OL: It was great actually. We had this guy, Jonas, who played bass on the first Grave album, he's in the band now as our bass player. He didn't appear on _Hating Life_ though, I did the bass lines for that album.

CoC: How was it to lose Jorgen (Sandstorm, ex-bassist/vocalist) to Entombed, did he leave on good terms?

OL: Oh, I don't know. The whole thing about him leaving and all that weren't under the best circumstances, but we still see each other and talk to each other often. His leaving was quite unexpected. I didn't realize anything until he told us.

CoC: So now Jonas is back as your bass player, why did he leave in the first place?

OL: Well, we did the first album with Jonas, but then we did two tours, and he was getting really tired of touring because it's such a totally different lifestyle. You can't keep a job when you are at home because you don't know when you have to go away on tour the next time. So he left and he led a pretty normal life.

CoC: So now he's willing to give it up again to go on tour?

OL: Well, he's got a pretty good job now. He's a store manager so he can pretty much decide whenever he wants to take time off.

CoC: Have you been offered any more tours?

OL: Nothing else is really planned. We are thinking of going over to the States sometime after the summer. But we still have to look into it, we haven't got any offers or anything yet, but that's what we are going to try and do. And also we want to do another two or three weeks in Europe to cover some of the countryside we missed.

CoC: Is playing live difficult for you now? Considering you have to sing and play guitar.

OL: It was pretty hard in the beginning, because I never really did it that much before. So we had to rehearse it a lot to get everything tight and shit. We did kind of a warm-up show here in Stockholm before we went out on tour and everything worked out really well.

CoC: How did the crowds react to the new look of Grave?

OL: There were a lot of people that we've met before. And there were a lot of people who liked the old stuff, and now are really into the new stuff.

CoC: What kind of sacrifices did you have to make during the recording because of the fact you only had two people?

OL: I don't know. Not much at all really because we wrote most of the songs with only two people in the band. We had SOME ideas when Jorgen was still in the band, but not complete songs. So me and Jensa did all the material. Also it's a lot easier making decisions and with only two people in the band than with three or four. So everything went really smoothly.

CoC: Do you and Jensa get along well?

OL: Yeah, really well. When we create music, Jensa and I always go in the same direction. We never have a problem putting songs together the way we both want to hear it.

CoC: When Jorgen was in the band, how much work and effort did he put into Grave?

OL: Well, we never wrote any songs on our own. We'd always come up with stuff as a group. So he was a part of it of course, but he didn't have a bigger or smaller part than anyone else.

CoC: What has changed musically since your last album?

OL: Well, I think it's a lot heavier than the last one, and also groovier. There is nothing complicated or technical, just the basics. It's really easy to play and easy to listen to.

CoC: What kind of themes do your lyrics deal with?

OL: All the lyrics in the album are a direct reflection of the title _Hating Life_. The lyrics are really critical and really depressive, so the title fits all the songs. Some of the songs are fiction, and some might as well happen in real life. It's not the typical death metal thing with blood and guts and so forth. It's a lot more realistic.

CoC: How much work goes into your lyrics compared to your music?

OL: Not much actually <laughs>. Well, because Jorgen used to do all the lyrics, getting the lyrics together this time was one of the hardest things to do. For the new record, Jensa did two songs and I did seven. But even a month before we went in to record the record, we only had like one or two lyrics written.

CoC: How much time did you spend recording _Hating Life_?

OL: Three weeks total, but we did it on and off. We took it really easy, with no stress. We didn't have a time limit so some days we'd work during the day, and then we'd take some days off and work nights, just so that we didn't do the same thing for a solid two weeks of recording or something. It worked out really good.

CoC: Why are you playing music? What does it do for you?

OL: Well, music is a really big part of my life now. I started listening to the early thrash bands in the early eighties, in like 1984 and 85 with Celtic Frost and Destruction and Kreator. And I started playing guitar when I was twelve. So it was just what I've always wanted to do basically. We did demo tapes and established ourselves in the underground and it was really fun to get that kind of recognition. Then we got the record deal and everything else is history. It's all I know how to do basically, so I guess I better stick with it.

(article submitted 12/8/1996)


ALBUMS
7/28/2010 M Dolson 5.5 Grave - Burial Ground
7/20/2006 J Smit 7.5 Grave - As Rapture Comes
3/31/2005 J Montague 4 Grave - Fiendish Regression
5/29/2003 M Noll 7 Grave - Back From the Grave
1/1/1998 A Wasylyk 5 Grave - Extremely Rotten Live
6/9/1996 A Wasylyk 6 Grave - Hating Life
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