No Arm Twisting Involved
CoC interviews Kenneth Nyman and Pelle Ekegren of Coercion
by: Aaron McKay
So far away from the abject horror of the thought of tomorrow's commute into a loveless job or needing to complete that damn thesis for your 8:00am class on the calculus of Astronomy and Astrophysics -- nothing about Coercion's new release, _Lifework_, necessitates any browbeating for motivation's sake. After a fairly long hiatus from the scene, this devastating Swedish four-piece is back, and in rare form at that. Coercion fans will recognize instantly the beloved style of a band missing in action for far too long. Vocalist Kenneth Nyman and drummer Pelle Ekegren delve into topics around their elongated break, a new label, and why the hell this wicked MCD couldn't be just a few minutes longer...

CoC: First off, congratulations on _Lifework_! One of the biggest attractions for me to Coercion's material is the emphatically catchy style of the band -- the stylish metal while mixing the fast and slow tempos very well. Shed some light on behind the scenes sessions with regard to creating material for _Lifework_.

Kenneth Nyman: Thanks for the kind words. After the release of our second album _Delete_ in 1999, we had a hard time coming up with new songs. We started to complicate things musically and we felt that nothing we came up with was any good. During the time when Coercion consisted of only me and Pelle around 2001-2002 we did a lot of jamming, and through that we luckily found our way back to the more basic and straightforward way of making songs. We have also picked up some new influences along the way since then, I guess.

CoC: "Consumed", track three, has some intriguing breaks (for example about the 1:50 mark) and some heavy-laden chops at the end of the track; probably my favorite cut off of _Lifework_. It seems like Coercion is constantly pushing the envelope in form and style, this song being a good indication of that. Please elaborate on "Consumed" a bit.

KN: When this song came about, we just did as we always do. We tried out a few riffs that fit together and we never know beforehand how the final take is gonna be. We don't follow any template, but since we like mixing grind with heavy stuff, those ingredients are likely to be a part of any song by us.

CoC: Why only five tracks to _Lifework_? It seems like it serves only to whet the appetite...

Pelle Ekegren: That's the whole point! Wait for our next full length!

KN: Originally _Lifework_ was recorded to let people at the record labels know that we're still around, despite the four years of silence. But since we were very pleased with how it turned out, and got some offers to release it as a MCD, we couldn't see why not. By this release it really feels like were back on track, and who knows what the future holds...

CoC: Regardless of the line-up changes in the past, Coercion seems like a durable outfit where writing material is concerned. How is that? Is it the live (concert) energy follows the same dynamic suit as the recorded tracks?

KN: Since I'm involved in most of the writing of the material and have been in the band since day one, we still sound like Coercion, I guess. The question on how we sound live should probably best be answered by anyone who came to see us play, but I guess we're doing okay.

CoC: While not always prominent, the bass work on the new album is very pronounced and well utilized. Dag appears to have a true command of Coercion's style, yes?

KN: I'm gonna let you in on a little secret <laughs>: Rickard [Thulin, guitarist] is the one playing the bass on the recording. Dag had just joined the band once we started recording. He hadn't been playing death metal for a long period of time, so he wanted to pass this one to get more in tune with the style.

CoC: With the full nature of the band's sound, how much or little would adding another guitarist to the fold help or hinder Coercion?

KN: We're having this discussion every now and then. The best thing about having two guitars is that you can then play around with harmonies. That's really cool, but it's not a must in my opinion. When we rehearse I often play the second guitar, and I must admit that the sound improves. <laughs> Finding a fifth member that fits the band musically and on the personal level is not an easy task. Besides, we're too lazy to even start looking...

CoC: What is the philosophy of lyrics on a Coercion song? Do they exist to add something vocally or communicate a message or maybe utilized like an instrument (a la John Tardy from Obituary)?

PE: Perhaps only Kenneth should answer to this, but what the hey, for me the vocals are an instrument, but as it turns out Kenneth is a devil on writing lyrics as well. So if you can't hear what he's singing, check the booklet. To me, he's a poet and I can recognize myself in his words.

KN: Ehmm... a poet!? You're making me blush, Pelle! I am very picky when it comes to writing the lyrics and I do spend a lot of time and effort to make them exactly the way I want them though. Hopefully anyone who reads them gets something out of it. My personal favorite growler must be Barney Greenway of Napalm Death; a great voice with intelligent lyrics. Excellent!

CoC: _Forever Dead_ has consistently been a personal favorite since adding it to my collection in late 1997/98. How would you compare that release with _Lifework_?

PE: That was then, this is now! I love _Forever Dead_, but that's old; I think _Lifework_ is the evolution of _Forever Dead_ in 2004.

KN: How flattering -- I'm glad you like it. I imagine that _Lifework_ sounds a bit more American than our previous releases. The new stuff is also much faster and contains more grind parts.

CoC: While we are on the topic of _Forever Dead_, allow me to inquire about the last track, "Grief (Beyond Grief)", a 23-minute track which contains 10 minutes of clock sounding...

KN: That song is very special to me for the obvious reason that it is written to honor the memory of my late friend Hakan Stadin, who passed away in 1991. The "clock chiming" at the end of the song is the result of our playfulness while mixing the album. If done today, we would probably have left that out.

CoC: In my efforts for the magazines I contribute to, I heard precious little about _Delete_; to this day I haven't even heard the album. Was it promoted very much by Perverted Taste in America? Europe?

KN: That's a pitty. _Delete_ is a good album, and it probably deserved more promotion and a better label. Perverted Taste never really let us in on what they were doing (or not doing) promotion-wise. We declined their offer to release a third album there, much because of the lack of information from their part. For instance, we have absolutely no clue on how many copies of our two albums have been sold nor how much of our royalties have gone down someone else's pockets.

CoC: It seems to me personally that Coercion has been an underrated and underestimated metal outfit on the scene for a long time. What are the band's thoughts on the subject?

PE: Yes, that's my opinion as well, I don't know why that is. I think we just have had bad luck with record labels and distributors, 'cause I never heard anyone hearing our music saying that it sucks, so I don't think it's our fault!

CoC: How is your media/press in the United States?

KN: Nowadays, due to the fact of our four years of absence from the scene, it's not that good. We still get many mails from the states though. Mainly from fans wondering when our next release will be out.

CoC: Since signing in November of 2003, how has your working relationship been with the German label, Animate Records?

PE: Great, I love Andy!

KN: I knew there was something going on between the two of you. <laughs> Seriously, they've managed to impress us all more than once. Despite being a small label they make big plans, and work hard to see them through. We met the guys in Germany, at our "Lifework-release-shows" in early January; they seem to be really cool guys.

CoC: Any favorite groups Coercion has shared a tour with? My guess the tour with Fleshgrind and Resurrected in Europe in 2000 had to be incredible.

KN: True. That is definitely one of the highlights of our tour history so far. None of us had heard Fleshgrind before we went on tour with them and we were completely blown away by their stuff. They now have a special place in our frostbitten hearts. We have also always enjoyed playing with Purgatory. We meet them every time we're in Germany, so they've become almost like family.

CoC: Are there any bands out there currently that have captured your attention? Recent favorites?

PE: Vital remains, Rotten Sound.

KN: Visceral Bleeding, Signs of Dying.

CoC: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please feel free to relate any parting words to the reader that you'd like.

KN: Thanks to Aaron for this excellent interview, and to those who are reading it for showing interest in Coercion. Be cool.

Contact: www.coercion.tk

(article submitted 29/2/2004)


ALBUMS
2/16/2004 A McKay 9 Coercion - Lifework
1/1/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Coercion - Forever Dead
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