TTI: Compared to your modus operandi on From The Womb To The Tomb and Deceased To Exist, and considering that Maim is now only a two-piece, how different was to write, rehearse and record this album? Was the whole process more difficult or actually easier?
Christian Sandberg: I would say it was difficult in the beginning. When we started the band, we rehearsed a lot and everybody shared ideas and riffs. But since Joakim and Rikard left, we had to change the way of doing things. I took on the vocals, since I have written a lot of the lyrics, so it felt pretty natural for me. And we bought some studio equipment to record demos of new ideas we had. The whole process of doing that was a bit slow and time-craving, but in the end, we got more well-oiled than ever. So when we decided to really write a new album, the process was very efficient. We had a lot of inspiration and riffs.
TTI: Considering that Maim has been around for quite some time and that you have a certain reputation to live up to, why did you decide to lower your standards production-wise and record this album by yourselves, without any professional assistance?
Christian Sandberg: Henric and I have always wanted to record our music ourselves in our rehearsal room. We like the feeling of it. For us, the music becomes more organic. It gets more of a hardcore, right-in-your-face feel to it. I have always loved how Darkthrone sounded. And we also like the feeling that we are in total control of our music.
TTI: In Skeletons we can hear some of the most memorable riffs ever written by Maim. Was the strength of those riffs the reason why you decided not to bother with the lyrics for that song and just let it unfold without them?
Christian Sandberg: Yes. I wrote some lyrics for it actually, but we felt the riffs and arrangements stood out for themselves. The song twists and turns in different directions, leaving the listener on the edge. We wanted a bit longer and eerie track to finish the A-side.
TTI: Why did you name that song Skeletons?
Christian Sandberg: I think the idea came from sketches I made with pen and paper. It was early ideas of the artwork. I had drawn a horde of burning skeletons marching over a field, and I thought, maybe we should name a song after that.
TTI: When it comes to long instrumentals on death metal albums, the one that always comes first to my mind is From Skin To Liquid by Cannibal Corpse. Having said that, I can definitely hear a fair share of similarities between Skeletons and that Cannibal Corpse track.
Christian Sandberg: We like early Cannibal Corpse a lot. From Skin To Liquid is a great tune. We have always liked to do a bit slower, creeping and twisted songs. I guess it could have some similarities to it. But some of the riffs has a lot of Vomitory feeling to them I think.
TTI: Coffin Gloryhole, seriously (laughs)? Do you remember what sparked the idea for that funny title? Also, it would be much appreciated if you could share a chorus or a verse from that song, something that was so over the top that even you had to smile while writing it.
Christian Sandberg: Actually, all credit goes to Rickard for this one. He made some of the original riffs for that song and at some moment blurted out Coffin Gloryhole, and I loved it instantly. That song is a humble tribute to a Swedish band called Onkel Kånkel. As for the stand-out verse, I think this one deserves a mention: A psychopathic dream, were blood and semen stream.
TTI: Back in 2009 when From The Womb To The Tomb came out, and over a few following years as well, Swedish death metal scene was experiencing quite a renaissance with bands like Tribulation, Morbus Chron, Bastard Priest, Necrovation, Miasmal, Invidious, Degial, Tormented, Stench, Entrails, Interment and Maim of course, who all made very strong statements with their demos and debut albums. Today, many of those bands still do well and make good music, but it feels like their energy, motivation and ambitions are different and definitely not as pure as they once were, which I’m not saying is necessarily a bad thing. As a band that was there when this revival started and remained active to this day, what is your take on that? How would you compare the state of Swedish death metal underground back in 2009 or 2010 with what we have now in 2017? Is it better, is it worse, is it the same?
Christian Sandberg: Some of these mentioned bands has got a lot of attention, and for good reasons. They have been active, releasing albums, done music videos, gone on tours and worked hard. But I think the sound of most newer death metal bands just gets more polished and crowd-satisfying for my taste. A lot of aggressiveness gets lost. Now there are so much HM-2 death metal bands around, I couldn’t tell a band apart from the other.
TTI: Today, as I was preparing to start working on these questions, I played both From The Womb To The Tomb and Deceased To Exist and realized that, although Deceased To Exist feels like somewhat better effort as a whole, From The Womb To The Tomb still has more powerful individual songs. For example, I think that Smouldering Ashes, Ascending From The Grave or even The Beyond are more memorable than any single song from Deceased To Exist. What is your take on that?
Christian Sandberg: Yeah, I actually agree. I like the songs on the first album more. Maybe because at that time we were still exploring, and tried stuff we never had done before to get our own sound. I think Deceased To Exist is more solid and punchy, but From The Womb To The Tomb has more variety.
TTI: Considering that both you and Henric played on Bastard Priest’s sophomore Ghouls Of The Endless Night as guest musicians and that you probably still keep in touch with those guys, can you confirm if there is any truth in recent rumors that their new album should come out soon?
Christian Sandberg: No. But I would love to hear a new album.
TTI: Your ex-guitarist and founding member Scott Andersson, who left Maim in 2013, was at one point a hired gun in Morbus Chron also, before they decided to call it a day. Speaking of Morbus Chron, their singer Robba told me once that their debut Sleepers In The Rift was a very conscious Autopsy tribute, with creative freedom or originality never even being considered for that album. That being said, when I listen to From The Womb To The Tomb today, it also sounds like a very conscious Autopsy tribute to me. Is that maybe how you feel as well and would you agree that it wasn’t only until following releases that Maim started looking for its own identity?
Christian Sandberg: At that time it was. Of course, we were, and still are, immensely influenced by Autopsy, and wanted to pay tribute to them in our music. The first album originally only had seven tracks, but we had to add some songs to make it a full-length. So we wrote two more songs and a cover of Ridden With Disease by Autopsy. I think when we wrote Deceased To Exist we had reached that punchy sound that we wanted. The riffs were supposed to be more in the style of Clandestine by Entombed. That record has always been a huge inspiration to us.
TTI: Speaking of identity, has Maim now reached that stage where you know precisely how you want the band to sound like?
Christian Sandberg: I think we have somewhat cemented our sound now. But we always try to be creative and forward thinking with songwriting.
TTI: When Morbus Chron’s sophomore Sweven came out, people had very mixed reactions to it. How did you feel about that album then and has anything changed in that regard in the meantime? Do you think that Morbus Chron could have made something truly special with their following releases, had they persevered and stayed together?
Christian Sandberg: I think Sleepers In The Rift is a fantastic album, but Sweven didn’t really get to me. Total chops on the guitar riffing and song arrangements, but a little bit too technical for my taste. Still, they were an amazing band and talented musicians so they probably had a lot more to give. Such great guys.
TTI: Temisto is a band from Sweden that released absolutely brilliant debut last year. Are you maybe familiar with them and their work? In addition, are there any other promising young bands that have either come up something noteworthy in recent months or are just about to release their break-through debut albums, that you feel people should keep an eye on?
Christian Sandberg: Temisto is really good. I really like their sound and debut album. Rude from US released their second album this year and they are really deadly. Total Altars Of Madness worship done in the right way.
TTI: According to the press release for this album, Rikard decided to leave Maim because he couldn’t no longer find the time to rehearse and play with the band. That being said, I don’t remember that I have ever read or heard why your other guitarist and founding member Scott Andersson left in 2013.
Christian Sandberg: It was the same situation for him. Scott was taking on anthropology studies and moved to Stockholm. And it became harder for him to find the time to come home and rehearse. So he felt that he no longer could be in the band and keep us on hold. He left the band with no hard feelings from our side.
TTI: Is your long-term plan to continue working as a two-piece or do you intend to consolidate your lineup by adding new members?
Christian Sandberg: When the album was finished, we asked Niclas Löfgren to try out and play the bass. He knows our sound and has been a friend of mine for many years. So it feels really great to rehearse as a live band once again. We now consider Niclas a full time member of Maim and we are psyched about what the future brings. We have a lot of inspiration and we are hungry for live shows, and to come out and meet people alike.
TTI: With regard to the level of your determination to keep Maim alive and continue this musical journey you have been on for more than ten years now, do you maybe feel a little bit tired or would you say that the best years for Maim are actually yet to come?
Christian Sandberg: I’m sure the best is yet to come.
Originally published on 15th May 2017.
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