Unleashed interview with Johnny Hedlund: From the Vault, 1991

It’s been over a quarter-century since Unleashed first got together in Stockholm, so it should be OK for us to run a cleaned-up version of the first interview we did with Hedlund fromĀ archive zine issue #2. Nick Teta, Jr. contributed.

The Swedish five half-step downtuning band, Unleashed, descended upon the Bayou in Washington, D.C. D.U. hooked up with Johnny Hedlund, bass guitar and vocals, after he came off stage. The guitar section of Entombed was also in the room, warming up to play its set by strumming unamplified instruments.

All right, we’ll basically need a brief history of the band, when you guys formed and all that.

Well, taking you back to the early days, first off, I got kicked out of Nihilist, of course. And three months after I formed Unleashed, I think in, uh, November or December ’89. And we did two demos that we sent to a couple record companies. And the best deal we got was definitely for Century Media, and that’s the one we got now. And we released the first album May this year, and I think it was out in the States here July. That’s to make it short. [laughs]

What are your songs about?

Ah, well, quite a lot of different things, really. Well, for example, we got three songs that is about anti-Christism, sort of. We got songs about the Norsemen. We got songs about the mountains, which is a slow one, about if they had eyes. And we got songs about aggressions and things like that, hate towards things that you feel hate towards, you know. Our lyrics deal with quite a lot of specific things. There’s not just one thing all over.

How did you hook up with the American tour with Entombed and Morbid Angel?

Well, first off, we did the European tour with Morbid Angel and Sadus, and, well, the guys from Morbid Angel wanted us to tour in the States with them, and that was the whole thing. They just brutally asked for it, and of course I said yes, you know? And our record company was definitely into it, so here we are. [laughs]

What do you think of the American audiences?

Great! Especially tonight, believe me. This was the best so far. Tampa was cool as well. And yeah, all the shows were great, you know? But so far, this place was definitely the best, absolutely.

What are your influences like?

Well, everything we listen to, I mean, both lyrically and musically. Musically, I would say, if it comes to only death metal bands, quite a lot, you know: Slayer, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, Paradise Lost, uh, Immolation. Of course Nihilist, Entombed, because that’s what I came from. And old Death as well. Yeah, a lot of bands.

How is the Swedish death metal scene? Are there any up-and-coming bands?

Well, yeah, there is one million bands to be exact, you know? But there’s no shows; there’s no clubs like this. If we had a club like this, I would be happy, and the audience in Sweden would be happy as well. ‘Cause there is no shows whatsoever. You can watch Slayer when they get to Stockholm every other year. But there’s a hell of [a lot of] underground bands. I mean, all my friends play in a death metal band. But there’s hardly no shows at all to watch, if you haven’t got a good record contract, and someone to push for you, someone to get you on a tour. But that is a problem. It’s not like here.

Well, basically it’s over, but is there any final word you’d like to add?

I want to thank you for the interview. Thank you for having a good time, ’cause I did tonight.

Photo: Century Media

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