Meddlefan, aka Robert Darling had a bit of a chat with the man himself, Jonny Pettersson! You know, that guy with the world’s longest beard, the guy that is in more bands than I’ve had beers, you know, that guy! One hell of a great guy he is too, and he has taken up the bass duties on the new Cropsy Maniac album, so now we have four fucking great people pumping out some really heavy shit! Get some into ya!
Hi Jonny, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Where do you hail from?
I currently live in Bristol, UK, after moving around Europe over the last 10 years.
Where were you born may I ask?
I was born in Sundsvall, in the northern parts of Sweden.
What music or band would you say had the largest influence on you wanting to create music?
When I first started writing music the two biggest influences on me was Strebers and Dia Psalma. They are Swedish punk bands that push the envelope of what is punk. And to see how they incorporated different elements outside the boundaries of their genre inspired me to start writing and push myself in the same way. When it comes to more extreme music my top influences through all the years of being a song writer is Wolfbrigade, Dismember and Malevolent Creation.
How do you create your music? Are there different approaches for each band?
It’s usually a riff the sets the tone for the song and that determines which band I will use it for band. A riff can have a certain feeling the only works with one of the bands, and the rest is then to chase that feeling. So, depending on what feeling I want for that song, the approach is different. Sometimes it can be a lead guitar playing a melody, sometimes a riff or even a rhythm.
So do you sit down and write lyrics then the guitars? Or does it all just come together?
I very rarely write the lyrics first. I usually never have a clue what I want the lyrics to be until I have an entire album or EP recorded. Then I’ll sit down, listen to the songs to see what my brain see fits for the music. When I was younger it was easier as I didn’t care about the lyrics too much. As long as it sounded cool I was happy. Words like suffocate, strangle, kill, abominate are really easy to get a great rhythm on, so my old lyrics was mainly a collection of “cool” words that sounded good to sing. But these days I’m much more aware of the lyrics and want them to be something more than just zombies and blood.
You work with a lot of great musicians. Does this help you when writing?
I’ve never actually thought about it, I think I just go on as I normally do with any band I approach writing songs for. And then once it’s all done and released, it hits me that I’ve done something with an amazing musician. I get a bit too focused on the songs, the recording process and the creative process, that I forget about everything else. So, once it’s all done, I can take a step back and look at it from a more objective perspective. It goes back to chasing the feeling of each song, my brain gets so warped up in it, that everything else becomes background noise.
Do you guys get together and write? Or do you write separately, or both?
Some bands I handle the writing by myself, other bands me and the other members writes riffs and send to each other, and then get together to make it all come together. Then other bands we can only write when we meet up, otherwise we won’t get the chemistry to work, and the songs sounds more like patch work than actual songs.
You’ve always been a busy man, just how many projects/ bands are you currently working on?
I’ve got 11 active bands/projects, and then 4 that is on hold at the moment.
What are your next releases if I may be so rude as to ask!
Next one is Henry Kane, that will be out on Transcending Obscurity at the start of 2019 called “Age of the Idiot”. I am very excited for it to be released. It’s an album that I wrote and recorded over a year ago, and one song was featured on 2018’s version of the Transcending label sampler. Though since then I have re-recorded the whole album, with a new sound and a new mix. And I am glad that I had the opportunity do that as I am much happier with the outcome.
Is the new Cropsy EP close to being finished?
It is, it’s actually down to me to get my ass in gear to get it finished up. The rest of the guys have done a fantastic job, and the songs are kicking some serious ass!
Do you have any touring plans? Or just do festivals and shows like you have been?
We’re booked on quite a few European festivals for next year with Wombbath, Just Before Dawn and Gods Forsaken which is very nice. But we are always open for more shows. The US and Canada is always a great prospective, it’s just finding the right promoters that is willing to put us on.
Being in the USA it is hard for me to get to Europe to see shows. Any chance of shows in the States?
It’s been 2 years since we last played in the states now, so it’s definitely about time. It’s all about finding the right promoter, the right venue and all that. We only have one demand for playing in the States, well playing any show, and that is to not lose any money. We have dedicated our lives to music, and have spent years losing out, but with families, kids, houses, mortgages and all that, we simply can’t afford to lose out.
What are your favourite horror movies?
I’m glad you asked for movies rather than movie, as it’s too hard to choose just one. In no particular order, The Thing, The House by the Cemetery, The Devil Rides Out, Susperia, The Fog, Re-Animator, The Beyond, Maniac, Evil Dead 1&2, The Wicker Man and The Burning.
If you had to chose, what would be your favourite beer to drink?
I love all kinds of beer. For a session drink Czech and German beer is my favourite. To go with a nice piece of stake a dark stout is brilliant. But as long as it isn’t one of those fruit fusion/cider beers I’m yet to find a beer I don’t like.
What are your thoughts on digital vs physical releases?
I really like digital releases for the purpose of being able to check band out, and I think it’s a good way for people who don’t want to own a bunch of physical releases to obtain the music they like. But for me personally, I love physical releases. I have more CD’s and vinyl’s than I can fit in my apartment, but even so I would never dream of getting rid of a single one of them. A perfect example is to listen to a new King Diamond album for the first time. You put it on, and you start going through the booklet, the lyrics and the story he paints for every album. It takes it all to a different level, and I have hard time believing you’d get the same feeling with a digital release.
What are some crazy things you have done that you can talk about?
Add a juvenile teenage brain and mix it with alcohol and you have tons. From waking up naked halfway down my toilet cuddling a porno mag, with deep bleeding cuts on my chest to ripping my trousers in Berlin while being chased by armed guards. The one in Germany is quite funny. Me and a few friends was at Alexanderplatz in Berlin and there was a big podium in the middle shut down with big fences. My drunken brain though it was a good idea to climb the fences and do the Faulty Towers “Don’t mention the war” sketch on the podium. My mates who was laughing their heads off suddenly stopped laughing and started frantically signalling for me to come down from there. I turn around just to see two armed guards running towards me, and I start running off screaming sorry, sorry in my very broken German. When climbing the fence to get back out, I rip my trousers and release the bell package under into the wild. I haven’t realised this as I was to drunk. We carry on to the next pub, where a stranger kindly point out to me that unless I want the bouncers to see it and thrown me out, I should probably tuck my genitals away. Thankfully those days of heavy drinking is behind me. I don’t have time for hangovers, I have way too much music to create for that.
What would be your favourite food?
BBQ’d food of all sorts, I can’t get enough of it. Grill it or smoke it and I will eat it. My favourite is fillet cut from the saddle of a moose with a simple seasoning, BBQ’d with loads of basting, served with thin cut fries, BBQ’d veggies and Bearnaise sauce. A cold beer with that and you have food perfection!
Do you enjoy the outdoors? Camping, hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, hunting ?
I grew up on the country side, so fishing and hunting had been a big part of my life. A self-sustaining way of life, not having to depend on anyone but yourself. Living in a country where you don’t really have that, I take any opportunity I get to be in the wild. To be able to turn your phone off, and just shut the rest of the world out is needed, if not I’d go more crazy than I already am.
What is the coolest place you have seen a show and what show was it?
I watch a 50’s rock band at Dalhalla in Sweden. It’s an open air theatre located in a former limestone quarry, and the views, the sound everything is just beyond this world.
And then what is the coolest place you have played a show?
Gothoom in Slovakia is pretty spectacular as far as locations goes. You are surrounded by mountains, and old derelict castle and woods. It’s like stepping onto some fantasy land, only with loads of Death Metal and beer instead of fairy tales and stuff like that.
What is your next release? Or releases? What can we expect from you and your mates in 2019?
The ones I know for sure and is allowed to say is Henry Kane, Wombbath, and Gods Forsaken. All have new albums in the pipeline and will be out 2019. We are working on new stuff with Heads for the Dead, Ursinne, and Nattravnen as well, so we never know.
Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us mate, you certainly are a busy man and we very much appreciate it. Bloody fantastic stuff!
Cheers brother, and thanks for a great interview!!
And that wraps up our series of Interviews with the one and only Cropsy Maniac, and what a great bunch of blokes they all are. We hope you have enjoyed reading these as much as I have enjoyed doing them! The new EP “Carnage” is available NOW (Blame the editor for being late again ha-ha), but we implore you to check out ALL of their work as there is much goodness to be had! Thanks for you time valued readers!
Until next we meet.
Robert “Meddlefan” Darling.