TME - WORLDS COLLIDE - APOPHTIC
TME is a metal band from the northern Swedish town of Skellefteå with as much profile as Wal-mart's Quality Assurance department. That was why Ali "The Metallian" picked up the telephone and took a call from the band's frontman Andreas Stenlund following the release of the Worlds Collide album. That, and the band plays a mean mixture of death and thrash metal! - 06.10.2007
METALLIAN: Andreas, TME is not exactly a big name on the worldwide metal underground.
ANDREAS: No, no, we are quite new actually. We have been around since 2002, but we recently started to think about doing a record. We weren't serious when we started the band. Drummer Benny and guitarist Mattias came together and played some thrash metal. They then invited me to play and we hung out in the rehearsal room. We then did a bunch of songs, but since Benny and Mattias were preoccupied with Vintersorg and Fission we put TME aside and just rehearsed here and there. We never had the intention to record anything. It was just a method of relaxation. Fission and Vintersorg are essentially studio projects too. We then decided to do a promo just to see what the response would be and Aphotic Records, the new label that probably no one has heard of either, started up to release the TME record. We were not a real existing band until now and we never played any shows or record anything. We were just having fun. When we got some good feedback on the promo we decided to do something and we put out a record. We are now a full-time band.
We recorded seven songs for the promo and the songs TME and Face The Fist ended up being what we sent away. Then we wrote ten or fifteen songs with ten ending up on Worlds Collide. We tried to make the album as good as possible.
METALLIAN: Are the songs on the album rerecorded or the same versions as on the promo CD?
ANDREAS: They are a totally different recording. We recorded the promo a year before we recorded the album.
METALLIAN: How did the band and label connect again?
ANDREAS: Mattias has another band called Casket Casey, which is signed to Blood And Guts Records. That label releases horror and punk records. They heard the TME promo and became really big fans. They started Aphotic records to release TME. They now have three other bands on the label. You can say we knew them from before they had the label. Aphotic has now signed Fission too.
METALLIAN: Have you signed to them for one record?
ANDREAS: Yes, that is right. We will see what will happen, but they have done a lot of work and promotion for us and we are really satisfied with them. I think we will continue to release records with them. They are really serious and we have a good rapport with them.
METALLIAN: Did any other label show interest in you because of the promo CD?
ANDREAS: No, we sent out fifteen or twenty promos to Nuclear Blast, Roadrunner and others and we got some good feedback but the best response was simply that the label wants to hear more and we should record more songs. We decided to sign with Aphotic Records. The other labels missed out on a really good record. That is their problem.
METALLIAN: The band has just acquired a new guitarist, which has meant that you have decided to solely concentrate on the vocals.
ANDREAS: Christoffer Rörland is a real guitar hero! We decided to bring in a new guitarist so I can concentrate on the vocals. It should give me more freedom when I am singing. I have never been a great solo guitarist either, I am a rhythm guitarist, so we decided this would be a good approach to have two really good technical solo and rhythm guitarists. Mattias knew of Christoffer because he saw him work at a record shop and play and knew he listens to the same music as us. He had played in several bands before, but didn't have a group right now.
METALLIAN: Being a three-guitar band did not make sense to you?
ANDREAS: We did not think about it. I would have to play guitar again and I don't want that. The more cooks the worse the soup as we say here. We now have a great dynamic in the band. We have found our setting for the future.
METALLIAN: What does TME stand for, Andreas?
ANDREAS: I get that question a lot. A Canadian webzine did not like the record and said the name means 'Tiny Made Erection.' Some other guy guessed that the name means 'Thrash Metal Extravaganza.' I thought they should keep guessing because no one has guessed correctly so far. I will keep it a secret. Every guess is as good as the real answer.
METALLIAN: How about a clue?
ANDREAS: OK, let's see, I can say that the meaning is hidden either in the lyrics or on the website or on the MySpace page. We have the meaning there. This should force you to read the lyrics. The answer is not there, but the hint is everywhere.
METALLIAN: It's a treasure hunt! What is the story behind the album's title, Worlds Collide?
ANDREAS: I was mainly thinking about the spiritual world and the non-spiritual world colliding when I wrote the lyrics. Most of the lyrics revolve around that theme one way or the other. Most people are discovering that there is no god and there is no afterlife and so on. Those worlds collide and people may panic when they realize they are all alone and they will die and go nowhere.
I don't believe there are spirits. We are quite alone with our minds. I have not seen anything else. Religion has been the focus for war and oppression. I write about that. People have to find strength in themselves instead of looking elsewhere. Many of the songs are against religion indirectly. I don't write lyrics like 'crush all religion.' I like to put it more delicately. People have to live now and live freely. People shouldn't let anyone else tell them not to. One can waste so many years of his life thinking nonsense, then think that it is OK because god created him, and so forth. You lose what it is to be human when you think someone else created us. Many people in Sweden are beginning to realize that. People are searching for another meaning. That is quite healthy because you have to use your brain to explain why we exist.
METALLIAN: That would be in contrast with other countries, like the USA, where religion is advancing.
ANDREAS: I think that is the question many Swedes are asking. If you look at Michael Moore's movies and the views that it gives of that country many people begin to ask what is going in America with religion, the Iraq war and so on. The view is that it is a very religious country and that they have the view that god is on their side. It is quite strange from our point-of-view.
METALLIAN: Is TME as a band Satanic, especially since your website's address is www.generation666.com?
ANDREAS: We are not Satanic. We thought the name sounds good. Generation 666 is provocative and is the generation that is anti-religious and free thinking. Our generation is growing up with the luxury of not being religious from birth. That is the meaning. It is not that we are Satanic or devil worshippers.
METALLIAN: TME uses the phrase 'thrash metal' to describe itself quite often. Why all that emphasis when the band is more of a death metal entity?
ANDREAS: Maybe you are right. We will have to label ourselves something else. You are not the only one that is calling us death/thrash or just death metal. At the beginning we were more like old school metal with deep vocals, but with the new songs we are more and more death metal. We are more of a modern death thrash metal band. I agree with you. We are also trying now to not label the music. We all write for TME and we all write in different ways. Sometimes it is thrashy and sometimes more death metal.
METALLIAN: What are your favourite bands?
ANDREAS: I have always been a big Bathory fan since I discovered them in the early '90s. I am a big Estuary fan too. I also like the old Edge Of Sanity records. I like the Nothing But Death Remains albums and Dan Swanö's growls. I also like Opeth.
METALLIAN: Andreas, one can easily notice that the metal scene is getting more and more orthodox and conservative in its behaviour, answers and demeanour. Questions are not answered with candour or replied with politics in mind. How do you see this issue?
ANDREAS: I think I am honest because I don't think you can walk around being afraid of speaking your mind. Bands are afraid of angering their fans. Bands won't say anything that might be wrong in case the fans don't buy the album or in case they can't play big festivals and so on. It is always better to be honest. We have our freedom of speech for a reason. I have never had a conflict with other bands but it is better to be honest because when I write lyrics, or other people write lyrics, we express our feelings but most people don't have the guts to express themselves later on. It is better to be free. I think it may be different in Sweden. We have the freedom here, but it might be different in the States, for example.
METALLIAN: Which bands would you say you dislike?
ANDREAS: That is tough because I do not listen to music I do not like. I don't like commercial pop music. The band I really really don't like is The Ark from Sweden. They are quite big. Almost every song on Eurovision is shit. They represented Sweden in Eurovision. I cannot stand them. I cannot stand pop and this disco music.
METALLIAN: Where in Sweden do you live and what is it like?
ANDREAS: Skellefteå is far north in Sweden. It is about eight or nine hundred kilometres north of Stockholm. We are on the coast. Meshuggah are from the area, but aside from Vintersorg there are no other big metal bands from our town.
We are not famous in Skellefteå at all, but the town is a music town. Almost everyone is in a band here. Where we rehearse, for example, we pay like forty dollars a year for rent. Everyone can play at the youth house and receive free music lessons. Skellefteå has won the nomination for being Sweden's music town several years ago. There is no metal scene, but some guys started a metal pub so we are on the move. Mr V of Vintersorg and I have started a new band called Gravesphere. I am in a band that was called Seasons Of Storms but we are changing the name now because our style is changing to become more symphonic. We are writing a concept album about a man that has an awakening and is discovering himself.
METALLIAN: Do people in your town wear Björn Borg underwear?
ANDREAS: No! But I have not asked! There actually is a Björn Borg underwear shop in the city. They sell Björn Borg bras and stuff. It is quite strange, but it is a big brand here!
TME is Andreas, guitarists Mattias Marklund and Christoffer Rörland, bassist Johan Lindgren and drummer Benny Hägglund. The group is seeking high and low for shows and writing songs for a new album that is due out in 2008.
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