Latest release: Hell Over Sofia – 20 Years of Chaos and Confusion (Nuclear Blast)


Few death metal bands enjoy the consistent adulation that Hypocrisy receive. Since their 1992 debut Penetralia, they have been revered as among the most important acts of the Swedish death metal scene, with their work from The Fourth Dimension onwards gaining praise for innovation both musically and topically. As 2012 rolled to a close, Loud caught up with bass guitarist Mikael Hedlund to discuss their imminent Australian live debut, how metal has changed since the early 90s and what we can expect from the forthcoming album End of Disclosure.

You’re coming to Australia for the first time, and a lot of people are looking forward it very much.
It’s the same for us. It’s the first time for us after twenty years and finally we have the chance to go to Australia to play. It’s a dream come true. We are very excited about it and looking forward to it.

I was a bit concerned the tour wasn’t going ahead.
We heard some rumours, but I haven’t heard that it’s cancelled or anything like that. Everything seems to be fine; everything’s all right as far as I know!

What’s the last twelve months been like for Hypocrisy?
We’ve been concentrating on the new album. We have been writing, and we are in the studio right now recording it. The plan is to be finished before we come to Australia and then we gonna release it in the Spring next year. The last twelve months has been all about that.

If you finish the album before you’re here, will you actually play a song from the album before it’s released or will we have to wait until it comes out?
We will see. It might be a surprise. We will see what we’ll do. We’ve been talking about it. We will see if we have time. It would be nice if we could play something from the new album, absolutely.

Australia is a new territory for Hypocrisy, and you do have a long back catalogue. For somewhere you haven’t played before, is it hard for you to decide which songs to play in your set?
Of course we’re going to try and do a best of and play some songs from all our albums from the first album to the latest. That’s what we’re gonna concentrate on. What we played on the Hell Over Sofia DVD and live CD. That’s gonna be more or less what we’re gonna play. Because that’s a kind of best of Hypocrisy I think and as it’s the first time we play in Australia I think that’s a good set list.

I’m pretty confident that you could play anything at all and people would be happy.
Well I’ve only heard good things about Australia from other bands. The fans are fantastic. For example, our drummer Horgh is playing with Immortal and they played in Australia last year I think. He said it was fantastic, so we’re really really looking forward to it.

Hypocrisy is a band that has a pretty solid reputation. Do you find yourself under any pressure when you go in to make a new album, that virtually your entire catalogue is held in such high esteem?
I don’t know. We’ve been around for over twenty years now and we know the procedure for recording an album and stuff like that. And we know the way we want to sound. We know our style. We started off in the beginning of the 90s with pure death metal. It was fast and brutal and it took us several albums up until The Fourth Dimension before we found the way we wanted Hypocrisy to sound. Nowdays when we start to write a new album, we know what we want and that makes it much easier. The pressure is always there. But as long as we are happy, that’s the most important thing. If people like it, that’s just a bonus.

Well people do seem to like it. As you’ve said, you have been around now for more than twenty years. What are some of the things you’ve seen change, not just with Hypocrisy, but with metal in general over that time?
With the Internet and stuff, nowdays it’s so much easier to check out a new band. Back in the early 90s it wasn’t that easy. You went to concerts and met other people and you got the news from there. You bought magazines that came out several times a year but nowdays you can turn on your computer and get all the information right away. That’s a big difference. It was more underground in the beginning, in the early 90s.

Has that changed the way that you make and market your music now? There seems to be much more of an emphasis on getting it online and promoting it that way than putting a CD out.
Well we’ve been around for a long time so people know who we are. I think it’s a good thing for new bands to put their music online for people to check it out.

How many songs will there be on the new album?
There will be around ten songs. We will have to see when everything is done, sit down and choose the songs that will go on the album. It’s gonna be around ten songs.

How important is it for you to limit the amount of songs you release each time? Since the CD became the norm, and now with downloads, there’s been more and more space available to record and so many albums now get cluttered with filler. How important is it to only release the best stuff, rather than everything?
I think personally that an album shouldn’t be longer than 45 minutes. Around ten songs, otherwise it gets boring! That’s what I think personally. That’s what all of us in the band are thinking. You put out fifteen songs and it goes for sixty minutes or whatever, it’s too much I think.

You said that Horgh’s told you a little bit about Australia. What’s one thing you’re really looking forward to about coming here?
The weather! (laughs) No. Everything will be new. From what I’ve seen on television and whatever it’s a beautiful country. And I’ve heard many good things about Australia. I don’t know! I’m so excited about it. I can’t wait to come down.

Well I’m sitting here just west of Sydney now, it’s December, and it’s 32 degrees right now, so you are going to have some pretty good weather I think!
It’s gonna be like coming from minus 20 to plus 30! It’s gonna be a big change!

Is there any particular music that you’re listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to a lot of old things. That’s what I listen to the most. I can listen to old-time music, old time R n B, I love Pink Floyd. I listen to all kinds of music. It doesn’t matter if it’s death metal or black metal or rock, as long as the music is good. I try to be very open when it comes to music.

Do you think that’s important as a creative musician, to keep your mind open to different things?
It’s very important. If I was at home and listened to death metal, black metal the whole day, I think I would get bored. When it comes to playing, that’s what I want to play, but for inspiration it’s always good to listen to all kinds of music.

Is there one particular Hypocrisy album or song that’s a favourite? One that you always come back to?
“Roswell 45” off the Abducted album. That was recorded at a time when we really found out the way we wanted Hypocrisy to sound. That album is general is a very important album. it really defined the way we were among the other bands of the time. That was the time when we knew exactly the way we wanted Hypocrisy to sound. We mixed faster stuff with more slow, mid-tempo songs. I think that’s what Hypocrisy sounds like.

Is there anything you’d like to try with Hypocrisy that you haven’t done yet?
South Africa! That would be something. We’ve never been there. There’s more and more bands coming over there and playing there, so that would be something I would like to do.

Do you have any final words for your Australian fans before you get here for the tour?
Hope to see all our Australian fans. We’re really really looking forward to this.