Devian - 17/05/2008

Originally formed under the short-lived name of Elizium and then switching names for a more striking impact upon signing a worldwide deal with Century Media Records, Sweden's newest metal threat DEVIAN is the brainchild of former Marduk members Legion (Vocals, ex Ophthalamia) and Emil Dragutinovic (Drums, also in The Legion) after their departure from the Black Metal commando in their strife to come up with a new breed of wretched Scandinavian Metal. Together with guitarists Joinus and Tomas Nilsson, DEVIAN form an unstoppable organic extreme Metal machine driven by a raving hunger and deadset determination.


Rather than simply adjusting to continue on their stylistic path chosen with the latest Marduk appearances for Legion and Emil, DEVIAN decided to go for a more dynamic old school vibe, which is built upon a very catchy combination of melody and aggression. With references to bands like Slayer, Iron Maiden, Possessed, Morbid Angel, Dissection or even Motörhead, you will easily understand that DEVIAN gathers some of the best elements of blackened Death- and Thrash Metal with strong influence from traditional Heavy Metal.


After an intense year of songwriting, DEVIAN had collected more than enough quality material to invade Sweden's Art Decay Studio with producer Rickard Kottelin (The Legion) for the recordings of their first opus "Ninewinged Serpent". Mixing duties for the album were handled by sound-wizard Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman (At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Dimmu Borgir, etc.), while the final punch in mastering came courtesy of Peter In De Betou / Tailor Maid and Greece's dark artwork master Seth (Paradise Lost, Soilwork, Old Man's Child, etc.) suitably packaged the release with a very morbid visual theme, which nicely enhances the album's thick and bleak lyrical content.



As the beast of Devian finally took form with their first album 'Ninewinged Serpent' and the first real tour with Vader has become reality, it is time for an interview with these very friendly Swedes. The whole band is willing to sit down and talk about the first album, the band and future prospects.


So, how was the show for you guys tonight?


All: Excellent, great, super, really cool!


It started out a bit slow but everyone got into it in the end.


Legion: Yes, and that's the deal basically now, because it's a debut gig. And today in the metal world you're kind of invisible if you don't tour. So this is the first opportunity to plant our flag. So it's just going all out as you've got only half an hour. No time to spare, just BAM!


Tomas: Blazing from the start.


How is the tour going so far?


Legion: It's been really good. This is the biggest place we've played so far on the tour. But it's been good turn outs and people have been really into it. So we're happy.


What is it like to be a support band again, as both Emil and you were in Marduk?


Emil: It's a good thing. As this is our 'baby' or whatever you call it. We started this band. Joining Marduk was like being part of something someone else had grown up with. So this feels much more like to the heart playing, since we have created the songs from the beginning. I can't wait to just develop this band and put new songs out.


Legion: And you know, when I joined Marduk even though we, on most occasions, headlined it was still like a pretty small thing to do. Somewhere around Nightwing everything started to roll on. I don't mind doing that [being a support band, TvG] and supporting Vader is really cool. I'm a great fan of them and they're long time friends so it feels like a really good tour that we're on and it's just like Emil said: it's fresh and new and it's ours and the atmosphere and companionship in this band is far superior to what we had in Marduk anyway. So it's really great.



Just a simple question: what do you usually do to entertain yourself througout the day on the tour?


Emil: Some days it's like, you don't have any strength and you just want to rest. But we try to compose music with the laptop, play guitars and compose.


Legion: Weightlifting, or working out, or all kinds of other goofy shit, like we tend to end up in weird discussions talking about each others' weaknesses and tics and stuff. [Laughter] It's a great time, just embarrasing yourself in front of the others, watching people fall off their chairs because they're laughing so much. Just anything is good to do on the road otherwise you tend to just live in your head and just stare out of the window.


Emil: That happens too


Legion: Yeah, but we're entering the studio in July and we still have so much work to do because we want the next album to really kill. So we have a lot of songs that we really believe in now, that feel much stronger and more together now that influences have been fusing together a bit compared to Ninewinged Serpent. You could hear 'this is this, and this is this' and now it's starting to feel more like a band. But we still feel we don't have enough time to work on the album, there's a lot of work to be done.


You mentioned the influences on the album, it has many influences from all musical directions. Is this because of the different backgrounds or is it just the music you like?


Joinus: Both actually, I come from a thrash background but I try to mix in some heavy metal stuff into the songs and things like that. You try to take things from every genre that you grew up with and liked and listened to.


Legion: That was basically what we said from the beginning as well when we tried to draw up a concept. We couldn't figure anything out so we said: Fuck the masterplan, we'll just play what we want to play and if it's a good song it's a good song. And that's basically how everything came about. And since we've all been metalheads since our younger years there's so much stuff that we just let bleed into the concept and it kind of took on a life of its own.


Joinus: And why leave something out that you enjoy listening to?


Tomas: A good riff is always a good riff!



Was the first album really a group thing or did some of you already have some parts ready?


Emil: One song is actually a song made for Marduk, Remnant. It was supposed to be on Plague Angel but the other guys in Marduk thought it was more The Legion material, which is my other black metal band, but I don't see it that way. It's not even close to what Legion does. As the songs developed during rehearsals we thought that this song would fit the album, the new concept that we were going for. We started out with rock and it went more into metal and then even extreme metal as we mixed in black metal. That is one song that wasn't supposed to be on the album, initially.


Why did Markus leave after the recording of the first album?


Probably because he felt that he had been pretty naive about his priorities. Before signing the contract we had a sit down and it was like: look, we're going to do this all out or you can piss off. We're not going to waste Century Media's time when they have given us such an opportunity. And we didn't wanto to fool ourselves. There's only one way to make it, and that is to let everything else be secondary. And he really tried to commit to the band as much as he could, but he felt that he couldn't. So he chose to be honest about it and he took his leave. Because he knew that if we got someone else in that really wanted it as much as the rest of us, it would be better. And we remain good friends till this day as he's still a killer guy. It’s just that he has some many things going on that he wants to spend an equal amount of time on all of them, and of course also commit to them. But we really want to tour and release an album in a hectic pace so that would have been impossible.


How is the contact with Century Media? Are they going to release the next album?


Legion: We have four options in our contract. One album and three additional options. Right now they're really psyched about the rough drafts for the new songs we've recorded and how everything is developing and we think they're doing a killer job too.


Thomas: Absolutely


Legion: They're always on the lookout for us. As an example for this tour: one piece of merchandise we won't get until we get to England. It's a tricky composition with detailed artwork and it would cost us a lot of money to do it with the usual process like when we get royalties and they take a cut and everything is set up. So they're like: you know what, we're going to push this to be cheaper for you guys, that the merch printing place is doing it cheaper and then we just step out of it, you take it all. And you'll be on the way in. It'll be a happier tour for you guys. And that's typical for them, they always do stuff like that. They see that we put into it, then they do something nice back. It's really great. If there's something that they don't like, they'll say it. They're very up front and we always have a good dialogue. So we're really happy with them.



How was the response to the album, it came out in October?


I think the metalpress, many of them, have written really good stuff. And we got some mediocre ones as well as bad ones. But those magazines that I tend to write, excuse me, read, they gave us a thumbs up. It seems like a good start.


You did all the recording, mixing and mastering in different places with different people. Why?


Joinus: It just turned out this way. We have a studio were we rehearse. And Richard who mixed the album is also in the Legion, and he did a killer job on both our demo's we recorded. So we choose to have him on the album as well. And to get a more fat sound, we chose to mix it somewhere else. And it turned out really good.


Legion: And the mastering courtesy was, because Peter de Bateau and Fredman have a really good balance in their work with each other so it was a natural choice.


Emil: I worked with Peter de Bateau before, so I knew that he would do a great job for sure. It was a pretty sure conscious move.


Are you really satisfied with the album, or are there some things that could have been done better?


Emil: I go for number two! Yeah, of course. You'll always hear mistakes when you record an album. And I think we're discussing every day how much we'll improve the second album. We've been rehearsing quite a lot, so our minds are set up for the second album. Playing the songs from the first album has become a routine. It's fun to play them, and it's fun to watch people respond to the songs.


Thomas: The next album will be...


Joinus: It will kill [Laughter]


Legion: It's definitely a few notches up and it's amusing to see how much things have grown. Because I remember when we were sitting in Emil's home studio. Me, Joinus and Emil were putting together some songs, I can't remember which ones. We left out some riffs that we thought like: these are song killer riffs but don't really fit this song so let's save it for the second album. And now we've written some new material and we listened to those riffs and we went: what the fuck is up with this crap? This shit is not going to be on the next album. It's just been going forward a lot. And the band chemistry is the reason why. We've become five really good friends. Everybody is pulling in different directions but everybody can respect each other’s ideas too. It's a good fusion, compared to how we did the first album


Emil: And we all have such a passion for sitting together and creating something. I haven't experienced that with the other bands I'm in.



You said you were going to record in July, when can we expect the new album?


Legion: January 2009


What was the first album that made you think, I want to play in a metalband?


Inmediately Thomas: Guns 'n Roses – Appetite for Destruction


Joinus: For me I think it was the first album by WASP. I wanted to start a band called WASP 2 but I decided against it.


Emil: I have to say for me it was Sepultura – Beneath the Remains


Legion: Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind


Roberth: Twisted Sister – Under The Blade


It's nice to hear something different than Kiss, Kiss, Kiss.


Roberth in disbelief: Kiss??


jokingly the band: Who's that? Never heard of them!


If you're really busy with rehearsing and stuff, do you have time to visit concerts in your area?


Legion: Yes, of course


Joinus: Whenever there is a metalband we want to see, we go there. You have to give the bands... I don't know what I wanted to say....


Legion: But it's just, Sweden is a shitty scene like that. It's all weak turn outs and far drives.


Emil: Especially our hometown.


Legion: Yes, so not all tours really get up there. When I was living in Germany I was so spoiled. If I wanted to go to a metal show I could go almost every day because something is always happening there. Up north It’s not the same but Swedes are used to driving. If we want to see a show then it is no biggie to drive for a few hours because that's what you have to do. But if you really like a band and really want to support them it sucks. I think a concert is probably the best invention since the book. You can't duplicate it, you can't download it, you have to be there.


Emil: People can download. In one way it's just good for promotion that it's available. Sure, we don't make any money out of it but still the name comes up.


Tomas: And the songs and stuff like that.



And in the end if people like it they will attend the concert and buy a t-shirt or album..


Legion: Exactly


Emil: And if you make quality music people will buy the album


Legion: Internet holds freedom and power. So it's kinda like you’ve got to take the bad with the good. I choose to take it the way things are because you can push a button and get out there. Before that it was basically impossible.

Tomas: And actually Seth, who did the cover, he did a fucking amazing job. So the booklet and everything looks killer. And it's very amusing that he sings in Septic Flesh so we actually are touring with the guy that made our cover.


Legion: Yes, it was great to meet the guy.


When you're busy writing songs, do you actually listen to other music or do you need other influences?


Emil: I try not to listen to anything while creating because I want to be focused on creating something without musical influences. It's different with musical influences and other things like books or thoughts, feelings.


Legion: I always listen to music and I think in a way it affects you more than you think. So it's probably going to sound a little like what is spinned most in the CD player. It's a good move if you don't want a niche for music you should not listen too much to certain cd's. Which I just do all the time. It's the same as Coca-cola: they bombard you with commercials and in the end you'll buy it without even thinking. So I guess it's the same thing.


And of course all the other kinds of Cola are crap:


Band: absolutely!


All the different versions are horrible:


Legion: Yes, it's a rip-off so it's the same kind of concept. Yeah, no. You get what I'm saying. If you're displayed to something too much you'll eventually absorb it and think about it. We'll see if something will spill through on the new album. I tend to obsess over cd's. If I pick up something and it's really, really good I can listen to it over and over again.


That was it for me, any last words?


Joinus: Thank you for the interview


Tomas: Hope you enjoyed the beer!


I certainly did! Thank you for the interview


As always, questions pop up after the interview. Luckily Legion was watching the Vader show and I got a chance to ask him if there would be any summer festival shows by Devian.


Legion: Not at the moment no, especially as we're heading to the studio when the festivals start. But we're keeping all options open!     




Current members :
Legion - Vocals
Joinus - Lead and rythm guitar
Tomas Nilsson - Lead and rythmguitar
Roberth Karlsson - Bass
Emil Dragutinovic - Drums and percussion


Albums :
Ninewinged Serpent (2007)