Highwire Daze: Where is the band from and how long have you been together?
Dennis Ekdahl: We're from Stockholm, Sweden, and I've been playing with the band since the beginning of 96.
HD: How does Not Dead Yet compare to your first album Holy Target?
Dennis: I think there’s a pretty big difference. It’s the same kind of style, except that we slowed it down pretty much and took away all of the blast beats. It’s the same kind of trash metal. I don’t know what happened – we just developed into a much slower style. We wanted to have different beats instead of just blast beats – we thought it was the right thing to do.
HD: Who came up with the idea for the cover and who’s the girl?
Dennis: I think it was me and Jonas who came up with it. We all put ideas into the photo. We hired a model for the photo – she’s a pretty famous Swedish model. And we got everything ourselves – the make-up table and all the sh*t for the photo.
HD: Your songs on Not Dead Yet go beyond the blasphemous “let’s bomb the churches” songs you had on the first album. What made you decide to do a song called “Babes” on this album?
Dennis: Every lyric on the first album was about the same thing. We wanted to do something different. We decided to write about things we like and things we like to do. We like girls so that’s why we wrote “Babes.” It was basically easier to do these kinds of lyrics, because it’s about how we live and how we want to live.
HD: Do you think organized religion is a bad thing for everybody?
Dennis: Yeah, I hate all kinds of religions. People should have their own minds.
HD: What songs on the new record are you the most excited about playing live and why?
Dennis: I like “Dance With The Devil” the most – I think it comes out best when we play it. It’s my favorite song. We’ve been rehearsing like hell now for the Destruction gigs – I like every song now because they are starting to sound good when we play them. It’s much easier to play these songs live than the Holy Target songs.
HD: Any chance of you guys coming to the States to play?
Dennis: I don’t know. If we get the offer, of course we will come. It’s nothing we will do by ourselves because it costs too much money, but if we get an offer from the label, then we’ll come right away.
HD: On the first album, just how annoying was it to do that photo with all the red stuff all over you?
Dennis: (laughs) I think it was funny. We use the blood live actually, as well. Not on tour, but we do it whenever we have gigs here in Sweden. But it’s too much work to do it on the whole tour.
HD: What do you think makes Raise Hell stand apart from other bands, especially in Sweden?
Dennis: I don’t know, but I think too much bands try to sound like they’re playing some kind of old style. But we don’t do that style, but people still think we have some old feeling into our music. But it’s something new, but in that way I agree with that. Because it doesn’t sound old, but it has some kind of old feelings. That’s why we shot the front cover – it’s a classical photo of some girl in front of the mirror being the devil or whatever. But instead of having medieval touches, we had (modern day) Manhattan in the background. But it’s a new trash style now.
HD: What do you think of the U.S. death bands like Cannibal Corpse and Monstrosity?
Dennis: I love Cannibal Corpse! I saw their concert a few weeks ago actually. I was totally stoned and I f*cking loved it!
HD: Have you ever had any problems with your anti-religious themes?
Dennis: No, not really. The reason why we chose to complain about Christianity on the first album is because we have too much Christianity here in Sweden. We don’t get bothered by too many other religions in Sweden. It’s just that we have too many traditions here in Sweden and it sucks. When you get born, you are automatically a member of the church. They try to push money out of people and it sucks! We don’t have any problems of being against it.
HD: You should come over to America and visit the religious people here!
Dennis: (laughs) I know! We thought our album would be censored in America. We were kind of surprised. I even talked to the people at Nuclear Blast America and said, “Do you think they will censor this one?” And they were like, “We don’t know, but hopefully not.” And we’re just lucky it didn’t happen.
HD: The love censoring Cannibal Corpse though…
Dennis: Yeah, I know. I’ve got the censored version myself.
HD: Tell me about some of the stranger habits your band members have while on tour.
Dennis: Just getting too drunk all of the time. And too stoned.
HD: What are the future plans for Raise Hell?
Dennis: We’ll have our release party gigs with Destruction. And after that, we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the album and how much it sells. The only thing we have booked so far is the Wacken Open Air . Maybe we’ll go on tour later on, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
HD: Do you have any messages for metal fans here in the States?
Dennis: Just to let hell break loose and check out the new album!
The Raise Hell line-up is Jonas Nilson on vocals and guitar, Torstein Wickberg on guitar, Niklas Sjöström on bass, and Dennis Ekdahl on drums. Not Dead Yet is now available from Nuclear Blast Records!
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS: The record label for all that is Raise Hell!
AN EARLIER INTERVIEW WITH DENNIS OF RAISE HELL: From Highwire Daze conducted last year.
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!