Devian | Interview with Tomas Nilsson


Moderately billed in Century Media ads as a promising act featuring former members of Ophthalamia and Marduk, it’s fair to state that Sweden’s Devian primarily caught the attention of press and general public thanks to the long musical pedigree trailing behind them, yet their first album “Ninewinged Serpent” showcased a group willing to cut the links with the past and set out their own path.
Although their brand of Blackened Death Metal displayed on “Ninewinged Serpent” did inevitably bear some similarities with vocalist Legion and drummer Emil Dragutinovic’s precedent work on Marduk it also proved that Devian don’t need that kind of name-dropping publicity and are perfectly capable of standing on their own feet.
If any more evidences are needed then their emerging second full-length will dissipate any doubts of their immense potential.
Scratch the Surface learnt more about the forthcoming “God to the Illfated” release from guitarist Tomas Nilsson.

Devian has done an extensive tour throughout Europe last year to promote their first release "Ninewinged Serpent" right along Vader, Septic Flesh and Inactive Messiah. What was it like touring for nearly two months in a row and what memories do you hold from that tour?

“I think we all got a little bit surprised by how smoothly everything went. The other bands, Vader, Septicflesh and Inactive Messiah, were all outstanding guys to hang out with and the booking agency, Massive Music, was really good working with.
No fuck ups or anything just two months of insane playing and crazy partying. Haha, we got a shitload of stories from that tour.
In Holland we had a big wrestling game within the band that ended with Emil hitting me so hard in the face that my glasses flew to hell and in the next second I was over him, wrestling him down to ground.
After one gig in Spain we had damn nice vodka after party with Peter from Vader that told us about the beginning of Vader and the struggle they had to go thru for being an extreme metal band in Poland. That was a night I will remember for long.
On the last night of the tour we did a Vader and Devian crossover and performed "Raining Blood" by Slayer together. In other words, loads of memories!”

Did you felt the audiences were still a bit unfamiliar with Devian's sonority considering your debut had just been released at the time?

“No, it actually felt like a big welcoming while entering the stage. Some staff from Century Media came to our show in Essen and they were bit late so we had already started the show. They told us afterwards that when they were entering the club they thought there was some kind of riot going on. Some places where better than others but in general it was a big warm welcome.”

So what was like the overall response to "Ninewinged Serpent", from press and fans in general?

“The press has been very positive. Especially Legion feels that this is a big welcome back for him. Some press has been more thrilled than other. I read somewhere that someone called this the best metal album from Sweden since “Storm of the Light's Bane” from Dissection. That's an honour!
This is just the beginning people…”

Meanwhile, Devian haven’t seen fit to rest on any of the laurels they’ve garnered with “Ninewinged Serpent” and already recorded a follow-up called "God to the Illfated", which is scheduled for release in December.
Was the band brimming with new ideas following the tour with Vader and eager to step into the studio again or there were already a lot material laying around ready to be committed into tape?

“We had written the first songs even before the Vader tour. We brought all the demos and a laptop on the tour and were arranging and recording stuff on the road.
For the new track we recently uploaded on our Myspace “Assailant”, I was already writing the first parts of it in Sweden, and then in France we changed the intro and stuff, on another day off in Austria we finished the solo part and then finally we finished it off in the rehearsal room when we got back home. So… some of the tracks have been written and arranged in different countries, it's amazing what you can do with the stuff today!”

Did the label pressure the band in someway to keep things rolling at such intense pace in order to maintain the band's name as active as possible?

“Century Media mailed us on the tour and asked when we could record the second album. We looked through the demos we had on the laptop and told them to give us one month after we have gotten home from the tour and then we'll record a second album. We're a very creative band with a lot of creative minds.
I can tell you that we already have a shitload of material for future Devian songs.”

"God to the Illfated" certainly doesn't sound rushed in anyway, yet the differences between the new release and its predecessor "Ninewinged Serpent" are minimum.
"God to the Illfated" certainly sound more refined and mature than "Ninewinged Serpent", yet stylistically the formula doesn't stray too far from the one explored on the debut work perhaps there's a greater emphasis on the Thrash-driven riffs.
I understand the new album is the result of a collective effort whereas the previous release was written on a more individual basis, right?

“Ninewinged Serpent” was mostly written by Emil and Legion at their home studios. Jonas contributed with a few songs and arranged Emil's and Legion's riffs so they became more guitar orientated.
Some of the songs were never rehearsed before the recording session. “God to the Illfated” is mainly written by Emil, me and Joinus. We brought ideas to the rehearsal room before and after the Vader tour and jammed and fused them together more as a band.
So the new album is more a team effort than the first one. My contribution to song writing process brought a more melodic touch this time. I think “God to the Illfated” is a huge step forward for us.”

So how would you say Devian have evolved both musically and as a band during this short period of time?

“The tour really fused us together. We are more and more becoming a brotherhood than just a pack of friends. We have grown together as a unit and I think you can see that if you see a Devian concert.
When it comes to the musical issue we are moving forward all the time and getting better and better together.”


Is there a theme running throughout "God to the Illfated"?
What can you tell me about the lyrical themes of the album?

“You can say that “God to the Illfated” is the next step of “Ninewinged Serpent”. There is no theme like on a King Diamond album, it's deeper and more for the beholder to find out.
The basic idea for “Ninewinged Serpent” was the fall of the rebel angel. Enough is enough, if you can't raise a kingdom here, then you go somewhere else where you actually can raise your own kingdom.
“God to the Illfated” is the dawn of a new order where this demon is rising and he's making himself a God, a new God and a God to the Illfated ones.”

"God to the Illfated" was once again recorded at Art Decay Studio with Rickard Kottelin, yet this time Devian opted to hook up with Hypocrisy/Pain mastermind Peter Tägtgren for further production work and mixing of the album at his The Abyss Studios.
What made you decide to bring Peter Tägtgren for some readjustments in the production work and for the mixing of the new album?

“Legion has worked with him in the past so it was an easy decision to make. For me personally it has always been a dream to go to The Abyss studio and record. So many good albums have been made there!
It was a real honour to do this and it was so cool to discover that Peter is this down to earth guy, a real workaholic that has given his mind and soul to music. When Legion and I got to The Abyss studio he had been working with the drums and the bass sound and we were so excited when we heard what he had accomplished.
He also put his touch on the vocals by coaching Legion and he even did a guest performance on one of my songs and that was a real dream coming true for me, damn I was happy! Haha, I actually made him do a “Roswell 47” scream in the end of the song. Listen to "I'm the Pariah" on the new Devian album and you'll hear it!”

Devian will embark on a European tour this January with bands like Deicide, Samael and Vader on the bill.
What kind of expectations do you have regarding that tour and do you already have plans to tour more extensively throughout Europe?

“I think the whole tour will be a blast! I'm so looking forward to it, going out on the road again and with that bill! It will be very cool to share stage with such big names every night for those weeks!
After this Winterfest tour we just go home and change the strings on the guitars then probably I'll be down at the gym for some good pack of time and then 4 weeks later we'll be out on the road again to do a tour in north of Europe with Unleashed and Belphegor.”

Finally I understand you're a massive Guns n' roses fan, so do you care to share your opinion about their long overdue "Chinese Democracy" album.
Did you already had the chance to hear some of the songs?

“I have this long time friend here in Sweden. We have been waiting for this album for like 14 years (just like the Guns n' Roses song hehe) so I will not listen to a single tune from that album before I meet him the 13th December and then we'll have this huge Guns n' Roses party and do some heavy drinking and just let it spin all the night long.
Damn… I have been waiting for this album for a long time. It will surely be interesting to hear it. Legion actually called me today and said that he just heard it. But I… I will bide my time until December.”

More info: