This interview with Dan Swano was conducted by Bill Zebub for issue $6 of THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS which was published in 1996.
I heard thy one-song album for the first time yesterday. I was wondering if that entire song was recorded from start to finish without any breaks.
The only one-song album that thou hast ever made. “Crimson.”
O.K. Edge of Sanity. Yeah. To be honest, it wasn’t really recorded in one take because, you know, in the studio we recorded each instrument separately, so I guess the drums were playing for like five minutes at a time. But it’s not like any digital editing or anything like that – to make it sound like one song. It’s just that, at one point, you have to change the tape, that’s all. So I think thirty two minutes are actually recorded from the beginning to one point, and then we recorded the next eight minutes on another tape. That’s the only break, really.
What made thee decide to put out an album that is so unlistenable and so unmemorable? Dost thou not think that thou wilt lose the listener?
No, not really, because the reviews we received so far in Europe have been so overwhelming that I think we could do this always. This is a good record to separate the listeners that I want to listen to our music and not, because there’s a lot of people out there that should not listen to Edge of Sanity. They’re not the right people to do it. If they don’t like “Crimson” then farewell. They should never listen to us again, because this is really what we’re all about. This is the ultimate release.
The only people I know who enjoy the song are pseudo-musicians. Dost thou think that thou hast geared this album toward musicians?
Yeah. I guess a lot of people who listen to it are musicians. I think that they realize that we were a cool band already around the first or second album, because our songs have always contained, you know, the stuff that we formed in “Crimson.” We haven’t really changed our style. All we did was we took away the parts and just did one song out of it instead of trying to make ten songs. There is no difference in the music. The weirdest passages we have are very short, like one minute or something like that. We don’t want to win some time. We just wrote a track and it happened to be forty minutes. That’s basically it.
Dost thou think that because it is formatted as one song, if a person likes material on a later portion, it would be a tremendous inconvenience, being that one must manually skit twenty minutes or so?
He should never do that. “Crimson” should always be listened to from beginning to end.
Is that really thy attitude?
Yeah! You can never really listen to the track just to a part. That’s impossible. Of course, you CAN do it, but that’s not the point. I’d rather see “Crimson” as a movie than as a record because, if you have a favorite part of a film, you have to fast forward to that part just to look at it. But we want people to follow us from the intro to the outro. That’s where we want them – on the couch , listening to the music , not thinking of anything else but what comes out of the speakers. So that’s on purpose. They should listen to the whole, or not.
With each album there were increasing amounts of nontraditional elements. Wert thou trying to expand death metal?
We have already done that. We’re not able to take it any further. We have actually touched the extreme for quite a while, and we have been over that line a couple of times doing Goth rock. People just accept it anyway. I don’t know why, but they do it.
Wert thou vocally trained?
No, not at all. My voice flips out after doing a few minutes of growling stuff, so I guess that’s pure torture for my voice. I learned the basic technique over a ten year period. I prefer the long way in anything. When I play an instrument, I never take a lesson. I don’t want a teacher to tell me. I want me and the guitar to work it out together. One is dumb, the other can speak.
Are the Swedish more open-minded about changes in a band than Americans?
I think the Swedish people sometimes change the music of their bands too fast. They play death metal on the first one, and then are grunge on the second one. I guess the Swedish audience has problems accepting that a band can do a major change, but they also have a problem when a band doesn’t do a major change. It’s a contradiction all the way through.
I think that the way is is marketed should be changed.
After the second album we said that we’re a metal band. We’re like alternative metal. I rather see fans of bands like Dream Theater see it as the most extreme thing that they can cope with than to see a Cannibal Corpse fan think it’s too corny. We’re the most brutal band to SOME people. That’s my goal. Myself, I don’t listen to death metal at all. I prefer to listen to soft stuff.
Dost thou not think that it is foolish to say what thou hast confessed?
A lot more bands should say it! they should not hide that they listen to Stryper records. My heart has never been in death metal. The way that I think of our music, it’s not death metal at all. We did, like, one and a half death metal albums in the early days. If someone should think that we’re wimps because I don’t like death metal, they should see the other guys. They only listen to rap. They’re not into death metal at all. They cut their hair – colored it rose and pink. All we have in common is that we’re playing it right now. We like writing it, but we don’t like listening to it.
Dost thou not fear being heckled, or violently beaten?
No, because if they’re such narrow-minded assholes, I don’t care.