Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Interview: "The Godfather of Buzzsaw" Tomas Skogsberg of Sunlight Studio by Danny Nichols

Death Metal may have been birthed in England and California and popularized in Florida, but a case can be made for it having been perfected in Sweden.  

Many of the most influential bands of the genre (Dismember, Entombed, Grave, Treblinka, Carbonized, Carnage, Grotesque, Therion, Afflicted, Dark Throne, Cemetery, Refused, At the Gates, Katatonia, to name just a few), not only got their start in Sweden, but recorded at the same studio under the guidance of the same producer/recorder; Tomas Skogsberg of Sunlight Studio in Stockholm.  

Skogsberg, while working with Entombed on their debut album, Left Hand Path in 1989, innovated the sound of the buzzsaw guitar, which has become a staple of the genre ever since.  This essential sound has come to be referred to as the Sunlight Studio Tone.

It was an honor to be able to interview the Godfather of the Buzzsaw, or as another publication once described him the “Uber-god of Death Metal”, Tomas Skogsberg.

Danny at Glacially Musical: What were your musical tastes and musical influences prior to establishing Sunlight Studio? What bands were you listening to before becoming a part of the industry yourself?

Tomas Skogsberg: Black Sabbath,The Beatles,Yes

GM: Are there any producers or sound engineers whom you consider to be a particular influence?

TS: Rick Rubin,George Martin,Trevor Horn

GM: How did you learn the business and process of music recording?

TS: I learn myself, and watching and listening to the masters.

GM: How did the establishment of Sunlight Studio come about?

TS: I was tired of hearing that it could not proceed with things in the studio because of a tired sound engineer.

GM: How did you first start to attract the attention of metal bands wanting to record with you?

TS:  I'm curious, like challenges, never copy somebody else.I worked with punk bands in the beginning   where I came in contact with Death-metal, I wanted to do "My Sound"

GM: One of the first bands you worked with was early extreme metal band Morbid.  How did that come about?  What was it like working with the now legendary Morbid vocalist Dead?

TS: Sorry, I don't remember, but I think it was fun!

GM:  Explain the process by which you, along with Entombed guitarist Uffe Cederlund, first created the now famous buzzsaw guitar tone in 1989?

TS: Hmmmm. All work in the studio is a team-work

GM: Shortly after the release of Entombed’s Left Hand Path, you set about producing Carnage’s landmark album Dark Recollections, which again features the famous Sunlight Tone.  Had Carnage heard the Entombed album and requested  the same sound, or did you present this tone to them?

TS: It is the "Sunlight-sound" if you want it, you are welcome to work with Tomas Skogsberg.

GM: By 1991 you had really perfected the death metal sound and had become the destination studio for death metal artists.  At  this time your studio (along with Morrisound in Tampa) was the driving force behind much of the scene.  You were creating the sound many other studios were attempting to emulate.  You recorded Grave’s album Into the Grave and Dismember’s quintessential Like an Everflowing Stream at Sunlight in 1991. What was the recording process like at Sunlight in 1991? Were you working with a formula this point? How did you tailor the Sunlight sound to suit different bands within the same genre?

The board at Sunlight Studio

TS: I had the same basic idea! But different bands other way to work!

GM: How has recording extreme metal evolved over the years?  Besides the technical advances, how has your approach to recording metal bands changed?

TS: I work more with the computer now. I miss my tape recorder, I don't to follow the times.   I'm old school and work with analog stuff! My way.

GM: Given your huge catalogue of amazing albums, is there a specific album you are most proud of?

TS:  If I'm forced to answer! Entombed's Wolverine Blues because much of me is Death and Roll.

GM: With the prevalence of home recording studios, what does Sunlight Studio offer the modern band they cannot accomplish on their own?

TS: Me as a producer and my sound

GM: What new projects are you excited about coming out of Sunlight in the near future?

TS: Jesus Crusler Supercar,  Assblaster, King Legba, IDW

GM: How do you see the future of death metal? 

T.S.  50/50.some of the young people want to do old school! (Lucky me) , but it becomes more Stoner and Hard Rock!  Long live the Revolution!

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