DAN SWANÖ: 'I Have Done Records That I Would Never Listen To Unless You Put A Gun To My Head'

David E. Gehlke of DeadRhetoric.com recently conducted an interview with Swedish multi-instrumentalist and producer Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY, BLOODBATH). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

DeadRhetoric.com: You closed Unisound several years ago, but have since reactivated it. What made you re-open the studio?

Dan Swanö: I think I wanted to get away from the endless wheel that kept on going with two weeks with one band, and when they were leaving, the next one came. Because I was so booked for a few years solid, I had three days off a year, and it gets to you. At the same time, my son was young and I was having all of these bad nights with no sleep. It got to me. One of those days when I was not feeling the "love" from the studio, I went to a local music shop where I bought most of my equipment. They told me this guy was leaving and asked if I wanted his job selling studio things, keyboards, and synthesizers and I said, "Fuck yeah, I'm in!" So I quit the studio in February of that year, so it was like, "Tell all of your friends!" But, I had six months left [of work], so it was like, "Fuck, I have to go there. I need money to make a living." After a while of working in the shop, I was thinking it was okay, I'm a normal guy now. But while working in the shop, I started checking out all of this equipment, and thought maybe I should try to record something with it. [laughs] Before I knew it, I had a new place, I had a rehearsal room, which was a stone's throw away from the studio, but in a cellar, not a cool tower. From there, I started to do the MOONTOWER stuff, and the ODYSSEY stuff, then the BLOODBATH mini-album. I called it "The Sanctuary". At that time, I'd sneak down there in my lunch break and bring along some weird effect, and try out some flanger or something, but then I'd go back to the shop and sell gear. [laughs] Eventually, guys were like, "You're still mixing DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE and THE PROJECT HATE, so maybe you should mix our record." I did a band from England called EVOKE, then I did DEW-SCENTED, and then when NOVEMBERS DOOM got in touch, and told me they were thinking of ditching Neil Kernon and working with you, I was like, "Ah, okay!" I got really psyched up and bought new gear and from that point on, when things started to happen with NOVEMBERS DOOM and their friends, I thought maybe there's a future there. The ball kept rolling.

DeadRhetoric.com: You've done some pretty high-quality stuff lately, like OMNIUM GATHERUM, but like we were saying — there's still a heavy workload for you.

Swanö: I believe that I have done some records that I would never listen to unless you put a gun to my head, but they have great sounds. The reason why you don't mention these bands is because they suck. They never got to the next level because there's a natural order of things. Bands that suck, even with a good production will not make it. Even if they run big ads in magazines or Blabbermouth, or whatever, but for me, I did my job.

DeadRhetoric.com: With the success of OPETH and KATATONIA, do you have some sense of pride? You were there with both bands at the beginning of their career, and had a big hand in helping them get started.

Swanö: KATATONIA more than OPETH. Sometimes you can speculate, but if KATATONIA had used to the blast-beat part they were trying to use in "Without God", and I wasn't there to stop them, I don't think they would have made it past their first demo. You never know the twist of the universe; I really took them under my wing, maybe because they were EDGE OF SANITY fans and that made me proud. I made sure their first demo kicked ass and put keyboards on and made sure it was super-cool, and in a few weeks or months, they had a deal. With OPETH, it was like taking on this mastodon-sized production ("Orchid") in a few weeks with a very small budget, like $1,000. [laughs] I woke up at 7 in the morning, and would mix 24 hours straight. I was bleeding out of my ears, then one year, it was released. I have nothing to do with the success of OPETH musically; I never touched anything — I was just happy to be the guy recording them.

Read the entire nterview from DeadRhetoric.com.

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