We're at the Orion Club, in Rome. It's wednesday the 21st and it's seven P.M., a couple of hours befor the show starts. We introduce ourselves and the interview with Per "Sodo" Eriksson begins with him lighting up a cigarette. So, the question comes natural:

R&MIMB: Do you think it's a part of the process for a musician to smoke, or drink, or stuff like that?
Per: Not really, but it kinda comes with the territory, you know? You have a lot of time to kill so it's easy to pick up the cigarette... Or the bottle! Wich is worse i guess. By the way I don't drink any more before the shows and I stopped drinkng during the show. I only drink after.

R&MIMB: Wise choice! But let's now talk about music. You're into the Bloodbath project, right?
Per: Yeah, I play guitar in Bloodbath.

R&MIMB: So, as a lot of people here also love Bloodbath, I was wondering if you were going to bring also this band to Italy.
Per: We would love to bring Bloodbath anywhere, basically... but it's so hard, you know? Three of us are in Katatonia, and we tour a lot! And than two of them are in Opeth (well, one at least now) and it's very hard for us to find the time to do it. I wouldn't mind doing a tour or something, but I don't think it's ever going to happen.

R&MIMB: Yeah, that's not so easy. Well beside all the projects you've had, as a band, a carreer that lasted twenty one years. Is it hard, after many years of shows and stuff, to keep alive the spirit, and the enthusiasm you felt before?
Per: Well... I've not been in the band for twentyone years, so I don't know a lot about it...

R&MIMB: Ok, but, i mean, you are a musician anyway, so...
Per: Yes, i've been playing guitar for nearly twenty years, and I guess you come across a lot of things that inspire you to do music still. It's not like you're getting sick of doing music. So it's not really like we're getting bored or anything. We change it up a little bit, we meet people, other musicians, and get inspired all the time. So it's pretty much the same: not exciting as it used to be but it's still good. I still love doing it!

R&MIMB: And it's basically evident in the songs that you write.. Dealing with that, you've been asked a lot about your last album.
Per: Oh yeah!

R&MIMB: Is that something you told nobody and you want people to know?
Per: Not really... 'cause it wasn't so far from a normal recording. Some of the stuff is thing we had never done before, but there are no secrets...

R&MIMB: No strange potions nor battles against dragons?
Per: No, not at all.

R&MIMB: Oh ok! We'll resign ourselves to it! Now, mark well, i'm not saying that to offend you but for the love i have for truth I must ask. Some people consider your sound very similar to Opeth's one (I think it's a bit to easy to compare you two bands) but in amore introspective way. So, do you think it's untrue, or offensive, or is there really a connection between you (beside Bloodbath i mean)?
Per: We're very good friends. Jonas, Mike and Anders are friends since they were kids. I guess the band have kinda gone next to each other for all these years. We are all very good friends, and we hang out and stuff like that.

R&MIMB: So do you think this is what pours into your music and makes you have a little point of contact?
Per: Well, is it really that similar? Especially in their older albums, they have longer songs, more metal and then softer stuff. I understand why people wanna compare the two bands but i don't see that much similarity.

R&MIMB: It's not my fault, i read it on Wikipedia.
Per: (Laughs) Well, the band have always been compared to each other, because we all know each other. We grew up in the same town. I understand it.

R&MIMB: Well, if there's a thing you and Opeth surely have in common ( and it's a thing i always thought myself) it's that many of your songs lend themselves very vell to an orchestral version, if you think about it.
Per: Yeah, that's true.

R&MIMB: So, have you ever though of making that type of album, like an "S&M" but Katatonia style?
Per: The thing is that right now we are working to our next album. I think it's not official and i don't know if i'm supposed to talk about this, but i'm gonna do it anyway. So you're gonna have some news.

R&MIMB: Oh cool!
Per: The thing is that we're doing a different version of our latest album, taking off all the drums, all the distorted guitar, and adding more keyboard and stuff to make a more atmospheric album that will be mixed next month. It's gonna be cool! I donno if i was supposed to say it.

R&MIMB: Don't worry, i'll cut it!
Per: No you won't!

R&MIMB: You're right. Even if you try killing me right now i won't cut it! By the way, going from the last album to the first ones, there's something i'd like to ask you. Tell me if you know something about it. I just found out that the rimastered version of "Dance of December Souls" published in 2004 had a different artwork than the original version. Was it just a stylistical choice or was it significantly substantial? I mean, is there a deep meaning in it?
Per: I have no idea. I didn't even know that. Who made the new cover? Was that for marketing, maybe?

R&MIMB: Ok, i think i should cut this one, indeed.
Per: Ahahah ok!

R&MIMB: Dealing with music. As we said before it's very capable to transmit very deep, strong and kinda sad feelings. How do you manage to pour all your experiences and all your sensations into the music you play and compose?
Per: The thing is that we live in Sweden, that's kind of a dark and cold place. We have a month of real summer and the rest is kinda depressive, so i think it comes kinda natural for us. I gess we have a lot of depression in Sweden, and stuff like that, and it's very easy for us to write that kind of music. We don't struggle to push the depression into the music. It comes natural. We're a little bit depressed as folks I guess. (Laughs)

R&MIMB: Well, it's quite common in all the scandivian bands, but I found out that Swedish bands interiorize all these feelings more than Norwegian ones, for exemple, that throw them into music, as you said before, like with black metal. You have, if i'm allowed to say that, a softer approach.
Per: Maybe it's just because we don't try to force it. I guess this is the difference, when you try to push it, it sounds a little bit innatural.

R&MIMB: So you're telling me you don't act like you are cool but you actually are.
Per: Yeah! I try!

R&MIMB: Here in Italy we're totally different. You should know a bit about that cause you signed in 1994 with avantgarde music, which is an Italian Label... Have you noticed any difference of treatment between labels and management , or label's countries?
Per: It's pretty much always the same thing. You always get caught in between stuff. It's always a battle between what you want to do and what the management and record companies want you to do, so when you sign your first record deal that's your soul, right there.

R&MIMB: When we are in Italy we always want a band to tell us we are the best people and the best audience ever, so..
Per: I can't tell you, cause we haven't played yet!

R&MIMB: Ok, but, you have to expect crazy stuff. They will know all the lyrics by heart even if they don't know english. But let's get to the point. Playing all these years you experienced different countries. Which one fits your personality best as musicians and as people, also?
Per: All the countries are so different. We just playd in Poland which was mindblowing! People went fucking crazy. I was like "What The Fuck is going on?" We also played in Estonia, in which we hadn't played for seven years more or lass, and that was crazy too. Finland is always been our number one country, but i see it happen everywhere right now, especially since the last album. In Finland our albums always do good, lots of people come to the shows... Finland is always been good for us, but i feel great in many other places as well.

R&MIMB: Another thing I noticed myself about your albums, especially in the first ones, is that some bass lines ar very close, speaking of atmosphere, to the ones played by gothwave and darkwave bands like "The Cure"...
Per: Yeah, or "Sisters Of Mercy"...

R&MIMB:  Exactly! So, is there any real connection? Are you fans of them?
Per: Absolutely! The old stuff of course. Jonas and Anders listen to a lot of "The Fields Of Nephilim" and many other bands so i suppose this is true.

R&MIMB: Of course i don't mean they are the same. I didn't even notice that at the first listening, but it comes to the ear only after you've interiorized the song a little bit.
Per: That's probably true. It's a little subconscious, it sneaks in a little bit. I don't think anyone listens to "The Sisters Of Mercy" today, you know. We don't intentionally put it in the albums today but I guess it's in there, cause we used to love it.

R&MIMB: This tour you're into right now has a HUGE amount of gigs! How do you manage to do that without going mad? Cocaine?
Per: No cocaine, no! (Laughs) No one really does drugs in here.We just drink a lot! But it's right, it's really hard touring for so long. So it's really important that you keep your friends near and you don't fight a lot about shit. But we hardly never do, so.. It's hard work for sure. A two months tour means staying away from home. Some of the guys have kids at home so it's hard. And we just came back from a tour in the US. We stayed home for like three weeks and then left again for Europe. We're gonna keep touring next year, you know. So we're getting used to it but it IS hard work, for sure!

R&MIMB: It is exactly what i was wondering. I mean, when you go on tour you never see friendly faces out there...
Per: Well sometimes our friends or girlfriends come over. We played in Stockholm this time, and my mom and my dad came over, and that's been cool. And they're old. (Smiles)

R&MIMB: Hahaha! Listen. Speaking of huge amounts of activity, I saw on your facebook that you have one of the biggest sum of stuff ever seen on an official page: messages, questions, even people posting pictures of their tattooes about you!!
Per: I love that! It's really fun, you know? But there's a backside to the whole facebook and internet thing as well cause we have no private lives anymore. It's really hard cause everybody knows stuff about you that they're not supposed to know. It's ok, i don't have any secrets, but i saw people found about my phone number!

R&MIMB: Is it possible?
Per: Yeah, it is possible. I didn't put my phone number on facebook but somehow they found it. People know where you live and it's creepy. I don't live in Stockholm like the rest of the guys so i'm a little bit safer. But people who are in stockhnolm are there all the time... you don't know, someone could knock at your door and fucking kill you! You can get raped by some guy.

R&MIMB: That must be unpleasant! Cause Swedish guys are two meters tall, with wide shoulders...
Per: Yeah, like vikings! That's a stereotype. It's not so true, but you never know. (Laughs)

R&MIMB: On the other side you also like to communicate with your fans i suppose.
Per: Yeah! You meet a lot of people when you're out touring and you can keep in touch with people you toured with.

R&MIMB: Cool! Well, i think we're quite done. I just have a last thing to ask you. Could you please leave a message to our italian readers and to your italian fans as well?
Per: Well, last time we played here was awesome so i'm sure this time it will be the same. So, we love you!

Sally reynold