BLASPHEMY BLUES – DAVID DÖRAGRIP, JOHAN
Art: Gyula Havancsák
Bio: Swedish melodic death/thrash metal with a stench of Black – debut album ‘Blasphemy Blues’, released November 11th, 2022. Originally called “VildVittra”, based on the characters created by Astrid Lindgren as part of “Ronja Rövardotter”, the name later evolved into Vittra, inspired by the mythical creatures appearing in Swedish folk stories. And while Swedish folk is a recurring theme weaving in and out of the music, the band is firmly rooted in Melodic Death and Thrash Metal in the veins of Dissection, early In Flames, Megadeth, and At the Gates. Founded in 2017 by David Döragrip (vocals) and Johan Murmester (guitar), the lineup was complete in 2018 with Alex Smith (drums) and Gustav Svensson (bass) joining the band. In the studio and on stage, Vittra is also joined by Lars Elofsson on lead guitar since 2021. In 2021 the debut EP Wardens was released and recorded at SolnaSound Production, Sweden, with the support of Simon Johansson (Soilwork, Wolf). In October 2021, only a few months later, the band entered SolnaSound again, supported by both Simon and Mike Wead (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate). In April 2022, Blasphemy Blues was finalised. Lawrence Mackrory (Bloodbath, Lik, Firespawn) handled the mixing and mastering. Hjules created the cover artwork.
HMA: What creative process do you have for your music and lyrics?
David: Most of the songs on this album are about sex, but with a twist. There’s always a mythological creature that pops up, and as I’m writing, I realise that they are represented more than sex. It’s mostly about mythical creatures, but the two songs are about sex. I’m a big fan of slaughtering newborn children, just straight out of the womb and with a quick stab. It gets the creative juices flowing. No, but seriously, you need to have a clear head. Remove stress and do what you must to survive; if that doesn’t help, there’s always alcohol.
Johan: Zombie Jesus is worth mentioning; he seems to be a bit of a theme for David. Also, Self-Loathing, getting high on self-pity. So, it is still a bit varied, I would say. In general, we write the music first. Then the rest of us play it repeatedly, working on the arrangements. In the meantime, David usually sits on a chair somewhere in the room, entirely in his world, and then suddenly something pops up, a word or a phrase, and then he builds the lyrics based on that. The rest of us usually don’t have that much input, more “there should be something additional there” or “maybe change the phrasing a bit to get a better flow in that part”.
David: As Vince Mcmahon put it, “life sucks, and then you die”. So, I try to bring some joy to this world with music.
HMA: How did you get into heavy music?
Johan: It goes back to the first Mötley Crüe albums ‘Too Fast For Love and Shout at the Devil’ combined with Kiss ‘Animalize’ and Accept ‘Balls to the Wall’. I was young then, but I’ve realised that they significantly influenced me.
HMA: Any vices?
David: I would say I’m anal but not as in anal retentive, which Johan, our guitarist, is. I enjoy making jokes about the ass, or anus, as the adults say it.
Johan: Obsessive behaviours, but I haven’t figured out how they contribute creatively in this case. More than that, I want to finalise things once I get started.
HMA: People you admire outside of the metal scene?
David: Thorsten Flinck.
Johan: It’s a Swedish actor, brilliant but seems to be a bit “special”. I, besides metal, listen a lot to pop music. It could be some famous Swedish songwriters/producers like the guys in Abba or Max Martin. I’m also a big fan of Miley Cyrus; she is definitely more rock than most metal bands.
HMA: Why is music important to you?
David: The world would be a very quiet place without music. It depends on what type of music you are referring to. Our music is for entertainment.
Johan: To me, it’s about creativity. The experience of something popping up in your head, you massage it together with the rest of the guys in the band, and then suddenly, you have recorded it. It has grown to be far different (hopefully better) than where you started. It’s a cool thing. I think it’s also something that unites us in different shapes or forms. Just go to a huge stadium concert or, at the other end of the spectrum, a small club gig where there is something magic in the air. I prefer the smaller venue, though.