Bio: Nonexist was formed in 2000 when Johan Reinholdz presented some death/thrashmetal demo-tracks for Bengt ”Wez” Wenedikter of Swedish WAR-music (Darkane, Defleshed, Naglfar etc). Reinholdz’ other band Andromeda had recently signed a deal with WAR and now it was time for Nonexist to sign the papers. Ex-Arch Enemy/Furbowl/Carnage vocalist Johan Liiva was recruited along with Dark Funeral/Defleshed-drummer Matte Modin.
With no formal rehearsing under their belts the guys entered Abyss Studios in November 2001 and cut the tracks for the debutalbum Deus Deceptor which was put out on the market in May 2002.
Following the release of the album Nonexist became nonexistent as the members went their separate ways – Reinholdz with Andromeda, Liiva with Hearse and Modin with Dark Funeral and Raised Fist among others. Reinholdz continued to write songs during the years to come, most of which were discarded though.
However, in 2009 a collection of Nonexist-songs that were up to snuff emerged, the title From My Cold Dead Hands came about and Reinholdz started focusing on getting a sophomore album finished. In 2011 Liiva joined the band again and a contract was signed with American label Pivotal Rockorings for a digital release. 2012 was spent cutting the album at Multipass Studios with Reinholdz producing and mixing. From My Cold Dead Hands was finished in September and released in November.
Nonexist made their first gig ever at the Scorched Tundra Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden in December 2012.
Early 2013 the band signed with American Abyss Records for a physical release of the album. The Abyss Records-edition of From My Cold Dead Hands features three bonus tracks: cover-versions of Coroner’s Masked Jackal, Merciless’ Realm of the Dark and Eucharist’s Greeting Immortality.
It started back in 2000. I had come in contact with Swedish label WAR-music and the boss Wez Wenedikter. We had signed a contract for my other band Andromeda and Wez also got interested in the demos I made in the death/thrash-vein. So he offered me a deal for this project which carried a few different names like Legacy and Legacy of Pain and a couple more before we settled for Nonexist, which was more original.
Johan Liiva was just then out of Arch Enemy, he also played in Carnage and Furbowl before that by the way, and Wez knew Liiva since the time Arch Enemy were signed to his previous label Wrong Again Records. So Wez invited Liiva to join Nonexist and then we got Matte Modin, then in Defleshed and Dark Funeral to do the drums. He now plays in Raised Fist.
Without any rehearsals we entered Abyss Studios up north in Sweden in November 2001 and cut “Deus Deceptor” in ten days or so. The album came out in 2002, we did some press and then the band fell apart but was resurrected in 2010 and now we have a live-line up and hungry for making more albums!
Genre: We want to play metal that is intense, brutal and fast, but also has hooks and melodies and atmosphere, so this style then comes naturally to us!
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: It usually starts with the music. I come up with a couple of riffs that seems to fit together and then I connect them in a way that makes sense. So then I have the spine of the song which then can be expanded. Maybe add a couple of parts or do variations of the riffs that are already in place. Writing the drums is a very important part of this process for me. The drums make the riffs come alive and bloom out in their full potential. And sometimes I have a riff come back but with a different drum-beat – which can change everything.
The lyrics are then written to fit the music. Sometimes I have the title before I even do the music and then the theme for lyrics may be in the back of my head. Other times I have lyrics written previously that suddenly fit a new piece of music I’ve come up with.
Ideas about the album: We’re very happy! But of course there are things to improve, like the production. It was the first album I ever produced all by myself, so I’m learning as I go along. But basically all of the material we’re very satisfied with. We’ll continue in this vein on the next but also incorporate different stuff to keep it interesting and evolving.
Reception: Mixed! Hehe! Some really like it and some think it’s too varied and that the album isn’t cohesive enough. Which I think is absurd considering that the whole album is pure brutal, more or less. I mean I like all kinds of music so to me these people are very narrow-minded and don’t get that you need some variation and dynamics on an album. That makes the brutality stand out more.
Preference; live or studio: Haven’t really been on the road with this band yet so I don’t know! But I guess the road would be more fun. I love writing music and that whole process but playing live and getting feedback from the fans is the best thing for me as a musician. It’s extremely rewarding.
Next step; live or studio: A new album is being written and actually most of the songs are ready, musically anyway. We are lagging behind with the lyrics. We have some local shows coming up and we’ll see if we’ll get abroad soon or not. We are building the band up from scratch again almost so it’s tough right now. Especially considering how the music-scene works these days. But sure, we want to play live a lot, no doubt.
Future plans: A new album every other year, I think that’s realistic. Also keep the music evolving and don’t stagnate. Hopefully festival-gigs and tours! We want to get out there and thrash to the max!
Lyrics, themes and concepts: The lyrics deal with dark subjects overall. They have to fit the mood of the music of course so there’s a lot of death, hate, love, betrayal, pain, psychological issues. These lyrics are quite personal. Then we also have lyrics that are more extrovert so to speak – they deal more with observations about the world around us – like “Fire at Will” or “Collective Coma” for example. The lyrics often pop up by themselves but pretty often I work from a title, which sets the topic and mood.
Regarding how they influence the writing I refer back to the previous question about the writing process!
Composers: I wrote more or less “From My Cold Dead Hands” on my own. On the third album Liiva will write more lyrics and also music for one song.
Inspirations: Slayer, Morbid Angel, Merciless, Metallica, Sepultura, Iron Maiden, Terrorizer, Exhorder, Edge of Sanity, At the Gates, Pantera, Megadeth, Dan Swanö, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Dissection, Opeth, Dismember, Sisters of Mercy, Black Sabbath, Fields of the Nephilim, Mercyful Fate.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Music for its own sake. The band is really underground, hasn’t been active for quite some time so we have nothing to lose really, haha! We just throw out the music there and see what happens. I don’t think calculating too much about the style of the music is really beneficial actually. I think the people who listen can tell if the music comes from the musicians hearts or is more a cynical move to become popular.
Greatest Accomplishment: Both the quantity and quality of the albums I’ve made or made in collaboration with my band mates.