Interview with Plutonium

Have any of you played in other bands? PLUTONIUM is a one-man band (since 2007), but I (MR J) have been playing in different bands since the early 90´s. Bands with different directions, but mostly in the black or death metal fields, and some of them have succeded in getting out records and so on..

How is it that you started playing music? It came really natural to me. My father listened to a lot of rock music when I grew up (late 70´s and the 80´s) and also played in bands and still does! So he played the guitar and piano as well so there was always music at home! I liked everything I heard at home, but I guess it was when I heard KISS (and soon JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN) I found something that I could call my “own”. Later on I discovered METALLICA, SLAYER and KREATOR, the thrash bands. But then came the swedish Death Metal explosion in my early teens.  I loved MORBID ANGEL and stuff like that (and still do) but I guess when I got my hands on the first BATHORY album things changed radically… BATHORY is one of the most important bands for me, especially the six first albums…it influenced my guitar playing a lot. Nowadays I like to listen to a lot of different kinds of music, not only metal, but I guess the bands you discovered at an early age will always have a special place in your heart.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? As stated earlier, PLUTONIUM is a one man band, where I, MR J, write all music and lyrics, play all or program all instruments... I´ve had one or two guest appearances during the years but mostly it is really a one man job. I turned 40 a couple of months ago...

Have you had other previous members? Yeah, in the beginning, but we grew apart. I figured out I almost did everything by myself anyway, and I guess I have proved for myself and everyone else that I can fix it on my own.

Did you make music even when you were young? I think I at least tried very early but I guess I was like 17 years old when I first got the feeling that I had written a good song.

Where are you from? I grew up in the countryside (outside a little town called Töreboda), but I´ve moved around a lot since then...

What year did the band form? 2003

What's your style of genre? I use to call it Industrial Extreme Metal, since there is a certain industrial influence and the music is not purely Black or death or thrash metal but gather influences from all kinds of metal.

What inspires you? In the beginning I got easily influenced by the bands I liked the most, but these days I think it´s harder to point out certain bands or artists. The same thing with lyrics: in the beginning I studied the lyrics of my favourite bands but after a while I became more confident in expressing myself in ways that may not be typical for this certain genre. But to sum it up: everything I hear, see or experience that stays in my mind serve as inspiration for my creations. I have a special fascination for artists that create their own universe - David Bowie is a great example of that.

How often and where do you reherse? As you may figure out, “rehearsals” with a one-man band may differ a lot from a traditional band. I guess my way of rehearsing and composing is tightly intertwined – I usually come up with some kind of ideas with the guitar, then I repeat the stuff until I know it and know how to develop the ideas to proper songs. When the structure is finished I try to rehearse it a couple of times before recording it. While rehearsing  I might realize I have to make some adjustments in the song... so, that´s the way it works, and I do it at home... calling it a “bed-room project” is probably as close to the truth one can get!

How have you developed since you started with the music? I guess I have become a better musician and a better composer. Since I record myself these days I have gained some knowledge about recording and mixing technique which is a field I only had elementary skills in when I started. So all in all, I think all those hours spent since my teens have paid off in very different directions!

Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Well, I have a daytime job as most others. But I guess litterature and film are probably the other interests I cultivate... well, other kinds of arts basically, and in some way it connects to the band and my interest in music!

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Well, these days PLUTONIUM is a one man act so I´m not searching for it now really. Of course I would like to do some live appearances with PLUTONIUM, but I know it will probably demand a lot of time, money, logistics and administration to work out the way I would like to have it. I can´t see it happen at the moment.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? I haven´t made any decision to NOT release my music through labels just because the last two albums were DIY releases. But since I had so much trouble releasing the second album with three different labels fucking things up and wasting my time, I didn´t even bother to go label hunting once again. A good reason to get signed is that the label does all promotion and get the music out to potential listeners, something I have to take care of myself. It goes without saying that a label with a great network and different kind of resources know better than me how to get the music out. But I´ve spent too much times on negotiating with labels only to end up back at square one.

What made you decide to make this music? Basically I felt I wanted to combine industrial with some kind of extreme metal... I was a bit tired of making music based on the traditional metal line-up and I thought there was some common denominators to be found in those aforementioned styles. And I still get a lot of satisfaction combining metal with industrial/ambient stuff, there are still new musical landscapes to explore for me as I see it...

What are your songs about? In the beginning I found most inspiration from science fiction/dystopian novels, like for example ”Brave new world” (Huxley) and ”1984” (Orwell). But when I started to compose for the second album I expanded the lyrical concept a bit, I let my personal experiences about humanity and society colour my writing more and more. Of course the sci-fi influence is still present, but I guess the more personal content shines through in a different way these days...

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? I do everything, but I guess that goes without saying...

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Mostly I start with the music, but I often get the idea for a lyric at an early stage when starting out with a new song.

Do you compose in a certain inviroment? At home mostly, can be with only the guitar in my hands or with the guitar in front of the computer, playing to some drumbeats or melodies...

What language do you sing in? English, and I have no ideas to use my native tounge or any other language for the moment, but who knows what the future will bring..

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? For the moment I have nothing to sell more than our two latest albums on CD (”Devilmentertainment non-stop” and ”Born again misanthrope”).

Where can people buy your merchandise? Get in touch with me through facebook or e-mail!

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? I have no idea how much downloading affects me, and I have no idea of how common downloading music is these days with all these streaming services, but I guess you can´t stop it – people have changed their music listening habits. I find it sad though that people who put a lot of time and effort in their music can´t get the fair share they deserve.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? One of the most common misunderstandings in this discussion is that downloading is just ripping the big record companies off, not the artists. Well, the big companies have found different ways to make money thanks to new standard contract terms, new markets and market shares. The artists and bands connected to those labels are the real losers in this game, as they have always been. And the independent labels, who released records with bands that had no chance of getting interest from the major labels will also be one of the losers, since they have no financial advantage compared to the big labels. So, basically, nothing has changed, unfortunately.

What do you think of my work? I didn´t know too much about your work until you got in touch with me, but know I´ve checked your site and I must say you seem to put a lot of work in it. And it´s good for smaller bands to get exposed as well... so I can just say: keep up the good work!

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? I have no idea, but you have helped me to spread the word, I´ve come across your site, people might check out both your blog and PLUTONIUM.... good enough for me!

Do you have any role models or idols? Of course there are persons whose works have meant a lot to me, that´s nothing I can deny, but I try not to idolize anyone in general. But I mentioned David Bowie earlier in this interview, his artistry has had an undeniable influence on my life.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? Hard to say. Of course the bands/artist I listened to during my earlier years formed me in another way that no new release can compete with thanks to the fact that time has passed and some music have remained with me for a long time. Still there are moments when I discover a new great band and get thrilled by their ideas. Nowadays I actually try to give new music a chance since I´ve spent a lot of years mostly listening to the same old stuff I´ve always enjoyed... nothing wrong about that, but I realized I´ve missed out on some quality stuff the last years.

What have been your biggest obstacles? Probably the mess around the second album, which I mentioned earlier.

What advice would you give other bands or artists? Hard to give any advice, we must all make our own mistakes. But I think it might be a good idea to be very careful when dealing with the business side of music. It might bore you but the day someone is trying to fool you, you will be glad you spent some time on it.

Do you have any new material? Not that much but more than usual... don´t know when it will be released though.

What are your web sites?

How can people reach you? Through the above mentioned sites (preferrably Bandcamp or Facebook) or by

What are your plans for the future? To make more music!

Do you have something to add? Thanks for your interview and interest! Except for the websites listed above, all PLUTONIUM releases are available on most major digital music services (iTunes, Deezer, etc), and Iエd like to share the link to the new album 釘orn again misanthrope俳n Spotify here