For starters, how is it going over there? How did the pandemic change your old lives and how can you handle this without a crowd?
It’s been probably the greatest year in the history of the band, I think. When taken out all the stress and logystics around, like playing live it’s been very relaxing and inspiring to come up with new things, and start to rethink the entire concept has been kind of great. And also we didn’t really have much of a luck down here in Sweden or quarantine, or anything like that. My life has been pretty normal actually this entire year.
What do you do in your free time since there are no gigs available? Is there anything plus you do in your everyday life?
I work out a lot. I play golf, tennis, run… I write music, I listen to music. That’s it.
We can soon begin to say, that you are the old rock stars, since you are getting close to the 20th year mark of your carreer. It still feels like yesterday when I first got a taste of your first album “Into the Night”. How did you start back then? How did it feel to see that your first album come out?
The first album, I was semi-satisfied with it. I think the songs were really really great, but I guess I would’ve wished that it would have got a better production looking back at it. I would spent a little bit more time on the vocal part of the album especially. I think looking back at it, that the demos are almost better versions of the songs. But it put us on the map, and that was great, because I think we had a great impact back then, because we were almost the only band in the world that played real metal, real heavy metal.
Do you remember any complimenting words? How aware were you for the reactions that came your way?
It was so well recieved in the underground at first. I mean because we were going against all the trends. I mean in 2005 to 2008 everything in the metal scene was about like, either plastic power metal or hip-hot core death metal or shit like that. We did the exact opposite. We did like 3 and a half minute songs and just focused on raw energy instead of that, and it seemed to be a good consept. In my youth there was like everything that was popular, in the end of the ninties, was like incredibly shitty power metal bands, who were just so forced and so plastic and so not cool. Nothing was real about it anymore, and we just wanted to take it back, do it all over again, do it right, focus on energy and songs, and not be a band that poses with fake swords… The entire scene metal had developed into something that was a parody itself.
I think your operation as a band has been quite smooth, you didn’t really had any line up changes. How do you see the convergence between you and the bandmates? How often is it that you don’t exactly vision the same thing as them right away?
I think we were fighting more, obviously on the first album there wasn’t a lot of arguing becasue I was doing everything. But on the second album the other guys were starting to get a little more involved in the song writing, and then we had a lot of arguing about what we should do and how we should do it and it was just like a really tubulant time of the band. But from the third album, we kinda settled down and everybody knew their own roles in the band in a different way. Since that we were working very smooth in knowing who’s gonna do what. Since that it’s been very inspiring, and we’ve been able to work towards the same goal more than what we did before.
You have 5 full length albums, and also some other forms of releases. Since when did you feel, that people got intrested in your music?
I felt that all the way from the beggining when I did the first demo and put it online, it got really good feedback, but once again because it was like something different to everything else. That was a great vibe and kind of instantly we could reach listeners all over the world through the internet. I knew from the very beggining, that this was something that was very explosive.
Back to the main topic and the pandemic, it may have been the perfect time for you to come out with a live concert album, “Live by fire II”. It was recorded in 2019 in Mexico city in front of a fantastic crowd. It’s the least we can get ourselves to a live show right now. What can you say about this gig? Why did you choose to record there specificly?
It was a good opportunity and Mexicocity is one of the greatest scenes for heavy metal in the world. So we had this show booked, and we had good ticket sales and we knew it was gonna be something special, the venue was good, and it was just a great opportunity. I kind of improvised and decided to record this show like a week before. So I hired a mexican film crew and made sure that we could record the show properly. It was kind of a spontanious decision. This was actually not even meant to be that show so it was just the warmup for our 54 show american tour. USA and Canada tour, that we are gonna do.
I wouldn’t say that a lot has past since “Live by fire”, it was only in 2015, not so long ago. Since it sell well. Do you think people would want another album similar to it?
Well, the first “Live by fire” was actualy recorded in early 2013. So it’s our 2 best studio albums in between, and a lot of things has changed obviuosly to the better in 8 years. We are just a completely different band right now, we are much better we are more tight, we are more entertaining. We put on such incredibly better shows these days. So there is absolutely a need especially for us to have up-to-date live material available.
Your last studio album “Zenith” got released in 2019. Since you are on a mandatory time off, do you work on new songs for a potential new album?
I have demos for maybe twelve songs or something. So we are just waiting for a plan for how and when we can release it, and then we can start and track these songs.
I am sure that a lot of people are missing you from the stage. You had a whole tour booked with “Skull Fist” and “Ambush” under the name of “Kings of the Underground Tour 2021”. Is it possible to make it happen? What can you tell us about it?
No I don’t think so. We’ve been talking about that, but we don’t want to officially cancel something before we can present something new. But obvioulsy that’s not up to us, but it’s very unlikely that we are gonna do it next month.
Everything is so unsure these days, but one thing is for sure: Metal is indestructible. What will change when we can all have concerts again? Will anything be harder?
I think that 2020 proved that you don’t have to play and tour relentlessly as a band in order to put exposure to your band. There are so many other ways to do it. When we premiered “Live by fire2”, in just 2 days we had more than 20,000 views on that live video. And I mean to play for this many people, to average this you need to play for 200 person a night, it’s gonna take 100 days for you to collect 20,000 people. So in my world, it’s more effective, to do a live video with a decent promotion, than it is to do a whole tour, because you reach more people this way than with touring.
From the current scene, who do you consider a good band, or are you more into the old legacy bands?
I mean, I like a few new band. I like “Volture” and I like a band called “Cauldron”. But mostly I’m into the old type of music because of one very important reason. I think that back in the day when the old bands created this genre, they were completely limitless, and compared to todays bands, so many todays bands feels like ungenuine and it’s almost that they are paying tribute to the old bands, by not putting so much character or their own personality in the songs. So I prefer the old bands because of that reason.
These were all my questions, thank you for your time and I hope you have a great day.
Same to you.
The interview was taken with Olof Wikstrand on 25.03.2021.