TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with Björn "Speed" Strid of Soilwork was done face to face at the Metal Therapy festival in France by Audrey Dujardin on April 15th, 2006.
Soilwork were on tour with Hypocrisy and Amorphis on the Neckbreaker’s Ball tour throughout Europe. I met the Soilwork vocalist in the very pleasant press lounge that the organization of the Metal Therapy Festival had set up for us, and we spoke of the tour, what to expect of Soilwork in the future, censorship, and more.
This is one of my favourite questions in interview: could you please go over the 5 most important landmarks in your career and explain to me why they are important to you and what they changed?
Okay well, let me think. I guess the first one was when we went to Japan for the first time. Because we didn’t do any touring at all before that. We only did gigs in Holland and in Belgium and then we were going to Japan and getting exposed to that [many] people for the first time so that was definitely the first landmark right there. Second one was I guess when we got to meet Rob Halford, the band, and he was mentioning the band in all his interviews. That was a big step, I mean of course that helped. Third was going into the studio to record ‘Natural Born Chaos’ because that was a great experience and I think we made something magic right there. It’s always hard to top that album in some ways. I think that the sound from that album was very unique, at that time, in the scene. And number four… it’s hard! Well probably… we did some good touring in the States. We could have done that earlier, but we focused on touring a lot in the States. Because we realized that it takes a lot more touring in America than in Europe. People work in a different way. So I think we made a really smart choice doing that. So that was kind of a good strategy right there.
Why was that? Because you met more people?
Yeah because we made a lot of contacts you know we got to know a lot of bands, pretty good tours….
By pretty good you mean that many people showed up?
Well the crowd was definitely different from the ones in Europe but it was a lot of fun to play there. Then like I said we met great bands. We met Killswitch [Engage] as well there and they were supporting us again in America! And the fifth one Ozzfest of course.
So on the other hand then, after all this time and knowing what would have happened, is there anything that you would change?
Well the only thing that I mentioned that I think that we should have done is that we should have toured more for Natural Born Choas, both in Europe and in America. Because we would have been bigger now than we are today.
So can you tell me more about this tour… Is it a drinking contest between the two Swedish bands?
Yeah, it usually is!
Can you tell me some touring stories, then?
Stories? Well there has been some crazy stuff. It’s always naked stuff going on, on every tour.. I dunno! It’s crazy we always end up touring with those guys [Hypocrisy] !!! [laughs] Like, ‘oh it’s time to tour again!’ And um… Yeah we get really excited. So always kind of fun to go. Even though we know those guys very well, I mean we toured with them 4 times… maybe? 2 in the Stated and 2 here! We know each other very well, so we don’t mind.
So you end up naked with Hypocrisy and that’s basically your everyday’s work?
And so Mikael and Andreas still play that fooz-hockey game on tour all the time?
Oh yeah they always bring that hockey game but they didn’t bring it this time!
I always thought it was hilarious to see those 2 giant guys playing that mini-hockey game thing with such patience… Did they ever invite you for a round?
No never! I would love to! I’m an old hockey player myself….
Really? So who is your team?
Team? I’m not really following it right now, I lost the interest a little bit because I was starting the music instead. And then I lost it a little bit. But now I’m watching more soccer.
So what’s your prognostic for this year’s world cup? 4 teams. Who’s in the semi finals?
Let me see… Well obviously, Brazil is going to be there, I don’t know about Germany…. France is gonna be there, England is going to be there too… It’s always going to be those guys… And maybe Argentina….
Now pretend like you’re telling me a story, and tell me the story behind your collaboration with Nuclear Blast, and how is that going for you?
Story? Well I can’t really remember how we got the deal, but we were on Listenable records for the first 2 albums, and I guess that they just got in touch with us. It’s a very good label and it’s been growing since then as well so… And I think that we’re a very high-priority band on the label so that’s a really good thing because they have tons of bands. We like working with those people…. […]
How about the end of the collaboration with Listenable… That was just the end of the contract, right?
Well it was the end of the contract plus we wanted to have better distribution, basically. But Laurent, he did a really good job for such a small label he’s a very cool guy. I always recommend his label to smaller bands.
Now can you tell me what you like most about the Studio Fredman sound, in general?
I mean Fredrik [Nordström] he’s a very very unique guy. That’s what many people say. Well we got to know him because we recorded there so many time… Some people don’t understand his humor, he’s very weird. But I mean our guitar sound has always been great, at Fredman the drums are going up and down a little bit… I mean we changed studios for the latest two albums so… I was there like 3 weeks ago to check out the mixing of the Disharmonia Mundi … But yeah I would say that the key is the guitar sound.
And how about the drums then?
Well they’re good, but I guess it’s just a matter of taste.
[…] And the strange sense of humor…
Yeah it works with us cos we know each other so well… But sometimes I warn other bands ‘just don’t freak out!’ When Erik Peterson from Testament was playing guitar, it’s just an example of Fredman. So he comes there and he’s not working, just sitting at the computer and [Erik] comes in and he’s like ‘what’s that’ ? And he [Frederik] says well it says ‘ Erik Peterson is totally gay in the night and has an ugly guitar”. And he’s sitting there making posters like that. And the next day he went out to print Tshirts saying the same thing, instead of coming in to work on the computer he comes in and walks through the studio with it on!
Now can you tell me what you think of the Abyss Studios sound?
Well I never worked with Peter in the studio. I always forget that he is a studio guy! […] but he’s been very good producing black metal, or death metal. Pretty cool guitar sound.
Could you please tell me how you prepare for the studio, how do you work before recording time, and then how do you work once you are in the studio? Do you have it all prepared or do you leave room for improv?
Well the last recording was probably the most chaotic that we ever did. We were in the studio in the middle of the woods pretty much, and Daniel came there to produce it. We never worked with Daniel before, as a producer on any album, we were so uised to Fredman and how he works, and Daniel was working totally differently. And it took a longer time than we expected. So we had to work really late, and I had to do … you know it’s always the vocals that get recorded in the end, to finish. So I was doing my 12 hours a day singing, for 2 weeks, and I when I went to sleep I was like this [starts shaking] . I was shaking. In the morning your arms are all stiff , your whole body is stiff from stress, it was so bad.
How could you sing for 12 hours?
I don’t know, but when I woke up, I felt like I was 80 years old. Like **uugh** give me a cane!
There was no way to postpone the singing?
Well we added one week. And after that, Daniel was going for another recording so…
Yeah but the more you stress the less the sounds coming out are going to be good!
Yeah but it worked out anyway! I mean it sounds great so… There was a lot of pain behind it but you know in a way I like that. That there’s so much work and pain behind it. It feels so real.
And now the band has been around for about 10 years. So do you have plans to celebrate?
Well I guess the celebration will come in the shape of a DVD. So we’re going to record show and we’re going to do one more American tour and we’re going to make kind of a unique show and release the DVD [at] the end of the year, hopefully?
Yeah would be good.
Okay, and what will be in the bonus part of the DVD?
Well there’s going to be some crazy… but yeah that’s on every DVD…
How about band member interviews?
Nah that’s not going to happen. We’re going to try to make some kind of road movie and stuff.
Okay. Well I’m sure that you heard that Impaled Nazarene got banned on this date. I was curious to know your reaction to that.
No I didn’t know. Well I’m not surprised. This would never happen in Sweden or Norway. I don’t know about France. I guess it’s really hardcore…
Not really.. That’s the worst part! France is a laic country so it’s shocking when this sort of thing happens! It makes no sense.
No it doesn’t.
And how would YOU react if that happened to Soilwork?
Well of course I would be pissed off but then again it would probably be better promotion than if you actually had to play actually!
Yeah… Now on a different note. Where would you see yourself, and the band in 5 years?
Hopefully we will have reached the status that we deserve. I really think we deserve more. We’re just fed up with standing in the shadows of certain bands.
So how would you achieve that goal?
Well just keep on playing, and show people that we really kick ass! And we hace so much more to give.
And as far as promo, what more can you do?
Tour more, get the right tours, we don’t have the management anymore, we will probably get new management, and hopefully they can take us to the next level. I mean the music is there and we don’t need the make up.
Thanks, well would you like to add anything?
Well I think that’s pretty much it… The new songs are great and hopefully the new album will be released in 2007.
Well that’s a long wait!
Yeah but we have a lot of touring to do with this album still so… Have patience!
My apologies for handing this in so late. I must say that my job-life has been quite intense lately, and I had to prioritize.
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