» Tomas Olsson - Bloodbound
« back

Interview conducted August 16 2019
Interview published September 29 2019

Swedish metal outfit Bloodbound was performing at Sabaton Open Air and despite a busy schedule, guitarist Tomas Olsson took a moment to talk with Metal Covenant.

Tobbe: Bloodbound has never gotten that real break. So what's your greatest driving force to keep doing music?

Tomas: I think it's the same as it was from the very beginning. It's not to get that big break, really, or breakthrough, but it's because you enjoy playing your instrument. It's great fun to make music and to play music. But still, it takes an effort to keep a band together for so long as we have done. It's actually quite tough to be out playing.

You know, we're six guys in the band, people have kids, so. But we're in a good place now, where we get decent gigs and we can both have the band and a family. We are able to combine that, because we're on such a level. We're not always out playing, because then having a family is hard. We have a good balance, you know. We go out and do nice gigs and at the same time we are able to have a job, a family and a house, you know.

If we would be full-time touring musicians, then it would be difficult to have the other side too. We could go out playing a lot more if we wanted to. We turn down offers, we turn down tours, you know. We could make a living off being out playing. No problem at all. But then it's goodbye to family, house and kids, you know, and no one is willing to do so.

Tobbe: It's been 14 years since you dropped your first record Nosferatu [2005], and do you still kind of have the same dreams of success as, I assume, you once had?

Tomas: No, they change a little bit. You become more realistic; definitely. In the beginning you don't know so much about how things are working and you don't know about the industry. If things are going to happen you've got to tour a lot. Or just have the luck to break through for some other reason, but that's just sheer luck. But if you're going to become a big band and work for it, then you have to play incredibly much.

When we got better known and got some fans, we had already started families, like everyone had a house and kids, you know, and that makes it more difficult. It's different if you make it to a higher level already when you're 20 and don't have a family, whereas now it's like: if you have kids, well, then it's simply not that easy, you know.

Tobbe: Your last record Rise Of The Dragon Empire was out in March and what might a new record do for the continuation of Bloodbound's career?

Tomas: You know, on a record there's always a couple of songs that stick out and turn out really great. And those songs are important, because the live set is comprised by the best songs. So we feel that it has improved our live set. We play 3-4 songs off the new record and the best songs will be a staple in the live set. So that's great. But then it's also fun to play something new as well. You want to develop a little bit and have kind of a new sound.

A lot of fans we meet tell us to come back and play again, like "You have so many songs that you have never played live.". We have a back catalogue with 90-100 songs now, so there's a lot of songs that we have never played live. Songs that people ask for all the time. So we could do 4 tours and actually vary between songs that we haven't played, you know.

Tobbe: You're playing for 60 minutes tonight and how are you able to balance your set, really? I mean, you won't even be able to play songs from every album.

Tomas: Personally I think it's not so difficult to put together a good live set of the songs. I'm like "You know, we know which songs go down well, and which are popular, and which are good.". You just have to accept that, even though it might be boring occasionally to play those. But then we always play new stuff as well and now it's 3 or 4 songs from the new album in the set, which makes it a bit fresh, you know. We always play songs like Moria, Nosferatu and Stormborn. You know, songs that people always want to hear, so we can't leave those ones out.

Tobbe: Bloodbound's music has always been in the landscape of heavy metal and power metal and have you ever thought about taking a step outside of that, maybe just for the sake of it?

Tomas: Well, I guess I have. Like "Should we do something that is today more in? Something more modern, or trendy?". But it has never turned out that way. I think maybe because we got a small breakthrough on the first record, which earned us fans right away. So we kept doing what we did, because it felt like it was the right thing to do.

But I've probably been thinking about making something heavier maybe. Melodic death metal was big for a while and I was thinking, like, "Maybe it would be fun to do that.", but it never materialized.

Tobbe: Even though you're a founding member of the band, could you maybe start a solo project or a side project in your position anyway?

Tomas: Actually I was thinking about doing that for a while. Before Patrik [J Selleby, vocals] joined the band we were thinking about doing something together, like a side project, you know. But instead we invited him to join Bloodbound when we needed a singer. So we were thinking about doing a project in the beginning, with Patrik.

Tobbe: Bloodbound has a lot of melody in its music and, hypothetically, could you in some way make pop songs instead?

Tomas: Yes, I think so. Well, the songwriting is really the same, I guess. I mean, it doesn't matter what genre it is, but you write songs and you can arrange stuff poppy or heavy. It depends on how you arrange the song, which instruments there are, the singer, how you're singing, you know. Of course you have to learn a certain genre if you're going to be good at it. I wouldn't be good at it right away, but still, if you're a songwriter you can learn another one's genre. It would probably not take such a long time to get into it, I think.

Tobbe: In what way can we get kids to start to listen to heavy metal again?

Tomas: If you're going to get kids to listen to heavy metal, for example, you must at first get it trendy. Trends come and go, you know. So it's quite simple; just find a way in and make it trendy. Someone who markets heavy metal as trendy. It would be enough that someone would find it cool again, because then things go quickly and suddenly it's cool, you know. It comes and goes in waves. Up and down. It will come back sometime, perhaps in a different form, and not exactly how it has been, you know.

Related links: