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
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.
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,
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 , 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,
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.
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.