As the last metal band in the world
(probably), Soilwork finally came to the Hultsfred Festival to perform.
About bloody time, we thought. Prior to the concert we met up with Soilwork's
front man Björn "Speed" Strid.
He thought it was about bloody time, too. But apparently this wasn't his
first visit to the legendary rock festival
Niklas: The last time we talked to you was
in October when you were playing at Klubben in Stockholm. Can you sum
up what you have been doing since then?
Björn: Shortly after that European tour,
we went to America for a tour with Fear Factory, which was really
great. Then we actually had a four-month break, which is very rare
for us. This had a lot to do with Peter (Wichers) dropping out, so
it took some time to find a new guitarist. We're still trying to find
a permanent substitute to fill Peter's spot, but at the moment it's
going fine with our session guitarist Daniel (Antonsson). We have
also started writing some new songs.
Niklas: What kind of relation do you have to Hultsfred? Have you
visited the festival before?
Björn: Yeah, I came here the first time
when I was 15 years old. Then I came back for three more years in
a row, but I haven't been here since 1998, I think. That's eight years
ago, so there are a lot of memories that are coming back. And I must
say that it's about time that Soilwork plays here.
Niklas: You've been touring with Stabbing
The Drama for about a year now. Have you noticed any particular songs
from the new album that works extra well with the audience?
Niklas: Have you made any progress with
the live-DVD that we talked about last time?
Björn: With all that has happened, with
the new guitarist and everything, we had to put that on hold. But
we have definitely not forgot about it. We have contacted a producer
who is interested, and we have an idea about doing it in a hangar
with lots of fans in it. We'll probably shoot it in America, too.
We'll see what happens, but it's definitely coming in the future.
Niklas: How do you look back on your albums that you made prior
to Stabbing The Drama?
Björn: On our debut Steelbath Suicide
(1998) we were both young and go-ahead, and that album has riffs and
riffs stapled on each other. But I'm not ashamed of it; I think we
already wrote good songs back then. But on The Chainheart Machine
(2000) the songs were more structured, and it also has a more thrashy
feeling, with solo-adventures and powerful arrangements. We kept building
from there on A Predator's Portrait (2001), which I think is our most
progressive album. The arrangements are kind of crazy, but sounds
great. Natural Born Chaos (2002) is a continuation of that album;
we kept the melodies but made it a bit heavier. And to work with my
personal hero Devin Townsend, who produced the album, was a great
honour. On Figure Number Five (2003) there are more mid-tempo songs
than before, and even if there are many great tracks, I feel that
we lost some of the intensity from earlier albums there. However,
we won it back on Stabbing The Drama.
Niklas: You have also released an EP with
just five songs, called The Early Chapters. Given that there are still
songs that you haven't released outside of Japan, like Killed By Ignition
and Bursting Out, is there something you might consider in the future?
Björn: Absolutely, those songs will be
released outside of Japan eventually, in some way or another. The
thing with releasing albums in Japan, you have to put some extra material
on it, like bonus songs for example, otherwise they won't sell it.
They want something that is exclusive to their buyers.
Niklas: Let's talk about your other projects;
during the two upcoming weeks your other bands Disharmonia Mundi and Coldseed
will release new albums. What can you tell us about them?
Björn: The new Disharmonia Mundi album,
which is called Mind Tricks, is best described as a mix of Soilwork
and In Flames. There are many great tracks on that album, and I love
working with those guys since they are close friends of mine. About
Coldseed's debut album Completion Makes The Tragedy, I can say as
much as there is a wide range of genres involved. However, there won't
be any touring with any of these bands. I came to a point earlier
when I was so fatigued from all the touring that I just had to slow
down a bit. Otherwise it's not healthy for me.
Can you a name a favourite song out of your own catalogue?
Björn: That would have to be the title
track from The Chainheart Machine. It felt we were really onto something
there, and in many ways that song defines what Soilwork is all about.
The same thing can be said about As We Speak, that's another song
that I hold close to my heart. Then off the new album I have to say
Nerve. All these tracks mean a lot to me personally.
Niklas: What's coming up in the near future
Björn: We're right in the middle of the
festival season now, so we'll be doing lots of those, including two
in Sweden, Metaltown and Peace & Love. Then we'll be going back
to America for a longer tour this autumn. After that we'll hopefully
be able to complete our new album.
Niklas: Can you tell us anything specific
about the new album? How do you think it will sound?
- Björn: We
have completed four songs so far, but we have loads and loads of material
to work with. It's impossible to say at the moment how the album will
sound, but I have this idea about making it heavier and with more guitar
harmonies. I hope it will be a mix of everything we've done in the past.
See also: review
from the gig in Hultsfred the same night