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Interview: Soilwork – Electric Ballroom, London.

We chat to Swedish metal power houses Soilwork about the past, present, and future. Plus reveal a secret love of Abba!

Interview - Soilwork

Soilwork are a band who have remained a constant force in heavy music for the last 12 years. However recently appear to have undergone a return to form following the release of their latest album “The Panic Broadcast”, aided surely in no small part by the return of Guitarist and integral band member Peter Wichers.

We sent or London reporter Joey Rabbitt to London’s Electric Ball Room to talk to vocalist Bjorn “Speed” Strid, about Soilwork past and present, what he thinks of the current scene, as well as what is still to come for the Swedish metal A listers.

HTF: Joey.

Speed: Bjorn Strid, Soilwork vocalist.

Joey: Hi, first of all welcome to London.

Speed: Thankyou.

Joey: How does the weather here compare to back home at the moment?

Speed:  When I left It was about the same actually. I live in the very south of Sweden so it’s probably a lost worse now, it’s still bloody freezing though!

Joey: So you are sharing the headline spot on this tour with Caliban and All that Remains, presumably these must be bands that you have a lot of respect for?

Speed: Yeah they are. We’ve toured with Caliban many times before, they’re bigger in Germany than we are so they headline that section of the tour. We headlined in Scandinavia as we are better known there and then All That remains are headlining here, so we all get our share.

Joey: After all this time playing together you have a huge amount of material, how do you decide what to put on the set list?

Speed: Ah man it’s really hard we have eight albums! When you have this little time you try to focus on your later albums because you gotta promote your latest album. We try to mix it up a bit but it’s kinda hard to use tracks from your first album, so it’s quite a hassle! But I believe that we have another pretty good set list for kids out there.

Joey: Personally speaking I have been to a number of your gigs and you seem to be aware of the popularity of your early work with you fans, particularly “Natural Born Chaos”. Is this something you try to keep going, or do you try and progress you style with each album?

Speed: Well I would say that we managed to capture the vibe of natural born chaos on this album. We didn’t want to make Natural Born Chaos 2 but we wanted to come back to that and take it a step further, and I think we managed to do that. It has a very progressive feel to it and it’s very dynamic.  

Joey: You have some great support bands at your shows including Neaera. You’ve also had bands like “Swashbuckle” with their pirate metal, where did you find those guys?

Speed: Well that was interesting I’d never heard of those guys before, then I saw four guys dressed as pirates with parrots on their shoulders come on stage! They brought a lot of kids with them too, they were a crowd pleaser and kinda fun to watch too.

How much say do you have in who comes on tour with you?

Speed: Well we can always say no, it’s not like we are being forced to be on the road with anyone. We all have our preferences, we really wanted to tour with Never More in America and now thats happening in April which is really cool, so we usually get to pick.

Joey: It goes without saying that as a heavy band you tour a lot, I know some of you have families now, is it getting harder to be away from home?

Speed: I guess it is, we are all married or have girlfriends now. I guess it does make things harder but we still enjoy it, and we all have families who are very supportive which helps a lot.

Joey: You are a band that really embraces the internet, your north american tour diary documentary was great. Will there be a European tour diary?

Speed: Well there might be something similar but maybe not as spectacular! We had a guy who is a good friend of our’s follow us on the last tour and film us as much as possible. But we are gonna try and do something in Europe and update it as much as possible.

Joey: I noticed on the North American tour that you had a power cut in Texas and still kept going! Has there been any similar instances this tour?

Speed: None on this tour so far, but we’re only two days in so you never know! That was crazy though, at first we didn’t know what to do. Then the crowd started singing the lyrics back to us, it couldn’t have worked out better.

Joey: You’ve all said that The Panic Broadcast is the best album you have made to date. How do you think that your sound has developed to make this better than the others?

Speed: I guess we are better songwriters, it’s such a boring word but I guess we have matured in a way. We had a different perspective, it’s almost like we are not trying so much this time, things came a lot more naturally. It doesn’t happen to all bands, some bands get boring, but i think with more experience we have developed more presence in our music.

Joey: Is the Panic Broadcast your favourite album?

Speed: In many ways it is, I can never really pick one album but I haven’t been this proud since Natural Born Chaos. It’s a great sound track to where I’m at in life and where the rest of the band are too.

Joey:  Peter produced this album, that has to be the best way to return to the band after he left, did he bring a new energy to the band?

Speed: He definitely did, it was just a different feeling when he wasn’t in the band and when we got to touring it really felt like there was something missing. It was really a positive injection for the band when he came back, to see how inspired he was to start making music again was great for everyone.

Joey: This must have affected the way you guys played on this album?

Speed: Yeah it did for sure! We just wanted everyone go to absolutely bananas on this album and thats what we did. There was no boundaries, we just went crazy.

Joey: You have had a few line up changes over the years, given the success of the album and the return of Peter, would you say this is the happiest you have ever been in this band?

Speed: This is the best line up so far, it’s running really smooth. We’ve had changes but it’s pretty close to the original line up no, me and Peter started the band and the rest of the band have either been involved for a long time or since the beginning. It just feels like it’s all working, it’s just…better!

Joey:You’ve said before that to maintain originality you have to have a large range of musical taste. Do see this as lacking with some newer bands? Do you see a lack of originality?

Speed: I do, I feel like some bands are a little bit subjective when it comes to their approach to music. It’s not like you can force anyone to change and listen to this, and that, to be able to do this, it doesn’t work like that. Me personally I could never write the stuff I do if I was objective about music, I get inspired by all types of music, anything with a lot of presence, that’s what it’s all about.

Joey: So how varied are your music tastes?

Speed: Very! Everything from Abba to Behemoth.

Joey :You have a achieved so much up to this point, whats left to achieve for Soilwork?

Speed: It’s hard to say, we really try to experiment and push the boundaries but who knows what is next? All I know is that we are still enjoying what we are doing and we really want to continue doing this for as long as possible.

Joey :Have a great set!

Speed: Thanks!

Interviewer: Joey Rabbitt

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