For the propaganda tour of their new album, Heroes (out 16th May), Joakim and Pär were in Paris to answer the questions of the medias. The Sabaton French Division was there to ask them a few questions. The main topics of this interview were Heroes, Sabaton live and their relationship with their fans.
In the first trailer of Heroes, Joakim, you say you had to throw half of the album away and started again two month before recording. Did you also change the topics of the songs or were they only musical changes?
It was only musical changes because I had a big pressure since it was the first album with the new line-up so I was really really worried that it has to be really really good. Even though the old band members never wrote any music, not everybody knows that and if we would have done a bad album, some people would blame the new boys. And I don’t think Hannes, Thobbe and Chris deserved that because I think they helped take us to another level so that was the biggest fear. So some songs were very good but not “crazy, crazy” so I got to cut them out.
I think it’s a really really good album.
Joakim: Ho, thank you!
And is that what the journalists told you to?
Pär: First of all, normally when we do an album we present it to a few fans and friends and people that have followed us for a long time and ask them: “what do you think about the album?” This time, we had no time for that. The album was presented to a few journalists first and we got the feedback. We are starting to get very familiar with lots of journalists now who have been following us over a long time and those journalists were invited to come to listen to the album first.
Like François… [Journalist for Rock Hard France and member of the Sabaton French Division]
Pär: Yeah, like François! So we can trust their opinion very well. When they say “thumbs up”, then you can relax a little bit. When we meet journalists we never met before, who were newly introduced to Sabaton and who like the album it’s good but it’s always better if an old friend of Sabaton says “waow”! We need both to love the album of course but it’s difficult to rely on a new friend for those things because we don’t know if he like Sabaton from the past or what kind of music does he normally listens to.
Are you going to keep on trying new things like the folk parts on “To Hell and Back”?
Joakim: Yeah, of course! I mean, I love to bring in all kinds of elements from all kinds of places. But I also think we can’t experiment too much because there’s still has to be the Sabaton identity in the music. I enjoy all kinds of “musical adventures” (laugh) but I also sometimes love the most stereotypical Sabaton song and I think “Smoking Snakes” on this album is Sabaton, it can be nothing else you know? “Wich band is this?” Oh yeah! It will take you one and a half second to know which band this is.
For example, Night Witches has some kind of industrial sound. Is it due to Peter Tägtgren’s work with Pain?
Joakim: No, it was actually me knowing we were gonna work with Peter (laugh)! You know, I had the intro and this idea that we were gonna start the album with a distorted radio and then going into a big boom! Peter did have an influence on our music as far as the production is concerned because he has this sound you know? If we take on the Carolus Rex album, this song “Poltava” it sounded good than Peter said “I got something extra”. We add that (he makes the background noises from “Poltava with his mouth) thing in the background of the music and we were like “we can’t have that in Sabaton”. He said “trust me” and he was right, the song is better with it!
I wonder why you decided to put “7734” as a bonus track for Heroes since it’s a track from Metalizer?
Pär: There were a lot of people over the years asking for it and a lot fans were saying “why don’t you play that? It’s an old song but it’s a good song!” and we thought while we were listening to it: “okay it could have been done in a little bit of way like we would have done it today.” When it was done for the Metalizer, it was done the best way we could have ever done but if we would have done it today we could have done it a little bit different. It was actually Thobbe who got the feeling when he heard it like: “ho, I have some ideas for this one!” And he evolved this song. He did some different things on the guitars and made it sound fresher.
One of our members thinks he gave you the idea for the song “Resit and Bite” because he sent you a lot of e-mails about it. Can you confirm it?
Pär: Several fans sent me ideas.
Joakim: That was definitely from the fans. Also “Smoking Snakes” and “Inmate 4859”. I think for half of the album we would not have heard about these heroes if it wasn’t for our fans telling us.
Pär: I don’t remember the name but for that song I was bouncing back and forth with somebody for the ideas.
You don’t remember? He’s from Belgium but he speaks French.
Joakim: It’s probably the same guy then!
Pär: Then, that’s probably that person.
He will be very happy.
Pär: He has to look inside the booklet because his name is there.
Pär: Yeah, look in the booklet, I don’t remember the name but maybe his name is there (laugh).
Do you plan to write a song about France?
Joakim: For this album, we were talking about it. We were looking intro everything from Charles De Gaulle. Not only about France but lots of places and we had some ideas about the French resistance but the thing was we didn’t have a music that matched any of the ideas we found and I think it’s really important that you just don’t write music and lyrics separately then match them together. Of course there’s World War II but we’ve been over the years discussing about Napoleon as well and it’s really interesting how this underdog from Corsica who was a second class citizen which no officers really liked and how he travelled from there and somehow he became a hero of the revolution. All of a sudden he’s an emperor! Now THAT guy is a whole album, not one song. And there are so many stories like that also like Alexander the Great. We’re talking about Greek and Macedonian history here so let’s just say we can probably make 200 interesting albums (laugh)!
Pär: History, there’s quite a lot of it (laugh)!
Thousands years of history.
Pär: There is a lot of history.
Maybe the lyrics for your next album are in what you just said.
Joakim: Yeah. We don’t know. You know, maybe what’s happening tomorrow is a Sabaton album in twenty years.
Pär: But what’s happening tomorrow won’t be a Sabaton album the day after. Because then it’s not history.
Pär, the last time I saw you in Rennes, we were talking about the keyboard player. I don’t know if you remember. And you told me you were happy about the live results without real keyboard for now. The question is: Haven’t you changed your mind since then?
Joakim: In the live situation there is no keyboard. I’m the keyboard player in other situation because I got into the band as a keyboard player, that’s how I started. And singing was the thing I just had to do until we find a singer. But we talked about this very much and we said: “if the right guy comes along, yeah, we got a keyboard player” but we’re not gonna search for one.
Pär: There are a lot of people who send e-mails like “I want to be your keyboard player” stuff but we answer “we’re not interested in a keyboard player”.
Joakim: It has to be a guy we know.
Pär: Yeah, it has to be someone we know and that we just feel (he snaps his finger) like that.
Joakim: And we also want him to be a Swedish guy. You know, not just because we hate all other countries but it has to be somebody who we can live in the same town with. We have a rule and it’s the same for everybody: you play in Sabaton, you have to live in the same town. We’re a band, we’re not a bunch of musicians from all around the world that go together and then rehearse and then go on tour.
Joakim: I’m not saying anything bad about them but that system is not for us. We want to be living close by to each other.
So no auditions or something like that?
Joakim: No. No auditions at all. If we find the right guy maybe we’ll end up in the tour bus with somebody that’s perfect but auditions and hearing tapes no. It’s a risk also. I mean, it’s not only musical, it’s on the personal level!
It’s living together.
Joakim: Exactly! In the tour bus! And let’s just say we have seen, not in our band but with other bands, how these things can be. What can go on behind the scene. We tour so much and I don’t see it as a job, I see it as a lifestyle and when I go on tour I want to be surrounded by friends. I don’t want to have somebody there that I don’t care about. I couldn’t do it you know?
I know of a band where one guy came and destroyed everything but I won’t tell you because the band will come to Sabaton Open Air.
Joakim: Ho, no problem (laugh)!
Is there a European tour scheduled this fall?
Pär: There are plans for it but we start out with the festivals first.
Joakim: Most of the show promoters don’t want us to announce the tour until we play the festivals.
Pär: And we have to see also sometimes what kind of response we get if we play on a festival, what the people think. Let’s say when we play on Hellfest that no fans want to come and see Sabaton and it’s empty. Then we know that the people who promote the show they will not want us to do many shows. But if there is a lot of interest we will play in bigger clubs maybe. So sometimes you need festivals to check out what’s going on. And now we are here for two days doing promotion and we can see there is a huge interest or impact for Sabaton and what’s going on and if this goes on to Hellfest I’m sure then that we’ll do more shows that we’ve ever done in France before on the next tour. And we will probably do bigger clubs and it’s probably gonna be a lot more fun.
Joakim: It’s never a problem from our side cause we obviously always believed in Sabaton and we want to play as many shows in places as big as possible but it’s noy only about us or the fans unfortunately. I wish it was only that, life would be much easier but you also have to convince the guys pulling on the shows.
As main administrator of the Sabaton French Division I can tell you there will be a lot of people at Hellfest. At Sonisphere last year there were already a lot of people for you.
Speaking about touring, isn’t the choice of the setlist more and more difficult? You are surely gonna give the new album a good place in the setlist but what about the other albums? How do you decide now that you’ve got seven albums?
Joakim: (laughing) I don’t know! You’re absolutely right! One thing we have learn though is: what we think,in the band, is secondary because we make a choice when we make the album. If we don’t like it, it’s not on the album. For the shows we do try some songs but if we see or we hear everybody screaming for another song and people not reacting well to one song, we will change it during the tour. So we’re trying our best to guess but I tell you this album is the hardest one because on Carolus Rex to be honest I kind of knew that “Carolus Rex”, the song was gonna be popular, you know? I’ve got a feeling for these things. It turned out to be right. On the other hand, even though I love it, I didn’t think so many people would love “The Carolean’s Prayer” but they did so we put it in the setlist.
Pär: And on the new album it’s very difficult to decide wich songs we’re gonna bring into the setlist and when…
I can help you!
(Joakim starts laughing really loud)
Pär: Yeah, maybe you should!
Joakim: I think “To Hell and Back” is going on there.
Pär: “To Hell and Back” is the first single of the new album so naturally a lot of people are gonna hear it first.
Joakim: And I get happy from hearing it and I think if I get happy, some other people must also be happy hearing it.
Pär: Yeah, so I think that it will be one the songs we will definitely play initially. In the end I hope we’ll play all the songs. We will also see a lot what the people want and if the people say “we want to hear this one.”
Joakim: You also know the fact that since we sing about so many nations’ histories the setlist changes depending on where we play. Especially in Finland the song “Talvisota” is INSANELY popular while not too many people in Germany care about it.
Pär: Maybe we will see in like one year time or something that there was a song on the album which nobody want to hear… Maybe we will see that everybody wants to hear everything. Then we’ll have to adjust after that. We can’t really tell people what they are allowed to hear, we also have to listen to what people want to hear, it’s more important!
So the setlist will change in different countries?
Joakim: Yeah, definitely!
Pär: Definitely yeah! But hopefully it will change more from city to city.
I can tell you know, I think “Night Witches”, “Smoking Snakes”, “To Hell and Back” and “Far From the Fame” will be very popular.
Joakim: Alright! I did not expect “Far From the Fame” but the other three are some of those which made me think “they’re gonna like those songs”. But I’m surprised you didn’t say “Resist and Bite”, I thought it was a typical live song.
It’s a good song and I think Belgian people will ask for it but in France I did’nt a lot of people talking about the song yet because nobody’s got the album, they just have the titles of the song.
Any intel about wich band is gonna be opening for you on the tour? I know a lot of fans were really happy about Eluveitie.
Joakim: We kind of have a plan but we cannot say anything… I’m sorry! There are other people involved in business and I’d like to tell you actually.
Pär: What we want is at least to have some bands that raise the same kind of emotions as Sabaton.
Joakim: (hesistating) And they both have that feeling and we’re looking forward to do the tour with them. I’d like to see them myself.
We saw in the past opening for you: AleStorm, Wisdom, Eluveitie,… They were all great!
Joakim: Thank you. We do put a lot of care in it because I think that if a support band is really good then we’re gonna go on stage thinking “shit, they’ve been so good, we really gotta kick it today!” so it will force us to be one step better. Heavy Metal is not a competition! I’d rather see, you know, that somebody came and said “waow, all three band I loved them” that’s great! Of course, we want to be the one he thought “they were a little bit better” but I don’t want a situation where people go home and go “yeah, Sabaton was great, they crushed the other band like they don’t care about them”. They should love all the bands I hope. I mean, obviously, maybe someday we will fail. We can’t read anybody’s mind. Different bands are differently big in all the countries. I mean, Eluveitie worked REALLY well here in France and there are other territories where we played where people didn’t care about them at all! So it’s always a though part. We can’t really predict where a band is gonna be popular but we’re trying to at least make sure that as fans as possible can enjoy all the bands. It’s important.
I knew Sabaton live while opening for HammerFall. I told myself “waow, it was really fantastic” and HammerFall was too, it was a great bill.
Joakim: Yeah, I liked to be on that tour. And also on one part of that tour there was Bullet opening which also is a “feel good band”. It’s not really my favorite music, you know mine’s a little bit of Accept, some AC/DC, some old school stuff but I like that too and they are nice guys, some groove rock band, perfect opener so I liked all bands.
Last summer, you played The Art of War in full. Next summer, you’re gonna do the same with Carolus Rex in Swedish. Do you plan to do this with the other albums as well? Maybe Heroes the year after?
Pär: It made sense in a lot of ways. For Art of War, there was a reason. The first festival (Sabaton Open Air) was the release party of The Art of War.
Joakim: Carolus Rex sold platinum in Sweden. No Swedish Rock or Metal band has done platinum since Europe and The Final Countdown. We’ll do it in Swedish because we heard people from 25 different countries or more are coming and there’s been so many people thinking “I want to hear it in Swedish”. Also in Sweden, where it was platinum, it’s a cool idea. But what we’re gonna do next? We don’t know actually but I like the idea that there’s not a lot of song from our albums that we haven’t performed live. There are some from the Metalizer album.
Pär: Wich we never played.
Yes, “Metalizer” for example!
Joakim: We played it! But “Reign of Terror” no. We never played “Speeder”.
Pär: “Speeder” we played it!
Pär: Opening for Valhalla…
Joakim: Ho! Many years ago of course. I’d actually like to play “Burn Your Crosses” but the most recent albums are so much popular for the majority of the people… It’s not that they don’t like the old songs, they didn’t even hear it before you know. So that’s a really hard balance. Do we play the popular ones? But I also know it’s not interesting to hear let’s say “Cliffs of Gallipoli” cause I understand if you have seen the last five of six live Sabaton tours you want to hear another song, that would be a bigger change. So the plan on the next tour is to at least have a song from every album every night. That would be cool if we can make it happen.
So we can’t expect to see special shows like this on tour? It’s only exclusively for the Sabaton Open Air?
Pär: There is nothing that stops it except that I don’t think that most people want it and if we have an opportunity to do a show where we have a lot of new fans, we want to keep’em. It’s why we have the Sabaton Cruise and Sabaton Open Air. People who come there are already our fans.
Joakim: And many of them have seen many show before but if we play in, let’s say London or Warsaw, 50% or 60% of the crowd have not seen that many Sabaton shows and I also think it depends on the situation. If we come back to the same town for a second time on the same tour, of course we’re gonna do something different. At least, we change half the setlist! That’s the potential thing we can do. My fucking dream would be… It’s impossible now because it’s too close. It’s 2014. 1944, 70 years ago something happened there and I would love to play the whole of Primo Victoria album on Omaha Beach on the 6th of June. Unfortunatly we’re not big enough in France to do that. But I would want to be on top of the bunkers, fans coming in from the sea, walking up the beach to the show. Because I want every night to be different. It’s more fun for us as well. We have to face the fact that it’s not about us. It’s the same or very much the same for us but it’s not about us, it’s about the people who came. The fact that we are tired of one song does not mean that the people are tired of it too.
Bands like Sonata Arctica do the same setlist every night. If I want to hear a special song played the last night and the next but not in Paris I will be very very jealous.
Joakim: Allright! Now I understand why some bands never change the setlist!
Pär: You have a good point there; there are a lot of people who are angry or upset about it. On the other hand if the song was popular then we would have played it likely so we have to listen to what the people want.
Joakim: And we could never do that. I mean yes, for them maybe it’s possible but for us it would be career suicide, stupid because as I told you, we have, let’s say 3 songs about Finland. Don’t you think in Poland they’d rather hear “40:1” maybe? (laugh)
I want to thank you for the video message you sent us recently where you ask the French fans to keep on supporting Sabaton. It was a really good surprise for us. François did a great job!
With this fan club we are promoting your news, albums and tours to the French fans. What can we do more to support the band? Maybe arrange a meeting with the band? French merchandising?
Joakim: Meetings can be done!
Pär: There is a reason why we are sitting here now and it is because a lot of people talk about the band. And if fans ask us “what can we do to make you come here to play more”, spread the word, spread the music, share the music to your friends. People think “yeah, but can I do something more?” That is a lot! Nobody did anything more and we are here for two days doing interviews and we have more interest in France than ever. And not so much other things than that happened so it does a lot of difference to talk about us on forums and stuff.
Joakim: Ask for our songs on radio request shows or something, all of these things.
Pär: I think that is the best, this is what anybody can do. And then when we get here we can of course have like meetings or parties and stuff, it is possible but while we are on tour it’s difficult to do things like parties and stuff because…
Joakim: There’s a show the next day.
Pär: We can’t really party that hard so often. In the old days we didn’t care so much about the day tomorrow. Now we have to be really careful about it and we have to be in a good shape the day after if there is a show or something so it’s very difficult. But sometimes we do this yes.
Joakim: Trust me, you can always ask but don’t be discouraged if we say “no” because it’s all up on the timing. Maybe our tour bus has to leave directly because we have to be so far away the next day.
Like when you were at Le Nouveau Casino in Paris. [After the show, a lot of fans were waiting for Joakim. When he came out of the club he said « I’ll just drop my luggage in the bus and I’ll be back » but never came back because the bus had to leave.]
Pär: Oh yeah.
Joakim: I wanted to stay here and drink for fuck sake! (smile) There is a video on youtube with 16 crowd surfers during “Primo Victoria”, that never happened before!
Pär: There are always a lot of things going on like, “okay the bus has no parking” so it has to leave or there is a rule of the city that says you can only be within a certain part far away with the tour bus or maybe this amount of time,… We have to travel far or we get sick if we go out and we cannot risk that. There are so many things and as I said, in the beginning we were never afraid of anything but maybe the day after there is a show and people pay the tickets for a good show. We really think about this now. We cannot disappoint anybody so it’s better that we skip the party. Delivering the show is what’s more important for us.
As you are currently getting bigger and bigger aren’t you afraid to lose the connection and the proximity you have with your fans?
Joakim: Well, yes and no. The fact that we are not drinking beer after the show does mean that we can meet during the day, maybe after the soundcheck and talk and stuff like that. I don’t think all social interaction has to be alcohol related you know? (smile)
Pär: If you have 50 friends in the city it’s difficult to meet all of them.
Joakim: It does get tougher and tougher and we have to find other ways.
Pär: But we are very very disappointed because sometimes now we have to say “no” to signing sessions. At Wacken Open Air we sit for five hours because it allowed us. We didn’t have a show for many days, they had the organization, we didn’t need to leave so everything fitted so we could sit and talk with everybody but on the other hand some other shows when they ask “can you do it?”, we can’t because we have to leave for the next show or something so there are so many different circumstances going around but it’s always that we want to do stuff like that but we can’t…
Joakim: Actually the only time we say “no” is when we can’t do it actually and unfortunately there come more and more times that we can’t do it. If you look back five years ago when we went to a festival one week end we stayed there the whole festival and talk to people. Now, we maybe have three or four shows that same week end. We can’t spend the same time at that festival even though at Hellfest personally I’d love to see Black Sabbath but we’re not playing there that day… Fuck!
Pär: And we’ve got three festivals in three days very far from each other.
It was the case at SummerBreeze, the day after there was Sabaton Open Air, so no choice!
Joakim: (laughing) Yeah and Air Berlin lost our stuff somewhere! Fucking hell!
It happened often!
Joakim: Air Berlin is not something we fly with anymore (laugh)!
Pär: We lost our equipment two times?
Joakim: All the way down and all the way back they fucked it up!
Pär: Yes, also for the Metal Hammer Paradise.
Pär: So two times we have lost our baggage but normally we’re pretty lucky.
At Sonisphere too!
Pär: Yeah, that’s true! We lost for Sonisphere…
Joakim: But not everything, only some things. I mean, when we came to Sonishpere we lost something. Was it t-shirts? … No, backdrops and drum pedals!
And at SummerBreeze I remember Chris had to play with the guitar of Fear Factory.
Joakim: Yeah, Dino [Cazares] yeah.
Pär: So yeah, it happens that we lose some stuff but that happens to all artists when you travel so… It’s so tight and when you have so many shows of course it’s gonna happen. It happens to anybody who travels.
Joakim: But as we travel more, it happens more often. We do maybe 60,70 flights every year so… Yeah!
The Swedish Empire Tour was your most successful tour so far. You’ve been touring in a lot of countries. Which shows or countries do you have the best memories of?
Pär: I think for everybody it’s different because you find something special to connect to and it can be so many different things.
Joakim: Sometimes it’s the craziness, sometimes it was big and sometimes it was the personal connection to that city or something. I mean, for example I love playing in Krakow. I don’t know why, it’s always crazy. And also, I’m not saying it to lick you ass, but one the shows I remember the most was Le Nouveau Casino from that tour. You know, if you ask me about “how was that tour?” that’s probably one out of five I can remember clearly what happened on.
What made you remember this show? Was it the crowd surfers?
Joakim: It was the heat! It was sweaty over and over. And we had these crazy girls crowd surfing all the time, trying to kiss me and punched in the the butt and everything (laugh)!
Pär: Because of the atmosphere and everything I love to play in Cyprus, that’s been really cool. Very cool but very hot (smile)! The sound wasn’t good, the stage wasn’t good, the crowd was great but I think everything around was organized by our friends. Just staying there and enjoying the heat while we came from the winter. All the things around made that the place always is, for me, very special.
Joakim: Sometimes when we leave the stage after a show, I think “damn, that was great, what an atmosphere!” and someone says “no, didn’t feel like it”. When you meet people after, I mean, some people you recognize because they’ve been at so many shows, one guy would say “dude, I’ve seen a lot of shows with you guys but this is probably the best one” and then, ten minute later you meet another one and he is like “it was alright”.This has happened in Germany and he said “I’ve seen a lot of Sabaton shows and I’ve never seen a bad Sabaton show but at least I think this one was not really the best”… (He stars laughing) WHAT THE FUCK?! Your friend just told me it was the best!
Pär: But it could be that one person was standing in the first row, another one was standing somewhere else.
The sound is not the same.
Joakim: Exactly. By the mixing desk maybe you’ll have a better sound but it’s not the same atmosphere. If you have a headache it will affect your experience. It goes for us as well. Going on stage 9 times out of ten I love every second of it. I has happen also that I have 42° of fever and salmonella… Not so fun (laugh)!
I’ve never met a fan disappointed by a Sabaton show.
Joakim: I hope so and I hope we can keep it that way. Everybody realize we are humans and as I said, I cannot be as good, even though I wanted, when I had 40° and salmonella and haven’t eaten for three days but at least I want to never disappoint anyone. I think everybody understands that we’re humans and we can’t be the best every night. I really want until to be so good that nobody’s disappointed until we quit.
Pär: Almost every night somebody in the band is sick. It’s normal, we are away 250 day per year.
Joakim: And meet thousands of people.
Pär: It’s normal that we get sick. We are sick from time to time and we just have to live with it. We cannot say “I’m sick today, I’ll stay home”… Impossible! We have to play anyway, do everything we can and we get better and better to hide hit but sometimes you see us running around on stage then you get backstage after the show and people are puking or almost coughing blood and it’s terrible! When you are complety sick, you fall down and just need to sleep or get pills but then you go on to the stage because we can’t call it sick.
Joakim: It has happened that somebody from the band went to a doctor to get a shot up the ass but when you’re sick, you’re not there anymore you’re only “here” you know?
Pär: On the last tour when we were in Sweden I had this insane toothache. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t walk so one of the crew members was prepared to play the show. I was at the dentist every day to get injections just to clear my head and it was terrible to play the shows because I couldn’t think it out. Everytime I headbanged it was like somebody was banging a sledgehammer in my head but I had to go out and play.
I know you really really like touring but have you already thought “we played too much”.
Joakim: It depends. We can play too much in one same place so people are not interested in seeing us anymore but I wanna play, I’m a musician, I had to play music.
Pär: There are a lot of places to go!
Joakim: Yeah, there’s no place we can’t ever visit. So yeah, it can be exhausting sometimes but that’s when you are sick, that’s when you get exhausted. I don’t think what we do is crazy. I like doing it, that’s why I’m doing it. I would be stupid to play 20 shows in 10 days in the same city. You can play too much in that sense and we could play too much so we couldn’t have the energy to do it anymore.
Pär: If we are out for a very long time obviously from time to time everybody’s gonna be tired of it but then again the interest comes back. And it’s mostly when somebody gets sick when the mood goes down.
Joakim: It’s up to the other guys to pick it up.
I’m going to show you a few pictures and I’d like to know what is the first thing that comes into you mind when you see them or what that reminds you for example.
Joakim: Cool! That I like!
Joakim: (starts laughing) Ho yeah! First thing that comes to my mind? I always try to identify when and where obviously we can say this is….
It’s of course about what happened within the band.
Joakim: Ho, you mean that? (showing Robban) When he came in the band, he didn’t know he was gonna be a father. Only two months after he found out. And we asked him “do you wanna be home when your baby’s born? Do you wanna do it still?” And he said “I don’t know. Maybe I wanna be home, maybe I wanna tour even more because the baby’s screaming all the fucking time!” He jumped off a few days before his baby was born. We talked to Snowy and Snowy said from day one “I don’t know. You ask me to be in the band?” “No, no, no! We don’t know if our drummer’s coming back.” Snowy said from day one “Even if you drummer doesn’t want to come back I don’t wanna join the band” because he’s got all things to do. He’s an old friend and he said “I’ll be happy to play with you for a few months or a year but that’s it”. But when Robban had a baby he didn’t wanted to come back to the band. So if he quits, there’s nothing we can do about it. Snowy made it clear from day one that he didn’t want to stay in the band. So we brought in Hannes. We know him since 2010, he was even our drum tech for us during this summer.
This one was about the French flag but I got the answer
Joakim: (laughing) Yeah, typical crazy fucked up Joakim! We were in Ludwigsburg playing paint ball and they lent us uniforms but this one you couldn’t lend it, you could buy it only. On some uniforms there were things like “for the clown”. They had different costumes and they had one that said “for the idiot” so I bought that one for, I think it was 25€, and I played paint ball in it. It was really good actually because when somebody saw me I ran behind my shelter, took the ear off, put it up so that everybody try to shoot it and then I’d go shooting them on the sides!
I thought it was a backstage joke!
Joakim: No, no it’s in Ludwigsburg think it was. When was it?
Pär: The owner of the club in Ludwigsburg had a birthday so we were there, we had the day off, we were free and his has his birthday. He was like 40 or 50 and he brought people to play with who we’re all friends with.
Now something personal. I was at the last battle of the world war tour and there was a “Christmassy” vibe and you gave presents to some fans. I had one of them and since that day I decided that I should give you something in return. In one of you latest video you showed a metal Coat of Arms emblem made by a fan. This is nothing compared to it but I wanted to give you this.
Joakim: Alright! Present! Thank you! Let’s see what we’ve got here. Thank you! I love the smell, it reminds me of…
It has been done with a special pencil which can burn the wood.
Joakim: Ho yeah, yeah, yeah, I think I did this stuff when I was in school actually. And it also reminds me of great single malt whiskey boxes! Is that a mistake or is there a plan to have your blood out there?
It’s special painting which stays forever.
Joakim: Well, that’s good!
Pär: Nice! Thank you very much!
Joakim: French flag as well?! That’s the picture we were looking for, you were talking earlier for our promo tour. We decided for every city and every country we go to for the promo tour we take a picture. We were thinking what to do but know I think it’s gonna be this one.
Some of my friends wanted to know if you noticed them with a French flag on the festivals like SummerBreeze, Sonisphere, Lokerse Feesten to show you “here we are!” For exemple, Vincent, here, is gonna see you in New-York City.
Joakim: You will bring a French flag?
Yes, for sure!
Joakim: I’d love to see that. Actually, that’s the thing I like best about the festival shows. It can be annoying sometimes when there are too many flags and you can’t see the band but for us to stand on a stage and see a lot of people raising their flags and banners all over the place, I love that!
Pär: That’s the coolest thing ever! It’s illegal in many cities. Even in our own festival! Aaaargh! So stupid! We want everybody to come to our festival with the big flags but it’s illegal in Sweden. In crowds you are not allowed to have big pointing things.
Joakim: It’s a shame.
Pär: Yeah, it’s really a shame so people put our flags like this or like that but not on a stick.
Joakim: There are also some cool one.
Like the Screaming Eagles flag in Belgium.
Joakim: Yeah… Graspop is really cool for that. Because in Belgium I rarely see the Belgian flag , they will show their part of Belgium’s flag. We know in the the Flemish part there’s the Flemish flag, in the French part there’s something else. Sometimes in Germany as well they also wave their local flags. In Sweden there are Swedish flag but how is it here in France? Is it socially okay to have your own flag and wave it around? Cause in some countries it’s… Not forbidden but it’s connected to maybe racist people or extremists and anything like that.
In some countries with political problems yes.
Joakim: But in France no? Good to know!
So I really thank you!
Joakim: Ho, thank you!
And see you maybe in Autumn.
Interview by: Alexandre Wandel
Huge thanks to:
Roger Wessier (press officer for REPLICA PROMOTION)
François Blanc (without him, this meeting wouldn’t have been possible)
Antoine Grignard et Christophe Nasthos (transcription and translation)
Vincent Maarek (photos)
And everybody who got involved (questions, ideas, …)