By Bob Nalbandian
I met up with Bjorn "Speed" Strid, vocalist for one of Sweden's premiere extreme-metal bands SOILWORK, on the band's tour bus at the OZZFEST Marysville show (just outside Sacramento, CA. This was a few days prior to the San Bernadino show). We chatted about the OZZFEST tour, the bands latest CD Stabbing the Drama, and the current metal scene in Scandanavia.
Shockwaves: How is OZZFEST going so far? SOILWORK has performed big festival shows in the past like the Wacken Open Air in Germany and the Milwaukee Metal Fest in 2002 but you're currently a part of the biggest metal tour in America - how has the reaction been for Soilwork so far on OZZFEST?
Bjorn: Really good. We didn't know what to expect since there is such a huge metal-core movement going on in the States and it seems like the Swedish bands are sometimes forgotten about here. It's been working out really good for all the Swedish bands on the bill.
SW: And you've got quite a few on the bill...In Flames, Arch Enemy, The Haunted...are you all friends from back home?
Bjorn: We all have been touring together in the past and we all know each other so it's like a Swedish party over here.
SW: Your latest CD, Stabbing the Drama (Nuclear Blast), is your sixth album release and it's received great reviews from metal, alternative, and mainstream magazines as well as praise from the Metal God Rob Halford. That must be a great feeling...
Bjorn: It feels great. We feel very confident about this album, although we were kind of nervous when we were recording it because it was in a new studio for us, but I think we got a really cool sound with a lot of live presence. We just couldn't wait to perform these songs live and it really works out well in concert.
SW: Daniel Bergstrand produced this album, and did one hell of a job. Didn't Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad vocalist) produce one of your previous albums?
Bjorn: Yeah, he produced Natural Born Chaos, our fourth album. We have a great relationship with Devin Townsend and it was an awesome experience to record with him and we would really like to work with him again because he is very inspirational. He's so focused as well, which I really like. He's not the kind of producer who wants to have a coffee break every five minutes.
SW: "Melodic death metal" seems to be the phrase many press people have used to describe Soilwork's music, as well as other new Swedish metal bands. What are your thoughts about being labeled as that?
Bjorn: I don't really mind labels. I don't have a hard time whether people call me this or that. To me it's just "metal", because there are so many influences in our music. Although I wouldn't consider us in a genre like "melodic death metal" because the lyrics don't really deal with death. And, to me, "death metal" deals with death.
SOILWORK Interview Page 2