SOILWORK Interview Page 2
By Bob Nalbandian
SW: Sweden always had a certain staple melodic hard rock sound throughout the '80s and early '90s...the music was very melodic and classy, and sometimes poppy, but the one thing about Swedish...and all Scandinavian bands...was the fact they all were (and still are, for the most part) brilliant musicians. And then, all of the sudden, in the mid to late '90s that sound totally died out and the new millennium introduced to the world a new breed of Swedish metal like Soilwork and InFlames and the like, with Norway catering more toward black and death metal. How did this transition come about?
Bjorn: Well, there was this huge movement going on in Sweden with bands like Entombed and Dismember in the beginning of the '90s that kind of took over...the more extreme music. But it was still kind of melodic at times. And many of those bands, like InFlames and At The Gates, started out really early and they had a lot of melodies and even added folk music sometimes. That sound kind of developed into more of a traditional heavy metal sound, but still something unique blended in with this kind of death metal sound. Swedish bands have always been about development and have always been very objective about music and also not being afraid of listening to other types of music...it doesn't have to be "metal" all the time. And I think that's why we kind of have that unique sound. And we also have great music schools as well.
SW: I understand the Swedish government pays for music schools and gives out loans and grants to rock/metal musicians. I grew up in LA and I remember in the early '90s at MI (Musicians Institute in Hollywood) at least half of the students came over from Sweden and the Swedish government gave them student loans to pay for the school as well as their entire living expense for the whole year.
Bjorn: Yes, Sweden is very unique, in fact, we even get paid to rehearse.
SW: A good friend of mine, Jan Granwick, works for the musicians union in Sweden and he tells me that they cater to the musicians as if it is a profession like being a doctor or an attorney.
Bjorn: Yes, I know Jan. It's true, it's a very good climate in Sweden as far as being a musician. We even had the cultural minister of Sweden fly down to our hometown to talk to us. I mean...in what other country can that happen?
SOILWORK Interview Page 3