SOILWORK Interview Page 3
By Bob Nalbandian
SW: You mention you have many musical influences apart from metal. Growing up, what bands did you listen to?
Bjorn: Wow...I got introduced to music around the age of four. And I got introduced to bands like Iron Maiden and WASP when I was like seven years old, and I kept that interest but I also listened to a lot of '80s pop as well.
SW: Around that time many Swedish pop bands like Roxette, Ace Of Base, The Cardigans, etc. saturated the International charts. That must have been a huge influence on you growing up...
Bjorn: Yeah, I love those bands, and the Eurhythmics too as well as artists like Bruce Springstein. And I still like that, if the music has a good melody I get really inspired by that.
SW: So starting out gigging locally in Sweden, obviously you got the support from the government paying for your rehearsal and what not, but was it difficult getting gigs and getting noticed. It seems as though the last five or six years there has been a huge wave of Swedish bands (from the Hives and the Hellacopters to Meshuggah and InFlames) that burst onto the international scene. Was it difficult getting recognition outside of Sweden or Scandinavia?
Bjorn: It has really changed a lot over the last ten years. Back then (when Soilwork started out in '95, under the original moniker Inferior Breed) it was really hard to get gigs and there weren't really any clubs. Everyone was a musician back then, and there were really no fans out there. But we were able to produce some quality metal music, and now there is a new generation of metal fans. A lot of the kids that started out listening to Maiden, then InFlames, then Soilwork, Arch Enemy and stuff like that. So there are a lot of people now in Sweden coming out to metal shows. We just played with InFlames in Stockholm in front of 3,000 people in a club. InFlames are huge in Sweden now, and even we were on the charts in Sweden for several weeks, right up there with Britney! I really think Scandinavia is taking over now as far as the scene and the amount of record sales. I've heard that sales (for metal bands) are going down a bit in Germany. But in Finland...metal is the main music style, if a metal band releases a single it goes #1 every time.
SW: Even in America your videos are being played quite a bit on Fuse and Headbanger's Ball. Touring here in the States, have you noticed you're getting a lot more recognition here?
Bjorn: Yeah, there's a lot of kids watching these shows and we've noticed a lot of people recognize us from the videos and sales are going better and better for each album.
SOILWORK Interview Page 4