Sabaton bassist, P?r
Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Hobbe at Sound Pollution for setting up the interview.
Sabaton is a debuting Swedish band who recently released their album PRIMO VICTORIA on the label Black Lodge. They’re also playing at this year’s Sweden Rock Festival along with other festivals this summer and I took the chance to ask the bass player, P?r, a few questions about the band, their debut album, and plans are for the future for Sabaton.
Hi P?r, I was wondering if you could tell the readers a bit about Sabaton?
Let us say we start from the early recording sessions. It must have been late ?99 or 2000 when Fist For Fight was recorded at Studio Moon Music & Studio Abyss. It quickly sold out and resulted as it was meant to, in a record deal. It also resulted in the re-release of Fist For Fight in a limited 3000 copies digi-pack CD. 2002 we recorded what was meant to be our debut album, Metalizer and in late March it was ready to be released. But our label at that time delayed the release, again and again. This led to some bad consequences for the band but we never gave up and two years later we had abandoned all hope of ever see the release of Metalizer and instead looked forward.
Ready to invade the studio once again we did not care for labels and instead paid the whole shit by ourselves. Later, with the recorded album we could set the terms by ourselves and a lot of labels showed interest. We eventually signed with Black Lodge. The album was released almost one year after it was recorded, but still Metalizer is not released.
Have any of the members played in any known band prior to Sabaton?
Our vocalist Joakim Brod?n use to perform keyboards with Stormwind.
Where in Sweden are you based?
The middle, Dalarna, Falun.
Earlier you signed to an Italian label and released the promo CD FIST FOR FIGHT, what did media and the fans think of that?
The fans liked it a lot. Specially the local ones. It never really reached the ears of media people but the few ones that heard it gave the album great reviews.
How many songs were there on FIST FOR FIGHT and to whom was it sent? Is it available today?
It contains 11 tracks including one introduction and one outro. You can still buy it on some mailorders, but only the reprint with Ken Kelly artwork. The original looked much better.
You also recorded an album called METALIZER on the same label but it wasn’t released at all, how come and what do you think of that?
Why Metalizer never was released I cannot give you an answer. And if you ask me what I think about that, I say I am happy that it’s not released. When it was recorded we were quite satisfied with it. Today almost every song feels outdated.
If I’ve read the info note correctly, I understand that you weren’t too happy with your Italian label, why?
Ehh? What would you think of someone who promised you gold and gave you a rotten shit?
Are there any current plans on releasing METALIZER today?
When you got out of the deal with your previous label, wasn’t there any legal problems to solve? How did that go?
Luckily we only signed for one album, so we left them with the rights to the recordings of Metalizer. They are free to release it, but we hope they don’t.
According to the bio, you have played all over Sweden but when I checked out your website I only saw show dates near your home area, have you done a lot of touring?
Check again, last time I checked I don’t live near Malm? or ?stersund. Not actual touring except for one week with five dates 2001 in Southern Sweden, but totally we have done about 60 gigs in Sweden. There are other gigs as well but due to their nature we choose to not include them on our website.
Have you done any touring outside Sweden as well?
No, but hopefully Primo Victoria can help us with that now. So far we are booked for one festival in Germany.
Why have you chose to call the band Sabaton? Does it mean anything in particular?
I take it in Swenglish… Hard-devil-metal-boot. Haha!
You have recorded your new album PRIMO VICTORIA yourself and without back up from any label, why did you choose to do it that way?
Just to give us the advantage when dealing with labels. Initially we had plans of distributing it ourselves since we have had only bad experiences with labels in the past.
When was PRIMO VICTORIA recorded? And how long did it take to record it?
It took about 4 weeks in early 2004 to record it, including one week of mixing.
The Abyss studio where you recorded the album is known for producing more extreme and brutal acts, how did you end up there?
By chance, a friend told us about this great guy Tommy.
What are the lyrics about, have you written about anything special? It seems many lyrics are about war, is that true?
The entire album (except for Metal Machine) follows the theme of war. It fitted the music perfect.
How long did it take to write the whole album?
Oh, parts of some songs were written as early as perhaps 2002 or something like that and then finished and put together in the studio two years later. This does not mean you have to wait until 2007 so see the release of the next album, a lot of that is already written.
Were you well prepared and rehearsed when you went into the studio to record?
No, many of the songs were not ready and we had only rehearsed three or four of the songs. So it has always been when we have recorded something.
What does Tommy T?gtgren have that made you choose to work with him as a producer now for the third time?
This is actually the fourth time. Tommy does not own a powerful digital studio so there is a certain old-school feeling when recording with him. It is not possible to fix vocals and correct errors in some wave editing computer program. If you cannot record a song in Abyss, you should not play it at all. And besides he is one of the funniest guys in the world.
How long did it take to mix the album and who did the mixing?
We had one week planned for the mixing and used most of it. We did the mixing together with Tommy and his brother Peter helped us a little too.
Do you have any plans on changing studio in the future or are you going to stick to Tommy and Abyss?
We are not certain about the future of Abyss. We have heard scary rumors that Tommy has changed career. Hopefully this is not true but if so we have to look for another studio, otherwise we stick to Abyss.
Who has done the artwork on the cover and what is thought behind it?
Mattias Nor?n is the man behind the artwork. I contacted him and he seemed like a cool guy so I let him listen to the album and only a few days later he came up with several ideas and we really liked the current one.
Why the title PRIMO VICTORIA? Does it symbolize anything in particular?
Yes it symbolizes a few things. In English it means something like ?The first victory? and we thought of the invasion of Normandy, D-day when writing the lyrics for it. It was the ?first? great victory the allies had during their campaign to free Europe from Hitler during WW2.
It is also our ?First? victory, since being the first ?real? release.
Are you content with the album or do you feel that you should have done anything different now that you look back?
No, nothing. The album is great and we do not feel like we should have done anything different.
Why have you only put 9 tracks on the album, why not more songs? Personally I want to hear more of the album, now it’s too short.
Personally I think it is great when a album is short. Look at the greatest albums in history with old bands like Maiden, Priest and many more. They could put seven or eight songs on a album and it is perfect. When they make an album today they put perhaps thirteen songs and several lesser good. I rather spend more gunpowder on nine really good tracks instead of making eleven and two less good. Amongst the nine tracks on Primo Victoria there was none we could spare.
What are the main musical differences between METALIZER and PRIMO VICTORIA do you think?
When recording and writing Metalizer we were a bit younger and some of us even teenagers. Today we can master our instruments much better, this clearly reflects the music.
Do you feel that Sabaton have developed in between the albums, if so how?
It’s bigger, better and much more stronger songs. Also Joakim have learned how to master the vocals much better.
You negotiated with a lot of different international labels before you decided to join the Swedish label Black Lodge, why did you pick them?
Several of the labels we were in negotiations with ?promised? great selling and a lot of touring without specifying what they should do for us. BL simply said ??This is what you will get, and it can go all the way but we promise you nothing?.
What do you think of Black Lodge work compared to your Italian label? Are Sabaton satisfied with BL so far?
Think ?Operak?llaren? (a very expensive and exclusive restaurant in Stockholm) in Stockholm, do they serve better food then Mac Donald?s? I think that is a fair compare. I wonder if they serve spaghetti on Mac Donald in Italy? Concerning BL, Sabaton are very satisfied.
I think your music can be described as somewhat harder and very well played power metal and you really sound different than many other bands in your genre, much because of your singer Joakim Brod?n has an amazing voice, how would you describe your music and what is so special with Sabaton as a band?
Call it what you want, I say heavy metal and yes Joakim has an awesome voice. That is one of the things that really makes Sabaton special. Most of the things we play have been done before, but the final product sounds quite unique. I once heard a sentence something like this. ?Sabaton reminds a lot of other bands, but no band reminds of Sabaton.? Think that explains everything.
Are you going out on tour now that the album is out?
There are plans, but nothing booked so far.
What are your main focus now, Scandinavia or the world?
Our label focuses a lot on Scandinavia for the moment. Our vision is of course the world, but you cannot conquer the world without first setting up strong bases in already conquered territories.
Do you have any confirmed dates when the album will be released in different territories?
No, but hopefully it wont be long until we receive dates for new territories.
Do you think you have a lot of fans?
I receive A LOT of mails every day from fans around the world and the Panzer Battalion is growing as we speak.
Does Sabaton have any common idols or role models that you look up to within the music scene or that have inspired you in any way?
Almost every pornstar out there is a source of inspiration for the band. And UDO.
Have you received any reaction from the media on PRIMO VICTORIA yet?
A lot of reviews, mostly great so it seems the media like the album.
Finally, why should we buy PRIMO VICTORIA in the first place?
It is the perfect album in our time. The blend of the melodical metal presented combined with the raw vocals and songwriting makes this album everlasting.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Buy our album, see us live and don’t put chipsy fingers in a nice girls ass. If you have sold your sister to Satan and still cannot afford our album, download it.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thanks to you too. Bye!!!
More info about the band: www.sabaton.net