Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Pictures of Ronny, Johan, and live by Anders Sandvall
When Steel Attack paid a visit to Malmo for the first time, I hooked up with singer Ronny Hemlin and the new bass player Johan Löfgren. While we did the interview Guitarist John Allan showed up and it became a three part interview.
Hi Ronny and Johan, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions despite your long journey today.
Ronny: It’s cool, no problems.
First of all I’d like to congratulate you on the huge success you had with your last album DIABOLIC SYMPHONY, did you ever expect such success?
Ronny: No we didn’t expect it to be such a success, I know you shouldn’t brag about it but the album went really well and it felt like a stronger album than the previous one.
John: Yes, we’d gotten really great reviews for that album.
DIABOLIC SYMPHONY came out in 2006 and Ronny, when I talked with you back then, you said that you were in the middle of creating new material, what’s the status now?
Ronny: We are in the process of writing new material but that’s a state I’m in all the time because I write something almost everyday. And if we only sat down now I think we have new material for at least two albums.
Ronny, have you written all of the lyrics to the new album like you did for the previous one?
Ronny: Yes I have, I think it’s best that I do it so that I know what I sing about and to get the moods and feelings right.
Can you reveal any song titles yet?
Ronny: No, we haven’t got any final titles set yet.
Have you chosen which studio and producer you’re going to work with this time?
Ronny: We are 100% certain that Jonas Källgren is gonna do the mixing just like he did on the last album. But we’re not sure if we’re going to record it ourselves or in which studio. It depends on how fast we can work and how much studiotime we get.
Have you got any ideas on a title for the new album?
Ronny: No we haven’t got a final title but we have played around with “Astral Phenomena” as a title.
You took on a more melodic heavy metal approach with DIABOLIC SYMPHONY, is that something you have continued with on the new album?
Ronny: Yes we have and I think we’re going to play even more “straight forward” symphonic and melodic heavy metal on the next album.
When do you think the new album will be out in stores?
Ronny: It’s schedueled to be released in February 2008 but you’ll never know if it’s gonna be sooner or later.
Do you consider DIABOLIC SYMPHONY a greater success than ENSLAVED which was released prior to DS?
Ronny: Absolutley, no doubt about it.
Are you happy with the work and promotion your label Massacre Records have put into the band so far?
Ronny: We are very happy with Massacre Records and when we meet other bands that complains on their label we realize how lucky we are with being backed up by Massacre.
You have done a few shows in Sweden and Finland during the year but why haven’t you toured more on DIABOLIC SYMPHONY?
Ronny: In my opinion we have toured quite a lot actually. We went over to the States and did a two week tour and besides that have we played here and there in Sweden, and Finland.
Do you have any particular favorite shows amongst the ones you did this year?
Ronny: I have to mention the show we did at Bollnäs Festivalen a few weeks ago, that one was really fun. Great crowd and great respons from the audience.
John: Yeah, that show was great.
When do you think Steel Attack is gonna do a proper Scandinavian or European tour?
Ronny: We did a two week support tour with Exciter in Europe october 2004. We’re not going to do any more touring with this album, some gigs might pop up though, as for now we’re pretty busy rehearsing new material.
And is SA big enough to take on a headliner show?
Ronny: We’ll probably tour as a support act but that depends on how many shows we’re booked for etc.
How big are SA today? Do you think your fanbase grew with DS?
Ronny: Oh yes, we have gotten great respons on websites and myspace sites etc. People write to us much more now compared to before and people send us stuff to sign, it’s really fun.
John: People also download our albums from the internet in a greater amount today, which maybe isn’t that good for the industry but it’s good for the fans.
According to your website you were about to head over to the States and tour earlier this year but it was cancelled, how come? And are you going over to do the shows that was cancelled later on?
Ronny: Yes, we’re going over there next year and that’s because of the bookers that didn’t scheduled enough shows for us to do. We were promised an all expenses paid tour with shows even down in Mexico but somewhere the chain broke and due to that we couldn’t do any shows over there at all this time.
John: And in the same time we parted with our bassplayer “Anden” so it was bad timing overall.
You have done a video to the song “Invisible God” from the last album, what can you tell us about the video and has it been picked up by any tv-stations?
Ronny: It was done by Owe Lingwall the drummer from Nocturnal Rights but we haven’t got it out to the public yet. And as everyone knows is the market for power/heavy metal videos or metal videos overall not so good at the moment. we simply haven’t got it out to the masses but hopefully were going to launch it soon.
Are there any plans on doing a DVD with Steel Attack?
Ronny: We often film ourselves when we play just to se how we look on stage but we haven’t enough material for a DVD at the moment. So there are no plans on a DVD right now.But we like to do one yes when the time comes.
Are you feeling content with your management SSG Management? And how long have you been signed to them?
Ronny: Well, I think we have been sigend to SSG for about 2-3 years now.
John: Yeah we were signed to them when after we did the Exciter tour in 2004.
The members in the band don’t live in the same town, how does it work when you’re going to rehearse and write new songs? How do you solve that?
Ronny: We live about 6, miles from each other which only takes about 1 hour to drive to the rehearsals so that’s not a problem.
John: And uses the internet to send stuff between us so that’s not a major problem.
Your ordinary drummer isn’t here tonight, why and who plays the drums tonight?
Ronny: He’s recently gone through arm-surgery, tonight he’s replaced by Erkan Dogantimur.
You have a new bass player in Johan Löfgren, how did you end up in the band? Do you know the guys from before?
Johan: Yeah, we go way back together. Me and Ronny grew up together and he asked me if I was interested in handling the bass in the band.I live in Gävle like Ronny does to.
Have you played in any known acts before SA?
Johan: Nahh, me and Ronny played together in a band called Lack of Faith before.
Are you a steady member or a session bassist?
Johan: Well, I don’t know but I’m given in the SSG camp anyway ha,ha.
John: Yes, he’s a steady member
Ronny: Yeah, and he didn’t have to audition either because I knew he could play.
Have you done any shows with the band before this one? How has the fans responded to you?
Johan: I have done shows in Finland and a few gigs in Sweden and so far the guys haven’t complained or the fans.
Was it hard to learn the songs?
Johan: No it wasn’t, the music is pretty similar to what I played before.
Why did the former bass player Anden Andersson leave the band?
Ronny: Well, it didn’t come as a surprise to any of us. He had at the time three kids to support and another one coming up so he felt that he didn’t had the time to put in to the band.
On your website it doesn’t say that you have a new bassplayer, why?
Ronny: Well, to be honest we didn’t want to scream it out and I don’t think we have updated the site since his departure. We wanted to announce it at the same time with the release of our new album but since it’s been delayed we have just forgotten to do it.
When I talked with you last time Ronny I asked if a namechange maybe was in order with thought of the new members and the new musical approach, is that something you guys have considered?
Ronny: No, we skip that for now, people writes to us and people are starting to recognize us now so we don’t want to mess things up with a new name.
John: And the name Steel Attack works really well in the States so I think we stick with that name for now.
Ronny: It’s just in Sweden people doesn’t like our name
How would you describe SA on stage? What can we expect tonight?
Ronny: Full speed ahead and no regrets
John: No show is the other one alike so we just push play and kick ass.
You did a show in Lund a couple of years ago, what do you remember from that show Ronny?
Ronny: It was a lot of people and it was a fun show to do.
What are you’re expectations on tonight?
Ronny: We have high expecations and I think it’s gonna be a great show.
John: Hopefully a lot of people.
That’s was all from me, good luck tonight and do you have any final words of wisdom for the fans and readers?
Ronny: A big thanks to you Anders, my words of wisdom “it’s not easy to humble when you’re the best” ha ha ha..
Johan: Be openminded to all kinds of music and stay open.
Read the CD reviews with Steel Attack here