RAM – Vocalist Oscar Carlquist
Interviewed by Alan Gilkeson
Formed because they were sick of the misinterpretation of Metal, Ram stand tall against the tide, ‘wolves in a world of sheep.’ Influenced by all the classic Metal bands, writhing with power and muscle, screeching vocals and classy old school Metal riffing, these fellows harken towards a better time, yet keep it fresh all at once. Vocalist Oscar Carlquist, whose voice goes from King Diamondesque to Halford styled in the drop of a hat, sat down and answered some questions for us, introducing Ram to the world.
Thanks Oscar for your time. How’s the new album shaping up? What can we expect compared to FORCED ENTRY?
Well probably more metal! More aspects of real classical Heavy Metal. On Forced Entry we were very aware of the fact that it was a debut full length album, and we wanted to deliver a metal punch to the face. On lightbringer we have been more focused on showing some other sides of the sound that is RAM.
Signing with AFM must be a real big deal for you. They are such a classic Metal label. What cemented the decision to sign with them?
Simplicity, AFM did not fuss around they offered us a very straight forward and understandable deal. We have had quite a few offers over the years but most of them have been bullshit, I know bands will sign just about anything but not us, that’s why we have not signed a major deal until now.
I think your unique vocal style is one of the things that makes your band stand apart from others. Who are your influences and did you receive vocal training on your way to where you are today?
Thank you! My influences are guys like Ronnie James Dio, Jaques Belanger, Midnight, Rob Halford and King Diamond. I have received some vocal training mainly concerning breathing, warm ups and stretching, but I really try to stay away from training to much since I don’t want to know the specifics behind my techniques I just want to do it without thinking about how. From my current point of view I don’t want to consider vocal techniques but I am aware that this viewpoint may change in the future.
The bio I read on your web site talks about striving for Metal perfection and the band formed basically because you guys were sick of what was going on in the Metal scene at the time. How important is it to Ram to keep the Metal real?
Well its important to us keep the music real and straight from the heart, I detest any musician who deliberately or without realizing “just plays music”, if you have nothing to say then shut the fuck up! To many bands are using their creative platform to just blabber away about what ever, and unfortunately the world is so full of idiots that they get a steady fan base. I believe in purpose, know what to say before you open your mouth, be in tune with some real inspiration before you start your band.
What’s the live Ram experience like? Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
RAM live is pure head banging aggression, when I enter the stage its like there is an switch inside of me that is turned on, fury takes over and the adrenaline starts pumping, I love it, it beats any drug! We have performed more or less all over Europe except for Russia and most of eastern Europe. We are going on a European mini tour in august and then a longer European tour in October/November.
Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set play list? How much of the new album will you be doing live since you have said that it is sort of a concept record?
Well our most popular songs are ‘Machine Invaders’, ‘Sudden Impact’ and ‘Infuriator’, so we always play them. The set list is very important for us, we always take time to put together the perfect set list or a few of them. Well I think that we have been a bit misunderstood when we stated that the new album was more concept oriented, we meant the concept of every song not the whole album. We will for sure be playing a lot of new material when we hit the road this year.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Harry, me and Daniel write most of the music. The eternally returning concept for us is that of every persons divine individuality. To do what ever we believe is right is the only right we ever had, but most people choose to act in accordance to outside influences such as politics, commercial forces or religion. We want to offer support to those who walk their own path, those who choose to be a wolf in this world of sheep.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
I don’t know if it has, when we started playing together this enormous world of countless musical possibilities opened up for us and we are still exploring it. Of course we have become better musicians over the years and we have become tighter as a unit. But I don’t think we have evolved to much as song writers, as I see it we are just instruments that perform the music that writes itself.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
There has been a lot of challenges along the road and there are many, many more coming, I think that overcoming these obstacles is a vital part of growing as a band, therefore I do not see them as negative, they are what has become our spine, the more we can overcome the stronger we are. No certain challenge comes to mind actually just pride of being a part of RAM.
How does music affect you and the world around you?
Rock ‘n Roll is the only independent force left on the planet, real Rock and Metal is incorruptible, It has no other meaning than the celebration of mans freedom and the rebellion against our enslavers. This makes it the most important force on earth. We who do not accept the current order bang our heads in defiance! If there was no metal on the earth, things would look very different, it is the voice of the underdogs.
I know that your long time Bass player left the band. Was that a difficult situation and do you now have a suitable full time replacement?
A difficult situation would have occurred if we had not parted ways. After Leif left the band we could really start to focus on what had to be done to elevate RAM to the next level. Leif is an incredible bass player so those were some big shoes to fit, but Christian Strömblad who has joined us now might have simpler bass style but it has just made us more powerful.
Tell me a bit about the title of the album, "Lightbringer"
This album was created to elevate wisdom from within of the listener. Every man holds the key to his own path within, but he must first free himself from all the lies that are fed to him by the enslaving forces of society. It might be some what of an exaggeration to claim that the album will have this effect on the listener, but it is nevertheless the purpose of it. All paths lead within.
What are your hopes for this album and the future of Ram?
Total Heavy Metal Tyranny of the world.
Band Myspace: www.myspace.com/rammetal