Bass Player Peter Stalfors
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Transcript by: Ulrika Henriksson
Promo pictures by: Patrik Ullaeus
Thanks to Century Media Records for providing the promo pictures and thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Scandinavia for setting up the interview.
Here is an interview I did with bass player Peter Stalfors in the Swedish heavy metal act Dream Evil. The interview was done in Lund when they stopped by to do a show as support act to Stratovarious earlier this year. It was a really long time ago since I last spoke with the band members so I had a lot to talk to Peter about. But due to the time limit we mostly talked about the new album IN THE NIGHT, the new members, the tour and of course what Peter thinks the future has in store for Gothenburg’s finest act Dream Evil.
Hi Peter, it’s really nice to see you again. If you’re ready to begin I suggest we’ll kick off the interview right away?
Hi Anders, good to see you again, yes, I’m ready, shoot!
Your previous album UNITED was released in 2006. Why has it taken you so long to release IN THE NIGHT?
Well, the plan was to start to record IN THE NIGHT during the end of 2008 and we had all of the material and so ready but our deal with Century Media was only valid for 4 albums and we had already released 4 albums by then. We needed to renegotiate the deal and both our and their lawyers had to look into it before we could start to record IN THE NIGHT, and the studio where we were supposed to record the album Studio Fredman was full booked, so that’s why it has taken Dream Evil so long to release the new album.
What has the band been up to in between the release of the albums, if you’re not including the release of the best of/live album GOLD MEDAL IN METAL?
Well, what have we been up to? Nothing much really. We all have “normal” life with families and work to take care of so I guess we have done that. We have also done a few festival gigs here and there and we did a mini-tour through England during 2008 but that was before the release of GOLD MEDAL IN METAL. We have also been writing material to the new album.
How long did it take to write material for IN THE NIGHT?
I guess we started to write material during 2007 in the summer. One of the hardest things with releasing albums is that you have to start to write new material quite short after the release of the previous album..but I guess we took it slow and didn’t rush the writing process.
From what I understand the entire band has been involved in the writing process this time?
Yeah, usually it all starts with someone coming up with a riff or a line at the computer and then you record the instruments with no vocals and then we use to leave it all to Niklas that uses to come up with suggestions to the vocal parts. If everything feels OK we arrange it and records it. That pretty much how we work. When Snowy Shaw was a part of the band he normally wrote everything but now have ever member take part of the process.
Is that a better way of working? I mean when everyone takes part of the process?
Yeah, it’s much better.
It must feel better when everyone has been a part of the song writing?
Yes, it makes the members connect more and everyone has the chance to put their own mark and stamp on the material.
Were there many songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of IN THE NIGHT?
Initially we said that we were gonna write 16-17 songs so that we had material to choose from. 12 songs finally ended up on the final edition of the album, so do the math ha ha. 2 songs are also gonna end up on the limited edition of the album and 2 other tracks are gonna be featured on the Japanese edition.
Why didn’t you record in Studio Fredman this time?
I have already answered that question but we haven’t changed studio entirely. We did the mixing and the recordings of the drums and rhythm guitars in Fredman, we recorded the other parts in our own personal studios using pro-tools. I have recorded my bass parts in my own studio at home and Niklas recorded his parts in his own studio, Daniel recorded his guitar parts in his own studio. And then we took the raw material to Fredman and then Fredrik put everything together. So we have been working in Studio Fredman a little bit. Fredrik work with the album on his spare-time while other bands recorded in studio Fredman.
Did the use of separate studios change the outcome of the album do you think?
No, I think the outcome have been the same as always, with the change that I think that everything have sounded a little bit better compared to previous albums by the band. We haven’t worked under stress or pressure which made the outcome more harmonic. But production-wise I think it’s the same as before, great as always ha ha.
Do you think that you’re gonna continue to work like this on your up and coming album?
The great part of working like this is that you’re producing your own part so I think it’s a good way of working.
When I listen to the new album I felt that the song “The Unchosen One” sounds quite similar to “The Chosen Ones” from the album DRAGONSLAYER, is that something you have though about?
Absolutely, that’s true. We have “The Chosen Ones” on the debut, “Chosen Twice” on THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL and now this new song. The thought behind the songs is to have a grand production with epic string sections so yes, the songs have a connection when it come to the production but not a connection otherwise.
You are also known for playing with words, your lyrics aren’t dead serious and many of your songs have fun titles like “Kill, Burn, Be Evil”, Bang Your Head”, “Frostbite” and “In The Night”. It feels like you’re making fun of the metal community in a good way?
Exactly, you are correct. Me and Niklas wrote “Frostbite” but we wrote it about vampires and not with the intention of joking around ha ha. That song is probably one of our most serious songs. But you are right, Dream Evil doesn’t take themselves dead serious, we want to have great fun that’s all. Many of the lyrics have Patrik co-written and he’s a funny guy ha ha. The original title of the ballad on the new album was “We Believe” but Fredrik thought it was so great that he changed the name to “The Ballad” instead.
Do you think that the band has grown music and lyric wise since the start 10 years ago?
Of course, we are all 10 years older and we doesn’t take things so dead serious today, but on the other hand haven’t Dream Evil been a serious act from the beginning either ha ha. In the beginning of the career we did make fun of the genre power metal with the album DRAGONSLAYER, however we didn’t want to play power metal on the second album so we moved towards the more heavy metal sound and incorporated some kick ass melodies. But we don’t do anything to be mean or bad to anyone, we do it out of love for the music.
Where does the title IN THE NIGHT come from?
In Gothenburg where we come from we often say – Heavy metal in the night, which is a very usable phrase ha ha. We wrote a song on DRAGONSLAYER called “Heavy Metal In The Night” and the phrase have even since then followed us. Besides that we use the phrase very often in many of our songs so I guess that sentence is our catchphrase ha ha. We talked about naming all of our songs IN THE NIGHT for a while but that didn’t work of course so we tried to incorporate the sentence in as many songs as possible on this new album we have it almost every song, the ones we don’t have the sentence in lacks it because we ran a bit short of time and that’s how it all began.
Gustavo Sanzes has done the cover art-work. What do you think of the cover of the album?
He is a very talented guy from Brazil and we got in touch with him through our label. We wanted the cover to reflect the music and the title of the album so we wanted the cover to have a city with a moon shining over it but that wasn’t cool looking enough so one the people at the label came up with the idea to put a pentagram and the phoenix bird that rise from the ashes also. The bird pretty much symbolizes us rising from the ashes after been quiet for 4 years.
When was the album ready for you to hand over to the label?
It was mixed and June, the mastering took place in August/September so at the beginning of September did we hand over album.
There’s a limited version of the album with an alternative art-work and two bonus tracks. What can you tell us about that version?
It was said from the start that we were gonna do a limited version of the album so we asked our heavy metal jury to decide which two songs we were gonna feature as bonus tracks. The jury consists of friends to us that loves heavy metal. So we did compromise a bit and then we got the final result, the art-work is the same on the limited edition, the only change is that the motive is darker and doesn’t have a city in the background.
In your biography it says “New studio album to continue their unrivalled crusade for pure M.E.T.A.L” what do you have to say on that statement?
That’s only what the label did put in the bio. I have no idea where this is coming from but I guess that’s how the label thinks.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Dream Evil plays today? I think you have gone from melodic power metal to a more melodic heavy metal approach?
You are right, that’s just what we have done. I think that the Dream Evil of today plays melodic heavy metal and nothing else.
I have read reviews where the reviewer has said that Dream Evil still is a power metal act?
I find that very hard to believe to be honest, we play NOT power metal but heavy metal.
Do you think that the band has developed music wise on this album compared to your previous albums?
Of course have we gone through changes, we have new members that all are giving us new feedback and input. Patrik did participate on UNITED but he didn’t write any songs which he have done on IN THE NIGHT. And because everyone has been involved in the songwriting process have the music also gone through changes. Daniel is amazing on writing songs which I didn’t have any idea of before.
Do you have plans on shooting videos to any of the songs?
Yes we do, but there haven’t been a lot of time to do that, we are out on tour at the moment so its hard to do anything but to tour. We have had a meeting with director Patrik Ullaeus and talked about a video and I think we’re gonna do a video to “Band Your Head”.
Are you gonna release any singles?
We don’t have any current plans on doing that no.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet?
It seems like the reviewers have mixed feeling towards IN THE NIGHT. The Germans love the album which is great. Swedish reviews have been both up and down, in one of the biggest news papers did we get 2 points out of 5 so that wasn’t good at all. But on the other hand did the magazine put the cover to THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL in the review and not the cover of IN THE NIGHT, that maybe says more about the reviewer than about the new album ha ha. They had also written that we sounded like Hammerfall and that leaves a lot to wonder about when it comes to the magazine.
What can you say about the pictures in the booklet? You used to have ordinary band pics but not this time?
We have had a bunch of variation on the band pics during the years. On IN THE NIGHT have we taken on characters and aliases and therefore we thought that it would be fun to enhance more unusual pics again. For an example am I the crazy dentist Pete Pain which you see if you look in the booklet and because Ritchie Rainbow is Fredrik’s alias does he stand beneath a rainbow. Niklas is a vampire slayer called Nick Night and Patrik is a boxer that’s why he is called Pat Power and his character is a Thai-boxer. It’s Patrik Ullaeus that has taken the pics and he is a great photographer.
What kind of reaction have you had from the fans and your live audience this time?
We played in Copenhagen two nights ago and there was a guy that had never heard us before there so I guess we have won one new fan with the new album ha ha. He was there to see the headline act Stratovarious but when he saw us he said that we were the best band he had ever seen. And it also seems that the older fans also loves IN THE NIGHT which is great fun.
You put up “Bang Your Head” on your MySpace site before the album was out. What did the fans think of the song?
If you look to how many that listened to the song it was very appreciated by fans. Many of our older fans was really anticipating what we would bring this time and I don’t think we did disappoint them.
You threw a release party for the album in Essen in Germany. How was that?
It was amazing, people from the label showed up and we did a show. I wouldn’t call it a release party it was rather more a warm-up show before we headed out on the road.
Did you play any of the new songs?
Yes, we did a few new songs, we actually played the set-list we have with Stratovarious.
There’s have been a change in the line-up once gain, Mark U Black has left the band, why did he leave?
Well, he got two kids within the period of 1 year, it was pretty crazy. He and his wife got a boy and three weeks later was she pregnant once again, so he had a very unusual family situation. That made him unable to attend our live shows so he decided to leave the band, it was as simple as that.
Are you still friends with Black today?
Yes, of course we are friends, he’s an awesome dude. And we don’t hold anything against him, everyone can have issues in the family.
What does Black do today? Does he still play music?
I actually don’t really know, I haven’t spoken to him for quite a while now. We were friends in the band but we haven’t hanging out much private. He lives in a different town than me so we don’t bump into each other out on town either. I really don’t have an answer on that question.
Daniel is the name of your new guitarist, where does he come from? And was it hard to find a new guitarist?
We tried a few different guitarists at first but Patrik did play with Daniel before so we tried him on and he turned out to be an kick-ass guitarist. He was definitive one of the best guitarists that tried out for the position. Before joining us he had mostly played in smaller acts and IN THE LIGHT is the first album he has recorded.
Is Daniel a steady member in the band now?
Yes, he is.
Has Daniel performed live with you prior to this tour?
Yes, he joined the band during the summer of 2007 and he did participate on the gig we did at Bloodstock Open Air the same year with 3500 people in the crowd, you can believe that Daniel was shocked by playing for so many people at his first show with us ha ha.
Are there any differences in playing with Daniel and to play with Mark or Gus G?
Yes, they are three completely different guitarists with three different musical approaches, the only thing those guys have in common is their love for Yngwie Malmsteen. It’s hard to mention any obvious difference between them. I love them all. They play the same riffs but somehow it sounds totally different. I don’t regret anything from when we changed from Gus, to Mark to Daniel. The band still sounds the same and have the same musical approach even though we have a new guitarist.
Patrik J the drummer has now been a part of the band for a while.How is it to work with him?
He is a great guy overall, to be honest was he in the band from the very beginning because he worked with Fredrik in his studio. Patrik has been involved behind the scenes in Dream Evil from the beginning, he has written songs to the band since the early start. He’s also got a lot of touring experiences with his membership in Transport League and Passenger.
What’s the differences between Patrik J and your old drummer Snowy Shaw?
Both guys are great at what they do but Snowy is more impulsive in his drum play. He makes up small drum fills and so in songs but he always gets back to the original beat and that makes him awesome. Patrik is a more solid and reliable drummer, you know that Patrik got your back.
Do you have any contact with the older members today?
Yes, I have mailed with Gus event though he has got a lot to do now that he’s joined forces with Ozzy Osbourne. Snowy always comes to see us when we play in Gothenburg but we don’t talk so much in private, we have more a professional relationship.
Is the current line-up a solid one?
Yes, it is. We have no plans on changing members at the moment or in the future. We feel that this line-up is solid but then again, you should never say never. Family things can always come up. But as it it now is Dream Evil solid as a rock.
You are currently out with Stratovarious on the European leg of their tour, how has it been so far?
It’s been going really great. It’s fun to play for our German fans, we haven’t played in Germany since 2004 when we were there with Saxon. It was also great fun to be playing in Copenhagen a few days ago. And now we’re out in Sweden which is great, we haven’t played here for a while either.
How has it been to play live again, it was a while since you were out on the roads?
It’s amazing to play live when you haven’t been out for a while. When you first enter the stage you get a little nervous but as quickly as we start the show it’s sheer and pure fun to be standing there.
You and Stratovarious have now visited Denmark and Germany together.What’s it like to be out with Stratovarious?
They are all really cool guys, we don’t socialize a lot with them, they mostly hanging out together but they are a friendly bunch of Finnish guys ha ha.
How have the Stratovarious fans been treating you so far?
The fans has been great, and especially in Denmark where we had the biggest crowd to play for ha ha.
How many new songs do you have on the set list?
We play four new songs, totally we do 9 songs during our show so almost half of the set list contains of new songs.
After this show in Lund tonight you have the rest of Scandinavia left to tour before it’s over. How does it feel to be out on the roads?
I miss my family a lot and it’s gonna be nice to come home. And I have a lot of work waiting for me at home so it’s gonna be nice to come home and take care of that. But it’s always fun to come out and to meet the fans, I have mixed emotions towards touring. Now that I have been away from my kids for 9 days I feel that I’m longing to come home though but when I’m at home I miss being out on the roads.
Dream Evil has one confirmed show at Bloodstock Open Air in England this summer and you recently confirmed that you’re gonna play at the Metaltown festival in Gothenburg, are you gonna do more shows this summer?
Yeah, we’re gonna do more shows. We have a bunch of shows lined up in May and June already. And during August we are gonna play almost every weekend so we’re gonna play a lot this summer.
According to your website are the band gonna do a tour. Can you tell us more about that?
Does it say so on our website?
I can confirm that it has been discussed but nothing has been confirmed.
(Anders) It says that you’re gonna go out on tour as well as doing a festival tour.
Wow, well, I don’t know what to say about that.
On your website can the fans vote for 10 tracks from all of your albums that you’re gonna play on your shows as bonus songs on your gigs later this year, what’s that?
We added that mostly for fun and to see which of our songs that the fans like the most. But it’s not anything we’re gonna do know, as it says, it comes later this year, we have to take a look at the result and rehearse the songs first ha ha.
Are there any differences in how Dream Evil is treated by national and foreign press?
Yes, I’d say we are almost treated better by foreign press ha ha. The band have been active for a decade now and still doesn’t the press in Sweden know who we are, just look at the review I mentioned earlier, they compare us with Hammerfall and Manowar, boy, the reviewer did get everything wrong. After having been in the business for such a long period time as we have it’s amazing that the press don’t know that we doesn’t take ourselves serious. We are treated much better in other countries where we are doing serious interviews and people listen to our music and figure out what we’re all about.
Why have you taken on aliases?
Well, Snowy’s name is Snowy, Gus has got his real name so we felt when Marcus joined the band under the name Mark U Black it was time for the rest of us to take on some cool names. So on IN THE NIGHT you can see our new cool names that really personify us ha ha.
What are you up to when you not handling the bass in the band? Do the rest of the members all have regular jobs?
Well, Patrik J has left Studio Fredman and now he work as a contractor and puts on roofs on houses. Niklas is a sales person, Daniel he doesn’t work he plays poker, and I work with the Internet.
(Anders) so all of the members have regular jobs?
Yes, we do, we can’t live of the band, not in these times.
Dream Evil is pretty big in Japan, do you have plans on going there to do promotion for the band and for the new album?
I don’t know actually, I doesn’t have any info on where this album is gonna be released. Our distribution label King Records have had some problems so I honestly doesn’t know much about how we’re gonna do with the Asian market.
Has the North American market showed any interest in the band yet?
Hell yeah! We have sold pretty much over there and it’s really fun to have managed to sneak in a leg in the North American market. We have a lots of fans from over there who writes on our MySpace site wanting us to come and play. But it’s a huge territory to play on and we all have our families to take think of so we’ll see how it all turns out in the future. But we have been over there once and played at The Key Club in Los Angeles which was amazing. A few show would be fun to do in New York or Los Angeles ha ha.
Does the fans have to wait long before your next album comes out?
NO, not at all. We have a deal with Century Media now again and we have 5 song writers in the band so writing material is not a problem. We only decide when it times to hit the studio again and we’ll enter and record an album.
Why didn’t you tour on the UNITED album?
We only did a few shows in America as well as a few shows in Sweden. We did a few shows in England as well but we didn’t get an offer to do any festival shows so that’s why.
Dream Evil did recently sign on a new deal with your old label Century Media, did your old deal expire?
Yes, we did renegotiate our old deal and signed on for a new deal with CM.
Are you happy with the work that CM have put into the album etc?
Hell yeah, the label have done an amazing job and they have did a great job promoting IN THE NIGHT so far.
Do you know if your older album are still avaliable in stores?
I really don’t know. Maybe they’re available on CDON or other net-stores, I know it’s hard these days to find albums that are older or sold out.
What do you have to say to the poor bastards that haven’t discovered Dream Evil yet?
Your poor, poor bastards ha ha. No, seriously, grab a beer and tune in to Spotify and listen to us. It can’t go wrong.
When can we expect to find the next Dream Evil album out in stores?
Well, I would guess on maybe 2012.
Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with the readers? Thank you so much for taking time in your busy schedule to talk to me and to metal-rules.com?
Thank YOU Anders, it’s fun to see that so many are digging our new album, that makes the band really happy. And I’m really glad that you Anders loved the limited edition of IN THE NIGHT.
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