Sabaton are easily one of the best "newer" power metal bands that have stormed from out of Sweden on an unstoppable mission of global domination. On the eve of the release of the release of the band’s debut live album I got to speak with their bassist, PÄR SUNDSTRÖM, to talk about the live album and see what else is going on with the band.
First let me say that you guys kick ass and for many of us metal fans, you offer a great hope to us showing that melodic and powerful heavy metal is alive and well in newer bands!!
Thanks, we´re just doing what we do. We never intended to be something that would change the world. We´re glad when people like us.
The beginning obvious question is: why a live album and why now?
For a long time people have requested a live album from Sabaton. We brought equipment to recoed the shows during our World War Tour in Europe and after the tour we started to go through the recorded stuff, finally we choosed the show on the Sabaton cruise as base for a live album.
Are you a fan of live albums? If so can you please tell us what your top live albums are of all time!!!
I like live albums, there are a couple that are better then others. Iron Maiden is the masters of Live albums and they Live after death album is great. So is Deep Purples Made in Japan.
What are some things about live albums they you DO NOT like? For example, what are your thoughts on pre-recorded instrumental parts, fake crowd cheering (taken from a football game? haha), and of course, what is your take on bands RE-RECORDING parts of songs where a solo might of had a mistake or a vocalist went a little off key? Did you do any of the above….be honest! haha
We did some fixing musically, but mostly we decided to cut away the songs we did not play so well. It’s not fun for fans to hear a bad recording. That makes no sense. Its a art to do a live album.
You took the songs from disc 2 of World War Live from a number of different shows throughout Europe while Disc 1 is from the Sabaton Cruise. Do you prefer the flow of a single show like the Cruise or do you like the clips from many different concerts?
I prefer the flow that is on the disc one from the Sabaton cruise. I love to hear the talk between the songs. But I loved the idea of having 2 discs where we had songs recorded from several places.
Was there much disagreement with picking which performance was the best, or was it pretty obvious what versions were the best?
It was never any disagreement, the Sabaton Cruise was a great event and that’s why we decided to do it again. Its a cruise-ship with 2000 Sabaton fans. Quite amazing actually!
How many songs were a part of the potential set list for the COAT OF ARMS tour that DID NOT make it to the live album? Was there much trouble picking the songs for the album?
As we played songs upon request during the Sabaton Cruise we could not play every song from all albums. I think we did a kinda best of Sabaton set upon requests by our fans.
What is the album cover for World War Live: Battle of the Baltic Sea?
Its a battleship all guns blazing in a winter sea. The show was recorded on the Sabaton cruise, not really a battleship, but close enough. And it was in December and most of Baltic sea was covered in ice.
How did you decide on the name "Battle of the Baltic Sea"?
Cause that was what it was. The show was recorded on the Baltic Sea and some of our shows are almost as wild as battles.
There are a few different versions of the Live album…do you know if the version with the 2 CDs plus the live DVD will be available in North America? According to the Nuclear Blast USA store, the version with the DVD won’t be available here?
It will be available as import from Nuclear Blast.
Sometimes when a band plays live the atmosphere might be awesome and the crowd great, but the recording wasn’t the best one. Did anything like that happen where you thought you had a magic moment recorded only to find that maybe some other version of the song was played better?
Well, it happened. Some of the songs were not played correctly. Then we simply cut them away. The atmosphere was great and we wanted this show. But its only 80 minutes on a CD and the show was a lot longer then that.
With THE ART OF WAR and now COAT OF ARMS the band has really broken out and become more of a (metal) household name. To what do you attribute this to? How much is a result of constant touring?
I think maybe 80 percent comes from constant touring, we love to play live and that is also necessary to play a lot to be able to grow as a band.
You played over this way in April with Accept and you’ll be back again this fall…that is quite a feat for a European metal band as there are many other bands who’ve been around longer and who’ve been established longer, who don’t even tour North America that often! Do you have any theory as to why you’ve been able to do this? Is it because you do better over here than those other (un-named Euro bands) or it is because you are willing to put up with more "crap" (Crap as in: long road distances, playing less than perfect venues, slightly less pay then you’d maybe get if you stuck to Europe, etc.)
We think America is a challenge, people told us that America is nothing for our music. We wanna prove those people wrong. It was the same for United Kingdom where a lot of people told us to give it up, we never gave up UK and now Sabaton is a big band in UK.
Have your new releases always outsold its predecessor or have album sales taken a backseat to making a living from touring and t-shirt sales – because it does seem that bands make most of their profits from being on the road these days with the amount of piracy that still goes on.
As we have been growing slowly from our first release in 2005 we have always increased in sales, but the numbers are not as some other bands that has been around for 20 years or so.
Today Sabaton sells a lot in comparison to many other bands, but its still not much so touring and tshirts are the most important thing to keep us going.
I’ve read some artists almost view the album as a marketing tool for touring and they expect to not make a lot from the albums…do you find it that way for Sabaton?
With a new album comes a new tour, so yes. But we love to create new songs. Its one of the best feelings in the world when we can present a new album for our fans.
How much of the next album has been written and do you have a rough estimate for when it might be in fans hands?
About 30 percent of the music is written, we plan to focus on writing after the coming American tour and then during the spring we hope to release it.
For COAT OF ARMS the band asked fans for input for topic ideas about, for example, certain war stories that you could potentially use for a song. This seemed to be a great success, will you be doing that again for the next album or did you get so many ideas that you don’t need to ask for any input?
Indeed it was fantastic idea to ask our fans or inspiration and it worked fantastic. And just as you said, we got enough ideas that we don’t need to ask again. We have over 10 000 ideas saved.
You’ll be back over this way soon with Evergrey. What city are you most looking forward to playing and why?
We look forward to all shows, they were all quite the same. I enjoyed being in the south where it was nice and warm.
What’s the worst thing about touring in North America? Is it the distances between shows? The crappy food, American beer? hahaa
The worst about America is probably how some things are so complicated compared to Europe. I hate the simple trouble of getting the internet during a tour. We need it to keep the band going during tour.