It is time to have a talk with Ronny Hemlin of the Swedish act Steel Attack. They have recently released their new album DIABOLIC SYMPHONY and because I loved their previous album I thought it was time to update what’s going on in the Steel Attack camp.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Sound Pollution for providing me with promo pictures.
Thanks to SSG Management for more promo pictuers taken by: Patrik Hellström
Hi Ronny, first of all I have to congratulate you to all the great reviews you got on the new album..
Thank you, it sure feels great to have people liking the stuff we do!
When did you first noticed that you could sing and that you were good at it?
He he I haven’t dicovered that yet
Nah .. actually I started as a drummer waaaaaaay back in time, and after doing that for a couple of years I was asked to sing in a band because my brother was singing in another band, and they thought “if his brother can sing, so can he” I was 13 year old back then and I have been doin it ever since.
Here in Scandinavia you have a older brother that are very familiar to the public and that also sings, who began to sing first in the Hemlin family you or him?
Ha ha .. I should have read this question before answering the previuos one
Can you play any instrument or do you “just” sing?
As I said .. I play the drums, I also play guitar, keyboard and bass (amongst other intruments semi-good he he)
Besides singing I play the guitar the most because I write a lot of the stuff on the albums, and that would be somewhat hard to do if I couldn’t play
Have you been involved in any other bands before you joined Steel Attack?
Oh Yes! I’ve been in different bands since I was 10 years old.
Most recent (pre- Steel Attack) I was in a band called LACK OF FAITH who released one album called “Aeternus Caligatio”.
Do you play with any other bands beside Steel Attack to day?
Lack Of Faith is rehearsing every now and then .. but not very often .. besides that .. no!
How did you end up in Steel Attack and how did it felt when you were about to sing with them for the first time?
John Allan asked LG from the storyteller (the singer) if he knew someone who could sing in Steel Attack, and as I am a good friend of LG he gave John my phone number .... John called me and asked if I would like to sing on their upcoming album, which I of course wanted to ... I joined the band (after auditioning) and we started to write the songs, that would later end up on the ENSLAVED album.
Did you know who Steel Attack were before you joined them?
Nope .. I had no idea who they where
What do you think of the older albums with the band?
To be honest .. that is NOT at all my cup of tea (please don’t hate me, all you fans of the old stuff he he)
How was your last album ENSLAVED greeted by the fans and the media?
Mixed feelings really ... but 95% awesome .. and some of the old fantasy, dragons and knights lovers didn’t aprove at all
How have the older fans of the band greeted you as the new singer in Steel Attack?
Really good, It feels like I’ve been acceptedJ!! ....And to the ones that haven’t I want to say this.... Keep listening to the old stuff, because Steel Attack will never be like that again m/
And that is a decision made by every member in the band, so don’t blame me!
You did a European tour together with Exciter and Black Abyss how was that?
It was a total blast ... seldom have I had such great times ... awesome guys whom I would love to go on tour with again some day!
Do you do any older songs from before your time in the band when you’re out on tour?
Why did you end the co-operation with your label Arise Metal?
The contract was for two albums, and two albums was made, - easy as that.
Who owns the legal rights to the older albums PREDATOR OF THE EMPIRE and ENSLAVED that you released on your old label?
Well ... that I don’t know ... I’m just a singer you know ha ha
Why did you now sign on for Massacre Records was it more labels that was interested in you beside them?
Yes we had some offers from different labels, and since Massacre had the best deal to offer and as Massacre is Massacre .. we all felt happy so sign up with them.
What are the changes in between your new label compared to the older label?
The deal!!! We have a much better deal with Massacre than we’ve had with any other label ... and that weighs a lot!
Massacre Records also have great respect in the metal genre which of course can’t be any thing but good for bands signed to the label m/
For how many albums are you signed for at Massacre Records?
Ha ha we’ve sold our souls to them ... nah just kidding ... as times are now adays - having in mind Internet downloading and stuff .. we think it’s unwise to sign for more then one album at a time, and I guess all “smart” labels think alike!!
Do you see any problems in the fact that Massacre Records not are based in Sweden?
No other than it takes much longer to get paid
- which of course is normal due to all the hands of appropriate authorities;
Lets talk about your new album DIABOLIC SYMPHONY, how long did it take to write and record and which studio is used?
I don’t know excatly how long time it took to write all the material for the album, it’s a never ending process actually ... for example .. Unfinished ideas written for the previous album was finished and put into new songs as a verse, chorus, solo part etc. etc. And there’s even older material that has been brought back to life and that has been remade to fit the new style and sound.
The album was (as Enslaved) recorded in the Black Lounge Studio by engineer Jonas Kjällgren (guitar player in Scar Symmetry, who also recorded their two albums there)
Why the title DIABOLIC SYMPHONY? Does it have any special meaning?
Hmm... well as the lyrics for the song “Diabolic Symphony” was ready and I announced it for the guys, we all thought that was a name cool enough for an album m/
Who produced the album and who’s mastered it and mixed it?
The album was produced by Steel Attack and Jonas Kjällgren.
mixed & mastered by Jonas Kjällgren at The Black Lounge!
Who’s done the cover art-work? What do you think of it and does it symbolize anything in particular?
It’s made by Isis Sousa in Brazil, and I like it a lot really ...
The cover symbolizes the mood of the sound and lyrics on the album (to make it short)
You have recorded a video for the title track, when did you record the video and is the single released yet?
Don’t remember excatly when we recorded it .. but let me put it this way ... it was still freazing cold here in Sweden back then .. and soon the summer has passed yet again!
There’s no single released.
And let me also mention this ... Steel Attack is about to make a new video for one of the songs of the album ... and all info. On that you’ll find at our website in the very near future.
Do you think that Steel Attack have developed musicwise during your time in the band? If so how?
Absolutely!!! The music has gone from happy/power to heavy melodic (with a touch of progg.) and in my opinion a much more mature style of music.
And I don’t mean that I am to have all the credits for that ... it is due to the new members in the band mixed with the remains of the old band.
I think you have taken on a more melodic heavy metal approach compared to before, what do you think of that?
Hmm ... yes sir! And don’t forget the progressive part, even though it’s a small part of it all
Are you going to continue on this musical path on the next album?
I think I can answer for all of us .... yes I’m pretty sure that we’ll stay on this path, and of course we’ll try some different directions and approaches too, just for the fun of it!
Because of your slighter change of musical direction a few Swedish metal magazines thinks you should change your band name because it sounds too hard into a more proper name, what do you think of that?
“I” totally agree ... I don’t think Steel Attack is matching the type of music we’re playing today! (plz don’t kick my ass guys he,he)
..maybe we’ll change it in the near future .. you never know
Do you think you have gotten more recognized in Sweden with DIABOLIC SYMPHONY?
Absolutely ... I don’t think .. I know you can tell by all the GREAT reviews and in the booking-department m/
Do you have any idea how many copies ENSLAVED have sold worldwide?
Not really, but it’s some thousands of them in the CD shelves out there i’m sure!
Is DABOLIC SYMPHONY released worldwide yet?
Yes yes .. I’m sure it is!
Do you have any favorite song on the album? If so which one and why?
No I don’t like any of the songs ... ha ha kidding again
I like them all really ... it’s a question of what mood you’re in, see?? And they all works great live as well!
Do you think you have gained any new fans with the new album? and do you get a lot of mail from fans?
We most definetly have gained some new fans with this album
We’ve done a lot of Live performances since the release and we’ve been on tour the USA spreading our seeds of metal!
Many many e-mails has been dropping in with kudos for our music and for us as a band! ... Thank you all!
Where in the world does Steel Attack have the biggest fanbase?
That I don’t know .. the seeds seems to have spread in a pretty even amount all over this planet
You have done a few shows in Sweden, how was that and which show was the most fun to do?
Of all the shows here in Sweden (this year I presume?) I must say I liked the gig we did at the SWEDISH METAL EXPO the most. But I sure enjoyed all the other gigs as well.
You have also been in America and played, how was that and how many shows did you do there?
It was a greeeeat experience, we where taken care of like Kings and the crowds where crazy like nothing I’ve seen before! ..... now we’re booked to return for a three week tour early 2007! (can’t wait)
When can we expect to find album number 6 with Steel Attack out in the stores?
Well as we’ve allready started to write new material for the next album we hope to have it released sometime in the mid 2007. but I can’t promise anything.
What’s the plans for Steel Attack for the rest of 2006?
Play a lot of live, make cool videos and writing for the upcoming album.
Thanks a lot for once again taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything you’d like to say to the readers and fans outthere?
Thank YOU for you time!
And to all of you out there reading this I want to say – Thanks for all the support, we’re most greatful for it!!
And to all of you who’s never heard our music – please visit our webiste and / or our myspace at:
See yah there!
Read the reviews of Steel Attack’s albums here
More info about the band