South By Southwest (SXSW) 2008

Spread the metal:


Part 4: SABATON: Joakim Broden

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I really did not know much of anything concerning Sweden’s "Sabaton" going into the band’s performance at the "It’s Grim Up North" showcase at SXSW. Looking back, what I CAN tell you is that Sabaton fucking owned the stage that night. Keep in mind that Sabaton was the first band to perform that night, now, usually that would be unpleasant for a band. After all, the opening slot is traditionally when concert goers start flocking in, the first few dollar bills hit the bottom of the tip jar at the bar, and the opening slot band usually gets jipped out of the undivided attention of the audience.

This is not the case at SXSW, because every venue, every band is working on a very precise showcase schedule, Sabaton played to a very packed, and very responsive Austin, Texas crowd.

Sabaton’s brand of metal is best described as majestic power metal, I would say with traditional eighties heavy metal overtones. They also know how to work a very small stage, as though they were performing at a European metal festival to an audience of thousands. High energy, great musicianship and great stage presence make for….well, a killer show!

I caught up with lead singer Joakim Broden after the group’s highly successful American debut, and got his thoughts on playing in Texas, the new album "The Art of War" and his side of the Maiden vs. Priest debate….

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How are you doing tonight and what brings you to Austin for SXSW? 

Austin…I love it here. It’s our first time in the U.S. but, I really have to say, we heard a lot of shit about the U.S. back in Sweden people were talking crap about American people and I have to say each and every one of them were wrong. I love it here.

How do you like America and more specifically Austin, Texas so far?

I haven’t seen that many bands, we got in the day before yesterday in the night, and yesterday we had a bunch of meetings with labels and stuff…

Any leads?

Oh yeah, well, our label just released our old album “Attero Dominatus” this year in the U.S. ….It’s already done, the album is out, I really have to say, I love this city! People tell me it’s not like this everywhere in Texas. People tell me it’s (Austin) is kind of an oasis in Texas.

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I understand you entered Abyss Studios in January to record your new album entitled "The Art Of War" with Peter Tagtren producing. Is the album finished and are you pleased with the results?

Yes to both questions. It will be released on the 30th of May in Europe and probably a week or two later in the U.S. ….So sometime in June I guess.

How long was Sabaton in the studio?

A month actually.

Does Peter (Tagtren) kinda sit back and oversee everything, or is he more of a hands on player in the studio environment?

He wasn’t really involved at all in the recording because we recorded with his brother at sometimes also, and what we did was we had Peter in the beginning, him and us, we agreed on sounds and the technical stuff.

Then we were at his brother’s studio which is next door really, and we recorded the album, then we went to Peter’s studio, back again and did the final parts and the mix.

He (Peter) is a really good guy because he’s not too involved musically. We don’t like that, music’s our thing. But we paid him to make us sound good, and he did that, it sounds really good, so he was really good to work with.

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What was the working environment like while recording with Peter? Obviously the music comes first, but after a long day recording did you all party together? 

What do you call it….uhm….I don’t know the word in English but let’s just say, he doesn’t say no to a beer….or five….or six.

Poor guy, I just heard he was attacked while walking back from a pub in Germany….

That was like, a week after we recorded.

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After reading the track listing for "The Art Of War" it certainly appears that the album could have a constant running theme throughout the duration of the album. Would you say that "The Art Of War" is a concept album?

Definitely yes. Everything fits together and we have a speaking voice from the book connecting the songs together and every song tells a story of a battle which is connected to a chapter of the book (The Art Of War).

Sun Tzu the Chinese writer, the author of the book, he wrote about the importance of intelligence for a battle.

The upcoming Sabaton DVD "Live At The Front" has been postponed until the fall, what was reason for this postponement, and will any footage of this years upcoming metal festival appearances be included in the finished product? 

This appearance won’t be because we didn’t have a camera team, but upcoming festivals in Europe will be included like Wacken Open Air….we got main stage at Wacken, Graspop (Metal Meeting) also ….

The reason that it (The upcoming DVD) was postponed are actually several reasons. Our tour bus broke down, so we didn’t have time to get the shots we needed. When you record a DVD, the day before you have a camera man shooting the drummer and stuff like that….

Our tour bus broke down, we didn’t get there a day before, so what really happened was we didn’t get the shots we needed, the sound….uhm….the recording firm fucked up and the camera guys fucked up.

Speaking of festival appearances, will this be the band’s first appearance at Wacken Open Air? What can the festival goers at Wacken expect from your live performance this summer?

This is our first Wacken Open Air and since we are on the main stage, the Metal stage, we’ve got some room to move. It’ll be an old school heavy metal show. Lot’s of running all around, throwing guitars, mic stands, microphones all around the place. I like it old school.

The debut album by Sabaton, "Metalizer" was recorded for Italy’s Underground Sypmphony label in 2002, but sadly lay dormant until being released last year by Black Lodge. What was the reason for the hold up of the release of the debut "Metalizer" and do you believe that the delay has slowed down momentum for the band?  I know you guys have stayed busy in the meantime…. 

To tell you the truth, I have no idea why it was delayed. We told our current label Black Lodge “Ok fuck the Italians, lets do this.” And they bought the album from them.

What was it that initially sparked an interest in Sabaton from Underground Symphony, only to have them sit on the album and not release it for so long?

I think the problem was, they heard the songs, they liked them. Then they released our promo, our demo cd was released by Underground Symphony. It’s called “Fist For Fight” and it was only pressed in a limited edition, 3,000 copies, and they were sold out in less than a year.

The thing was, they never got to release “Metalizer” I don’t know why really.

One constant running theme on the internet forum is the Maiden vs. Priest argument, judging by your lyrics for the song “Metal Crue” off of the “Attero Dominatus” album seem to point to you siding with Priest in this epic debate. (When the Priest killed the Maiden in the Metal Church, Armored Saints and Warlocks watched the Slaughter).

You’re absolutely right, of course I like both bands, but if I had to choose, my choice would be Judas Priest. Oscar, the guitarist, they’re one of his favorite bands, and also one of my top ten bands let’s just say not one of my top five bands. Actually my number one favorite band is Rainbow.  My favorite singer of all time has to be Ronnie James Dio. He did an amazing fucking job in that band. We played with Heaven and Hell three times last summer, so I got to see three sets by them. 

Before we wrap this up is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans? 

Keep drinking beer and listening to Sabaton, and also, don’t practice safe sex because it’s boring.

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