Soilwork Vocalist Bjorn Strid Discusses New Album "The Panic Broadcast"
Band Photo: Soilwork (?)
Swedish metallers Soilwork are currently on their eighth full-length studio album, entitled "The Panic Broadcast," which saw its release earlier this month. In a recent interview with Metalunderground, vocalist Björn Strid raved about the band's latest creation by stating he hasn't been as proud of a Soilwork release since 2002's "Natural Born Chaos." Björn also discussed how Soilwork was changed since the debut demo "In Dreams We Fall Into The Eternal Lake," the literal meaning behind the new album's title, and his upcoming new side project.
xFiruath: Would you like to discuss at all the recent deaths of metal icons like Ronnie James Dio or Peter Steele and their impact on you?
Björn: Obviously I have different relations to those artists. I mean especially Dio meant a lot to me as a singer. I was growing up with him and his music and vocals. It really left an empty space. It feels like he was one of the last real singers, one of the last old singers who could still pull it off. It was a really weird day when I heard about it, it left something empty in me. I’ve always loved his music. It’s just really sad. You heard that he was getting sick, but then you didn’t hear anything for I don’t know how long and suddenly he just died. It was just so sudden. And then Paul Gray of Slipknot. We never had a chance to tour with Slipknot, but it was really sad for him because he had a wife and baby and all that.
xFiruath: How has Soilwork’s music changed since the very first demo “In Dreams We Fall Into The Eternal Lake?”
Björn: We’ve grown a lot and we’ve been growing up with the band. So many things happened during that time. We were 17 I guess when we started the band, me and Peter. I can’t believe looking back what we have accomplished with the band. We’ve become such great song writers and we’ve learned to express ourselves in so many ways. In the beginning we had the bands we liked like the “Heartwork” album from Carcass, At The Gates’ “Slaughter of the Soul” and we also got really inspired when “City” by Strapping Young Lad came out. The way that it was so unique sounding and so extreme, that definitely had an impact. Already from the beginning we had some kind of urge to create something unique and take it to the next level, not just be a band that loves those bands and sounds very similar to them. Even though I guess those first two albums kind of had that Gothenburg touch to it, but we managed to take it a step further and we have really created something unique. I believe we are one of the originators to do that style of mixing screamed vocals with clean vocals that later led into the metalcore scene and all that. It’s really remarkable to think about that, to be 32 years old and feel that you’ve inspired so many bands, with bands name dropping Soilwork as one of their main influences. It’s really something for sure.
xFiruath: Have you got any projects going out outside of Soilwork?
Björn: Well, I am working on a solo album as well. Which is actually more like a band. It’s going to be called the Night’s Light Orchestra and Sharlee D'Angelo is playing bass in that band. It’s going to be classic rock basically, 70’s like Kiss or Alice Cooper. There is a little bit of Motown and Boston, Journey, Bruce Springsteen, and stuff like that. With horns and backups. It’s rock, but kind of like a big band rock. I wanted to do something really different. I’m working on that right now and in the mean time I’m also practicing for touring with Soilwork. It’s exciting times.
xFiruath: Fill me in on the new Soilwork album “The Panic Broadcast.” Where did you handle the recording?
Björn: We rented a house in North Carolina and Peter had some connections there. We thought it would be a cool idea to gather the band together and have a studio in a house to jam with a home feeling. It was a huge house and we had some of the rooms made into small studios. When we were done we could go out and hang out, so it was a great feeling. It was so different from the previous album where we recorded in our hometown in our dark basements. It was quite a change.
xFiruath: Who did you work with on the album?
Björn: Peter was producing the whole album, and then we had Jens Bogren who did those Opeth and Katatonia albums, he mixed the whole album in Sweden. So we were spending six weeks in North Carolina and then we moved it to Sweden to mix with Jens Bogren.
xFiruath: So I saw there’s a bonus DVD with the new album also?
Björn: Yeah there’s going to be some shots from the studio and a little sneak peek of the recording process. There’s drum videos in there as well I believe. I still haven’t seen it actually, so I’m just as curious as you are.
xFiruath: What sort of lyrics are heard on “The Panic Broadcast?”
Björn: In general they deal with a lot of misconceptions and the illusion of the mind and how the brain can build up things that don’t really exist. I’ve been experiencing a lot panic and anxiety and stuff like that, and it’s been a good way for me to open up and accept the fact and turn it around. So therefore the “Broadcast.” It doesn’t only bring up the negative side of it, it’s really leaving an encouraging aftertaste. I really hope it inspires other people because it’s a very common problem, so hopefully that inspires people to open up and not be embarrassed.
xFiruath: You guys are already working on one music video off the album, right?
Björn: Yes, that’s true. There’s going to be two videos. We are working on an animated video for “Deliverance is Mine,” which is pretty much a follow-up to the “Light the Torch” video. It’s kind of the same character. We’re going to record a performance video in New York when we are there for the track “Night Comes Clean.”
xFiruath: Soilwork also has an upcoming compilation album coming up called “The Sledgehammer Files.” What made you decide to do that and how did you pick the tracks?
Björn: Well it wasn’t really our idea, it was our Japanese label who wanted to release a “best of” album in Japan. We thought “Why Not?” That’s actually where we started playing our first big tour outside of Sweden, in Japan. We wanted to give the fans there something special, and I’m sure we’ll do that for the rest of the world as well. We were involved picking the songs, although the idea really came from the label.
xFiruath: Where are you guys touring next?
Björn: We were planning to do a whole festival summer in Europe, but since the album is being released in the middle of the summer, it’s kind of hard to get more than a handful of festivals. We wanted to be more busy when the album gets released so we had to go for a North American tour instead. We’re coming to North America in mid-July. It’s going to be a month tour and then we come home and do Japan and Australia and a European tour, but that’s all I know for now.
xFiruath: What’s on your playlist lately?
Björn: Good question. There’s a German band called The Ocean, which is really cool. What else? Priestess and Baroness are both great bands. I’ve also been listening to an album a lot by Beck called “Sea Change.” Great album. I think it was released like eight years ago, but I hadn’t discovered it until now. I just moved down to the ocean and it’s just the perfect soundtrack.
xFiruath: Any final words?
Björn: We’re really proud of this album. I can honestly say I haven’t been this proud of an album since “Natural Born Chaos.” It’s really something and it feels great.
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