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Interview: Sabaton
Pär Sundström Bassist von SabatonWährend einer Club-Tour quer durch Deutschland verschlägt es die Schwedische Nummer 2 (gleich hinter Hammerfall) auch in die Kofferfabrik nach Fürth, wo sich der sympatische Bassist Pär Sundström kurz vor seinem Auftritt über eine Stunde Zeit nimmt, unseren offiziellen Fragen (und auch einigen mehr) Rede und Antwort zu stehen. Um es vorweg zu nehmen war ich sehr erstaunt, wie stark diese Jungs in ihrer Heimat Schweden bereits aufgestellt sind, ohne dass es hierzulande großartig zur Kenntnis genommen wird.

 J.G./U.G., 25.08.2006, Stefanie D. (Abschrift)

I asked Pär...
 Hello Pär, congratulation to the successful continuation of PRIMO VICTORIA, your actual and latest work ATTERO DOMINATUS. First of all, tell me who is the creative brain amongst you? Or do you divide it into song writing, guitar and text? Is it more than one person?

Pär: Hello Jochen. Yes, most of the song writing in the band is done by our vocalist Joakim. He does most of the song writing and then we continue together. He comes with a pre-recording to the rehearsals, shows us the raws and the pre-recordings.
Together all the band helps to put it together to songs and to make them complete. In the end, there are the lyrics missing, they are written by me and Joakim together. Sometimes only by me, sometimes with him. Most of the lyrics are done by me and Joakim. He is the creative brain according the music and the most creative person who does everything else. So we just keep in contact and arrange it so that everything works with the band.
That is how we divide the work mostly and the rest of the guys help us out at a point where we cannot do everything by ourselves. That is how it works. But we are still a band even song writing is done by one person mostly.
The only reason behind this is that he is the best song writer and we don't see a reason to put in bad folks just because everyone should be part of it. So it is better that he writes the good songs than that everyone writes less good songs. That is sure.

Was it your own wish to go on a club-tour with relatively less visitors or did the label offer it? We as fans are of course happy because we are closer to you.

Yes, it was our idea and it started out with that we only had one store booked and we thought we don't want to go to Belgium just because of one show.
We want to do more shows and than I contacted the guy from our regency and asked him to arrange the tour for us. He said it is very hard now because it is August and the people don't have much money. It is just holiday season and there won't be so many people on the shows. I said okay and that we will do small places instead and it will work for us hopefully. That we can be able to pay out the night liner and such. He out together this club tour but it was our wish. Our label has nothing to do with this tour.
We are happy about the way it worked out, that we got to all these gigs in August. That is quite cool, you know, because they said we are not going to be able to go on a tour in August but we did it. It is only the initiative of us and with the help of our booking agency.

I can imagine that you did not just roll on riches with your music and that you cannot yet live from making music. How do you approach a tour like this one? Is it sufficient to take a leave (unpaid) or does one even give notice to the job?

Well of course we don't make a living out of music. We get nothing out of our music, we even pay to play.
Even though in Sweden we sell albums quiet good and we draw a lot of people to our shows and we get good paid, we don't earn anything. Because that money goes into buying additional tours, to go on a big support tour like we did with Edguy and that we will do with Grave Digger. It is very costly and this is not the last tour we will pay for. We will pay for more and more and more.
We are used to tours that pay of in Scandinavia and we are used to money from record sales and we use that money to pay of tours. For this tour we earn some money to cover expenses for new merchandise. So we absolutely earn nothing and it is also that we are working so much for our music and the band.
Me for example I work 8 hours every day at least with the band plus we use our free time each week plus we are away over the weekends to play. I don't have time to have a late night job and I earn nothing on the music. So I am a poor guy...
But I give it everything and the band was also my idea and I said to my boss: "I am sorry, I want to go now. I will not work for you anymore because I have a band." He said: "You're crazy, you don't earn any money from your band."
I know but if I don't go with this now I will never be able to earn money with some of that. And hopefully there is a small chance that it might work for us. This is the chance I have and if I don't take it I will regret it for the rest of my life. He understood me and here I am now.

Two of you have a preference for Grave Digger. Now you do your tour with Grave Digger. Does a bit of a dream became true or would any other band be also welcome?

To do a tour with Grave Digger is for me and Daniel really cool, because when we were young we were listening to Grave Digger and they were one of the main influences when we started to play.
Initially, I played with Daniel Long before the band Sabaton started. We played in school together with two other guys. All Heavy Metal freaks and we did the head banger thing in the school. We said we start a band and none of us could play. But we learned and we heard Grave Digger as one of our things that we wanted to become. So of course it is cool to play with them but it is not our biggest dream. Our dream is not to be the support of Grave Digger. Our dream is to be the headliner of such a tour.

Are the German Power Metal Guys Custard really okay as your support-band and do they fit to your music?

They are the nicest travel mates that one can have. We have played with a lot of bands, may be not even as liner and not on tours. But you need bands every time. We have played with most bands from Sweden.
But Custard is one of the nicest guys we have ever travelled with. It is so easy with them. They looked at things the way we do and we help each other out and make it less complicated for everyone. And it works out. They are fantastic and we had a really big amount of fun on this tour. And I think the music fits to us. Yes, of course, how can I say, it is a Melodic Metal and I think it is quiet good.

Recently, you were very successful with Edguy on tour and you found out that light and joyous themes are better to be marketed than serious topics. Would you therefore consider to change your themes into something more commercial?

No, we think that what we are doing now is the right thing and it works in Sweden. I think it will work for us even though we didn't change the theme of the band. We still do this and I think we are still able to grow even more.
I am not afraid about that and we don't want to change our music into something more commercial. I think we will continue on the same style and I think it will work for us. If there are only enough people listening to us and there is enough media coverage than we have a good chance with the thing we are doing right now.

Will Sabaton have other themes in a near future beyond wars even if the latter would eb an inexhaustible field?

There will be always people with machine guns and there will be people fighting each other. So for sure there is an endless story about that.
I cannot tell Sabaton will continue forever but the themes that we have people compare names and if we change that people would not recognise us. So of course we will continue for as long as it will fit and as long as people know about us and as long as the management requires it from us.

Did you once have problems during a gig because of your war themes where too many passionate and radical fans went completely crazy?

Absolutely not. It never ever happened and I have never spoken with anyone who had mistaken our lyrics and who thought they were radical or something. We never had any political troubles with the band.
I think that maybe someday some people will come to our show and will think that we are something that we aren't just because they listened to and hadn't read the lyrics and had listen a little bit bad and didn't get all the meanings of the songs. So I think they will show up sometime but we are not afraid of that because the main people we have seen that it works in Germany and it works in Sweden. We know the masses will not take that part.
For us there is no problem with this.

You said yourself that in principle you are a joyous band but except your last song "Metal Crüe" I could not find joyous party material. If necessary, would you go back to cover versions?

To make things a little bit more fun we do this last songs we did "Metal Machine" and "Metal Crüe". They are to make us a little bit more funnier party band that we actually are.
Regarding covers, we usually don't play them but in Sweden we have this one cover from - it is not a rock or hardrock band - a rock-pop band or something like that which had one hit CD somewhere around the 90s and the band is not taken serious by anyone, people buy it and laugh because of the songs.
They are from our part of Sweden that is why we thought: "Okay, we play a song from them because they are from the same part of Sweden." That is the only cover song we do, I think. Sometimes when we do the "Metal Machine" song we end up with different lyrics. We change the lyrics to one of the most silly song that ever made a radio hit album - in English it would be translated so beautiful "without make up" something like that would be the song title - and it fits perfectly into the melody of our song. So in the middle we stop the lyrics and just to kick the song alive again we start with the new lyrics and at first people are just looking at us and then they are laughing and sing aloud.
It is the most silly song Sweden has ever done, everyone hates it but when we play it everyone knows it because it was on the radio forever. So everyone knows the song and they sing along and have fun and after the song we sometimes make a joke earlier and say: "Would you 2000 people sing along with the band the most crab song that Sweden has ever done?".

And the lyrics to "Metal Crüe", how much time did you need to make this song perfect because it is a very tricky. You use a lot of band names for this song?

To write it? The lyrics? Maybe 45 minutes.
During my visit on the toilet I asked everyone that they should think about metal bands. And I was sure, that we know a lot of bands and we just wrote down everything on a paper. Than I went to the toilet and came out with the whole lyrics.

People are sometimes disturbed by the dominant keyboard performances - the permanent discussion between the traditional guitar loving heavy metal fans and the more free-minded fans. Does this criticism disturb you and do you intend to change something here in future?

We think that we need the keyboard to get our sound. We know that we need it and we know that it has to be on the front. Sometimes the fans say it makes a more powerful sound and we have no intention to change it if it makes the songs good.
Some songs the keyboard is not in the front, some songs the keyboard is very laid back and sometimes on the front. So what suites the music best is always what we choose to do. It is the same for everything e.g. if there is a guitar solo it must fit the music. We never intend to do very technical stuff or anything which is hard to play just what makes the music perfect. Nothing more.
For us the keyboard sound makes the music perfect in our ears. That is why we put it there sometimes and sometimes we think when we hear that the keyboard shouldn't play that part we skip it. The keyboard, the guitars, everything, every instrument will have its space.

Which of your own songs do you like best and has each one its own preference?

For me, I am not sure but I do love "The Ballet" we did very early.
Also "The Hammer has fallen" which was released very early I like it a lot. It is such a nice melody and everything. I like this song very, very much. And also from PRIMO VICTORIA I think it would be "Into the Fire" because it is short, it is intense and it is really cool. It is a "kick-ass-song" so I would say maybe that one form this last albums. From the new album ATTERO DOMINATUS I don't have a favourite yet.
It takes some time and for me to get a favourite I have to play it live. Now I have to see which song is cool to play live because that means a lot. I think "In the Name of God" would be the favourite from the new album.

The publication of the ATTERO DOMINATUS came very quickly and you said that you always prepare enough song material in advance. This means that already during the records of PRIMO VICTORIA the material for ATTERO DOMINATUS existed. Now we are happy about future prospects. Do you have enough material for the next album or do you make a new one?

Of course not every song for the newest album was written while we recorded PRIMO VICTORIA. But we had ideas or several songs. They were not completed and that is why they didn't make it to the PRIMO VICTORIA album. We only though: 'Okay, this song needs a little more work'. Skip it for now and use it for the next one. We have always done that because we are in a band with song writers in compare to album releasers. While we recorded ATTERO DOMINATUS there were two songs which we recorded but we thought after the recording: "No".
These songs can be better: "Lets keep them for the next album." And also there were like two, three, maybe four more songs, where we said "These are almost completed but lets not focus on them. Keep them for the next album".
That is the main reason why the sound of PRIMO VICTORIA and ATTERO DOMINATUS was quite the same because the songs are written at the same time, period of time mostly and the songs written today have a little bit different touch. Of course it is the same... and the same power in the songs but I think you will find the next release a little bit different, a little bit more aggressive and heavier. That is what we think. We, of course, don't know yet and we have several songs complete. If we record it we will see what happens.

It is also my feeling that PRIMO VICTORIA is a little bit more melodic and the new one seems to be a little bit more metallic, I can say a little bit more heavy metallic. And now to the next album it appears to become a little bit more aggressive.

Yes, possibly. Something like that. Of course, several songs will not stay in this same thing forever. Something has to happen. But on the two previous albums there was a necessary that the new album sounded quiet the same as the previous one because we don't want to shock the fans on the second album where we might lose a lot of true fans and we don't want to do that. Therefore they had quiet the same sound.

Something more would interest me: What do you think about German beer?

Tastes better than Swedish beer mostly and it is cool because there is so many. In Sweden you have - of course you can buy a lot of other beer specialised - but usually you have like six brands and everyone drinks it. So they are everywhere.
But here you can see there is a new beer wherever we go, everywhere. If a band would do the same tour in Sweden they would drink the same beer. It doesn't matter how long it will be there will always be the same beer every night. Here, it is different. And that is cool and also the prices are not as expensive.
Very cheap and that is good for us.

We are here in Franconia. Do you know that here in this region are more than 380 breweries?

Okay, we have got like five or six in Sweden.

Even guesthouses and some taverns or hotels have their own brewery. And you can buy this beer only at this location.

That is a cool thing. I wish it would be like that in Sweden. But there are some various troublesome regulations about who is allowed to produce alcohol. Not everyone is allowed to brew beer. They are very tough regulations in Sweden for everything. This makes the beer very expensive. So of course we like German beer.

Thank you very much Pär but I think we have finish our interview, because your Gig will start immediately. Do you have a last message for your fans?

I would love from people to give us a chance. We have realised that a lot of people who listen to us for the first time don't understand it. They don't understand the singer but we try again.
Please give us a chance and than you will like it. I also ask that you of course go and buy our album. That would be good for us cause we need album sales to go on tour.
But if you cannot afford to buy the album you should download it and show up at the concerts because concerts is what is funny and fun for us and fun for you fans. So concerts are better.
If you only have 15 Euros than spend it on a concert instead of spending it on an album.
That is my ask, my wish, my thing to tell anyone.

¬ Sabaton
¬ 28.08.2006 deu | eng
¬ 15.07.2010
¬ 26.09.2010 deu | eng
¬ 06.02.2006
¬ 25.08.2006
¬ 22.03.2009
¬ 14.08.2009
¬ 26.09.2010
¬ 08.10.2010
¬ 18.06.2011

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