In France, the big radio stations do not play your music. So do you see festivals like the Colmar Wine Fair as a way to promote your music internationally?
Yes of course. Every opportunity we have to play in front of new people is a chance we like to take. We are aware that in many countries, and especially in France, it is not possible to broadcast our music on the radio very often, so our only chance to reach our fans is to play in front of them. It’s a great opportunity for us and it’s also a great opportunity for us to be able to play everything we’ve produced with Sabaton, especially because previously in France we weren’t able to play all our songs, but tonight (last night editor’s note) we can do it.
You are one of the oldest members of the group, which was completely reformed in 2012. What happened that year?
From 1999 to 2012, the group did not change. When we started, we were 16 or 17 years old, and our priorities in life were quite simple: it was all about rock’n roll. Then we grew and our priorities changed. My wish was to take the band as far as possible and work hard for it. But some members wanted a family life. Joakim, the singer stayed. The others left. We recruited new musicians who were fully aware of what the band was going towards: playing all over the world, and making it a priority.
Do you see this change as an opportunity to do something new or are you trying to stay true to your style?
Yes, without a doubt. Nothing has changed in style; the singer and I wrote everything, we did all the shows, and mostly designed the melodies and the concept of the band as a whole, so nothing really changed when the new members arrived. The only thing that changed was probably our inspiration, which improved and a new professionalism, because when we created the band, we weren’t good musicians. We improved but above all we recruited really really good new musicians: Chris Rörland and Thobbe, two guitarists. We have a lot more energy now.
Your last album is called “Heroes” and talks about different war heroes like Charlie Brown or Franz Stigler. Why did you choose them?
A lot of fans knew that we find our inspiration from them when we start writing our songs. But we have a lot of fans in Poland, they are very proud of their history and like to share it. One of the stories that many people sent to us was that of Witold. We thought it was so inspiring that we made it the album’s lead song.
For that of Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler, that of “No Bullets Fly”, we still had the music when we had no words. So we went online and typed in “Heroes”. We found this story, because in the United States, someone had just written a book about it.
There is an anecdote around this song…
After the war, Franz Stigler moved to Canada where he lived until the end of his life. One of his grandchildren, a Sabaton fan in Canada, pre-ordered the album and discovered that his favorite band had written a song about his grandfather! He showed it to his mother, who wrote me an e-mail, we kept in touch and when we went to Vancouver, the whole family came to the concert and I met them. It was fantastic ! I think it proves that our songs mean something.
What are you trying to say through your songs?
We don’t want to talk about fantasy, science fiction or discuss our own lives because we like our privacy. We also want to sing something that belongs to the real world, and Joakim and I are both interested in the story. But not just any kind of story. Hard rock is a bit aggressive music, with its own attitude, which implies that all historical facts do not necessarily lend themselves to it. With the wars story, you have the attitude of hard rock and also the aggression, so it works with our music. Later we discovered that a lot of people find it inspiring, especially in schools, and for us it’s a bonus, we are very happy about it.
Do you have a personal hero?
This is a question I am asked very often. I have two. They are my parents, because I think they were very good parents. I am proud of them, they are a great inspiration in my life.
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interview. Sabaton: “Tonight we can play all our songs”
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