DATE OF INTERVIEW:
10th December 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: There’s a competition running on the Sweden Rock Magazine website to have Sabaton play in somebody’s living room in Sweden…what the fuck is that about?!
JOAKIM BRODÉN: [laughs] Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff we really like to do. I mean, our booking agent had a party in his yard…and we said “you want a band?” and he said “yeah, of course”, and we were all in our underwear in the end playing non-distorted…you know, not acoustic but no distortion and doing rockabilly versions of our songs! [laughs] People could wish for the songs and “oh, how would we do that in rockabilly?” and the drummer goes “hmm, it’s a double kick drum”, so he’d go for a shuffle instead! [laughs] That was a blast, so when Sweden Rock wanted to do something about us, and about the new album, we said “can we do something fun together?” and they came up with this idea. We’ll bring the Nightliner and booze to someone, and they’ll bring a photographer and journalist for Sweden Rock, and we’ll have some fun! [laughs]
(Joakim Brodén on being in a hardworking band)
"I don’t mind working my fucking ass off as long as it’s fun!"
Joakim Brodén backstage at The Engine Shed, Lincoln, UK, 10th December 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview and Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Sabaton Website:
Official Sabaton MySpace:
Thanks to Karl Demata at Eleven PR for arranging the interview
Fist for Fight (2001)
Primo Victoria (2005)
Attero Dominatus (2006)
The Art of War (2008)
MD: That sounds great! Hopefully you’ll get somebody’s big living room and not somewhere small!
JB: Yeah, I think Sweden Rock said they will check it out first. But it would be cool if someone has a small living room and we would be crowd surfing while singing!
MD: You’d have to play rockabilly again!
JB: Yeah, exactly! [laughs]
MD: You celebrated your tenth anniversary this year with a big show in your hometown - how did that go, and was it the special occasion you hoped it would be?
JB: Yes, it was. About three thousand people attended. The only thing that didn’t go as planned really was the fact it was raining so fucking much we had to cut a lot of the pyro show.
MD: It was in June, wasn’t it?
MD: And rain?!
MD: When I was in Sweden in July this year it rained really, really heavy which I thought was unusual for July.
JB: Ah yeah, Rockweekend. The problem is, in July, usually it starts to rain in July but late May and June are usually very good. So we had to cut some of the pyro show because some of the pyros were, of course, on the rigs outside and stuff like that. But, I have to say, it seemed like both we and the audience stopped caring about the rain after two or three songs. We had a one hour and forty five minute set, and we played a bunch of songs we never played before…one or two we never played before, and four or five we hadn’t played in a long, long time. It was really nervous…very, very nervous. I mean, I’m always a little bit nervous but that was shaking nervous before because so many factors…hometown; anniversary; pyros - are they gonna work? Also, these songs we’d been rehearsing like hell but, all of a sudden, in the late rehearsals, I started to forget the lyrics to ‘Primo Victoria’ which I’ve been singing every night for the last three years! But it all went fine.
MD: I understand it was filmed for a forthcoming DVD too?
JB: No, that was the previous show in our hometown - an indoor one as we didn’t want to risk it…and good! Outdoors and raining we would’ve had to cut half the camera production.
MD: Is that going to be released on Nuclear Blast or Black Lodge?
JB: One of those things I do not know, and what I know I can’t say…sorry!
MD: No problem! You played ProgPower USA this year - I know they have a mix of progressive and power metal bands playing, but would you say your music progresses what people commonly think of as power metal?
JB: Yeah. I would say probably most people say it’s power metal. There are a couple of songs here and there where we get a little bit progressive. There are some progressive influences but, mainly, I would say, yeah, power metal.
MD: I would say it progresses what people would generally think power metal is because it’s not like your average Helloween kind of clone…or even Dragonforce. You have all the sympho stuff going on in there too.
JB: Exactly, yeah. What was a really nice surprise is that they were not allowed to do mosh pits or head banging there in the States.
JB: Yeah, you would be thrown out the venue instantly. It actually said on the walls. I don’t remember the exact wording but if someone starts to headbang a little, okay, fine, but it’s actually written in such a way that the security guard has a lot of leeway to bring people out.
MD: What?! It’s a metal gig! I always hear that the States have some of the craziest pits in the world.
JB: Well, not in that venue!
MD: Did you check out any of the other bands there?
MD: What did you think of Diablo Swing Orchestra?
JB: Ohhh, crazy! For me, it was switching from genius to crap! [laughs] Some of it was so cool I couldn’t believe it and some was like, no, I’m going for a beer! [laughs] My favourite was probably Crimson Glory.
MD: There’s a news item on the Sabaton website saying that you’re playing a metal-themed football tournament soon…again, what the fuck is that about?!
JB: [laughs] We did it last year too. At first, during the day, you’ve got a football tournament between metal bands and Swedish television is covering it. Happily enough, I played football for two years when I was a kid and I sucked! I was playing in defence so I didn’t…I was close to scoring so many times but I never made it so I thought fuck that, I’m never playing football again! And now, when I got to play, I actually got to score once, so yessss! I think it was all good fun. Some bands took it too seriously - they brought in somebody who’s been playing in the junior team in the Italian leagues. We brought in Mats Levén who used to sing with Therion…we were touring with him so we brought him in too.
MD: How old is he now…he’s mid-40s isn’t he?
JB: Oh yeah, but still one of the best in the team! [laughs] He’s in better shape than we are! [laughs]
MD: He put you to shame!
JB: Yeah! Our drummer was in good shape and really working out on the field, but the rest of us were…[mimics wheezing noises]…but it was fun. It was only five people so more of a hockey setup, goals closer, and a bunch of metal bands and some magazines having a small tournament against each other and then, later in the night, there was a metal show with us and Hammerfall.
MD: Sounds cool. So you’re playing football this year and performing?
JB: We are performing, it’s us and Twisted Sister performing…
MD: Twisted Sister?! That’s a bit of a contrast!
JB: Yeah! [laughs] The thing is, it’s actually fucked up because that’s what really got me into metal. My first album was ‘Stay Hungry’. I’m not sure if we are playing. If we have the time, we will, of course but, on the other hand, we’re in a position when we don’t know when we’re going to sound check and stuff. Until we see the schedule, we don’t know.
MD: Every band seems to have had some kind of disaster while on stage performing…some kind of Spinal Tap moment…what’s the worst thing that’s happened to you or a band member on stage?
JB: Ohhh, this is so hard because I’m gonna know in an hour or two and go…“oh yeah, that was the worst!” [laughs] You…not forget…but you block them, you know, and then you have to open this door!
MD: The London thing sounds pretty bad!
JB: Yeah, that is one of the worst actually…our bass player being carried off stage!
MD: While playing!
JB: While playing…and against his will, by a crazy stage manager! I have to say actually, it has to be the last show we did on that tour with Dragonforce in Belgium. It’s common to have end of tour jokes - some of the band members have got their jokes, some of the crew have got their jokes, but they weren’t really synchronised. Every song we got a new joke, and a new joke, and a new joke. Let’s just say the first thing that happens is we have no backup mics - there are bananas there instead! Okay, then second song I’m starting to hear something strange - oh yeah, my vocal is pitched so it sounds like I’m singing off-key all the time…like “fucking hell”, you know! Then, when I was trying to talk to the audience between the songs, I got a smurf voice…“okay, this has gone far enough now!” Then, during a song where the guitarists have a twin solo and playing fast…[laughs]…I think it was the drum tech and Fred from Dragonforce, came up with a paper plate full of shaving foam…and right into the guitarists’ face! [laughs]…“arghh, it burns, it burns!” And we were playing ‘Primo Victoria’, our vocals were cut out, and Dragonforce were down in the dressing room singing their own lyrics to the chorus! So instead of singing about fighting against Nazis…“Can I wank you off? Can I put your cock in my mouth? Can you reach around…my hairy ball bag? Can I lick your ass? Can I play with your huge cock? Can I cup your balls? Teabag your grandmas…” The audience were…“what the fuck?!” [laughs]
MD: Before you play the last date of this tour you’re gonna have to lock them away!
JB: We have revenge plans! [laughs]
MD: Finally, what are your plans for 2010? I notice you’ve been booked for festivals in the summer already.
JB: Basically, record the album and then we’ve got a couple of shows during the winter and spring. In late May we’ll start doing festivals and, from there, I think we’re doing festivals until August/September and straight onto a headline tour. So I think we’ll be touring from May until December without a break. I mean, of course, when you’re doing festivals you have three days off here and three days off there but nothing longer than that for that time. I think we have Christmas free and then we keep touring! [laughs]
MD: Hard work ahead then.
JB: But it’s fun! I don’t mind working my fucking ass off as long as it’s fun!
MD: When it’s something you love as much as this.
MD: Marvellous. Thank you very much for your time.
JB: Anytime. Thank you.