Interview: Pär Sundström and Chris Rörland of Sabaton (London, 10th March 2016)

Sabaton - Heroes on TourFollowing on from a superb night in Glasgow, Stefan caught up with Sabaton’s bassist and one of the guitarists before their show at the Forum in London.

So I’m here with Par and Chris from Sabaton. How’s it going guys?

Chris: Very good, very good.

Pär: Good, London tonight, final show of the UK tour and it’s gonna be good.

How is the tour going? And how would you say the fans have reacted to it?

Par: We’ve been out now for a little bit more than 4 weeks and two of them have been here in the UK. It’s been really good, this is the first time we’ve been back in bigger venues since 2006 in the UK since we were supporting Dragonforce. So it’s been 10 years since we’ve played these bigger halls. That feels really good and the reception has been really fantastic.

Chris: It’s been really good actually.

Pär: It’s good to see the people go crazy, even on weekdays.

So what has it been like touring with Alestorm and Bloodbound?

Pär: We’ve known them both since old times. Alestorm supported the first time back in 2008 and Bloodbound back in 2009. It is really simple to be out with them, I mean Bloodbound, Swedish guys, almost from our region. Alestorm, they’re party, pirate metal guys.

So Heroes is the latest album. What would you say were the ideas behind Heroes and where did the songs originate from?

Chris: Well you guys had the idea for Heroes quite a few years ago right?

Pär: Yeah, the original idea for Heroes probably came about back during the time of Coat of Arms. We found out it was exciting to write about the individuals as well as the big battles. Around there we came up with the idea for the album and kept it in the back of our heads. We should do an album about the individual dates and people.

Chris: So a few years ago we did.

You said this was the last UK date. What are the plans for after this tour ends? Do you have any more albums in the works?

Pär: Yeah, after this we have two more shows in Europe, then we are going into a very active songwriting process to finalise some songs and then we’re gonna enter the studio. We have a release date for the album, but it’s too early to say what it’s gonna be like or what the new album is gonna be about. The next week is gonna be very busy working on songs.

Going back to the very beginning, where did Sabaton begin? How did it start and what were the ideas behind it?

Pär: It’s as original as in we are a bunch of guys that wanted to play in a band, if you’ve heard that story before? Basically it was four friends with long hair in school and we were like “let’s form a band”. It sounded absolutely horrible and no one had a single song, then Joakim joined the band. Then we found out we could actually write songs.

Somewhere along the line from there we formed what was Sabaton at that time and played as many shows as we could. The road to here has been very long and it has been constantly going up. In 2012 there was a big change in the line up, which is where Chris here came into the band. We were losing the spirit of the band and we had a big discussion about where the band was going. Some people said that we should step down and not tour as much, I said we should tour even more. That’s when we broke up and went different ways. It’s when Chris came into the band that we started to tour more. So now we are going stronger than ever.

You guys really seem to love history, especially war history. What was it that attracted you to the topic?

Pär: It is exciting to see how they [wars – Mosh] shaped the world, what happened that led up to them and what happened after them, especially what happened during them. There are so many different stories and every one is always two sided. You’re usually just told one side of the story if you go by what things like Hollywood put out, but if you start to look deeper into it there is so much more to it. There is a lot of what is behind the war like politics and power. This is not what we’re interested in, it’s more what happens and the people who were there. We rarely sing about the people who make the decisions.

Hence the title of the album Heroes?

Pär: Exactly. It was never the decision makers we think about, but the people who are unselfish and brave. That it more interesting.

I totally agree, I love history and I love hearing both sides of the story. Obviously growing up in England, we know the British side of things really well, but it’s great to hear the stories of the other side as well.

Pär: Exactly. That’s what we get, we are always meeting people from around the world on all sides who will be like “Oh you write that song and it wasn’t like that or imagine the people on the other side.” We imagine their stories too and we’re not making a statement, we are not making a stand… we’re telling a story the way it was told to us.

Chris: We’re basically just re-telling a story

We have talked about the historical side. What would you say were the musical influences that got you inspired with Sabaton?

Pär: We all come from the same basic school of metal.

Chris: Yeah, definitely

Pär: We all love love classic metal, Iron Maiden is one band that every member can say they like and then that would be the classical thing. Everybody is enjoying the kind of music that has the power and energy.

So my final question, bit of an odd one, but if you guys ever saw yourselves fighting in a war, what would you say would be your sorta ideal position? Like for example a tank commander or a pilot?

Chris: Anyone who shoots a bazooka!

Pär: I would be infantry or a pilot. I would like that but I think I would prefer to be infantry.

Chris: Well I have to choose the thing I did during my military duty which was driving a truck. A big, big, big truck with ammunition and explosives.

I bet you have to drive carefully with that!

Chris: Yeah, definitely! So yeah I would do that.

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