Australia’s The Rockpit recently conducted an interview with vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid of Sweden-based metallers SOILWORK. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
The Rockpit: The first thing we should talk about is the new album that’s coming out, “The Ride Majestic”. I just heard a preview of the album and it’s sounding fantastic. Tell me a little about how the album came together and some of the songs that are on there.
Strid: As you know, we released a double album and we did some touring but not half as much as we should have done, and, unfortunately, we ran into some troubles with our management at the time and that kind of killed the fun a little bit, and we actually started focusing on writing the new album. We wanted to pick up where we left with “The Living Infinite”, because we really feel we really discovered ourselves , because it needed to be diverse and to remain interesting all the way through. I think something really happened there and I think we discovered something new and I think we wanted to develop that. This new album is even more focused on the melancholy that we found with “The Living Infinite”, and I feel that the extreme parts are even more extreme and the softer parts are actually a little bit softer, but it creates a really interesting dynamic. But we approached the album being really playful about it and not just focusing on having traditional song structures. We were just being more spontaneous with it as well.
The Rockpit: In that sense, because of the success of “The Living Infinite”, was there any pressure to top that or outdo it in any way?
Strid: I did feel pressure, and I think the rest of the guys did as well, but I think it was a healthy pressure, if you will, because we felt that, as I mentioned before, we found something new. We found new confidence in writing that album, that we can pull off writing a double album and that we can find other ways of expressing ourselves. So I think we felt really excited even though the pressure was there. We knew that we found something new that we could develop.
The Rockpit: How did the new bass player work out on the new album?
Strid: Well, here’s the thing. Ola [Flink, bass] jumped off the band a couple of weeks before entering the studio, and before that he kind of disappeared for about three months and nobody could get hold of him, so we speculated that there was something going on. And then when we got hold of him, he told us that he didn’t feel motivated anymore, and we kinda saw it coming. He’s been with us since the very start, and I think he came to a point in his life where he really had to choose if he wanted to do this for the rest of his life or get a normal day job. And I think he’s more of a classic working man who likes to get up in the morning, and I think routines are very important for him, I don’t think he had any big dreams of being a professional musician, and I guess it took him 20 years to find that out. Which happens, because it’s been a really fun ride. He was a huge part of SOILWORK and I will really miss him, because he had some big shoes to fill as well. It’s all kind of hopeless for the time being when we get to know that he was not going to make it and decided to step down, and I was doing some brainstorming and at the time I felt kinda like, “Well is there a point to continue?” because I felt that Flink was a big part. But then I came to think about Markus Wibom, who is a really good friend of mine and to the rest of the band as well; he’s worked with us as a guitar tech before. So I knew he was perfect personality-wise; he’s a very unique character and a really funny guy and super positive. I knew he played bass guitar and keyboards and stuff like that, but I didn’t really know how good he was at playing bass, so it was just a matter of finding that out. He was not on the album, because it was so close to the album [recording], so we thought whoever is writing the song can put the bass on there as well, which turned out really good in the end. We gave him two months to rehearse the songs with the three shows in Scandinavia this spring, and he really nailed it. We’re really happy, because he’s the perfect guy for the job and he’s going to be great asset to the band. I think he’s going to really put his touch on the new album live as well, because he is a great bass player, as we found out. I’m really grateful, so it feels good. It might look a bit chaotic from the outside, but sort of natural. When you’re in a band for 20 years, things like this will happen, for sure.
Read the entire interview at The Rockpit.