With a new album about to drop and an army of devoted fans that most bands would kill for, Soilwork are yet again set to take on the world of heavy music.
Vocalist and all round nice guy Speed was spoke with us about his band’s new record “Sworn To A Great Divide”.
Interview w/ Speed (vocals) of
Yeah, this is Speed man.
Hey man, how are you?
Very good man, how are you?
Great man! Thanks so much for
speaking to use this evening! Let’s get right into it coz we’ve
only got 15 minutes.
You guys have been pretty quiet
over the last 12 months, what was it like actually having some time
Well, it’s been cool but I’m
getting restless to tell you the truth. We spent so much time in the
studio and song writing has been keeping us busy. It took a lot of time
to write this record!
We started mid March and we were
in the studio until the end of July finishing the album… but I’m
just getting really restless now.
“Sworn To A Great Divide”
is all set to hit stores on October 19th
– how would you compare it to previous Soilwork releases?
Well, it’s almost a best of
album. It sums up our whole career in a way. We brought back the thrashier
elements of the past, and our twin guitar harmonies as well as our newer,
more heavy stuff as well as our groovy elements as well.
We really thin we’ve made a
solid album and one that contains everything that represents us.
This is the first Soilwork
record without long-time guitarist/songwriter Peter Wichers
– how did his departure affect the band? Were you concerned about
your ability as a band to put together another album without him?
Of course it made us sad to see
him go… we started the band together. It was really hard but we felt
we had more to give as a band and we really wanted to turn it into something
good you know? Something really positive!
I think we managed to do that
and once we started writing the inspiration just started to flow out
of us, one song after another! It was a healthy challenge and we feel
stronger now because of it.
We are so proud of the band and
really happy that we made something out of it all.
Did Peter leaving the band
force you guys to collaborate on your songs more as a group rather than
being guided by one main song writer?
After Peter jumped off we didn’t
really think of it like that. It wasn’t like “who’s going to be
the songwriter”? We just said if you’ve got the inspiration to write
music then let’s see what happens.
It was the first the whole band
has been involved this way and by the end of it we had 30 songs to choose
from… like I said, that was the first time that’s happened! It was
The whole band worked together
and our new guitarist Daniel was also contributing a lot of stuff towards
the album. He didn’t have to adjust to Soilwork, it was just so natural
What were some of your
musical and lyrical influences when writing
“Sworn To A Great Divide” – both on a personal level and as a band?
It’s hard to say. In a way,
we felt like it was a new beginning and that we needed to sum up the
whole career of the band, but at the same time take it to a new level.
It was definitely a challenge mentally to get everything together and
to find the essence of Soilwork without sounding forced.
been like having Daniel (ex Dimension Zero guitarist) on board? Has
he had much input? Can we expect any more thrash like on DZ albums,
or old Soilwork albums?
First of all we had lots of auditions
with different guitarists. Some of them just jammed with us and others
came out on tour. We met lots of great people but at the end of the
day Daniel was good at song writing and he incorporated so much new
stuff and so many new ideas.
We felt he reconnected the band
in a way after everything that had happened. He contributed with a lot of stuff on the new album. He wrote the title track with Oli
and he and I wrote a few songs together as well.
Devin Townsend produced
‘Natural Born Chaos’ – what was it like working with him a second
time around? Did he have much input on the way the vocals were sung/arranged?
It was really great as always!
We got to know him when we did “Natural Born Chaos” and when we
toured with Strapping Young Lad. He’s such a great guy and so inspirational.
We wanted to work with him on “Figure Number 5” and “Stabbing
The Drama” but he wasn’t available.
We were happy that we could get
it together this time. I was so happy that I could fly over and record
with him in his basement because he feels more comfortable at home.
I spent 2 weeks with Devin and
it was great. Just 2 buddies locked in his basement. It was really relaxed
and he knows how to push me and you’ll hear it on this new record…
he made me sing my heart out! My vocals are more powerful than ever…
they’re more soulful in a way.
Was there a reason Devin was
only brought on board for vocal production and not the entire record?
Well, um… we felt we needed
a challenge to produce and record the album ourselves. We invested in
a lot of new equipment so we can record on our own the next album. We
had help from the guys in Darkane – Clauz and Peter to be precise
– they’re from the same town as us.
It was really cool to be at home
and to record and then be able to go home after a days work and rest
your ears and get a better perspective on things. We too 5 months in
the studio but it was worth it!
Now we have all the equipment
we need so we can do it ourselves.
You guys have a European tour
commencing September 30th
– what do you have planned once that’s all wrapped up?
Well, we’re going to play some
new songs which will be great. We did 250 shows for the “Stabbing
The Drama” album tour so I’m fed up that set, ha ha ha.
It’ll be cool to get some new
songs in there but it’s going to be a challenge! It’s not easy to
pull off the new songs but we need that challenge and I know we can
Any idea of when Australia
is going to see a return trip from Soilwork?
It’s been a while, hasn’t
it? We went there 2 times for the “Figure Number 5” album but we
didn’t come out there at all for “Stabbing The Drama”. It’s
about fucking time hey!?
Hopefully that will happen in
early 2008. We would love to get back out there because we loved it!
Having evolved from a death
metal band into a far more melodic group, do you guys still enjoy playing
shows with straight up death metal bands or do you
prefer the reaction from a more open minded audience?
It’s hard to say. We’ve toured
with metalcore and death metal bands… we’ve covered lots of different
genres. We feel that we built up such a great fan base and they’re
so loyal as well, so I feel they’re growing with our sound and developing
along with the music. They always expect a surprise with each release.
We don’t really care what crowd
we play to, I just want to play!
Do you think touring with more
“accessible” metal bands like Killswitch Engage has had an influence
on Soilwork’s music?
Hard to say man. We love Killswitch
Engage and the feeling is mutual… they love Soilwork too! We’re
definitely influenced by their whole energy, both live and as songwriters.
They are great songwriters!
They are one of the few bands
of that genre who write great songs that trigger an emotional response.
In your opinion, who are some
bands doing some noteworthy at the moment?
Um, I mean a lot of metalcore
bands in that genre are doing something which is very trendy right now
and there are so many bands that have just adopted someone else’s
sound. There’s no deeper meaning or substance to it.
But some bands are doing something
unique. I mean, everything has been done these days but whenever a band
comes out and doesn’t something unique in such a saturated scene I
think they’re doing something great.
I love Mastodon…
Amazing band man…
Definitely man. I love Opeth too.
Mastodon and Opeth are both so unique.
If Soilwork could tour with
any 3 bands, who would they be and why?
Wow. Um, it would be really cool
to tour with Killswitch Engage again. We’ve toured with them before
and it was great. We’ve never toured with Opeth so that would be great
Killswitch Engage, Opeth and…
let me see… maybe The Haunted again coz we love touring with them!
That’s it mate, anything
you’d like to add?
Well, as I said, I hope we’re
coming back very fucking soon! We miss Australia and we love it down
there so fingers crossed!
Take care mate.
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