Hammerfall says there are too many metal albums being released!


Imhotep webzine recently interviewed Hammerfall vocalist Joacim Cans and guitarist Oscar Dronjak. Here are a few snippets from the chat:

On the band’s status in Japan:

Joacim: “Metal is not as big in Japan as people tend to think. They think it’s obvious that a Scandinavian band does well in Japan, but things are changing there as well. Lately the Japanese has become more and more influenced by the American market compared to the European.”

Oscar: “Our sales in Japan have decreased. European metal was much bigger in Japan some ten years ago. To sell as much as 200,000 records in the first part of the ’90s was almost like a walk in the park if the album was good and if the band toured in Japan. It ain’t like that anymore. There are just so goddamn many albums released all the time, and the poor fans do not know what to buy anymore.”

On market saturation:

Oscar: “There’s a lot of variation, and that’s, of course, good. I mean, you can choose between basically everything. And those bands which are the leaders of their own genre sell a lot and usually hold a high standard. However, if you as a fan like more than only one special style, it can be really hard to follow the expansion and to be able to listen to every release in these styles. It simply doesn’t work.”

Joacim: “It’s quite difficult to judge an album today compared to what we did back in the ’80s. If you look at the covers, you could check out an album only due to the cover back then. Today you read the advertisements printed by the labels, where it says that ‘This album is the best thing that has happened to mankind.’ Then you take a listen and realize that the record company lies. It’s really difficult to pay attention to everything. Today it can even be easier said than done to listen to albums at the local store.”

Oscar: “There are way too many albums and the labels should take more responsibility and pay more attention to the quality of their products. Back in the ’70s and ’80s the labels signed a band after they’d watched a good performance by the band. This is not the case anymore. I mean, back then the band had played as much as possible and got themselves a name in certain territories. The labels gave the bands well-deserved economic support with the result that the band managed to carry through their visions, the labels believed in the bands. If the first album didn’t do too well, they choose to go for one or two more albums. I assume that the labels get like 200 new demos every day. Instead of signing 25 new bands the labels should pick only a few bands which they back up 100%. Many labels simply leave bands out in the cold without even doing some real promotion for the albums.”

Joacim: “There is no long-term thinking. If the band doesn’t sell much of their debut album, it is neglected and the career can in worst case be ruined. It’s better to sign fewer bands and to think in long-standing terms; like plan 5-6 years ahead and release 3 albums. If this doesn’t work, then you have at least tried your best. There are rather few labels that think like this. Add to all this that it’s [too] easy to start a company today.”

On whether the production costs are lower now:

Joacim: “That depends. If you want a unique production, it will cost you. You need equipment you can trust, and you need a producer. If you want a standard product that most bands release today, you can get away with spending less.”

Oscar: “Yes, it’s easier to make a fairly good productions yourself, since it doesn’t cost that much.”

Joacim: “You can do a ProTools or Cubase production at home, but you will never get as much power in the guitars.”

The entire interview can be read HERE.


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