It's my pleasure to have this chance to talk to you after almost a year. The last time I saw you has been at your concert in Zagreb in December 2011, when I had a video interview with Oscar. Therefore, this is an amazing opportunity to expand my story and knowledge of HammerFall.
This year you had a lot of concerts and I am very sorry to have missed your show at Wacken Open Air. Joacim mentioned for zdf.kultur that while in backstage bands fight all the time. Did you get the same impression?
Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to be at this year's WOA either. I had a good friend who helped me out, Pontus Egberg, from the Poodles. To be quite frankly I don't know what Joacim means by that. It might be a lead singer syndrome. (Winks)
I think we get along with most of the bands and the others we just don't hang out with and I don't know who that might be.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to tour with Dio, but is there any other band you'd like to share stage with?
We've been lucky to have shared stage with a lot of really cool bands over the years but something that would be special for me would be a whole tour with Iron Maiden. Can't say that I've listened more to them than to any of the other big -80's band but I've listened to them a lot; and they still make excellent shows and performances so that would really be an honor.
Oscar takes negative criticism very personally. Does it affect you as much?
I try not to focus on that, there are so many critics out there that just don't give a shit and that have made up their minds before even listening to our music or going to the shows. That's just so frustrating but usually when I read something like that I stop as soon as I understand that they don't get it. No point in focusing on the bad things, too much of that in the world anyway. "Always look on the bright side of life", as a wise man said.
The name of your last album, Infected, was created by drunk Oscar. Who came up with the name of the DVD, Gates Of Dalhalla?
I think it was Joacim this time. Well, maybe not drunk. We have a way of playing with words that annoy the hell out of the others and Dalhalla/Valhalla was close enough to do something cool about. Even though we don't have anything to do with the Nordic mythology I think the title fits HammerFall really well.
How much have the guests contributed to the concert?
I think they did one hell of a job to make this concert interesting for over 2 hours! There were so many songs that we wanted to include and the show was all about the fans. We had a couple of famous musicians in the early line up of HammerFall, so we thought it might be a good idea to include them and it was fantastic to be on stage again with all of them. Jesper Strömblad, Mikael Stanne and Stefan Elmgren, they all did a fantastic job!
Why did you choose an amphitheater in the middle of a quarry as the shooting place?
First we thought about doing a big show somewhere in Europe with a lot of pyros and stuff but when Joacim suggested this place, near his hometown, we saw the potential and were blown away by the surroundings. This place really sets the atmosphere for the evening and makes it big and intimate at the same time.
I had a chance to attend two of your shows so far and had an opportunity to talk with fans that have always been moved by the amount of energy and connection you guys create. So, I have to ask, since this has been your longest concert, was it a problem to keep the audience so astir for such a long time?
Playing for over two hours was no big deal. The problem is to keep it interesting throughout the whole show. Doesn't matter how good a band you are or if you have songs for 24 hours you have to diverse the songs and get the dynamic right; and add a couple of odd songs to make it unpredictable. Also, the help from the choir and guest artists meant a lot to us!
I suppose that this was the most complicated project you've done so far. How much did Nuclear Blast help you with its realization?
Well, it's nice to have a company as Nuclear Blast behind you when doing something like this. We have worked really well together for 15 years now and that gives us the freedom to make a lot of decisions by ourselves, as we did with this production with some great help by professionals. Patric Ullaeus did a marvelous job shooting and directing the DVD. It looks stunning!
While taping this DVD you must have had some interesting situations which you haven't shared with anyone. Could you fill me in on any of those?
Well, one thing that didn't go according to plan happened at the end of the show when Joacim was on the roof of the stage singing "Glory to the Brave". During rehearsal getting down and continuing the song was no problem, but later on it was pitch black and the rain poured down so it was really slippery. It took forever to get down, but Joacim said to Pontus to continue to play and he spoke the whole way down explaining where he was and what he was doing. A spur of the moment thing and I don't think the audience minded that. It was quite funny actually.
HammerFall will take a break in 2013. During that time Oscar intends to write a book about the band. What are your plans?
I'm about to enter the studio with DeathDestruction to record our second album and then we'll see. Guess I will be busy with that for a while but right now I'm just looking forward to a nice vacation and to recharge my batteries. I think we all do.
At your concert in Zagreb I noticed that many female fans ran after you, and yet you managed to avoid them and still stay polite. What I wanted to know is- Have you ever been involved with a groupie?
What concert were you at, the Steel Panther concert? (Laughs)
According to Anders we are the second ugliest band in the world. (Winks)
He debates over the first place. I try to be polite and when we have the time we always try to talk to our fans, all of them. But, I have my family here in Gothenburg so, no, I'm not interested in groupies.
Metalheads love tattoos. Tell me something about yours?
I got a lot of them on my arms but I'm lazy and haven't finished my sleeve on my right arm yet. But, there's time, I got my whole life to finish that one. I started when I was 18 and have continued, not that often the past couple of years but sometimes it just comes over you and you have to do another one. I don't have a story about my tattoos; some are just cool pictures and in a way tell stories from the time when I got them but not an actual story. I wouldn't do the same tattoos over again if I started now but I don't regret any of them. It's what I thought was cool at the time and they are for my eyes, I'm not a show off kind of guy.
The first big concert you attended was Accept's show when you were just a kid. In fact, you were so young that you had to go with your mother. Not so long ago Wolf Hoffmann stated that he heard your music and liked it. He also played with HammerFall several times. How does it feel to hear one of your childhood idols praise your music?
It's fantastic! Accept will always have a special place in my heart and to hear that Wolf Hoffman likes what we do is just great. When I started to play bass I was 13 years old and I couldn't dream about something like this- to play music all over the world as a job. I still think about it from time to time and find it hard to believe.
You were a band member in 1993., but then in 1997. you left HammerFall and came back about ten years later. Why did you leave and what's the main reason of your return?
At that time HammerFall was just at the beginning of the career and I wanted to play heavier and more aggressive music so I thought it was best if they got a member who could focus on the band 100%. I helped them out until they got Magnus and he did a remarkable job for 10 years while I was away. I quit in '97 and came back '07. I saw It in the newspaper that Magnus had quit and didn't reflect that much about it because I was playing with Evergrey at the time so it came as a shock when Joacim called me up and asked if I wanted to come to the rehearsal and jam some songs. I never regretted that I quit but when they asked if I wanted to return I would never forgive myself if I didn't take the chance. I love Heavy Metal and have always done so, so, it wasn't a hard question to answer and back in the rehearsal it felt like back in '97 again. Well, almost anyway
You also play with DeathDestruction. Which of the two bands do you prefer?
I love both bands, of course. In DeathDestruction I can be aggressive and do pretty much what I want. We have a lot of influences and as long as it sounds DesthDestruction we play it. I listen to a variety of music at home so it's only good to bring in some odd influences in a band like that. In HammerFall we play '80's Heavy Metal and that's how it should sound, although we have modernized it a bit.
If I were to steal your iPod what would I find?
Just took a look on what I last bought in iTunes and it was Harakiri by Serj Tankian, Heritage by Opeth, I'm with you by Red Hot Chili Peppers, King Animal by Soundgarden and Opus Eponymous by Ghost, quite some time though.
I listen a lot to Spotify in between, but I still think it's important to buy the music you like, even if it's only on digital media.
Let's say you were given a chance to change one personality characteristic of each HammerFall member, what would you change?
Nah, I wouldn't want to change my friends. Everybody has things that they could work on, me too, but in the end I like them for what they are and that comes with both the good and bad.
You mentioned that there are things you need to work on...
I would like to be more organized. I tend to take things as they come and solve problems by the way and sometimes it's hard not to have a real schedule to live by. I'm working on it. (Winks)
What's the funniest thing you heard lately?
Today I heard about the "compensation theory". You can only be together with someone who is in the same category of good looking as yourself, just up and down by 1. So if you're a 7 you range from 6 to 8. Unless there is some compensation, like money, power or intellect and stuff like that. Look around and see if it's true. (Laughs)
I will! (Laughter) Thank you for your time!
Having met you, Oscar and Joacim I must say both to you and the fans- not only are you amazing musicians, but you're also kind, approachable and interesting people.
I hope that you'll come back in 2014 more powerful than ever, and that I'll have a chance to present you once again!