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Bjorn Speed Strid (Soilwork)

Interview with Bjorn ''Speed'' Strid from Soilwork
by Katrina Cannon at 24 September 2005, 10:53 AM

Soilwork, one of four Swedish Metal bands on Ozzfest this year, is definitely one of the odd bands on the bill. However, they were one of the better bands in my opinion. Vocalist Bjorn Speed Strid takes some time before their off show in Memphis, TN to tell me his feelings on the Swedish influence in American Metal, what's up with the drummer situation and reveals a dirty little music secret…a hilarious one…

Your new album Stabbing The Drama was released back in March. How was it to work with producer Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In Flames, Strapping Young Lad) and how did the recording process go?

We worked with him before but only for the drums so it was kind of a new experience since I wasn’t there before. What was different as well is we moved the whole recording to a different studio than his own because I guess we wanted to do something new. He has a very, how do you say, a trademark, especially in the drums but also with the guitars but we wanted to try a different studio. It was 7 very hectic weeks. I didn’t sleep much, I drank a lot of boos, I didn’t see much of what was going on outside. It was really nice outside, it was a lot of woods, it wasn’t an industrial area like it usually is. So it was really hard, the whole process, but we’re very happy with it.

Is there a particular theme behind Stabbing The Drama?

Well, as far as the lyrics go, they’re the most personal lyrics I ever wrote. I was writing more like looking into myself. Before I was more of a spectator, I got impressions of what I saw out there, what was happening and this time I looked into myself. There were a lot of things that I wanted to leave behind because I had a couple of really tough years and I’m a lot happier now. I just wanted to get them out on paper and leave them all behind. So I kind of wanted to like stab my own mental drama which explains the title as well.

Peter (Wichers - guitarist) has made the comment that Blind Eye Halo is the heaviest track that you’ve ever done. Do you guys plan to write anymore songs along that same style?

It’s hard to say, it was very spontaneous when we wrote that song. It felt like wow, this is really hard like back in the old days, like will this suit the album? And then it was like why are we even thinking about that - just put it on there; it’s a great song. But we’re like that, so it’s hard to say how the next album is going to be or how the next song will turn out.

I know you’ve probably been asked about this a lot but I’m curious to know myself. On Natural Born Chaos you worked with Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad - vocalist/guitarist). What was it like to work with him?

That was quite an interesting experience. First of all, I mean, I felt a lot of pressure recording with him because he’s one of my idols (Laughs) and I was like wow, I’m gonna spend 2 weeks recording vocals with Devin locked in a little studio. But he showed up and was such a cool guy, very down to earth, very, very focused and very picky but in a good way. It was very interesting recording the vocals. I did 12-15 hours a day for 2 weeks. I’m not kidding, it was really hard, I passed out a couple of times, he pushed me to my limits but I really thank him for that. He’s a cool guy so hopefully in the future we can do it again.

I bet that was amazing. Devin is one of my favorite vocalists as well.

He’s incredible.

Back in February, your drummer Dirk (Verbeuren) was just a session drummer for the time being. Have you decided whether or not to keep him on full time?

You know, we’re right there as far as discussions on what we are going to do because it’s hard to have 2 bands and have to have a priority with one of the bands. We’re kind of negotiating with him right now (Laughs). But it’s our aim to keep him in the band because we will find no better drummer. He is fucking amazing.

Definitely, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best out there today.

Yeah and also with the personal chemistry. He’s perfect.

That’s always a must. Sometimes you have to have that before great musicianship.

Oh yeah, it’s number one on the priority list.

How is Ozzfest going?

Good, I mean we didn’t know what to expect really. There’s a huge Metalcore thing going on right now and we didn’t know if they were going to appreciate our music or not because there’s not really like that much Hardcore in it. But it was really good, our expectations were down but it’s really good because people were there even when we played at 9 in the morning sometimes.

I know, the early start. What exactly is that about?

(Laughs) I know what you’re saying. But sometimes it’s like a rolling bill, sometimes you can play from 9 until 1 and it contains bands that rotate the whole time, but people are there and they’re raving mad at 9 in the morning. (Laughs)

I’m driving to the Nashville show tomorrow and I didn’t even know that it started that early until a few days before the show and I was like damn, I’m gonna have to leave at 4 in the morning.

(Laughs) Wow, that is early to drive.

Yeah, I’m getting used to it! (Laughs) What are Soilwork’s upcoming plans?

We’re gonna have a break for 3 weeks then we’re gonna do a European headlining tour. After that we’re probably going to do Japan and then we’ll come through the States again. So, November we’ll come back.

I’ve read at a few places that some people think there are rivalries between Swedish Metal bands and American Metal bands. Do you think this is true in some cases?

I wouldn’t say rivalry but of course there is competition going on. I guess most of the Swedish bands think there are a lot of American bands that take a lot of credit for, as they say, creating a new wave of American Metal like it;s something new. There are good examples of bands that admit it and still do a great job, like Killswitch Engage, they’re a killer band and they’re probably one of the survivors I would say and there are also a lot of shitty bands that just think Ok, we’ve done something totally new and the kids believe them but if they do it good, hats off, I don’t care but if it’s something that is so obviously stolen from Swedish Metal then…I sound really bitter, don’t I? (Laughs) I’m not really bitter, I just know that it’s really good that so many Swedish bands are on Ozzfest this year so the kids can see where the influence comes from. I’m not saying that they should stop liking American bands and go for the Swedish bands instead. I just think it’s healthy for the Metal scene to see something different besides the black combed over hair like all the Metalcore bands, but that’s not the main thing, that’s just like a little detail there. (Laughs)

I call them all clone bands because they all sound and look the same.

(Laughs) Yeah, exactly.

What bands do you mostly listen to these days?

I like the new Nevermore.  I’m not really picking up any new discs. I’ve listened to a lot of old shit. I’m a big Whitesnake fan (Laughs). I always listen to Whitesnake. I fucking love Whitesnake. I listen to a lot of Judas Priest too. That’s always the hardest question because I never know what to say (Laughs).

I like asking that question because I always like to find out what the musicians that play the music that I listen to are listening to. To see if I can learn anything new and to give the fans a chance to see what music they’re favorite musicians are listening to as well.

Yeah, well, that makes sense (Laughs).

Any last words?

Are you guys from here?

Yeah, we’re both from here.

It’s our first time playing here so I’m really looking forward to it. My cousin has been living here for 3 years and she says it’s a pretty kick ass town. So I hope to see you here again and check out the new video for Nerve. You can see it on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball or Fuse. And I’ll see you next time.

Links: # Soilwork’s Official Website, # Ozzfest Official Website, # Nuclear Blast Records


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