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Brothers Of Metal's Joakim Lindbäck Eriksson: "…you have to watch Vikings if you’re going to be in a heavy metal band, everyone knows that, they teach that stuff in school…"

Interview with Joakim Lindbäck Eriksson from Brothers Of Metal
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 20 April 2020, 10:46 PM

Having the time of your life while making music, that is the key of keep it happening in the business, while of course being serious enough to come up with something that is worthwhile in the end. Moving forward in their career as an eight-piece band, signed to AFM Records, the Swedish Brothers Of Metal, the Vikings, released their sophomore "Emblas Saga", taking the music of their debut album forward, still enjoying themselves though. Prior to the Covid-19 and their tour with Elvenking, Steinmetal had a chat with vocalist Joakim Lindbäck Eriksson about the new album, the process within it, Vikings and more…

Hello Joakim, it is a pleasure having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. How have you been doing mate? Excited I am sure due to the upcoming storm

Hi! All good here I'm doing great, really looking forward to this release, ever since the album was done I think we all just wanted to throw it out there immediately, but now finally everything around it is almost done, with videos and promotion etc so in January it is time to finally reveal it.

Your debut album, “Prophecy Of Ragnarök”, rocked my world back in 2018. Never have I thought how catchy a Viking driven release could be. You guys at Brothers Of Metal had me speechless mister. Soon to be unearthed is your sophomore album, “Emblas Saga”, via your label AFM Records. You have quite a mountain to climb, have you been feeling the pressure? The countless expectations from this album to be at least at the same level or even better than the debut?

First of all thank you so much for those extremely fine words we`re humbled, we will try not to disappoint you. Well sure it's been a completely different journey from the "Prophecy of Ragnarök" album, where we just had fun and drank beer and wrote music basically more or less the whole album.

This time we sure felt some more pressure with finishing the songs in time, and also the pressure of knowing this time a lot of people are actually going to listen to it. But I’m confident that this album is going to land really great at our fans, I think this album is a perfect number two for our first debut.

Storming into the raging reality of “Emblas Saga”, the title had me interested. After doing a little research I found out that it is about the first woman of mankind, sort of like eve from the bible. What made you interested in focusing on the birth of mankind from a Viking’s vision? What does the story of Embla entail on the album?

Since the first album got the title "Prophecy Of Ragnarök" and that song is about the end of all worlds in the Norse mythology, we found it fitting that the second album was about the opposite, The beginning of it all and the story of how the first humans came to be. So you did your research, Ash and Elm where the first humans on earth.

I think it is a must question, talking about Vikings. Are you excited about the new season of Vikings on the History Channel? Would you say that some of the material written for Brothers Of Metal is actually drawn from this special series?

Yeah sure you have to watch Vikings if you’re going to be in a heavy metal band, everyone knows that, they teach that stuff in school. I’m having a hard time to cope with Ragnar's death though, but sure, I watch it still. We have gotten a little inspiration for clothing and makeup and so on, but not so much for the lyrics I would say.

Concerning the differentiation between myths and history, which version of the Vikings do you prefer? Would you say that Brothers Of Metal will also focus one day on actual Viking history other than laying down the legendries?

I think for sure Brothers of Metal could do some more digging in the history of it all rather than the legendries we do that from time to time even today. And for the Vikings I think we could have a little bit more fun if we’re sticking to the myths, so let’s do that.

With “Emblas Saga”, it occurred to me that Brothers Of Metal pretty much remained in the same position musically, without really doing anything out of the ordinary to add elements to its direction. However, every artist will attest that his new creation went through changes, therefore I ask, in comparison to the debut what changed within “Emblas Saga”?

Hmm to me it’s very different actually, I think we have played around with more different styles on this album, there’s more cinematic features, some heavier stuff, there’s almost an 80’s song in there. But sure we have tried to still have our sense of humour and seriousness in good harmony on this album too.

Continuing the previous question, how would you say that Brothers Of Metal’s music developed? What makes it a standout?

We started doing this mainly for the fun in making music and hanging out with friends drinking and have a good time, then it got more serious and so did the music, and as it should hopefully, we’re still growing and doing different stuff in the future. And our eight constellation sure stands out and hopefully Brothers of Metal is going to be one of those bands you hear who it is instantly based on they sound.

One of the chief attributes that has been bound to Brothers Of Metal is the harmonic vocals, between three voices. You guys simply stun me every passing song. Would you say that your vocal performance was further enhanced on “Emblas Saga”? Did you fulfil any lessons learned from the debut?

Well thank you again, your too kind. I think this album was more demanding and difficult for me then the first more higher notes and more melodies, I learn something new every time, that’s the beauty of doing this kind of stuff may it never and!

For one thing, concerning the songwriting, there is an extra touch of theatrical aspects, which made some of the epic to sound even larger and convincing. What is your opinion of the songwriting process on “Emblas Saga”? Were there changes made in your approach towards writing the new songs?

We did basically the same way as we always do but faster and in less time, and again this time we knew people were going to listen to it so we probably did it a little more seriously.

Out of curiosity, what is the band’s doctrine towards writing a song in overall? Where do you start? Is there a songwriter that makes the call and the rest of the band abides or is it an open season democracy?

It’s funny and a really good thing for us that you say that, for every journalist drops a different song they say is the best or the strongest, that should mean a lot of the songs on the album works.
It is pretty much an open democracy most often is that Johan Dawid or Mikael has a project on their computer that they have made some grounds on, then Me, Mats and Ylva usually write lyrics to it, then all of us talk about have we want it and how to arrange it all, it can also change in the studio it kind of depends.

“Kaunaz Dagaz” is certainly one of the album’s strongest songs, whether the inspiring vocals or the powerful music. What is the nature of this song? What, or who, is Kaunaz Dagaz?

Kaunaz Dagaz is basically two runes the K rune and the D rune from the elder Futhark. A direct translation to English would be “Fire Dawn” This song is one of Mikael’s babies and is best enjoyed in the California sun drinking beer preferably in a convertible.

A tougher one for you, which of the album’s tracks is your number one pick and why? Please elaborate on your pick

That’s hard for me it always changes a week ago it was "Hel", right know it is probably "Chainbreaker" or "Kaunaz Dagaz", and when we start to play these songs live I’m sure I’m going to get a new favourite.

In general, I think that it has been widely proven that Metal music is one with historical or mythical events. In your viewpoint, what makes the connection between Metal music and for that matter the Vikings theme?

Once upon a time there were eight warriors who decided to write a song about the epic Thunder god Thor, and they did and out came "Son Of Odin". And after that it seemed like a good idea to continue to write on the Viking theme, and that we did, there is so many great stories to be found about the gods and the humans back then, so there’s just so much inspiration to be found in the whole Viking genre. And I think people in general think it’s pretty cool and interesting to read listen or watch stuff about it I know I do.

Hypothetically speaking, are there common grounds between the Viking way of life and the Metal way of life, as it has been referred as more than merely a musical genre?

That’s a good question, to me the whole Viking theme fits in really good with metal music and that way of life, but overall I think metal people are some of the greatest people on planet Earth, the cohesion is always wonderful and everyone always seems to get along, whether you are listening the Viking music or other genres.

I noticed that soon you will be supporting “Emblas Saga” with a tour with your label mates, Elvenking. Have you played with the Italians once? What are your expectations from this tour?

Yes that’s true we’re actually going out on our first tour together with Elvenking, we’re calling it the Pagan Thor. We have played at the some festival once in Germany and meet some of the guys that's it, they seem to be great guys and we’re looking forward to doing this and get our an the road with them. Hopefully with some great stories and anecdotes when we get back.

How can you describe a Brothers Of Metal show? I can only assume that it is the closest thing to reaching the gods?

Hehe well I think you pretty much nailed it, being on stage and performing these songs are the closest thing you can come to reaching the gods. But really, we want to do a cool and fun show for all involved, and we’re constantly trying to come up with new ideas on what kind of shenanigans we can do on stage. And we’re still very new to playing these big stages so I think there is room for a lot of improvements in the future.

Looking forward into the not too distant future, what do you think are the challenges that stand in the way of Brothers Of Metal? Where do you see the band going in your perspective?

As long as we can manage the handling of our own private jobs and family, which is the biggest and only challenge I can think of right now since it is hard to get days off from work etc, but hopefully as we grow, someday we maybe can make some kind of living out of this. I think the future can be very bright for Brothers of Metal, I know we all in the band have a lot of great ideas and songs left in us, and hopefully more touring around the world making music and just try to have as fun as possible with it all.

Joakim, I wish to thank you for this interview. I have been consumed by the new album, it drives me nuts and I like it. Thank you for making it happen. Cheers mate!

Well likewise, thank you for wanting to talk to me and thank you for appreciating the new album. See you out there stay true.



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