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Ironbourne's Torbjörn Andersson: "I was in my car waiting for my girl, listening to the standard national radio channel, and suddenly heard a familiar voice! could it be? but yes, the unmistakable Eric Adams of Manowar sang "Carry on""

Interview with Torbjörn Andersson from Ironbourne
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 March 2021, 12:03 AM

Forged in the fires, bread by those that are true and strive for glory. There is no cliché' here, only honesty, but yes, Metal music already proved itself to be more natural than where swords are forged. It comes from the heart, and it delivers sounds and spirituality that only people with a burning mind can deliver. The Swedish Heavy Metal, Ironbourne, as if left behind, or simply due to a mutual decision to raise its head later on in time, became a fact in the newly presentation of old school Metal. Signed to Pure Steel Records, the band issued their self-titled debut. Steinmetal had a talk with vocalist, Torbjörn Andersson, about how this band was created, the material, the spirit of the songs and more…

Hello Torbjorn, it is a great pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hello Lior, my pleasure. Thanks for inviting me! Despite these crazy times that we live in, I would say that life is rather good, the music keeps us busy and we are in a good spirit.

I think that the first question, in particular after listening to your debut record so many times, is somewhat direct, where have you been all my life? You guys appear as veterans in your local scene, what drove you to band up and becoming Ironbourne?

He he, cannot tell really, guess we are lucky to strike a nerve, and we get high on you saying so thanks a lot! I think that the combination of us members in the band really have made the sound what it is. We are all rather experienced musicians from various bands and musical styles, and when we started to play together two years back, we felt right away that the chemistry and the musical outcome was interesting.

Since you have been around in the Swedish Metal scene for quite some time, saw it changing before your eyes, how did your experience and your ventures with past bands helped you shape the idea of forming Ironbourne?

Well, as you know and can tell from listening to us, there is no secret that the metal is in our hearts. I don´t think we ever changed, just enduring, and kept at it and again, the five of us and the chemistry in the band seems to create an interesting and dynamic working environment and good songs.

Old school at heart, as it can be noticed from Ironbourne’s musical essence, have you been motivated merely due to admiration for the old sound and approach, or by something else entirely? This question comes due to the changes of the musical tastes of many within Metal music towards the modernized direction

Somewhere between the old and new, we try to find a way to get a new sound, because somewhere along the path, the metal scene and sound got lost into overproducing with sound and not getting enough fun of just playing fairly advanced stuff. Thinking of the virtuosos of the early metal days, without all the technical stuff. We all have common ground when it comes to musical influences but it also varies. The 70s and 80s hard rock and metal are something that we all love and always have, but some of us in the band also share an admiration and love for heavier and more technical stuff.

Ironbourne, as you pictured it, is like a part of the earth, gathering elements and minerals, the real deal of mining steel so to speak. Quite an outside the box question, would you say that Heavy Metal, as you see it, a bread butter for many to follow throughout the years, is best played in its natural form?

Many bands have over the years been criticized, for leaving their metal path, as we all seem to get softer with age, maybe when it comes to what we listen to is somewhat broader than before, but we choose to play this music for the fun of it, and this group of people seems to come up with music that have the classical rock and metal roots. And also because no other genre gives us enough challenge, and at the same time the freedom of expression. In the end, and in our hearts, this is the music we live and breathe, hopefully you can hear it.

You made the right move to sign with an old school Metal label that appreciates the early days, paying great respect to the early gods of the music. How do you find your new home at Pure Steel Records?

To say the least, we are impressed, they are pros in the game, we could not wish for a better label. We will do all in our power to make this fly, as they make it possible. PSR has been really great to us so far!

“Ironbourne”, your debut album, sets off into a journey that shares a lot of sceneries and covers various areas throughout the way, from start to end. What would you say is the common ground, that crossroads where the songs meet?

The most important thing for us when we create the music is to capture a nice groove. Good riffs and melodies are often the starting point and after that we try to write lyrics that reflect the feel of the music. The lyrical theme varies from personal life experiences to storytelling. Like the song ‘Varsel’ for instance, that tells a story about the hard and dangerous work in the iron ore mines.

What can you tell about the songwriting of “Ironbourne”, is it a result of fresh material or a mixture of old ideas that have been dwelling within you guys, which were awarded with a shape at the right timing?

As this is the debut album there is a mix of old and new ideas, but rearranged for Ironbourne. When it comes to timing, I suppose it was a lucky shot, in combination with continuously doing what we love.

The course of the songwriting process of the record, which I assume was a joint venture for the entire lineup, has a lot tied to it, in particular when it comes to learning to work with others, share ideas and experiences of sorts. How would you say that this process developed you both as a singer and a songwriter?

Most of the songs did already exist when I joined the band. Some of them had texts and the overall song structure ready. Where others we rearranged more or less. I added song melodies and wrote lyrics for a couple of the tunes. I would say that the collaboration between us has been really smooth all the way. And when all five of us finally put all pieces together the album and sound became Ironbourne. We actually have a handful of new songs for the next release already in mind. It's fun and easy to work with these guys!

When it comes to the streams of influences, I believe that the tale is pretty music told while listening, and where your heart lies. What did you find the early days of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock that inspired you while writing the songs for “Ironbourne”?

The inspiring thing about Metal is the energy it brings you, playing and listening, and the sounds of the early days are in our blood and upbringing.

What can you tell about the sound production of the record, I must say that it is addictive no less, a combination of Saxon and Maiden, creating that slice of class in a single package. Who engineered this blast from the past?

It was actually intended, as we wanted the sound not to be too powerful, instead went for a lighter production. Before the time of digital recordings, and down tuned guitars, there was joy and ingenuity, just listen to the early Maiden, then you know what I'm talking about. Somewhere along the way this got lost. In the early days we played over our limits, but it was uncharted territory, and we learned as we got older.

It is recorded in a small local studio in our hometown Ludvika in the heart of old Sweden, by Mats Andersson, maybe a guy on the rise? We will absolutely tell him this.

There has been a rather strong wave of old school made Metal music nowadays, whether of newcomers or of veterans returning to action after years of absence. With Ironbourne part of this massive wave, in your view, what makes its debut a fresh kind of export?

In the mind of the sound it was natural to play the way we do, not all stuck in old school, but with a more modern touch. Our differences make us what we are.

Probably you will say something about it in regards to the previous question, about being uncanny, but I have to admit that you surprised when you opened with a rather touchy, yet gradually became rocky, tune, “The Dreamer”. As if in auto mode, I was returned to the early 80s in a flash, NWOBHM at its finest with a crispy touch. So I ask, why start with a lesser energetic tune to start the record? What is your appreciation of this song?

The Dreamer was the track that got us the record deal with Pure Steel, we did not have a deeper thought about this choice, it just came to be, and we think it is a strong track, easy to let into anyone's heart and in a way, puts the listener into the mood of NWOBHM right away.

Going on cleverly, beyond the bread and butter of the early days, you came up with the varied melodic “Runaway”, which provided an additional dimension, with emphatic vocal performance. What can you tell about this song’s creation and impact on the record?

Runaway was actually written many years ago, and three of the members played it in another constellation, but it is so fun to play, and when we started out, we did not have all the material we needed, so we decided to record it, because it never was.

We also learned and discovered that we enjoy speedier playing, and we will have more songs with a faster pace for the next release. But the variation is fun, it will be a mixture of groovy songs and faster ones

Like an iron giant walking through the fields, rampaging everything in its path, the epic heavy juggernaut strides in the image of “Year Of Judgement”, ascertaining the glory of the old. While listening to this track, how much do you long for these golden years? In light of such a track, what do you think that the current Metal scene is missing?

I´m not really sure it misses anything, but I can still recall the day when I was in my car waiting for my girl, listening to the standard national radio channel, and suddenly heard a familiar voice! could it be? but yes, the unmistakable Eric Adams of Manowar sang "Carry on".

It would be nice if the Metal could get at least a small piece of all stations, not like popular music, but when you realize how many fans it has, it is somewhat strange that it is seldom played there. Maybe….Ironbourne could fit in there somewhere? You know, with the lighter songs as for instance The Dreamer, could make ordinary people rediscover the Metal scene, and then discover tracks as Year of Judgement.

Since the pandemic is still out there, there is no live scene to turn to in order to properly promote the record. What are your solutions for the time being? Have you perhaps started planning for the day after?

For now, we are in the planning phase for the recording of a “live” performance. We have a really nice venue here in Ludvika that is not used at the moment so we thought that it would be cool to do a recorded show with full production. Just for the fun of it and also for people to see and hear what we are all about. We put some thought into this, and we hope it will make some impression.

We are crossing our fingers for the lifting of the lockdown. We are very eager to play live and promote our new record! We also have a directed video with a story to the track “Varsel” which will be released in a few weeks.

Torbjorn, I wish to thank you for this interview and for your time for it. You had me reminding of the early days of Heavy Metal and I am glad that those years came to life through your debut. Cheers.

Thank you for the interview! we hope the early days could once again be the current days. The fact that you got reminded of the glory days, makes us a happy Ironbourne. Hope to chat with you again!

Best Regards
Torbjörn/ Ironbourne


 



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