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Joacim Cans & Oscar Dronjak (Hammerfall)

Interview with Joacim Cans & Oscar Dronjak from Hammerfall
by Elina Papadoyianni at 10 October 2006, 5:17 PM

Tuesday afternoon at the Warner Music offices in Athens and the reporters are starting to show up to interview two of the members of Hammerfall, Joacim Cans and Oscar Dronjak. I must mention here the excellent hospitality of Warner and the very good preparation - Guys, you should inform us that there would be food; we would've brought some friends!

A few words about your upcoming release

(Oscar) Well, ok, it’s called Threshold, I think we have built upon the foundations of the previous albums and in my opinion this is the most complete album that we have so far when it comes to the production, as well as the song writing. So, I believe that we are all very happy with the evolution that has been done.

So in a way you feel you’ve made a progress as far as your sound is concerned

(Joacim)Yes, this album is definitely complete, it eleven compositions and they are all there for a reason, to make the album unique. And I think maybe this time will take you longer, you might have to listen to the album three or four times before you get everything, same with the single Natural High. I mean it’s a very driven song, straight in your face, but it also has some parts that are maybe not so memorable the first time you hear it. And that’s the good thing about this album; it grows on you while you listen to it.  

From what I’ve heard it’s a bit heavier, less keyboards and stuff, compared to your previous release

(Oscar)Yes, well I don’t think keyboards themselves make it less heavy, but it’s true that we don’t have that many keyboards. Actually the only time we use keyboards in this album is for the intro.

There is a videoclip also of the song Fire Burns For Ever. Why did you choose Serbia for the shooting of the video?

(Joacim)That’s a very good question. Well, we felt we needed a change in directing just to see what someone else would come up with and then of course, if you compare prices with Sweden and Serbia, you see that Sweden is much more expensive. The budget they need there is twice as much as it is in Serbia. I think that in Serbia they also wanted to prove what they are capable of doing both with the video and they also did a photo session and they were really professional.

Next there is a two-month tour in Europe, in January and February, for Threshold. Many countries there and Greece not included. Why? You didn’t have fun last time?

(Oscar)\[Laughs]Well, with every album that we release and the following tour, we always try to come here, but it’s always been a matter of promoters not being able to put together something like that. So that’s why we haven’t been able to come, but now they have somebody that they are in contact with who has been given a date were we’ll be available and that we’ll be in the beginning of January, because after that the rest of the European tour takes place.

(Joacim)We are doing our best ‘cause we really want to come here again, because I think that we all had very nice memories from the last time we played here, which was almost ten years ago.  

And what were your impressions concerning the Greek metal fans?

(Joacim)I just hope that they haven’t change! \[Laughs] They were so enthusiastic when we played here in 1997 with Gamma Ray. But those people are now older and we will probably face a whole new generation of fans out there!

I wanted to ask Joacim about the cooperation with Warlord and Mark Zonder. What were the impressions and will it happen again in future?

(Joacim)First of all, it was for me a dream come true to work with one of my idols, I mean Warlord was one of the most important bands when I grew up. Mark Zonder is a fantastic person, we became really close friends. The problem with this album is that it wasn’t well prepared by the record label and they didn’t really invest any money whatsoever in promotion and also, when it comes to the production of the album, we had to do a lot of compromises recording the album. It was still a great album, but I think that it needed a different kind of production. Due to the fact that the label mistreated the album, the work wasn’t appreciated and respected and I don’t thing such a think will happen again in the future. At least I’m glad that it went out on stage, that was cool.   

You do you feel about Hammerfall’s course throughout the years? Are you satisfied with what you have achieved and with the fans’ response?

(Oscar)We couldn’t be more satisfied. We’ve always been very uncompromising when it comes to the music and the way we’ve been playing and everything that relates to the creative side of Hammerfall. So it’s been up to us to decide and we have always done things that we felt comfortable with and didn’t leave anybody else influence us. For sure, we are very happy with that part. When it comes to the fans, I think that we have the same kind of die hard fans that we were ourselves in the 80s, when we were teenagers. I think the people that come to our shows and buy our albums are usually very intense about what they feel for Hammerfall and that is just great!

Is it sometimes irritating the fact that people stuck to your first release (which is one of the best of its kind) and expect to listen to something similar, if not the same?

(Oscar)Sometimes! \[Laughs]

(Joacim)But still that is an album from the past, it is a part from the discography of Hammerfall. I mean, that album took so many people by surprise and maybe they are looking for the same surprise element and if you would put out an album exactly the same, firstly it wouldn’t surprise them and they would get eventually bored with it. I think that they should just listen to what it is and then let go and try to take each of the other albums for what they are. Don’t think about anything, just put on the cd and listen and do not compare. Because when comparing all the time, we will never release an album that sounds exactly like Glory To The Brave it’s not gonna happen and I don’t think it’s even possible.

(Oscar)It’s, like you said in the beginning, a bit irritating when people get too caught up in all that, but I believe that most people don’t. Usually it’s the journalists that ask us about our first album and stuck to it. Maybe because they were around those days and our fans in nowadays are usually teenagers and they have a totally different view on music in general and totally different feelings now than what they had ten years ago.  

You are almost ten years with Nuclear Blast Records - I assume that you are very pleased with your cooperation so far

(Joacim)It is the contract in the middle! \[Laughs]

(Oscar)We actually work really well, they respect the work that we do, they do not truly interfere with the song writing, in the last three albums they didn’t even listen to them until they got the final master. We have a mutual trust going on and we have no reason to change. It’s a great cooperation and of course we do sit done and have some serious business, but in the end of the day we all go out ad have a beer! They are doing a great job promoting the albums and they feel that we are doing our best recording the albums.

Let’s sum up with a few words and anything you’d like to add

(Joacim)Like we said earlier, we are doing our best to return as soon as possible to Greece to do a live show ‘cause our fans here really worth it!

(Oscar)It feels like this time we are more close to it than we have been for a long time! But that doesn’t mean anything, it could still not happen unfortunately. We all keep our fingers crossed for this to happen ‘cause nine years ago we were blown away! Literally blown away because we had no idea of the reaction of the people, since we’d never been here before and if this time is anything like it was nine years ago it will be fantastic! One big party every night!


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