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Olof Wikstrand (Enforcer)

Interview with Olof Wikstrand from Enforcer
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 28 April 2013, 9:11 AM

In 2008 ENFORCER took the Metal world by storm with their debut release “Into the Night”. A throwback to the classic NWOBHM sound they were one of the few modern bands that captured the essence of the original movement. They are now back with their latest Speed Metal attack, “Death By Fire”. Steinmetal had a chance to speak with guitarist and vocalist Olaf Wikstrand about the process of writing and recording the new record.

Hi there Olof, it is a great honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple. I have been a fan of you guys for quite some time, since I discovered your debut. What have you been up to lately?

Hey! That’s really cool to hear. At the moment I’m at a ferry on my way to Greece. The last few weeks we’ve been busy touring for the new album. We’ve had a very successful and intensive tour across Europe together with ANGEL WITCH and GRAND MAGUS.

It has been almost three years since your ultimate gem to date, “Diamonds”, and now you guys have been running with your new NWOBHM onslaught called “Death By Fire”. How do you feel about past three years?

The past three years have been very busy touring as well as pretty focused. We toured heavily for the “Diamonds” album all over the world. And once we felt we had given everything we could to that we spent some time in the shadows coming up with our new record “Death by Fire.” Feels really good to finally be out with something new again.

How do you appreciate “Death By Fire” in comparison to “Diamonds”?

We are extremely satisfied with the results of DEATH BY FIRE. I’d say with this record we are more confident and proud than anything else we’ve ever done before. We have achieved this by working more hard and dedicated with the songs as well as the album than anything else before.
The main differences to previous albums are that we have produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the whole thing ourselves. By doing this we could get control over every detail on the album, from idea to final product. So what you hear is 100% ENFORCER, not anything else. Every single sound wave on the record is something that we stand for completely. The sound and production is exactly how we would like to present the songs, not like anyone else would hear it. Rather than edit the takes and create perfectly technical tracks we exaggerated all our individual playing that eventually sums up to the sound of ENFORCER. For instance, all drums are more or less in one take and make it extremely personally played.
Also we have worked much more deliberately on the album as a whole. While previous albums have been compiled songs individually made by the members this album is much more a band effort in the sense of that we all have contributed to 100% to a mutual vision about the album as a whole. We had a mutual vision, sketched up the album as a whole together even before had any songs written. By working like this we could set up the same goals and work together in the same direction in order to make a much more consequent and unique album.
We wanted to do the TOTAL ENFORCER record, rather than break new ground or looking at other bands; to exclude as many external sources of inspiration as possible and to look deep within ourselves instead of looking at other bands. We took everything what made us unique, and what was making us stand out against other bands and exaggerated it a million of times.
Nearly two years ago guitarist, Adam Zaars, departed from the band, what happened?

He got tired of what we were doing and wanted to focus on other things in his life. No hard feelings whatsoever.

Do you feel that the fact that ENFORCER is short of a guitarist made an impact, of any aspect whether negative or positive, on the outcomes of “Death By Fire”?

Only positive. We managed to keep the album and the songs much more consequent than anytime before. It’s a much more gathered album that still has much variety. It is much easier to keep a band together the less you are.

Do you think that “Death By Fire” is a sort of a comeback to the days of “Into The Night”? I have to admit that these two albums share a few characteristics.

It’s the perfect mix of what ENFORCER is all about, bringing together the speed and aggression from the first album with the melodic sound of the second record and then taken everything a few steps further. This is the ultimate ENFORCER record.

“Death By Fire” is without a doubt a continuance of what you guys have been doing for quite a while, yet it felt harsher than “Diamonds”, which is I think is your best appointed masterpiece. What do you think about this notion?

If you think “Diamonds” is better I respect that. We write music only for ourselves anyway, and as long as we feel this is 1000000000000 times better than anything we’ve ever done before, it’s fine for us. It wouldn’t make us much of a band if we took care of what all other people would think about what we do.

Signing with Nuclear Blast Records is probably one of the band’s greatest career steps, after being signed to Earache Records. How was the move made? Did you offer yourselves? Were you offered a refined deal?

We have been in touch with them since we released the first record so they offered us a great deal. I think it was the natural next step for us to go.

It has always interested me to know about your musical roots. I know that there has been a wave, or a revival of old British Metal. It would be interesting to know about your musical background and your appreciation of NWOBHM.

I’ve always listened to hard rock and bands from the UK. But about ten years ago I started to develop the interest in the music much deeper than anytime before. I started to discover bands all over the world from this period sharing an attitude towards music, pushing everything to the limit. That could be Scandinavian bands, French bands, American speed metal bands, whatever. It eventually led to the creating of ENFORCER.

Do you think that there might be a slight chance of the Metal world heading backwards into the fine days of the genre’s early to mid-80s one day?

This is the new thing, not any cheerful homage to lost times. We do the music we want to hear. We are a young band playing in front of a young audience and in my eyes that would make us a pretty modern band even though we are not inspired by any recent bands. Most music that becomes modern is a step from what’s popular at the moment and creating something new. I would definitely say that that’s what we do.

Other than being ENFORCER’s vocalist, along with fulfilling the roles of guitarist here and there, you are also a producer. Can you share a little information about your current projects?

Right now, not too much. This year is pretty much only dedicated to ENFORCER.

Any plans for the coming future for ENFORCER? How about a live DVD?

We are gonna record the Athens show and see if it turns out good enough to make a release of it. We’ll see. Other than that this year is totally dedicated to touring and spreading our world all over this planet!!

Olof, I wish to thank you for this interview. ENFORCER has been quite an energetic pack of classic flavors so needed in such a modern scene. Good luck with “Death By Fire” and enjoy yourselves. Any last words for our readers?

Thanks! See you in Greece! 


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