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Olof Wikstrand (Enforcer)

Interview with Olof Wikstrand from Enforcer
by Grigoris Chronis at 27 January 2009, 10:07 PM

If old-school Speed/Heavy Metal is your living passion and are not aware of ENFORCER's first album, Into The Night (late 2008), then you're in serious trouble: we''re talking 'bout one of the most striking releases of the last years in the classic Metal field. Founder Olof Wikstrand was not that detailed in his answers (that's the 'cold' case of interviews via E-mail, on the other hand) but, nonetheless, some more facts about ENFORCER's history/status/aims did transpire.

Interview with ENFORCER's singer Olof Wikstrand by Grigoris

Hi Olof, thanks for your time to do this interview for Metal temple mag! First of all, what's the story behind ENFORCER? You have a Thrash past with bands like CORRUPTED, CAUSTIC STRIKE and OPPRESSION. How did you decide to form ENFORCER in a more 'classic' Metal style? Is the rest of the lneup in the band from its beginning?

I've always been more fond of the classic Metal style than anything else and always been the one protecting the image and style. When I first started ENFORCER it was because no one else was interested in playing that kind of music so decided to go solo. Short after I recorded the demo I hooked up with Adam and Jonas to form the ENFORCER we all know today. That was the first real line-up of ENFORCER. After a few changes and variations we ended up with the line-up we are today. What's funny is that ENFORCER today consists of CORRUPT \[a Swedish Thrash Metal band operating from 2006].

I can recall songs named Enforcer by 80s Metal bands like AVENGER (UK), RAZOR (Can) and WARRANT (Ger). Where did you get the idea for the band's name?

The name comes from the AVENGER song.

Before this year's Into the Night full-length album you had released one demo effort and one 7 single. Where you already looking for a label deal back than or these releases caught the interest of Heavy Artillery? Where you in negotiations with other labels, too?

At the point we recorded that we had no intention to make a full length-album. That was just for our own satisfaction. But we gained so much attention from all over the world and many labels were interested in releasing an album with us. We finally decided to go with Heavy Artillery.

Are you thinking of ENFORCER as a side project or we're gonna hear more in the future to come from the band?

ENFORCER is absolutely not a side project and you will definitely hear more from us in the future. We have plans for a new album which we hopefully will be able to record within this year.

Into The Night has already received rave reviews in the old-school Metal columns. How do you feel 'bout this? Did you expect such a feedback when writing/rehearsing for the album?

It feels really good. The music I'm influenced by isn't really the most popular these days so I didn't expect anything. But on the other hand I'm really satisfied with the album so I would be kind of surprised if someone would reject it totally.

Was it on purpose to have mainly fast songs in the new album or is it something that just happened? I think six or seven out of nine songs are in fast mood (something that's equally good, of course!).

It was definitely on purpose. I think it was hard to preserve the sound we had since earlier without repeating ourselves and being boring. We took the songs we had and added a fast one and a kind of mid-paced one to broaden the album. I think we succeeded pretty well and I definitely think the album sounds good as a whole.

Are you in charge of the music and lyrics in ENFORCER? What's the motive for the lyrics, anyway? Typical 80s Metal themes?

I usually come up with the ideas and the fundamental riffs of the songs. Then we develop and arrange it together. The lyrics are basically my ideas too but can be filled in by the others too.

In the new album, there's a clear tendency to pay tribute to the majestic NWOBHM movement. Apart from this, what other references (genres, bands, era) would you give to someone not familiar with Into The Night 'till now?

I wouldn't really say that we're paying tribute to the old bands. We're rather influenced by some of them. Apart from the British bands we're influenced by the whole American movement who followed in the beginning of the 80s. Bands like EXCITER, SAVAGE GRACE and early METALLICA (demos + K.E.A.) is absolutely a source of inspiration. I would also like to mention the Swedish and the European Heavy Metal scene that has inspired us a lot.

The logo and the album cover is 100% classic Metal, too. Who was responsible? Did you have to reject logos and cover artworks for the new album?

I drew the logo the same day I came up with the idea of the band, back in 2005 or something. We actually had a finished artwork for Into The Night which we never used. We realized the last minute that we weren't completely satisfied with the artwork and decided not to use it. Instead we asked a friend to make an alternative cover. He did that and it resulted in the cover we're now using for Into The Night.

Into The Night came out both in CD and LP format (and - of course - we're happy for the vinyl issue). Many new releases are also pressed in vinyl in our days. Are you a vinyl collector yourself? Do you think labels start re-think bout the prices and audio value of CDs or the 'download' mania happening worldwide?

I collect vinyls as well as CDs. I have no idea what happens next, but it is clear that especially the major labels have to rethink when it comes to selling music. I think that a band like us can survive this because we're intending more people who collect music and buy records for having it physically. People like us.

To another topic: as a singer what's your portrait? I mean, which are the singers that influenced your voice and how did you decide to become a singer? In addition, who do you think are the ultimate Hard Rock/Heavy Metal vocalists and what's your opinion on many peoples saying that good music with bad vocals results in bad song?

First of all, I'm not really a vocalist; it just turned out that way. The reason to why I sing is that it is so damn hard to find vocalists, so I decided a long time ago to practice and do my best, and this is what it resulted in.

Watching nearly no band capable of becoming the next 'arena big thing' the last years, the way bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, DEEP PURPLE etc where in past decades, do you think this is a matter of the bands' value, the fans that stick too much on past idols or the corruption of current Music business?

I can't really blame anyone for sticking too much to past idols because I'm pretty narrow-minded when it comes to newcomers myself. I think the selection of music is much bigger today than it was 20 years ago and that might be the reason to why no Metal bands yet have challenged the giants.  

Britain used to rule the world in the 80s. Now, the have serious trouble in exporting grand Metal bands, in my opinion. In opposite, Germany and Scandinavia do hold the scepters in today's Metal music word. Bands, festivals, tours…Why do you think this is happening?

I have no idea! Haha…!

Are you in fond of reunions in general? Do you think reunions should be limited to only touring and not new albums that do not have that something to say?

Not in general. I've witnessed many reunions through the years and I must say that I'm more disappointed than elated. I was actually discussing this with a friend the other day. Since I think that image, style and attitude has such a big part of the whole band it's very depressing to see a half-inspired group of fat old men performing on stage, laughing and joking. I don't think I would like to see a reunited GOTHAM CITY or WITCHFINDER GENERAL. I seriously think that that would ruin my whole picture of the bands.

Olof, thanks a lot for your time. While looking forward to see ENFORCER live in 2009's summer festivals, is there something else you'd like to add?

Buy our album and come see us play, you won't regret it! Heavy metal!


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