Pictures : Olga Kuzmenko
Interview by: Alan Daly
Alan: Hi David. Thanks for taking the time to chat. I was originally scheduled to speak with Bjorn, and I was going to comment that because the last time Soilwork played at Bloodstock was in 2008, he was the only member of the band to be here both times.
David: That’s right.
Alan: So this is your first time to play at this festival then? Or have you played here with any other bands?
David: No, this is my first time. I’m a Bloodstock virgin.
Alan: Does that mean we need to make a sacrifice to mark the occasion?
David: We have a small goat in our dressing room so we can do a ritual before the show.
Alan: How do you think Bloodstock compares to other festivals you have played at?
David: So far, it’s been great. We arrived in Birmingham last night, so we just came here a couple of hours ago, and we’ve been doing interviews since we came. Personally, I enjoy doing the interviews, but it seems to be nice here. We’re playing in like two hours and then we’re leaving for the airport straight afterward and home to Sweden. So I guess I’ll miss most of the Bloodstock experience, unfortunately. We’ve played a few French and German festivals this Summer, and it’s been like a heatwave, so it’s very refreshing to have a light English breeze.
Alan: We last caught Soilwork playing in Dublin with Kreator, Sepultura and Aborted…
David: Oh yeah. I wasn’t on that tour. They had a stand-in. You see, I’m a doctor as well so I missed the Kreator tour. I was working at the hospital.
Alan: Wow, that’s an unusual day job for a member of a metal band. You don’t hear that very often! So your last studio album was The Ride Majestic, released in 2015. What’s next for Soilwork? Is there a new album in the pipeline?
David: Yes. We have one more festival this Summer and then we have a short Scandinavian tour. Then we’re going to start writing the next album. Hopefully, we’ll have something we can release next year.
Alan: Do you write and record on the road?
David: You get the occasional idea, but it’s kinda difficult to write on the road because it’s hard to find a quiet corner to sit and do stuff. At festivals, you always have this noise around you everywhere, and then you’re tired. Then your guitar is always somewhere else, either on the stage or with the guitar tech or whatever. So we mostly do our writing at home.
Alan: So you’ll be more or less starting from scratch when you start writing?
David: Yeah. We have a few ideas, but before we book a studio, we want to make sure that we have something that we really believe in. Hopefully, we’ll enter the studio in the Spring if we come up with the good stuff.
Alan: And do you have any idea what direction you might go, compared to your other albums?
David: We’re discussing that right now. We want to evolve and do something slightly different with each album, and we like to have a common theme or some sort of concept. Not a concept album in the traditional sense, but some sort of framework, so everyone knows what we’re aiming towards. Me and Bjorn have been talking about it, and we’re hoping it will be a bit more Scandinavian! Which is a broad statement?
Alan: Speaking of a Scandinavian sound, what do you think of Amon Amarth and the whole Viking theme and stage show they have? Soilwork, don’t really do theatrics.
David: They’re great. Yeah, we’re kinda boring. We have a different approach, and I think Soilwork is more about the culture in the band. Some bands are able to do that convincingly, like Amon Amarth and Sabaton, who have a whole official theme, and put on a huge show with pyro and stuff. We’ve never done it, and that’s probably why we’re not headlining, and they are. But at the same time, our focus has always been on the music and personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable having that kind of image. But Amon Amarth is a great band and they’re way bigger than we are, so they’re doing stuff right.
Alan: I know you said you won’t be here for the whole weekend, but I know Dirk Verbeuren, who was a long time drummer for Soilwork, is now playing with Megadeth, and they’ll be headlining on Sunday. I was wondering if you guys are still in contact and if you were planning to meet up here.
David: Yeah, we stay in touch, but of course he’s busy and he lives in LA so it’s not like we bump into each other. But we’re still friends and we’re all happy for him. It’s a great gig if you’re a drummer.
Alan: If an opportunity arose for you to play in Megadeth, would you take it?
David: No, I don’t think so. With my whole life situation, being an MD Ph.D., so I’m a doctor and a researcher as well, and I really love song writing. I guess being in a band like Megadeth, you wouldn’t be allowed to write many songs. Right now, I have this side project with Bjorn called The Night Flight Orchestra, and I’m very active as a song writer in both bands, and that’s the way I want it. I have so much other stuff going on, that even if I got an offer from anyone to just be a guitarist, I would probably say no. But I love Megadeth. They were one of my heroes growing up as a teen during the nineties. I’m really happy for Dirk.
Alan: Mental health issues have been brought to the fore recently with the recent suicides of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. You’re an MD. You must encounter people with mental health issues. What advice could you give to Soilwork fans who may be going through tough times, and maybe can’t see a happy future?
David: That’s a tough question. When you work as a doctor yourself, you get a bit more modest answering questions like that. It’s always hard giving people general advice, like do this or do that, but personally, when I was an angst-ridden teenager, music meant the world to me and that was my way of dealing with growing up. Nobody likes being a teenager… I guess. It’s always a luxury to have an outlet for your feelings. For me it was music. For some it’s sports, and for some, it’s drugs. But as long as you find some sort of positive outlet… A lot of the people that I meet in my other profession don’t have that outlet. Some have quite horrible existences and they don’t have anywhere to go. But we’ve had quite a few people telling us that Soilwork’s music has helped them through some hard times and that’s probably the nicest compliment you can get. It’s fantastic if something I write can help someone the way music helped me when I was young and frustrated and hating life.
Alan: Well, we’re out of time, so thanks for talking to us. See you on stage later.
David: Thank you.