It was clear from their initial outing, "Steelbath Suicide", that SOILWORK were destined for great things to come. Their sophomore release, "The Chainheart Machine", not only strengthened those claims, but saw them ascend into a league of their own; proving that Sweden had indeed more to offer than a multitude of AT THE GATES- or IN FLAMES-clones. Having just been signed to juggernaut Nuclear Blast, and wrapping up sessions for their third, and most anticipated album thus far, "Predator's Portrait", SOILWORK gear up for what should be their biggest, and most successful release yet. None other than Soiler Carlos Del Olmo was kind enough to give us a bit of insight as to what lies in store for us early next year, as well as some comments on other Soil-related matters! Enjoy!
Over the past year, you guys have virtually come from out of nowhere, to having quite a strong underground following. What do you credit this growth to?
I think it all depends on the music. If people don't like the album, they don't buy it even if you have a big promotion. We got a normal promotion for a small label like Listenable Records on "The Chainheart Machine", but people bought it anyway, so I think the credit goes of having songs that people like.
The name 'SOILWORK' refers to the six of you laboring from scratch, or starting fresh from the ground up. Yet every powerful structure has a strong foundation in which to build upon. Where do you guys draw your musical inspiration from?
Peter (Wichers - guitar) is the main songwriter in SOILWORK, and to make a SOILWORK-song you need to listen to more than Metal, so to name a few: FREAK KITCHEN, SYMPHONY X, SYL, SAGA, FAITH NO MORE, OCEAN MACHINE…
I've always viewed SOILWORK as the proverbial kick in the ass that Sweden needs. What separates you guys from other more stereotypical Swedish bands?
Thanx! Well I think the harmonies are the biggest differences from other bands. Peter uses minor harmonies in some songs, but far from all of them... He listens to many bands that use other harmonies, and in that way he gets the songs sounding different from others based on his scales.
You guys are now one of the newest members of the Nuclear Blast-fortress. What were some of the circumstances that lead to your departure from Century Media?
We haven't really been on Century Media, only on license-contract, but the thing is that NB and CM wanted to sign us and we got a better deal from NB in the end so the choice was made from that.
How are things now that you're with NB? They seem very happy to have you aboard.
Well, we haven't seen how NB promotes yet, but I'm sure they will turn out to be a good label.
OK, let's turn our attention to your upcoming release, "Predator's Portrait". First off, how did you start out with the writing process, and who wrote what?
We started writing the songs for "Predator's Portrait" soon after the release of "The Chainheart Machine", and the first song ready for "Predator's Portrait" was "Grand Failure Anthem", and that song is the one closest to a "The Chainheart Machine" song. As I've said earlier, Peter is the main composer, but Ola Frenning (guitar) is behind some songs, too. And when the song is finished, they present it to the rest of the band at the rehearsal, and we give it its final touch.
You guys broke a speed record for the amount of time you spent recording this! Were you able to complete the album to 100% satisfaction, or were there some things that may have been left out?
Well, when you first rehearse the songs tons of times and then record them, you get to listen to them a lot and you get a little tired of them. So I guess that we're blind of how the songs really sounded, but after having listened to them at home for some time now, we find "Predator's Portrait" great!
What kind of production value were you able to achieve with Mr. Nordström at the helm? Will we hear more of his now classic and patented style, or perhaps something a little different?
When we hit the studio we always bring along a pile of albums that we use for "sound reference", and Fredrik is a magician in making the sound like we want it, and I think you will hear the difference from "The Chainheart Machine".
How does "Predator's Portrait" differ from your thrashterpiece of last year, "The Chainheart Machine"? What have you picked up since then that you were able to apply to the new album?
The structure of the songs are a bit more progressive this time, and we have converted some riffs from speed to heaviness on some parts. And, Björn shows a great song ability with his adding of clean vocals on some choruses.
The title "Predator's Portrait" can conjure up some pretty imaginative scenarios. Is there a theme of some sort that goes along with the album?
Yes, there is. Nearly all lyrics are based on the "Asylum theme". People that see things, people that believe they are gods by killing people, and other insane people that often end their days in a mental institution.
(Speaking of mental institution :-D) While in Studio Fredman, you guys met up briefly with OPETH, who were also recording a new album ("Blackwater Park"). How were relations between the two camps?
Great! The guys in OPETH are good guys and great musicians. We got to know them quickly as they were in the studio with us all the time. We are better in bowling though! (laughs out loud)
As far as touring goes, how has the public reacted so far during the Soil-shows? Do you fancy yourselves as showmen onstage as well?
I think we serve the people the Metal-show they expect from us, but every gig we do is a step further in way to the ultimate Metal-show!
Now we get to the "fun" part of the interview, haha! If you guys right now, could tour with any artist or group, who would it be, and why?
Hmmm... …let me think... As I speak for everyone in the band... I think STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, Rob Halford or IN FLAMES. STRAPPING for being a cool inspiration source, and Halford for being a SOILWORK-fan ;) (read below), and IN FLAMES for being great guys and in the same Metal-family.
If you could interrupt, and mop the floor with any artist or band during one of their shows, who would it be, where, and when? (the Moffats perhaps?)
Ha ha ha...ehm....hmm....KORN would be cool to throw of stage, and show them how to get some heads banging!! Ha ha ha...
Carlos, you and Björn recently had a run in of a sort with one of Metal's legends, and somebody the both of you have been a fan of for a very long time. Care to share?
He he...it was an amazing thing really! Me and Björn went to see Rob Halford's show, and Björn got his hands on a back-stage pass, because he knew that Rob was a SOILWORK-fan ;) Rob had mentioned SOILWORK in magazines like Metal Maniacs etc., and Björn now got his chance of talking to the man! Björn also gave him "Predator's Portrait" on cassette, and he immediately started to listen to it backstage... The whole album in a row! Then when Rob was almost finished the show he points towards Björn and says (I quote): "Hey Speed, I listened to the album backstage and it's a blast man! And everyone, BUY the new SOILWORK-album next year, they are a Swedish metal pride!!"
…Aside from practicing, and other activities related to the band, what else keeps you guys busy on the side?
All kinds of things; for me it's making pictures for album front-covers, layout etc., and for the other guys it's everything from badminton, to computer games, and work of course ;)
"Be prepared for the biggest impact on the Death Metal-scene since AT THE GATES…" Those are some pretty bold words spoken in reference to SOILWORK, taken from a press release directly from NB. Will SOILWORK live up to this comment?
Nope, we will not (sorry there folks), because we did start as an ATG-sounding band in the beginning, but it sounds wrong to mention ATG when referring to our sound where we stand today... I don't think there is too much similarity left except for the speed and intensity.
Thanks for taking some time out to waste with me! I await hyper-anxiously to hear what you've got to offer! I've no doubt that "Predator's Portrait" will be a strong contender for best album of 2001!
Thanx again!! I can only hope that you will like it, but I think you will. Thrash on everyone!!
1998: Steelbath Suicide (CD, Listenable)
1999 (Euro) - 2000 (NA): The Chainheart Machine (CD, Listenable)
2000: Steelbath Suicide (CD reissue, Listenable)
2001: Predator's Portrait (CD, Nuclear Blast)
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