Interview with Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork

In anticipation of Soilwork's brand new album "The Ride Majestic" out on the 28th of August, The Power Of Metal.dk talked with frontman Björn "Speed" Strid about the new release, previous collaborations and touring in general.

How did you guys come up with the album title and what does it symbolize?

We all went through some really rough stuff in our private lives. Almost each and every member had a death within the family during the songwriting and the recording; somehow we pictured a tribute to those we’ve lost and also to all the lost souls out there, rolling in the sky. I think it was David who came up with “The Ride Majestic” at first and I thought it was suitable for the cover as well as the picture I had for the cover matched up really well. We’ve been around for 20 years, so it’s definitely been a hell of a ride as well, so it symbolizes Soilwork’s career in a very good way, I think.

soilwork

How was the recording process of new album?

It wasn’t as smooth as we expected it to be. We did record a double album last time and that only took us two and a half months. So we entered the studio now, thinking “Ok, this might be easier, it’s just a regular album again” (laughs). But actually, we ended up spending five months in the studio, more or less. Due to all the tragic events, it kind of dragged out a little bit, which is understandable. We wrapped up around the beginning of June, so it definitely took some time; we entered the studio already in the beginning of February.

Did you struggle at times, too?

Not really. The only thing that dragged out was all the family stuff going on. In plus, the fact that we only had one studio room to record everything: We couldn’t really record stuff simultaneously in different studio rooms like we did on “The Living Infinite”. Other than that, I don’t think we ran into too much problems. I produced all the vocals on my own in my hometown and I basically had a different approach this time, I was doing it with nine to five. Instead of doing ten to twelve hours a day, I did maybe five to eight hours a day with absolute tops of eight hours a day and then called it a day. My vocals don’t really suffer in the studio, it’s more mentally. You get a crazy headache from doing vocals and especially screaming vocals. I spent six weeks doing the vocals and I didn’t really run into any problems, it was more about having a routine every day and getting up in the morning and go singing and then call it a day in the afternoon; kind of like a normal day job, if you will (laughs).

You already said that “The Ride Majestic” has a certain concept running through. How does the concept reflect through the music on the album?

I think the music is pretty melancholic. It really suits the lyrics as well so if you compared it to “The Living Infinite”, this one is slightly darker and melancholic, especially with the melodies, I feel. I also feel that the extreme parts are more extreme and the softer parts are somewhat softer. It really creates a really nice dynamic. It really does have a dark atmosphere running through the whole album, which rhymes well where we’re at right now in our personal lives as well, with everything we’ve gone through with our families.

The title track “The Ride Majestic” has been released some time ago and in my opinion, it has an epic feel to it. Is this something the fans can expect from the new album in general?

I think so, that’s definitely a key word – epic. That’s really the impression I get when I listen through the whole album. It’s very diverse, but it definitely has an epic feel overall. There are a lot of twists and turns and unexpected things going on and I think that’s always what we wanted to do. We always wanted to challenge ourselves and the listener for each and every album, but I think people will hear a darker version of Soilwork this time around.

Do you plan on shooting any videos for the new album?

Yes. There’s going to be a first video that’s coming out which is hard to explain right now. It’s not a performance video, but we’re also going to record a performance video later on, possibly after the North American tour.

You collaborated with Nightwish-vocalist Floor Jansen on one of ReVamp’s songs and on your own live DVD. How has it been to work with her?

Really cool. She’s a fantastic human being, a fantastic singer for sure and she’s really funny, too. Going back to ReVamp, that was the first time we really talked. She reached out and asked if I wanted to do guest vocals for ReVamp and she seemed really cool. Then we met in person a couple of years later. She is really cool and I think she has a really good and powerful voice, she can do just about anything – she can do screaming vocals very well and has loads of power. Having her on stage on the DVD for that show was really cool and I think that was the perfect song for us to do together because there are so many different types of singing in “Let This River Flow” and it ended up really well.

Floor Jansen also stated that Soilwork is one of her favorite bands.

Which is really cool to hear! I wouldn’t expect that!

Recently, I read that Soilwork loves touring in Finland because of the great fanbase there. Are there any other countries you love touring in?

Yeah, there’s definitely a bunch. I think Finland picked up at a pretty early stage and I guess that kind of separates them a little bit. It’s the same thing with Japan. We toured there after our first album and before that we’ve only done a tour in Europe in a van and then coming to Japan was really special and we couldn’t believe they picked up that early. We’ve definitely had loyal fans there ever since then, which is really cool, but obviously, Germany is huge for us as well, and North America in general, and also Australia has been picking up and we’ve already done five tours in Australia alone. There are a lot of special countries out there for us and a lot of special fans.

Do you have a favorite song to perform live?

“Let This River Flow” is such a challenge because, like I’ve mentioned before, there’s so many different ways of singing in that song, so it’s pretty hard to pull off, but I’ve become a lot better at it and it’s a lot of fun. I’m really pushing myself on that one!

What was the funniest thing that happened to you on the last tour?

Oh, last tour … It’s been a while, I’m trying to remember what the last tour was (laughs). It must have been somewhere in Europe… sorry, it’s a little bit of a blur! But the last show we did was in Japan. We returned to Japan after four or five years, so that was spectacular to come back to Japan and to play at such a big festival for sure. I don’t know if there was anything out of the ordinary that happened, but that was just a great moment to return to Japan and to play with other great band at such a huge festival.

Touring can be very physically demanding and I assume that this is something that affects the voice pretty soon. What do you do to keep yourself and your voice healthy?

To me, it’s really more mentally challenging rather than physically. As long as I don’t get sick, I don’t really have any problems with my voice, I don’t really take care of it and I guess I’m lucky in that sense, it still works (laughs). It can take a beating, for sure. We did nine weeks in North America with two days off when “The Living Infinite” came out, so that’s pretty crazy that it can take that much of a beating in the end. I think it’s really mentally, to be able to feel motivated each and every day and to not miss home too much. There are a lot of things going on, it’s a very special way of living.

Do you do warm-ups before shows?

Just a little bit. I usually stretch my vocal cords by putting my tongue behind the lower teeth and that’s just about it. I may be loosening up my neck a little bit, but not more than that.

You’ll be on tour in North America and in Europe this year, are there any cities you’re particularly looking forward to playing in?

I think most of the cities we’ve played before. We’re doing a European headline tour and there’s a lot of dates in France this time around and I think we’ve only played Lyon, Paris and Marseille back in the day, but there’s a lot of other cities in there as well which I’m really excited to see and to meet our fans there as well.

Pre-order the new album “The Ride Majestic” here.

Catch Soilwork on tour in 2015:

Jul 25 NORD Open Air – Essen, Germany
Jul 30 Fezen Festival – Budapest, Hungary
Aug 01 Karlslundsfestivalen – Bollnas, Sweden
Aug 07 Jurassic Rock Fest – Mikkeli, Finland
Sep 30 Fonda Theater Los – Angeles, CA
Oct 01 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
Oct 02 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
Oct 03 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
Oct 04 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, Canada
Oct 06 Level Nightclub – Kelowna, Canada
Oct 07 Starlite Room – Edmonton, Canada
Oct 08 O’Brian’s Event Centre – Saskatoon, Canada
Oct 09 The Park Theatre – Winnipeg, MB
Oct 10 Skyway Theatre – Minneapolis, MN
Oct 11 Mojoes – Joliet, IL
Oct 12 Val Air Ballroom – West Des Moines, IA
Oct 13 Agora Theater – Cleveland, OH
Oct 14 The Opera House – Toronto, Canada
Oct 15 Corona Theater – Montreal, Canada
Oct 18 The Northland Performing Arts Center – Columbus, OH
Oct 19 Crofoot Ballroom – Pontiac, MI
Oct 20 Gramercy Theater – New York, NY
Oct 21 Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Oct 22 The International – Knoxville, TN
Oct 23 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Oct 24 Culture Room – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Oct 25 State Theater – Saint Petersburg, FL
Oct 27 Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Oct 28 Empire Control Room – Austin, TX
Oct 29 Gas Monkey – Dallas, TX
Oct 30 Sunshine Theater – lbuquerque, NM
Oct 31 Club Red Theaters – Mesa, AZ
Nov 01 Brick by Brick – San Diego, CA
Nov 27 KB – Malmö, Sweden
Nov 28 X – Herford – Herford, Germany
Nov 29 Kufa – Lyss, Switzerland
Nov 30 Port Franc – Sion, Switzerland
Dec 01 Colony – Brescia, Italy
Dec 02 Backstage – Munich, Germany
Dec 03 Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, Germany
Dec 04 Hellraiser – Leipzig, Germany
Dec 05 Winter Basinfire Fest – Pilsen, Czech Republic
Dec 06 Bi Nuu – Berlin, Germany
Dec 07 Logo – Hamburg, Germany
Dec 08 Luxor – Cologne, Germany
Dec 10 013 – Tilburg, Netherlands
Dec 11 Biebob – Vosselaar, Belgium
Dec 12 Les Trinitaires – Metz, France
Dec 13 4 ECLUSES – Dunkirk, France
Dec 14 Le Trabendo – Paris, France
Dec 15 Antipode Mjc – Rennes, France
Dec 16 Le Rocher de Palmer – Cenon, France
Dec 17 Chato’do – Blois, France
Dec 18 CENTRE CULTUREL JOHN LENNON – Limoges, France
Dec 19 Centre Culturel Oecuménique – Villeurbanne, France

www.soilwork.org | www.nuclearblast.de

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