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Met ‘War Of Dragons’ heeft het Zweedse Bloodbound aan de ene kant de lijn die met ‘Stormborn’ richting meer bombast werd ingezet doorgetrokken. Aan de andere kant zijn de songstructuren op sommige nummers wel heel drastisch omgegooid waardoor er bijna een soort Sabaton 2.0 ontstond. Begon de roep van het grote geld te lonken? Vooralsnog heeft het nog geen effect gehad als het bij Sabaton deed, want met hun headline tour staan ze in het redelijk bescheiden Turock te Essen (Duitsland). Omdat dit vanuit Nijmegen nou niet echt een wereldreis is, besloot ik om de auto in te springen en ter plaatse de heren eens uitgebreid over hun nieuwe werkje en de status van de band te spreken. Aldus ontstond een gezellig gesprek onder acht ogen met zanger Patrik Johansson, toetsenist Fredrik Bergh en gitarist Tomas Olsson, die tijdens het interview rustig op zijn gitaar bleef tokkelen.

Door: Jori | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

So how is the experience of the tour so far? After all I believe this is your first headlining tour.
Patrik: Yes, it’s our first headline tour, and so far it’s been very good. You never know what to expect when you are headlining for the first time, but there have been a lot of people and they were real fans for sure since we’re the headliner. I think it’s more than we expected.

Fredrik: It was hard to calculate the merchandise, because we’ve always been the support act. So when we ordered merchandise we made some miscalculations because it was selling like crazy and we had to order more. Since we haven’t been on headlining tour before we weren’t prepared for those sales. Also the number of people appearing, above expectations

Yes, I heard you even sold out some of the shows?
Fredrik: Yes, Hamburg is sold out, the last gig at Markthalle, so that’s fantastic.

Patrik, I recall when I spoke to you in Tilburg during the Sabaton tour, you promised me you would return to the Netherlands very soon. So why no dates in the Netherlands?
Tomas: It’s all about the booking company, Rock The Nation. It’s about where they have contact, it’s all about politics. I think it’s just a coincidence we did not do a show in the Netherlands. It’s Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, some eastern countries, and France.

Patrik: I promised we would be back, but I never said when haha! You know, it’s also a very short tour, it’s only two weeks. If it was a tour of months, for sure it would be one of two shows in the Netherlands. We also wanted to play in England, but there was no time. We’re probably going to do another tour after this one. We are planning it right now so we don’t know when or where yet, but maybe we’ll come then. But not a promise, a maybe haha.

We already mentioned the huge Sabaton tour. Very large audiences compare to the ones on this tour. How was that?
Patrik: Year, that was a really great tour. We played in big venues for a lot of people. The crowd was very much into us as well, more than we could have imagined. Especially in England, where we just played one festival. But we sold so much merchandise there and the reactions were so great. Also touring with Sabaton, they are good guys and that makes everything easier

Any funny memories from that tour you dare share with us?
Fredrik: Farting on Sabatons tank? After the show in Tilburg, we got up with Sabaton on stage during their last song. Our stand-in guitar player, Jocke from Twilight Force, was going up on Sabatons tank with a Nosferatu mask. He put some powder on his ass, and turned his fart on fire.

Tomas: He can fart whenever he want, he trained his ass. That’s his special skill.

Patrik: For the rest it was just a very good tour. We sold a lot of CDs, that is usually new fans that want to hear more of you, so that’s a good sign. We played in France for the first time, that was really good.

About the new album ‘War Of Dragons’, I think the bombastic part and especially the title track really follows up on ‘Stormborn’. But then mainly the first two songs, they really have this Sabaton vibe. Can you agree on this? Why this choice?

Patrik: When we write music, we really imagine the live situation. Those bombastic, orchestral and symphonic songs always work very well live compared to, well shall we say a regular metal song? This Nightwish, Powerwolf, Sabaton style is really powerful live. We think about the live situation and we think about how songs will work live while we write them, so maybe that’s why.

Tomas: We stepped away a bit from this traditional Maiden, Priest, Accept influenced style and gone into more bombastic territory. In the basics it’s still the same music. We just added more keyboards, more choirs, more of everything. But take away all that and it’s still like the songs from ‘Unholy Cross’ in a way.

I think one of the most interesting new songs is ‘Silver Wings’. That flute really gives it a Celtic atmosphere and the chorus is immensely catchy. One of the highlights for sure. Any comments on this one?

Patrik: It’s Tomas who wrote it…

Tomas: Year it started out with this Celtic melody. We tried a few different sounds to it and we came up with that cool flute. It’s a powerful and happy feel-well song and works really well live.
Fredrik: When Tomas came with that one, we were all like okay here’s the big hit, here’s the flagship!

Tomas: The song is basically about a dragon that could not fly, looking for her wings. She finds her silver wings in the song. That’s basically the story of it.

band image

So you got Thobbe Englund (ex-Sabaton) playing on this tour. I imagine this contact was laid during the recent Sabaton tour?
Patrik: More or less. We knew him before that as well. He was a late addition on the tour because we didn’t know if he would be ready with his album and if he wanted to go on tour. So he came in quite late in the planning of the tour. Also Tomas’ brother, who is a guitar teacher, had to do concerts with his students, so we didn’t have a second guitar player. So that’s when we thought, let’s bring Thobbe’s band and Thobbe can play with us, and it worked out right.

We already crossed the topic of Bloodbounds music changing a bit over the years. The later albums have a more positive vibe, compared to older albums like ‘Book Of The Dead’ or ‘Nosferatu’. The positivity is also evident on stage, I saw you years ago with ‘Unholy Cross’ and I saw you recently supporting Sabaton. Lately there is a more positive band on stage. What makes the chemistry in the current line-up so good?
Fredrik: We all get along as people very well. We had some line-up changes in the past, but for the last six, seven years we’ve had the same line-up except for the new drummer situation. We like each other’s personalities and we go out on stage and try to do the best we can.

Tomas: And have fun, the most important thing. If you don’t have fun, why even play?

Patrik: Also now that we play, as you say, more positive songs we have fun on stage. And you can see us having fun on stage. With more positive songs we can look even happier, together with the audience haha.

Fredrik: But still playing a song like ‘Nosferatu’, that’s our ‘Smoke On The Water’ you know.

You’ve had all kinds of “un-power metal-ish” appearances in the past. You started out with white corpse paint like things and now you have, how shall I put this… a horny singer! Where did that idea come from?
Patrik: We talking about making our image stronger, to not just go out on stage with t-shirts and jeans. We tried some things out when we were doing a photo session. We already came up with the idea of the horns, I don’t remember how it turned up in the discussion. Tomas took two metal tips from a pen and glued it on me. Then we saw the picture and we were like yeah, maybe we can do this! I searched online for some suitable horns to use, not the pen tips. And when we toured with it, people really seemed to like it, they were like “ooh great horns” and stuff. It suits with our image, also with the dragons now, dragons have horns and everything. Also the Nosferatu things with horns is still there. It’s just suitable.

You already mentioned another tour still coming, and also some festival appearances have started to surface. Will this list of new activities be expanded any further?
Fredrik: Not at the moment. We’re just going to do those festival appearances and the tour in autumn. We have some options to go as an opening act to a big band and also to do our own tour. We’re still in discussion with Rock The Nation at the moment, so we will see! Also two of us will have kids. I will have it before summer and Tomas will have it after the summer, so family stuff. We’re not twenty anymore and we can’t just say let’s go out for five months and play. But we will do what we can do.

Patrik: It’s a big puzzle to get everyone to do this, that’s why we play with stand-in guys so often. But it’s better to go and play with some stand-ins than not to play at all.

Fredrik: I met Pär of Sabaton a couple of weeks ago and I told him about the situation of all our stand-in guys. He told me “fuck that, you kick ass everytime you go up on stage. It doesn’t matter who plays in the band, you’re great always so that shouldn’t stop you”. One thing we are pretty sorry about is that we had to say no to a US tour with Sabaton, the one that starts in a few weeks. They asked us if we wanted to do a month in the States, but that was impossible. But maybe we can go with Sabaton to the States next year. Maybe sometimes on Sabaton open air again as well.

Those were all my questions, anything you would like to add yourselves?
Fredrik: Thanks to the fans in the Netherlands for the support. We have great fans there and we’re sorry we can’t play there this time. But… We will see you soon!

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