The concept, the constant process – and the progress: Interview with Bloodbound
Bloodbound. The band founded in Swedish town Bollnäs in 2004, by lead guitarrist Tomas Olsson and keyboardist Fredrik Bergh. They have since then released eight studio albums, done some touring and had a few lineup changes. The current one has officially been together since 2017, concisting of the above mentioned, and Patrik J Selleby (vocals), Anders Broman (bass), Henrik Olsson on rhythm guitar and drummer Daniel Sjögren. They don’t do that many interviews nowadays, but Stargazed Magazine had the privilege to get a few minutes with them at this years Sabaton Open Air.
You have played here at Sabaton Open Air some times now, but never with this lineup.
– That’s right, we haven’t, only some of the other constellations. But now it’s more special, we have a better set than ever before, and we are a better band. We have fun together, it’s like getting to spend time with your brothers/friends when we are out playing, says Patrik.
– Not that we are out that much, laughs Fredrik, and continues: Last time we all met was when we did a show in Spain in the beginning of June, so it really feels kind of special when we get together. But it also really makes it extra important that everyone does their homework when it comes to rehearsals. Like this time, we are giving this great audience a special treat, a song we haven’t played live before – and not rehearsed together either, haha.
Combining regular jobs, other bands and projects, family with a band – how do you manage that puzzle? And also, living pretty far apart from each other…
– Yeah, it’s a bit of a struggle – and had we all been 25 and single, we probably would have been out a lot more, but no. We don’t do that many shows, we choose carefully and say no. That way we can keep the spark and have fun – and never feel like ”this is just another day at work”, it never gets to be a routine…it’s a luxury, yes, but it came from a lot of hard work through the years, says Fredrik and Patrik, finishing each others sentences.
Bloodbound have just changed booking agency and are now with Decibel Touring, so it is a bit early to say at this point when the next tour will be. There is talk, but nothing decided yet.
Or as Fredrik puts it: ”We are doing some festivals the remaining months this year – like Japan, Germany, Czech Republic – and then we will see…”
The latest album, ”Rise of the Dragon Empire”, was released in March this year, but there is already a lot of new material for the next one.
– I started writing basically the moment the album was released, and I have written some songs I haven’t even presented to the rest of the band yet. Fredrik and I have also written some material together. We are working on it all the time, it’s a constant process. We feel that we have found where we want to be, musically, and that is where we are. It feels like we have more material and ideas now than we did for the latest two ones – and have gotten so far so we are almost ready to start recording already, says Patrik.
Yes Patrik, when you first joined the band you didn’t take part in the writing process, but that has certainly changed now…
– Exactly, when I joined the band before we did ”Unholy Cross”, all the demos for the songs were already done, so there was nothing to do there, and it wasn’t really the kind of material I was comfortable with writing, but I still started working a bit on some songs in that style. But then came the demos for ”In the Name of Metal” in yet a different style, so I was constantly one step behind… But then – enter ”Stormborn”, and the music and style took a new direction that was right up my alley, so it was like ”yes, I can do this!”.
So, you can say ”Stormborn” truly is like a stepping stone of the Bloodbound sound of today…?
– Yes, that is when we started working with a clearer concept with more thought behind, with better songs, it’s a style we all like and that is also working really well for us. And actually, Daniel was one of the ones who really triggered us to find a more distinct style, a concept – before he was even a member of the band! But yes, the concept part is something we have really worked on these three albums, above all the two latest.
Which Bloodbound album has meant the most for you personally?
– That would be Unholy Cross for me, because it’s the first REAL album I was a part of – one with real guitar solos, a real production, and vocals you actually understand, haha.
– Yes, Unholy Cross was my first Bloodbound album, so it will always be special… but for my own part, when I listen to it today, I feel there are things on that I could have done better, but still – it is the first. Apart from that being the first, I have to also say ”Stormborn”, since that was the big stepping stone, that is where we laid the foundation to where we are today, continues Patrik.
– Absolutely ”Stormborn”, which might seem strange since I wasn’t a part of the band at that time, laughs Daniel before he adds: ”But that is when I actually started touring with them, and even if I didn’t play on the album, that is when I became involved, so it is a special one.”
Henrik and Fredrik also agree on ”Stormborn” being special, since it was the mark of a new beginning, but feel the two newest ones are better. But that there of course are earlier songs as well that are good, especially when you get to play them live.
Fredrik, you have been in the band from the start… has there been times along the way when it has felt like ”No, fuck this, I am done with this band”?
– Oh yes, there was a real down period with all kinds of turbulence right after our third album ”Tabula Rasa”, when it almost got to that point, and we were close to give up. But we managed to push through, we found Patrik and Anders and got new energy and stability. And since then it has been a pretty smooth ride, and we are truly having fun together, there are never any huge arguments or such, and it feels really good.
Patrik sums it all up:
– No, there are of course different opinions, but never anything that escalates. Most of all it’s just fun, like hanging out with your friends, or rather brothers… and getting to do what you really, really like.