15 years of Queens of Steel: Olof Wikstrand

-First of all I would like to know how and what are you as a band doing, during these weird times.

Relaxing. And working a little. Working with writing music. Working with other projects. It’s been great for me. Yeah, I had the best time. We haven’t had a lockdown here in Sweden, so it’s been like a long vacation for me. It’s been perfect.

-Sounds great if you put it like that. I’m gonna start with the first of these series of questions. The webzine is turning 15 years now, this year. A lot of albums have been released during these last 15 years. What are your favourite albums released during this time? Or the ones you specially remember… Those you have worn.

Good question. I don’t know. I don’t think I listen to much new music. I believe But if I have to think of something in the Rock/Metal genres… Since what year?

-2005.

2005… I like… In 2006 the “Reinkaos” album by DISSECTION came out. And what else… From new Heavy Metal bands I like from VULTURE the “Ghastly…” album. And I like the second IN SOLITUDE album. And I like HELVETETS PORT. Everything that they’ve done.

-So just the second one by IN SOLITUDE?

That’s my favourite.

-It’s mine too. But everything they did was great.

Yeah. But specially that one I think. I believe on the first one they hadn’t found themselves yet. It was more, very, very standard. But remarkable, they had something going on. The second one is where I think they found themselves and in my opinion the third one is a little bit too far away from what I like. They were a great band. And they’ll always be great friends of ours.

-We mentioned IN SOLITUDE, and VULTURE… What are your favourite bands formed during these last 15 years?

Formed after 2005?

-Yes, around then, it doesn’t have to be exact. New-ish bands.

I know what you mean… I don’t know. I honestly can’t really think about it because I don’t listen to new music at all.

-No?!

No.

Photo by Wayne Archibald

-I do, a lot, but I always find myself listening to new music that sounds as it had been done decades ago.

I think there’s too much recycling. Trying to invent or make something new and it feels strange to me. It’s not honest anymore. Except for a few bands, like IN SOLITUDE, HELVETETS PORT, VULTURE… And some others. There are a lot of bands formed by friends, but I’m not sure it’d be honest to mention them.

-Yes, I understand. And I agree with you, because everytime I’m at home trying to make in effort in listening to new records I always end up listening to the classics.

Yeah, the same with me. It’s like… I don’t like any new Thrash Metal band.

-I like ANTICHRIST a lot.

Yeah, that’s true.

-And what’s the split up, or death or whatever that you regrest the most, or that meant something for you?

I don’t care that much actually, because of the old bands, the 99% of them are like a joke of themselves. There are bands that should have retired a long time ago. But I was a little bummed out for example when DIO died.

-Yes, yes.

He still delivered quality material and his voice was great.

-Yeah, DIO and also for me Lemmy. Not because of MOTÖRHEAD but because of Lemmy, the persona. It was like he had always been there.

Yeah, true, but honestly between you and me, I never cared much about MOTÖRHEAD. And I saw them like 16 times and it just got lower and lower.

-Yeah, I know.

Obviously it’s a shame for the peson that he was.

-Yes, exactly! That’s the thing.

Yeah, but for the band it was like on time.

-True. Anyway I don’t think split-ups exist anymore. The band that hasn’t done it yet will reunit at some KIT edition someday.

Yeah, maybe.

-And well, now that I mentioned a festival, What is the show or festival you recall with special affection?

I think if we talk about the past 15 years, the most remarkable thing was that I managed to see DISSECTION 3 time in between 2004 and 2006. That was probably the strongest, honest show I’ve seen. They were like a young band and they had a lot of energy. And also WATAIN when they were doing this live DVD in Stockholm. That was also pretty cool for me. It was a remarkable show. You don’t have to like the music to appreciate a good show. And most of the old bands that I’ve seen have been lame.

Photo by Cintia Mars

-(laughs) Yeah, in fact one of the shows that I remember the most was KISS in 2010 because they’re my favourite band. The show was just sad. It was lame. But I was super happy about seeing KISS for the first time in my life. And as you mentioned WATAIN, a remarkable show for me was also WATAIN, in Uppsala but recently, like 8 years ago. They were playing with IN SOLITUDE and DEGIAL. They weren’t (WATAIN) new and fresh anymore but it was great, the vibe and everything.

Yeah.

-Which would be your most memorable moment(s), a milestone, some achievement? Personal or musical.

From these 15 years?

-Yes.

That’s hard, but I think right now it’s a pretty cool moment having achieved something that I never thought as a musician, which is being able to tour all around the world, releasing 5 albums. And as a fan… I don’t know. I’m not much as a fan.

-Well, that’s enough. Everything evolves (involutes sometimes) with time, so does the Metal «scene». What do you believe has been the biggest change the Metal scene has experienced or is experiencing during this time? For the better or for the worse.

Well, first of all it would be the digitalization. People don’t buy albums anymore. But people into Metal think they’re special, thay they’re so cool, and true and so special buying vinyls and think they’re different to people into Pop music but they’re not. People don’t buy albums anymore and that’s a big change because it moves the focus for the bands. The bands have to market themselves sort of in the Internet. It’s awkward. And that’s the big change. It lowens the quality of the music and music itself is seen more and more like a product. Now music its like second hand, and it’s backed up by likes on social media and stuff like that. People share music on social media because they think if they share something… It’s like a social status for them. And people just throw likes when they see something in their feed without thinking. People don’t think.

-But that’s in general. With everything.

I know, but in Metal is too common.

-Yes. Also I think all this has lead to see, or appreciate music as a product to devour fast, because there are a lot of things to check and there isn’t the experience of actually seeing the album or music as an actual… experience in fact, as a work of art, you know?
Yes. There are a lot of hits today, with a lot of likes on the Internet but hits last 24 hours and that’s all. It’s like with social media, comments happen during the first week, and then they’re gone. People don’t pay attention to the music anymore.

-That’s true.

When I was a kid it could take years since I listened to an album until the next one.

-Yes. I still buy albums, some new albums. And maybe I get a new record I’ve listened to, I like it, and maybe I listen to it for a month, 2 months, but it’s years later when I really see which albums have somehow stuck with me. Which ones were meaningful.

Yes, because first of all it wasn’t too god, and secondly, you don’t really listen to the music because there are a lot of other things to listen to.

-Exactly. Looking to the future, what would be the best possible scenario for you if you think about the next 15 years?

I think they have to figure out a way to actually pay musicians for what they do. Otherwise there won’t be more artists in 10-20 years, because you can do this for fun but you can’t make a living doing it for fun, you need to have a job that you can combine. I’ve made it work but I’ve had luck, and not everyone has this luck. This is a problem in the music business.

-In fact I believe nowadays a lot of people see music as a hobbie, not a career. Not a lot of people can make a living out of it so it’s not taken too seriously.

Yeah, but you can, but it’s not easy.

Tania Giménez

tania@queensofsteel.com

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