– Hello and thanks for your time. How has been the reaction for your new “Infected” so far?
So far, so good. We ended up #2 on the swedish charts and #7 in Germany. Not bad at all and I think most of our fans likes the progression of HammerFall. It’s not a big step but maybe a bit bigger than usual for us. It’s still Heavy Metal and all the characteristics of HammerFall is there but in a slightly new form.
– The first thing caught my attention off the record was the cover artwork, totally unexpected (and not only because we can’t find Hector on it). Was there any concrete reason for this?
We thought that the cover had to match the record and the progress we’ve made so I was pretty natural to do something else than the usual. I know a lot of fans are a bit dissapointed about that but also, a lot of other would have been if we kept doing the same thing over and over again.
– Anyway, I read you had some trouble with it. What happened actually?
Ah, that was nothing. We originally wanted a slipcase with the international symbol of biohazard material but somehow we were threatened with legal actions if we used it. We really didn’t have the time and patience to overlook the whole thing and in the end it wasn’t a big deal for us. So why bother with it, it was just a slipcase.
– After listening to the album I’d dare say this is your most varied CD so far; it has epicness, some pretty straight-forward tracks, some of them sound heavier… What are your feelings on this?
I think you’re right. There’s some of the heaviest stuff we’ve ever done and one part is actually the fastest in HammerFall history. So there is a lot of diversity, some catchy choruses mixed with some really dark moods. I think it’s important to have different vibes now and then, to make the album breathe . If it’s a fast album all the way through it’s very hard to keep it interesting enough to listen to the whole album.
– This album, instead by Charlie Bauerfeind, has been produced by James Michael. What prompted this change?
We knew from the beginning that this would be a change for us, we needed to do something else. And I think that this was actually intended to happen on “No Sacrifice, No Victory” but it was too easy to fall back in old habbits and work with Charlie again. I understand that, it was a lot of changes as it was with both me and Pontus in the band. And I must add that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Charlie at all, he’s a great producer, but we needed something else this time.
– And how has been working with James Michael like?
It was great! We actually recorded all drums, bass and rythm guitars in Sweden, most of it in our own rehearsal/studio. So it was really relaxed and soft. We had the time to try out new things and ideas instead of being stressed about expensive studio time. This was only possible due to the fact that we have Pontus in the band. He’s a wizard wiht both live and studio sounds. And when we started to send the files to James he called right away and said he loved it, and the way we worked. I was only in Nashville for 10 days or something, just to hang out and check out the progress, did some backing vocals as well. And he did wonder with Joacim’s vocal. It was really good for Joacim to record with a singer and someone who could understand the problems around that. And it was a singer he admired as well and that made him even better than before.
– We are used to hear covers done by you, and this time we can find POKOLGÉP’s “Send me a Sign”. Why did you choose this song and what changes have you done to it?
I’ve heard a lot about the band but havn’t really heard them until recently. Both Joacim and Oscar have listened to them for years and they have been talking about doing that song for a long time. And now was the time. Joacim made a pretty free interpretation of the original lyric and that was roughly all the changes. It’s a strong ballad with great harmonies so we figured that nothing else would have to change. And Joacim sang in in Hungarian as well.
– You have recently shooted a video for “One more Time” with Patrick Ullaeus. What else could you tell us about it?
We’ve been talking about doing something with Patric for years and when we talked about the plans for this video he was on fire about the idea. Starting off as a pretty normal video, then a bit behind the scenes and then into a zombieflick. I love it, I’m a zombie geek and love the genre. This is a video with a lot of humor in it, shouldn’t be taken too seriously. But it was a great day for me, music and zombies everywhere! And Patric is amazing to work with and did a hell of job for us!
– This video is a proof the album has varied lyrics as well, some even dealing with zombies and other darker lyrics too. Beside this, we can also find changes in the cover artwork, the well-balanced voice… Has the band been through an important evolution?
Yes I think so, this time the whole concept of HammerFall has taken a step up. We felt it was important to do everything all the way, the way we wanted it. Of course, not even I know the next step for HammerFall but that’s not important now. This is HammerFall right now.
– These are changes we can find compared to previous releases but, what could you say fans will find new in “Infected”?
It’s still HammerFall but it sounds more modern and fresh. And a bit Rock’n’roll as well, in spirit and attitude. We had to scale down to make it sound bigger and better. With just one guitar left and one right you can hear every nuance of the playing instead of drowning it with layer upon layer with guitars, keybords and massive choirs on top of each other. In the end it became too much and there were no room for air. No space left for ambience. And it became flat instead of massive.
– After all these years of musical career, what’s left for HAMMERFALL?
We have a lot to achieve, we take small steps with every album and hopefulle we’ll get even further this time. We havn’t settled down with this, we want to grow and conquer more territories and go on bigger tours every year. This is our life.
– I saw you will play some festivals but, do you have any touring plans?
Yes of course. We start with some festivals this summer, 16-17 or something and then we will go out on our own tour this fall. The routing isn’t finished yet so I can’t reveal any dates or details yet. But I can assure you that we have plans.
– One of these festivals is Getafe Open Air, in Madrid (Spain), is there any chance of seeing you in Spain out of this fest?
Yes, the plan is to do a couple of dates in Spain. But as I said, nothing is confirmed yet so more about that later.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans? What can we expect from HAMMERFALL from now on?
We have a lot of touring to do in the near future. And that is what I like about this job, travel all over the world, play music, meet new friends and have a good time. It’s not always that fun but being on stage and see the reactions of our fans make it totally worth it.
– That has been all, thank you once more. If you want to add some final words; last lines are yours.
I really hope to see you out on the road ‘cause that’s where we belong. Can’t wait!