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Interview with HammerFall | Fredrik Larsson

Hammerfall interview1

 

 

BVR
so Fredrik, new studio instalment, new album for Hammerfall and the title “Hammer of Dawn”, so how do you feel about mending the armors again?

FREDRIK
Ah, it's so good, finally, it's out. I mean we've been working with this for quite some time now. We started recording almost a year ago so it's been a long time and it feels really good to finally let it out in the wild, and see the people's reaction and so far it's been really good as well.

 

 

 

BVR
The new album “Hammer of Dawn” is due to be released today if I remember right the official date is today 25th of February by Napalm Records. what we are going to hear from you guys this time?

FREDRIK
It feels like this is a very diverse record, with a lot of dynamics. There are some pretty fast songs, big courses, but also heavier and darker songs mixed with a ballad, and yeah, there's all the sights of Hammerfall.

 

 

 

BVR
listening to the album I noticed the vibe and the power that we love from Hammerfall, and with some guests also that we are going to speak afterwards. What do you believe is the most notable change on the new album in comparison to “Dominion”, the previous album?

FREDRIK
Uh, I think we were better of catching the spirit of Hammerfall. We captured the energy a lot better on this one not saying it's a bad record, “Dominion” but it feels like everybody has stepped up a bit, a step or two extra on this one and there's more of everything I guess. And the production is excellent on this one in my opinion. Fredrik Nordström of studio Fredman did a great job mixing it, it feels very much like old-school Hammerfall, in a fresh new package, I would say.

 

 

 

BVR
From 1997 you had a steady flow of producing albums every two-three years so this new album is no exception. What makes Hammerfall so steady in the commitment? Another band like that, that comes to mind is Saxon. What is your secret to producing a steady flow of albums?

FREDRIK
Um, it's kind of hard to say but it feels like we are still evolving even though it's still Hammerfall, in a piece of traditional heavy metal music but we try to be fresh. It seems like the songs that we are putting out are vital, they are still alive and we are not just releasing albums to go out and play songs from our three first albums if you know what I mean. We try to make everything matter. It feels like we still have a lot of songs and energy in us, to be equally important today as from 25 years ago.

 

 Hammerfall interview2

 

BVR
From the previous artwork, “Dominion” I noticed that the colors that had been used are more “cleaner” in a way and brighter, and if I can say more “less” canvas-like. What made you what you said “this is the artwork for the new album”, and what does it mean for you guys this new artwork for the album?

FREDRIK
The guy who did it is Samwise Didier, he works for Blizzard entertainment and does stuff for World of Warcraft and such, and, he's a long time friend. On the last album “Dominion” it was kind of a demonic Hector, our mascot, and he was in the fiery depths of hell kind of. This time it's the opposite. It's much lighter and brighter Hector on the cover, it's still him, but in a more angelic dress, I would say.

 

 

 

BVR
As you said about Hector, if we exclude 2011's “Infected”, from 1997’s “Glory to The Brave”, to this year's album, Paladin Hector is always on the front of your albums. What this paladin means for you and the fans, and what does Hector symbolize on “Hammer of Dawn” and you guys?

FREDRIK
I’m not sure it means that much, but I mean Hector is been around since the beginning uh he was inside the cover in the “Infected” album, and not on the outside as you said. It means a lot for the fans, and, it means a lot for us as well to have him with us, it's a fun thing to have Hector in different shapes and he's evolving as well as he's evolving with us through the years. Yeah I mean he's been around for 25 years as well.

 

 

 

BVR
Did you have any difficulties making the album, any particular song that was tricky making of it? any funny story making the album? If I remember right, the recordings were made during the pandemic.

FREDRIK
Yeah, most of the songs I guess were written before the pandemic actually because Oscar usually writes when he comes off stage, when we're on tour nowadays, uh or on our vacations and stuff, so he doesn't just take the time at home to write music. He can do it all the time. So, we got the songs pretty early this time and we can listen to them and make our own opinion what to do about it, and what to add, and whatnot. It felt like it was pretty smooth to go on and go in the studio and capture the energy on tape. We had a lot of fun and it was a relaxed time in the studio since we had a lot of time due to the pandemic. We had no shows that were interfering. And due to that fact, we could stay focused and take the time to take the weekend off or even more than the weekend and then come to the studio again with fresh ears and just try to capture the energy.

 

 

 

BVR
The first videos for the promotion of the album were, first the video for “Hammer of Dawn”, then followed the visualizer video for “Venerate me” and last the video for “Brotherhood” if I remember two days ago. What made to choose those specific songs for videos, and can we expect any more videos from Hammerfall?

FREDRIK
Well, the first video was kind of self-written because it's the title track of the album and we had this idea for a long time to do something at the amusement park in Gothenburg. Called Lisa Barry and when everything was just finally arranged so we could do that video during the nighttime when it was closed, it was also the Halloween special theme in the park so it fitted our song really well. The next song “Venerate me” was also a song that was a bit different than the usual Hammerfall song but still 100% heavy metal and Hammerfall. But it was a fun thing that when we recorded it, it felt like this is kind of a King Diamond song so, Oscar talked about it and he talked with Joacim, and when Joacim delivered the vocal lines, he said it feels like it would be really cool if King would make us the honor to sing a part of this and since we have Pontus (i.e. Norgren) in the band -who also is a great live front of house sound guy- he does the sound for King Diamond, so, he just asked and um it worked out. King delivered a small part singing something that made us very very happy it's not like “featuring King Diamond” it's just a small cameo you could say. And that was for our amusement. I mean this wasn't to advertise, we have King Diamond on this song because it was just a small thing for ourselves and that made us happy and I hope the fans will enjoy it too.

 

 

 

BVR
Okay one question that I like to ask is, do you believe that the pandemic, unintentionally, made a new way of creativity and collaborations for the artists with so many collaborations and Quarantine songs throughout those two years

FREDRIK
yes of course. I mean if you don't have any gigs and shows to put your energy in, a lot of people try to do something with the time, so that's a good thing. But for our sake we had pretty much all the period lined up anyway, of course, we were missing a lot of the festivals and a couple of shows of our own as well, but those have been postponed instead, but I mean, we had the time scheduled, already planned for the live record and video and um the plan was to start recording in 2021 early and release early 2022. So, here we are, that was the plan from the beginning.

 

 


BVR

the tours now that we have vaccinations and the first heavy metal tours are starting to be announced. Or maybe we have some more cancellations on the way, your tour with Helloween just cancelled.

FREDRIK
Yeah, that was a sad part but we have a whole European tour and the fact was that every country didn't open up equally at the same time so it's kind of hard that we can't do parts of it so now we have to split it up instead. So, it's gonna happen but it's gonna happen over like a year or so.

 

 

 

BVR
Ok, some more generic questions and some questions about you Fredrik. Which bands do you believe influenced Hammerfall which bands you grow with, in a way?

FREDRIK
Well, my first concert, my first big concert, I was too young so I had to bring my mom to it and I'm grateful for that but I saw Accept at Gothenburg uh when I was, I don't know, 10 years old or something and I thank her for that so much. that's been a huge influence (i.e. Accept) on my part and of course, Hammerfall, Oscar loves Accept, and I guess it's the usual suspect for me like judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Helloween of course a bit later on, but um yeah it's the big ones for me. Oscar and Joacim are much more into sought up and found the small bands so they know a lot of small bands that influenced them a lot but I made it for the big ones.

 

 

 

BVR
What other bands are you listening to, this time around?

FREDRIK
Oh, I listen to a lot of bands not typically in the heavy metal genre. I listen a lot to bands like Opeth, Mastodon um a bit of Mars Volta, a bit more, I don't know, a lot of different bands spins around at home right now.

 

 

 

BVR
Any memories from the first time you went on stage?

FREDRIK
First time on stage, well I've been playing since I was 13 so there's been a lot of smaller stages, but um see if I can remember one of the bigger ones… no I think I took small steps all along so, I mean with Hammerfall we played like in a rock contest at I don't know 95’ or something and that was a really small stage but at least it was a stage and some audience there. It was a crazy time, people were kind of left laughing at Hammerfall at that time because you know, it was a time of grunge and stuff and we came with uh all leather and stuff. Start to uh playing heavy metal which was like 10 or 15 years since that was popular so, um yeah that's what I remember from that time, but yeah we made it anyway.

 

 

 

BVR
Any memories from the worst or best show? Have you had any funny moments?

FREDRIK
(Laughs) yeah, that's been a lot of worst shows. Things happen with the sound or instruments. it's a struggle sometimes but I can't say we had that much of that, in the last times. We have been to some great shows, we played in Gothenburg in our hometown. It was like a city party, a Gothenburg party. We stood on a big stage on the top of the big avenue in Gothenburg playing. It was a free concert so there was a lot of people. The whole streets were crowded and that was a big thing for me, and all my friends were there and I was playing for a lot of people. It felt like it was important for me to be there and show everyone that we are a big band now.

 

 

 

BVR
Any memories that you had of, visiting Greece, any other funny moments there?

FREDRIK
Yeah, we had a lot of good shows in Greece as I remember, and can't say that I remember something special that happened, but it's always good to be in Greece. A lot of crazy fans there because they usually have the feelings a little bit more on the outside than we have here in Sweden for instance. We are a bit more laid back and watch the show, but you guys are crazy so that's always good to be there.

 

 

 

BVR
Fredrik something that you regret throughout your career? Is there anything?

FREDRIK
I’m sure there are things I regret but I usually don't think about it and now I guess some people would say why did you leave the band in 97’. I don't know, it was for a reason. I wanted to play death metal and thrash metal at that time so it was the right thing for me to give the place to someone else so, if I didn't do that in 97’, I guess I wouldn't have come back in 2007 and I’m not sure it would have been the same ride as it has been now.

 

 

 

BVR
Have you any plans to visit Greece for a show?

FREDRIK
I'm not sure about the routing right now actually, but I hope we get to Greece of course. And I'm sure there's gonna be some shows I haven't figured out the routine yet.

 

 

 

BVR
last message to your fans?

FREDRIK
I hope to see you real soon because we are eager to get out on the road to play live again. It's been two years that have been not wasted but it feels like we need to see each other. It would be so great to see you live again.

 

 

 

BVR
Fredrik thank you very much for your time it was an honor speaking with you we're gonna see you hopefully on tour keep the faith and a very good album indeed, thank you very much, Fredrik.

FREDRIK
Thank you very much for having me, have a nice day stay safe, bye-bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Mouskos, Tasos Zervoudakis

Black Velvet Radio

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