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Dragons Are Forever


Архив интервью | Русская версия

Over the course of their six previous albums Bloodbound have established themselves quite a name as reliable providers of high quality and true-to-the-bone heavy metal, which is welcomed both at festivals and at headline shows all over Europe (sadly not in Russia yet!). However their latest release “War Of Dragons” sees the Swedes experimenting with a much broader range of influences in the songs which are undeniable catchy, but quite unexpected to hear from this bunch of Scandinavian metalheads. Given that we’ve followed the band for years but never managed to feature them in our interviews section, we jumped at the opportunity to talk to singer Patrik Selleby and learn about latest developments in the band firsthand.

It’s been two months since the release of your latest album, “War Of Dragons”. How was it received by the press and fans? Did it change the status of Bloodbound on the metal scene in any way?

It’s been very well received both by magazines and by the fans. I think that’s been our most successful album so far. It’s also on the album charts in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, so it’s been really good.

Musically-wise, this album is your most diverse so far. What were the sources of inspiration for writing it?

A good question! (laughs) I don’t know actually, inspiration comes from everything, from bands you like, from bands you grew up with, from experiences of life. We just write  the best songs that we can.

What are your personal favorites in the tracklist? Was there any song that was especially difficult to write or record?

Not difficult, I would say. There’s a lot of good songs on this album, it’s the most diverse yet most consistent output we’ve ever made. I have a lot of personal favorites on it, I like “War Of Dragons”, the title track, “Silver Wings”, “King Of Swords”… And “Fallen Heroes” is a very personal song for me, I wrote it for my father who had passed away. I also like “Dragons Are Forever”. I’ve never had so many favorite songs as on this album.

On the promo photos and in the booklet you have a new makeup on your face. What is it supposed to mean?

It started when we were talking about making our image even stronger. We’re not just the guys in jeans and T-shirts on stage, we need a stronger image. Since the first album we’ve always had this Nosferatu, and we just took that concept, but we made me a Nosferatu with horns and the makeup. And on “War Of Dragons” I have the dragon makeup on my face. In the video for “Battle In The Sky” I take off my skin, and you see my dragon face. It’s only for this album, this dragon make up, I’m more used to the horns and the Nosferatu image, but I think dragons also had horns, so it fits perfectly.

What happened to your former drummer Pelle Akerlind? Why did he and the band go separate ways after 10 years?

It all has to do with music and the vision of the band’s sound – we had musical differences. I know a lot of bands say that, but in this case it was really about that. We came to a point where we couldn’t work together. I really like him as a person, and we are still friends, we just don’t work on music together anymore, because we wanted a different sound.

What are your future plans regarding drummers – will you continue with session players, or will you search for a new full-time member?

Of course we will try to get a permanent drummer. But for now, we have festivals to do in the summer, and we’re gonna have stand-ins. Then we will see what happens. Our goal is to find a permanent drummer, of course.

On your latest tour you also had a session guitarist, Tobbe Englund, formerly of Sabaton. How did this cooperation emerge? Will he continue with Bloodbound?

No, it was just for that tour. Tobbe’s own band was the support band on this tour, and it turned out that Henrik (Olsson), our guitar player, wasn’t gonna go, because he had to work. Naturally we asked Tobbe, because he was already on the tour. And he wanted to do it, so it turned out great. We didn’t need to get someone else and have another place for him on the bus, because Tobbe was already there. He did a really good job, but it was only for that tour.

Speaking about Sabaton, in the past few years they have become really huge all over Europe. Why Sabaton, and not Bloodbound, what is your opinion? We think you deserve it better.

I think they have worked really hard since day one, they were playing everywhere, and they gradually got on bigger and bigger stages. With Bloodbound we cannot tour as much as we want because we have dayjobs, and three out of four members now have little children. We can’t work as hard as they have done because of stuff like that. That’s the main reason, I think. And they have earned what they have.

We have seen Bloodbound live twice – at Sweden Rock in 2013 and at Masters Of Rock in 2015. Which of these shows do you like better? Are there any other gigs in the history of Bloodbound that stand out the most for you personally?

I think Masters Of Rock is always really good to play. I think the Czech Republic is one of the best countries for us to play, because we have a lot of fans there. But Sweden Rock also was very good, I remember it was really hot (laughs), but Masters of Rock is still outstanding, the audience there is really crazy.

How do you keep your voice in shape when you’re on tour? Many singers say they have to follow certain restrictions, not to talk too much or not to drink too much. What about you?

Of course, I can’t drink very much, I only have a few beers after the show. I never drink too much, because I will get a hangover, and I won’t be able to sing. As to talking, I talk normally, not less or not more, and I try to do warm-ups for my voice, it’s always good to do when you have lots of shows in a few days after each other. Normally if I don’t get sick, my voice is getting stronger and stronger every day when I sing.

By the way, how did you discover your singing abilities? What were your main influences in the early days?

I actually saw myself as a guitar player in the beginning, I was playing guitar in the band I had, but we didn’t have a singer, and at a rehearsal I grabbed a microphone – I think we were playing Iron Maiden or something – and I started to sing. The other guys were like, “Oh, this doesn’t suck!” (everybody laughs) I was not great, but they heard that I had something, and they asked me, “Can you sing with the band”? I said, “Yes, I can sing till we find a singer”. I was getting better with the vocals, and after a while I started to get better with the vocals than with the guitar playing, so I was like, “OK, I’m a singer now!” (laughs) Actually it wasn’t until Bloodbound called me and asked me to join that I started to see myself as a singer. Then I dropped the guitar and just started to sing. It didn’t happen overnight, it took a while.

As to influences, I was growing up with Iron Maiden, Helloween, Judas Priest, bands like that. Then I was also really into Egduy when they came out in the beginning. I really like them still, as well as Avantasia. I’m really into power metal.

By the time you were invited to Bloodbound, you already made two albums with Dawn of Silence. What made you accept the proposal from Bloodbound and not continue with your own band?

I actually had both bands for a while. When I joined Bloodbound, I still had Dawn Of Silence. But then there wasn’t happening too much in Dawn Of Silence, we started to grow apart, I think. We had been friends for a long time, but we started to go into different directions both musically and personally. We were like, “OK, maybe we shouldn’t do it anymore”, and everyone agreed.

Can you say a few words about Shadowquest? How did this band come together? Will there be a second album someday?

It was actually Ronny Millianowicz (drums) who started everything. He was dropping out of his previous band Saint Deamon, and then he started to write music on his own. One day he asked me if I wanted to join, because he had heard I wasn’t too busy with Bloodbound, and it turned out that I live not too far from him, one hour’s drive by car, which fit perfectly. Then I didn’t hear so much from him, and I thought, “OK, nothing’s gonna happen with this”. But after a while he called me and said, “OK, now we have to record”. He said that he had Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius) on bass, Kaspar (Dahlqvist, ex-Dionysus) on the keyboards and also Ragnar (Widerberg, Witchraft, Witherscape) the guitarist. We started to record an album, it turned out great, and we did some live shows, and now we’re actually recording album number two. In the beginning we thought it was going to be a studio project, but as we came along very good as friends, it’s now a real band.

How did you end up recording with Angra on their album “Secret Garden” (2015)?

Oh yeah, I recorded backing vocals on some of the songs. It was because they recorded the album with Jens Borgen, and we live in the same town. They asked him if he knew someone who could do backing vocals, and he called me. I just went there and sang for a couple of hours.

Going back to Bloodbound – can you say a few words about your cooperation with the Bahco company?

Oh Bahco! It started with the Bahco boss, he’s a big Bloodbound fan, and he wanted to support the band really hard. We tried to find ways to do something, and on the latest tour we had a specially made guitar that looks like one of the Bahco tools, and Tomas (Olsson) was playing that on some songs. You can see it on some pictures taken during the tour.

We really love the cover artwork of the album “In The Name Of Metal” (2012), with this spike haired guy and a huge boombox. Whose idea was it, and what kind of message did the band put in it?

It was Tomas and Fredrik (Bergh, keyboards) who had the idea of the album cover. I think they just wanted something that would look very different and catch your eye when you’re standing in a record store and see all these albums. The spikes on the guy do make him have a lot in common with punk, but we just wanted the cover to look metal, because the album is like a celebration of the 80s bands we grew up with.

Metal bands who sing about dragons are supposed to be fond of fantasy literature and movies. Is that true in your case?

I personally really like fantasy, I read fantasy books and also watch movies. Tomas writes most of the lyrics, and he’s very inspired by “Game Of Thrones”, which he loves. I also love both the series and the book, they are really good. Not everyone of us likes this stuff, but some of us do.

What kind of music do you listen to at home, if any?

Nowadays I don’t listen to a lot of music, it’s the bands that I mentioned before as influences – Edguy, Avantasia, Helloween, sometimes Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. Sometimes I listen to new bands as well, to check them out.

Is Sweden a good country for heavy metal musicians? We know that it has great festivals, so it’s very good for those who listen to heavy metal, but what about those who play it?

I think we have a lot of good bands here in Sweden, but I think it’s easier for every band here to go and play abroad. The metal scene is quite big here, but we don’t have so many good places to play if you compare it to Germany, for instance. Also, I think, most of Swedish bands have a bigger audience in countries like Germany and other European countries.

Heavy metal as a genre has been around for quite a few decades. Do you think it has the potential to last another 20 or 30 years?

I really think that heavy metal will always be there. But I heard discussions like - all the big festivals have older bands like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and when they don’t exist anymore, will there be any new bands that will get as big as they are? I don’t know, but I hope there will. Look at Sabaton, they’ve grown to be a really big band, and it’s only one in a million that can do what they have done. Hopefully metal music will still be around for a long time.

But have you noticed any great metal bands among the younger generation? I mean younger than Bloodbound…

Eh, not really. I think there’s a lot of good musicians out there, young good musicians, but there are not so many bands that can write really good songs. They have the skills, but not the songs that hit me. I cannot name a band straight away now that has moved me.

To round up this interview, an obvious question: are there any chances of seeing Bloodbound live in Russia? Can you say a few final words to your Russian audience?

Hopefully we will come and play in Russia some time. We have never got an offer to do that so far, but hopefully some day. I hope you like the album, and see you soon!

Bloodbound on the Internet: http://www.bloodbound.se/

Special thanks to Irina Ivanova (AFM Records) for arranging this interview

Interview by Roman Patrashov, Natalia “Snakeheart” Patrashova
Promo photos courtesy of AFM Records, live photos by Natalia "Snakeheart" Patrashova
April 28, 2017
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