David E. Gehlke of DeadRhetoric.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Björn "Speed" Strid of Swedish metallers SOILWORK. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
DeadRhetoric.com: Before we get to the new album, let's talk about Peter's [Wichers, guitar] departure. There wasn't quite the same buzz as the first time he left, so was it a matter of both parties agreeing to part?
Strid: It was pretty interesting because we noticed in the studio, everything was fine recording "The Panic Broadcast"; he was really excited for that. But as soon as we started to do the tour for the album, we could sense that, "Oh, here we go again. He's starting to feel stressed." [It] was economically as well. He has to provide for his family and it impacted the band in a pretty negative way. We felt it coming; we weren't surprised whatsoever. At least now we know. It doesn't work out like that… that it's not going to work touring again, the same reason, right? Therefore, it was pretty weird it all came out, out in the open. His statement was saying that it was because of "creative differences," which wasn't true whatsoever. We really don't know why he decided to put that… maybe he felt bad. Maybe he didn't want to put he didn't like being away from his family, which was the reason the first time. He felt bad toward the fans to put that statement out, but it's a very valid reason, it's very understandable. That's why we got a little disappointed. He put it out without asking the band; it came out of nowhere. We knew it was coming, but it was weird how it came out.
DeadRhetoric.com: I remember talking to him in 2009 right after he rejoined and even then, you could sense that he wasn't totally onboard with the grind of touring.
Strid: Yeah. That's what we thought as well. We didn't really talk things through; it was like one day, "Let's try this thing out again." We were really stoked about that, but it didn't work out and maybe he shouldn't have come back. But like I said — now we know, and maybe he's in a better place. Now we have David Anderson, who's really passionate about everything.
DeadRhetoric.com: The double album was your idea, so what was the reaction amongst the band? Was it, "Björn, you're crazy?" Or, was everyone into it?
Strid: They didn't think I was crazy, but they were surprised. [laughs] I do come up with some weird ideas here and there. They did like this idea, but they were a bit skeptical and concerned with coming up with enough songs. Also, not having been in the scenario where there was compromise, like the first disc being awesome, then the second going downhill. It doesn't make sense to write a double-album just because, but when we began writing, we started getting a sense that we have something good going and it was going to be diverse, and each member was involved. If you're going to make a double album, it needs to be diverse. You can't make two "Figure Number Fives".
DeadRhetoric.com: Doing a double-album like this in stage of your career…I don't think SOILWORK would have been able to pull it off ten years ago. Do you think the SOILWORK of 2002 or 2003 would have been able to do this?
Strid: I agree, for sure.
DeadRhetoric.com: You're established enough to take a risk like this. It's almost a high-risk, high-reward scenario. Were you worried it might go over people's heads?
Strid: It was there, but we didn't allow it to take over. It's always been like that for us. There are a lot of loyal fans out there who are really, like, developing with the band. It was definitely there. I felt a little stress, but only a healthy level. It was a challenge; there's so much you want to prove to yourself and the listener. We needed something interesting like this and I think we pulled it off.
Read the entire interview from DeadRhetoric.com.