SOILWORK frontman Björn "Speed" Strid recently spoke with United Rock Nations. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the three-and-a-half year gap between the group's 2015 release, "The Ride Majestic", and forthcoming album, "Verkligheten":
Björn: "I think the main reason was that we did so much touring for 'The Ride Majestic'. We did two European tours, three North American tours, all the festivals, South America, Australia and Japan, and that sort of left us a little bit drained in the end. We needed some time off before we could approach the songwriting process for the next album. I think it was only natural."
On drummer Bastian Thusgaard, who came aboard after Dirk Verbeuren joined MEGADETH:
Björn: "A good thing was that he was already touring with us when Dirk jumped off, because Dirk was only supposed to fill in for Chris Adler for a month, and then he became the permanent drummer, so we basically just continued touring with Bastian. We [got to] know him very well, both musically and also on a personal level, so I think that's good that we got to know him that well before we approached the songwriting for the next album. He's been a big part of it, and he's definitely put his own mark on this album and done some really amazing things. I don't think people are going to be disappointed at all — I think they will be happily surprised. It sounds fantastic."
On why the group chose to title their new album in Swedish:
Björn: "This was a title that I came up with a couple of years ago that David [Andersson, guitars] sort of cracked the idea of. At the time, it didn't seem like... I don't know, it just seemed weird. When we wrote this album, it just sounded extremely Scandinavian, especially with all the melancholy melodies running through the album. It just seemed like the perfect title. It looks good, and it also connects lyrically. In Sweden, it means 'reality.' The lyrics, some of them are socially realistic, and some of them are very filled with skepticism, so I think there is that contrast in there — either face reality or you try to decide whether you can escape reality. That's always a constant battle, so it was a very fitting title."
On the album's musical direction:
Björn: "I think we wanted to stray away a little bit from the sort of groove-based, bouncier riffs. We wanted to be sort of straightforward. The riffing reminds me a little bit of classic heavy metal, but also the early days of SOILWORK mixed up with 'The Living Infinite' stuff — that sort of sound that we found through that album. I think we wanted to have a little bit more of a stump on this album, if that makes any sense — less groove-based, very Scandinavian and sort of cold in a way, but still very empowering."
On whether his work with THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA influenced the material he wrote for the album:
Björn: "Hard to say. For me and David, it's two very separate things. It's totally different expressions, but of course, you take your sense for melody with you wherever you go, so it's hard to ignore. But it's still very separate, and the switch is easy for us. Maybe [I can] understand that some people can make some references melody-wise, but at the same time, it is because people now have a reference. Before, when there was no NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA, we still had a lot of melodies, and SOILWORK sometimes was influenced by classic heavy metal or even pop music. It's nothing new; it's just that people now have a reference."
"Verkligheten" — SOILWORK's 11th album, and first with Thusgaard — will be released on January 11, 2019 via Nuclear Blast. The first-edition digipack, as well as the vinyl versions, will also contain the exclusive "Underworld" EP, containing four more songs. The digipack version will also feature special artwork with lavish foil print.
SOILWORK will embark on an extensive European co-headlining run with labelmates AMORPHIS in January. Support on the trek will come from NAILED TO OBSCURITY and JINJER.