HAMMERFALL guitarist Oscar Dronjak recently spoke with France's United Rock Nations. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the group's new album, "Dominion":
Oscar: "I'm feeling really good about it. Of course, I'm supposed to say that, but it does feel really good. We have spent a lot of time, and especially a lot of energy, to make it sound the way it does like we always do, but I think we succeeded with making it extra special this time."
On the album's writing process:
Oscar: "The most important thing for me as a songwriter was to avoid the stress and the pressure that comes with a deadline. For [2016's] 'Built To Last', I didn't have fun the last couple of months because it was so stressful. I didn't really get any feel for the songs until the mixing was halfway through. I didn't understand the way I recorded, because I didn't have any chance to sit down and listen to them and relax and let the songs mature. I started writing songs really early for 'Dominion'. I started writing songs about seven months after the release of 'Built To Last', which is ridiculous for me, but that helped. I needed to make sure that I would be ahead of schedule all the time. It took a little while before I got back into the groove, so to speak, but once I found it, I kept it going for the entire tour that we did. I started writing songs on the road, on vacation, anywhere I was. That was the best thing I've ever done as far as music goes... For me, songwriting is not just when you sit down with a guitar and record something. It has a lot to do with when you've done something, you let it go, maybe take a shower, eat some lunch or go for a walk with the dogs, and then the song keeps rolling and playing in your head. That's how I know if it's a good thing I've done... It was tremendous to have all this time to let the songs grow on you."
On collaborating with the group's vocalist, Joacim Cans:
Oscar: "It was exactly the same as usual, [aside] from the fact that we started earlier and had a little bit more contact — like, sending each other stuff a lot more. I'd send him a demo with what I've done, and then maybe he'd send me back something [if] he got inspiration from it. Then I gave him some feedback, and he'd send something else back. We went back and forth a little bit more than we usually do. This was also part of the fact that we had so much time to do it. There was time to work on the songs, and relationship that we have... I've known Joacim better than everybody. We go way back now, and we've experienced so much together that it feels fantastic to still be on the same page as far as where we want to take HAMMERFALL and what we want to do with it."
On the inspiration behind the album's title:
Oscar: "It actually comes from a pro wrestling event — New Japan Pro Wrestling. They have some event called 'Dominion'. It has nothing to do with that, obviously, but I saw that word and I thought, 'I don't really know what this word means. Let me look it up and see what it means.' I thought, 'Okay, this sounds like something can use for HAMMERFALL.' Then we had the idea for the album cover, and that tied really well into the title."
On the ballad "Second To One":
Oscar: "It's an interesting song because that's the first time that Joacim and I have worked together with somebody else on a song that wasn't in the band since, I believe, Jesper's involvement 10 years ago. James Michael, who produced [2011's] 'Infected' for us and produced the vocals for the last three albums, he's a singer of SIXX:A.M. normally, but he's also a songwriter and a producer. He's been on both sides, and we have gotten to know him really well. We admire him; we appreciate his work a lot. We thought, 'Why not try to write something together with him?' He lives in L.A. We went there for three days and thought, 'If it doesn't work, we still have three days in L.A. You can't complain about that, really.' We went there, and it took us a couple of hours only to start working on the song. We got into it right away, almost... This was a really fun experience."
"Dominion", HAMMERFALL's eleventh studio album, was released on August 16 via Napalm Records. The record was co-produced by Dronjak, guitarist Pontus Norgren and James Michael.