U.K.'s Guitarist magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Peter Wichers of Swedish metallers SOILWORK. A couple of excerpts from the first part of the chat follow below.
Guitarist: This ["The Panic Broadcast"] is your first SOILWORK album with [fellow SOILWORK guitarist] Sylvain [Coudret]. What is the dynamic like between you?
Wichers: "This guy is so good. Leads are something that are really personal and I try to let him do his own thing. I didn't really have to say anything to the guy because he's really that good. It's so nice to have that kind of element where someone just gets it immediately. And I'm not saying we haven't been able to get that in the past, but there really is no limitations to what that guy can play.
"He smokes everything we've ever done before when it comes to leads, but it's still done with great phrasing. He can do the whole Yngwie Malmsteen thing for a minute and a half, but who the hell wants to listen to that for that long? Don't get me wrong, I like Yngwie but after 15 minutes at the show, you're like, 'Can we move on or do something else?'
"So I think for Sylvain, he mixes his styles well. I can't say enough good things about the guy — great guy and a great guitar player. I've been a fan of his playing ever since he was in SCARVE."
Guitarist: One of the signatures of your own playing in SOILWORK has been the blues element. It seems to be rare in metal these days and it again comes through in the groove of some of the riffs on this record but you'll also throw in blues licks too…
Wichers: "You mean the blatant PANTERA/Dimebag rip-off? [laughs] He's the guy that really made me want to do this. When it comes to songwriting, I listen to a lot of DEEP PURPLE and a lot of the older stuff such as THIN LIZZY and I think that rubbed off, because we wanted to create that blues element [in the band].
"A lot of death metal fans maybe don't appreciate it and I can't say it's completely original, but it's something that I think is kind of cool to blend into the kind of extreme metal style that we do because, as you said, it's not really that common."
Guitarist: What's the experience like for you performing three roles for the band — writer, player and producer? Is there a lot of pressure?
Wichers: "I try not to think about it too much. If I feel like I'm too pressured, the stress will get the better of me. First and foremost, the songs needed to be there first and they were there before we actually went into the studio. We left a couple of things until we were there – leads and stuff that we improvised.
"But as far as songwriting, we do a lot of the preproduction before we go into the studio so we can focus on performance. So when everyone came into the studio I knew the arrangements were there so I could focus on making everybody play to the top of their ability."
Guitarist: Is that how the writing process has worked in the past?
Wichers: "Yes and no. We didn't do a lot of preproduction on some of the other records. On 'Natural Born Chaos' we did a lot of pre-production and I think on that album it shows. We were experimenting a lot on what direction we wanted to go and we were sick of being compared with a lot of bands. We wanted to do something different and that kind of set the bar for SOILWORK's sound. At least I'd like to think it did.
"I think that we tried to do the same for this one. We really tried not to worry about what how everything would be perceived — in the past we thought, maybe this particular song will work live, for example. Since so many people download songs these days, in order to have people buy the whole record you need to have variety. The songs need to sound different.
"You can't listen to one song on this record and say this is how the new record sounds. Every song has a different style so I think that's what we really focussed on for this record and I can't say I've ever been so proud of any record I've done. That's how confident I am with this record."
Read the entire first part of the chat from Guitarist magazine.