PÄR SUNDSTRÖM Says 'Hard Work' And 'No Shortcuts' Are Reasons For SABATON's Success

November 12, 2019

Jimmy Kay of The Metal Voice recently conducted an interview with guitarist Tommy Johansson and bassist Pär Sundström of Swedish metallers SABATON. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the differences between SABATON's latest album, "The Great War", and 2016's "The Last Stand":

Pär: "I do think that SABATON has evolved over the past 15 years, when we started to write about historical content in our songs. Still the core of SABATON is there. We sound like SABATON, we write the songs in the same style of SABATON, which we always have, even though we make small progressions from album to album. But anybody who expects SABATON to have, 'Oh, there's a big change between this album and that album,' they are maybe looking at the wrong band. We are maybe more of a band that, fans, who are fans of SABATON, they know what to expect when there's a new album out."

On what they learned about World War I while creating and recording "The Great War":

Tommy: "I can give you a short answer: A lot. I learned a lot because when I went to school, you were taught a lot about World War II, [but] not so much about the First World War. It's like something about Franz Ferdinand; that's how the war started, but not so much. When I was reading about the lyrics and asking Joakim [Brodén, vocals] and Pär, 'What's this song about?' 'It's about this guy and this event.' It's like, 'Whoa, shit. I never knew about that!' For me, this has been a great learning experience as well."

Pär: "I would say maybe there are details that are frightening that I was not so aware of. For example, the details surrounding, I knew that the Battle Of Verdun was one of the longest conflicts in the world but I did not know the magnitude of it. Digging deeper into that was an eye opener."

On whether SABATON would ever write about conflicts relating to corporate greed or politicians:

Pär: "It depends on how you want to be with conspiracy theories, or what you actually want to see, but the politicians and bankers and landowners fight wars for economic reasons. It has been going on way longer than World War I. The people who actually fight for freedom, they are a couple, but never invade others for the sake of freedom."

On the secret to SABATON's success:

Pär: "I do not think that it's so much of a secret. First of all, I think anybody needs a good amount of music that is good songs. And, well, do we play good songs? A lot of people say that, but obviously, we do. I do not need to judge that. And it's hard work. And there are no shortcuts. SABATON is not the kind of band who would be played a lot on the radio and be featured a lot like that — not at all. So, we have to do it the hard way. We have to tour, tour, tour, tour. And yeah, you saw us with ACCEPT. There were a lot of tours. I think we are up to the ninth support tour in North America until where we are right now in a short period of time. We just didn't give up. We don't."

"The Great War" was released in July via Nuclear Blast Records. The band started recording the disc exactly 100 years after the end of the First World War (November 11, 1918) and took three months of intensive work to complete the album with longtime producer and collaborator Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios. The effort was mastered by Maor Appelbaum and the artwork was once again created by Peter Sallaí.

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