Mark Morton of the Heavy Metal Examiner recently conducted an interview with guitarist Oscar Dronjak of Swedish melodic metallers HAMMERFALL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Heavy Metal Examiner: In the wake of the amazing shock hearing HAMMERFALL mentioned during Sunday night's Olympic curling coverage, I was wondering, are you following the Olympic events this year?
Oscar: Yeah, yeah, yeah! Of course! For us, it starts at 6 p.m. and runs all the way through 6 a.m. the following morning. It's on all night here in Europe, so I watch as much as I can. I'm not a fan of everything, but I do love the Winter Olympics!
Heavy Metal Examiner: How did your connection with curling and the video come about anyway?
Oscar: The girls had read an article about them that said that women's curling wasn't very rock and roll, or something like that. So they said, "Okay, we will show them that it IS rock and roll!" And somehow the question of whether or not we wanted to make a video with them ended up on our booker's desk. Of course, we're huge sports fans, and the idea of doing a video for an Olympic team was a really cool opportunity, because the Olympics are really big here in Sweden. The girls were really cool with everything — they even put on some of our clothes and rocked out to the song. They were not at all as stiff as you would think some Olympic athletes would be. It was a great experience.
Heavy Metal Examiner: I know HAMMERFALL is one of the few metal bands that tries to keep "fun" in its music, but did you consider any repercussions from the metal community in doing a video like that?
Oscar: Not really, but there was a bit of a backlash in the U.S. We only got good reviews from it here. Let's face it, we're sports fans. This was a video done for fun for a song that we had already previously released a video for four years prior. For us, it was just a matter of doing something fun with something that we liked, which is the basis for everything HAMMERFALL does. The positives far outweigh the negatives anyway, in the end.
Heavy Metal Examiner: How does it feel to have a song that is eight years old be given a bit of renewed interest, based specifically on what is currently occurring on the Olympics?
Oscar: It's GREAT! "Hearts On Fire" is HAMMERFALL's anthem — it's the song we end all the shows with. It's very cool, because prior to the curling video, it was already essentially our biggest hit. It's just the natural progression of the success of that song.
Heavy Metal Examiner: Are you still in touch with Anette Norberg and the girls, or was that simply a one-off pairing?
Oscar: No, we've kept in touch since then. We sent them emails during the last Olympics to cheer them on, and they said that they listen to the song every time they go out to curl. That made us really happy. I actually sent them some emails earlier wishing them good luck for the finals tonight, and they replied just a couple hours ago saying thanks. I think it's brilliant. I've loved sports ever since I was a kid, and this makes me feel like I'm a part of the Olympics, even though physically, I'm not. It's as close to an Olympic gold medal as I'll ever get.
Read the entire interview from the Heavy Metal Examiner.