In an interview with Xander from Total Rock Radio at this year's Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany, guitarist Oscar Dronjak of Swedish metal veterans HAMMERFALL delved deep into his songwriting process. With 11 studio albums under their belt, including HAMMERFALL's forthcoming effort, "Dominion", Dronjak explained how advancements in modern technology and the band's heavy touring workload have changed the way in which he composes.
"I haven't really gotten into [songwriting at home]," he said (see video below). "I can't believe I'm talking about it this way now. Before the previous album ['Built To Last'], I had never even had a single thought about writing songs before the album was out, but I already, in some ways, started. For me, it's a process. It's like a slow grinding wheel. It takes a while to get it going. Once it gets rolling, you keep it going. For me, songwriting is something that I really enjoy. But I have to be in the right mood to start. And I hadn't really had the time to relax yet, so far. I've written some stuff. I haven't had time to sit down and see if it's actually any good."
Dronjak also revealed that he uses his girlfriend as a sounding board for his early songwriting ideas. "I play it for her, but that's just a pre-taste — I want to play it for myself with an audience," he said. "But of course, she listens to it and has her opinions about stuff. She's not really a metalhead. She likes metal music, but she's not…I don't think she actually can tell — of course, anybody can say this is a good song or a bad song based on what they feel when they listen to it, but I think she might be a little bit afraid to give critique. Sometimes I play it just because I want to have reassurance. Sometimes I play it because I want to see what she thinks. She doesn't know because I never tell her. I should probably do that. During various stages of the songwriting for every album, I have these little listening sessions for myself and now with her, of course. My son, he doesn't care, but he's there any way at the same time. Just play all the songs we have and drink a couple of beers. I treat it like it's a party for this, just to see where we're at, to get a feel for it. Those are the best times. I like those very much. I had a couple of those for this album. For 'Built To Last', the previous album, I had none because we had no time. It was so stressful. I didn't want to do that again for this album, for 'Dominion'. We started writing songs really early just to be ahead of the schedule instead of behind all the time."
"Dominion" will be released August 16 via Napalm Records. For the album, HAMMERFALL re-teamed with James Michael to do vocals at Red Level Three studios, and Fredrik Nordström of Studio Fredman at Castle Black Studios for the instruments on the 12-song collection.