Iain Purdie of The Moshville Times conducted an interview with bassist Pär Sundström of Swedish metallers SABATON prior to the band's February 8 concert at Wembley Arena in London, England, United Kingdom. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the origins of SABATON:
Pär: "We started like most bands do. We were a couple of guys hanging out and wanted to be in a band. You just talk about it while you are partying and drinking, then, eventually, you decide, 'Let's go to a rehearsal room and bring our instruments and see what gets out of it.' So, this is the way it started for SABATON as well. Sure, in the beginning, there are all [instances where] one guy comes in, another enters the band — before we were called SABATON, we were called AEON. There was no music recorded at this time or anything. We just rehearsed a couple of times. We switched around quite a lot with band members until we found something stable. Of course, there are always details that I can tell you for two hours about it, but I think that things got interesting around the year '99, 2000 when we called ourselves SABATON. We played at local venues at local clubs and whatever we could find. We got a following and we just kept going."
On how he got into heavy metal music:
Pär: "When I was small, my sister fed me with any kind of music she was listening to and actually not listening to. Because she gave me the CDs that were last month's top songs, and so I inherited whatever music she didn't want, basically. And, at one point, our neighbor, which was her best friend, came in and said, 'You have to stop teaching your little brother to listen to crap music. He needs to have a proper thing.' So, Matthias was his name, he showed me his IRON MAIDEN posters. He had a Marshall amplifier; he played some guitar and played along to some IRON MAIDEN and it was, like, 'Wow. This! What a sound.' He had all the posters, then I was hooked. I liked bands like METALLICA and GUNS N' ROSES before, because everybody did it, because it was in the charts and it was popular, so my sister didn't like it and she gave me those. I inherited some of that as well along with whatever else."
On why SABATON decided to use historical themes for their studio albums:
Pär: "For the fans. The fans' reactions and our feelings, 'Okay, this felt great writing it.' The first albums, which had topics about whatever. It was just a necessary evil to write the lyrics. Once we did 'Primo Victoria', we felt, 'Okay. The lyrics have meaning.' The fans said, 'Wow, this is so cool.' We said, 'They want it and we are happy to write it instead of writing something that is of a necessary evil.' We were done with it after that, and we were, like, 'Okay. Cool. Let's stick with it for a while.' We did 'Attero Dominatus'. Fans were deeply connected to it; then we were kind of stuck into it. Now it's difficult to walk another way, but I don't want to."
On his favorite thing about SABATON:
Pär: "For me, it's the package. I like the traveling. I like playing on stage. I like the rehearsals. I like working on the songs. I like doing Sabaton History channel. I like talking about it. I like the business part of it. I like the planning, the execution of ideas, so, for me, it's the package. I can't really take out this and that, but maybe being on stage, that is the top one, but I like so much the other stuff as well, which makes me quite unique because most artists they complain about all the traveling, the waiting, the blah, blah, but I enjoy every part of it. The bus, I love it. Flights, I love it. I'm fine. [Laughs]"
On their recent collaboration with Finnish cello rockers APOCALYPTICA:
Pär: "I was sitting in my office and thinking about which bands we're going to bring on this tour. This was about two years ago or something like this, a little bit more. Me and my assistant are sitting, and I'm challenging like this or that, and we're looking into numbers of sales of different artists and we are listening to a lot, we are having this session. And then, she's, like, 'What about APOCALYPTICA?' She was playing them and she had been to a show of APOCALYPTICA in Athens, and I'm, like, 'This is interesting.' We were listening, and I saw in my head how we could do something deeper than just have them as a special guest or something. I got some ideas and I checked the schedule of them. I saw they had a show in Madrid, I get on the flight immediately. I fly down to Madrid, I meet with the guys and I say, 'Hey, I have an idea.' They were like, 'Whoa!' Because the last time they supported something, they supported RAMMSTEIN in 2004, so they don't really go on support tours, if I understand it. They were, like, 'Hmmm. That's so weird for us, but maybe.' Then, we were talking, and they liked the idea. I didn't just present the idea they go on tour with us. I presented so many different things I wanted. I wanted them to make the song to be released before us. I wanted to write songs together, to perform together and I wanted to invite them to Sabaton Open Air. They were, like, 'Wow, this is a whole thing behind it.' And, in the end, now we're here. Now we're almost done with it. It's horrible, because I love it a lot. It turned out really good, everything with them. We are all happy. It's a good, successful thing."
SABATON's latest studio album, "The Great War" was released in July 2019 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.