Last week I had the chance to listen to the entire new album “The Last Stand” coming from Sabaton which is set for release on August 19, 2016. I sat down with Sabaton members Pär Sundström (bassist) and Chris Rörland (guitarist) at Sweden Rock Festival while they were promoting their upcoming release and performing a headline show on the main Festival stage this past Saturday night.
Sabaton – “The Last Stand”
Release date: August 19, 2016
Last Dying Breath
Blood of Bannockburn
Diary of an Unknown Soldier
The Last Battle
The Last Stand
The Last Battle
The songs on this album are about major battles that have epic stories of sheer human will against all odds. The following is the interview with Sabaton.
Diane Webb: Any plans for a North American tour? Specifically the United States and Canada.
Sabaton (Sundström): Very soon I hope, very soon. First of all, we are going to play heavy Montreal then we are going to play a couple of festival shows in the US in September and around that we are building our tour at the moment.
Diane Webb: Do you know which festivals you will be playing in the USA?
Sabaton (Sundström): Ozzfest and Louder Than Life.
Diane Webb: So do you think you will be back in North America sometime next year?
Sabaton (Sundström): We will be back this year in September and October and it will be a full tour. The tour will include the USA and Canada.
Diane Webb: That’s great news. The fans are going to love this. I remember the last time you were in Seattle, where I am from, was a few years ago along with Amon Amarth and you played a smaller venue, El Corazon that was a packed house.
Sabaton (Sundström): Oh yes, we’ve played El Corazon a few times and really like it.
Sabaton (Rörland): It’s very tiny, but I loved it.
Sabaton (Sundström): Yea, yea it’s good.
Diane Webb: So I just had the chance to listen to your new album “The Last Stand”. First of all, I think it was fantastic.
Sabaton: Thank you very much.
Diane Webb: Sometimes it’s hard when you have a band that’s had an epic album before and then the next one comes out and it’s, wow this is great. So it’s really, really good. But I do have to ask, where did you get your inspiration for “The Last Stand?
Sabaton (Sundström): Lots of different things. Musically it’s just from classic heavy metal. It’s what everybody loves to listen to.
Sabaton (Rörland): And movies and what not. We see movies and get inspiration like whoa, I want to do this. And really epic sagas.
Sabaton (Sundström): The lyrical themes, we had the idea of doing something different, but we changed to “The Last Stand” because it felt very good. It felt like a good follow up to Heros. It’s kind of similar and yet you can link Heroes through alot of these themes and it’s great stories. Some of these we knew from the beginning like, ok this is a perfect theme definitely it’s going to be there. But some were like, oh what did we find here. Alot of research behind some of the songs and some of them didn’t need any. Like the first song Sparta was just like alright this is easy, that’s THE last stand.
Sabaton (Rörland): Yea.
Diane Webb: Yea I do believe they made a movie about that. An epic movie.
<Lots of laughter>
Sabaton (Sundström): We didn’t really need to do much research on that one because it’s like it’s all there.
Diane Webb: So who did you work with on this album?
Sabaton (Rörland): Peter Tägtgren (PAIN, LINDEMANN, HYPOCRISY). He produced and mixed Heroes.
Sabaton (Sundström): He’s been somewhere in the background with Sabaton for many years and almost all the albums but now he’s the full-time producer for Sabaton.
Diane Webb: How do you feel about the final cut of your album? Do you go back and listen and say, aw man, on any of it?
Sabaton (Rörland): <Laughter> Its always going to be like that. You hear stuff, but now I am really satisfied with everything. But that’s quite unique.
Sabaton (Sundström): It’s very early to say. We need some distance from the album and more feedback from a lot of people because some of the songs for us, they are just rifts or melodies. They are not songs at the moment. They are your unique little thing on that song, your touch. That’s all you hear when you listen to it, but give it time and you will hear the song as a whole.
Diane Webb: Yes, for me as a listener or from a fans point of view, you hear this huge, cinematic sound that’s just, you don’t get a lot of that cinematic or big music that you manage to tie together. It’s almost as though you can sit there listening and imagine a video in your head of how you think it’s going to be because it plays out that way.
Sabaton (Sundström): A lot of people make their own videos for Sabaton.
Diane Webb: Oh yea, you have a BIG fanbase. ***Fans take note, they do watch your videos!!
Sabaton (Sundström): And I love it, because it shows you, you can sit for hours watching these videos and the kind of vibe you get when you see that is kind of like, well yes we are delivering a feeling and people want to do something with the music. It’s great.
Diane Webb: What do you want your fans to take away from this album, meaning is there something you want them while they listen and get from this album?
Sabaton (Rörland): That’s a hard question. I hope they will go away with, wow this is epic and then go away with a smile on their face.
Sabaton (Sundström): I mean obviously it’s not the main thing of any album but definitely the musical appearances of every band member on this one is by far the best but of course that’s not the whole. If you only listened to that then you’d be releasing albums with 45 minutes of guitar solos and that’s it. So it’s a combination of that and great songs and also the variety of the songs stick out in every direction. So fans will definitely recognize this is a Sabaton album but it’s going to stretch out and everybody is able to find different favorites.
Diane Webb: Yes, what I took away myself is that it’s full of every epic stand you can imagine and the determination of the human being to just keep moving forward when all the odds are against them. I think a lot of fans when they are listening to music are not only looking for great music but also some reasoning in the music.
Sabaton (Rörland): We played our asses off on this album.
Diane Webb: I definitely heard that. It sounds fantastic.
Sabaton (Rörland): I have a picture actually. It shows that I played until my fingers started bleeding. See.
<Rörland shows a photo on his phone of his bleeding fingers, for real, badly blistered up and bleeding fans!>
Diane Webb: And that is why I don’t play. I tried and cried over the finger pains.
Diane Webb: Is there anything you want your fans to know that you have never been asked or been given the opportunity to tell them?
Sabaton (Sundström): Obviously our lives are very open and the things that are not known we try to keep private. The few things.
Diane Webb: You like your privacy.
Sabaton (Sundström): This is why we write about these historical events. Some bands write about their own personal happiness or tragedies and stuff. We like to keep the private parts of our lives private and the rest is pretty much out there. These days it’s not 1984 anymore if you do something it’s out there an everyone will know. It’s not that easy to stay secret and do something without anybody taking notice. Which is good and bad. I mean if we do something that is fun we don’t even need to bother about doing something for it. It’s just going to spread anyway. Which is the good side of it. But it means we don’t have any dirty stories that nobody has ever heard of because they are mostly out there already. We are a quite calm band now. Back ten years Sabaton was partying hard and we took it down then when Chris joined the band in 2012 it was again a little bit of a party but just for a short period of time. Now we are pretty cool and everything is going smooth. We don’t really crave the crazy stories anymore.
Diane Webb: That’s awesome, that’s great. Normal is great.
Sabaton (Sundström): Crazy stories come from drinking. We don’t need to invent that anymore so we sing about amazing stories instead and we try to stay away from ourselves.
Diane Webb: Yea, it’t a nice change. That one thing I really like about Sabaton. With a lot of bands you do get that overage of other peoples lives and it’s kind of the same regurgitated stuff and with your stuff it’s very refreshing and has it’s own sound and it’s fantastic.
The last question I have. Since you have a lot of younger fans out there that you are inspiring. Any advice for the fans who want to follow a career in music or the music industry?
Sabaton (Rörland): Don’t do it, don’t do it.
Sabaton (Sundström): No, but really. Just remember why.
Sabaton (Rörland): Yes, remember why you want to do it and never give up. I mean we’re an example of, or you are an example of we can succeed. You can build it up from scratch.
Diane Webb: You guys have been working at this a while now. It’s not an overnight story.
Sabaton (Sundström): Seventeen years since I was standing right here at Sweden Rock Festival holding the first demo from Sabaton and telling people one day we are going to headline that stage <pointing at the main Festival stage>. It took seventeen years, but now we are here.
Sabaton (Rörland): People were like, you’re never going to succeed, you’re never going to make it, but here’s the proof.
Sabaton (Sundström): Do not give up. Remember also why you started. That’s the best advice. Remember why you do anything. Why you start it, why you want to do anything. It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship in your life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a job you take or a band or a friendship, remember why you started it, why you wanted it in the first place. Keep that feeling and never lose it. That’s the advice.
Diane Webb: That’s deep. Thank you very much for your time.