Joakim Brodén from SABATON is one of the most fun and energetic people I’ve interviewed in a long time. This man lives, breathes and eats the band, and he loves what he does for a living. I caught up with Joakim a short while ago to discuss the new album Heroes, due out May 27 via Nuclear Blast Records, and their tour plans, starting with the run they are currently on with ICED EARTH and REVAMP. Check out what he had to say:
Amps: First of all, the line-up for your annual festival looks INSANE!! How does that work, SABATON calls and bands come running?
Joakim: (Laughs) actually this whole thing started out when we wanted to have an album release party in 2006. Nobody wanted to arrange it so we did it ourselves. And now it’s turned into SABATON Open Air. It’s now an annual thing where we invite bands we like and we also book old friends we toured with over the years.
Amps: How have the last two years been for SABATON and you personally?
Joakim: To be honest I’m happier than ever, actually because I know for a fact that we have the best band we’ve had in ten years. I don’t want to say anything bad about our old members, but after a certain age the road isn’t for everyone, especially if you have a family. This band now, we are all crazy fucking touring maniacs!
Amps: The new album, Heroes. Tell me about it.
Joakim: I don’t even know where to start (laughs) or even if I should start! Because I’ll keep talking for 45 minutes and that’s just about the first song! It’s our first album with the new line-up and I can honestly say it has the best guitar work we’ve ever had on any album by far. It’s definitely a step up in most senses. Whether the songs are good or not is up to the listener, not us to tell people. But I have a great feeling about this one and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. One thing I can say I’m proud of is that this is the strongest album we’ve put out yet.
Amps: One of my journalist friends, Oh my Gods, he has been going on about it for a week straight!! Seriously, really great stuff on this one, especially “To Hell and Back”. Any favorite tracks personally?
Joakim: That’s one of my favorites, too. I said to the guys, “I have an idea: I’m gonna mix spaghetti western style with heavy metal.” And they all looked at me like I was a fucking idiot (laughing)!! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! And I knew it would work.
Joakim: No I’ve written every SABATON song ever. I’ve written with other people but this was the first time I wrote music with a band member. Thobbe (Englund), one of our new guitar players and I wrote a new song together. And then I did the music as usual, me and Pär (Sundström, bass) wrote the lyrics, and of course the guitarists write their own solos. I think one of the reasons we stay so intact is that Pär and me who are the main composers are still in the band.
Amps: How long do you intend to tour behind Heroes?
Joakim: I think this tour will probably be close to the two, two and a half year mark, actually. We’re off to the U.S. and then home for four days then we do our release party in Sweden, home for three days, and then we go off and do a couple of festivals. I think we’re gonna be at it for about two years. After all we are musicians. And what do musicians do? They play music for the people. Sweden’s a small place, so we’ve gotta move, you know?
Amps: What do you listen to in your time off?
Joakim: Actually I love heavy metal and I listen to it all the time, especially when I’m on the road or actively in the studio. But when I’m off I have anything from DIRE STRAITS to ABBA on.
Amps: I love ABBA!! Can’t go wrong there, my friend! Do you have any hobbies outside of music we should know about?
Joakim: (Laughing) I’m one of the lucky few people where my hobby IS my work! My favorite hobby is to go home for one day after tour, and then hopefully I get bored and start writing music again. If I have nothing to do at all, what I do to relax is write music. And I love to read history books. I’m kind of boring, I don’t have any secret S&M fetishes for you to write about (BOTH of us erupt laughing!)! By putting on my stage clothes I get all of those feelings out, right?
Amps: If you weren’t writing and singing in SABATON what would you be doing?
Joakim: I’d be a history teacher. If I could choose freely I’d have Indiana Jones’ job.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the longtime SABATON fans worldwide?
Joakim: Thanks for letting us do this for a long time. We’ve been at this for 15 years, and I say let’s keep this going another 15 years. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. A lot of bands go fifteen years and barely get a record out, so we’ve been really lucky. So thank you, honestly.
Told you guys he was cool, didn’t I? If you already know how awesome SABATON is this should only reaffirm that belief. And if you’re not already in the know, start buying albums, buddy, and make sure you get to a show. ‘Cause you do NOT know what you’re missing! Let me give a big THANK YOU to Brian Matus Photography for these killer photos, too! Up next is our interview with SABATON’S tour mate Floor Jansen of REVAMP, so stay tuned!