In the second part of our interview with Joakim, he talks about his biggest fetish, the secret of the origin of Sabaton's "One more beer"-chant and his opinion about orchestras. We like to finish the interview with this part and hope you like it!
MARCUS: Are there any side projects beside Sabaton?
JOAKIM: Yeah there are, but not right now because I don't have time for them. that's why I'm waiting for August the 1st. I founded a trash metal trio with two friends where I'm playing bass and singing.
MARCUS: It's hard for me to imagine you playing in a thrash metal combo.
JOAKIM: Oh it's not like destruction like trash metal, more like Metallica, Pantera.. speedy Bay Area stuff with some Iced Earth style riffs. And I had something more progressive going on with Rikkard. It was not Dream Theater like, it was a little bit more symphonic and not always walls of distorted guitars. This went on for a year or two and then Sabaton came in the way. Actually I have the hope I'll find the time for making an album just for fun. There are so many songs I wrote or I had ideas for that are too fucked up for Sabaton but really cool ideas anyways.
MARCUS: About two years you started the art of war tour with the "one more beer festival" which was your biggest headliner show back then.. you had somewhat between 600 and 800 visitors there.. and not long ago you had this special show in Poland where you had something like 10000 people attending to the show. That's quite an impressive increase in visitors numbers.
JOAKIM: Yes.. but to be honest the show was a free concert so anyone who wanted to come could come. It still counts, but it's a very different thing since we did not sell any tickets. And it was a very special event. It was on the 70th anniversary of the battle of wizna and people were bringing their families and children with them. And Poland is a very special case with Sabaton. They took us really into their hearts and support us very much. We always have a great time in Poland but I fucking hate the language (laughs). It really gives me a hard time because I always mix up languages and my mother hates me for that. And when I get on stage and do some certain mix-ups my mother will probably kill me (laughs).
MARCUS: Well, I hope she won't
JOAKIM: So do I, but if she tries.. I run faster than her (laughs again)
MARCUS: Speaking of your concerts.. you have a very solid fan base. Your fans are travelling to your shows from almost everywhere, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Austria, even Australia! That's quite amazing!
JOAKIM: Yes! When it comes to these things we have always been close to the fans that might be one of the reasons and we think trust is a natural thing we didn't do anything for that. And we come from this small town and never knew any real rock musicians. We didn't know how to behave. It's only about a year ago since we started meeting other bands and talking about how they behave and how their fans are. And this is actually when we realized how crazy our fans are because our booking agent said "You are not going to play in this area again with the same album!" Yeah it was a long time they were doing business like that you were not playing in the same area twice until you had a new album out. The dialog went like this: We said something like "Hey are you stupid? We haven't been there for a year! We'll play there!" "no you can't! you don't have a new album out, there won't be any people!"
"Are you stupid? Book a show there!" And that happened in Essen on a fucking Monday. And it was a really short notice! We were on the road thinking hey let's not finish the tour in the UK but where we started it. I mean how many times have we been at the Ruhr area during the "Art of war " tour? It's insane! And then there are 700 people showing up at a fucking Monday! That was when we realized that this is really crazy. Manowar keep saying that they have the best fans in the world but they don't. Fuck no, they don't.
MARCUS: Yeah! Actually there have been some polish people at this final show in Essen also.
JOAKIM: Yes I know, we also have a polish Panzer Battalion. These are the people we are really close with. The most prominent cases are all people from Poland, western German, the Netherlands from Belgium, at least the Flemish part of Belgium. Many of those guys started out as fans and are now close friends to the band. Whenever we come there we see so many friendly faces.. And of course guys like you, coming to Falun (Sweden). You are crazy! You always turn up like ninjas (laughs) we never know where you'll appear next!
MARCUS: That's the art of war!
JOAKIM: Yes definitely! (laughs)
MARCUS: What do you guys do when you are not on tour?
JOAKIM: Oh.. It hasn't been much than doing anything else than Sabaton stuff from checking emails, booking flights and stuff. Let's call that the management part of the band. When I'm not doing that, what I really like to do is just go home to a hopefully empty apartment and just sit down, me and a piano or keyboard, read books or my biggest fetish until now: watching documentaries. Bloody hell, I watch at least five at a week when I find the time. I don't care what topic. Anything from history to quantum physics to biology even religion, I mean I don't believe in god but I find the whole idea interesting, even intriguing.
MARCUS: You said you like to play the piano at home, so do you think there will ever be the chance of you playing the stomach synthesizer again on stage?
JOAKIM: Yes, why not? We were actually discussing that. Maybe I'm revealing to much but that doesn't matter anyway. There is this song I was working on and that I didn't finish for the actual album for several reasons. These songs I fall in love with before they are ready.. they will be done when they are done like cliffs of Gallipoli which also took me quit a long time to write. End of story. And this song is starting with a minute and a half only with piano and vocals. Usually I use solos to go off stage and get a rest. For this song I thought I could play and sing so that the rest of the band can go backstage and relax for a minute Because, it's really strange.. only being on stage is really exhausting. Even if you don't play an instrument or sing.. you have all the eyes resting on you and once you get behind the backdrop, the pressure leaves. I'm thinking maybe if I ever finish that song.. And well we were thinking about some keyboard-battles between me and Daniel (Myhr). Nothing that we would include into an album, but add to an on stage performance. Daniel doing a part of a solo, then me.. and so on.
Have you ever visited the Falun Gruva?
JOAKIM: Yes! Several times! I know this is a trick question because most of people don't go to the sightseeing sights in their hometown. But actually we have been forced down there as kids in school. And then I've been there once or twice. The last time I was down there it wasn't really interesting because they were renovating a lot of stuff. Have you been there today?
MARCUS: No, but we've been there last year.
MARCUS: Where does the "one more beer chant" come from? It seems to be popular in the Netherlands and in Germany but I never heard it during one of your Swedish shows.
JOAKIM: I think I heard it on one show . I'm afraid I forgot most of the German I learned at school but I try to catch up phrases when I'm on tour. So I asked someone during a show for a useful phrase and he said "noch ein Bier" and I was going like "aha, I know that one, can we do it again?". That's basically the origin of this chant. The craziest thing was when we were playing in Poland during the "masters of war tour in 2008". We were playing the first 2 songs without talking and then I threw a "jeszcze jedno" (one more) at the audience. Usually it takes some time for the audience to get this but the answer was amazing. It was a really loud "PIWO!" that almost blew us from stage. It was so amazing because we were playing an open air show and the sound from the audience usually disappears into nowhere. But it all started when I guy in Germany wanted to teach me some German. He could have said worse things.
MARCUS: That's right! I remember when some of the Dutch fans got you to say "neuken in de keuken" which means "fucking in the kitchen" during the Christmas Metal Symphony in Tilburg.
JOAKIM: Yeah (laughs)!
MARCUS: However, it was great performance! Might there be a slight chance of Sabaton performing with an orchestra in the future? Because I think most of the Sabaton songs would work out great with an orchestra.
JOAKIM: There is. We will.. but nothing is set yet. I'm very anal when comes to that. I don't want to point out special names but most bands working with an orchestra just throw it in for publicity and then it really ends up sounding like shit. When we do this, I want to record something with an orchestra and write special songs for that occasion. Some of our songs are written to be played with an orchestra like "Primo Victoria" but I don't want just to perform rock songs with extra strings. Today, having a symphonic orchestra is used as a sales statement."Okay, let's take the same songs add some extra musicians and sell the same crap again". We don't want to do that.
What maybe one thing that works for us is, that I am a classical trained organist and when I write songs, I usually have to take things "away" for the album because we wouldn't be able to do them live. There is not a single Sabaton song that we cannot play live. It was like a statement when we were playing "screaming eagles" and people kept saying "What? They can't do that!". We took the fastest, hardest, most technical challenging Sabaton song to prove them wrong. I mean the song was not only a statement but us deciding to have it in the setlist was our way to state that we don't put songs on an album that we cannot do live. I usually write songs with a lot more orchestration than we use in the album version because we wouldn't be able to do that live. But that of course can be used when we go on stage with an orchestra. You know the song 40:1. I already have a version with small strings from the pre production wandering in the background of the "always remember" part. And when this part escalates brass and everything comes into play. It is really written for orchestra arrangement. I was so fucking proud when I finished this bridge at 4 am in the morning. And when I played it to the band they were going like "Well.. that might be the coolest piece of bridge music you have ever written...but are you fucking insane?". Well we can have samples and stuff and then we can play it. We don't mind using samples but it has to be played. For me it's not cheating if Daniel plays a sampled orchestra as long as he is playing it.
MARCUS: Well I don't have any more questions at the moment except one:
Do you have any last words?
JOAKIM: I knew it! There is always a question I know before any interview "Any final words?" in 90% of the cases this question pops up and I never know what to say. So.. in German I might say "one more beer"
MARCUS: Well thank you very much for this really great interview!
JOAKIM: You're welcome and see you on our new tour!