After Rockstad:Falun, a small Metal/Rock Festival in Falun, Sweden i had the opportunity to talk to Joakim Brodén from Sabaton. Our talk went on for over an hour and Joakim revealed some quite interesting facts about the so long anticipated Live-DVD, current Tours and the recent Album.

This is the first part of two and you should definately read the interview. It's definately worth it!

The next part will be released very soon!

MARCUS: Hi Joakim! Sit down, take a bear.. but please keep your pants on!

JOAKIM: Hi (laughs)

With coat of arms you have armed yourself for another lesson of history because you guys are most likely history teachers that are very fun listening to! And you have already stated that you have received lots of inspiration from your fans, the panzer battalion. Did you ever think that this would work out so well?

JOAKIM:  No.. I actually thought we would get more retard suggestions. I mean there have been some like “I have all your albums, but you should do a song about D-Day”. Obviously that was not the smartest request but we’ve got very few of those. Many of the suggestions we’ve got were stuff, we had never heard about before. We thought we knew most of the shit that happened but as it turned out we don’t know fucking shit. There were so  many things of which  I thought that they are so big things… so major events that I was thinking “hell… why didn’t I know this”? And to be honest, not only for the album turning out so well, I’ve got lots of stories about battles to read through when we are on tour.

MARCUS: When I was preparing myself for the interview I didn’t even have the album at my hands so I had to listen to  the songs via MySpace before I was able to get hold of a legal copy of your music. I think quite a lot of  people have downloaded your songs from MySpace. Didn’t you think it was risky to put the whole album online without any restrictions?

JOAKIM:  Yeah...Well… it’s going the internet anyway. And we’d rather have the people going to our MySpace than on pirate bay or anything similar. Even if they record it from there. People will get the music anyways so.. if you produce an album you’ll have to create something that people are willing to pay for. The album has to be so fucking great that people want to buy it.
It’s not a problem you can solve with bringing lawyers into it. It has to be solved in such a way that feel good paying for it.

MARCUS:What’s your favourite song on Coat of arms?

JOAKIM:  Oh that’s different every day. It’s really, really hard to make a decision, It’s almost like asking a father to choose the one of his children that he likes best. A father will love all of his children no matter if one is disabled or not as clever or beautiful than another. If I really had to choose it would be depending on my mood. If I was in a party mood I probably go into a song like “Coat of arms”. If I'm in a more suggestive or sadder mood, I would choose “The Final Solution”.

MARCUS:Final Solution happens to be one of my favourites as well. It really manages to transport a certain emotion. It’s a really tough song. I mean, for me as German the topic is a really difficult one and the song really makes you feel sad.

JOAKIM:  Oh! Final Solution is not really pointed at the Germans. We are not bashing the Germans, we are bashing the Nazis back then.

MARCUS: I didn’t take it like that. It’s just a difficult topic. I never was thinking “Oh Sabaton, they are always bashing us”. What I was aiming at that this song might result in strong emotions because the topic is so tragic.

JOAKIM:  Well,.. I think anyone who listens to this song and understands the lyrics and wants to care about the whole topic and doesn’t feel bad is probably either a very dumb person or a Nazi. It’s such a fucked up thing that happened. I mean those millions that lost their lives back then.. and when you are thinking about it, not only the song “The Final Solution” but the whole story of the Holocaust..It’s such a bad thing, if it doesn’t make you feel bad there is definitely something very wrong with you.

MARCUS: Was it very hard to write this song? I mean it’s such a sensible topic and  you really had to make sure that no one gets this song wrong.

JOAKIM:  Yeah, that’s true. This was actually the first song were we, Pär and me had been discussing if we could do this song. We really had to think “can we really sing this?”  Before that people where like “What the fuck?? Are you crazy? You are starting off The Art Of War with “Ghost Division, about Nazis”” But we didn’t care about that.
This time we really had to stop and think. We had to pull our hand back before deciding use the line “Enter the gates, Auschwitz awaits”. But on the other hand we tried different things and nothing got the attention of the listener in a more effective way. You know, we could have done some choir stuff.. But when someone plays this song in the background and you are not really listening to the lyrics, you won’t get what the song is about until this line “Enter the gates, Auschwitz awaits” comes on. This definitely catches your attention. You might go like “What the fuck did he just sing? Did he really sing Auschwitz ?”.  And then you might look into the lyrics and read  what the song is about.  On the other hand, what we really don’t want to get is YouTube footage of us, zooming in on us clapping and singing to the audience “Enter…” because this line taken out of its context that can be really, really misunderstood.

MARCUS: Most of your songs focus on WWI and WWII. Are you considering writing about more recent events or would you rather not use them for your songs?

JOAKIM:  Well, we have some recent topics in our songs, but most of the time it’s like an open wound and many people might be offended by it. And more important, not all the facts have been revealed because there are conflicts going on at the moment. Maybe in 5 years we’ll write over those events. It doesn’t say we have to do it that way but for me the WW2 and WW1 are so far away that it’s not an open wound anymore and there are still people alive who can tell the story. So our songs are more fact than fiction. If you go back to far, you will end up having more fiction than fact. Maybe we’ll make an album that’s not even about war.

MARCUS: Well you did!

JOAKIM:  Yes.. very well observed! Our first album back in 2002. We were discussing about doing a war-free album but at the moment we don’t know what the next album will be like. We might do some songs about the old Swedish war from the 1700 which would be a bit tough here in Sweden because this time is always connected with the right wing extremists here. But I think by now in Sweden people wouldn’t think of us or disregard us as Nazis.

MARCUS: I think it’s a good thing that your topics are not settled too far in the past because if you would sing about the  dark ages and pitch your vocals up a bit.. you would sound like an ordinary powermetal band or at least that’s what people would say. The Sabaton we know would disappear. But the way you sing and the topics you chose including your stage performance make the difference to many other bands.  I mean you guys are running around on stage and having so much fun while other bands are just standing there playing the guitar and not moving much more..

JOAKIM: I love going on stage and we put on extra effort on every show. But I cannot understand any band that goes on stage, playing their own music and standing still. Those people must be fucking stupid! I cannot understand how you can have a crowd of people in front of you that parties to your music and you stand there still.. I can understand that if you are a beginner and nervous.. but a professional that has 50 or 100  shows at least in the backbone and whose legs are not falling apart and not moving on stage, that are most of the time assholes who are just cashing in.

MARCUS: So.. with your fifth album out, will there finally be the chance of a live album or a DVD? Because I know lots of people, myself included have been waiting for it for a long time..

JOAKIM:  So are we… the reasons that it haven’t been released yet should be quite obvious considering our current record label change. There were lawyers involved you know.. What we have decided now is that, since we have a shitload of material and our fans are waiting for such a long time, we want to make sure that the DVD will be a motherfucker of DVD's. I think the plan is to release at least 3 or 4 discs and at the minimum 2 complete shows maybe including even  clips from our very first shows. It’s unbelievable.. we have so much unused footage that has been in our apartments and when some of us were moving we put our stuff in the rehearsal room. And when we were recording “the art of war” we went through the videos and we found all kinds of crazy and funny shit. So that’s the plan: Big Fucking DVD From Hell.

MARCUS: In the past you have been on the road quite a lot and  you're not quite done with touring.. Why are you guys touring your ass off? Don't you want to spend some time at home?

JOAKIM:  Yeah! Because that is what we like. Speaking for myself, touring is one of the things that clear my mind. When I’m on stage only “now” exists, no past and no future.  When I come off stage I feel exhausted but never angry. You know something always fucks up but at that moment I don’t care. It’s cleaning up the system for a while and I know it’s the same for everyone in the band. Unfortunately as it now we were switching record labels and our booking agent at the same time. At the same time we were doing this video-shoot that had to be moved for the second time and this festival here in Falun (Rockstad:Falun) in combination with Sabaton not having any management. It’s all done by Pär and me. So I must have been the worst boyfriend for the past 6 months or so.. When I wake up it only takes one hour until I leave the building and then I come home 18 hours later and then I fall directly to sleep.

MARCUS: So you have so much responsibilities you must be really great at time management..

JOAKIM:  No I suck at it, that’s why it all takes so much time..

MARCUS: But at least you manage to do all your stuff?

JOAKIM:  Yes, but only barely. But I know we got most of our shit done already and I know there are a couple of deadlines by the first of august. But after that,  if someone comes to me like and wants me to do stuff, I'll tell them to fuck off  (Joakim is laughing)

MARCUS: During the "Art of War" tour, you were touring with the Grailknights. Have you considered touring again with them?

JOAKIM:  Yes, definitely! To be honest we wanted to ask them if they would join us on the coming tour but we decided that it wouldn’t be smart to tour 2 times in a row with the same support band. That’s why we have chosen Alestorm to be our brothers in arms for the coming tour. But if those guys are still interested we’ll ask them for the tour after that. I Really like talking to those guys because they are one of the bands where everything fits. They are a funny bunch on stage and off stage as well. You know.. many people are alcoholics backstage or party animals or.. they are plain boring.  But the Grailknights have a lot of humor and they were absolutely not what I expected when I saw the first video of them. And when we met them, I think at the queens of metal, after 5 minutes of talking we knew that we’ll like them.

MARCUS: That might be because you guys are a funny bunch too and I think the key to your success is that you are so fucking close to your fans.

JOAKIM:  You know.. success is a good thing and you have to work really hard to achieve. You know, most of the bands I met on tour are busting there ass off and are really nice guys. You can always get some assholes, but usually that are the people that come in really, really quick. They have a hit and a big promotion in the back and go from nowhere like a garage band to an act that fills big concert halls in a very short time. In those cases it’s much more common to find assholes.

MARCUS: What I was thinking about was, that you always run around after the show signing cd's, shaking hands.. and you are always friendly and happy but never annoyed.

JOAKIM:  Well, I sometimes get annoyed but not in that sense.. you know when we are doing this festival I’m really jealous of Rickard and Oscar  because they only have to be here for our show and then they can watch other bands or do stuff they like. In that sense, I could be a little bit annoyed because I am very stressed and haven’t even time to greet people. During a normal show it’s my own decision. When I decide to leave the backstage area, if any musician leaves the backstage area, watching other bands and gets annoyed shaking hands that’s a bit strange isn’t it? If he wants to be left alone then he should stay in the fucking backstage area.
We like meeting our fans, it’s not a kind of PR-trick. It’s just what we enjoy. Unfortunately I can’t do that every night when we are on tour. Being on tour affects my health very much, so sometimes I might head straight to the backstage or the bus.

MARCUS: If you wanted to form a new band with your favorite musicians, which musicians would you choose? Guys from Sabaton are not allowed!

JOAKIM:  Well.. can they be dead?

MARCUS: Yeah, sure!

JOAKIM:  Hm.. okay then I'll be picking up my favorite band:
Ronny James Dio on vocals, I would be playing keyboards by the way. 2 guitars, Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommy.. Well to be honest.. I would have Rainbow with me at the keyboards and Tony Iommy as additional guitar.

MARCUS: What was the most embarrassing moment on stage?

JOAKIM:  Oh.. there have been many.. I don't remember.. there were many embarrassing ones but not any good ones.. The problem is that normal people would find it embarrassing losing their pants because they are so broken that you can see anything. That happened to me at one show. But I didn't find it embarrassing. That's the sick part. That's the embarrassing part, that I do the embarrassing thinks on stage and don't feel embarrassed.

MARCUS: What way your most humbling moment?

JOAKIM:  That's easy.. Meeting Sterling Cale, a world war veteran who survived Pearl Harbor. That was the first time in five years and the last time I took an autograph. It was in April or may 2008. Cool guy! Who really did something that mattered. He really does deserve to write autographs, not us traveling around and drinking beer..


The second part of this interview will be released shortly!

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