Soilwork‘s latest release is the rarities collection Death Resonance. Frontman Bjorn”Speed” Strid fills us in on the album, the recent departure of drummer Dirk Verbeuren to Megadeth, tour plans and more.
Chad Bowar: What was your reaction to Dirk’s recent departure to join Megadeth?
Bjorn “Speed” Strid: Well, after seeing Dirk playing with Megadeth at Sweden Rock Festival, I had no doubts that Dave was gonna pop the big question, since they sounded so damn good. So in a way, it was expected. I’m happy for Dirk and he definitely deserves the spot. Thankfully, Bastian, Dirk’s drum student and protegé, has done a fantastic job this summer filling in for Dirk.
Will Bastian Thusgaard be the permanent replacement?
We will make a decision soon and quite frankly I don’t see any reason of trying out anybody else. He’s a fantastic drummer and already a great friend. However, it is a very big decision of course.
How did you go about selecting the tracks that appear on Death Resonance?
It started with the idea of releasing Beyond The Infinite worldwide. It had only been released in Japan before, and consists of ”leftovers” from The Living Infinite. At that time we also realized that we have a bunch of other unreleased material and decided to compile it all, including two new songs that didn’t make it on The Ride Majestic.
It was very important for us to have an album feeling rather than just throwing out a bunch of leftovers on a compilation disc, so most songs were remixed and remastered. I think we succeeded and the album has a very interesting flow, showcasing our development as songwriters and musicians.
Were the two new songs part of the Ride Majestic sessions, or were they written specifically for this release?
They were a part of the recording session, but somehow didn’t fit into the flow of the album. However, I’m very fond of the tracks and I’m really happy that they are both being released this close to the release of The Ride Majestic.
What have been some of the highlights for you of your summer festival season?
Graspop in Belgium was fantastic, as well as Rock Harz in Germany. It’s been a pretty hectic schedule so far and lots of traveling, but once you’re there it usually turns out to be a really great time with so many friends from other bands as well. It’s like a metal summer camp somehow.
You’re playing a festival in Texas in October. Do you anticipate adding more U.S. dates around that time frame?
It’s looking like it.
Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
We’re going to South America in September for the first time, which has definitely been on the bucket list. Would love to play South Africa as well; maybe Svalbard and Iceland, too.
With so many albums, how do you go about putting together a setlist?
It’s always a hard task for sure. There’s six different opinions as well and then you have the crowd. We always try to make it a real good mix with just about every album represented. At the same time, we try to focus a bit on the latest release, so it’s definitely not easy, especially if you have a 45 minute festival set.
What’s the most unusual venue you’ve ever played?
We played a church in Philly, a pizzeria in France and in a living room in Germany. Those were all kinda weird.
A Predator’s Portrait and Natural Born Chaos were just released as a 2 albums for the price of 1 collection. Is there any added material, and is it available in North America, or just in Europe?
Unfortunately no added material, but still a pretty good deal if you ask me! I’m sure it’ll be available in North America too!
As you look back on your catalog, is there an album that you think was overlooked or underrated when it was released, but in retrospect has held up really well?
Sworn To A Great Divide only really suffers from a poor production. We are currently looking into remixing it.
What are some of your non-musical hobbies and interests?
Been trying hard to find hobbies that don’t involve music. It’s really hard [laughs]. My head is filled with riffs and melodies all day long. I like working out and cooking, but I think that’s about it, at least for now.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
New Katatonia and Tribulation, great stuff!
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Currently working on the third album for my other band, The Night Flight Orchestra (that also features Soilwork guitarist David and Sharlee D’ Angelo from Arch Enemy), who just got signed to Nuclear Blast. We’re a classic rock band, deeply rooted in the musical era of 1978 to 1983, really fun stuff! New album will come out sometime next year!
(interview published August 18, 2016)