We have another very exciting band for this months Metal On Loud cover! I had the pleasure to interview Sabaton for our magazine, via email. When I requested the interview, I was asked "where are you located". I'm from the Netherlands myself. With the January Sabaton show here in Holland in mind, I did not give that question much thought other than "perhaps they prefer a face to face". When you're reading this interview, keep that context in mind. It will confirm how fan-driven Sabaton is. Enjoy this interview with Pär Sundström, the bass player in one of the most energetic live acts I know!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! 2015 has been an exciting year for Sabaton, and there's many things to look back on.
Indeed, but the last 3 years has been very exciting what I think!
Let's start with 2014's Heroes album! How was it touring for that album?
It was great due to many things. Personally I am splitted in the Carolus Rex album, it was so good on Swedish that I personally not enjoy to play the songs in English that much.
Heroes is easier, and a better album so thats good. And also that it was an album recorded with the current lineup and that makes a huge difference when played live.
Your stage set was really spectacular this year. Where did the idea come from to put the drum kit in a tank?
I wanted a tank on the stage since 2009 when I first said in an interview that I wanted it. The journalist misunderstood me and wrote that I will have a tank. So after that I needed to fulfull ”my promise”. Today we have 2 tanks since they are quite complicated and sometimes one must travel ahead to be setup before the band arrives.
You had three festivals with your name on it this year. The Sabaton Open Air festival in Falun, Sweden, the Sabaton Cruise and the Noch Ein Bier fest in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. One festival wasn't enough for you guys?
The original Rockstad:Falun/Sabaton Open Air has been going on for 8 years now and is the best place to be if you are a fan of the band. The atmosphere and such there is something unique. The cruise is so tiny with only 2000 people but really really fun. Simple, no big stage, no production. Its just the band and fans.
Noch Ein Bierfest was something we did for the first time this year in Germany. It wont happen in 2016. But it was the main idea to try out a future beer for Sabaton!
I've had the pleasure of seeing you in Gelsenkirchen, you really know how to throw a party. You should do that more often. At this festival you announced you will be making your own beer! How did that come to pass, and what's the status on that side project?
We hoped to release the beer on our cruise. But decided to postpone it due to rules of the shipping company. We want it to be right when its released.
I read you started your own radio station! Is it an all-Sabaton-all-the-time station? Or an all round metal station?
We started it and let it roll for about 8 months. It was very successful and fantasticly fun. It was filled with Sabaton music and Sabaton stories and it was varied with stories and music of band who had performed on our festival before.
And of course, Joakim had to walk from one gig to the next due to a lost bet! A true man of honor. What happened there?
Well, Joakim did plan to walk. But it was not possible. Way to far and took so long time that we basicly would have to cancel the next album if he walks all that way.
Any other highlights I forgot to mention?
I guess the show at Wacken! That was a highlight. And the Dutch show in Leeuwarden.
In 2016 you will release a live DVD recorded during the Heroes tour. What can you tell us about this?
Indeed, its coming out early March. Its a double DVD recorded at Wacken and our Sabaton Open Air in Sweden. Both shows are in full on that DVD.
Also on the upcoming release calendar: You will release a soundtrack album for a videogame?
We released it as a dlc for Europa Universalis initially and hoping that it will be possible to do more in the future. It was a total success so I think we definitivly will work more with the producers of that which is Swedish studio Paradox.
This year, you've already been confirmed as headliners for Sweden Rock, and the first names have been announced for Sabaton Open Air as well, and your Sabaton cruise is already sold out. What will your year look like, tour wise?
We are starting with a European tour. Its a smaller and shorter one which hits a lot of new places and places where shows were sold out too early for all people to see. For Netherlands they just doubled the size of 013 but still it sold out way too fast. I dont think there will be another show in Netherlands in 2016.
You are a band that really interacts with the audience. I've seen you invite people on stage for a dinner, give away your sunglasses to a kid, exchange vests with a fan (saves doing laundry), and your website has a form to "meet the band". How important are your fans to you?
How important is the fans! Its our everything. Sabaton is not a ego band who dont listen to fans. There are a lot of bands who dont care what the fans want and just do as they like. I think we have obligations towards our fans not to let hem down.
What is your favorite fan-related memory?
Wow, there are many. But once we went secretly to abar in Bulgaria without telling anyone. It was a metal bar and they were warming up for our show the day after. On the stage there was apparantly a Sabaton tribute band. They sounded great and we went onstage with them and played a few tunes together. Then we booked them to Sabaton Open Air!
How's the writing going, can we expect new material in the new future?
Writing goes well. We have the longest break in many years now. And that is fine.
Any last words for our readers?
Big thanks to the Dutch fans. We had some trouble getting festival shows in 2015 since some promoters did not believe in Sabaton even though basicly all shows has been sold out for the last tours. But in Leeuwarden you showed everyone who doubted in Sabaton that they shall not. For me it was a highlight of the last year. It was definitivly a wake up call for some when Sabaton could headline a festival with mostly heavier bands and sell it out!
Together we made that possible, thank you!
Thank you for this interview, we can't wait to see you out on the road this year!
Metal On Loud!