"Most people laughed at us in the beginning, but we proved them wrong"
Back in 1997 while most of the United States was knee deep in the Grunge movement, a power metal band emerged from Sweden that would challenge the status quo and keep the metal flame burning for a new generation. I spoke with Bassist, Frederik Larsson about Touring, Recording, and the lasting legacy of HAMMERFALL as they are set to release their latest album,BUILT TO LAST!
It's early for you.
Yes it's about 5 am here.
Take us through the recording process for the new album.
Yes. It is still pretty fresh for me. We had a deadline to get it down and I still have not listened to all of it. So it's really fresh for me. It continues from the "Revolution" album. Recorded the same way, the same people. The drummers are different of course. But it feels like a natural progression from Revolution. Mostly the parts are basically written and we get early demos of them and practice to that. The song structure is set before we enter the studio. We do have the time and the ability to play around in the studio. But basically it is already done.
How does being in a legendary band feel, you know, hammerfall kept the flame burning through the darkest years of the grunge invasion.
It feels good actually. In Sweden there are some great bands that are really big around the metal scene. It's a big scene nowadays. I don't think HAMMERFALL really gets the credit that it deserves for being one of the first ones to kick in the door. Nowadays we hear metal on the national broadcast radio. And if it wasn't for HAMMERFALL I don't think that would exist. But at the same time you know, we got lucky. We just did what we liked.
Did those first few years seem like a struggle or did it all happen quickly for the band?
I actually left the band before it really happened. Due to other commitments I took a ten year vacation. So I was on the first album. It happened really fast. The first show they did outside of Sweden was Wacken Open air. This is the biggest festival in Germany. So it happened really fast.
How do you prepare for a tour?
You have to take the steps to get into that tour "bubble' you know you miss the family. I have two small children so that will be hard. You really have to set your mind to it. You say ok I'm not home for 5 weeks and then I am home for two and then gone again. So yeah it's hard.
Anywhere in the world you have not played but would like to?
We just did Japan so that was really nice. Played in Australia, China. Some new places. South Africa would be nice to play. To check it out
Is metal accepted in China?
HAMMERFALL has been in Japan a few times and it is big there. China is a different story. It was a small place and a show that we figured why not? It was fun but I have no idea how the metal scene works out in china. I don't know much about China actually but it was a fun thing to do. It was more of a vacation for us.
Where do you see the future of heavy metal?
Of course it's changing. But so many trends come and go. Heavy metal has been around for so many years. There is always going to be a market for it. When we started in 97 pretty much no one listened to metal at that time. Most people laughed and we proved them wrong. They didn't take us seriously. I think power metal will be around for a long time. It is not a trend.
Craziest thing that ever happened at a gig?
(Laughs) We get a lot of crazy gifts. There is never room to take it all. It's nice but you can't. A coffee maker. A big cake with photos of all the members. It's nice. I'm not surprised by the fans because I was one of them. I used to travel to see my favorite bands. It's great to have dedicated fans. There are a lot of tattoos out there. A lot of the iconic imagery associated with our covers. That's really cool.