By Carl Begai
During a recent interview with vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid about his new retro-rock band Night Flight Orchestra for BW&BK (coming soon), we discussed the forthcoming Soilwork record The Living Infinite, which is currently be recorded in Sweden. Of particular interest for most fans is how the band is coping with the absence of guitarist Peter Wichers, who left the band (for the second time) this past June. Wichers originally left Soilwork in 2005 to spend more time with his family and broaden his career as a producer, only to return four years later.
“First of all, we were mentally prepared for the possibility that this might happen,” Strid reveals. “Peter was really back and forth with what he wanted to do, and while all this was going on we were writing songs. We had a mindset for the new album despite Peter not knowing what he wanted to do. In the end we got pretty sick of it because if you come back to the band and then you want to leave again, it’s not fair to the rest of us. He knew that, and in the end he made up his mind. We weren’t shocked that he left, so it was a little easier this time around.”
Shortly after Wichers’ departure, Soilwork introduced Night Flight Orchestra guitarist David Andersson as his replacement. There was no huge fanfare, no YouTube searches for unknown talent, just an offer made to a friend once the slot became vacant.
“It was a pretty natural choice to have Dave join Soilwork because we’ve toured with him a bunch of times before and we know him very well,” says Strid. “He’s a perfect guitar player for the band. You read in so many interviews when a band says ‘Oh, we’ll be fine, we’ll be even better without that guy…’ but I really believe it when I say the new album is going to be really, really strong. It’s always hard to compare the new songs to previous albums, but I really couldn’t see anyone other than Dave replacing Peter. People are obviously going to start talking about Sworn To A Great Divide (2007), which Peter wasn’t on, but you can’t compare the new one to that album because Ola Frenning (who left the band in 2008) played the guitars on that album and it was a totally different thing.”
“I feel that the vibe in the band with Dave has always been really good,” he adds. “When we toured last summer doing the festivals with him we didn’t know Peter would be leaving, but we started preparing because we felt it. We were having fun together, which was a good sign. And, the fans had no problems with Dave being on stage; they loved what he was doing.”
“The guy is an amazing guitar player, an amazing chef, and on top of that he’s a doctor and a dad. He’s also really good at drinking and never gets a hangover. How can one person be that good at that many things (laughs)?
Updates on The Living Infinite recording are slowly trickling in, but Strid makes it clear that upon release the world will be seeing and hearing more from Soilwork than they have over the last couple years.
“We’re looking at an early spring release followed by a shitload of touring. It was always the trouble with Peter because he didn’t want to tour, and for Panic Broadcast we didn’t do half as much touring as we should have done. Panic Broadcast didn’t get half the attention it deserved. That’s something we want to change for the next album. Not to the point of burnout like we did with Stabbing The Drama, but we’ll definitely tour more.”
Band photo courtesy of Hannah Verbeuren Photography.
Soilwork’s Sledgehammer Messiah logo altered by Carl Begai because it was long overdue for a pimping.
For updates on The Living Infinite and a play-by-play of studio pictures check out Soilwork’s Facebook page here.