|Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us.|
A: No problem at all, man
Tell me about the tour you just finished up with Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. Were there any particular shows that stood out as being the best? It seems that one of the trends these days is for bands to record the show live and then sell bootlegged copies after the show. Is this something you all would consider doing?
A: It was good yes. The bands were really cool and we had a great time coming over here and performing. The only tours that were going on besides this one were the Damage Plan and Jaegermeister tour that was competing with us but we still had really good turn outs at the shows. Our best turnouts were in L.A., where 2,400 people came to see us although I don't remember what venue that was at. And our show in New York turned out about 3,000 people so that was a nice thing to see people supporting metal and all. Those were some of the shows that turned out really well for us and we are just happy to be touring over in the States. As far as the bootlegging goes, it is something we could do if we want, but we would have to clear it with the label and stuff so we haven't done it yet.
Are there any plans for a DVD to be released for the band in the near future?
A: We are actually working on collecting footage and compiling it for an upcoming DVD. We have been filming shows from all over in Europe and the States and are compiling those and shows from the past ten years to put together something really special for our fans because without them we wouldn't be able to do what we are doing now. It will probably be a two disc set with some video clips on there as well. And we are also planning on taking our video director with us when we go to Japan and Australia to get some shows taped while we are there to put on the DVD. But like I said it will be something special for the DVD.
With the new album you guys have contined your process of evolution. How do you all approach a new album when it comes time to record them? You guys had Daniel Bergstrand produce this new album, why have you guys stuck with him as a producer? What do you guys have to say to the fans that say you have sold out because you changed your sound? To add to that last question, do you all feel any pressure to put out an album similar to the older stuff?
On this album we did pre-production in Denmark and rented a house for two weeks just jamming and having a good time. The music that you hear on the album is what came out of those jam sessions. We had a recorder with us and recorded everything so we would be able to have it there already when it came time to go into the studio and record the album. Daniel is really good and we feel that he got to know us as people and artists after working on "Reroute to Remain" with us. Plus on the first five albums we did the whole Studio Fredman thing and it was cool because we had known Fredrik for a long time so it was like working with a friend. But then a lot of other people started using him and we felt it best to go for a change and we went with Daniel.
As far as the fans go I read the message boards and see what people say about us, but we as musicians play music that we like to play. While I understand that some fans would want us to do more stuff like the older material, we want to do what makes us happy even if it causes some waves with our longtime fans. You know if we lose a few because of that we will pick up new fans that are hearing us for the first time. We just do what we enjoy and hope everyone else enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it. No not really. You can't please everyone so you need to please yourself otherwise there is no heart and emotions being put into the music. We don't think about it very much though.
Most metal bands seem to have a bigger struggle breaking into the scene in the States, yet you all have seemed to have done it with ease. What do you attribute that to?
A: We have had the advantage of knowing you have to tour to get yourself noticed and we knew that touring the States would be something that we needed to do. We have been touring the US since '99 and have had 11 tours over there since that time period. I can't think of many European bands that have done that given all the time and money that goes into it. We have been really lucky so far.
What are your thoughts about bands that capitalize off of the Swedish metal trend and try to emulate your style? Who would you say are your influences?
A: I find it very flattering that bands would want to sound like us. It's cool to think that you could influence someone that much that they would want to incorporate that into their sound. Most of the new bands that are sounding like us are being labeled as "New Wave of American Heavy Metal" and I think it is somewhat unfair to them. We were influenced by the main ones such as Maiden, Priest and Sabbath. But we have stayed open minded and listened to other things as well so as not to get stuck in the same rut and help us change our sound somewhat. One of the things that we do is do something that we enjoy and the fans are really what keeps us going. If it weren't for our fans we would have nothing.
What are your thoughts about downloading? Have you all considered putting an album on your website for fans to download before it is released?
|"As far as the fans go I read the message boards and see what people say about us, but we as musicians play music that we like to play."|
A: Downloading I think is cool. I don't think it hurts us as an extreme metal band because most of the fans want to buy the album instead of downloading the album. It seems to me that the more popular music is hurt by downloading rather than metal bands. I myself download stuff but only to preview it to see whether or not I want to buy it. I have a pretty good CD collection and I would say that 3 or 4 of them are burns but those are albums that I cannot find anywhere. And that is my thought about the older stuff, if you can't find it I don't see why you shouldn't download it. We haven't put an album on the website due to it being directed by the label so that would be something we would have to clear through them to do, but it would be cool to do.
Has the band been surprised at how "successful",if you will, you guys have been?
A: Just sitting here and thinking about it yeah. I mean when you are on the road you don't really think about it that much but once the touring is over and you get home and relax you think about it and think how amazing it is. I mean it's like a job when you are out on the road but it is one of the coolest jobs to have. Just going out and playing music for the fans is really great. As I have said before many times, if it weren't for our fans and fans of metal in general we would still be in a rehearsing room.
How do you pick the songs for your shows? Do you try and change them up or how does that work?
A: Our set list is probably the most repetitive thing that we do. We always try and do something special with the visual stuff to add to the live performances. A lot of bands do the same thing with their live shows as they do with the album but we like to do different things to please the fans and just to do something different. It makes things more enjoyable if you do it that way.
This is just a question out of curiosity for me but what made you put a Karaoke version of "Moonshield" on the Trigger EP?
A: (Laughing) We just wanted to do something different that's all. How many metal bands do you know that have a karaoke version of your song out and about? The label wanted us to have five songs on the EP and we didn't think we had time to get a new one done when the deadline was up so we just thought "What's a crazy thing we can do to fill in the last slot on here?" and the idea for the karaoke song just came up so we did it.
What are your thoughts on the untimely passing of Quorthon?
A: What? I didn't know that had happened since we had been out on tour. That is very sad and a pity. He was a big influence on the metal scene and a very talented individual.
Any plans for new Passenger album in the future?
A: I keep in touch with the guys and they might be getting ready to record a new album. I think the vocalist left right before we went on the road but I'm not sure.
Any more touring for you guys or are you taking breather?
A: No, we have a big tour of Japan and Australia getting ready to come up and we have a few festivals lined up here and there. We will be playing all the way through August with the festivals and the smaller shows and then head off to the Far East. So we will be busy for awhile.
Well thanks for taking time out of your day off to do this interview. I usually let whoever I'm talking to close the interview out with whatever they feel like saying so fire away and best of luck to you guys in the future.
A: Thanks man. Everyone Vote Kerry. John Kerry for President.