Metal As Fuck Interviews Sabaton Bass Player Pär Sundström

Metal As Fuck caught up with Sabaton bass player Pär Sundström to talk about their upcoming live album, Swedish Metal Cruises and the “fucking amazing” prospect of playing to Australian crowds. The Swedish power metal titans have plans to take over the world.

 

With just over 10 years’ of experience, Sabaton is finally gaining the recognition it deserves. What began as a slow build sees the Swedish sextet now regularly headlining venues, festivals and even cruise ships throughout Europe.

Now, thanks to last years Coat Of Arms, the band’s 6th studio album, Sabaton is gaining recognition on a wider scale. World War Live: Battle Of The Baltic Sea, a recording of their headline show on the Sabaton Cruise, sets sail later this month. Metal As Fuck had a chat with bass player Pär Sundström.

 

Metal As Fuck: How are you?

Pär Sundström: At the moment I'm fine. We just had a good day; everybody in the band was in our studio sitting here and coming up with good ideas, discussing the future, what we're going to do and stuff like that and we really had a good day.

MaF: Good. So at the moment you're currently on another world tour. You've toured the world pretty relentlessly over the last few years – do you enjoy being out on the road?

PS: Oh yeah. At the moment we actually are home for like 2 weeks more or something which is a long vacation for us but other than that we have been touring quite intense. And yeah, it’s been fun and fantastic and I think everybody in the band is feeling like this is exactly where we want to be…we are doing exactly what we want to do.

MaF: Which is playing live?

PS: A lot of touring, a lot of gigging! [laughs] I actually want to play almost everyday because it's a lot more fun than anything else in this world!

MaF: Cool! You played a lot of dates this year with Accept and Scorpions – what was that like?

PS: That’s two completely different things. To tour with Accept first in America was a really cool thing because Accept is one of the main inspirations for the musical part of Sabaton. After the tour it also became one of the main inspirations for how to be on the stage. These guys have been around for a long, long time and you can easily tell that there are a lot of bands out there that are really tired of touring and just want to go home. Accept is not one of those bands. [With] Accept you can see when you see them on stage that they really enjoy it and they have a  hunger for playing. So that was an inspiration [to see Accept] after so many years as a band and break up and then go back together again and be so hungry and also to produce such a good album that was really inspiring to see. To be on the tour with Scorpions in Russia was just a magical feeling because Scorpions is what we all grew up with and Scorpions in Russia is like the ‘big thing’. To be able to tour with them on the Scorpions’ last tour was really great for us. And to hear such nice things: the guys in the band really think that Sabaton was one of the best support acts ever in Scorpions history. That’s a good thing!

MaF: Wow, that’s a huge compliment!

PS: To tour with Scorpions was probably the best thing I’ve done.

MaF: Amazing. So you’re coming back to England in December – are you looking forward to coming back?

PS: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. England is like our, I don’t know any good word for it, but it’s proof that it can work even though nobody thinks it will work. I mean everybody told us that, ‘UK won’t like your metal, give it up, don’t care, just do one show in London and then go home!’ But we did not and we tried and tried and tried again and with the success of the last tour I don’t think anybody could doubt it again that it actually worked and the hard work paid off. We had so much fun on that tour so I’m really looking forward to coming back to the UK. I was just recently, well, a few weeks ago we were in London for the Metal Hammer awards and that was really cool. The show [in London] is just a big thanks to the UK fans. We did not mean to play any more in December because we are working on new songs and we actually really need the time off, but after all the good things that UK gave us we had to give it back somehow.

MaF: Well that’s very kind of you! And we’re all looking forward to it. I think with you and DragonForce, you played a lot of dates here and like you said it’s proof that it can work here. Is there anywhere you haven’t played yet that you would like to?

PS: Most of Asia. I want to play in South America. There are plenty of places. Sabaton has been touring a lot but mainly in Europe and some concerts in America but there are so many places left so there is a lot of the world still to be discovered.

MaF: Obviously Metal As Fuck is an Australian site – would you like to go and play for our readers there?

PS: Oh yeah, of course. A few months ago we actually had a solid plan to go to Australia and it included also several other countries to make it possible because we did not have so many fans in Australia earlier [in our career]. It was difficult for us to get there but then we had a little glimpse of luck and one guy said ‘OK, I maybe can bring you here’. But then we needed some more shows to get there because it’s quite costly to get there but I was able to sort it out with a routing that included Malta, Tunisia, South Africa, New Zealand and also some Indonesia and stuff and Japan. But due to the malfunction in Japan with the power plant that was not possible anymore. And also due to the riots and basically it’s a warzone now in Tunisia so it’s not safe to go there. But now we’re looking into any options to go to Australia.

MaF: Good. I hope you make it there and I’m sure everyone there will look forward to that as well!

PS: Everybody in the band would love to go there just to see it. So if we could go there and play it would be fucking fantastic!

MaF: Absoloutely! Last year you hosted the Sabaton Cruise and that sold out well in advance and you’re hosting another one later this year. What was that like playing on a cruise ship?

PS: In Sweden it’s not a new thing to play on a cruise ship. We’ve been doing it for 5 years maybe in cruises between Sweden and Finland. They’re usually promoted by like a magazine or radio station and they put together like 6, 7 bands from different genres in hope of selling the boat out. We did it alone and it was just an amazing feeling to have a boat. I mean you can’t go anywhere, there’s just Sabaton fans over the whole boat! It’s a magical feeling and the atmosphere on the boat was totally amazing…of course we did it again this was also one of the reasons why we decided to put it on the live CD. For us it was a magical night and for the fans aboard as well.

MaF: Cool. So tell me a bit more about the live album which was from the cruise like you said and that comes out in a few days?

PS: There was no idea for a live album. There was just the main part of the European tour where we…carried [recording] equipment so we decided after the first few shows let’s record every show and see what happens. We recorded every show. After the tour we were sitting down and like, ‘what are we going to do with all this?’ ‘I don’t know! But a lot of people want us to release a live CD so lets ask our record label!’ We asked them if they wanted to release a live CD, they said, ‘yes, of course’ and ‘do you have any specific concert in mind?’ The only one we came up with was the cruise ship was really really cool. so I think that’s how it became and we also have a 2nd CD on this where there is songs recorded from a lot of different random places during the tour.

MaF: Have you got plans to record this year’s cruise or maybe a live DVD at some point?

PS: We don’t have any plans to do another live CD this close but a live DVD we have thought of for a long time. We did record one in 2008 and mixed it but then we couldn’t release it because we didn’t have the means of releasing it and neither had our record label at that time. So the dvd was just lying around doing nothing. But now as we release this live CD there’s going to be a version…where there comes a bonus DVD where we’re going to give away the entire concert we recorded in 2008 so people at least can see some of us live. It’s not Sabaton today but it shows Sabaton from a very good side. I’m sure in the future we’re going to work on a DVD but we need to do it with a much better plan than in the past.

MaF: You also performed a couple of months ago at the Rockstad:Falun in Sweden where you were joined onstage by Udo Dirkschneider, the original vocalist for Accept. What was that like?

PS: Of course that was amazing! I never expected him to say ‘yes’ when we asked him. I mean, why would he want to do that?! But he replied and said, ‘yeah, I really want to do this, this sounds like a lot of fun!’ We were like, ‘woah, what?!’ and once he came here came during the afternoon and we started to talk and we had a lot of fun the whole day and he had a good time here, I’m sure. We have met a couple of times in the past but never really talked but now we are good friends and that’s cool.

MaF: Cool. I’ve seen some of the Youtube clips from when he performed with you and he seemed to really enjoy it and the crowd reaction was amazing.

PS: Yeah! [laughs] We come from a very small city (Falun)… a long time ago we had Deep Purple playing, I think that was the biggest rock event in our city. Then Sabaton started a couple of years later and today Sabaton is pulling more than 5,000 people from more than 20 countries to our city to play. If we back the time 5 years nobody would ever believe that Udo would ever set his foot in our city at all. Why would he? Because normally they don’t go north of Stockholm, most artists stay in Stockholm. People could never imagine that a band like Helloween would ever play in our city but now it is possible. So I don’t see any limits, I see that most things are possible now.

MaF: Absolutely. I read a while ago in an interview that even after 10 years together you were not making enough money from the band to make it your living. Is that still the case?

PS: Yeah, I mean, no. No and yes. As long as we are touring we can pay for everything and we don’t have so much expenses back home. But it’s not enough to settle down or anything, even to take a rest. So we have to keep playing

MaF: Have things improved on that front since you moved to your new label, Nuclear Blast?

PS: Oh definitely. It’s a big improvement. Now people take Sabaton for real. Before we were not for real, we were a band which nobody takes any notice of. When we moved to Nuclear Blast people seriously started to notice Sabaton.

MaF: So you said before that you had some plans to take some time out for a new album?

PS: Yeah, I mean we need it to actually be able to write it and do really good songs. We need some time there even if we can not really afford it we have to because we can not afford to do a shitty album! [laughs] So we need our time.

MaF: Will that happen next year?

PS: Yeah, next year definitely. At least that’s the main plan as we should be in the studio in the beginning of next year. Hopefully in the spring we should have a new album ready.