Interview Graveyard: Joakim Nilsson

Artiest: Graveyard

Geïnterviewde: Joakim Nilsson (zanger/gitarist)

Interview afgenomen via: Skype

Label: Nuclear Blast

De Zweedse classic rockband Graveyard brengt binnen enkele dagen hun nieuw album 'Innocence & Decadence' uit. Een spannende tijd voor de band en de ideale gelegenheid om zanger/gitarist Joakim Nilsson zijn relaas te laten doen. Hij stond ons te woord over het nieuwe album en de komende tour.

‘Innocence & Decadence’ will be released next month, how long have you guys worked on it?

I guess we worked on it for a little more over a year. We started to write the songs before last summer and it took about a year to take care of and concentrate on the music. So over a year now, it has been quite long.

The new album has 11 tracks, are that all recorded songs or were some songs left out?

A couple, I think we recorded 13 or 14, but it can always be used for b-sides or bonus tracks and stuff like that.

Can you tell something about the artwork?

It’s the same guy who did our artwork for our album ‘Hisingen Blues’, he was supposed to do the 3rd one too but he couldn’t make it. But we let him loose, it’s a guy that we really know and we really like what he has done in the past. We just trusted him to do it, whatever he wanted.

Did you give any ideas to him or did he do that all by himself?

It’s mostly his ideas. Some of them are still from when we planned the cover for ‘Lights Out’, but most of it our his ideas, yes.

What are the lyrics about? Is it different for every song or is there a line throughout the album?

No, I think every song is kind of separate. So there is no bigger picture. We cannot deal with the same thing as we usually deal with it, like what’s wrong with the society and personal stuff, the classic love songs, …

How would you compare the new album against the previous ones?

There is so much that is new. We also tried to have a little bit more open and move ‘livish’ sound. It’s a new producer, a new bass player, a new studio, so I guess it’s going to sound more different, and it does too. We tried to broaden our spectrum even further, more than we’ve done in the past, songwriting-wise, style-wise, genre-wise, … We have almost a solo song on the album, … A little bit of everything I guess.

How did the recording process go? Was there any difference with previous recordings?

I guess this is the recording that we wanted to do on all our previous records. The ability to just play live as a band in one room and keep everything, not replacing anything at all… We tried to do that in the past, but we recorded live and ended up replacing the guitars and the bass, just keeping the drums often. But this time in a bigger studio, we could really study in one room and just play. So I guess we ended up with a more, how to say it, almost a complete live album.

Ok, so you probably got a good estimation of what songs will do it well live I guess?

Yeah I guess. We can really play them live!

Enough about the new album. Being from Sweden, it must be hard to be just a regular classic hard rock band in between all those heavy bands. How do you experience this?

I wouldn’t say that, it’s not a problem for us. I mean, people are listening to many different things, I think it’s just good that people recognize Sweden as the music country, that really helps, if it’s power or death metal or whatever, Sweden is famous in the rest of the world, a lot of good music comes from Sweden. It just helps.

Do you think of it as annoying that for certain people you are defined as a ‘nostalgic band’, due to the classic rock?

It’s no issue, there are still people listening to 70’s music, it’s for everybody. It’s so clear, you can hear really in our music where the music comes from, even though we are influence by many types of music. It’s quite obvious what we listen to. But that’s how it goes.

Do you think the success of the album ‘Hisingen Blues’ was too early? Did the success of it have an influence on the writing process of ‘Lights Out’ and the new album?

Yeah, but I don’t think it was too early. We’ve been doing this for so long now so it was bound to happen, it was time. But also, since the success of ‘Hisingen Blues’, from thereon it was possible for us to play music without having a day job. This really had an effect on the songwriting. I mean, you can write songs instead of going to work during the day, previously that could be quite hard sometimes. Now it’s a lot easier for us to just concentrate on making and playing music.

How did you end up with the band name Graveyard?

That was a fast choice. We didn’t have a name when we were going to a show in the very beginning and we just quickly googled it and found out that there wasn’t anything around that name, so we chose it. People tend to think that our name is harder than our music but after all, the band name is just a word, it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just a name, I don’t think it matters in any way.

When you write music, does everybody bring in something?

We have all tried to contribute what we can into the music. I bring a lot of the musical stuff, but we all contribute to the end result and I think that’s quite good. Everybody is happy about it.

Soon you will be touring Europe again, can we expect the focus to be on the new album or a mix of various songs?

Well I guess that focus will be on the new album, but there’s still going to be a mix between older songs because as headliner we play a fairly long show. I guess half new songs and half from the other albums.

How do you experience the touring life? Is it hard sometimes or do you really enjoy it every time?

It’s fun, but as a singer, all focus goes to trying to keep my voice allright, so mostly I have to go to bed really early every day, I don’t drink any alcohol, no smoking and sorts… So there’s no fun left there, just playing, that’s the hardest thing about it.

Do you sometimes go visit the cities when you are on tour?

Yes sometimes, when we have the time and stamina for it. Some days we see more than others, but sometimes you don’t see anything at all, just the inside of the venue and the bus.

You’ll be visiting Belgium as well on your coming tour, would you like to say something for the fans to conclude this interview?

I’m really bad at that! But it was a really great show the last time we did it, so hopefully it’s going to be the same. We’re looking forward to coming to play there!