Monday, November 17, 2014

Screamer Interview

Skull Fracturing Metal (SFM): Hi Henrik! I want to start by asking about the time before the first Screamer album. You released a demo in 2009 and did plenty of touring behind it. Were these the first four Screamer tunes written? Are there other songs from this time that didn’t make the cut for the first record?

Henrik Petersson (HP): Hey Scott!

Yes, "Never Going Down", "Can You Hear Me", "Screamer" and "All Over Again" were the first-ever Screamer songs. 

Martin, Chris and Anton had a prequel to Screamer, and we did actually use to play a couple of those live as well. Come to think of, I think "I Know" might be one of those actually!

SFM: Your website mentions that “Can You Hear Me” was played on Swedish national radio. As a North American this sounds quite incredible. What is the support like for metal in Sweden? Is it common for metal bands to be played on national radio?

HP: Yeah, we have great public service in Sweden, and over the years there's been programs like "Unsigned" and "P3 Rock" that play more than just the repetitive everyday bore you hear on the radio. It was P3 rock that gave us some exposure.

SFM: The first album came out in 2011, and it is one of the most genuine sounding metal albums I have ever heard. The band’s love of metal and rock really shine through on the album. What was the songwriting process like for the first album? Did this process change at all for the second album?

HP: Well, on the first album we just played straight from our hearts with no intention of trying to make any thing solid and consistent, rather "full speed ahead" without any real direction. It took us two years to write it. 

The second album was done and recorded within a year after Dejan had joined the band. I think it took three months in total to write, and I guess that's when we started to find a direction in which we wanted to go. Twin guitars, no unnecessary shredding. We sound like Screamer nowadays, not trying to copycat our idols(we're simply not good enough musicians haha) or following the surrounding trends that come with our musical territory. One could almost say we are growing up.

SFM: I first discovered your music when you opened for Alcoholator in 2011 in Canada. Though the crowd was somewhat sparse in Toronto, you guys put on an unbelievable performance. How did you guys get hooked up with Alcoholator, and what interested you about touring Canada?

HP: it was actually the summer of 2012 we had our first shows in Canada.
Toronto was quite hard the first time we played there, but we were so excited that it didn't matter if there was 15 or 15000 people in the crowd. Dejan and I have a good friend named Michaël (who runs Desbouleaux Fest in Montreal) and he introduced us to Alcoholator, we ended up on the same record label, started talking, and that was that. Those dudes are truly crazy, it was a hell of blast to tour with them.

SFM: One thing I have always wondered about is if the song “No Sleep ‘til Hamilton” was inspired after the Toronto show, as I believe you guys played Hamilton the very next night. Is this correct? If so, what can you tell us about the journey to Hamilton?

HP: yes, yes it was. As most people know touring costs a fuck ton, so we never planned at staying at a hotel that night, but rather crash on friends floor. Then Matt's (from Alcoholator) phone crashes with the number to where we were supposed to sleep, so we figured "Fine, let's just sleep in the cars". Except one of the cars had broken down and was in the repair shop over night, and we couldn't squeeze nine people in to a five seat Subaru. We tried to get a hostel for the night, but we gave up on that idea after four hours and decided to roam the streets of Toronto instead. Very nice and friendly city by day, not as nice and friendly for four hick country boys in the dead of night. The promotor suggested that we go sleep in a park but we kindly told him to screw off. 

The following night in Hamilton we decided sleep in the cars, now that they were both up and running again, but we quickly learned that in Canada you aren't allowed to sit and sleep behind the steering wheel, even without the keys, if you have had a beer. This resulted in the police forcing us to get a hotel where we got to sleep for two hours before we were off to next town for beer and breakfast. And that's just life on the road.

SFM: After the release of “Phoenix”, Screamer once again returned to North America. If memory serves correctly, I believe this tour was initially meant to be a full North America tour, but was eventually shortened to just Canada. What was the reason for the change in touring plans?

HP: A coast to coast North American tour, starting of with the first weeks in the US with Züül before we continued on our own, was the original plan. We filed our work visas to the states about six months before we were supposed to play our first ever show on US soil, but I guess we didn't start early enough. Bureaucracy got in the way, to make a very long story short.

SFM: Between the two albums, what are your favourite songs to play live? Are there any songs that you don’t like as much as when you first wrote them?

HP: Well, we always play Rock Bottom, Can You Hear Me, Demon Rider, Adrenaline Distractions, and Slavegrinder, they're our absolute favourites. A bunch of the old songs like "I Know", "Rising" and "Never Going Down" are the most often the songs that we never pick for a set. We've tried out "Lady Of The River" a couple times, and that truly is one hell of a funny and a bit out of the ordinary song to perform live.

SFM: Earlier this year, Christoffer Svensson left the band, and although Burning Fire from Night filled in for live dates, you are still looking for a new singer/bassist. What are you looking for in a singer? Are you willing to bring in two new band members, or will the new singer also have to play bass?

HP: Yes, we are in deed still looking for a new singer. Be that one who can handle a bass or not, is not a priority. We're looking for a new voice and someone to front the band, and someone that knows how to use the voice as a dynamic instrument rather than just falsetto squeeling, at the same time we've started to realise that we don't really know ourselves what we're looking for, but one day I guess we will hear someone and just say: " Yep, that's the person we want!" Haha

SFM: What are the band’s plans for the future in terms of touring and a new album?

HP: Well, at the moment our hands are tied and we can't really do anything other than keep on writing new tunes until we've got a full band together. In my opinion, what we've been working on recently is the best we've ever done. 

Hopefully all will sort out and we get to go back on the road before we record our third album.

SFM: It seems like there are a lot of great bands playing traditional heavy metal these days. In addition to the aforementioned Night, there are groups like Enforcer and Stallion, and Toronto has a fantastic scene as well featuring Cauldron, Skull Fist, and others. Why has this style of music seen a boost in popularity over the last few years? Are there any new up and coming bands you want to give a shout out to?

HP: As we've said many times before, we think it could be the search for pure joy of playing, living out your youth rock star dreams, rather than putting together a bunch of technical geniuses that can only play "drkdrkdrkdrkdrkdrkdrk" with palm muted guitars and overly trigged bass drums, but who are we to know. 

If you're in to kickass rocknroll you should definitely check out our pals in Dead Lord, and if you're more into the pure heavy metal sound, then check the crazy drunkards of Ambush!

SFM: Any last words for the fans out there?

HP: Hang in there, we'll be back sooner than you know! Remember to rock hard, ride free, and live without any regrets!

Be sure to check out and like Screamer on Facebook!

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