About Me

Interview With Sparzanza

M.I. - What does Sparzanza mean after all?

Sparzanza is a name of a creepy pimp carracter in an old blaxploitation movie from the 70’s. Our first singer saw the movie, wrote a song about him, and later the band took it as the band name. So really, I wish I could say that it was something more, but it’s really just a name. 

M.I. - Sparzanza are quite unkown here in Portugal, so please tell our readers a little about yourselves. 

Well, we are a 5-piece metal act from Sweden that has been around for over 20 years. We have released 7 albums since 2001 and our 8th album is “Announcing The End” due for release in October. We have been touring all over since, but unfortunatelly never in Portugal, but I hope we will be able to do so soon. 

M.I. - What’s the best definition to Sparzanza’s sound and style? Does the band have a motto?

I would say that it is metal, with a pretty dark and melodic vibe. We have had our roots in the Black Sabbath influenced stoner genre, but ever since our 2nd and 3rd album we have moved towards a more metallic sound with a bit more modern touch than before. A motto? Well, the only motto we have is to have fun and make great hard music, and to taste every beer in the world! 

M.I. - Which Sparzanza album would you suggest to someone that has never listened to the band? Which represents you the best?

Of course the latest album “Announcing The End” is the best album and the one that represent us the best, cause that is where we are at the moment. And seriously it is our best album. You always say that about the last album, but this time it really is, because of the songs and the production. 
Otherwise, if you would want to hear some of our old stuff, I would recommend “Folie à Cinq”. 

M.I. - The band formed in 1996 but only in 2001 did you release your first full-length “Angels of vengeance”... why the 5-year wait? The moment was so important that it is marked as a milestone on your facebook official page... 

Well, in the beginning we released a few 7” vinyls which are very rare today. But actually, in 2000 we changed singer and Fredrik Weileby joined us. And honestly it wasn’t until then we really felt that we had good enough material to release an album. 
And yes, of course that was a milestone for us, first album always is! 

M.I. - The title of your eighth studio album is rather strange and might scare your fans... “Announcing the end”... is it a sign that the band will stop activity or what’s its meaning?

Oh no, we are not gonna quit just yet! “Announcing The End” is a great song and a great album title. And we simply used it to get people’s attention in the horrible social media streams of today! The song is about the biblical end of the world, from The Book Of Revelations, and that is also visualised on the cover of the album, if you read the lyrics and look at the cover you will understand. 

M.I. - The cover is quite complex with many details, namely an Eye Of Providence watching over humanity, the moon in one hand and the sun in another... care to explain all this?

As I mentioned, the title refers to The Book Of Revelations. And what is on the cover can be found in those texts. Everything is connected to these details from the story from the bible about how the world will end. 

M.I. - What lyrical themes do you approach in the newer tracks? Why?

Different themes. I mentioned “Announcing The End”. The first single “Vindication” is about people doing deeds in the name of religion, which could be interpreted as something that is going on a lot today in the world. But it has been around for ages in all religions. It is somewhat a statement from us about what we believe religion is and can do. Other songs are just more stories and some are about dark feelings, relationships and stuff. 

M.I. - The album was written in Spain... How does the writing process happen? Who writes the lyrics and the music? Do you get together often?

Yeah, we did a lot of the songs in Spain. We got invited to this guy we know who has a house in southern Spain. So we went there with the whole band and our producer and live sound tech and just wrote songs every day for 6 days. And had a lot of beer. I think we had about 13-14 songs almost ready when we left. We had 3 workstations where we worked so we teamed up 2-3 people at each station and just went creative and crazy. Normally we use to write songs in one of our home studios, like 2 people, and then get together in the rehearsal room to rehearse and work on the last details in the studio. We all are involved in almost everything, but lyrics are mainly done by Fred, me (Johan) and our producer (Rikard Löfgren). 

M.I. - The band signed a deal with Despotz Records recently... you haven’t been a band that stays with a label for too long... why the constant change?

Well, we have been with Spinefarm Records for 3 albums, but they have not worldwide rights on all the albums. Some have been released outside of Scandinavia by our own label Black Cult Records. The reason we change is quite simple, when a label doesn’t live up to our expectations, why should we stay?! Now we have signed with Despotz Records and it feels great. The staff at the label are really music lovers and we feel really prioritized by them. All of our crazy ideas are being listened to. Really good label! 

M.I. - “Announcing the end” includes 11 tracks... what’s your favourite? Why?

The song “Announcing The End” is my absolute favourite. Just because it is one of the best Sparzanza have songs ever written. But it also depends on my mood. I had a few beers at home alone a few days ago and played “Breathe In the Fire” really loud and that song can give me chills sometimes. I can also go mad about “We Are Forever” because of the chorus and the ending of the song. From the last chorus there’s an amazing part with double bass-drums for about 2 minutes or something. And Fredriks vocals in the end is absolutelly amazing!!!!!!! 

M.I. - Why have you chosen “Vindication” to be the first single? This song is quite up to date regarding the recent attacks in Europe as it is about people that justify their action through religion. How fucked up is our society these days? How do events like this affect you as a person and as a musician?

We chose it because of its straight forward riffing! Pretty easy song to get into and great lyrics. Yes, it is pretty up to date because of that, but as I mentioned, this has been around for ages, no matter the religion, if you look through history. How fucked up? Well, right now, when I am at home with a cold beer answering this, it doesn’t feel that fucked up. But now and then when I turn on the news there is something awful happening in the world. Before it feels like this always has been very far away from us, but with Stockholm being hit and things happening in Europe, sometimes it makes you think. It feels like it’s getting closer and closer. 

M.I. - Fans seem to be very excited about the single and the new album but they’ll have to wait until October to listen to the whole album… what can they expect of it? Will you release a video for “Vindication” or any other track? Any more teasers?

They are gonna get the best Sparzanza album ever. It’s heavy, hard, dark and the production is great! The mix is somewhat scaled down to what we sound like live, compared to previous albums I believe. Daniel Bergstrand in DugOut Studios did a great job in bringing forth what Sparzanza is all about. We have videos to both “Announcing The End” and “Vindication” coming up soon. The “Announcing The End” video is gonna be something really cool, but right now it´s a secret to be revealed soon what it is about. The “Vindication” video will be released around Halloween, and you will understand why when you see it. 

M.I. - “Announcing the end” can be purchased in vinyls or CD format and you also have t-shirts, coasters and posters… do you think this merchandise appeals to more fans?

Yeah, especially the vinyls! Vinyl has become a really good merchandise today. A lot of people have started to buy vinyl again. I am collecting a lot myself, I love it. And the cover is gonna look great on vinyl. And everyone needs clothes and beer coasters of course! 

M.I. - All of your albums include a few tracks with suggestive titles “When death comes”, “Alone with a loaded gun”, “Coming home in a bodybag”, “Euthanasia”, “Dead rising”... that seem to be about suicide and maybe depression. Do you approach this theme in your tracks at all?

“Alone...” is about suicide yes, or about the feeling that all is lost and that is the only way out, but you need to be saved, you need someone to listen and help you. I know that song has touched a lot of people, even been tattooed on some fans, which is so cool to be able to do that with our songs. “When Death Comes” is a song written from a person’s perspective on his death bed. Some people misunderstood it as a song about suicide, but it’s really not. But that missfired on us, cause radio refused to play that song because of the lyrics. So, we approach some hard topics sometimes, yes! 

M.I. - Recently Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, two unmistakable vocalists, have committed suicide... do these deaths and suicide in general affect you? Do you think mental illnesses are often undervalued?

I know it’s undervalued! A year ago someone that I knew decided to end his life. No one suspected anything at all, it was really a suprise to us all. So there you go, it’s undervalued like hell, and raises questions like why did he not get help, or if he tried why did no one hear his cries for help. And regarding mr Cornell and Bennington, it’s like what the fuck...some of the best vocalists in the world, guys probably able to do whatever the fuck they wanted in life....shouldn’t they be happy? It´s weird! 

M.I. - The photos of your facebook page all have a cool vibe and you seem to actually enjoy yourselves. What’s the best part about being in Sparzanza?

Hanging out with my best friends on tour! Having fun and be able to create something that we all can be proud of. That’s what’s best. We really enjoy ourselves a lot in this band! 

M.I. - The band has been more active live in Sweden and Finland... however there are some Sparzanza – The Black Cult from all over the world... like communities worshipping you... how can this be if you don’t seem to promote yourselves that much?

Internet has helped us a lot of course. It makes the world a bit smaller and since we are available all over the world we get fans even though we haven’t done that much marketing. And the fans we get are really die-hard fans, which is very cool. 

M.I. - The press release states that in 2017 “Sparzanza reach out to a wider audience with the goal directed to USA.” Why the US in particular?

It has always been a dream to tour the US for all of us. But we are also realistic and know that to break the US it is gonna cost and it is not easy. But we really want to go there so that is why. More realistic it will be easier to break in Europe first and to follow up with the US. 

M.I. - The band has even toured China which is a country that’s not very visited by bands of the western world... what was the experience like? Was there a cultural shock? What impressed you the most? And the least?

That was an experience of a lifetime! What a weird country, still very closed to the outside world. It took us 3 days to figure out how to connect to Facebook for example. We toured in cities where there are no tourists at all so everyone looked at us like we were aliens, everywhere. It was really impressive that there was that much people at the shows, even though marketing ourselves there was a bitch from Sweden. The Taxis and the traffic was absolutely horrible. I was sure we were gonna die every day when we sat in a cab. Crazy! And the pollution, shit! 

M.I. - Do you dedicate yourselves to music full-time or do you have jobs to pay your bills? If so, what do you do for a living and how do you manage both when there’s a tour?

We make money, but not enough yet so we have to do some work too. We all have great bosses so there is no problem touring when we want, that is cool. I work with music, with younger bands, rehearsal rooms and music education. The others do other different stuff. 

M.I. - The band interacts with fans quite a bit on social media… how important is social media for you?

The fans are important, and to interact with them is important. And social media is today the easiest way to do that. Sometimes it’s hard to notice and answer everything, but we try to show them that we care by just “liking” their comments and answer the best way we can. 

M.I. - When you first started off, the internet was still taking its first steps… what’s the biggest difference you see in the fans and their reaction to your music then and now?

Well, I don’t think that their reactions have something to do with the internet, but with the band becoming better and doing better and better music. But it has changed a lot since we started. Today it’s easier to get the fans reactions right away. Before it could like drop down a letter in the regular mailbox with a fan mail. That does not happen anymore. So, faster and easier to read the fans reactions about our music. 

M.I. - Please leave a message for the readers of Metal Imperium Webzine! All the best for Sparzanza! Keep on rocking on! 

Metal Imperium Readers, if you have read this long, then you are the greatest! Thank you for reading and listening! I hope you will like our new album and we will see you on tour soon! 

Questions by Sónia Fonseca