About Me

Interview with Sabaton

"(...)Through the gates of hell
As we make our way to heaven
Through the nazi lines
Primo Victoria(...)"

Recognize these lyrics? Those are from one of the most well-known songs of this band. They’re one of the most beloved groups of this decade, and maybe century. They’re touring all the time, but took some time to answer some of our questions. Pär Sundström, bassist and founder, talked about how it is like to have an History channel, own festival, cruise, etc. He even explained the concept of the stage’s clothes. Let’s go through Flanders Fields and sing along to this interview.

M.I - Hi there and thank you so much for taking some time to answer some questions. I know you are touring a lot and I can’t thank you enough for this.

Hi! We do. Even between tours, Sabaton is always full of different projects. The machine of Sabaton is always at full steam ahead. Own cruise, own festival, own TV channel. And the normal stuff, like tours and music!

M.I - Could you introduce yourself and talk a bit of your story?

I am the founder, bass player and manager of Sabaton for the past 20 years and this is basically everything I do. From when I wake up until I go to bed, I do Sabaton stuff. I am an extremely creative person, who can not stop to make new ideas. I email myself many times per day, reminders of new projects I have. Sometimes they are something small, like a detail for the stage set, but sometimes they are something as arranging my own festival, do a video game, new album, movie or so.

M.I - Who came up with the idea for your outfit onstage? 

The original idea with camouflage pants and the singer’s outfit, was for a music video recording in 2006 but it has evolved, and our current stage cloths were upgraded by our guitar player Chris.

M.I - Your main lyrical themes are based on war, historical battles and acts of heroism. Worldwide speaking or do tend to focus on your country?

We do worldwide. No country is too small to have a story. We just avoid more recent events to not become too political.

M.I - Historically speaking, who are your heroes?

It has always fascinated me with the few against the unbeatable odds and doing it anyway. The foolishness of making a statement by going down. Therefore, the album “The Last Stand” contains many favourite stories. Like the one about King Leonidas.

M.I - You have two YouTube channels: your main channel and a History channel. I wish, if I could have learned History like that, I probably could have improved my final exam (laughs). Do you have any help from an historian, or you search for yourselves?

The Sabaton History channel has a whole team of historians behind it. The host Indy is an historian, producer Spartacus is an historian. They both have different specialties. Spartacus is very focused on the European scene and events around a few past centuries, while Indy is more into the world wars. But there are more people behind this channel. The research team also has historians and the social media people behind it, are history students. Also, the editor is this, and the map animator. So, we feel we found the right team for making this channel!

M.I - 2012 saw the line-up change and afterwards Tommy Johansson was announced as a new member. Were there no hard feelings between band members?

I think the show at Wacken Open Air 2019 speaks for itself when we performed all together at the same time.

M.I - The American market is very difficult to enter for some bands, but for you it wasn’t the case. Did the crowds receive you well? What about, for example, San Francisco?

We sold out San Francisco and it was a great crowd. We sold out our entire last tour and for us the American market works well. But we work very hard, we supported many bands in a short time and invested all the money we made in Europe for several years. Some said we were crazy, but it worked.

M.I - Your music festival (Sabaton Open Air Festival) started in 2008 and is still growing. How did all start?

I always want to do something more. A simple release show for our album “The Art of War”, was not enough. So, I started a festival. Firstly, it was just an indoor 1-day event. But today it is 4 days, open air, 2 stages and attracts fans from more than 40 countries making it one of the most international Swedish music festivals.

M.I - On the 1st December, Sabaton Cruise X - The Battleship will take over after a decade. What can we expect from it, beside taking the Battle of the Baltic Sea to a new level?

We doubled up on the time spent on sea. And we have lots of surprises aboard. We never announced other bands or so before the cruise sails. We sell out the cruise within minutes and we think that focus should not be on what other bands are playing. But for sure, double time at seas opens for more possibilities.

M.I - “The Great War” was released on 19th July 2019. How is the tour going and how’s the reception of the fans been so far?

Fantastic, the tour is bigger than ever. The biggest Hartwall Arena in Helsinki sold out as the opening night is just amazing. 

M.I - “In Flanders Fields” we can hear a choir singing. Can you tell us the idea for it?

It’s the same people basically that has been singing on Sabaton albums since 2004. Some ladies and friends that come to the studio and sing with us. The idea of this specific song was to round off the album with something not as heavy as the other songs.

M.I -  On the 21st November, you released a music, followed with a video with Apocalyptica, called “Angels Calling”. What can you tell us about the story of the music and video? Who had the idea for it?

I had this idea some years ago. And I went to see Apocalyptica in Madrid to explain the idea. The idea of resurrecting an old Sabaton song in a more modern way, was when I was sitting in my favourite rock bar and realized how good this song is. It just needed some upgrading. And here we are now!

M.I - On the 23rd November, you started the premiere of “The Great Tour” of Europe in Helsinki, Finland and it was sold out. How did it go?

Haha, fantastic. I cannot say much more. Even if we still have some surprises for the rest of the tour, I am very impressed with how hard everyone had been working to make this show. Our band, Apocalyptica, our crew and the people behind building our stage set. I feel the Sabaton show is becoming what I always wanted it to be. A big show!

M.I - You are the headliners for some of the most important festivals. For that matter, do you have the ambition of being one of the biggest names of the Metal scene, after Iron Maiden or Judas Priest retire?

Of course, I have such ambitions. I am not so humble in this. Meanwhile, I have no wish to become the next biggest metal band in the world at the expense of others and I am not in a hurry. I will work as hard as I can to make it happen. 

M.I - Do you plan to come to Portugal (Porto and Lisbon)?

We have some plans yes. Unfortunately, nothing I can talk about yet.

M.I - And finally, any message for our readers?

Thank you for 20 years, we are happy that our fans have stayed so dedicated. Every night we see familiar faces in the audience. This means a lot to us. We will keep doing what we do if you guys do it too!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda