Soilwork’s Bjorn Strid Talks ‘The Ride Majestic’ Album + More
Soilwork vocalist Bjorn Strid was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The rocker spoke about the band's tenth studio album, 'The Ride Majestic,' being the longest tenured member in the band and more. Check out the chat below.
Soilwork released the band's tenth studio album called The Ride Majestic. You guys have been doing a bunch of touring. Bjorn, which has had more of an impact on your lyrics on The Ride Majestic, more awareness of the world around you or maturity as a person?
I guess a little bit of both. I mean, we went through some really rough stuff. While recording the album, we had four deaths within our families. And it all happened during a month or so. So, that was obviously really rough and I think it really affected me how I approach the recording. I mean, lyrically the lyrics were already dealing with a lot of existential questions. So, I think that all those tragic events really put a spin on the whole thing. I think what we had to do was really let in the darkness in the end and kinda accept that. It was definitely not easy, but the music and the lyrics also became a big comfort in the end. I’m kinda glad we were in the studio together as a band. If we
just had, you know, like a year off and all of this went down, I don’t know what would’ve happened. It feels very real musically and lyrically and I think you can hear it if you listen to it.
As you mentioned, some of the band members' families were dealing with health issues and tragedies while you were making The Ride Majestic. How did making music help cope with the stress about worrying about them?
It’s hard to say. I mean, when you sit down and write something we usually write separately. I think, I’ve been contributing with a lot of songwriting lately and especially for the double album The Living Intimate and now for The Ride Majestic. I think it’s been a great way for me to express my feelings and building a song from scratch. I think that’s been a big challenge for me and with all of these tragic things going down I think, as weird as it may sound, it’s easier to create music that generates pictures in your head when something happened that close, especially with death. It’s a really a special feeling and obviously a scary one at that. It makes you really think even more about existential questions and where that person is now, you know, and you wanna kinda be where that person is. You don’t know if they just cease to exist, but it’s so hard to accept the fact that all those feelings and thoughts would just, you know, die. So, it raises a lot of questions obviously and I think that also affects the music and the writing in itself.
What would have been different about the Ride Majestic without the double album, The Living Infinite, preceding it?
That is a very good question because I feel that we really found something new with that album. I think that it was a crucial album for us to make. There was some lineup changes and we had Peter whom I started the band with back in ‘97. He quit the band in 2006, then he came back again for one album, and then he left again. It was pretty rough at time for sure, but then we found David and Sylvan and I think they brought something really, really interesting to the table. I think they also, you know, really challenged me as a singer. They threw me some stuff that, you know, it’s like “Wow, what is this?” because I was so used to writing stuff with Peter and it made me develop as a singer. I came up with an idea to make a double album to really challenge ourselves as songwriters. I think we really needed that in the end, to find something new rather than just, you know, “Let’s try to sound like Soilwork,” or whatever. I think we just needed to explore something and we really did. I think with “The Ride Majestic” I think we were really picking up where we left with “The Living Intimate.” It’s just slightly darker and has a melancholic atmosphere through the whole album, which is really interesting. It has that kind of Scandinavian blankly vibe that we had at the beginning of our career and I think especially David brought that back as well, very melancholic melodies and that's something I always enjoyed. I think it's really perfect soundtrack to where we are right now and what we've gone through.
Why is pressure an important creative tool for you?
It's hard to explain, but it's necessary because if you really get stuck with one album trying to recreate that - you kind of get a little bit lazy and a little - it tends to get very boring. I think we never could have done that, we've always had that healthy dose of pressure there. I think most of our fans out there have developed with the music and they always expected us to have some surprises for each album, twists and turns. I think that's always been a key thing for us to really develop our music along with that comes pressure. You need to be good, obviously. If you want to develop your music, it needs to come from the heart. I feel like it always has been, there's been lineup changes. We've always managed to surprise our listeners, including ourselves.
You're the one person who's been in Soilwork from the beginning. How do new people joining the band invigorate you?
I'm 37 now and I started the band when I was 17 so it's definitely been an interesting journey to say the least. It might look a little bit like a circus from the outside, when you see that many lineup changes. People might think, oh that Bjorn he must be very difficult to work with. But that's never been the case, i've never been much of a leader type. i've always embraced new ideas when new members come in. It's been very important that whatever member comes into the band, that that person doesn't have to adapt and adjust to playing Soilwork music. It's never like, oh, no you can't play like that. Oh no, that's not Soilwork. It's never been like that and I think that's one of the reasons why we've remained interesting. We've managed to develop our sound, we've been lucky enough to have people come into the band that have brought something real interesting to the table. With Sylvain and David coming in, especially. I think that brought a whole new dimension. Also, when Dirk as a drummer came in in 2005. I think he also brought a more extreme drumming, but still with a groove that really stands out today. He has a real unique way of playing it, it's real playful in general. I think that's also where we're at today. We have more of a playful approach to our songwriting. It's elaborate and it's interesting and fun.
Our thanks to Soilwork's Bjorn Strid for the interview. The band's 'The Ride Majestic' is currently available via Amazon and iTunes. And you can catch them on the road at these locations. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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