"It feels like we’re a different band now."

June 7th, 2007, by Tobe

Over the course of more than 11 years Sweden’s BLINDSIDE have come a long way. From their head-turning debut album "Blindside" in 1997 to their devastating sophomore album "A Thought Crushed My Mind" (still being one of the best metallic hardcore records ever made, long before the word Metalcore even existed), to their commercial breakthrough albums "Silence" (2002) and "About A Burning Fire" (which undeservedly didn’t get released in Europe in the end), all the way to their latest studio album "The Great Depression" - Blindside have more than proven themselves as a band of great musical ability and deeply moving lyrics. After their success in the US over many years, they made the decision in 2005 to finally return to Europe and focus on building up a fanbase on their home continent. Now in 2007 the band is on to new things and fans are eagerly awaiting another great release. On May 14th [the day of the foundation of the state of Israel], when Blindside were right between two major tours - just having finished a tour with AFI and right before a series of support shows for Linkin Park - we sat down with the guys at their headlining club show in Cologne, Germany to find out more about what Christian, Tomas, Simon and Marcus have been up to and what it means to be in Blindside in 2007!

What does Blindside have going on right now, what can fans expect from Blindside in the near future?
Christian: We’re releasing an EP soon and it’s gonna be called “The Black Rose EP”. It will have five new songs on it [including “The Way You Dance” and “Pretty Nights”, which the band has already been playing live] plus three live recorded songs from a festival called “Hultsfred” in Sweden. We’re probably going to tour more in Europe and try to promote this. We have in the states a lot before but now we’re trying to go for Europe a lot more.
Which live songs are on the EP?
Christian: Um, it’s “My Alibi”, “Fell In Love With The Game” and “When I Remember”. The EP will be out June 18th!
A little while back you were touring in South Africa. I guess a lot of people can’t imagine South Africa having an actual music scene compared to how it is in Europe or the US. How did you get hooked up with the opportunity to play there and how was it for you there also considering the cultural difference?
Tomas: We’ve been wanting to go there for a really long time and finally we got the opportunity to actually do it. We found some good contacts while we were in England last summer and so we managed to do a little tour there. I think it was five days and a smaller festival and it were really good shows. I mean the music scene is not that big in South Africa, it’s very divided in-between all the cultures and stuff like that, but it was big enough for us to go down there and have really good shows and a really good time.
Christian: It was just a great experience, a lot of emotional…I mean it’s a country that’s been through so much horror and also a lot of forgiveness since Apartheid ended. It’s a country with a lot of violence but it’s also the most beautiful country we’ve ever been to, I think I can speak here for all of the guys in the band. And as Tomas said, the shows were amazing and it was like these emotional shows were everyone knew the lyrics and sang along.
One time we played in Capetown and this little boy that I got to meet two years ago - he’s called Yemkela - that I didn’t think would survive because of HIV, he was fully alive and he was now adopted by my friend who lives down there. He was at the show and was singing his song “Yemkela”. That was a really powerful highlight for me on that tour.
It’s been awhile since you’ve been in the states and went to Europe to do your “much needed” European appearances to simply (re-)connect with the people over here. Because of that there might be some kind of an uncertainty among the people what’s really going on with Blindside right now. What do you want to let the people know, what kind of things happened for Blindside over the last two years?
Simon: I think since 2005 where we kind of left the states, we had talked among the band about the future a little bit, see what the next goal is, what we gonna do next basically and we just thought that we should go to Europe. We decided really that we needed to go to Europe even though we hadn’t anything going for us here, we just decided it was time, for a number of reasons. And it felt really good actually cause we’ve been to the states so many times that at every show people were saying “I have seen you three or four times this year” and it got to a point where it was like, there’s nothing interesting in that, cause we play kind of the same songs and you just come back with different bands and different tours. So I think it’s good actually that you let people wait for a while and just get excited again. And I think it was the same thing for us, it wasn’t as exciting to go to the states anymore. I think we needed to play in front of different people and I think what has happened is that when we played in Europe we played a lot of festivals where a lot of people didn’t know who we were. So you had to really get people excited, you had to win the crowd over which we hadn’t done in a while. I think that meant a lot for the band and we tried to put something different into the show and it was definitely kind of a pioneering spirit going on with the band.
The next time when we come back to the states it’ll be a totally different athmosphere. I think so at least. It feels like we’re different band now. And it’s good to see other cultures, meet other people and bands too. Playing with bands from other cultures is just a different thing and I think that’s been really interesting for us and I think we’ve matured a lot.
As far as uncertainty it’s the same thing for us, too. We’ve been uncertain about what we’re gonna do, we haven’t had a grand plan, but I think we feel really positive about the future and are glad to be kind of starting over again.
Tomas (bass), Marcus (drums), Simon (guitars, vocals), Christian (vocals)
Right now you’re about to release the new EP but most people probably don’t know where it’s going to be released and how the label situation is for you guys. What do you wanna let people know as far that goes?
Simon: It’s a little bit up in the air, for sure. What we’ve done is that we licensed the record to a couple of companies in Europe and we’re probably going to release it in these countries in Europe, like Northern part of Europe. Germany, England and Scandinavia will have the actual record and for the rest of the world we’re releasing it through our webpage somehow like a digital thing, but we’ll probably have something on our webpage as well so that you can also buy it, like the actual product.
All your albums in the past always had a really strong spiritual attachment to it and showcased your progression as a band as well, like you were saying that you matured over the last two years. Thinking about “The Great Depression” and the contradiction of cultures as with the depression in Africa and the different kind of depression in the Western world that presented itself to you, what would you say with a title like “The Black Rose”, at which point are you right now, what is moving yourselves and what has brought you to the point you’re at right now?
Christian: Well, it’s really hard to say at this time. Usually we know these things more afterwards, but during “The Great Depression” it was kind of like a heaviness over the whole situation, just personally and it seems like that’s the way God does it for us you know. He let’s us go through things and then afterwards we see what he wanted to tell us kind of. At this time it seems like we’re somehow pregnant with hope in a way. There’s a new spark in the band that wasn’t really there before I think, even though the circumstances sometimes are not so good as far as what you see in the physical…But it’s really contradictional in a way because we’re getting on a lot of big tours now, so there’s a lot of good things now also in the physical that are starting to happen for the band. But as we were saying, when we went over to Europe we didn’t have anything going for us, at all. We just felt that we should be here and stuff.
As far as the “Black Rose EP” it’s not like something that we just… we don’t want to have it viewed as something we just threw together. We wanted to make it a real good “product”, something that would stand by itself. And I think, “The Black Rose” has something to tell us individually as a band but also maybe some other kids out there. So far we have kind of deciphered a little bit like half of the songs are about losing yourself and half of them are about finding yourself kind of. I believe that’s it.
Looking back at the Blindside of the past and all your records so far you’ve spoken for yourselves and people know you as being really passionate about your beliefs. Yet, like you were saying, it’s not always easy to know where you’re at at the very moment, because God is doing things through you just like he has been in the past. As you’re now at a kind of new start in Europe, in which connection does that new spark of hope stand to your current situation as you’re playing together with bands that you haven’t played with before and also re-unite with old friends like Linkin Park. How do you feel about that at the moment?
Simon: I think for some reason it feels almost like that it’s transforming from one thing to another and it feels like we’re in the middle of it. We don’t know where it’s gonna lead, if it’s gonna be like “These bands took us on tour in Europe, maybe that’s for a reason, maybe we should do more in Europe.” or if it’s like “We got to know these people and that’s the door opening in the US for different bands...” It’s very hard to know what it’s gonna bring, but it feels really positive right now.
So it’s like this is the ultimate spark of hope, that you’re at a moment right now where you’re almost expecting things, because the time is ripe for you guys. Because it’s been a journey up to know, a different kind of journey. Is that what you meant by sparkle of hope, that you’re really excited about hitting it hard again so to say?!
All together: Yeah!!...Exactly!!
Christian: Yeah, and we’re getting there. As we said it’s a different vibe in the band now than it was two years ago. That’s really all I can say.
Simon: I think it’s a little bit like…cause we’ve been playing for so long and we’ve seen a little bit of ups and downs and other bands succeeding and going down and stuff like that. As far as career and things go it doesn’t feel like we’re that dependent on certain things going well.
So you feel like kind of a free agent right now, do you?
Simon: Yeah!
Which is actually an interesting thing because you’re at home, in Europe, and before you came here you didn’t really have anything going. Just like it was for you many years ago with your first US tour (the story you told on the DVD that many people have seen), that there were things that you didn’t know, but you just went and did a couple days of bowling with your first tour being totally up in the air.
All together: Yeah...haha.
Christian: Yeah we’re kind of at the same point right now. We don’t know what’s going to be next, but we’re really, really excited!!
Interview by Tobias Reiss

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