Swedish metal band Enforcer released their fifth studio album, “Zenith”, through Nuclear Blast Records back in April. Since then the band have been playing festivals across Europe and recently completed a two month tour of North America. In December they come back to Belfast as part of a tour supporting label-mates Municipal Waste – playing in The Limelight on 5th December. I arranged to speak to Enforcer frontman Olof Wikstrand via Skype on 18th November to chat about the latest album, the upcoming tour and much more.

You can find that interview on the Friday NI Rocks Show for 22nd November which is available via our MixCloud page at www.mixcloud.com/NIRocks/interview-with-olof-wikstrand-from-enforcer-on-the-friday-ni-rocks-show-22nd-nov-2019/

 

 


 

 

Playlist

MÖTLEY CRÜE – Looks That Kill

BIFF BYFORD – Welcome

TYGERS OF PAN TANG – Destiny

BLITZKRIEG – Schools Out

JORN – Lonely Nights

SILVERTHORNE – Black River Rising

ROSCO’S RIOT – Sweet Midnight

ENFORCER – Die for the Devil

Interview with OLOF WIKSTRAND Pt1 (5 min)

ENFORCER – Searching For You

Interview with OLOF WIKSTRAND Pt2 (5 min)

ENFORCER – Zenith of the Black Sun

Interview with OLOF WIKSTRAND Pt3 (6 min)

ENFORCER – The End of a Universe

SINOCENCE – In Kymatica

IRONHEART – Revolution Calls

THUNDER – Back Street Symphony

L.A. GUNS – Gone Honey

WILDSTREET – Three Way Ride

SAVAGE HANDS – Demon

CYHRA – No Halos in Hell

LAST IN LINE – Blackout The Sun

EDGE OF FOREVER – Promised Land

WAITING FOR MONDAY – End of a Dream

PRETTY MAIDS – Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You in Heaven)

CONJURING FATE – Burn the Witch

JOHN HARV’S TWISTED MIND – Wolf at Your Door

 

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NI ROCKS – Hi Olof, thanks for taking some time to talk to Rock Radio NI. Enforcer released their latest album “Zenith” at the end of April. The first track released from that album was “Die for the Devil” which we’ve just played. What can you tell us about that track?

OLOF – We wanted a powerful, like heavy metal anthem, opening track for the album. That was kind of the idea and we had this riff and idea for the song in our mind since way back. That was how it was created; with that in mind.


NI ROCKS – Why did you release that track first?

OLOF – I think it was a great idea to release an actual anthem. Something that was stripped down and like a fist in your face kind of song. It also showed a little bit of development in the band, but which was also very true to what we’d been doing before.


NI ROCKS – It had been four years since the release of the previous album “From Beyond” in 2015. Why was there such a long gap this time around?

OLOF – Mostly because we were touring a lot between 2015 and 2017. We simply didn’t have time to sit down and write music during that time. We were on the road almost constantly for those years. We took the majority of 2017 to actually sit down and write a new album. All of sudden it turned out to be four years time. Time passes quickly I guess.


NI ROCKS -  I’ve been reading some other recent interviews with you over the past few weeks and you’ve consistently said that “Zenith” is the most ambitious album to date and probably the most labour intensive. How do you think that is conveyed in the final tracks?

OLOF – Yeah, I’m extremely happy with it. I think it’s the best album we’ve ever done. There were a lot of different musical ideas coming into it; not just like one.......it’s very varied and that’s what I love about it. It manifests all of my musical ideas with the band and musically pretty much everything I listen to. I’m really happy about that. I think it’s an album that stands out from most other generic bullshit stuff that is released today. It is an album that will hopefully stand the test of time.


NI ROCKS – Yeah, it’s a great album. Where was the album actually recorded and who did you work with in terms of production, mixing etc?

OLOF – The drums were recorded in Stockholm, but the rest was in our hometown of Arvika. I produced and recorded the entire album, together with my brother who is the drummer. He lives in Texas so he did some parts at his end and I did some parts at my end. The final mixing we did together.


NI ROCKS – When did song writing actually start for “Zenith” and has the band developed a fairly standardised process for creating new tracks or does each develop differently?

OLOF – We mostly write music in our heads and I think we write music constantly more or less. It’s like a process or flow that constantly goes on, depending on what you’re listening to or what kind of ideas you have in your head. Once we sit down and start collecting ideas - I think that was in June 2017, or maybe earlier.


NI ROCKS – Are the basics already in place for some tracks that might make it onto the next album – album number six – whenever that might be?

OLOF – It’s way too early to say. We’ll see what happens here first – what the response will be – and where we should take it from. If trends change and people start listening to other kinds of music and don’t buy our music anymore then I don’t know if there is going to be a sixth album. We’ll see – it depends on how it’s being picked up.


NI ROCKS- We’ll play another track from “Zenith” now. Do you want to pick a track and tell us something about it?

OLOF – Let’s play “Searching For You”.  It’s like a hit and run speed metal song more or less.


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NI ROCKS – Historically the Enforcer line-up for your studio albums has been fairly consistent. Yourself, of course, and your brother Jonas on drums have played on all the albums and Tobias Lindqvist has been on bass since the second album “Diamonds” in 2010. This is the first album however with new guitarist Jonathan Nordwall (in place of Joseph Tholl who had played on the first four albums). Did that change the dynamic at all in the band?

OLOF – Not when it comes to the song writing process because that is almost always something that me and Jonas have been doing – to about 95% at least! And that’s what we did this time also. Then we arranged the songs together the band and then we throw in some – Tobias has two songs on this album that he wrote on his own pretty much. It didn’t change a whole lot actually. Jonathan wasn’t really involved in any of the song writing or recording.


NI ROCKS – As you mentioned, your brother lives in Texas; the touring line-up for Enforcer does vary because of that. Who will be coming out on tour with you at the end of the month?

OLOF – Unfortunately Jonas isn’t making it, for the simple reason that he can’t for visa reasons. He has to spend a certain amount of days in America every year because he is applying for citizenship. So he can’t make it over this year because of that. But we’re having the original line-up, more or less, apart from that. We will have our old friend Chris Stephenson on drums, who has also played for us before. He did 4-5 shows for us in North America in 2016 and has also played for bands like Skull Fist and Chauldron before.


NI ROCKS – We mentioned the upcoming tour there but Enforcer have already toured in support of the release of “Zenith”, including an extensive two month tour of North America that only concluded a few weeks ago. How did that go and what were the highlights of that tour for you?

OLOF – It was really, really great actually. The big theatres are always great to play in North America. I’m really happy that we’re one of not a whole lot of European bands to have managed to get established in North America. That’s something that I’m really happy about. The shows – the big cities are always great like I said, but what surprised me more was that we had great turn-outs in even smaller cities this time that we didn’t really have before. Overall, I’m overwhelmed by the impact and how you see this new movement of real metal actually spreading across the Atlantic. That is something that we’d been seeing only in Europe before, but it’s coming to the US now. We see a lot of people who are really into real metal again; which is really great.


NI ROCKS – You’ve toured North America and South America quite a bit. In fact you’ve probably played nearly as many shows there as you have in Europe. That must be great for you as a band?

OLOF – We’ve been lucky that we’ve had the chance to play in North America. It’s really hard for European bands to get over there because of visas and flights and you have to have a solid booking agent  and shit like that. There are a lot of crooks around. We’re happy to have an American agency that takes care of us very well.


NI ROCKS – Your next tour is around Europe with headliners Municipal Waste and that kicks off at the end of this month. How long of a set will you be playing and will the focus be on tracks from the new album?

OLOF – Dude, I have no idea of what set time we have (laughs), but I would presume that we have at least 45 minutes. We’ll be able to squeeze in a whole lot of tracks – both old and new. We may focus on our three previous albums – “Zenith”, “Death By Fire” and “From Beyond” is the focus that we have, but also throw some older songs in there too.


NI ROCKS – We’ll talk more about that tour later, but let’s play another track from the new album first. Again can you pick a track and tell us something about it?

OLOF – We can do a song called “Zenith of the Black Sun”. The two previous songs were areas where we have been roaming around before. But this song is something new – something that emphasises the heaviness of heavy metal. Like something groovy and really heavy. It’s also a very epic song that starts somewhere and takes off in a whole lot of different directions before it ends. This is one of the songs that I’m most proud of on the new album actually.

 

 

NI ROCKS – We mentioned the upcoming tour with Municipal Waste. That tour brings you back to Belfast on the 5th December when you play the Limelight. You’ve played here before, but I think the last time was back in 2015. You only played Dublin the following year. And I think your first appearance here was with Airbourne back in 2010. Do you have any particular memories of your time in Belfast?

OLOF – What I remember from 2010 in the UK was that the audience hated us back then. We were booed off the stage in Glasgow and some other cities up there. They were like fuckin’ redneck audiences. They were shouting at me specifically – like I was, so to speak, a faggot for having tight pants or something like that. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience back then. But when we came back in 2016 it was very warm and welcoming. We had a great crowd and people were raging. We had an early Sunday show and we played at four or something in the afternoon. But people were raging and it was really good to come back and see how the scene developed from the first to the second show.


NI ROCKS – The Municipal Waste tour takes you up to mid December. What plans does the band have so far for 2020?

OLOF – 2020 is right around the corner, but I don’t think we have a lot of plans actually. We still need to go to Asia and also to South America at some point so I think that will happen in 2020. It has to happen in 2020. But apart from that; play festivals in Europe next summer and hopefully a short headline tour in Europe. That’s what we’re talking about; or co-headlining with another band. We’ve been talking to a couple of different bands about co-headlining. That’s something that’s in talks, but it’s way too early to announce.


NI ROCKS – The band is of course heavily influenced by the 80’s heavy metal scene. How did you get into that music and do you remember the first album that you bought?

OLOF – I’ve been into this music since the 80’s, I just never stopped listening to it. That’s the answer right there!

NI ROCKS – Do you remember the first album you bought?

OLOF – The first metal album was the “Black” album by Metallica. Almost the 80’s! That was my first own album that I bought my self. From there it was a lot of Metallica and also Guns n’ Roses and Iron Maiden and some other stuff in the 90’s. Megadeth, Slayer and from there it was all kinds of stuff like that. All of that still inspires me to do what I’m doing.


NI ROCKS – And can you remember the first rock gig that you went to?

OLOF – Yeah, there was this death metal band called Vomitory – they still play and they’re a great band by the way. They’re from a city very near to where I grew up. They did a show in our home town – I think it was late ninety-something. That was one of my first experiences of a rock show. But I went to see Slayer in 2001 and Manowar in 2001 and then Iron Maiden also one of those years, when Bruce came back and Judas Priest when Rob came back in the early 2000’s. When I was mid teenager. I was born in 1986. Unfortunately I didn’t catch any of those bands back in the 80’s because I was way too young


NI ROCKS – Do you still buy physical albums or are you a person who streams albums?

OLOF – To be honest I don’t listen a lot to new music. There are very few bands of today that catch my interest. I own a lot of records. I have a pretty huge record collection that I listen to still. I still collect some older bands, but that’s mainly for collecting. I’ve been more gravitating towards streaming services lately for the bigger or major bands. Then I’ll listen to whatever is not on Spotify on vinyl or cassette or whatever is available.


NI ROCKS – “Zenith” was released on vinyl, including a limited edition silver version. Have you got caught up in the vinyl buying craze? Do you collect vinyl?

OLOF – Oh yes. It’s all about the used collections.


NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions that I have, but we’ll finish by playing another track from “Zenith”. Again do you want to pick a track and tell us something about it?

OLOF – I think the next choice is yours.

NI ROCKS – Ok I will pick a track and play it. That’s great. Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us and good luck with the upcoming tour.

OLOF – Thank you very much, I hope to see you at the show.

 


 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 21 September 2021 22:17)