Hammerfall recently released one of their strongest albums in years, that being No Sacrifice, No Victory. Sea of Tranquility's Scott Jessup had the chance to interview Anders Johannson, Hammerfall's very capable drummer and brother of keyboard wiz Jens Johannson (Stratovarius), both being former members of Yngwie J Malmsteen's band. Anders gives us some feedback on such topics as the new Hammerfall album, touring and his drumming.
SoT: Hi Anders! Thanks for the opportunity to interview you. I've been a fan of not only
Hammerfall, but also your drumming for many years, from your work with
Yngwie J. Malmsteen and other projects.
AJ: Hello Scott, thanks, that's nice!
SoT: Line-up changes don't seem to have hurt Hammerfall, the new album No
Sacrifice, No Victory, is one of your strongest releases. What are your thoughts on the album?
AJ: It's our best album since Legacy of Kings in my opinion.
SoT: Whose idea was it to do a cover of The Knack's "My Sharona" for this album?
AJ: Mine! I think it's nice to make metal out of rock. Like Van Halen always did. That's where the idea came from.
SoT: How long will you spend touring this year to support the new album?
AJ: Around seven weeks in Europe. All sorts of festivals and three weeks in South America after that. Hopefully a US-tour as well.
SoT: Will you be performing a lot of the new tracks on this tour?
AJ: Yes, five or six.
SoT: That's great news for those who are really digging the new CD. Any countries the band wants to tour but hasn't yet?
AJ: Yes- Island, Paraguay, Australia and Korea are a few that come to mind.
SoT: Do you get much time for yourself to do your own thing on tour? Or is the schedule pretty demanding?
AJ: Yes and no. A lot of time and not demanding. It's a bit harsh on me personally since I drum for almost two hours a night. But I stopped drinking (not that I ever drank much) and that helps.
SoT: In your opinion, which do you think is Hammerfall's best album, andnd best song?
AJ: Probably Legacy of Kings and the new album. As far as songs go, "Heeding the Call" and "Life is Now" would be my picks.
SoT: I take it you are very happy in Hammerfall, as you have been a member
for quite a while now. How did you find playing their style of music to your previous works? Do you have more freedom to play what you want, say compared to with Yngwie?
AJ: Playing is easy mentally. You can sleepwalk thru. But sometimes it's fast and physical. Less freedom than with Yngwie. Live it's up to me really. With Yngwie it
was a more dynamic and musical environment with headroom for improvisations. Now it's a metal machine playing songs. But that's cool too.
SoT: Do you miss being in a band with Jens? It would have been interesting if you had joined Stratovarius. (They have been through some rough times; it's great to see the band is still going.)
AJ: Yes, he is a fantastic musician and a great guy. Their new album of theirs has some cool songs. Sometimes sort of like the Dream Theater style actually.
SoT: What got you into metal music?
AJ: I was neighbors with a metal band (Silver Mountain) and they asked me to join when I was 17. That pretty much started it all.
SoT: Who are your favorite drummers?
AJ: Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Simon Phillips, Ian Paice andTerry Bozzio.
SoT: Thanks for your time Anders, keep on rocking.
AJ: Thank you for doing this interview with me Scott!
(Click here to read our review of No Sacrifice, No Victory)