March 21, 2018 Interview – Pär Sundström of Sabaton Talks Life On The Road
With over a decade of historical-action Metal behind them, Sweden’s Sabaton are left-lane speed junkies when it comes to cranking out albums, worldwide tours, and unique fan experiences. Recently concluding a co-headlining U.S. run with Thrash Metal vets Kreator, the award-winning Sabaton have plenty more to come in 2018. In fact, just days after the U.S. tour ended they released a brand new music video covering Manowar’s “Kingdom Come,” combined with scenes from the new game Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Amidst it all Sabaton Bassist Pär Sundström sat down to talk about their fast-tracked year thus far, their return to 70000 Tons of Metal Cruise, teaming up with Kreator, and whether new music is headed the fans’ way.
CrypticRock.com – Let’s start with a quick rundown of your time on the 70000 Tons of Metal Cruise back in early February. The sold out, exclusively Metal cruise is a huge attraction, so please, tell us about your time at sea.
Pär Sundström – We have been on 3 issues of 70000 Tons of Metal, including the very first one. There are a lot of things happening aboard, too much to remember now though. It’s a fun cruise, a bit different from our own Sabaton cruise.
CrypticRock.com – Definitely a bucket-list experience for Metal fans. Please tell us you took part in “Metal Karaoke” aboard the ship?
Pär Sundström – Our guitar player, Tommy, sang the Heart song “Alone” at one time.
CrypticRock.com – “Alone” is a classic! Hopefully someone took a video of that. Describe hanging out alongside fellow Metalheads/fans in such a leisurely setting; why is it important to offer these experiences to fans?
Pär Sundström – The boat is very big and it’s hard to meet everyone, but occasionally we ran into each other.
CrypticRock.com – Of course, but the general camaraderie of fans and artists hanging out and enjoying 24-hours of Metal makes it a worthwhile experience. You guys recently wrapped up a tour with Kreator: explain how this came about, had this been something both bands have been wanting to do?
Pär Sundström – There are many things involved into this: we know each other since a long time, and Kreator played our own festival, Sabaton Open Air, a while ago. We are also on the same label Nuclear Blast, and we both were on 70000 Tons of Metal. We both had a will to tour North America at this time, so we went on with it.
CrypticRock.com – Sounds like a perfect fit for both of you. In Sabaton’s last interview with CrypticRock, back in 2016, Joakim had mentioned for American fans/press to “be nice” to new member and guitarist, Tommy Johansson. How did we do? Did Johansson enjoy his time in the U.S.? What were some of his favorite parts of being in Sabaton and what is he looking forward to for this tour?
Pär Sundström – Tommy fits great into the band, and I think America is his favorite place to tour now.
CrypticRock.com – Nice! The U.S. seems to love Sabaton as well; many of your shows on the tour were sold out. Speaking of favorites, is there a state or venue you always look forward to during tours? Which state has some of the best Sabaton fans?
Pär Sundström – Not any specific. Personally, I love the warm weather which is why I prefer the South. But in terms of best crowd or so, we can see a pattern where we played a lot. For example, we have been many times to Worcester, MA, and when we now did Boston the crowd was really dedicated.
CrypticRock.com – After your U.S. tour (February-March, 2018), you head all over the world: Spain, Mexico, Japan, Australia. You guys are no strangers to worldwide tours, so tell us what draws you to such an expansive touring schedule and why it is important to reach so many fans at once?
Pär Sundström – We have not been diverse in how we tour before. We have always had a clear way of doing this: first Europe, then North America, and then the other parts; and we have followed through this.
CrypticRock.com – Ahh, sounds like you have a good system. Without spoiling the setlist, are there any performance surprises in-store for fans? Pulling out any old songs or covers you’ve been wanting to do?
Pär Sundström – We change around a bit. Before the tour started we asked the fans to send in ideas for songs to play and we adjusted some after fans’ requests.
CrypticRock.com – That is a really great idea, and again, always keeping your fans at the helm of your endeavors. Any specific plans now that the U.S. tour is concluded?
Pär Sundström – We just quickly catch our breath and hit Australia for the next tour; we have just a few days to see our families.
CrypticRock.com – Tell us what fans should expect from the band in 2018. What are some of the band’s goals for this year? Any new material in the works?
Pär Sundström – We will start writing a new album when this touring cycle is done in the spring, but I cannot reveal more about this. Of course, we already have dates set for future tours, release dates and such, but they remain confidential until later.
CrypticRock.com – Of course. Many fans will be eagerly awaiting your next move. While we have learned in interviews past that Joakim is not too much of a Horror movie buff, we are still hoping one of these years he will come to us with a superb Horror flick recommendation. So, have you seen any good Horror movies lately? And if not, what was the last great movie, documentary, or series that you watched?
Pär Sundström – Actually, I have not been able to watch any movies at all the last 6 months! But I did play some video games and Until Dawn (2015) was a really good game.