Hammerfall – Renew in SteelSunday, 18th August 2019
Dead Rhetoric: How does the band handle criticism these days – especially given the power of the people through social media to lash out at any move they deem not right?
Cans: I try to avoid reading it. As much as I love getting a good review, I hate getting judged by other people. Sometimes that’s an emotional suicide to me, so I try to avoid that. Social media nowadays, it’s not a plague but it’s not far from that because people are just sitting behind a computer and writing whatever they want. People are so rude, so mean to other people – and they don’t understand that. Words can really kill people. Sometimes I read (things) and the people don’t like certain songs – okay. It’s a matter of taste and what they expected from us. The moment you expect something from someone else, music from a certain band, you will be disappointed. That is just a fact. You should never expect anything, you should just take it for what it is. If there is a new album coming out, listen to it without comparing it to any other album or any other band. And then you can sort of analyze things. If you have too high expectations, you will be disappointed.
Dead Rhetoric: When looking back at the Hammerfall catalog, do you believe there may be an album or two that most fans underappreciate or undervalue that if they took it in again they would find more rewarding?
Cans: Absolutely. The album Infected, it was really misunderstood by the fact that people judged the album by the cover. It didn’t have Hector on the artwork – now in retrospect I would probably change that cover. We decided to do that, and some people hate the album even though they never heard it. We have met some people and asked if they listened to the album – they tell us they heard half of the first song and they thought it sucked. They decided to hate the album before they even heard it. The album itself in my opinion is very, very strong – solid compositions on that album that it’s worth a better destiny than this.
Dead Rhetoric: When it comes to your numerous cover songs you’ve done over the years, what’s some of the best feedback you’ve heard from the original artists you paid tribute to?
Cans: It must have been from the band Warlord, with “Child of the Damned”. Because eventually I became the singer of Warlord. That was the best review that you could ever get, to be honest. The band Stormwitch, the German band, when we did “Ravenlord”. That led to the band reforming and then going back on tour. That was cool – that was the whole idea, to put some light on songs that people didn’t know about. A lot of fans thought these songs were our songs. Sometimes you have to tell them it’s a cover song, and tell the people to check these bands out. “Angel of Mercy” from Chastain – the idea of covering that song is I wanted to hear what it would sound like with a male vocalist. I still believe that Leather Leone is one of the best female metal singers of all time.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you believe you’ve grown and changed as a person from the beginning of Hammerfall to today?
Cans: Same thing as with my voice I would say. I don’t really know the person who was singing in Hammerfall back in 1997-98. I think I grew as a person, I’m more confident in what I’m doing now. Back then, I was a little afraid of things. I didn’t trust the capacity of my voice. Now I know what I can do and what I can’t do. I’m also much better as a frontman, and I’m better in every possible way. Back then I was a little scared to be judged by people, like we were talking about with a bad review, back then a bad review I took it so personally. Now I know they are not right, because the people that you usually hear that are screaming the loudest, they are often useless themselves. I’m in a very good place today and in life.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you think is most difficult for the average Hammerfall follower to understand when it comes to the music business and decisions that have to be made within the band?
Cans: That we can’t really play everywhere. Every time you release a tour schedule, people are complaining. Oh- why don’t you come here, why don’t you come to this city? Take a look at the map- there are so many countries in this world. It’s impossible for us to be everywhere. If someone says come to Australia – okay. We will play Melbourne, and then someone is going to complain you played in Melbourne when they live in Sydney. If it takes us sixteen hours to get to Melbourne, maybe you can take a car ride a few hours to see us. We can’t really come to your home and play, it’s impossible. They are demanding a little bit, and we try our best to be on tour and meet as many fans as possible. We also have families back home, our kids they miss us.
Dead Rhetoric: Are there markets you are surprised that opened up to heavy metal during your career?
Cans: Let’s see here. We have been more or less everywhere. I think it’s interesting that South America is so strong for melodic heavy metal. It’s always a treat touring down there. We still play the same countries that we did back in the early days. I don’t have a specific country to add.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your views on the heavy metal scene currently?
Cans: I think that heavy metal in general, traditional heavy metal, is stronger than ever and healthier than ever. You have to keep in mind that in the 1980’s, it only lasted for ten years. Metal exploded and came about in 1981-82, and by 1987-88, it killed itself because all of a sudden it was more important that you looked cool than knowing how to play the guitar. The second coming of heavy metal now has been going on for twenty-two years. Maybe it’s not as big as it was back in the 1980’s, but I think we are at a very good level, a healthy level that will keep this movement going on for many, many decades I think. Funny thing is, the bands that were big in the 80’s are bigger now – a band like Iron Maiden. They are way bigger than they were back in the 1980’s.
Dead Rhetoric: What does the next twelve to eighteen months look like for Hammerfall in terms of touring and promotional activities? How much longer can you envision Hammerfall continuing?
Cans: Now we will focus first on the summer festivals here in Europe. We will turn the page to fully focus on Dominion. We will tour the week after the album comes out in Columbia, the three release shows in the US – and directly fly to Japan for shows. Be home for two weeks, then come back to North America for the Sabaton tour. In 2020 there will be a European tour, festival tours, and for sure be a really long North American tour as well. We are busy all the way to Christmas 2020 touring. That is what we are going to do, and meant to do.
I would say as long as we can keep up our health, and as long as it’s fun, I don’t see the end for Hammerfall. I believe that within the next ten years we will still grow as a band, and establish in Europe that we will be the next headliners for many festivals. We need to wait for some of the bigger bands to step back, to make some room for the next generation of headliners. I see Hammerfall there within the next ten years. As long as we can make music that makes sense, I’m going to do this… I don’t see an end for this.
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