Dragon Slayers BLOODBOUND are back with a new album this week. Rise Of The Dragon Empire is their latest quest and it is a tale of nobility and bravery. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham spoke with keyboard master Fredrik Bergh. They spoke about fantasy influences in their music, the upcoming album and their favourite places to tour.
Hello Fredrik, thank you for joining Rock Out Stand Out. You’re due to release Rise Of The Dragon Empire which is a follow on from War Of Dragons. Is there some kind of story behind both albums and do they follow on to the other?
I think some of the songs are based on Game Of Thrones. For the last three albums, our guitarist Tomas [Olsson] wrote all the lyrics so he’s the one responsible for the stories. I can’t speak too much about the lyrics as Tomas is the dragon fan. He is a really big fan of the fantasy things. He’s the one responsible for the lyrics and the last two albums are concept albums.
When you mentioned Game Of Thrones, it confirmed one of my thoughts. The song Blackwater Bay reminds me of the realm King’s Landing, which is grand and regal yet tyrannical.
I also think the song Balerion is Game Of Thrones based, I think it’s the name of a dragon. It could also be from another dragon story. I don’t think it’s tied to Game Of Thrones, I think influences come from all over the place.
I found when listening to the album, it takes you away to far away land for that hour. You can imagine yourself going to fight dragons. Be sure to pass that on to Tomas.
You know there are lots of people who are really into fantasy and dragons. It’s a great theme. Even though it’s considered a cliché, as lots of people touch upon this subject many times. I think the most important thing is the song writing, the melodies, the music and of course the lyrics. It’s important that it’s not done in a cliché way.
Do you have a favourite song from Rise Of The Dragon Empire?
I have a few. I really like the title track. I also like Skyriders &Stormbringers, Magical Eye, The Warlock’s Trail and I think my favourite is Balerion.
With the title track, I like the fact it shows Patrick [J Selleby]’s versatile vocal range. His vocals are low during the chorus then there’s the scream before the guitar solo.
He’s really been developing as a singer. The funny thing about the title track was that it wasn’t supposed to be on the album. We already had all the songs for the album and then Daniel
[Sjögren] went into the studio to record the drums. He recorded them throughout the week and after that, we were going to start mixing the album. A couple of days before the drum session, Tomas had another song done.
He sent the demo to us a couple of days before as Daniel needed the song to be able to record the drums. Everyone had to work really quickly around the song. I had to work on the keyboard arrangements and the vocals. We recorded the drums then mixed the track. Of course, the track doesn’t sound rushed now but that was story behind it and now it’s the lead track of the album. So, it’s good we recorded that song because it’s a stand out track for the album, I think.
Given that the title track wasn’t originally meant to be on the album, would it have still been called Rise of The Dragon Empire?
We had the working title for a while. In fact, we had the title before we started writing the songs. All of a sudden, we had another song to work with which became the title track.
I would like to touch upon the track Reign Of Fire. I thought that track was beautiful, it feels you with hope. It brings fourth emotions.
I will pass those comments onto Patrick as he wrote the track. I think he wanted do a track in a musical style. That track has very dramatic melodies and vocals. I think it’s a very cool song.
Alongside the album, you are releasing a live DVD of your performance at Bang Your Head Festival 2017. Did you guys pick that show to record for your live DVD? If so, why?
The video crew who filmed that festival had filmed lots of concerts and they film that festival every year. I think they were fifteen cameras filming this. They offered to film each song and to put it together for a price. When we went on stage, we didn’t intend to record a live DVD because we didn’t think we would use it. We got one of the tracks and it looked great. So, we asked the record label if we could include it as a bonus and they wanted to do it so that’s why we did it.
Speaking of live shows, you will be touring with Dynazty and Manimal soon. Hoping that comes to the UK, we would love to have you back.
You know we really want to come back to the UK. We have people asking us on Facebook all the time if we’re going to come back to the UK. We are working on that and we have been working on it for a while. We are thinking after the summer, we will look at coming back to the UK for a few shows. I think we should have about one year after the Sabaton and Alestorm tour as we came away with a lot of new fans. I feel bad that we haven’t made it back to the UK.
Where are your favourite places to tour?
For some reason, we have been playing in Czech Republic a lot. They have been into Bloodbound from day one and we have been playing there since 2008. We usually play the festivals over there too such as Metalfest and Masters Of Rock. So Czech Republic is a great place to play for us. Also, some places in Germany.
When we played in the UK with Sabaton, we didn’t know what to expect. People are usually going to be sceptical, especially if they haven’t heard us before. Once we played a couple of songs, we had really great audiences. So as long as the crowd is great, it doesn’t matter where we play.
On that particular UK tour, you were opening up for two huge names in metal so the pressure was on. You did very well.
Thank you, it was a very good tour. At those shows we sold merchandise, lots of stuff. So, we really want to come back to the UK. It’s only a matter of when we will come back to the UK.
Did you enjoy playing Birmingham on that tour?
It was good. Birmingham was cool to play in and the audience were great. That’s what I remember, it was a great crowd.
What is your favourite track off War Of Dragons to play live?
I like Battle In The Sky, that’s great to play live. I also like Stand & Fight, that’s a really good live song. Fallen Heroes is great to play live too. It’s a very live orientated album, the songs on that album are written to be played live.
Which tracks of Rise Of The Dragon Empire are you looking forward to playing live?
I think the title track is going to go down well. Also, Skyriders & Stormbringers. For the first leg of the tour, we won’t be playing too many songs from the new album as it’s due for release the same day the tour starts. We can’t play four or five songs that people haven’t heard yet. We’ll play the singles that are released so Rise Of The Dragon Empire, Slayer Of Kings and The Warlock’s Trail.
What does the rest of 2019 hold for Bloodbound?
It looks like we will be going to Japan for the first time in August. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan because they are into music in a different way to Europe. It’s a completely different culture. It’s somewhere I have always wanted to go. We are also playing at Sabaton Open Air and we also have a festival appearance in Spain. It looks like we will be heading back to the United States as well but I think that will be next year.
Thank you Fredrik for joining Rock Out Stand Out and best of luck with the album release.