Bullet interview with Hampus Klang
Bullet are a force to be reckoned with. The Swedes have achieved a breakthrough in their home country with their NWOBHM-style music already. Europe has also taken notice. Now the band is about to release their new album ‘Storm Of Blades’ (5th September via Nuclear Blast). Can they take on the rest of the world?
I caught up with a laid-back Hampus Klang. The band’s guitar maestro seems to be very happy with the new record and is generally optimistic for the future of the band. Here is what he had to say.
Marc: Hampus, first of all congratulations. Bullet is now around for more than 12 years. Did you think even think that Bullet would last that long when you started?
Hampus: Yeah. I thought so (laughs). We started to play together when I was 16, Hell Hofer and I. We had nothing better to do (laughs). It really worked so I hope we play for another 30 years.
Marc: The new album is recorded and will be out in a couple of weeks. What do you think are the strengths of ‘Blades Of Glory’?
Hampus: This time around the album is more based around the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, the time from 1978 to 1982. I really love that period and lots of the bands. We played a little bit like AC/DC on the new album. We have a new guitar player Alex [Alexander Lybro]. It worked really well with him. We got some new energy from that I guess. We are very happy with the outcome including the album cover and everything.
Marc: The new album is the rawest you recorded so far. Did you plan that or did just happen?
Hampus: I think it just happened. We did lots of demo recordings in the rehearsal room – we have a computer these days, we are modern guys, you know. Gustav, our drummer, was the producer. He was very much into doing it rougher and more heavy metal.
Marc: How do you write songs. Is it a team approach or is it everybody on his own?
Hampus: It’s a little bit different from album to album. This time Gustav, Alex and I recorded a few riffs. We sat together in the rehearsal room and did lots of demos for the different songs. Adam [Hector – bass] did lots of the lyrics. Hell Hofer didn’t do much this time (laughs). We did different versions of all songs. Finally, when we were happy we went to the studio with the right versions.
Marc: How did the work in the studio go? Who was part of the production team?
Hampus: We wanted to do the songs in a new studio with a new producer and new people around us. Everybody told us that Pama Studio is the best studio in Sweden. So we went there to check it out. To be honest, I have never seen such a professional studio. So we decided to record it there. We met Magnus ‘Mankan’ Sedenberg there. He was very cool, so we said, ‘Let’s do the album together.’ It took a lot more time than we expected. So it was much more expensive than we thought. But it turned out to be great in the end.
Marc: You had a break in between recording sessions. You went on tour with Primal Fear. How did that go?
Hampus: It was kind of strange to be in the studio and next day we were on the road for a month and then three days later we were back in the studio. Every time when we recorded an album we said no gigs during the recording. It all worked out.
Marc: As you said the album is more inspired by the NWOBHM What are your biggest influences?
Hampus: For Bullet I have to say it is Judas Priest, AC/DC, Saxon, Wasp, Rose Tattoo, Accept, pretty much all the good 80ies heavy metal bands.
Marc: And who is the biggest influence for you personally as a guitar player?
Hampus: KK Downing is a heavy influence. He is a really good guitar player. And of course Wolf Hoffmann. there are so many good gear players. I am a little bit more into the song writing, the whole package, more than just the guitar hero stuff.
Marc: Next step for you now is to go back onto the road. What are your upcoming touring plans?
Hampus: It will be a European tour with Striker and Stallion. We will play 25 shows in 25 days. That’s for September and October. Then we are going to do Sweden dates. We don’t know what’s going to happen after that. Hopefully Australia, America and Japan. I don’t know. Let’s see what happens. We just want to go out and play. It’s as simple as that. Hopefully we can play more festivals and countries where we never played before.
Marc: Do you have any favourite songs on ‘Storm Of Blades’?
Hampus: I think my favourite song is ‘Riding High’. I love it. I wanted to write a song like that for many years. I never really achieved it. I wanted it to be like ‘And The Bands Played On’. Our guitar player Alex wrote most of that song. So he achieved it (laughs). I’ve been trying it for many years. I was really happy that we came up with that song.
Marc: How did Alex actually became part of the band?
Hampus: It was kind of strange when Eric left. We had no idea who to replace him with. In February we played some festivals and watched some 70ies bands like Sabbath and early Rush-type bands. I and Gustav we were really drunk. We watched a few bands and we said, ‘hey this guy was really cool. Maybe we should call him.’ So we got his phone number and he came over and we tried out. It really worked well. So we didn’t try any other guitar player. It was as simple as that.
Marc: As we said Bullet is around for 12 years. Where do you see yourselves in another 12 years?
Hampus: I hope I’m still alive. If I’m alive I’m happy. I think we probably go on the same like we have in the past. I would hope so anyway. As long as we have a good time it’s great.
Marc: Do you have a message for your fans in Australia?
Hampus: I hope you still have long hair and your leather jackets. Have a good time and drink beer everyday.