The Band: Air Raid
Answers by: Robin Utbult (bass)
Here we go with AIR RAID, a band from Sweden that is pure heavy metal. They are releasing their 3rd album to date, Across The Line, out in September 29th and they will be defending it on their international tour that will go across Spain. Keep reading to know more details about this strong heavy metal act and their new album.
AIR RAID from Gothenburg were formed in 2009 by guitarist Andreas Johansson. What do you remember of that time?
Rob - I came into the band around 2010 after Andreas and Johan founded the band and they had already changed members a lot, even before i came in. We all wanted to make the music we grew up to love and it was a time where we had no idea that there was some kind of "wave" growing. Im not a fan of labeling bands or genres, i just like to call it Heavy Metal and that was our goal from day one.
There have been recent some changes in your line-up, new guitar and new vocalist…
Rob - There have been some changes for sure. Johan Karlsson (guitars) had to drop out due to lack of commitment and because of his intensified studies at the university in Gothenburg. And thats when Andreas contacted Magnus Mild, he is a great guy that shreds insanely good on the guitar. A few months after that, around the end of last years europe tour, our singer Arthur had to leave for similar reasons, family, kids and so on. And thats when we contacted fellow Gothenburger Fredrik Werner. We knew of him and that he was singing in a AOR kinda band, we heard instantly that his Joe Lynn Turner/Soto-ish voice would fit Air Raid perfect. And it totally did!
Have those line-up changes affected the composition of new songs and eventually the publication of your new album?
Rob - Well yeah, we had to write the album around Fredriks voice in order to find his "sweet-spot" as a singer and we are really happy about that, because it turned out great. And in Magnus case its the same thing, he brought a lot of great riffs, solos and over all music to the album. We also recorded the whole thing in his studio with no other producer or anything. He has a real talent in getting the best sound out of the guitars, drums and everything else basically. The formation we have today is surely the strongest one we have had, both musically and on a personal chemistry level.
This year you are releasing your third album, “Across The Line”. How do you feel about it?
Rob - I feel its our best effort to date, its really more of everything and the creative height is on top. Everybody put their everything in this one and you can easily hear that.
How long have you worked on “Across The Line” and how was the composition process?
Rob - We worked really hard for 10 months writing the songs and then another two months of recording, mixing and mastering. So it all took a year basically. It was a hard process where we went "across the line" many times. But it was worth it because here we are with a great product that we are super excited to release. Andreas did most of the music and me and Andreas did most of the lyrics.
Regarding your previous albums is there any significant variation or evolution in your music?
Rob - This new one is more neo-classical and more packed with guitars and melodies.
I guess its a bit more "mature" as well, and that means that we have better songwriting nowdays. I am really satisfied with the result.
Night of the Axe and Point of Impact were very well received by public, I think with “Across The Line” the fans will not be dissapointed at all
Rob - I'm not someone who read alot of reviews or so but we sure got amazing feedback on both those albums and thats really great. Glad to hear that you also feel that this one is pleasing. Personally I think that this is by far our best album, its more maxed by every instrument and has more of everything. Also the production value is better than before, and last but not least Fredrik Werner delivers some monster vocals on this one.
Air Raid is often compared with bands such as Ambush, Black Trip or Bullet, how do you feel about it?
Rob - I did not know that, but I guess the thing we have in common is the Swedish herritage. I feel that we in Air Raid have a unique sound that no other band in the genre displays these days. Personally I am not a fan of comparing bands to each other or so, its all heavy metal simply.
One of the things I most appreciate in Air Raid is that you are a very versatile band, which can deliver a great scope of sounds and styles
Rob - Thats great to hear! Yeah I feel that we have a unique sound in the genre and that we bring something extra to the scene. I dont know any other band that blend the neo-classical guitars with the speed and catchy melodies that we do. Its alot of hard work behind the songs and we shure feel that its worth it, the new album prooves that and we cant wait to release this beast.
Some people talk about a new wave of traditional Swedish heavy metal, just another label or something more?
Rob - It's great that Heavy Metal seems to be alive and well and that there is hope for the future. When i joined Air Raid in 2010 i had no idea that there was some kind of wave to refer to. Neither did Andreas or the other guys. Personally, I am not a fan of the term NWOTSHM. I just want to call it Heavy Metal without any other label.
No matter if there is where a "wave" or not, we would still sound the same. Its just the music we grew up to enjoy, but its also nice that more and more people appreciate what we do, we are really happy about that.
“Across The Line” offers a great work on guitars, solos and riffs that define very well what heavy metal sound is or should be
Rob - Thank you very much. We have really gone far and wide on this one haha, its more guitar-oriented than ever before and Andreas and Magnus are killing it in both riffs and solos, and there are a lot of solos on this one. More than ever before as i said. But yes, its also as it should be if you ask me, full on heavy metal. We maxed everything on this one and it turned out great. More is more as someone famous once said...
Any favorite song in the album?
Rob - The album is all killers, no fillers. But if I have to choose one, i gotta say the opener "Hold the Flame". Its just a song that gives you a good hint of whats to come and it also got some great riffs, solos and the chorus really sticks to your brain like glue.
What bands have been a reference in your evolution as musicians?
Rob - I gotta say that bands like Scorpions, Judas Priest and Accept are probably the most played bands in my speakers throughout the years. Megadeth is also a huge influence bass-wise with David Ellefsons great tone, style and accuracy.
Any special promotion event, videos or the like?
Rob - We recently released our first official music video on youtube, its for the opening track "Hold The Flame". It's a fast, hard hitting absolute ripper of a track! Check it out and get a preview of whats to come on the album.
And between our europe tour in september/october and the show in japan in november we will stop by in Gothenburg to do a special "release show".
Non stop, that sounds great. Coming to Spain?
Rob - Yes, on the day of the album release (september 29) we head out on our longest tour so far, 20 shows during 25 days. Spain is included, Zaragoza 11/10, Madrid 13/10 and Bilbao on October 16. We are really looking forward to head out and play some action packed shows!
We will be checking and living it! Thank you very much for your attention Rob and congratulations for your great album
Rob - Thank you for the interview and the good questions, and your kind words about the album, it means a lot. To all our Spanish Raiders out there, see you in October on our tour and thank you for the passion and fire you feed us with! Raid on!