Interview with keyboard player Fredrik Hermansson of Pain Of Salvation by Danny on May 07, 2010“Road Salt One” is being released and “Road Salt Two” will follow in October, so I thought it was time to interview the guys. Daniel was touring with Transatlantic so I had a chat with Fredrik, the keyboard player.So Fredrik, you are one of the original members?
It depends how far you want to go back in the history of the band. I joined in ’96. I came in the band a half year before recording “Entropia”.Which change in line-up caused most problems? Christopher, Daniel, Johan, Simon?
It’s hard to say. They were all difficult. Maybe because of the timing, it was when Johan, the drummer, left. But we knew well in advance that he was leaving the band. He had told us, years before. And he stayed to help us out until we found Leo.The question is a bit linked to the question if musicians have a big creative input into the music of Pain of Salvation?
We have a big creative input. Of course, Daniel writes about everything, but often ideas appear that we are working on. Often he presents completed ideas to us, but not always. Still we have a lot to say about the songs. And we are also free to bring our own material.
But as long as Daniel keeps bringing on good songs, we got nothing to complain about. ;-)There are only four musicians on the cover of “Road Salt One”. Is there still no bass player?
No, the last half year, we had a bass player from Stockholm and it’s been working great, but we haven’t made him a proper member of the band yet. Let’s talk about the new album. There’s a lot of difference with the previous albums. It’s very bluesy?
Yes, it’s more seventies, more band orientated. It’s a big difference with earlier albums, but still it’s a natural step forward to take. Already on “Scarsick” we had this idea of a more band orientated sound and we developed that into this album. You call it more band orientated, but half of the songs don’t even contain drums?
True, but it all goes more together. There were a lot of songs now, we could record all at once, at the same time, in the rehearsal room. That was something we were aiming for from the start, to do the recordings as gigs, with hopefully just one take. We tried it before, but now we actually made it on several songs. Is it a concept album?
Yeah, in a way, it has a common theme. It deals a lot with different decisions you have made in your life. You can see patterns in the decisions you have to make. And you have to acknowledge the impact of every decision in your life. That’s he main theme.Where has the first announced subtitle “Ivory” gone to? You now call it part one.
Well it’s still there, but not that upfront. It was dropped, because, from a graphical view, it looked better on the cover. Why the title “Road Salt”?
It’s actually a word play. You can adapt it to the decisions you have to make, we talked about earlier. So if you have to choose a road, it helps if you have road salt to get rid of the snow, but it makes the car rust faster. So it has a lot of meanings.Does the upcoming part two also contain a hidden subtitle?
Yes, “Ebony”.And the style of the second part, is it going to be the same as this one?
Yes, they were recorded at the same time, so it goes in the same vein. It’s not going to be heavier?
No, I don’t know the songlist for that album by heart, but there are some songs that still need to be recorded. It should be in about the same style.Can I call “Sleep under the Stars” a joke sequel to “Disco Queen”?
I don’t think it falls under the same category. I like to think of that song as a universe of its own. It stands out. It’s the song that people get the most ideas from. There are so many great ideas for making a video of that song.
Remember that “Disco Queen” was questioned a lot by people, before we put it on the album. But at the end of the day, that’s the song people shout for at the shows. Did the disappearance of SPV make a lot of difference for you? Apart from not touring with Dream Theater?
Yes, that was the major effect. We had more touring planned, last year and the whole schedule was totally ruined. Then InsideOut was incorporated by Century Media, which was a good move. We had great backup from InsideOut from the start and with Century Media we have the same support. Is Pain Of Salvation attempting to become mainstream? You competed in the Melodifestivalen (a pre-selection for the Eurovision Songfestival) and I saw a voting going on on your forum to put you in the charts?
Well, we were in the charts. We entered at number 6 with “Scarsick” and still got no response from the Swedish media. In order to get that we participated in Melodifestivalen. The song we competed with was “Road Salt”. The competition is very much a platform for artists in Sweden. Sweden is very difficult. We never had any recognition here at all. And I always thought Sweden is a heaven for prog and metal bands?
Indeed, but you don't notice that when you are living here. Every time we go abroad and we see the line-ups of festivals, we always go “wow”. And it’s only abroad you hear of this bands. In Sweden, you don’t hear anything. It’s sad. ;-)Now president Bush is no longer president, will you tour in the US?
We were going to tour there, last year, but because of SPV the tour was cancelled. But we discussed it so many times and nothing has really changed there, certainly not with custom policies. Although the change of president was so significant, well, this might be a good time.Is there a tour coming up?
Daniel is touring with Transatlantic now and we have some recording to do in June and Johan, the guitar player is having a baby in July, so the touring will probably be in the autumn.
[b]Hope to see you then and thanks for the interview.