Witchcraft – Ola Henriksson (bass)

SMN had the chance to sit down with Ola Henriksson, bassist for Swedish band Witchcraft. Their new album Legend comes out on September 25, 2012 through Nuclear Blast Records. Enjoy our casual fireside chat with Ola and learn a little more about Witchcraft and what the band is all about. Also check them out on https://www.facebook.com/witchcraft.

Witchcraft. A name that conjures up images of fat old ladies stooped over a cauldron. Where did it come from and why such the plain jane name?

Ola: We wanted a classic band name and Witchcraft sounds like that to me.

 

You?re billed as ?psychedelic classic rock? or as a band ?inspired by 70s rock?. Labels are sometimes ambiguous as they are ridiculous ? how do you view Witchcraft in terms of the music you play?

Ola: I consider us as a Heavy Rock band. Inspiration comes from more than just the old 60’s/ 70’s scene.

 

So if I were to say ?wow, they sound like a dirty mix between Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Doors, and JET?, would you throw stones at me?

Ola: I wouldn’t throw stones at anyone even if they said that we sounded like Barry Manilow. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and if you think that we sound like that mixture it’s true, for you. I may not agree but it’s not a bad mix!

 

New Witchcraft (titled ?Legend?) is out this month in both Europe and North America this month. Give me 3 individual words to describe the album.

Ola: Heavy, Dark & Beautiful

 

Three new members joined for the making of Legend. Who are they, where did they come from, and how has that impacted the sound of Witchcraft?

Ola: We recruited Tom after watching him play live with his former band Bad Karma. He is 10 years younger than the rest of us but he plays the guitar like he’s 30 years older than us. Oscar, drums. He lives by his own rules and plays the drums hard and dynamic. We’ve known him a long time and actually had plans to recruit him when Jens quit back in 2006. Oscar asked Simon, who is known locally as the best guitarist around, if he was interested in being a part of Witchcraft and when he decided to join I knew we had something special going on. Of course it sounds a bit different with new musicians but you’d have to listen for yourselves because I can’t pinpoint everything, just that it’s better.

 

Now explain why you took a five year hiatus!

Ola: First we toured for 2 years on The Alchemist album and then we took one year off because we needed some time apart.  During that year, John and Jansson quit. After that Magnus and I decided to go for it even though it was only us two left. We spent a few months putting together ideas for the album, ( in the basement where we recorded the first album), whilst looking for new band members. When we finally found three new musicians it took us one year to finalize the songs for the album, then a few months of recording and now we are finally here!

 

How was it working with Jens Bogren on the album? He?s tended to work with some heavier Swedish acts. Curious as to how that transition was made to Witchcraft?s more soothing approach.

Ola: We knew him from before and I knew that he is one of the best sound engineers/producers around. We were looking for a heavier sound and when he said that he was interested we didn’t think twice.  He knew that it would be a different approach than on his previous productions and I think it was a pleasure to work with him!

 

Swapping from Rise Above to Nuclear Blast must been more PR, more tour support, and hopefully better distro for your music. What do you think are some of the highlights for signing to such a big name underground label?

Ola: As you mentioned we can reach more people with our music and that is important to me.

 

Being from Sweden and having spent many years touring Europe ? how important is the US market to you guys?

Ola: I love touring the US because the audience in USA love music. It is a very important market for us. I think we have toured the US more than we have Europe.

 

After doing some research, I stumbled upon a juicy tidbit of info that two of your songs were actually banned in Sweden? Who did you offend?

Ola: What? I didn’t know that…hehe, weird.

 

You?ve drawn influence from the likes of Pentagram to Grand Magus, have done splits with The Sword, and toured with Corrosion of Conformity. What sets Witchcraft apart from all these other guys?

Ola: We try to stay unique and do what we feel like. People don’t always like it but it’s better to be hated and loved than to be mediocre! Well, actually. Grand Magus is not an influence even though I enjoy their music from time to time ? and it was not reported really but we have not toured with CoC, it got cancelled because of Katrina.

A few fun ones?

  1. Favorite beer? Titan IPA and Innis & Gunn
  2. Favorite food on the road? I usually end up at the salad buffet
  3. Worst roadie you?ve ever hired and why? Haha, we’ve only had good ones!
  4. Describe the ugliest groupie that has entered your tour bus. Groupies!? There is mostly bearded guys that want to talk 70’s rock, hehe
  5. One band you?ve been stuck touring with that were just awful to play with? Never had an awful supporting act. All good ones!
  6. The best band you?ve had the pleasure of touring with? Graveyard
  7. Explain the bird on the album art of Legend. No explanation needed. Its a hawk.
  8. If you were stuck on a desert island what one thing would you bring with you and why? A fully loaded satellite phone so that someone could get me the hell out of there.
  9. If you could live in any other country, outside of Sweden, where would you put up residence? I would actually like to live in the US. I’ve thought about that before.
  10. What was it like the first time you were chanted back on stage for an encore? I can’t remember but it’s always a great feeling!

 

With Legend coming out?what final words do you have for the loyal Witchcraft fanbase?

Come see us live!

 

 

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