Interview Oscar Dronjak (HammerFall) – “This is the next step on the ladder”

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GRIMM: The name HammerFall, where did that come from?

Now we are talking ‘93 again. Basically I formed the band in my mind before anything happened. The first album was almost written and I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a heavy metal band. It’s supposed to have a name that is easy to say and to remember, and I wanted a name that didn’t mean something nasty. Because at that time a lot of death metal band and heavy metal bands had some weird names. I wanted a simple name that said heavy metal like Manowar or Iron Maiden, easy and succinct. I also wanted a name nobody else had, that was a really important point too. It happened to me once in a different band (Desecrator). We released a demo and all of a sudden there was a British band called Desecrator with an album. So we had to change our name. I didn’t want to end up in that situation again. I was reading the book ‘The Tommyknockers‘ by Stephen King and that’s where the name came from. I thought it was pretty cool, so I I looked it up in the dictionary and it wasn’t in there. So it was a good name.

GRIMM: Do you have a ritual just before you go on stage?

We all have our routines but it’s not like we gather around and do like a little peptalk or something. We don’t do that anymore. The hustle thing we did for the first ten years or so. Its been twenty-three years since the first album, so I think everybody is preparing mentally for the stage. Once the intro is going Joacim and I just do a fist-bump.

GRIMM: If you wouldn’t be a musician, what would you do for a job?

Realistically I would end up in music again, but if I got to live my life again and I couldn’t be a musician I would – and there is not the slightest doubt in my mind – work with animals. I would like to do that for a living. That would be the ideal life.

GRIMM: Wich band do you see as your inspiration for writing songs?

We got a couple, but from the very beginning my favorite bands are Judas Priest and Accept. There are many bands from that era where we get our inspiration from. I listen to a lot of music. I still buy vinyls today, which is something we’re doing on every tour. I always try to go to stores where I can buy them. They normally wouldn’t open today, but they opened for us. I found a King Diamond bootleg. Pretty cool! I found one in Germany a couple of days ago in a small store too. They didn’t have many metal vinyls but I bought six albums. I collect them but I like looking for new bands as well. In this store they put labels on the plastic that says the name of the band, title and what kind of music it is. So it’s nice to discover new stuff. I don’t like everything, but what I like I take with me. If I like something I usually love it. And if I love it, I never stop playing it. With heavy metal it’s a lifelong passion. It’s so great that I can still find music that I’ve never heard before. I’m forty-eight years old, and nobody listens to an album the same way when they were twelve. I try to do it the same way, but now you don’t always have the time to sit down and immerse yourself in the music. I get a little bit restless when it feels like I’m wasting my time. Even if you are not really wasting it since you’re listing to music. But still, you can do something at the same time. It’ll be stored into you subconscious.

GRIMM: Is there something you want to say to our readers?

We’ve been playing in Belgium on every tour, more than once sometimes since the very beginning, the first tour was in ‘97. We have a long standing relationship. We do appreciate everything. If you are not going to be at the show tonight you are definitely missing out on something. We have never been better, bigger and never had more fun. I hope you are going to be here tonight because its going to be a hell of a show. If you are not here, see you next time. We appreciate all the support. Thanks guys!

GRIMM: And thank you for the chat, Oscar. See you on stage!

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