I am huge fan of Swedish breakers The Crown ever since the 90s and their legendary albums such as Deathrace King. Their guitar player Robin Sörqvist (who joined the band in 2013) shares my sentiments and he gave us fantastic answers straight from the heart. It is always great to see that the musicians are fans of their work and metal in general, so Robin is here to present to us The Crown’s new album entitled Royal Destroyer and other topics.
Greetings The Crown and welcome to the pages of Metal Sound! How are you guys doing these days?
Hi there! We’re all good. Adjusting to current circumstances is a bit dull but in parallel we’ve been going through very creative times music wise. The album will be officially released in less than one week. We have two videos out and the support has been all very good so far and I just received the vinyl and it looks smells and sounds terrific.
Royal Destroyer will be unleashed in a couple of weeks unto the world so can you guys tell us how are you satisfied with its final outcome, is there anything you would change about it?
The feelings are mixed in a bitter sweet stew. First off I’m really happy with the outcome of what we’ve created. We had a great time creating and rehearsing these songs. Turned some of them inside out, chewed on some riffs, rolled them around and spat them back out to something new. We really had the time to fine tune the songs. We recorded the whole album in like one week yet it was a very relaxed. I think practice and maturity makes the recipe for that. I personally can’t come up with anything I’d prefer to change at this moment. The album represents The Crown 30 years in raging n’ rolling death metal.
On the other hand it feels very awkward to release an album that we are very proud of and still be unable to perform or tour as you’d expect after an album release.
Your previous album Cobra Speed Venom saw a little bit of resurgence in quality comparing to a couple of albums that came before it, if I may say so. Would you say that the new blood in the bend rekindled the flame?
I think I can give you a straight answer to that… Yes!
Personally I’m a fan of the old Crown albums. I used to listen a lot to Hell is Here. It has such energy. Total mastery of blasting drums, asskicking riffs and vocals that scream off the charts. At the time when I joined the band there were more of a groovy thing going on. Don’t really know what substances the guys had going there but as soon as we were discussing new material I promoted energy and speed because that’s what I loved about the band and what was really missing out at that point. I have also been a big enthusiast when it comes to performing live in any form, it really gets my blood flowing. So I run or walk around the stage trying to connect and share my playing and feelings with as many people as I can. I guess that also brings a certain vibe and energy to the band. Or maybe they just think I’m flat out crazy.
As it seem, Royal Destroyer continues down the same path as its predecessor with even bigger accent on strong and different songs. Would you agree with this statement?
Yes you’re right. A music career is an epic journey. You always experience new things, you always pick up new things and in the end I think you find out what your strengths are. If there are uncertainties you are not afraid to face and share them with the rest of the band. That’s back to the maturity as a musician. You can take someone’s advice that might interfere with the original intent without losing your self-esteem. In the end it’s about creating the best album possible together. And with that said we come from a lot of different musical experiences and inspirations and I think this is clearly represented on the album.
I think that a really strong album should be like a fist in your face, a cold beer in a stinky pub, a loaded shotgun in parallel with a threesome with your best friend and his mother.
You have done two videos for the promotion of album so what can you say about them, do you feel that the videos still have their place in this day and age?
Videos are a good way of sharing. You can show in picture what the music and lyrics can not. With that said it doesn’t mean necessarily that it needs to represent the exact intent of the song. You could tell a total different story just to trick anyone, haha.
Visuals sometimes outperform the ear. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunate) we don’t have the budget to outshine the music with a nuclear bombastic video. It’s more what you hear is what you get.
We Drift On, second video, is one very specific song for The Crown – you have described it as your ballad. Can you tell us something more about this sorta new musical direction for you guys?
We were going for a diverse album. Marko had a really strong feel for this song. At first it seemed a bit misplaced but it really makes perfect sense on the album as a whole. An album should have dynamics. No matter how much I love the speed and energy there need to be something that takes the pace down a bit so you can catch your breath, that makes the whole album last and the replay value ascends with this in mind.
I feel that The Crown always carry that rock and roll fuck off attitude in your music, are you guys the same in everyday life and is this the recipe for pushing the band for so long?
Sometimes you just got to say fuck off to things, people or situations. These certain fuck you’s can be harnessed into beautiful piss the fuck off riffs. If you learn to master that energy of frustration you can carve something valuable into music history.
While we are at it, Royal Destroyer marks album number 10 for The Crown which is no small feat, how do you feel about this mark?
It feels like a milestone a victory and also push to still keep on going. If you have done this thing for so many years then you have also come to the conclusion why you are doing it. And that is a thing for yourself to consider. If you still enjoy it. If people come to your shows. You have earned it.
What were the proudest moments in the band’s career and on the other hand, was the name change the lowest point in your history?
The proudest moments are when people come up to you and tell you how much your music mean to them. You can see it in their eyes. No bullshit just straight honesty from the heart. That makes me so damn proud.
The toughest time was one of the tours we did in Japan. I totally love Japan but this tour was a bit fucked up. We were sitting in a small bus going too fast for too many miles with too many drunk people without any sleep for too many days. There was only booze, beer, sweat, coffee and with a heartburn from hell on top. Gigs and crowd was awesome though.
Can you try and spare a few words about all of your old albums and what do they represent to you now?
The Burning (1995)
This was the first album I heard with the crown. Really impressed with the video, Of Good And Evil. Candles was also something that got stuck in my head with its marching and grinding sound.
I had only heard a few death metal bands at this time. Edge Of Sanity – Unorthodox which probably was the first death metal album I heard along with Obituary – Cause Of Death and Deicide’s first album. Found the sound really interesting so it was really cool that there was a band in my hometown that created such crazy blasting metal music.
Eternal Death (1997)
Didn’t listen to the album that much at that time. Attended some live shows as audience headbanging and slamming drunk on folköl.
Hell Is Here (1999)
This was the album that really got me hooked on the band, the epitome of death thrashing metal at its finest. Listened to this album a lot. Whether there was a home-party, after-party, sex, head-banging etc this album was on.
Deathrace King (2000)
Along with Hell Is Here this was a fantastic album that really made an impact. All good memories at this time, too much to be mentioned here.
Crowned in Terror (2002)
Good album, great songs. A bit disappointed that Johan was not in the band at this point so it never got that much of my attention really.
Possessed 13 (2003)
Got blown away by the strong sound on this album. That was something that I had never experienced earlier. Felt that there was a change in the sound at this point. Went heavier, darker and a bit slower. Were the guys getting old? Glad Johan was back in the band. Remember being at a buddies place and he got these really big floor standing speakers that we cranked to the limit to see how much the speakers could handle. Massive.
Crowned Unholy (2004)
At first I thought this was a joke, someone said it out of the blue that it might happen.
In the end it turned out cool. No big surprises though since you’ve already heard the album by now. But I find the idea quite original so that was cool. Maybe we should re-record all previous albums with current members.
Doomsday King (2010)
Also an album that kind of passed my attention. Johan who set the tone for me was yet again out of the band. The sound was still not picking up the pace from the former thrashing speed glory I was hooked on.
Death Is Not Dead (2015)
Before this album was recorded I joined the band as a session live guitarist to fill in for Markus. I was really glad when Marko called since I had been climbing my walls over not being in a band at that time. I’d been playing in Impious since -94 and by this time Impious was on hold or maybe I should say terminated. I learned about 15 songs in 14 days so it was intense. Then we went to headline a festival in Finland later also touring Japan. Everyone was happy so we took it from there. Death Is Not Dead was in parallel already in the works. Janne left the band so there were some discussions how to handle the departure. Marko finally picked up the drumsticks and made a fantastic job regarding the circumstances. I recorded the solos on the album. We did a couple of videos and shows eventually when Henrik Joined.
Cobra Speed Venom (2018)
This was a fresh new start, a milestone with the current line-up. I was pushing for speed and energy that I dearly had been missing out in the band for quite some years. We did the whole thing as a band. Rehearsed our asses off. Laid down the tracks at two different occasions in the studio. All was very smooth. So this is how the whole band sounded in contrast to D.I.N.D. which we didn’t really rehearse at all.
I personally love the artwork by Christian Sloan Hall, really amazing job. Got fantastic reviews. Made a couple of videos and some good tours. Really feels like a strong lineup. The chemistry is absolutely great.
Royal Destroyer (2021)
This followed the same successful recipe as C.S.V. There were a lot of rehearsals that was a direct consequence as of covid. We were scheduled to record in May but things got postponed around 6 months for our benefit. We had a very diverse catalogue with material and songs to this album. We pushed all individual songs to become the best possible. We recorded the whole album in less than a week which was something new to us. Practice makes you perfect or at least… the more you practice the more luck you get. Who knows when we can promote the album in traditional manners, tours, events, signing sessions etc. All seems a bit far away still.
We all know about this horrible covid 19 situation, so I just have to ask you are there any plans about the live presentation of Royal Destroyer? How do you feel about streaming gigs?
We’re all waiting for the world to be unlocked again. It’s a depressing time if you are a true performer. Maybe we’ll stream some songs… we’ll see about that.
That would be all for this time, I would like to thank you and wish you all the best! Your last message to Serbian fans…
The same to you man.
Would love to come and play/visit Serbia. Never been there.
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Answers by Robin Sörqvist
Questions by Slobodan Trifunovic