Matt Coe of Dead Rhetoric recently conducted an interview with guitarist Oscar Dronjak of Swedish metallers HAMMERFALL.
Dead Rhetoric: Was it a shock to lose long-time drummer Anders Johansson in 2014 after the release of your last album, “(r)Evolution”, and have you found a permanent replacement or are you still using temporary/ fill-in members until you are satisfied with the right member for HAMMERFALL?
Dronjak: “It was a huge shock, and a huge disappointment initially too, because he didn’t say anything to us. He didn’t even notify us when it happened. We found out from our booking agency, actually. They wrote us an e-mail saying that ‘well, since Anders is no longer going to be touring these next shows, we need a name to be able to start securing the plane tickets and visas. Who is your new drummer?’ And we were, like, ‘Wait. What are you saying?’ It’s a typical Anders way of doing things, and it felt weird. It was the end of the relationship. It felt like being dumped by your girlfriend after 15 years without her telling you why, basically. To this day, I still don’t know why it happened, because I haven’t spoken to him. I’ve gotten some texts and stuff. What I think happened is he saw the touring plans that we had. He has been touring since the early 1980s; he’s 10 years older than I am and he’s done this for a long, long time. He was tired of touring the same cities over and over again. I just think he was tired of the grind — he didn’t want to go through this again. He has a new family; at that point, he had a son that was two years old, and also another on the way. That played a role for him too, being away from the family for a while. I can respect and understand that totally. I just wish he would have told me in person, but that was what happened. So we got David [Wallin] afterwards. That was a blessing in disguise that Anders took this step because David has invigorated the band quite a bit. He’s four years younger than I am; it’s not much, but with the attitude he has, he hasn’t done a lot of big stuff. To have David on board has been a big shot in the arm for everybody else, especially live. The gigs have been much more energetic since he’s appeared with the band. I think we sound better than we ever have.”