My dear friend Anette Johansson turned me on to local band BULLETRAIN after having seen them live. Since I trust her taste in metal with my life I had to interview them. Guitarist Robin answered. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
I am a word nerd, hence my interest in band names. Is your name meant to be read BULLET RAIN or BULLET TRAIN? Was it hard to come up with that name?
-Well that’s a valid question. Apparently this is a common concern. The name is meant to be read as Bullet Rain. The thing with name causing a lot of confusion would probably be that it used to be Bullettrain. But we realized it looked better with just one t so we changed it. The name was Jonas idea a lot of years back. He was reading The Dirt by Mötley Crüe and got inspired by an incident that occured on a bullettrain in Japan.
When I listen to your metal the melodies takes me back to LA and the hair bands of the 80s. Could be that I am old but what influences your music?
-Yeah I can understand that connection. Some of our main influences are Guns n Roses and Skidrow. But everyone has pretty different influences. Speaking for myself
I can tell you that my main influences are from the 70’s in bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. So the thing with our sound is that it comes from lots of different influences from different eras of hard rock. But basically I think the thing we all share is the love for the bluesy foundation in all songs
In the mid to late 2000s there was an explosion of sleaze metal bands in Sweden. What happened to that? Is it just that media lost interest?
-Indeed it was. I’m not really sure what happened to be honest. We were pretty much in the middle of it and it was a lot of fun. But I think what may have happened is that rivalry killed off a lot of the fun of it. There was so much bullshit going around and people throwing shit at other bands instead of uniting under the same sleazy flag, understanding that the business we were all trying to make it in is one of the hardest in the world. And many bands put the music in the second room and focused on fully embracing the look that was popular at the time with loads of hairspray, makeup, spandex and stillettoes.
This is something that I dread with the whole digital thing, that people will lose interest more quickly because it is so easily accessible. How do you build a career today like Deep Purple or Iron Maiden or Metallica has done?
-Haha well that’s a problem indeed. I’m not sure people lose interest though. It’s just that the effort to show your interest does not require as much of you anymore. Sadly this makes people lazy. Going to a show might not give you the same satisfaction anymore which is a shame and something I really can’t understand. Music is meant to be experienced live, and will probably always be. There’s always elements to a show that you can’t get from listening to a cd or watching a clip. You need to be there to really feel the vibe! So back to your question, I believe the answer is getting people to come to your shows and do fantastic shows. Building a career nowadays is pretty much the same thing as before
I suppose but it takes a shit load of hard work and determination to reach out.
How important is image? What is image to you guys?
-Image is crucial. Someone once told me that a live show is about 20% the music. The rest is visuals and presentation. So yeah image is truly important. And your image should be fitting with the music you play. I mean we couldn’t put on corpse paint and corsets playing the style of music we do. It would just be weird. I think if you just look cool and don’t overdo it that would be enough. Important as image might be it should never get in the way of the music. Overdoing the image may result in people missing out on the music. And at the end of the day it’s the music you want people to know right? I wouldn’t wanna be the guy with everyone knows how he looks but have no clue about the music.
Does the album art work have to reflect the kind of metal you play?
-I personally don’t think so. Our previous artwork is pretty subtle but I like the mystique of it. I think it’s more fun when you get to figure it out by yourself than when the cover tells it all
I cannot say that I am too impressed with the “love and fuck” kind of lyrics but how hard is it to write lyrics that will stand the test of times, that won’t be embarrassing to sing in 5 years time?
-Neither am I. The trick to me anyway is to keep it honest and stay out of making statements that can come back to bite your ass later on. Every song we’ve written is a story from our lives pretty much. As far as I’m concerned, if you keep it honest and stick to things that happened in your life you’ll be fine. In that way if a song is embarrassing, so is your life.
I know that you gig locally but what is the gig/tour scene like today? To me it seems to be mostly package tours or festivals.
-As an upcoming band that’s a pretty difficult question. To reach out to clubs and venues on your own always poses a problem. Most places don’t want to pay for live music. They think of it as doing bands a favor instead of the band providing bigger profits for the host. So it’s pretty backwards. With that out of the way the best way to try and gain some profit would be going on tours and selling a lot of stuff. Package tours of course offers better opportunities for all parts.
Do you have to have a stage show to attract people or is it enough to just go on stage and folks will go bananas?
-Well we simply see the stage as our playground. We get on stage to have a blast and invite everyone to join us. Later on it would be a lot of fun to add something to make more of a show of it. But at this stage it’s a question of money. It’s difficult enough to break even nowadays without paying a lot for props. So we simply have to be entertaining and spread the love for music to everyone who shows up
What does the future have in store for you?
-For starters we’re headed to Riga, Latvia to record the music for our second album. This will be done in collaboration with the producers RamPac. It will be ten songs and hopefully released during the first half of next year, depending on what kind of deal we’ll get. When the album is done we will try and get out and promote it as much as possible with live shows. So stay tuned for news about this!