Interview: Reenergized, Peter Wilchers returns to Soilwork

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Soilwork

Soilwork guitarist Peter Wilchers was sick of life on the road.

Exhaustive touring and recording had been a major part of Wilchers’ life since 1998, when the Swedish melodic death metal band broke into the major metal scene with their first album “Steelbath Suicide.”  In the years following “Steelbath,” Soilwork – with Wilchers as one of the main songwriters – released new albums in 2000, ’01, ’02, ’03 and ’05. The time between recording sessions was taken up by extensive tours of Europe and the United States.

By the end of the “Stabbing The Drama” tour in late 2005, Wilchers had had enough. 

“The touring really took it out of me,” Wilchers said last week. “I really wanted to get into production and I didn’t see how it was going to (happen) with the never-ending touring schedule.”

Although the band went on without him, Wilchers never lost touch with his friends in Soilwork, and even contemplated doing a side project with Soilwork vocalist Bjorn “Speed” Strid.

Now, Wilchers is back with the band, and is excited to be back on the road and to record a new Soilwork album.

“In the future, Soilwork is going to be smarter with touring,” Wilchers said. “A lot of people in Soilwork are married and have lives back home.”

The band is at the tail end of the “Sworn To The Great Divide” tour, and will play Uncle Pleasant’s in Louisville on March 18. For tix, visit www.ticketweb.com.

Wilchers rejoined Soilwork in September and played his first show with the band shortly after in Germany. The vibe of that first gig was very different from the burnout Wilchers felt at the end of 2005.

“It was kind of strange, because people knew I was coming back,” Wilchers said. “It felt really good: The chemistry was great, we were having a blast on stage and we were enjoying each other’s company.”

When Wilchers quit the band, he moved to Nashville to work as a record producer. While in Nashville, he and Strid began a cross-Atlantic collaboration that will surface someday, Wilchers said.

“We started writing a little bit – a kind of heavier style with southern rock elements and even bluegrass elements,” Wilchers said. “We’re still talking about (the project). We want to go all the way and do something completely different. I do love mandolin and dobro … When you listen to the music, you get a real positive vibe.”

But Wilchers said the he and Strid do not want to dabble with Soilwork’s core sound. “Sworn To A Great Divide,” which the band recorded without Wilchers, was a disappointment, he said.

“I think the last record was a good record and had some great moments, but I felt that record was a little bit safe,” Wilchers said. The goal for the next record will be cross the heaviness of early albums like “A Predator’s Portrait” and “Natural Born Chaos” with the melodies of “Stabbing The Drama,” Wilchers said.

“This (tour) is going to wrap up the touring for ‘Sworn,'” Wilchers said. “We’re going to start writing the next record after that, and take some much-needed time off.”

The time away from the band has given Wilchers a renewed joy in playing, he said.

“You’ll see a different kind of energy you haven’t seen before,” Wilchers said. “Soilwork has gotten it’s energy back and everyone is having a great time. You want to see the band having a good and we want to see the crowd having a good time.”

You can hear complete songs at: www.myspace.com/soilwork

Here’s also the video for “Exile,” off “Sworn To A Great Divide.”

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