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Interview with

Pontus Hjelm and Johan Olsson of Dead by April

One year has gone by since we last had a talk with the guys in the Swedish band Dead by April on the Hultsfredsfestival. This time we meet up with Pontus Hjelm and Johan Olsson.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): We did an interview with Jimmie Strimmell a year ago (for another webzine) when you played at the festival for the first time, what has happened since then?
Pontus: Oh a lot of stuff has happened since then; we have worked really hard; gotten an nr. one on the single top list and an nr. two on the album top list. The single ‘Loosing You’ was on the Robinson trailer; we have done smaller tours, played a lot and worked really hard.

RoD: What or whom inspires you when you write the lyrics or create the music?
Pontus: A lot of things, relations of all the kind, ambitions, goals and dreams.

RoD: Do you need to be in a special mood to be able to create?
Pontus: No not really it just comes to me when it does, it can be where and whenever and then I have to write it down, if it’s lyric line or if it’s a melody then I record it so I can take care of it later.

RoD: What drives you and makes you keep working with music?
Pontus: For me personally it’s an outlet for what I feel and to get the message out in this way is absolutely amazing I think
Johan: Yes it has been the way to express myself since I was very young and it’s the only emotional outlet I have.

RoD: What can you tell me about your latest record ‘Dead by April’?
Pontus to Johan: Well do you take care of this question?
Johan: You are the one who has written the music, answer it yourself...*grins* Oh well it’s a good record - hopefully, *Pontus laughs* but many of the songs has been on earlier demos but we also have some new songs. The record is filled with a lot of energy, catchy chorus, personal lyrics that Pontus has written and a lot of feeling.

RoD: What has been the largest source of inspiration on the record?
Pontus: Lyrically?

RoD: Yes
Pontus: Personal relations, personal experiences and then other artists that I have liked a lot.

RoD: Like for example?
Pontus: Michael Jackson, he has inspired me the most. There is a lot of other stuff as well but he is on top of the list.

RoD: Which song moves you the most on the record?
Pontus: ‘Promise Me’ because I have a personal relation to it.
Johan: Yeah I also say that song.

RoD: Are there any song/songs that you really look forward to do live here tonight?
Johan: It’s going to be fun to see what happens with the song ‘Loosing You’ tonight.
Pontus: Yeah really it has gone a year now and it will be interesting to see what kind of response we get when we play it.

RoD: Can you tell me something of future plans for the band?
Johan: This autumn there are a lot of plans and a greater investment in Germany and England and then hopefully some tours will follow.

RoD: Is there any place in the world where you would love to play?
Pontus: Yeah on Wembley Stadium, it would be really nice!
Johan: It would be fun to go to the US, make a tour there and so on but well it’s fun to play wherever you are as long as people like what you are doing.

RoD: Are there any bands that you would like to go on tour together with?
Johan: Oh there are a lot of bands…
Pontus: Yeah there are so many bands and the favourite is… hm…
Johan: There are a lot of bands that you like and you would like to go on tour with but they might not suit us, but 30 SECONDS TO MARS would have been perfect and damn fun!
Pontus: Yeah absolutely!

RoD: When you listen to music, what is the most important for you, I mean do you listen and read the lyrics or just enjoy the music part or kind of take it all in at once?
Pontus: For me it can be in different ways. I usually say that a good song is a good song no matter the changer. I think that no matter if it’s hard guitars or soft piano I listen, it’s hard to point to what exactly it is. But then if you really listen in to it then you might begin to think more about the lyrics and so on, what it’s all about and then you go more into the song, but it’s different form time to time.
Johan: Yeah I feel the same way, first impression when you listen to new music is for me always the total impression, but you might not go to the lyrics and the small things at first, it’s more those things that comes when you have listened a couple of times.

RoD: You have done a music video for the song ‘Loosing You’ can you tell me something about making the video, was it fun, hard etc?
Pontus: Oh it was one of the funniest things that I have done in Dead by Aprils Career this far, it was really fun! It’s hard to tell what I liked best, it was just so much fun to get everything on film. The director did a great job with capturing all the energy in the song.

RoD: Do you have any message to your fans?
Johan: Yeah we would like to thank everyone who have helped us, who have supported us and taken us this far and we hope that they keep liking the band and keep supporting us it’s worth everything!

Thanks to Pontus Hjelm and Johan Olsson for taking the time to make this interview. For further information please visit

Pics by Martina Törnemyr

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