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Interview with

Oscar Carlquist (vocals) of RAM

The Metal band RAM hailing from Sweden has just released a new fiery album with ‘Lightbringer’. But how about some more in-depth info on the band’s history, their concept or their thoughts on the effects on MySpace? You want that? Then be sure to check out this interview with the RAM vocalist Oscar Carlquist.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): The name of the band RAM, is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Oscar Carlquist (Oscar): Well mainly the name is in reference to the verb, to RAM. As we see it we will never go by the rules and stand in line to go through the door, we will RAM the wall down! To me the word reeks of defiance, we will RAM our way through anything that comes in our way! The word also has some occult and mystical references that should remain as secret as possible.

RoD: Can you briefly summarize how the band formed and what you do in RAM?
Oscar: Harry Granroth (guitar) started working on the project that would become RAM in ’99 and recruited Daniel Johansson (guitar) together hey began writing songs and arrangements. I (Oscar Carlquist, vocals) joined the band in ’01 and got involved in the song writing and took responsibility for the vocals, I also came up with the band name. In ’02 we recruited Morgan Pettersson (drums) and Leif Larsson (Bass). We recorded our first E.P in ’03.

RoD: Your lyrics are infused with heavy detail and raw emotion. What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a concept behind the music you create?
Oscar: I write lyrics about a lot of different things, I try to use a wide variety of topics so our albums can contain many different concepts; this is a good way to keep an album interesting through the entire listening experience. But one topic that returns a lot is that of the individual vs the collective, and that the truth lies within. Man has no responsibilities against anyone but himself, we are born alone and we die alone, the only thing that we can be completely certain about in this life is that we are alone; the rest is a product of our senses. So why, would anyone not follow his own will? This is the only sin there ever was. 

RoD: How is you new album ‘Lightbringer’ in comparison to your 2005 release? What can fans expect when they listen to your music?
Oscar: More of RAM! This album shows more sides of the concept that is RAM. It is has more dept to it, there are many things to discover within the songs and sounds of the new album, it is a little world of its own, a world of Heavy Metal Tyranny.

RoD: How do you think you will affect the music scene you are part of? What are your thoughts on the growing popularity in it as well?
Oscar: I don’t know I hope that our honesty and our fearlessness, and defiance against everything conformist and fake, will be recognised and that people who feel like us can be empowered by our music and our presence in the scene.

RoD: If you had the chance to switch lives with someone else for 24 hours who would it be and why?
Oscar: I would switch lives with anyone dead, so I could experience being dead.

RoD: Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?
Oscar: It is the strongest emotion that I have ever experienced. There is magic in the works during such a moment and therefore it is indescribable. In moments like that I feel that I am ready to die, I feel that I have already taken more than I could ever expect from this life. Playing real, honest Heavy metal to a real, honest Heavy Metal crowd is truly a divine privilege. 1771

RoD: What are the upcoming plans for RAM?
Oscar: To tour as much as possible this fall/winter and as soon as possible record a new album.

RoD: How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Oscar: I think that MySpace is a very positive tool for the entire music industry. A MySpace page has become the standard introduction to a band, and it is a very good format. MySpace is an internet within the internet and it has helped us find fans in parts of the world where we cannot play to promote our music yet and that is very positive. I think that downloading both helps and hinders the artists, the best situation for the artists is a compromise, and making downloading illegal will not help the artists since they cannot use the new very effective digital tools to promote their music. And making downloading legal is even worse since it would be giving away products which are very expensive and created through very hard labour. People should respect and value the hard work that it means to produce a record, if no money can be made in selling music then the quality of the music will decline, that is not a good situation for anybody. So the way it is now is probably best, some money is lost from downloading but a lot of new fans are made from it as well. 

RoD: What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Oscar: That I can never compromise, that being what I am in RAM means having a Razor against my throat, it is 100% or not at all, it creates an exhausting and very cold environment for me, but there is no alternative I am driven by demons.

RoD: What bands would you like to tour with and who has been your favourite to tour with this far?
Oscar: RAM will not go on tour with any band just to create a bigger fan base, that’s for sure; you will never see us opening for Offspring or some band like that. But more is more so something like an opening slot for Ozzy Osbourne’s next world tour wouldn’t be bad from a marketing point of view. But I love the underground a world club tour opening for Exciter would probably be a lot more fun. We played a lot of shows with Dutch band POWERVICE (R.I.P) (check them out now, if you have not heard them!!!) and they are such cool guys, we are like brothers. Cheers you Fuckers!!!

RoD: Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Oscar: We love the old 70’ies and 80’ies heavy metal bands stuff like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, MSG, UFO, Blue Oyster Cult, King/Mercyful Fate, Crimson Glory, Rising Force, Scorpions, Candlemass, Exciter, Motörhead, mainly the classic stuff that we grew up with. We are music nerds and listen to all kinds of real metal with an open ear, you can be inspired by music in so many ways, just put on a Linkin Park CD and you will know exactly what you don’t want to play!!!!

RoD: What's your reaction when/if a fan told you a very meaningful statement such as "Your music changed my life?" Has this ever happened to you?
Oscar: It has and it is very hard to accept, you get blinded by what you are creating and it hard to realise that it means so much to someone else. But that is probably the most profound reason to why we are playing music because somewhere around the line some bands music really changed our lives and that is the ultimate impact that your music can have.

RoD: All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Oscar: Well, lots of sleep, it’s important to be well rested before you hit the road. This is something that you keep refining over the years; every hard touring musician has his tricks to survival on the road.

RoD: Anything else you'd like to add?
Oscar: Thank you for an interesting interview. See you on the road, HEAVY METAL TYRANNY!!!


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