ENFORCER’s Olof Wikstrand talks about the new live album and more

Swedish metal enthusiasts Enforcer released with ‘Live by Fire II’ their second live album, recorded in Mexico City. Markus’ Heavy Music Blog contacted Enforcer frontman Olof Wikstrand for getting some more insights when it comes to this live release. Read here what Olof has to tell.

Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hej Olof, hur mår du? I hope all is well at your end, especially with the new live album in the starting blocks. How are you and how are things in Sweden right now?

Olof Wikstrand: I’m fine. We’ve been fine all throughout this year. It’s been a very calm year and we didn’t have much restrictions, lockdowns or quarantines in Sweden. So, it’s been a fairly normal year for me, I think, except from the fact that we haven’t really been playing any shows or playing with the band in that sense.

MHMB: Let’s have a look into the ’Live by Fire II’ and the first question is, why you guys call it ’Live by Fire II’ and not e.g. ’Live in Mexico’?

Olof: ‘Live in Mexico’ to me sounds very generic and it sounds like just anyone without fantasy would come up with something like that. ‘Live by Fire’, it says a lot. Also like continuing this in a sequence, I think it also makes it somewhat of a brand that you can think about . You can reconnect with fans under this name. It’s a good association that we already established for that reason. I think it’s pretty good.

MHMB: Connected to it, how would you describe the link between the two live albums?

Olof: There’s no real link between the two except from that it is the same band that is playing. Obviously the new one is much better. It’s like 8 years newer, 2 studio albums included. Since we recorded the first one, we played over 1000 shows and we are so much better in all aspects, like playing, sound, production and also the songs are superior to what we had at the time.

MHMB: There is not a too big overlap between the two Enforcer live albums when it comes to songs. How did you guys decide on which songs you will play that night in Mexico? Did a potential live album impact the setlist? 

Olof: It’s more than half of the songs, we didn’t have on the first one and the setlist that we chose, that’s our live setlist that we’re doing right now. Why we do those songs is like a result of trial and error for years and years. We have been trying out a lot of songs but these songs are the songs that we figured created the most reaction or enthusiasm in the crowd. That’s how we decided to stick with them. There’s nothing we’ve been doing for this show only.

MHMB: What would you say, why fans shouldn’t miss ’Live by Fire II’ when having the first live album already at home?

Olof: Well, obviously because it’s absolutely superior and it shows the band, who we are and what we are today … and not eight years ago. We’re bound in constant evolution and I think we’ve become better and better all the time. The old one perhaps shows what we were back in 2013 but this is on a completely different level. I think we’re like so much better right now.

MHMB: ’Live By Fire II’ was recorded in Mexico City and it’s a very enthusiastic audience that can be heard more than once. How do you have the show in mind? What’s your memories?

Olof: I mean, for us it was the 2nd show out of 58 in North America. The memories are kind of blurred together from the entire tour but it was a great show in Mexico City. It is one of the best places in the universe to play rock music. The energy that you get back from the audience really helps you to do even better. It’s a great feeling to be on stage with that type of crowd.

MHMB: Live shows are still impossible right now. What is the situation at the Enforcer camp? You guys are a live band and I can imagine that it feels really bad, as it does for all of us?

Olof: Honestly, I don’t think that it feels so bad to not being able to play live. We’re a live band and we put a lot of effort into becoming a great live band, but we also couldn’t do it without the songs. There is also a creative aspect being in a band and I think we’re just focused on that aspect to create new songs that are even better than anything that we did before. That’s what we’ve been focusing on. Just doing more songs and being creative with the band. It felt kind of good and relaxing not to have all the pressure from touring, flying and hotels, all that kind of things that I actually found pretty uninspiring. It’s being good for creativity to spend this year at home.

MHMB: There are shows planned though for May this year. How optimistic are you that these shows will take place?

Olof: It’s not up to me but it feels like extremely unlikely that it will happen. We are going to decide whether we’re going to push the shows to the future or if we will come up with something new. That’s not really up to me. It’s up to a lot of other wills.

MHMB: What will be the first thing Enforcer will do when the pandemic will be officially over?

Olof: I’m not sure that the pandemic will officially be over at the specific date. They will just open up more and more and some areas will open up before others. We can’t really plan anything since a tour requires planning for more than a year ahead. I think we’re just laying low in the meantime and see what opportunities will come up for us. There’s a lot of things that we would like to do, like get back to South America, get back to Asia. There’s a lot of places we haven’t covered with the ‘Zenith tour’. Just come back to places where we think it’s necessary to go

MHMB: Olof, thanks for making some time for MHMB. It’s much appreciated and I hope to see you guys soon on the road again.

Photos: Cintia Regueiro

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