soilwork - peter wichersWatching Peter Wichers play with Soilwork last month at New York’s Highline Ballroom was like witnessing a homecoming of sorts. Sure, it wasn’t the very first show back for Wichers, a founding member and key songwriter who recently returned to the group after a four-year hiatus, who had already been playing with the band for weeks on tour with Darkane, Warbringer and Swallow the Sun. Still, it just felt so right. Without Wichers, Soilwork was like a lumbering beast doing its best Soilwork impersonation… but it wasn’t quite Soilwork. Sworn to a Great Divide was a decent album, but “decent” was exactly as far as it went. Before the show I caught up with Wichers to ask him about the circumstances leading to his return to the band, balancing life on the road and life with a family, what it’s like to play someone else’s material in your band, his production work on the Nuclear Blast Allstars project and Warrel Dane solo record, and what the future holds for Soilwork. Our chat, after the fold.

So how does it feel to be back on the road again after taking a couple of years off?

It feels good.  I had time to adjust my life and put it on the right track.  I also have a very supportive wife who is being very understanding of my situation.  For me it couldn’t be better.  I’m enjoying it and having a good time.

You have a kid also, right?

No, I have one on the way.

So is that going to be tough to balance with the band?

I’ve seen most of the guys in Darkane who all have kids.  They are able to make this happen, so I don’t see a reason why I won’t be able to do that.  I think that when I came back, we did talk a little bit about how we’re going to do the touring in the future.  I think everybody agrees that Soilwork might have done too many tours that probably they didn’t have to do.  I think that we’re all in the same understanding that we’re not going to do as much touring as we did before.  We won’t over-tour the records.  That also made my decision a lot easier to make when I knew that that’s what the guys wanted to do.  A lot of the guys now are married and have wives and stuff.  When I was in the band 4 years ago, everything was kind of up in the air a bit more.  Since then a lot of people have settled down, and they have something to come back to at home instead of just spending a lot of time on the road.

warrel daneHow was it being away from it for awhile doing your studio projects?

I loved it.  I’m still doing that, and I’m going to continue doing that in between tours.  I guess for me it was a very big learning curve, and I learned so much by working with all these different bands that I worked with.  Doing the Nuclear Blast record was a blast.  The Warrel Dane record was a lot of fun.  It was a lot of work, but I am very happy with it.

It’s a good record.

Thank you man.  I’m bringing mixes on tour as well because a lot of times the problem I had before was that I had so much time to kill on tour.  Now I can definitely keep myself occupied when I’m out on the road.

What are you working on right now?

I haven’t started on the mix yet, but there’s a band from Massachusetts that I’m going to be mixing now.  It’s a full length record, and they’re probably going to try and chop it.  They’re called Once Beloved.

You have a studio now in Nashville?

Well, I have a little mix suite.  I usually work out of the studios in town.  It’s so hard to try and compete with the studios in Nashville because they’re so good.  So there’s really no point in spending that much money when you can get deals going into those studios and working there or mixing at home.  That’s what I’m doing now.  Whenever someone calls me for a gig or something like that, I would rather just fly out and work in that studio or they can come to me and I’ll set it up at a local studio where I live.

What was it like working with Warrel and all the guys on Nuclear Blast?

It was a lot of fun.  I didn’t actually get to meet every single one of the people on Nuclear Blast.  I got to meet the two American singers: Mark [Osegueda, Death Angel] and John [Bush, Armored Saint, ex-Anthrax].  That was quite an experience.  The whole album would have been impossible to do if we didn’t have the internet.  That’s kind of how it was, but at the same time I was happy with the outcome of the record.

soilwork - peter wichersWhen getting back to Soilwork, was it a conscious decision to say that you didn’t want to do studio work all the time anymore or was it more out of necessity or getting back to your passion of being in a band that you were so instrumental to in the beginning?

Well, Björn and I have been in touch ever since I left, Dirk too.  Björn and I spoke on several occasions about doing something together even though we weren’t in Soilwork.  So we started working on some side stuff.  They had a lineup change, and I got offered a position to come back.  I thought about it and talked it over with my wife.  She said it would be a shame for me to be sitting in the studio all the time instead of being on the road as well.  The rest is history.  When we rehearsed for the first time it felt like we did it yesterday.  I know these guys so well.  It’s a good feeling.

As far as getting back with those guys and going on the road, did you miss the road or is it still a battle of being on the road and being at home?

I don’t think anyone could possibly say that they love every aspect of being on the road.  I don’t, but I don’t hate it.  If I can keep myself occupied then that’s fine.  The problem is when you have so much time to kill, I start getting a little anxious.  I need to have something to do.  All I do is go out to sound check and that’s it.  Then I have to sit off the hours.  So I think the balance of doing productions on the side of doing the touring definitely works out to my benefit.  I won’t go as nuts as I did before.

Is it strange playing somebody else’s material?

Not really.  I notice when I play the riffs that they’re a little bit different.  They sound similar but they’re played a little bit differently than I would play.  I enjoy playing these songs a lot.  They’re fun songs to play.  I don’t really think it’s a big deal for me to play them at all.

Any thoughts on what’s next for Soilwork?  Is this getting towards the end of this touring cycle?


So are you taking the summer off maybe?

We’re taking a long time off actually.  We’re going to complete this tour and then we’re going to take a long break and try to write as much as possible.  Hopefully we’ll be able to hit the studio sometime late this year, but we still have to discuss that.  First of all we want to be 100% satisfied with the material before we go into the studio.

I guess there are a lot of side projects for the other members as well as yourself.  Do those ever come into conflict with Soilwork?

Not really.  It hasn’t so far.  Usually we’re able to schedule things around people’s stuff.  The side project stuff is usually done between tours.  The productions I am usually able to bring with me.

Alright.  Cool man.  Thanks a lot.

No problem.


[Photo credits: Ken Pierce of Piercing Metal]

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