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Interviews Artillery

Interview with Søren Nico Adamsen (vocals)

Interview conducted by Daniel DGYDP Guerrero

Date online: January 17, 2009

Anno 2007: the acclaimed Danish cult act Artillery becomes active once again, but this time without their legendary singer, Flemming Rönsdorf. After a turbulent and rough history with the vocalist, the band finally decided to get a new frontman. The first questions that entered everybody's thoughts was "what? Artillery without Flemming? But why?". By now, all of these questions have been answered, but for those of you who have been living in a rock for the past year, here's a recapitulation: with a general lack of motivation as well as an ever unstable commitment to the band, Rönsdorf had been holding the band down for many years. Some people even cite him as the main reason for the group's collapse at the peek of their career, in 1990.

And yet, Artillery have never given up. Misfortune after misfortune, they have crawled back from obscurity to claim their righteous spot as one of the best Thrash Metal bands ever. This happened once again in 2007, when Søren Nico Adamsen was announced as the new vocalist. Logically, the headbangers were skeptical. Who is this guy? Where did he come from? Can he even sing? When the first ever Artillery DVD (One Foot In The Grave, The Other One In The Trash) was released in 2008, most doubts concerning Adamsen were scattered. Not only did he prove to have an incredible throat -suitable for the absurdly high standard that Flemming had set- he demonstrated to be a great frontman, worthy of this mighty band.

That's not where the good news ends either, since the band will start recording a new album in March of 2009, being their sixth full-length since their inception in 1982. Since this is the first album with new a new vocalist, I had no choice but to track the man down for an extensive interview. As I have found out, there is a huge information gap concerning Søren, and I see it as my duty to try to fill this gap. Headbangers and headbangerellas, I give you: the new voice of Artillery.

Dan: First of all, thanks for doing this interview!

Søren: You're very welcome.

Dan: Let us start with the beginning: what attracted you to heavy metal music? What did you grew up listening to?

Søren: I have always, as long as I can remember back in time, been into music. The first band I discovered -being 5–6 years old- was the old English band The Sweet. Then came Kiss which was the first band I was really a fan of. At that time I thought: "Hmm, this looks and sounds very cool, I want to be like that." So I started dreaming about being in a band, touring etc... Later on I discovered Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and that really changed everything for me musically. To this day it is still my favorite album of all time. The heaviness, the riffs, the high-pitched singing and the "dark" atmosphere that was linked to Sabbath, are things I totally digged. Then came the whole New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene which I got into right away: Maiden, Priest, Motörhead, Saxon, etc. To me, music is about energy, and actually being able to play/sing and reproduce what you do in the studio, live. I don't like when a band puts on a live performance and half of the vocals/music is on backing tape. To me, metal music is the truest form of music there is. It speaks to your heart and soul.

Dan: When did you start your singing career? Who are your big influences as a singer?

Søren: When I was about 4-5 years old I had a ritual every night before going to sleep. I sat on my knees in my bed and banged my head against the wall (to keep some sort of rhythm) while singing old Danish pop songs. This IS true!!!! So I guess you can say that I am very literally a headbanger. So it all started there, I guess. I have always been singing. It took me quite a while before I got into some serious bands, since I lived in a very small town where I was the only one into heavy music. It was not until I moved to Copenhagen in my twenties when I started getting into bands. I'm influenced by Dio, Dickinson, Halford and Ozzy. And a lot of other singers as well, but those cats are the main reasons I'm singing. I like singers who can actually sing and have different colors to their voice. New singers I like include: Russel Allen, Jorn Lande, Phil Anselmo, Chuck Billy... and a lot of other guys.

Dan: You were in some other bands before Artillery, such as Starrats and Crystal Eyes. Tell us about your pre-Artillery bands.

Søren: I'm still in Crystal Eyes, we just released a new album, entitled "Chained". Yeah, I did 2 albums with Starrats. I also did one album with an Italian band called TwinSpirits. Well, Starrats was, when I was in it, a kind of heavy metal rock 'n' roll band. It was fun while it lasted, but I couldn't see any future with them. Crystal Eyes is typical European power/heavy metal band. TwinSpirits is progressive/melodic metal. I left TwinSpirits because I couldn't be in 3 bands at the same time. I try not to be the same singer in the bands I'm in. Different music calls for different vocal approaches. What I sound like in Crystal Eyes is not the same I sound like in Artillery. Artillery calls for a more raw vocal approach and more attitude.

Dan: When did you first hear Artillery? How does it feel being a part of it now?

Søren: I actually heard them for the first time live at the Roskilde festival somewhere in the eighties and didn't really pay much attention to them. (maybe I was drunk. No not maybe – I was drunk). When they approached me last year and send me some songs it was the first time I heard them on record. I don't know why I hadn't been more into them. 'Course when I heard the songs, I thought "wow this is fucking great music", and there you go. I was more into other stuff in the eighties, when they released albums. I was always aware of the name Artillery, but never discovered the music before I joined last year.

Dan What's your favorite Artillery album and why?

Søren: It's either Fear of Tomorrow or Terror squad. I like the rawness and punk attitude of Fear of Tomorrow. On Terror Squad, the songs got more complicated and more metal, I think, which is also very cool, so I can't choose between the two. I know a lot of people like By Inheritance the most, and I like it as well. The songs are awesome, but I think the production is too polished.

Dan: What do you think of the previous singer, Flemming Rönsdorf?

Søren: As a singer, I think he is good. He's got a unique voice, which in my book is always a good thing, whether you like it or not.

Dan: Tell us about the first auditions and rehearsals with the band!

Søren: Ha! At that time they rehearsed in a nursery home for elderly people. And as far as I'm concerned we could easily have been lumped in with the elderly, because we didn't sound that hot on the first rehearsals. But there was something that clicked instantly. Both personally and musically. We played "Khomaniac", "Terror Squad" and "The Eternal War" on the first rehearsals. I sang through a shitty guitar amp so the sound was, shall we say, very rough (laughs). But the energy was there from the beginning and we slowly became better and better, but it took some rehearsing to get it right. Also, Artillery songs are not that easy to sing. There's lots of weird time changes and shit, so I had to get used to that. I think you can say that timing is as important as hitting the high notes in Artillery.

Adamsen performing with Artillery at The Rock, 2008
Adamsen performing with Artillery at The Rock, 2008

Dan: How would you describe your relationship with the rest of the band? How do you fit into the grand scheme of things?

Søren: We are 5 very different individuals who respect each other. And the fact that we are not 18 years old helps a lot. We have a lot of fun together and there's the usual bullshit happening when we're touring. It feels like a real band with no overblown egos. When you enter a band, and when you are "the new singer", it's important to be who you are and not try to be like "the old singer" or whatever. 'Cause people can spot that right away. It was important for me NOT to try and sound like their previous singers, but find my own style in Artillery. To make the songs my own... without loosing touch with the original style.

Dan: The first release of the band with you on vocals was a live DVD, called One Foot In The Grave, The Other One In The Trash. What do you think of it? Are you happy with your own performance there?

Søren: No I'm not satisfied with my performance on the DVD. It was our third gig together so the performance is a little, what's the right word, shaky and unfocused. I wish we could have gotten a few more gigs under our belt before we recorded a live DVD, but the DVD was already planned to happen so... still it was a fun gig and there's a lot of energy in the performance and the people at the show were into it.

Dan: A new album is coming in 2009, please tell us some more about that.

Søren: So far we have 6–7 new songs ready with music and lyrics. Almost complete songs. Then we have perhaps 8–10 more songs that we need to work on and finish within the next couple of months before we hit the studio in Copenhagen in March. I have very high hopes for that album and so far it sounds promising. I know I have a lot to answer for, as this is the first Artillery album with a new singer, so I'm going to do my damn best to deliver. There's really fast thrash songs and some heavier slower songs. The riffs are there, the heaviness is there, the rawness is there, the complicated song structure is there. There's lyrics which touches on some political issues like war, religion, freedom of speech, and some more personal lyrics as well. No lyrics about Harley Davidsons or women with big tits. Sorry! So hopefully people will like it.

Dan: What will your impact -both musically and lyrically- be on this album?

Søren: My impact will be lyrically and also the vocal melodies. It usually works like this: Morten or Michael come up with riffs and arrangements for a song. Carsten and Peter work out the rhythm section and I put the melody line on top of it all.

Dan: Uniform, a song of the 1991 demo Mind Factory, will (according to Morten Stützer) likely be featured on this release. Are you planning to alter the lyrics to that song?

Søren: No, so far that's not the plan.

Dan: What else do you do in life, besides singing heavy metal?

Søren: I just got my first child. A boy born on Halloween 2008 - metal! So that takes a lot of my time at the moment obviously. Besides that I work as a teacher. And yes, it is very hard time-wise to be in a couple of bands and have a job as well, but that's the way it is at the moment. Being in a metal band of Artillery's status these days, you need to have a job if you want to survive.

Dan: Anything else you have to say to the fans?

Søren: Thanks for being so cool! We have met a lot of people in Europe in 2008 and they have all been very kind and accepting of the "new" Artillery.

Dan: Ok, thanks again!

Søren: See ya mate!!!

Thus concluding the interview. It feels to me as if Artillery have never been a stronger band, now that they finally have a line-up that's able to play many live shows. The fans of this band are highly advised to join the official forum ( if they have any questions, remarks, reviews, etc. All of the band members are there so there is no excuse to not join!

Interview written by Daniel "DGYDP" Guerrero for Circle of Destruction, 2008.

Other information about Artillery on this site
Review: By Inheritance
Review: One Foot In The Grave, the Other One In The Trash
Review: When Death Comes
Review: When Death Comes
Review: Legions
Review: Penalty by Perception
Review: The Face of Fear
Review: The Last Journey
Review: X
Interview with guitarist Michael Stützer on October 26, 2013 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Video: 10.000 Devils
Video: Warrior Blood

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