OLA HANSEN (BLACKENED BLOOD): “We’ll Keep Pushing This Machine Into Higher Gear”

Blackened Blood (Ola Hansen – first from the left)
Blackened Blood (Ola Hansen – first from the left)

Blackened Blood are a rising Metal act from the very south of Sweden. They have plans to take on the global Metal scene with their music and hopefully they do succeed. They love what they do and they are very constructive as far as everything band related goes. Their most recent album Black Dawn Rising is a good dose of Metal quality, but apparently even better things are to follow, so staying tuned sounds like hell of a great idea. Here we are at Metal Express Radio with one of the members of the band and his name is Ola Hansen.

Metal Express Radio: To start off, we’d like to know what your role in the band is. Also, it would be nice to know when the band was formed – are you one of the founding members or did you join the band replacing someone?

Ola Hansen: I’m the lead guitarist in Blackened Blood. The band was formed 2012 and yes I’m one of the “originals”. We’d have issues for many years in finding the right singer, we tried with a bunch of different ones but it never worked out in the end. It wasn’t until Alberto Levrini joined back in 2016 things started to happen.

MER: I can see the band has got some international names. Would you describe the Swedish Metal scene (in your region) as fairly multicultural or is your band an exception as far as people from diverse backgrounds go?

Ola Hansen: Well except for Alberto, it’s only me and Elias that have non-Swedish surnames. I’m a bit Danish myself and Elias is a bit German. But their ancestors came to Sweden generations ago. We are all from the same place and have been friends since childhood (except Alberto who came here from Italy as an adult). But I can’t call the Metal scene here multicultural. It’s mostly people from similar backgrounds in the bands.

MER: Right. We can stick to the sociology stuff before proceeding to the music fully. Do you guys pay a lot of attention to the social media promotion? Do you have a social media platform you like to use the most? And how does using it do the band a favour in terms of getting fans and exposure?

Ola Hansen: Mostly yes, most promotion’s been through Facebook and Instagram. I’m not sure how effective it is though, we see the number of our followers increases more and more, but I think these people find us when they come across interviews, liveshows, hearing us on Spotify/YouTube and so on. We’ve received alot of mail from people telling us that they heard us on podcasts or radio and some read about us on different metal forums.

MER: Okay, so you guys are to be found online in case anyone feels like finding you and searching for more. How do you interact with your fans? Do you reply to all fan mail you get (assuming you get that) or do you prefer to keep the band a bit mysterious?

Ola Hansen: We take time and answer everything, we enjoy that. It’s awesome to interact with our fans. They are the best. And we’re not the kind of band that only hangs out backstage when we play live, we’re always hanging out with the people who are there to see us. So not mysterious, but we’re certainly not “normal” and I guess that’s why we get along so well in the band.

MER: So you guys pretty much interact with your fans the “Metal” way, so to say. I assume your plan is to become globally big (correct me if I’m wrong). What do you think is there to your music and your band spirit overall that might help Blackened Blood stand out from the crowd of other Swedish bands and get noticed by international audiences?

Ola Hansen: Something like that, making music and playing is what we love and we want to be able to do that full time. The thing is that we’ve always done our thing, not trying to change our sound to become popular just for the sake of it. Luckily people seem to like our thing, but we will always stay true to ourselves and our music. We have a lot of passion, we’ve played together for many years and it’s never been dull. We’ll keep pushing this machine into higher gear and if it takes us to new places, we’ll be more than happy.

MER: You guys really do sound passionate and dedicated about what you do. Apart from your band, are there any other projects from your local area that you think could make it big? Also, are you friends or more like rivals with them?

Ola Hansen: There are some strong bands around here, playing different genres that certainly could make it. But there’s no rivalry that I’ve noticed. Most of the times when we see one another at the pub, we hang out and have a couple of drinks together.

MER: Not bad at all. So now let’s proceed to the most exciting (or most obvious) bit: what, if anything, is there to your album that you think will have Metalheads crazy and cry for more?

Ola Hansen: Our sound is unique in many ways, it’s interesting and modern but yet classic and old-school. Heavy, melodic, energetic with high tempo and dark flavours. The way our singer sings on top of that makes us stick out from other bands. That and the fact that we don’t really fit in a given genre, it’s a mix of many. I think that represents not only this album but us as a band as well. And what to expect in the future.

MER: Nice to see you guys really are like a family in the band. That is one of the key factors in terms of making it big, along with 99 others! So, one thing that drew my attention as I was listening to it: what made you decide to have the bass so low in the mix?

Ola Hansen: We didn’t really decide it, it just ended up that way. And it’s a good point by the way. We made this album with no budget what so ever. We never tried anything like this before and we did everything ourselves. The last part of the mix our drummer used headphones because we had to change the location and a bunch of other stuff. In the end it just became what it is. We’re still learning and now we have much better gear.

MER: And another thing that comes to mind when one hears the phrase “gear” is gigging. What can be expected from the band as far as live shows go? I mean, if you can remember your most recent gig, how much better/more professional do you think your next one is going to be?

Ola Hansen: Playing live is our strength and now that we actually got an album out it will bring even more energy to our liveshows. We’ve always been a tight live act, we always practise hard and take rehearsals very serious. Our last gig was at a festival in our home town and I’m not exaggerating when I say it was an incredible one. But we always try to make the next one the best one. And since we all long to play live in front of people again it’ll be crazy to say the least. We will always hit the stage as hard as possible. I’m getting excited just talking about it.

MER: It’s good to hear that there is a lot of progress there and the band isn’t stuck and going nowhere – that happens to many bands sadly, including my best one from the past and it actually is important to be aware of those details, even if they’re seemingly tiny. And that is the great attitude. Now that the album is out, are your shows going to evolve also? I’m talking, are you going to command people to do walls of death, circle pits etc (unless it’s something that happens at your gigs already)?

Ola Hansen: We’re always trying to make our shows interesting, both musically and visually. So things will evolve and be different from time to time in the future. It’s fun to be creative about the visuals on stage as well as the music. As far as connection with the crowds, it’s very important to us. And there are certainly something special standing on stage seeing people mosh to the music. But so far we’ve never told the people to do those things, we like spontaneity.

MER: Hopefully some epic reactions can be expected from the crowd once more gigs follow! What is the biggest gig you played so far and the best one? Would it be one gig or two different ones? In what way would it be a particularly memorable experience?

Ola Hansen: It’s hard to choose, but we played in a really small town a couple of years ago and we had no expantations what so ever. When we hit the stage, there was a shitload of people there to see us. That was awesome and the show turned out great. Also, the local festival I mentioned was a blast, lots of people of course and great arrangement. It’s the people that shows up that makes it memorable, and playing together with the rest of the guys. As far as gigs, we really only have had one bad one if you ask me.

MER: It’s also good to know when you’re not doing great and be objective about what you do. Some believe you should only care about the positive remarks about your band. WRONG, if you ask me. One should never expect everybody to like and praise their art. So, since we’re on that topic, would you mind telling us what your worst gig was like and what made it so? On the side note, my worst one was when my bass broke during the gig (the internal amp thing burned) and we were playing Critical Mass by Nuclear Assault… that bass intro… I don’t think I ever got more embarrassed at a gig than I did then!

Ola Hansen: I agree, it’s very important. Haha my biggest fear is breaking a string on stage. It’s cool, reply when you can This is going to be a long story. Our worst gig was a couple of years ago. We had booked a gig on a Friday night with some other bands. One band contacted us and said that they where going to play on the Saturday as well and that they where the hosts for the gig, do you want to play as well? Sure thing, they promised they’d pay and they said we could headline. We sold all of the tickets we’d been given and had a good gig on the Friday evening. Next day we drove an hour to the spot, the outskirts of a smaller town. The place looked really shady and when we came in, it was basicly just a huge concrete room. No stage, no lights, no nothing. On the spot we were supposed to play someone had parked a big motorcycle and no one were allowed to touch it. One band refused to play and went home. But we wanted to play since we’d sold tickets to our fans. So, we got our gear out and was told there was no PA. Another band said after a while that they had one in their rehearsal, so they drove off and finally arrived with a small PA. Next thing, they didn’t have any cables and people were beginning to show up outside. Don’t remember how, but someone eventually found all the stuff and someone to handle it and the PA was good to go. First band got on and we sat down and had some beers. We then realised there was someone selling drugs on the spot and people didn’t hold back. So we went “backstage”, which was a pitch black utility room with no lights, just to focus. When it was nearly midnight, we where on. When we was about to start we realised that something had happened and the people on drugs had fucked off, so the only people left was our fans. The sound was awful in that huge concrete room with no monitors or anything to make it decent. Halfway through the set my amplifier said goodnight and died in the middle of an intro I had to play alone. The rest of the guys saved me kind of smooth though and took over, and I had to kick the amplifier like a madman for it to start working again. And that fucking motorcycle was standing there in the middle of everything, so we didn’t dare to move too much. The next day the other band contacted us, said it was an awesome gig and gave us our “pay”. Didn’t even cover the gas bill driving back and forth. It was a mess, never doing that again.

MER: Woah, that was a long story, but once you guys make it big and get to write an actual band biography, it’s going to be a great thing to include – because everyone has been through such stuff while playing gigs. Still, you said the bunch of your fans decided to stick around and actually watch your show. Did they appreciate it a lot that you played despite the ridiculous circumstances? Some bands would have fucked off for sure. Do you think – if we are to look for the positive aspects – that incident made your fans realize that you as a band never want to let them down or were you all too annoyed by it all?

Ola Hansen: Absolutely, they were all happy we actually didn’t pull out. As long as there people there for us, even if it’s only one person, we will give 100%.

MER: You also got to play a gig the other day. How did it feel to play after so long? Could you tell the audience just couldn’t wait to see you?

Ola Hansen: It felt great, can’t even put words on it. Such a thrill to do it again! Yeah there wasn’t alot of people there, obviosuly because of the… Yeah you know but it felt like playing a festival. They went absolute berserk, and so did we. The days after it felt like I’ve had a proper beating.

MER: That is great to hear. How did the audience react to the stuff from the new album? Did they like any song in particular?

Ola Hansen: They loved it, particularly the faster and heavier songs. We started loud, but had to turn the volume up even more pretty fast.

MER: So, are there any more shows lined up for you guys this year? It’s great to see you’re all ready to kick live.

Ola Hansen: Everything’s still pretty much on hold up and it’s hard to say when it’ll be green light again for the bigger venues. But there’s been alot of talking about gigs, but I can’t say anymore right now.

MER: Hopefully things can happen earlier than we expect them to – seeing you live will be a cool experience for sure! We’re getting very near the end, so here’s one question completely different: imagine getting injured just before a big gig and thus being unable to play. BUT, you can pick absolutely anyone to fill in for you – who would that be?

Ola Hansen: I would love to say Alexi Laiho, my biggest influence since I was a kid, but yeah. May he rest in peace.

MER: This will be it for the interview. Many thanks for giving us such a deep insight into Blackened Blood. Hopefully you guys can hit the road as asap as possible! As the last thing – if you feel like answering such a silly question: pineapple on the pizza – yes or no?

Ola Hansen: Of course pineapple on the pizza, pretty sure it was us Swedes who actually started it! Our Italian singer is going to cry when he reads this. These are the best questions I’ve ever been asked in an interview. Thank you too Miłosz, it was fun!


  • Miłosz Mikołaj Nizioł

    Miłosz is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born somewhere in Europe and now lives elsewhere in Europe. Miłosz is a writer and it has always been his passion. Aside from that, Miłosz is also a bass player - back in his UK days he played in various bands, some of which made it to have their place in the history of Metal; this includes an English high speed Thrash Metal act Rager that got mentioned in Contract in Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal (Glasper, I., 2018).   When enjoying live music as a member of the audience, Milosz never says no to circle pits and a good wall of death. Besides Metal, Milosz has a very wide range of interests that don't need to be specified here since they're not about Metal. One of them can be, actually: Milosz LOVES coming up with parodies of various songs lyrics.   Milosz's Top 25 bands (in the following order) are: The Beatles Deep Purple & Black Sabbath Queen ]v[ E G A D E T ]-[ (until 24.05.2021, but still) Judas Priest Iron Maiden (first three albums mostly) Twisted Sister Mötley Crüe KISS (preferably with Ace and Peter) Exodus Overkill Pantera Rainbow (and DIO of course) Savatage Running Wild Testament Pink Floyd ABBA Red Hot Chili Peppers Death Dire Straits Alestorm Motörhead

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.