Are you Ready to Stand Your Ground? Peter Ostros Speaks Out.
International band 'Jaded Heart' released their current album 'Stand your Ground' in 2020, this fantastic album is one of their heaviest albums today, but still melodic with plenty of twists and turns throughout the album.
In total the band have released 12 previous albums and in their early days they were fronted by Michael Bormann, who later on joined Letter X and Silent Force. Michael was replaced by Swedish front man Johan Fahlberg along with Swedish guitarist in later years Peter Ostros and Japanese guitarist Masahiro Eto, along with newer drummer Bado Stricker.
I managed to have a chat with Peter to find out more about their current album and what the future ay hold for them once lockdown is over. Here is what he had to say, in the meantime check out 'Stand your Ground' through Massacre Records, it's a killer album.
Hi Peter, thank you for doing this interview. I'd like to start by asking you at what age did you learn to play the guitar and who inspired you?
"Hi Jason, good to speak to you, I started to play the guitar when I was 15 yrs old, I started pretty late actually and 1987 I was playing the Commodore 64 computer games and I remember selling my commodore 64 and bought a guitar. I still have my 1st guitar, it is 'Fame Hondo' and its in my studio somewhere. I Don't play it at the moment as its not playable, I have it still in my studio and it's still in the case, it has no string on it but it is a white Stratocaster. (Ed: Do you think it is still playable if you got it working again? maybe use in the studio for a future album?) Yes maybe I should just fix it and try to get it working again.
I am also into Randy Rhodes, and in the 90's I got into the Blues a bit, I was really into Jimi Hendrix for a long time and I had a Jimi Hendrix covers band for a while and we played around Stockholm and surrounded areas. It was once again Magnus Henriksson from Eclipse Magnus Ulfstedt who was also in Eclipse, but he is not in the band anymore.
I was also inspired by Richie Blackmore, Uli Jon Roth, Steve Ray Vaughan who is my Blues guitar God and I also like Eric Gales and I love the album 'A picture of a 1000 faces' which is a great album indeed. So I guess you could say I am inspired by James Hetfield, Steve Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Yngwie, Jimi Hendrix, all the way from Metal to Blues."
I have a lot of guitars and I hate to sell them, I guess I am a hoarder (laughing).
I was inspired by Ace Frehley from Kiss and I met him once 10yrs ago and we were on our way to Thailand with my family and I saw him at the airport and so I asked for his autograph and a picture with him, which I got. I am also inspired by Iron Maiden and I was also into Yngwie Malmsteen and I saw him in 88 for the 1st time and I loved to hear his riffs. I 1st heard his music when I heard the song 'I am a Viking' which made my thinking of playing the electric guitar and my 1st album for Yngwie was 'Trilogy' in 86, so he was the guy who changed my guitar world.
I started playing the guitar in 87 and I started in the wrong end, I started with stuff like trying to learn Yngwie songs before I could actually play 'C' major chords. Me and Magnus from Eclipse have been friends since childhood and I inspired him with the Yngwie stuff and he taught me basic guitar chords. (Ed: What was the 1st Yngwie song you learnt to play on guitar?) I was trying to play the song 'Crying' from the Trilogy album, it was a challenge."
What was the 1st band you were in as a professional band after the Jimi Hendrinx thing?
"My 1st band was called 10ft Pole', they were a AC/DC influenced type of band and they were a huge thing for me in 1994 and they had a record deal and I never ended up playing on the records but it was a huge thing for me to be in a band that had a record deal. We played some shows and at that time I was studying music for many years and I went the the 'Royal College' of music here in Stockholm and I studied music for 7 yrs after I left there and I studied mainly Classical guitar. (Ed: Where did you get the name '10ft Pole'?) I really don't know but it sound like you know what? (laughing).
In 2003 I had a break from playing in band and concentrated on my studies and for me I became a music teacher and that is what I am today. So in 2003 I joined the band 'Insania' which is a Power Metal band from Stockholm. They formed back 2001/2002 and they sold a bunch of records and they were on their way to get a big break and Hammerfall were the big band and Insania were behind them. The 1st singer quit and then I joined and I released 1 album with the band 'Agony - Gift of Life' in 2007. We did some on and off shows with that band and they had kids so I joined Jaded Heart.
So now we just delivered a master of our new album to Frontiers Records who will be releasing our new album which is called 'Insania V' and it's going to be a great Power Metal album."
So moving on you're 1st album with Jaded Heart was 'Sinister Mind' back in 2007, how did you get the part to play guitar for the band?
"Well Johan asked me if I wanted to play guitar on a tour in 2006 and the guitarist at that time couldn't do the tour and it was a headlining tour and so they needed to find a suitable guitarist for the tour as it was booked. Johan asked me as we played in the same band together playing covers and he knew I would be the perfect guitarist for the band. So I joined the band for the 3 half week tour they had booked and it was a challenge as I had 3 weeks to learn the full set and I had never heard the band before. It would of been a lot easier to join Iron Maiden as I knew the songs at least."
Did you not hear any of the albums with Michael Bormann? What do you think of the early albums?
"Not really, the old Jaded Heart is something else as we all know, compared to what we are today and at that time I was more into Children of Bodom and heavier stuff and that 1st tour I did we did a bunch of Michael Bormann songs. I really like the album like 'Trust', it has a strong production and I also like 'The Journey will Never End' also has a good production. The band and myself think that the 1st album 'Inside Out' has a pretty poor production but it was a big thing for the band back then and they are proud of it because it is part of the history."
The album 'Sinister Mind' was a great album for you to play on as you're debut with the band, it's a very powerful album indeed and so is 'Perfect Insanity' the next album, for me their my 2 favourite albums be Jaded Heart. Just the guitar work and especially Johan's voice is perfect, he certainly has the perfect voice for the style you are creating these days.
Yes there a great album, Johan joined the band before me, he did the album before I joined the band 'Helluva Time' in 2005 and we play a lot of those songs live today, and playing on the 'Sinister Mind' album was a big challenge for me because I realized that I didn't write music in some years, the last time was when I was a teenager and when I joined the band after the tour in 2006 they asked me to join the band and I said 'Yes', and then realized that the song writer was the former member Barish Kepic I had to start writing songs for the band. In the end it turned out pretty well I thought."
For me my 2 favourte albums would be 'Sinister Mind' & 'Perfect Insanity'' because they are so strong and heavy, do you agree?
"Well a lot of people think that 'Perfect Insanity' think that is more of a metal album than any of the others we have done, with songs like 'Freedom Call' which is a real guitar shredding song and it is a long way off from 'Inside Out' album. I think Frontiers Records didn't like that album and they thought we were too different to what they were use too, so that is why we went separate ways."
Your next release 'Common Destiny' was released on Fastball Music, a label that I am not familiar with, tell me a little bit about the album and the label please.
"I think Michael Miller our bassist had a connection with that label and we had some other offers and we went with that label because they believed in us and they also knew more about heavier music so it seemed like the perfect choice. Looking back in the mirror now they didn't do that much for us, whereas Massacre really do believe in us and we are growing as a band and our 1st single from the new album 'Stand your Ground' reached 100.000 listeners on Spotify after 4 months on there. We have been growing since we signed to Massacre Records, so it's all good with that label and they are investing in us, which is awesome!!"
How much do you think the band has grown with the progression of each album since you joined the band?
"Well since 'Sinister Mind' I think I have grown as a song writer over the years and I like to hear other peoples opinions and my girlfriend and yourself think that 'Sinister Mind' is the best one, I personally think that 'Stand your Ground' is so much stronger and 'Sinister Mind', and as a band the songs the songs we have now are more technical but we are not a Progressive band in any shape or form. If you listen too our drummer he is very technical and we have to base our guitar riffs around his playing. Our music style has changed a little and we are a stronger band now with a modern touch with a modern drummer."
Moving on let's talk abut the new album 'Stand your Ground', who came up with the title for the album and did you have any other titles for the album?
"Johan wasn't really inspired to write lyrics for this album, so I asked my friend Johnny Lindberg if he wanted to write the lyrics, he is a good friend of mine who is also a guitar player and a English teacher in School to write some lyrics for the album. I knew he was interesting in writing but he had never done lyrics before, and so he did write a book and he knew how to write in English. So I asked him if he wanted to write the lyrics for one song so he did that and in the end he ended up writing lyrics for the whole album. We didn't have any other names for the album, with the way thing are right now I think the title fits the music and what we are all going through/ Stand your Ground was the 1st song we record and we all thought it would be a great title for the album."
How long did it take to record this album? Was it recorded in separate studio with the Covid situation?
"Well the only difference with the pre-covid or covid times was the album was done in the same procedure with the drums done in a professional studio as you need the big live sound for the drums, I have my own studio at home and so do the other guys, so all there parts were done in their own studios except for Bodo, so we went all the files to Erik from Eclipse who mixed and mastered the album. The mix was done in last summer 2020 and I think the whole recording progress was done 4 months with recording and mixing of the album.
We were going to shoot a video for the song 'Stand your Ground', we had flights book to shoot the video but covid stopped it and we only 2 lyrical videos and to be honest nobody really care about them, they would rather see the band playing live or something like that. We also wanted to do a video for the song 'Reap what you Sow' which ended up and lyric videos."
What about the cover has the artist worked with you before?
"Yes he has worked with us before, his name is Thomas Ewerhard who did the 'Devils Gift' has does a lot of Massacre record covers too."
Where the songs recorded in order of the album or did you just record them and then re-arrange them in order of the album?
"They were recorded in order of the album, if we hadn't of done that then there could of been fist fights (laughing). We all had to decide on a strong opening song and 'Stand your Ground' was the perfect choice to open up the album, it packs a punch. We needed to have some variation in the album and in different keys so it worked out really well in the end."
What are you're favourite songs on the new album and why?
"I would have to say the title track and my absolute favourite is 'One last Time' because I love Johan's voice on that song and I love to sing the songs myself, so the pre-production is with my vocals if I write it myself except for the lyrics, but I do sing on the pre-productions. I like the vibe on that song as it is a bit more modern in some way or another, a bit like Evergrey and I love their music and it has a touch of Evergrey in that song. I also like the song 'Break Free', it's a good solid Hard Rock song, I also like 'Reap what you Sow' which is a heavy song compared to songs from 'Inside Out' for a Jaded Heart song. As a guitarist I like the song 'Kill your Masters' because the guitar solo on that song is really cool and it explodes into the chorus once again."
Do you think having a multi cultural band of musicians makes the music more exciting than say having just a bunch of guy from the same country?
"Well the cool thing is to have a band with different roots, coming from different countries and you get a different prospective on things. We don't think the same as if you were from say Stockholm or Japan, I mean there are some differences and I think it makes the band stronger. So yes having musicians from different parts of the world does make a difference and also the music stronger."
Have you ever thought of re-recording older songs with the current line-up and also with today's technology?
"Well Mike actually talked about this a couple of weeks ago and we talked about doing 5 old songs and mix that with 5 new songs, would work really well. We don't have any keyboards anymore so it would be a challenge so we would like to do some older songs without keyboards but keep the song to it's truest form. This is something we have talked about more than once and it could happen in the near future."
Has the current album been getting good reviews since it was released?
"Yes we have been getting some great reviews, even yours so we are happy. We have ad some bad reviews and our biggest enemy is melodic rock.com, they hare us but we don't care. If you want to please people then don't make music and put it out!!"
A few years ago now you released a live DVD, which was a support act video to Axel Rudi Pell, do you think that was the best move for the band to release a opening act live DVD? Don't you think when lockdown has eased that you should record a new full live DVD?
"Well that DVD was a Fastball Music idea, if we had the chance to do it now I don't think we would of done it. It was released as a live DVD/ CD and they were happy to put it out, the production was OK. Who wants to release a live DVD with the main bands back drop in the background? Sometime in the future we would love to do a live DVD, I think to record it in Japan would be a great place to record it, the fans and clubs over there are great."
Well thanks for the interview Peter, take care and keep in touch. Do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes thank you to our fans for their support, be safe and we hope to see you on tour once lockdown has eased. Thank you Jason for the interview, we hope get a chance to meet finally."
Thank you to Anja @ Massacre & Peter for the interview.