Did the concept influence the way the music was written or was it the other way around?

I think it did. It was a band-oriented effort. For example, for Bjorn, he sat in his apartment in Sweden, overlooking the ocean, and he would write music and be inspired. Some of us don't live by the ocean, but that's the direction we knew we were headed.

We wanted to bring back some of the melancholy from the first three or four Soilwork albums, which we felt was missing in later albums by the band. There was a melancholy and epic vibe to some of those melodies, while on later albums like Stabbing the Drama [2005], it was present, but less present than before. We wanted to bring it back.

Watch 'Rise Above the Sentiment' Video

So is guitarist Peter Wichers gone for good? He has been in and out of the band quite a bit, and he was a quite a visible member of the band.

I would say so, but you never know! But he is happier not having to deal with doing tours. Touring is not easy and it's not for everyone and he had a hard time with it. It's not something Soilwork can afford to not do or to merely do at a low level. It's something that we have to do.

You live in L.A., now, right?

Yes, my wife is American so we live here. Bjorn is in the process of relocating to Toronto.

Does that make life really hard when writing, recording and rehearsing?

All I have to say is 'Thank God for the Internet!'

Dirk, do you have any non-music hobbies or skills?

I love animals. I love to spend time with my dog and cat. My wife and I take our dog, a terrier mix who is a rescue, to the dog park and enjoy the downtime with animal presence, which we both like.

The Living Infinite is out now via Nuclear Blast Records and available at their e-store.

2013 NORTH AMERICAN INFINITY TOUR
w/ Jeff Loomis, Blackguard, The Browning, Wretched

Apr. 15 - Dallas, TX - Trees
Apr. 16 - San Antonio, TX - Backstage Live
Apr. 17 - Lubbock, TX - Jake's
Apr. 18 - Abilene, TX - Lucky Mule
Apr. 19 - Oklahoma City, OK - Chameleon Room
Apr. 20 - El Paso, TX - Tricky Falls
Apr. 21 - Austin, TX - Dirty Dog Bar
Apr. 22 - Corpus Christi, TX - House of Rock
Apr. 23 - McAllen, TX - Geo's
Apr. 24 - Houston, TX - Scout Bar
Apr. 26 - St. Petersburg, FL - State Theater
Apr. 27 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
Apr. 28 - Charlotte, NC - Casbah
Apr. 29 - Richmond, VA - Kingdom
Apr. 30 - Baltimore, MD - Soundstage
May 1 - Teaneck, NJ - Mexicali Live
May 2 - Poughkeepsie, NY - Chance Theater
May 3 - Buffalo, NY - Broadway Joe's
May 4 - Columbus, OH - Al Rosa Villa
May 5 - London, ON - CANADA - Music Hall
May 6 - Syracuse, NY - Station 58
May 7 - Worcester, MA - Palladium

2013 FESTIVALS

May 31 - Ursynalia - Warsaw, PL
June 29 - Tuska Open Air - Helsinki, SF
June 30 - Basinfire - Spálené Poříčí, CZ
July 12 - Rock Harz - Ballenstedt, DE
July 22-24 - Metal Days - Tolmin, SLO
Aug. 1-3 - Wacken Open Air - Wacken, DE
Aug. 15-17 - Summer Breeze - Dinkelsbuhl, DE
Sept. 6 - Progpower USA - Atlanta, GA