Swedish hard rock band Bai Bang have been around for a long time. Their first album "Enemy Lines" was released in 1989, but it was a fluffy, lightweight pop album and doesn't really sound anything like today's Bai Bang. We asked vocalist Diddi Kastenholt about that and other things...

If you compare the first Bai Bang album to the new one, there doesn't seem to be too much in common. Do you see some kind of continuation in there?

Enemy Lines” was our first album, and it was much different in sound to where we are now; like a demo. The production came out way too soft. We had more guitars in the actual demo for it! But still there is one thing in common and it runs through every album!! Melodies and hooks! That’s a keyword for Bai Bang. I’m still proud of the album however but today it would have sounded very different.”

On your early albums, a big share of the songs came from outside songwriters. I haven't seen the credits on the new album, so I'll ask..., have you written much of the material this time around?

“We did a lot co-writing before. But, this time, I’ve written nearly all of the material. I do work closely with our producer however and he is very good.”

Over the years, have your influences changed? Do the bands of today influence you too?

“I do listen to a lot of both old and new bands. Of course, I get inspired by new bands, but I still get my inspirations from older bands as well.”

You've been rather active on the live scene during the last few years. Did you keep the band active during the "lean years" too, before this new period of activity?

“Oh yes!!!We never really did slow down at all. There was a time when no labels really wanted to release our kind of music, so we played as much live as we could!!”

Let's discuss the new album “All Around The World”. What were your guidelines when you started to put it together? Did you get any instructions or requests from the label?

“No, we did not get any instructions from the label. That would not work. I knew we wanted to try and do a better album than the last one, “Livin’ My Dream”. But it felt quite hard in the beginning. “Livin’ My Dream” got a lot of very good reviews all over the world and trying to top that was initially hard….. But, I said, “Let’s do it!!!!”

“I wanted to get more live feeling into the sound. Put up the guitars without taking away any vocals. Both should be upfront. It’s more guitar-oriented.”

How much did the producer have input on the new album?

“Oh, a lot, yes! We exchange ideas; sound ideas, everything!! We almost live together during the song writing…..”

What are your favourite songs on the album and why?

“I really love ‘Everybody Everywhere’ a lot! That was the last song I wrote for the album! I’m always recording ideas; riffs, song parts, melodies, hooks and even some lyrical ideas; all on my cell phone! I can record everywhere. And I did this this time too. I was in a shopping mall, and came up with the hook. I took out the cell phone and sang the hook right into the phone, right there on the spot. In the middle of the shoppers…..”

“The next day I played it for our producer. It took a couple of hours but the song was finished! It’s a great opener! It’s a kick-start to any party! And the lyrics I wrote are about…., the band!!! When I look in Johnny (our drummer)’s eyes and he’s got that special look… I know it’s party time! No return!!! Party!!!”

“I like “Crazy” a lot too!! “Bai Bang” is another favourite. I always wanted to involve Bai Bang (our name) in my lyrics and this time it fitted quite well, I think!! And the great solo from Pelle!!!! He really is digging down to the rock roots!! Amazing solo I think! I love it!!!”

Are you planning to shoot any videos to promote the album?

“We have just finished a video for “Everybody Everywhere”! Hopefully there will be another very soon!!!”

What about touring plans?

“We will try to play as much as we can now. We’re doing a showcase meet and greet with fans at Wacken Open Air in Germany on August 3 rd….Then we do some gigs in Sweden. In September we’re playing in Italy! And there’ll be much more soon to be announced. But remember the HEAT festival in Ludwigsburg, Germany and the Rockageddon Festival in the UK as well…. Both in November.”

In relation to the previous question... who would you see as the perfect
band to tour with? Which would be the "dream support slot"?

“Oh, that’s hard to answer…. I would love to tour with Aerosmith and Bon Jovi! But, as we are party freaks, I think Motorhead would suit us very well!!!! And we know Mikkey Dee, of course!!He’s a Swede!!!!”

You've gone through some line-up changes lately, I understand there's a new
bass player in the band?

“Yes! We have a great guy, Sikk Roxx!! A very good bass player and a really nice person!!!!”

Interview by Kimmo Toivonen
Photos provided by Bai Bang

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