Rockunited.com had an opportunity to sit down with Hardcore Superstar bassist Martin and drummer Adde just before they started their European tour. The guys were pretty excited about getting on the road again. We talked for half an hour and in the end lead singer Jocke and guitarist Silver had a word in too. It turned out to be a quite entertaining session, hang on for the ride and read this till the end.
Rockunited: Your new video is on rotation in MTV Up North. Could you tell us a few words about making the video?
Adde: Silver, the guitar player in the band, he directed the video. It’s like a tribute to The Clash, or Joe Strummer if you will, because he passed away when we recorded “No Regrets”. We were really into listening to vinyls, our producer had a vinyl player and he brought loads of old punk albums that we had not been listening since the 70’s or the 80’s. So when we were about to do the video for Still I’m Glad we talked about how much we listen to The Clash. So why not make a tribute to Clash. The video is based pretty much around the same idea than the video London Calling, we’re playing on the pier and out in the rain. Simple idea, really, we didn’t wanna do a story or anything like that, we’re tired of that to say the least.
Martin: Yeah, always those stupid stories and nobody understands what the video is about.
Adde: So we skipped the whole acting process and just played.
Rockunited: Well I guess that’s what you do best….
Adde: It’s horrible to see those videos from the 80’s where the musicians have to act like they were in love with a woman or something… have you seen the video Rosanna by Toto, it’s so hilarious because they’re acting at the same time than they’re performing, really stupid.
Rockunited: I don’t know if it’s just MTV Up North or is it the whole MTV, but do you think that it’s starting to be at least a bit more rock oriented?
Adde: It’s getting interesting.
Martin: Yeah, in Sweden we have ZTV that is similar to MTV and they play a lot of rock music. MTV is pretty boring, they go for the biggest stars but how about mix it up a bit. They say “we play rock, we play Linking Park” but there’s so much more than Linking Park. But ZTV is really supporting the rock scene that happens in Scandinavia, the Danish, Norwegian and Finnish rock music that is really growing and they’ve been playing a lot of rock lately which is good.
Rockunited: I think more and more young people getting into rock music. There seems to be a revival…
Adde: Yeah, people who were born when Appetite for Destruction was released, they’ve never really seen that. For us it is different, it’s always been there, we grew up with Kiss, Mötley Crue and Iron Maiden… but they’ve grown up with Eminem and Destiny’s Child, so when they see a guy with make up and long hair and scarves and who actually play their own instruments..
Rockunited: So it looks a bit more promising than it did for example in the 90’s. Adde: In a way grunge killed the music scene… or not really killed but it became so big so fast that people got fed up with it. And after that people were sick and tired of hearing rock music.
Martin: And it was only a few really good bands that came out of it, the rest of them were pretty boring, to say the least.
Rockunited: Let’s talk about action rock, which is how your band is often categorised together with e.g. Backyard Babies.
Martin: Backyard Babies and the Hellacopters have opened up a lot of doors for other Swedish bands. We have the same roots with them, we grew up with same type of music. I can see why people compare the bands.
Adde: We’re the same generation, we listened to the same bands, of course we’re going to have the same influences when we write music. I think it’s healthy, you’re opening doors for other bands so I think it’s good. But some people think that “there can only be one”.
Martin: But that’s just stupid. There’s no competition, everyone’s allowed to do it. Rockunited: I remember with your first album quite many were saying that you’re just copying it and not bringing anything new to the scene.
Martin: Everyone’s allowed to have an opinion. Rockunited: In your second album you have a song They’re not even a new Bang Tango. I heard that was aimed at the critics. Martin: Yeah, we did a show in London and the guy who wrote about the gigs said that the record company says that they are the new Guns ‘n’ Roses but they are not even the new Bang Tango. And we said we have to write a song about that.
Adde: We just loved it, it’s hilarious. The whole thing with Guns ‘n’ Roses with the record company was wrong from the start because Guns ‘n’ Roses was a big, good band so when you say something like that it’s open for the critics to just hate it. So maybe you shouldn’t say that…
Rockunited: Do you read the reviews or just let people have their opinion.
Martin: We read a lot of reviews. We don’t usually get that good reviews for our albums but the live show reviews are better.
Adde: And it depends also on the country… in some countries the reviews are a lot better than in other countries. Martin: And if you are a rock band you’re not supposed to be on the charts and have hit singles. And we had seven TOP20 hits in Sweden and if you’re a rock band you’re not supposed to have that. Some people don’t like that.
Adde: Yeah, suddenly you’re not underground, you’re not staying true to the scene. I worked my ass of not to stay in the gutter. We wanna play music for people and if people buy singles that much that we end up in the charts it’s just great to feel that some others think that the song is good.
Rockunited: Do you have a similar fan base somewhere else in Europe. For example Germany? Martin: Germany is pretty strange, because when you’re up in the North like Hamburg, it’s like 150 in the show, but in the South there can be 600-700 in the crowd. We’ve been touring a lot in Germany, it’s also important for the record company because you could sell a lot of records in Germany.
Rockunited: Maybe a few words about the new album. The title, No Regrets, that’s not targeted to anyone?
Adde: It’s based around our experiences in the band. We did some stupid mistakes and said some stupid things and we think it’s important to do mistakes to become what we are. The whole album is born out of trying to… well because it’s really hard to be a rock band and write in the key of major, they always write in the key of minor because it sounds really dark. And we always did songs in minor so one goal was to write songs in the key of major which creates kind of a happy sound. As I said we were listening a lot of punk music during the making of No Regrets and with one foot in the hard rock scene and one foot in the punk rock scene No Regrets was born. And the lyrics are kind of sarcastic, ironic. Dark, black humour. Played in a major key which creates kind of a happy feeling. But the lyrics in No Regrets are really dark, I think, with a twist of lemon (laughs).
Martin: One important thing with this record was that we wanted to be able to play all the songs live. When you’re in the studio, most of the bands try to create the sound in the studio, but this time it was really important for us to make it sound like four guys playing together, it’s pretty much a live record.
Adde: The whole feeling of the album is that it breathes, kind of, and I’m really happy that we did that, especially with this record. Maybe the next record will be totally different but this record is really producing the live sounds. One thing that we experienced, bitterly, was that it’s really hard to make a good studio album that works live, you can’t have them both. Either you’re a good studio band and you suck live or you’re a good live band but you can’t make it in the studio to sound live.
Martin: This new album is like a reaction to the last one. It was so frustrating when we started to rehearse when we were going on tour with the Thank You-album. Some songs were impossible to do live! We did a lot of over dubs in the studio. We only got one guitar player in the band but we put on like Brian May Queen guitars, loads of harmonies and we were sitting there going “YEAH!” and then we were crying in the rehearse room one month later. .. “how the fuck are we supposed to do this live!”
At this point Jocke and Silver joined since they had finished another interview that they were doing. So it was time for our Beast Side Question:
Rockunited: Since you have no regrets, could you maybe share one or two funny or weird events that have happened to you during your career.
Jocke: I don’t have any regrets on doing a video to Shame… well we did a video in a tour bus on the first tour and I was acting like Stephen Pearcy from Ratt and I was crawling on the lane in the bus… I have no regrets about that (laughs)
Adde: We did our own Jocke home video. But really, we’ve done so many stupid things I don’t know what to choose from…
Jocke: I have one but I don’t know if I can tell that…
Adde: (laughs) OK, let’s get it over with. I was once, totally drunk, we played in Stockholm and we had this Swedish porn star to come and see the gig, called Ingrid Swede. After the gig we got drunk and I promised to eat chocolate peanuts from Martins ass and I think Ingrid somehow heard it and she kept pushing it all the time…”when am I going to see you eating from his ass?” and we were just kidding about it… but it went so far that I actually had to do it. And it’s caught on camera!
Rockunited: Are you going to sell it in the internet?
Martin: It’s going to be in our next DVD.
Adde: Ingrid really wanted to stand there and watch, you know, she almost got like small kicks out of it. Well that was kind of embarrassing actually... well there’s a Beast Side for you.
Then we chatted a while about the reality TV shows and we kind of wandered to thinking about what would a Hardcore Superstar reality show be like. The answer was unanimous. “Boring!”.
Silver: “There’s nothing to watch. What would they shoot? We’re only in the same room now. We could have a camera following Jocke around for a while, that would be fun.
Then it was time to get serious again.
Rockunited: “Still I’m glad” has lyrics that relate to getting older. How have you matured as a band as you’ve grown older?
Silver: It’s affecting our way of thinking, of course, when you get older you realise you have to do certain things to continue being in this band. A couple of years ago we didn’t know squat about the industry, we just played. So that has changed. Were getting older and more mature, which I like but at the same time I hate it. Everybody wants to fool around but now we can’t do that us much as we used to do. You have to think a bit more.
Adde: I think the lyrics are about some sort of a sad person that makes mistakes. But even though everyone makes mistakes you should still be glad and it’s never too late to create a happy childhood. Some people blame their childhood for their behaviour, you know, they get all bitter and they are sitting there complaining and they hide behind all that… and I think that’s wrong. If you’re not happy you should do something about it.
Silver: You have two arms, two legs and a mouth, use it.
Adde: And a brain, hopefully.
Rockunited: To wrap it up, what to expect from the new album or a Hardcore Superstar live show.
Martin: It’s loads of energy. Some good melodies.
Silver: A live show should be like a bank robbery. Some people will sit there scared and some people will cry… some people will be wounded, but those people will be us.
Adde: The new album is music to drink beer to.
Silver: Don’t take it too seriously
Martin: Yeah, it’s only music… but I like it!
you have it. Remember to enter our competition to win a signed No Regrets
CD! Or you’ll regret it! (Well that wasn’t witty at all, but then again
I’ve been typing for the last three and a half hours so what do you expect!
:-)) Finally, thanks to Piia at BMG for all your help!
Interview & pics by Petri Kautto,