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Friday, September 25, 2020

SPIDERS -Killer Machine

A little while ago, during an interview I did with Zack from Blues Pills he mentioned SPIDERS as being one of the major bands in Sweden. So I immediately checked these guys out on the internet and I was amazed to discovered this 4 piece from Gothenburg. 

Their latest release, "Killer Machine", produced by Swedish legend Chips Kiesby, is filled to the rafters with catchy tunes and heavy riffs. Here is the interview of London born guitar player John Hoyles.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you  tell about SPIDERS to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys  together as a band? Who is playing what instrument in the band  nowadays? 

John: We are a Swedish rock band based in Gothenburg and have been  around almost ten years. The group consists of Ann-Sofie Hoyles on  vocals, John Hoyles on guitar, Rickard Hellgren guitar, Olle Griphammar bass and  Ricard Harryson on drums. We have released three albums over the years  and done a bunch of tours  in Europe and the States.  

2) About the latest full length record "Killer Machine", what can you tell  about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or  a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

We recorded the album in Gothenburg at the studio Music A Matic with  Chips Kiesby as producer. Hes a bit of a legend here in sweden and has  produced loads of bands like The Hellacopters and Graveyard so it was  really interesting and educational working with him. He had a lot of good  references when it came to guitar and drum sounds and understood what  we wanted to achieve. On Killer Machine we worked track by track and took  our time with overdubs on each song. On our previous albums we have  recorded live using analog tape machines with just a few overdubs so it was  cool trying something new.  

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you guys  only work with analog machines in analog studios? 

Both, our latest album was recorded digital but our other albums were  analog. I think computers are so good nowadays that one cant hear the  difference anymore but I prefer recording analog because you don't look at  a computer screen all the time and just uses ones ears.  

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one  way or another? 

Previously I used to write most of the songs but now it's more of a joint  effort. Someone in the band comes up with a riff or idea for a song and then we jam on it in the rehearsal room until we find a structure for a song. We  usually record a pre production of the song so we can work out details and  stuff before going into the studio.  

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new  song? 

I don't know. I like songs to be simple and I suppose most of our songs are  about love, being mistreated, doom and gloom and a little bit of politics. I  find it difficult to write lyrics so they don't sound stupid or pretentious.  

6) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers? What were your  favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still  have an influence on your own work today. 

I grew up listening to my parents records. A Lot of The Rolling Stones and  Bob Dylan. When I was 11 I was looking through an old photo album of my mum's and found some photos she had taken of the band Cream back in 1967 when they played in her hometown. They really blew me away, Eric Clapton's early stuff influenced me a lot.  When I became a teenager I started listening to Black Sabbath , Led Zeppelin and going to record fairs buying obscure records with 70's bands like Bang, Dust and Sir Lord Baltimore. Three bands that have  influenced us as a band could be Black Sabbath, Heart and The Runaways.  

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP?

Yes, we did a video for Dead Or Alive, you can find it on youtube.  We also have some other videos from our previous albums. 

8) What can concert goers expect at a SPIDERS gig? Are you playing any  famous cover songs during the gig? 

Our singer Ann-Sofie is a mix of Iggy pop and Mick Jagger on stage so its  always a good show to watch. We also have one of the best drummers around  and lots of guitar riffs and solos. So if your into hard rock I don't think you'll be  disappointed. 

9) Are there any bands in Sweden today you consider yourself close to  musically speaking? 

I think we are usually associated with bands like Graveyard, Blues Pills and Horisont. We have done a lot of tours together and are good friends. There is a big rock scene in Sweden with lots of good  bands like Lucifer, Dead Lord and Hot Breath to name a few.

10) How would You describe the music you're playing? Is this "vintage  rock'n'roll" or do you consider there is way more than that? 

That's a difficult question. I used to play in a band called Witchcraft that was quite heavy 70's rock sounding back around 2004. People at the time called our music doom rock and then we went to the US people called us hipster metal and then a few years after that  we were called retro rock. And now all the bands that played similar music was categorized as retro rock including us. I prefer just saying we play classic rock. 

11) What are the plans for the rest of 2020 as far as SPIDERS is concerned?  When can we expect a new SPIDERS full-length? 

We had a few tours booked in Germany and Spain that have been postponed to 2021 and we had some festival gigs that were cancelled. It's been tough for everybody this year and I hope the music venues are going to survive. There's going to be a lot of bands touring when this Corona situation passes. We have been recording demos of some new songs and I hope we have enough songs soon to record an album. 

12) A special question for you John: You were born in London, UK and Moved  to Sweden in your teens. Do you believe that the kind of music SPIDERS is  playing could much easier come to life in Sweden rather that in the UK where everything is either indie rock or dance music? 

Probably. I lived in a town called Örebro in the middle of Sweden and was fortunate to meet a lot of musicians that liked the same music. There was a a lot of tape trading among friends and an obsession of finding albums of old 70's bands that sounded like Black Sabbath. The US group Pentagram was really big in Örebro before many people had heard of them. There were many bands from Örebro that were inspired by 60's and 70's rock like Witchcraft, Norrsken, The Strollers,Dead Man, Great Mammoth, Troubled Horse, and Asteroid.  Music and style comes round in circles and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. 

13) Anything you wanna add?

Stay safe out there and I hope we can meet up and have a few beers at a rock n roll show soon

Purchase the previous releases HERE:

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Fuzz​-​O​-​Phonic Sound of​.​.​. The Ev!l FUZZHEADS

THE EVIL FUZZHEADS are a wild fuzzy trio from Brussels featuring 2 members of the VICE BARONS: Guitar player Eric St JOHN and drummer Paul HAMESSE. The third member of the band is bass player Iris St JOHN, daughter of Eric.

Their splendid and very exciting debut full length album 'The Fuzz-O-Phonic Sound Of' is proudly released by German label SOUNDFLAT RECORDS

Expect some very powerful Hammond-driven fuzzy garage rock with a heavy influence of the 60's sounds and a hint of psychedelia.

The record is featuring twelve original tunes penned by Eric St JOHN that certainly won't disappoint you! Starting off with an absolute killer-song 'So Strange So Strange' that is extremely addictive and wild.

Further you'll be amazed by tracks like 'She's Wearing Rainbows In Her Hair' or 'Make Her Mine'. 

And finally you will also discover the slightly softer garage psych-tunes of the Ev!l FUZZHEADS in songs like 'You Creep Me Out' or 'My Hands Belong To The Devil'.

The perfect mix for any garage head who digs fuzzy, organ driven 60's garage-psych-rock!


Support the band by purchasing a digital copy here: 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Blues Pills - Holy Moly!

Originally planned for April 2020,  NUCLEAR BLAST Records finally released at the end of August, "Holy Moly!" the third and long-awaited studio album of the Sweden's rock sensation BLUES PILLS. 

This new full length is certainly the band's best record to this day, displaying a fantastic range of psychedelic tunes, soaring soundscapes, emotional hymns and Elin Larsson's powerful soul voice!

So it was time for this blog to talk to guitar player and founding member Zack Anderson.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about Blues Pills to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  There have been various changes in the band over the years. Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays? 

We are a rock band with blues/soul/psychedelic influences.  Elin and myself formed the band in 2011, and there’s been various line up changes over the years.   Currently our lineup is: Elin Larsson - Vocals; Zack Anderson - Guitar; Andre Kvarnström - Drums; Kristoffer Schander - Bass

2) About the latest full length record "Holy Moly!", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

The recording process was somewhere in between.  It was important for us to get a live feeling, but since this was before Kristoffer joined the band it was just Me, Elin and Andre in the studio, so totally live wasn’t really possible. The three of us played together to track the drums and get as much live feeling as possible.  Then I would go back and add a bass, and more guitars.  And finally vocals.  The downside to recording this way is sometimes you don't know if you got it right until your at the end of adding everything, so some songs we would be done, then trash it all and start over up to 4-5 times.  Not because we felt it wasn't "perfect" technically, because we don't care so much about that, but if the feeling wasn't right or the emotion wasn't coming across right.

3) Do you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

The first two albums we recorded and mixed totally analog.  The newest album  Holy Moly! was a hybrid because it was all analog on the front end during tracking, but then everything was put to the computer and the files sent to Andrew Scheps for mixing. There is a lot of analog and vintage equipment which I love and wouldn't want to record without, but for me the question about analog vs digital is more about workflow than the sound for me.   My main concern is getting the source right.  I used to be firmly in the analog camp because my first experiences with digital were not that great, but nowadays there is some really good sounding converters, and my opinion is it's a lot more important the choice of guitar, amp, microphone, high quality preamp, etc.  If you get all that right, and use nice converters, its going to sound great, and I would choose a high end digital setup vs, a shitty tape machine any day.  Don't get me wrong though, I still love to record on tape.  It can be a lot more fun and exciting to see the tape machine running vs, looking at a computer screen, and it forces you to make decisions in a different way which I like.  At the end of the day it's all just tools and great sounding albums have been made on both.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

Elin and I formed the band, and have always been the main songwriters.  That said the others are definitely involved as well.  Usually it starts with me or Elin, having a general idea or some kind of outline for a song, then we show it to the others and finish as a group.  In some cases, like with the song Proud Woman, it was actually born from a jam.  We just started to play and stumbled upon it, it kind of just happened, so every song is different.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

For me, I definitely get more inspired to write lyrics by negative emotions like sadness, anger, heartbreak, things like that.  I don't know, I am not a depressed person, but it just feels a lot easier for me to write songs when it gets triggered by those things.

6) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

In my early teens I was interested in music I was sort of searching and listening to different styles of music to see what I liked.  The thing that changed it was when I was 14 I first heard Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.  I had just started to play guitar and I learned that song, and pretty much from that moment I got hooked and wanted to be in a band.  At that point my music tastes started to shift towards more "vintage" styled music.  Soon I bought a Jimi Hendrix greatest hits CD, and I listened to that constantly.  By the time I was 17 I discovered Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, and from there I just continued down this path of discovering more and more music from that era.  Even though it's old music, as a teenager in the early 2000's it felt like something totally new and fresh to me, because it was so different from what you heard on the radio.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP? 

Right now there is three, Proud Woman, Low Road, and Rhythm in the Blood..  We also have plans to make at least one more.

8) What can concert goers expect at a Blues Pills? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the gig? 

The set is basically 98% our original songs, but we have sometimes done covers.  Some of them were more obscure unknown songs.  Although we did a cover of "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane...  The festival goers always liked it.

9) Are there any bands in Sweden today you consider yourself close to musically speaking?

There is quite a lot of bands playing music inspired by vintage rock, etc. in Sweden, so the list could go on forever.  But some of the more well known ones are Graveyard, Witchcraft, Spiders, Horisont, Troubled Horse...

10) How would You describe the music you're playing? Is this strictly blues, like the name of the band might suggest or do you consider there is way more than that?  

I think when some people think of the blues they think of more pure blues like BB King or something... and we are far away from that.  In comparison it's almost like hard rock, but for sure there's always this undertone of blues in our music.  When the band was formed we were so inspired by Peter Green and wanted to get a similar feeling into our music.  So our idea of blues when we named the band was more this progressive British blues, like Black Magic Woman, Green Manalishi, and Rattlesnake Shake type of songs.   I think of us more of a rock band in general as a base, but then pulling in other influences and adding them, like soul, psychedelic, blues, country... etc.

11) What are the plans for the rest of 2020 as far as Blues Pills is concerned?
We are just rehearsing and waiting to be able to tour and play live again.  It's about all we can do now in these corona times unfortunately.

Purchase the goodies HERE:

Special Thanks to Markus.