The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
LOVER UNDER COVER Mikael Carlsson INTERVIEW 2014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - LOVER UNDER COVER FOUNDER - MIKAEL CARLSSON

LOVER UNDER COVER

If you love Melodic Rock then you will love Lover Under Cover. So far this year their latest album 'Into the Night' is riding high and looking at taking out the album of 2014 - it's that good!

Mikael Carlsson speaks to the Rockpit.

MARCH 2014

 

CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW OF 'INTO THE NIGHT' HERE

These days the Melodic Rock scene has so many great bands you'd think that it would be hard to find one that truly shines out above the rest. We have found them, like many of you will have! Lover Under Cover set the bar to a new high with 'Into the Night' their second album on Escape Music...


TH: G’day Mikael, Its Tanya from The Rockpit - hoppas du ar val!


MC: Hi Tanya and thank you!


TH: Lover under cover originates far back as 1982, and you probably get asked this question lots of times, but let’s tell everyone here in Oz and those who are unaware of Lover Under Cover, how did that name come about and how did you guys meet and get together?


MC: Well the first seeds of what became of LUC goes as far back as 82-83 when myself and the lead singer Mikael Erlandsson were in a band called ‘Rain’ back in those days he hadn’t discovered his talent of singing yet so he was actually the drummer in the band, so after when ‘Rain’ broke up, he went onto a professional career, so back in 85 I think, he was in a band called ‘N’Gang’ there was competition in the Swedish version of the Eurovision contest, I guess you watch Eurovision on TV right?


TH: Yes that’s right, I remember watching the Eurovision all those years ago when Abba were part of it, hahaha!


MC: That was 1974, yes I remember that because I was actually watching that show at my grandma’s house back in those days and it was really a big thing when we won the whole competition though (laughs). So back to the LUC story, Mikael Erlandsson went to work up his professional career right from the beginning and I started up the first version of LUC around 88-89 something like that, because before that I was in a band called ‘Gallery’ and from the birth of my son, I didn’t have the time to put in to stay in the band, so they actually kicked me out from that band, but me and the lead singer Daniel Boscovic had a good contact and we started up a project at that time, we wrote about 30-40 songs together during a 4-5 year period, and we still got contact these days, so the name LUC actually comes from the name of a song that we did back in those days which those songs probably will never see the daylight of re- recording anything, but it’s still there in the back catalogue so you never know what might happen.

TH: You are all part of other bands too, how do you find the time to juggle between LUC and your other projects?


MC: Well after the first version of LUC, Daniel went onto another band called ‘Apple Chapel’ and then I went onto do a lot of cover gigs with another friend down town, we were often playing at the pubs, clubs, all over the west of Sweden during the period of 8-9 years or so, and that was a hard time because most of the years we were doing about 70-80 gigs a year and we were basically away every week and that became pretty hard on the family, after that our equipment was stolen so after that we didn’t find the energy to continue with the covers anymore, after a year or so I realised that those 8-9 years had really drained me of energy to writing my own music, I was used to doing covers all the time, and the more I didn’t do that the more I felt the energy coming back to write some new music again and that is what really set off the idea to start LUC again, but I realised to make it any further I needed to surround it with more professional people, and the first part of that was to recruit one of the best singers that I know and that was Mikael Erlandsson from the ‘Rain’ back then, we have kept in contact from all over the years, I knew he was busy with his band ‘Last Autumn’s Dream’ so I had to do something to get his attention, so I took one of the songs from the Last Autumns Dream album ‘Dreamcatcher’ on that album there is a song called ‘Who Needs Love’ I actually took that one and re-recorded it but in a much harder, metal version and that actually shook him up, because he didn’t realise that his music could sound like that, so we went into the studio and recorded 3 or 4 songs in that particular style before we took it further to a producer to take a look at it, and that’s how it started up the whole thing again and he agreed to take the project on.

TH: With other members of the band doing other projects too, Do you think it’s still a solid line up?


MC: Yes I think so, we have the same members on the second album too, there’s me and Mikael and Martin Kronlund who is the guitarist and producer for the album, we live pretty close to each other so it’s easy to keep contact there, and my first meeting with Martin you could actually say was love at first sight, our drummer is also part of the band ‘Coldspell’ who are doing pretty good in Australia and also the USA, I actually talked to Michael from Coldspell yesterday, he was on his way to a ski resort up at the most northern part of Sweden, that’s about as far as you can go in his part of the country.


 

TH: Yes I speak to Micheal quite a lot too and he informs me how cold it is over there as well.


MC: Yes he is such a great guy; he actually did a guitar solo on the first album for the Japan release?

TH: Mikael, you are a member of the band ‘Dogface’ can you tell us briefly about that band, and are they simular to LUC?


MC: Yes that was pretty funny actually, because in May last year, we were be starting up the pre- recordings for the new LUC album, and in the middle of June somewhere we had come that far for us to record the vocals for the album, but at that time, Mikael Erlandsson had to leave Sweden for 3-4 weeks for a tour with a pop band called ‘Secret Service’ that were really big here in Sweden in the late 70’s early 80’s, and they kind of have a revival in the form of soviet union of Russia and other countries, which meant he was away most of the time during the recordings, so there was some time and I thought what the hell am I going to do now? So it was Martin that came up with maybe we could do something with my old project ‘Dogface‘ they haven’t recorded anything for about 11 years as it was a sleeping project and besides Martin, you have Mats Leven on vocals in that band, so Martin sent out a message to do something at really short notice, and luckily for us he didn’t have anything on his time schedule at the time, so Matt’s recorded all the vocals at Stockholm where he lives and we did the rest of the stuff down here in Gothenburg, so it was 4 really intensive weeks to make that project together and when we had finished holding off the ‘Dogface’ album, Mikael came back from Russia, and we were all plunged back into the studio to do the vocals for the LUC album, so basically for a period of 2-3 months we were working with 2 albums simultaneously, that was sometimes messed up because there were times when I would think ‘what’s this thing for?’ ‘oh this thing is for ‘Dogface, not LUC!’ (laughs) it was really stressful, I really don’t want to do that again, but Mats is a fantastic singer, the style of that album is a little bit different compared to LUC, it was a great experience!


TH: When you all first got together with LUC, what were your intentions?


MC: My first intention was to see something working with music for as long as I can remember and to put out an album with my own material on it, I think it’s pretty good enough to do something with, a big part of it is to surround you with the right people, this right people turns out to be Martin Kronlund he was the producer of the first LUC album, so whichever is the material is we take on the role of the producer, and from the beginning, I had to do both bass and guitar on the album, but at the time in the studio, Martin was jamming on his guitar to the tracks and we realised that he could do that really much better because he is an awesome guitarist, so we actually asked him to be part of the band and do all the guitars, luckily for us he accepted as he thought it was a really sound album to do, and he is also the guy with all the connections outside Sweden with the record companies in England and stuff like that, so that turns out to be a winning ticket.


TH: You all had a busy year last year writing and releasing the launch of the new album ‘Into The Night‘ and I must say, it’s an excellent album and The Rockpit have labelled it the best album of the year so far!


MC: That’s awesome news!!

 

TH: How do you usually write your songs, is there one or more main song writers? And were you all pleased with the final result?


MC: On the first album it’s me that is the writer, it was my project from the beginning, so that album has one song that I haven’t wrote myself, and that’s the closing track on that album ‘ A Nice Day’ that’s a Mikael Erlandsson song, and of course you’ve got the ‘Secret Service’ cover, ‘Flash in the Night’ and ‘Who Needs Love’ so I’ve wrote 9 out of the 12 songs on the first album, on the second album, the guys were getting more involved with the whole project, so off the 12 songs on that album, there’s only 5 that comes from my pen, one comes from Mikael Erlandsson which is the opening track ‘A Fight’ and the rest of them are a collaboration between Martin Kronlund and David Reece that wrote the rest.

TH: And were you all pleased with the final result? And how do you compare the two albums?

MC: We were really pleased with it, the new album is a little more polished sounding than the first one, some ways I think it’s a stronger album and yes we are lucky because we have 3 really good songwriters in the band?


TH: It’s really good that you all have a go at writing the songs too!


MC: Yes absolutely and it also makes the music that much more colourful, and when I come with a demo for a song in the studio and present it to the guys, you really never know how the song is gonna end up in the final production because everyone of the guys are allowed to give their impact or make some changes to the song because the way I sing a song might not be suitable for Mikael Erlandsson and in those cases of course he will rewrite it in a way it works better for him, it’s also good to leave those guys alone in the studio, because on the first album I remember the title track ‘Set the Night on Fire’ I almost had to be in the studio, but at that point I was at work so couldn’t come when they recorded that so I left them alone for about 5 or 6 hours and when I came back there, they had rearranged the bridge and chorus to something completely different from what it was in the beginning (laughs)


TH: Can you tell us what your favourite song from the album and why?


MC: I actually have a couple of favourites, I think ‘Into the Shadows’ I also love the opening track ‘A fight’ it’s really powerful, and I love ‘Miracle’ too, it’s a happy kind of life and embracing song.


TH: Yes ‘Miracle’ is my favourite!


MC: Yes crank up as loud as you can in the car on the highway! (laughs) Yes I think those 3 are my favourites, if you ask me that question in a month or two they also might different, but that’s the way I feel right now, but over all I think it’s a really strong album all through. When we have had reviews and radio interviews from other websites, everyone have their own personal favourites.

TH: It’s hard to choose because they are all good songs on there!


TH: One track on the new album is a cover track ‘Toy Soldiers’ by Markita and written by Prince, what made you choose that track to cover?


MC: From the beginning it was actually Martin’s idea, I’ve heard the track before but in the original song it’s quite high pitched as it’s a female vocalist so we had to take it down lower pitches and we also had to make it more of a hard rock, more power ballad kind of style to it, I must say the final result is way beyond what we thought it would sound like in the beginning because it turned out so powerful, in the verse there is a four layer of keyboards so it sounds really, really big and when the all chorus’s comes in from Mikeal and the guitars and the organs, crank up the volume it will blow the speakers.

TH: I have noticed that the image of 80s melodic rock seems to have a huge response over in Sweden with many new bands releasing albums. What are your thoughts about this? How do you see and think about the music scene over there?


MC: There is really a shit load of great bands over here, my theory is when you go back to the time in the early 70’s when my generation started school, you were almost obligated, every kid was in some kind of music training in the school there, we had to learn to play flute, piano, violin, guitars, and if you take the whole population of the kids from the early 70’s, of course some of them would turn out to be pretty good musicians, and with the kids now, we’re not parents today, I mean, like myself I have a son, he’s 26 now and that impacts in a good way on our own kids of course, and that is what we are seeing now with new bands such as Dynasty, Reckless Love, Crazy Lixx, H.E.A.T. yes those guys were passed down from their parents and they are passing it on to their kids, and that’s what we see with the bands right now, so that’s my theory.


TH: I absolutely love the Swedish rock music!


MC: Yes it’s very melodic and I must say Europe had a huge impact on the music scene back in 82, because at that time there was a lot of band contests, and that was covered from all the way from the beginning to the finals by one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers at the time, and a rock magazine called OK, so Europe made and huge impact there, but the sad thing is, that kind of music don’t get the airtime on radio these days.


TH: I see you are attending the Vasby Rock Festival in July this year, out of all the bands that are appearing there, is there a particular favourite band that will be there you would like to rock out on stage with?


MC: I just love Gotthard, they are an amazing band! I’ve seen them live here in Sweden two or three times, and of course we also will meet the guys in Rage of Angels because me, Martin and Perra was involved with that album too, there is actually a great line up, oh and of course the Coldspell guys too. We are waiting for the announcement of the headliner, it’s a well-kept secret and no one really knows who it is, some people are guessing who it might be but no one really knows yet, but it is going be 2 fun days with 26 great bands all playing melodic rock, you guys should really come over because it’s easy to get there, but of course it’s all about money of course (laughs).


 

TH: If you were to create a festival stage, which 3 bands would you ask to play and why?


MC: That is a tricky question, I think I would have to say Gotthard again because I really like them, and I’m also a big fan of the Norwegian band Jorn and I think maybe Queensryche.


TH: What sort of music did you listen to when you were growing up? Who are your influences?


MC: My first experience of hard rock was The Sweet with Fox on the Run, I saw them back in 1976 on the ‘Give us a wink’ tour, that was my first concert here in Gothenburg, I am so luck and happy to have seen them in the original line up, I grew up with Sweet, Slade, Nazareth, T-Rex, all of this is melodic kind of music too, later on in the 70’s Kiss of course, and then later on around ‘80 I discovered the first album of Iron Maiden, from which I’m a huge maiden fan, then I discovered Queensryche, I was a big fan of those for a while, and then I got blown away with all those Los Angeles hair metal bands, such as Dokken, Firehouse and all that stuff.


TH: So what are Lover Under Covers plans for 2014?


MC: At the moment I am collecting impressions from the new release, we are really happy with all the reviews from it, we have had a vast amount of positive reviews from all over the world, I think we have only had about 2 negative reviews out of all of them, but you can’t please everyone I suppose! We also have the Vasby festival to look forward to and perhaps a few small venues throughout the year too.


TH: Do you have any plans to come to Australia?


MC: I would love to come to Australia, the big problem though is it’s really, really expensive to go on a tour and I don’t think there are any promoters who would take on a small band from Sweden to do a full scale tour because the cost of it would probably be too expensive, the only way would possibly be to take part in a festival or as a support act for a bigger band, but for all that you would have to have the right connection with promoters Coldspell have the same trouble with that with the US tour so they are actually doing a lot of cover gigs to build up to keep that train rolling, I suppose that’s one way of doing it, but it is so difficult for us because the lead singer is so booked up with the ‘Secret Service’ gigs every second week or so he goes to Russia for a week and that leaves no spare time to do any cover gigs, so it is more difficult for us to pull that off, but if you know any promoters over there who can put us in the right connection, give me a call (laughs)


TH: If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any great album, at any point in time, what would it have been for you, and why?


MC: Operation Mindcrime! From Queensryche, or of course Rage for Order because that album I think is one of the most under estimated and they were doing some pretty strange stuff on that album, but I think it’s awesome. Operation Mindcrime and Rage for Order are on my top 10 list for the greatest albums ever.


TH: A couple personal questions to ask, you’re a chef right? If you were to cook a meal for the Rockpit team, what would you cook?


MC: I think I would cook some BBQ surf and turf stuff, or a Gothenburg cuisine like some fish or sea food, it’s pretty cold here and the quality of the fish is awesome, there is some really good fish you can get out here, so we would start the day at the Gothenburg fish auction to pick up the catch of the day and hopefully it would be summertime so we would have the weather with us, and we would have some Swedish shellfish, and perhaps some Halibut to put on the BBQ,


TH: Mmmm sounds great! I think we better all come over then, we will hold you to that!


MC: Yes all come on over!


TH: Another question I need to ask you, I’ve heard people from Gothenburg have a twisted kind of sense of humour, heard something about Kal and Ada - can you explain?


MC: (laughs) now how the hell did you get to hear about that? Well they are two fictional characters that you can call the Gothenburg humour, and I think people outside this area consider this humour as really bad or they don’t understand it, they represent the native inborn from Gothenburg. They are working class, local patriots who like to party, (and drinking a little too much) full of humour and loves to mock people from outside Gothenburg, Preferably people from Stockholm and the southern parts of Sweden (Skåne).


TH: And finally, what is the meaning of life?


MC: That’s a deep question, a serious answer to that question I would say, take care of each other, help each other, there is such a lot of crap going on around the world with wars etc, yep, be kind to each other, help each other, if everybody did that, life would be so much easier and people would get along much better.


TH: I would like to wish you guys all the best for the future, any last words for us at the Rockpit?


MC: Thank you so much for all the support for Lover Under Cover, we really enjoy all the feedback and we read everything we can find about us and hopefully we would love to see you guys out on the road somewhere, someday. Thank you all so much

 

 

Listen to Lover Under Cover now:

www.loverundercovertheband.com/music

 

 

 

Mikael spoke to Tanya Hadlington March 2014

 

 

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