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











Hi Guys: How are you both?

Micke/Mikael: We are both good thanks. We have our coffee and we will try to talk very slow so you can understand what we are saying (laughs)

Tanya: So are you guys ready for our questions then?

Micke/Mikael: Yes i think so!

Tanya: So first things first, what is the video all about then for anyone who has not watched it yet?

Mikael: What’s it all about? most people have watched it now listed on the Rockpit group there, from the beginning it was meant to be recording some memory for myself but more and more film, the whole thing just expanded and when we came home we had about an hour and half of raw material and realized that if we added some extra and glued together all the events, it could actually turn out to be a whole film of it. so it ended up like this, the video is about one hour and 10 minutes, but we actually made one for one hour and 40 mins but not been released on the internet yet, not sure what we are gonna do about it, but who knows? you might find out in the not too distant future.

Tanya: So whos idea was it to do it?

Mikael: I must say, it must have been mine, because there is a lot of sick stuff going on there in my brain, sometimes things just pop up and i think 'this might be a good idea to do something fun with' and some stuff just goes down in the trash bin, but this one turned out to be something more concrete, The filming is the easy part because we just switch it on and there is another stupid face that just happen to be in front of it, the hard part is actually sorting it out and putting it all together, so there is a lot of hours of editing, cutting, adding extra scenes so that you guys can understand what we are actually saying.

Tanya: We want to know how many cuts took place and can we see the uncensored version?

Mikael: (laughs) The uncensored version is about 20 mins of the live footages with actual live sound because the whole movie is actually shot from our cell phone cameras and that makes the sound quality during the live sessions a little bit crackly so i have actually mixed it up with 64% of the sound from the albums, and i think it’s turned out pretty good!

Micke: I was hoping that the uncensored version was the same as the censored version but without clothes!
Tanya/Jo: So were we! so were we! (laughs)

Mikael: It might be a good idea for the next year's Live video

Mark Rockpit: So what was the actual festival like? did it go down really well?

Micke: Yeah i think so, i think we were overwhelmed by the crowd and more people coming from everywhere, actually i think there was a bunch of people from Australia

Tanya: Yes there were, we saw the Australian flag flying

Micke: We met a lot of people and the fact that it was a 2 day festival this year, the first year was just a 1 day, but they had such amazing bands this year and as it seems they will have another festival in 2015 as well, so it must have been a good one i think.

The Rockpit Team: We will have to see if we can get over, We are all heading over to the Monsters of Rock Cruise America next year.

Mikael: The second year they were doing this and to still have so many international guests is pretty impressive because that shows it has the management to get out the message book the right bands to get over there, we actually met some people from Japan there that flew over just for the chance to meet Michael Erlandsson because he is very popular in Japan with his other band Last Autumns Dream.
Paul: It just shows you how dedicated rock fans are that they will travel anywhere in the world to see the bands if they really want to and i always think that’s the pulling power of rock music personally for myself. 

Mikael/Micke: Absolutely.

Tanya: So where can we get a bottle of wine like yours for our collection?

Everyone: (Laughs)

Mikael: Those bottles were actually made to celebrate my 50th birthday so it was my girlfriend and her dad that's behind that! I was actually kidnapped from work, we met up with some closest family and friends and each one had one with the pic as a cover, so that idea of the wine testing popped up and i thought 'I need something more to mix it up, blend it up, something more different in the movie' that was another one of those silly, stupid ideas that popped up in my brain.

Micke: There are a lot of ideas that you probably wouldn’t be able to show (laughs)

Mikael: It’s all about having fun! There are a lot of people out there that take themselves way too seriously
Micke: That’s what it’s all about. Like I used to say, we're too old to not enjoy or have fun so Amen to that!
Tanya: So apart from Mikael’s wine, what are your choice of drinks?

Micke: I'm into red wine; beer in the sauna is always nice too.

Mikael: I think i'm more of a beer and whisky person, of course i do enjoy some wine too as you can see in the movie, but the whisky part is I’m more of a malt whisky guy, i have about 15-20 different kinds of scotch malt whisky, that’s one of my small interests

Micke: Well it doesn’t seem to be a small interest, how many bottles did you say you have?

Everyone: (laughs)

Tanya: Micke, you were mentioned a lot in the video and you couldn’t have your say as you weren’t on it, now you are being recorded, what would you like to say in revenge?

Micke: In revenge? well I won’t use the word revenge, I have nothing to say ha-ha I'm so glad of Mikael he did an awesome job of the video, like you all understand he's a very energetic guy, when he gets an idea he will do it, I guess we are pretty much the same he is more like, what can i say? a squirrel on acid (laughs) i guess you Mikael should be in the same band and call ourselves The Chipmonks.

Mikael: Chip n Dale on acid

Everyone: (laughs)

Micke: Seriously, I’m so glad i did get a part in the movie as well, and i know it’s a movie about LUC but we have known each other for a couple of years and the drummer is in both bands and it felt natural to have that connection between both bands, and this connection with Mikael has turned out to be something fantastic, and we are pretty much the same.

Mark: I understand what you are saying, it is all like a big family, a 'big brother' in different parts of the world, it’s great that we can listen to music and it was like when i was a kid growing up in the 70's the only way we could listen to it was on the radio, so these days it’s easier to find stuff out there, one question i want to ask you both, where did it all start for you? what was the first thing that made you realise that music was going to be an important part of your lives?

Mikael: Well my first album, i can’t remember how old i was, there was a band called 'Les Humphries Singers" they were more of a pop band, but the first band that set me off, in a way of hard rock was when i first heard The Sweet single 'Fox on the Run' back in 74'-75' and that totally blew me away and that was actually my first concert back in 76' when Sweet was guesting us here in Gothenburg, i was about 12 then and the experience of this was a full seated arena with a band at their peak before Brian Connolly left Sweet, they were just absolutely amazing, so The Sweet were the first band i really enjoyed a lot.

Paul: That was my first album i bought, 'Sweet Fanny Adams'

Micke: Actually it was the same thing with me as well, I remember, i had an uncle he taught me everything about rock music, that was the reason why I’m into all this, i was about 10 years old he introduced me to Black Sabbath and i remember when he played it on cassette this 'Sabotage Album' and he had also had the band 'Montrose' with Sammy Hagar 'Rock the Nation' album, it’s still one of those albums that made a huge impression on me and that is one reason why i play guitar, the first actual vinyl i got to buy all by myself was Deep Purple 'Come face the band' and Sweet 'Desolation Boulevard' and that album with Sweet is still one of the best ever.

Mikael: I want to add one now then if that’s the case, and that’s Nazareth's 'Loud and Proud'

Mark: So all very cool albums indeed, as far as LUC is concerned though, i mean one of the things that attracted me to that band when i first heard them was how consistent the songs are, it’s like you hear a lot of bands who put out albums and there will be a couple of great tracks on there, is that something you strive for? that consistency? Is everything you lay down for the band gotta be of a certain quality? or is it just the way you are and what is on the cutting room floor? is there any really bad out takes? Explain the magic! haha

Mikael: That’s the toughest question of the day, (everyone laughs ) The first album, we didn’t know what to expect, and the rest of the guys in the band had released several albums before that and Mikael Erlandsson has now released the 11th album with Last Autumns Dream, Perra has released one with Coldspell, Martin has worked as a professional producer for 25 years, but for me it was my very first one and it was all my material apart from one cover that Mikael Erlandsson wrote that is a soundtrack, that track is from Last Autumns dream 'Dreamcatcher' but they recorded it in a much heavier version in order to get Mikael’s attention to join this project from the beginning, so that was actually what started it off, actually the first album turned out to be so great, it was a fantastic experience for me as a song writer but that actually put some pressure on for the sequel and my thoughts for the second album was to have more of the guys to be involved with the songwriting to make it a little more different and a little more input, but i have always been very open with all of the guys in the band are free to come with inputs and make their sounds more colourful and play their own way, so when i covered a song with a demo it was open to Martin to play the way he plays his songs and Mikael to change his lyrics along the way or for Perra to change his drum pad along the way, thats absolutely fine with me, for example, the song Set The Night On Fire from the first album, the chorus was completely different from the demo that appeared on the album, basically I left the guys in the studio alone for 5-6 hours as I had to go to work and when I got back, they had totally changed it not necessarily for the better (rockpit crew all laugh ) but it worked, I'm always open for suggestions, going back to the question, there was more input from the guys on the second album that’s why the sound is different on it, I think it turned out really well.

Micke: It's a great album

Mikael: (sounding shocked) did you get that on tape? (then laughs loudly)

The Rockpit: Yeah we have it on tape!

Mark: I have a question for Mr. Coldspell, one thing that bugs me is whenever an alarm goes off on my phone, or when someone sends me a message, I get a burst of the song 'Time' from the Out Of The Cold album by Coldspell, when are you going to write a better song so I can change my ringtone?? (lots of laughter)

Micke: Oh wow, I'm not sure, I will do my best, I still don’t think I've wrote my best song yet, but I’m glad you use it!

Mark: It's quite interesting when I hear something from a Swedish band, I automatically think is it going to be death metal or is it going to be glam rock and so to hear bands like Lover Under Cover and Coldspell who both play that mix of 80s stadium rock and classic 70 rock, it's fantastic! Is there much of a scene over there? is it easy to tour locally and are there a lot of good venues out there for that genre of music?

Micke: We play melodic hard rock and it’s not that popular in Sweden as it was back in the 80s when Europe were at the top of their game, but when you talk about Swedish bands most people think of death metal, the metal scene is still very strong in Sweden, we don’t have the venues for melodic hard rock when it comes to metal bands they have more venues and festivals to play as they have a much bigger fan base.

Mark: You have some interesting bands at the moment like Blues Pills, there is far more great music coming out of Sweden than out of Australia we seem to have gone down the alternative rock path too far now it’s awful.

Mark: Micke how was the Melodic Rock Fest in the U.S.A?

Micke: It was amazing, I love it in the U.S.A; it almost feels like coming home when we go there, it’s the people I think, I was born in the wrong country, I should have been American! Actually in Sweden we are a bit reserved, we are none for not talking too much but Americans like to talk and their always happy if you succeed. 

Tanya: Why just the one show in Chicago?

Micke: We were supposed to do a lot of shows but we're on Escape Records in the UK and we didn’t have an agent to book us anymore dates in the states, only the melodic rock fest, so we did the show and we will see what happens next year, it’s all about the economy you have to book flights from Sweden then sort out equipment, then you need to have a bus, it’s expensive to tour when you’re a band from Europe playing, the festival was good for a promotional point of view.

Tanya: Do you think Coldspell will do a fly on the wall road trip video?

Mikael: He must find a better recipe for scrambled eggs! (laughs)

Tanya: As you are both on the road together quite a lot, are there any funny tour moments you would like to share with us?

Mikael: The very very first time we met in real life, we have talked a lot of conversations over the phone the last 2 years, I saw Micke the day after at Vasby talking to someone in the V.I.P. area and I sneaked up behind him, and he said he could feel my presence and that was the first time we actually met there so there were big hugs, smiles, man hugs and all that stuff!

Mark: A lot of Australians have a cliché view of Sweden; I guess the Swedes have a cliché of Australia too, so I thought we may swap cliché’s? We have just listed things that we know about Sweden, there are: Cheese, Sauna's, IKEA, Pickled Herrings, Vodka and LUC and Coldspell obviously, oh and ABBA, so what are the 10 things that come to mind when you think of Australia?

Micke: Can I say one thing? The first thing that pops up in my head, Crocodile Dundee! (Laughs) Snakes, Kangaroos, AC/DC, Opera house in Sydney, Ayres Rock, The Rockpit, you said we should mention 10 but AC/DC is five of them!

Mark: A question for Mikael, I have a couple of favorite songs from each of the LUC albums, which are your favorite songs from the LUC albums?

Mikael: If i was to choose one song that I’m pleased with both the lyrics and the music, it would have to be the opening track on the first album, it’s called 'My Best Friend' and the lyrics are about gun control in the U.S.A

Mark: Where are you touring next Micke? Is the UK tour the next tour you have on the go?

Micke: We are going down south to begin with in Sweden, pretty close to Mikael, along with 'Pretty Maids' and then we go back home for a couple days, then we go to the UK to do 5-6 days in the north of the UK, we have one show in Glasgow, then we have some sort of festival gig coming up in December, but we are working on new songs for a new album and then we have plans for this spring to perhaps make it back to the U.S.A. we can’t wait to be back there! But I think we need to bring another album into the world first!

Mark: When is that likely to be?

Micke: Well the plan is for late August beginning of September, we are having songs, we are having ideas and all that, it doesn’t need to take that long to record the album and hopefully I still believe that having an album out in May is very much the plan, i need to work my ass off for then! (laughs)

Mark: Yes I need to change my ringtone too! (laughs)

Tanya: If LUC and Coldspell got together and you could change places with someone in both of the bands for 48 hours, who would it be and what would you do?

Mikael: I think the easiest part would be for me and Micke to change places we seem to fill the same function in both the bands even though our music is a little different we are pretty much doing the same stuff, but if i could change with anyone else it would be with Chris for a little while because i would look real cool with that beard! But only for 48 hours (laughs)

Micke: I think i would change with Perra for 48 hours, if we get to do another show and i get to be the drummer that would be awesome! I've always had a passion and a fascination for playing the drums, and i realise in my next life that’s what I’m gonna do!

Tanya: A question for Micke, it gets really cold and dark up in Kiruna during the winter, what do you do when it is freezing and the temperatures drop way below zero to keep warm?

Micke: Sauna! And sex all the time! (laughs) no actually, i have to say it gets real cold here in Kiruna, we have a famous hotel called 'The Ice Hotel' and people come here from all over the world, it used to be as cold as.. Can’t really say cold as hell but cold as... Spell (laughs) i used to live outside of Stockholm for a number of years and i realised i have never frozen as much as i did when i lived outside of Stockholm, it's a different cold up here, it’s very dry. I moved up here because you can see what love can do! we were supposed to stay here for a year or two then move down south again but i don’t know what happened, we are still here after many years, it’s kinda peaceful and everything and as long as we have airplanes, flights and internet here, i think it’s possible to stay where ever you like and do whatever you do.

Tanya: And how does it work when it comes to rehearsals and the other members of the bands live elsewhere?

Micke: I think it’s the same as for Mikael down in Gothenburg, because we share the same drummer, we don’t rehearse every week like a Tuesday or a Thursday, we come down 1 or 2 days before and the positive thing about that is that we still think it’s fun and we don’t get sick and tired of each other, it’s more like 'Hi I’m Perra the drummer' 'Oh yeah i remember!' (laughs) oh course it would be a much easier scenario if we all lived in the same neighborhood but sometimes it don’t always work if we all live in same neighborhood too as we would say on maybe a Tuesday 'Oh i can’t come as i have other plans' etc. it’s like how we do this now with a couple days before we get more quality in rehearsing.

Paul: Micke, the album 'Frozen Paradise' is that inspired by the famous hotel that is all made out of ice?

Micke: It could be, but i tried to leave that frozen discussion thing out for this third album, we have this song 'Paradise' for this album and of course we can refer paradise to where we live and some people say 'how can you live up there when most of the time it's winter?' but somehow it’s very beautiful here and it's our frozen paradise and i guess if you use the 'Ice Hotel' you would use that word for the first time because it’s very beautiful.

Mark: Mikael, the new album looks great, the visuals look and feel especially the album cover and the video, that sort of cinemascope is amazing, how did that come about and who’s idea was that, and who actually did the work?

Mikael: It actually came from our record label Escape music the same as Coldspell; it for sure has an awesome film noire feeling all over it! a British designer called Chris Jones designed it and when i first saw that picture i thought it was absolutely stunning, we got a lot of inspiration from the movie 'Sin City' and i thought it really captures the whole feeling about LUC a little dark, a little exotic, i just love it! and as you can see in the movie, that backdrop it makes some people react to it, the detail in the picture is absolutely awesome, the big trick now is how to make a sequel to that one or hopefully the next album to keep the spirit off it involving shadows and pretty dark, but in some way still a little exotic/erotic kind of way.

Mark: So Mikael, with LUC being a relatively new project for you, tell us a little bit about your musical history and what sort of bands were you in before LUC?

Mikael: To go back to the beginning there, I was raised with the bands The Sweet and a lot of glam bands, Slade, T-Rex, Nazareth, that was my first school of rock if you could call it that, later on was bands like Kiss, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, also a big fan of Queensryche, in late 80's beginning of the 90's so for me the music had to be hard and strong melodies in it, and probably a great vocalist, i was in a band called Gallery in the Gothenburg area we also auditioned in a rock contest, Europe actually won that contest in 1982 but in them days the music i wrote was pretty crappy and has got better now over the years, and me and Mikael Erlandsson, he was actually the drummer in the band Rain for a short while and he hadn’t discovered his abilities to sing

Mark: Did he have a magnificent tight curled perm hairstyle back in those days? Did your hair look like Jon Bon Jovi or Joey Tempest in those days?

Mikael: I will see if i can find a nice little picture for you! (laughs) in those days we have names for the bands with hair like that, it’s called Poodle Rock!

Mark: Hence The Poodles who are around now!

Mikael: Yes that name actually refers to that era, but us in Sweden understand that little joke there,

Mark: Yes and if they had been based in LA they would be Steel Panther now!

Mark: As far as the creation of the music is concerned, we have talked about putting the demo's together and sending them around, do you sort of drop box loads to people or email to people, or do you send to other members of the band and they get back to you online or is there a physical meeting before the album takes place?

Mikael: Exactly what you said there, when we start recording for an album, most of the time i do all the bass tracks at my place i also do most of the keyboard tracks, i make almost the full production here at home, then we add on Perra's drums, Martins guitars, and Mikael is doing his vocals most of the time at Martin's place he also has a full size studio at his place so most of the time he is doing the backing vocals at home and we do the lead vocals at martins place, it is a lot of sending files back and forward so it's not really necessary to gather people all at the same time to make something work, and of course we are living in different cities so it makes it much easier to do it this way.

Mark: We all want to know when that live double header of LUC and Coldspell concert are coming to Australia? How can we make it happen?

Mikael: Me and Micke have actually talked about doing some things together because the logistics of sharing the same drummer will be less stuff to carry around everywhere

Micke: And of course we all play melodic rock in both bands but there is a little difference so it would be a good package.

Mikael: We will see what we can come up with because Coldspell have come more further because we have only done one real live gig as yet, so they have 1-2 years before us in their progression, so our next step will probably try to find some kind of booking agency because it’s pretty hard to book gigs when you haven’t got a booking agency behind you and of course our vocalist is also in another band called 'Secret Service' which is more kind of a pop band so they are almost always over in Russia every second week or so.

Micke: So when do we come to Australia?

Mark: Well i will see if i organize that sea container (laughs)

Mark: Just one more question from me and it's the easiest question you will get asked all night, what is the meaning of life?

Micke: 42!

Mark: (laughs) you're the 42nd person who have said that to me, so you gotta come up with something different, we have all seen Hitchhikers (Guide to the Galaxy).

Mikael: The meaning of life, spend as much time as you can without hurting anyone else, take care of each other, life is short and do the best you can because we are living on borrowed time

Micke: The meaning of life for me is to be alive and focus on the positive things in life, like we used to say, we are to old not to have fun and not to enjoy life

Paul: My final question is to you both, if there is one album in history that you could have been a part in the recording and making of, what would that album be?

Micke: Ahhh it's gotta be 'Rainbow Rising!'

Mikael: I think for me it has to be 'Operation Mindcrime!' I think that one is an epic master piece!

Mark: That’s a good one! I was the last person to interview Geoff Tate before he quit/was asked to leave the band. An all-time classic!

Paul: It’s surprising when we ask that question what responses we get, i interviewed one of the ghouls from 'Ghost' i asked him the same question and their album he came back with quite shocked me, it was 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson, i thought, 'wow that was bit of an odd one!'

The Rockpit: Anyway, we would like to thank you both for taking the time to have this chat with us it’s been great and fun! We have been like one big family! (laughs) and we could carry on all night chatting to you guys! It means so much when people go out of their way, like you guys have done tonight and we will make sure we do something special for you!

Micke/Mikael: It’s been a pleasure chatting to you all at the Rockpit! You all enjoy your day and keep in touch!



Mikael and Michael spoke to The Rockpit in November 2014





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