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
PET THE PREACHER Christian Hede Madsen Interview 2014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - PET THE PREACHER Vocalist/Guitarist Christian Hede Madsen

PET THE PREACHER

Christian Hede Madsen

 

APRIL 2014

You may not have heard of PET THE PREACHER yet, but you should do soon. If you love a riff you can hang your entire wardrobe off, then their new album "The Cave & the Sunlight" offers an intense bluesy Stoner Rock like nothing you've quite heard before... We caught up with Christian to see what that name really means and to find out why we can't ut this new album down!


Mark: Hi, thanks for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit, first of all I have to say that we love the album! It’s fantastic, there are a lot of “Stoner” bands out there, but one of the things that stands out for us, is the fact that you seem to have a real love of the blues. Where does that come from?


Christian: Even as a child I was drawn to blues music, which started with the English revolution, Clapton and all stuff like that, and then I moved to Bukka White, John Lee Hooker, Blind Willie Johnson, and all the Delta guys, and then later when I got in to the heavier stuff and Metal music, I instantly saw the link between the old Blues guys and what the Metal music was doing, because both the genres are dangerous music, at least in my opinion it’s supposed to be. Also it’s a spiritual thing, I think Blues music is really, really spiritual and I think good Heavy Rock should be that as well.


Mark; I think you’re absolutely right. For those people in Australia who aren’t familiar with the band, could you bring us up to date? We are on the verge of the release of “The Cave and the Sunlight” which we’ll talk about in a moment, but if you could give us a quick history of the band that would be great.


Christian: It started out, I met the guys from the band, in another band which had a different singer, and that was just to try stuff out, and this was in 2010, and then I left that band and the other guys just followed, because I wanted to do something more heavy, and I was able to sing, it is the first band I have ever sung in. We wanted to do something heavy, but groovy as well, because those two guys love everything that grooves!! Torben, the bass player, is hugely into Jimi Hendrix, so that funky, groove style was a part of our sound pretty early on, and they were introduced to the whole Stoner scene, and I think we were called that even before we knew what that was!! I never really talk about us in that way, but I use it to describe us, but I think we are just like a Heavy Rock band to be honest!

Mark: Yeah, to me it’s more of a natural progression, it’s that heavy blues, it’s that power trio set up; it’s taking that whole “Cream” thing to its logical progression. There are some wonderful three piece bands around at the moment, what do you think it is about that sort of line-up? Do you find it gives you a lot of freedom?


Christian: It does, especially when you’re in a live situation. It’s really nice that you can expand the songs; you are very dynamic, because it’s just the natural state when you are three people. You can go from really loud to really soft, and really fast, because I can just stop playing the guitar, and I do that a lot, actually, I tend to change up the arrangements from the albums in the live situation, if it feels right. So, I think that a trio is a dynamic way to play, even like the four piece bands, like, Led Zeppelin, where there are only three people playing, they still have like a huge roll of sound, and at the same time they can be so fragile, so soft, and I think that’s what captivates me about being a trio, instead of a four piece, where you have to raincheck more. I think people are afraid to be a trio because, like the audience, they expect this big wall of sound that you have on the record, but I think that’s a big mistake, because they should be able to listen to music where you can play a solo, and then there’s just bass, that’s not because there’s something missing, it’s just the sound of bass and guitar together, instead of like a produced sound.

Mark: I think you’re right, I think you have to have a lot of confidence to play in a trio, because really you need three fantastic musicians, and it sounds like you have a couple of great guys with you there, with Torben and Christian on drums.


Christian: We are concerned about it, and we practice a lot, we like to evolve a lot on our instruments, were not virtuoso’s at all, we try to learn something new. I’m not really a fan of the bands that are content with what they can do on one instrument; I think you should always progress as songwriters, but also as musicians.


Mark: There’s some great music coming out of Denmark, does it feel like there’s a good scene out there at the moment?


Christian: Actually a lot of the interviews, they ask me about that, and I think it’s difficult because the scene is so small here, so I know a lot of the bands personally, so it can be difficult to be objective about it. But, I think there is a lot of different stuff going on in different areas, I don’t think it’s a Danish sound, like a “Danish Stoner Movement” right now, but I think five or six bands are trying to go beyond the borders of Denmark, and trying to create something that is unique for them.

Mark: The name, “Pet the Preacher” is quite interesting, is there a story behind it?


Christian: There is a story behind it, and like all good stories it began with a lot of beer of course!! We just needed something that was easy to say, and that people would remember. Our bass player first said it, “Pet the Preacher” and we thought what does that mean?!! Then after we picked it we thought it was maybe a symbol of standing against authority and stuff like that! When you pet the preacher, it’s like telling the guy that’s telling you what to do, to calm down, sit down and shut up!! So, that’s the idea behind it, but afterwards when we’ve been touring, every review has been slaying the name, and that’s a really good thing in my opinion, because at least they remember it!!


Mark: That’s right; sometimes the unusualness of the name is what makes it stand out! So, I think you are officially releasing the album at Berlin’s Desertfest, that’s a new one for us, what’s that about? What sort of music?


Christian: The important thing to say is that it’s two festivals, actually, there’s a London department and a Berlin department, and we are playing the Berlin one. It is four days, and there’s a really nice and cosy atmosphere there, it’s a celebration of everything that is heavy rock, I think the headliners there this year, are Clutch, Kvelertak, and Spirit Caravan, and then you have bands like us, ASG, Church of Misery and stuff like that. It’s just like a Rockfest.


Mark: The title of the new album is interesting as well, “The Cave and the Sunlight”, which I think reflects that beauty and ugliness that’s mentioned in the bands bio, the sort of light and dark, is that what you’re trying to achieve with the title?


Christian: Yeah, it is, and it’s a reference to the Plato philosophy, where the shadow images on the wall. I tend to use philosophers in my own context because they have a way of saying things that really inspires me. Every song is really melancholic and dark in some way, because in some way I try to write really diverse lyrics, and try to write fun lyrics as well sometimes, but they always tend to be really serious and dark in some way! I wanted to have that in the album title as well.


Mark: Do you write all the lyrics yourself? There are some great “dark, strange tales”, I guess. Looking at some of the tracks of the album, if we can, one of the biggest tracks on there is “Let Your Dragon Fly”, it’s nice to have that pairing with “The Cave” at the start, which is like a gentle introduction before the onslaught! Is that one of your favourites to play live from the album?


Christian: Yeah, it is and it is actually one of the first ones we wrote, so we’ve been playing it for almost a year now, live, just to get a feeling of it, but at first it was actually “The Cave” and “Let Your Dragon Fly” was only one song. “The Cave” was actually an instrumental piece first, but then we changed it as we felt it needed some lyrics, and then it would serve really nicely as an intro. song, but it is one of the best songs to play live, that, and” Kamikaze Night” are real “bangers”. But, we also like to play “The Web” which is a bonus track on the album.


Mark: Right, that is a massive epic song that closes the album. It leaves you wondering where you guys are going to take this, and leaves you wanting more! There is some fantastic guitar on there, and a wonderful groove to it as well, do you close with that song live as well?


Christian: We have only played that song once live, because we wanted to get closer to the album release before we played too many tracks. We have a lot of fans who really want to hear the old stuff, but we made the decision to focus on this material the most, because we feel like this is a new start for us, it’s the first time we’ve been really satisfied with the sound and the songs.


Mark: It is a great album, certainly one of my favourite albums of this year. Even the artwork for the album cover is interesting, where did that come from?


Christian: It’s a girl called Emmy; she is a French girl, who has this art collective with some other guys. We played in Paris, and she did a poster for the show, and I was blown away by it, because I didn’t know her or anyone who knew her! I said to her, you have to make the new album cover, but we haven’t even started recording anything for it yet! She took the job, and really captured the feeling of the album, in a really good way, it’s an organic artwork, and has a lot of detail to it, and she captures the two faced nature of the album.


Mark: One of the songs on the album, that really grabbed us, is “Remains”, again, great guitar work and it’s definitely one of my favourites, a very powerful song, and one that brings out the blues. Can you tell us a little bit about how that one came together?


Christian: We recorded this album at the beginning of September, so we had these songs for quite a while, and “Remains” was one of the last songs that we got together, and we just wanted to do more of a “power ballad” or something like that, and again, it has that melancholy, nostalgic feeling about it. The lyrics are from a rebellion standpoint, “tear down the masks” and stuff like that; there are a lot of statements in that one. We wanted to do the verses really quiet, and just have powerful choruses, so it was an attempt to do a heavy song, but with a lot of tools from the softer side of blues music.


Mark: What sort of contemporary influences does the band have? You talked about some of the blues greats that influenced you, but are there any bands or musicians out there now that the other guys bring in to the mix?


Christian: I think the problem is, there are so many different ones!


Mark: But that’s a good thing, in my mind, it’s impossible to pigeon hole this album; there are so many people who like different genres of music who will love this album, but it’s always interesting from a listeners perspective to see who you have thrown in to the mix, there’s obviously a bit of blues, a bit of Zeppelin, but is there anything a bit more unusual?


Christian: I don’t think it’s unusual, but we’re really into Metal, Hardcore Metal as well, bands like Gojira and Behemoth, and more Bluesy bands like Clutch and Kyuss as well. Pentagram is a big influence; we toured with them and Acid King, and when you see them every night you really understand their music and they become an influence instantly. It’s also like Elder who is another Stoner band; they are really, really great. The other guys are also in to extreme music, they need a groove to really hold onto, bands like Baroness and Mastadon, Monster Magnet, and stuff like that as well.


Mark: It’s funny you mention those, because I have seen all but one of them in the last six months!! We have had so many bands down here recently, it’s been amazing. After the album launch and the tour dates you have, what are the plans for the rest of 2014?


Christian: I don’t know if you saw it, but we just announced a tour, with Acid King, a European tour, and then we have more touring in July, and we are already writing, we have about four or five songs for the next album. We want to finish that one in the summer, and then we are going on another big tour, that I can’t say anything about, in September/October, and then we’ll record the third album. The thing about this band, and I don’t know if this is unusual, but we are all about the music, so we put everything else aside for touring and recording, and just getting this music out there. So, we are available all the time to go on tours, and that’s what we want to do for the rest of the year, just get on the road as much as possible and spread the word.

Mark: I think all people need to do is hear this, it’s always difficult to record the second album, but having just heard the first album a few days ago, this second one is something else, it takes it to a new level, entirely! Thinking back to your earliest memories of music, what was it that made you pick up the guitar and decide that you wanted to be in a rock and roll band?


Christian: That’s a difficult one! I wasn’t really into the guitar; I just wanted to play an instrument. I was heavily in to film making when I was younger, that was my main passion, and then I heard the unplugged album, Eric Clapton, and I really, really liked that sound, and the guitar was just much cheaper to buy at that time than a piano! So, I thought I’m going to do that, and I took some classical lessons, but I got like an old hippie teacher at some point, a private teacher when I was fourteen/fifteen years old, and he introduced me to Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC all that stuff, and then I started listening to a lot of Punk Rock. I played like shit, till I was about twenty years old, and then I needed to practice more, so I would spend eight or nine hours a day playing the guitar, to get better. I wasn’t like a child prodigy, it was more a wish to make something artistic or something with a vision, that led me to do this. I don’t want to be just another beer and booze rock band, I think that’s lame, but, I think it’s cool if you do it, but I don’t mean to sing about it!


Mark: The industry has changed and there are a lot of “disposable”, “pump them out” type musicians, especially from the TV shows that are on, who really have no talent! I can see a big backlash happening, and people getting out to see real music, live again! If you could have been a fly on the wall for the creation of any album, at any point in time, what would it be for you and why?


Christian: It has to be the first Led Zeppelin album! Just to see the guys jam for the first time, and try it out to find their sound.


Mark: That’s a pretty good one! Finally, what is the meaning of life?


Christian: I think the meaning of life is just to live it and not worry about it!


Mark: That’s nice and to the point!! It’s been wonderful speaking to you, thank you so much, and good luck with the new album.


Christian: Thank you so much, take care. Bye.

 

 

 

Christian spoke to Mark Diggins in April 2014

 

 

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