Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bonus Q&A with the Hives before Coachella

photo by Travis Schneider
Here is more from my interview with Nicholaus Arson, the guitarist/backing vocalist for The Hives...

Q: Last time The Hives played Coachella was 2003.
That would be correct. It was when the Stooges did their first reunion. I remember The Donna and Red Hot Chili Peppers played.

Q: Does the band enjoy doing such large scale shows?
Yeah. We grew up in Sweden going to festivals, since we were 15 or something. So we always loved going, camping out for a week in the forest and watching all the bands. Some years, we would play at the festivals we were camping at. So we sort of eased into it. After that, it’s basically [been] our summer retreat. It’s work, but it’s what we do in the summer. It’s been that way for the last 15 years almost.

Q: Is The Hives music better suited for the huge outdoor stages or small sweaty clubs?
We’ve played all kinds of festivals during the day, in the dark. [Clubs] give a better atmosphere. You can have great shows in the middle of the day and at night. I probably prefer the ones at night and in clubs.

Q: It’s been about five years since the band last put out a studio album. Are you concerned about whether the old fans will remember you?
Not really because of the internet. It feels more like there’s anticipation instead of people forgetting who we are. It’s more like, ‘when is the record going to come out?’ and ‘when are you going to tour again?’ That hasn’t been a problem at all.

Q: What was the main cause for the long gap between albums?
We always took our time in between records to ensure some sort of quality was carved into that little wax piece. This time we toured for three years [for ‘Black and White Album’]. We had loads of problems in between as well on the business side. It was up in air and really taking its toll. You go to the rehearsal space to rehearse and instead you talk about the economy for seven hours. It was hard to focus when all that stuff was going down. That was at least one year. And we made a record in one year. Even though it was spread out, that is the actual percentage: 60 percent touring, 20 percent sh**, 20 percent making a record.

Q: Some of the new songs are really frenetic. Did you set out to regain the energy from the early days?
Yeah. We always used to do with early records as well. Our first record, ‘Barely Legal,’ was very fast-paced. The second one was too. Even though that to us was a studio album...Basically all you hear on the record is the five members of The Hives playing in a room at the same time. That is what we wanted. 

Q: The track “My Time is Coming” has an ominous feel with what appears to be ocean sounds at the start. Is that what it is?
You might think so. It sounds like mice or seagulls [but] is actually a pump organ. 

Q: What were you listening to while making this album?
This record was more going back to our old influences as well as listening to ourselves and what we liked about our own band. Our attention span is so short that it’s like we always come up with 1000 concepts going in to make a record. Then at the end of the day, we sort of lose interest in all the concepts after playing them for five minutes. Whatever The Hives do is what ends up on the record. We were going to make a glam record and then it was a gospel record. That’s why you have both “Go Right Ahead” and “My Time is Coming.”

Q: Do you feel like underdogs coming out with this album in 2012, when garage rock is no longer all the rage?
We never really thought of ourselves as part of the garage rock [movement]. If we were, it was more arena garage rock at times. We were always [distanced] from everything.

Q: Will there be a lot of touring ahead this year?
Yeah. It’s basically like you have a big wall and you’re throwing paint at it. That’s what the schedule looks like nowadays.   

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