Dare you Beg For It? Martin Sandvik Speaks Out.
Swedish Sleeze Rocker's 'Hardcore Superstar' are no strangers to the world of Sleeze or Glam Rock, having been around since 1997 when the band was born in Gothenburg. Having released 8 albums to date and a Best of 'The Party Ain't Over Til We Say So' on Nuclear Blast in October 2011 the band couldn't of asked for a better time to release this Best Of album. With the bands debut album released on Gain Records and the next several on Music For Nation's (Metallica's old label) the band have built up a strong fan base. I managed to have a chat with bassist Martin Sanvik to find out more about this superstar band. here's is what Martin had to say. If you haven't heard their music yet then grabbing a copy of 'This Party Ain't Over Til We Say So' released on Nuclear Blast, a great introduction to a new fan of the band.
Ok Martin, I'd like to start the interview off by asking how formed the band back in 1997?
"Well the 1st album was released in 98 titled 'It's Only Rock & Roll' through Gain Records & the band was formed by the singer Joakim Berg and our old drummer Mika Vainio and myself. We had been playing as musicians as far back as 93 but Hardcore Superstar didn't form till 97. Gain records showed interest in us and they were a really small label and we are still with them now and it was Music For Nation's who signed us and released our 1st 3 records world-wide who were a fantastic label back in the day. (Ed: Where did you all meet? Was it in School or just meet in the local bars and music scene?) Well Joakim, and our drummer now Magnus were all at the same school together and we had a different guitar player back then Thomas Silver who they met at a night school and I met them in the rock bars in Gothenburg."
What band was you in before you joined Hardcore Superstar Martin?
"I had a band called 'Wanted' & a band called 'Lynch' which also featured Joakim on vocals before Hardcore Superstar. It was more like a Grunge type of band like Alice In Chains, & Pearl Jam. We were almost a rip off of Alice In Chains."
As a bass player who has inspired you to play the bass? Has Lemmy from Motorhead inspired you? Also who else? Also what about bands who has influenced you there?
"Yes Lemmy had played a big part in influencing me as well as Gene Simmons from Kiss, and without Gene I wouldn't be playing the bass now. I would have to say that my favourite bass player is Geddy Lee from Rush, he is a fantastic bass player. As a band we are all inspired by the 80's Glam, like Motley Crue, GNR, and we also listen too a lot of the Bay Area Thrash Metal bands like Exodus, Slayer, our drummer is a real Thrash Metal maniac. I like Testament and Slayer, but Anthrax is my all time favourite Thrash band. (Ed: As a bass player and liking Thrash Metal must like the sound of D.D. from Over Kill's bass sound?) Yeah I do actually, he reminds me of Lemmy a little bit as you can hear immediately his tone of his bass like Lemmy does too."
Are there any bands from Sweden that have inspired you?
"I guess you could say that Europe were great back in the school days and they are fantastic musicians. I really like At The Gates, In Flames, I am friends with Sharlee from Arch Enemy but I haven't really heard their music to be honest. I need to listen too them a lot more, there great musicians."
Which country is the biggest selling country for the band?
"Well I would have to say that Sweden, Japan, Spain, Italy, and in Germany we sell about 300- 500 tickets a night and when we are in Italy we sell about 1500 tickets & Spain & in Sweden we sell about 1000 tickets."
Didn't you guys play Download festival here in the UK once?
"Yes we did about 3yrs ago and it was fantastic!! We only played the UK once for that tour but we had played there before a couple of times . We played the Electric Ballroom in London and I really liked the venue which was sold out."
As the band had recorded 8 previous albums, which is your favourite past CD and why? How do you also compare each album as a progression?
"In some strange way each album had the same kind of reaction that you had for the last release. I would say that the 1st 3 albums are more like Punk Rock and the next few albums were more like the big arena rock albums with a really nice production with the rest back to basics. We listen too a lot of the Stranglers and The Undertones we like a lot of the English Punk bands. I would say that the album 'Hardcore Superstar' is still my favourite album to this date. We didn't have a record company behind us when we recorded that record and we did most of the recording in our rehearsal studio. It was also like a new start for the band. The next album 'Dreamin In A Casket' is a little bit more heavier with some Thrash metal elements in it."
"The album 'Beg For It' was a pretty heavy album, which reminded me of Skid Row, do you agree? I saw you live at 'Bang Your Head' in Germany and I was pretty impressed with your live performance. What do you think of that album?
"I really like it, it is a heavy album with an edge, and yes it does have some Skid Row elements on it."
The next album 'Split Your Lip' released in 2010 was a little less heavy, why was that?
"Well we had toured a lot in Germany and it was hard for us to sell so many album there, but for some reason the German people really like that album and also in England as well."
How did the deal with Nuclear Blast come about and are you happy with them?
"Well the label are great, they really begged for us, they had released 'Dreamin In A Casket' and 'Beg For It' for the band and the last studio album 'Split Your Lip' as well as the Bets Of.. CD. They do a fantastic job for us and they are like a family business, they treat us really well."
As you have just released the Best Of album 'Its Not Over Til...' why did you release it now? I thought the band had left Nuclear Blast and that is why the label had released it. It's the sort of thing that labels do when they loose a band.
"Well the record company had asked us if we thought it was a perfect time to release a Best Of CD. We said yes let's do the album which has given us more time to work on the new album after all we had toured and recorded time after time in the last couple of years we needed time out to make the next album our best yet which will be released in 2012."
Was it difficult for the band to choose the songs for the Best Of.. album?
"Well it is always hard to pick the best songs from any album for a Best Of CD. So we asked the record company to write down the songs which they thought were the best songs for this album. So they did and they sent us the songs to which we had a meeting in Sweden to talk about it."
Did you ask the fans on the website which songs they would like to have on the CD?
"Well we want to release a big box set and ask our fans if they would pay for it which would include all the CD's, un-released songs & demo songs which will have something like 25 demo songs on each CD. It would be a massive box set and the record company didn't think it would be a great idea, too expensive but when we asked the fans they said they would buy it. So we asked the fans how many would buy it and to pre-order it before we make them so we knew how many copies to make without loosing any money."
So what's the plans for the band right now?
"Well we are going on tour right now and we will play Sweden, Finland and Norway in November and December 2011 and Europe in February 2012 and then we will do the festivals and we will start work on the next album after next summer."
As you will be recording the next album in 2012, do you have any ideas for song titles, riffs been recorded yet?
"We don't have any titles yet but Adde our drummer and myself write most of the songs and we have a couple of ideas flouting about right now. Do you know the American Idol guy James Durben who sang with Judas Priest, well he wants Hardcore Superstar to play on one of his songs, he is a big fan of our music. His management got in touch with ours and asked if we could write some songs for his album so Adde and me wrote some songs for him which will be on his 1st album. He has Mick Mars from Motley Crue doing guitars on the songs too. We had wrote a few songs for him and if he doesn't use them we will use them on our next CD. He wanted us to write the way we would for our band so they will sound like Hardcore Superstar. The song which will be on his album is called 'Outcast'. When we 1st heard about this we thought somebody was joking with us but in the end we did speak to him on the phone so we knew it was not a joke anymore. We always write too many songs so it is hard for us to choose the best songs for the next record."
Will the next album be heavier than the last studio album?
"Yeah I think it will be. We said we should do a really heavy album again for the album in 2012."
So who producers you're albums?
"Well it is a guy called Tobias Lindell who has worked with Europe and a lot of pop bands in Sweden but he is a real rock fan and he is now working with a lot of bands in Sweden and we were talking about using Howard Benson who worked with My Chemical Romance and the last Motorhead album and he also produced the James Durben album. So we will meet up with him and have a coffee and see if we can work together on the next record."
Well Martin, I'd like to thank you for your time and doing this interview, do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes thanks to our fans for their support over the years, we hope to see you in Europe next year or this year in Scandinavia. Check out the Best of CD 'This Party Ain't Over Til We Say So' and keep the faith."
Thanks to Nuclear Blast and Martin for the interview.