Interview with Pontus Egberg

Sweden is well known for it's melodic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal throughout the years, and with Yngwie Malmsteen been one of the most successful artist to come out of this country, the music scene from Sweden has just got bigger and bigger. Since the days of Yngwie, the likes of Dream Evil, King Diamond, Tad Morose, The Haunted, At The Gates, Entombed, and more so melodic acts are starting to become very popular within Sweden. The Poodles, however, a shit name we know but a name that seems to stand out in the metal scene seems to be doing very well. For a band who have only released 1 album through AFM Records in Germany are really taking the European market by storm. Formed by former Lions Share, Midnight Sun, Talisman members this band are now becoming more popular than a lot of acts that ever came out of Sweden, I manage to catch the band on their UK tour when they supported Hammerfall & Krokus and managed to chat with former Lions Share bassist Pontus Norgren. Here is what Pontus had to say to the following questions, in the meantime, check out this great melodic metal album, it's really good even if the bands name is rather silly.

OK Pontus, thanx for taking your time out and doing this interview, I'd like to start by asking you the following questions. How did you guys get together, when you were all in pretty well known Swedish acts.

"Well we have all been playing in different bands in the past, recording and touring with our previous acts. This band actually got together about a year and a half ago with this current line-up when we had the chance to compete in the Swedish 'Eurovision' song contest, with the song 'Night Of Passion' and that's when the band was formed. As you know I was in Lions Share for a while and also I played with Section A. I also was with our guitarist Pontus in a band called 'Zan Clan', Jacob & Pontus did the 'Jackal & Hyde' band, Pontus & Jacob were also in Talisman way back in the day. Out singer was in Midnight Sun and Treasure Land."

Is this a permanent band or just another side project?

"Yes this is a band from now on, and to be honest we don't have the time to do anything else, as we are very busy with The Poodles right now."

As a band who are your influences and how do they reflect within the music you are creating?

"Our influences as a band are good music really. everything from Classical music to Black Sabbath, just good music. We all grew up with the N.W.O.B.H.M., such as Zepplin, Priest, Sabbath, Maiden, and such bands as AC/DC, Aerosmith."

I have heard from friends of mine from Sweden that on a dark cold winters days most musicians in Sweden just hang out by the fires and just practice is this true?

(Laughing) "Yes sometimes it is true, it is a good thing really because you learn to play you're instrument better. Our days in winter are short so we that's when a lot of musicians practice a lot."

Tell me a little bit about the bands name, it is rather a silly name to have when you're playing Hard Rock or Metal even, tell me more please!! If you think about it you could of been called 'The Rockwhilers' or 'The Dobermans' . Also did you get a lot of flack for having such a bad name for the band from the press and fans?

(Laughing) "That's funny!! Well the name came about after a nick name here in Sweden, they call it Poodle Rock, because of the hair It si a nick name for 80's rock & metal really. Actually we never got as much bad press for our name, since we came on this tour and our album was released every press guy has asked us why the name of the band. I guess it is a name that will stand out and hopefully people will talk about us.

What is it about Swedish music, they all seem to be impressive musicians, how come you all seem to stand out more from a lot of countries, especially here in the UK.

"I really don't know to be honest. Maybe it's the way we just practice a lot when we have short and dark days, that is the only answer I can give you. I also think that we have a pretty good educational system here in Sweden for music and a lot of kids have a good chance of making it in the music world. we don't seem to rehearse a lot , only when we are on tour and I would have to say it is the best way to practice when you are on tour."

How did the deal with AFM Records come about? Was there any other labels that showed interest in the band? Or where they just put off because of the bands name? Also how long is the deal with AFM?

"I really don't have any names, but I do know that our label in Sweden 'Lion Heart Entertainment' have been in contact with a lot of labels. Our A&R guy AFM had read an article in Burnnn Magazine in Japan and thought he had to check us out, but he could not get a hold of the album. Oscar and Jockim from Hammerfall made sure that he got a copy of our album. Why didn't Oscar from Hammerfall give it to Nuclear Blast? I think Markus at the label was previously at Nuclear Blast Records turned it down for some reason. We are happy with our label, and we have another album to record for them. The label are doing a good job so far, we have seen ads in magazines & read positive reviews and doing interviews too."

Tell me a little bit about the title for the album, 'Metal Will Stand Tall', why the title and did you have any other titles for this record?

"The title came about because Metal does stand tall and it always will!! It is also a name for a song on the album and it sums up what we are trying to do!! We didn't have any other titles for this album, it all pretty much fell into place to be honest."

How long did it take to record this album and who produced it? Are you also happy with the way it turned out?

"Well there are 2 producers on this record. They are Johan Lyander & Matti Alfonzetti and I have no idea who they have worked with before they recorded our album. I don't think they have done any Metal music, this is their first effort in this style. They will produce the next album for us. As this band started out with the song 'Night Of Passion' and it was entered into the Swedish Eurovision song contest, they actually produce this song for that contest and record company and it seems like a natural thing to do and have them produce the album. We recorded this album pretty quickly really, because of our success in the Eurovision contest, we never really got a chance to make a record from our label until after we had done so well in that contest that is when they decided to record an album for us. We had about a month to record the album and it turned out really well."

What are the songs about on the debut album? Are the songs wrote as a team effort or by an individual? 

"It is pretty much different time day to day, some songs were wrote within the band, some songs which were wrote by internal song writers, but it was all due to the lack of time we had in the studio. We also had to make sure we had the best songs on the album."

Do you have a favourite or least favourite songs on the album and why?

"I really don't have any bad songs on the album, I think that every song on the album is really good. Personally I like such songs as 'Echoes From The Past', and I really don't know why? There are all a bunch of good songs on this record. I like the last song on the album 'Crying', it is a great ballad."

Moving on, how well is the tour with Krokus and Hammerfall going so far for you?

"So far it has been going great!! Both bands are great and treating us very well. it has become a great and successful tour for all 3 bands. They are great bands too!"

I believe you have 5 new songs wrote already, and 1 of the you played tonight, tell me more please.

"Just before Christmas we went into the studio and recorded 5 new songs. The songs sound pretty much the same as the songs on the album, I mean their in the same style but better. The titles for the new songs are, Seven Seas, Flesh & Blood, Reach For The Sky, and 2 more I can't remember right now."

Have you recorded any promo videos for any song on the album, what with the success you have had so far in Sweden.

"Yes we have recorded 2 promo videos, we did videos for 'Metal With Stand Tall', 'Song For You'."

What did you think about Lordi winning the Eurovision Song Contest? Also before I forget, what position did you come in for the Swedish Eurovision?

"That was a laugh!! It was cool. We actually came 4th place for Sweden. We will not be taking part in this years contest. but who knows what the future will bring??

What made you want to even enter the contest?

"Well the Eurovision is a big deal over here in Sweden, and when we played the final back in Sweden it was viewed by half of Sweden population. It has also made our career bigger"

Will the band be recording a live DVD in the near future?.

"Well I don't think it is such a good idea right now, maybe after we have recorded the next album. At least that way we will have enough material to release as as DVD."

Well Pontus, thanx for taking you're time out and good luck with the future and I wish you well. DO you have anything to say before w end this interview?

"Well thank you to our fans for their support, I'm glad you like our album, and I hope you enjoyed the shows if you came to see us live. Look out for the next album it's gonna rock!!"

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Thanx to (Metal) Mike Exley for arrange this interview.