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It was just a birthday party with live bands I attended, unsuspectingly, and then the last act of this night just leaves you speechless. Great music performed by three young girls from Sweden, and it seems they were born with their instruments in hands and as professionals. They express a lot of self-confidence, handling easily technical problems or ... err... audience that gets a bit too far carried away ... Therefore it was clear that I have to present this power trio to you in a bit more detail.
Maja Samuelsson, Astrid Carsbring, Sara Frendin, photo: Micke Rip
Who are you - could you introduce yourselves?
We´re Heavy Tiger. Some say power trio. Others talk about an all girl band. But really we´re just a proper rock n roll band!
Maja on guitar and vocals, Sara on bass and Astrid is bangin the drums.
When and why did you begin to make music and form this band, how did you meet each other?
A while before I quit my former band, I was already putting together Heavy Tiger. I was going to make a serious effort to getting somewhere. This was going to be true hearted rock´n roll band, according to my vision. Anyone who was to join had to, besides being a good musician, also put her soul into it. I say “her” because I wanted to come up with this really kick ass all girl band. Tried some folks and was lucky to find Astrid and Sara.
They are the best and we are really getting along well. / Maja
What are your musical idols? Is there a particular philosophy behind your works, or where do you get your inspiration from?
Maja grew up listening to bands like Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, The Clash and Hanoi Rocks. Astrid on the other hand with the melodies of the 80´s. This makes a perfect songwriting-combo.
How did you come up with the band name – is there a story behind it? Who designed the stage outfits?
We took our name from one Flaming Sideburns song, Heavy Tiger, so when we got the opportunity to open for them at Tavastia (Club Helsinki) earlier this year it obviously was an honour.
We ourselves designed our stage outfits.
How would you describe your musical style, and how did this style develop? What are your musical roots and influences?
In the beginning we played more early ACDC-kinda rock n roll. Staccato riffs based on A D and E chords ;) Now what comes out of our songwriting sessions is more and more radio friendly, it shows. It´s no big secret that we´re aiming for a bigger audience. Not that we´re selling out, no way! But a band is never bigger than its audience, and yes, we sure want to make a living out of this. So naturally you have to reach different groups of people. But still, you have to love your music and really get your kicks out of it. Otherwise it´s not worth it. You have to believe in what you do.
How do you write your music and lyrics, is it teamwork? I like ”girls got balls just a little higher”... what is the inspiration for lyrics, personal experience?
Usually Maja comes up with a riff and a basic outline for the song and some lines or ideas för lyrics. Then we work on the melodies, arrange and finish the song together.
That particualar line in Girls got balls is obviously a quote from Joan Jett.
What are your goals, dreams, what do you want to achieve with your music?
As I see it Heavy Tiger is continuing in the same vein as these above mentioned bands. More or less. Of course we got our own twist to it, but we’re keeping that same rock’n roll flame alive. One thing though. As you see they are all guys. One can ask why? Are guys better? Of course not! It´s not a matter of gender. That´s obviously one of our missions, to prove all the nonebelievers wrong. But we’re not doing it in any suffragette way. The "it´s not a matter of gender" thing has to work the other way around too. We don´t want recognition just because we´re girls, but instead cuz we´re a really good band. We’re just playing this music cuz we love it. And I think that shows.
Our fans are mainly male. Rockers who appreciate this kind of 70´s based rock´n roll. But it would be great if we could reach younger girls as well. And it would only make sense cuz our foundation and message really is Girl Power. We would be very proud to influence young girls. Write that. I think we would be really good role models!
As I said this is really a serious project and I can honestly say our aim is to make it as big as possible and play worldwide. Our gut feeling tell us we got a pretty good chance at it. I think we’re needed, both musicwise and Girl Power wise.
You are all very young and played so many shows already - so who is doing the business part of it all, the management and booking etc? Have you ever got into trouble because of missing school?
The business part is is done by ourselves and our manager Juha.
Sure we´ve had to skip school on some occasions, but you gotta make sacrifices to run a rock n roll band. And it´s a long way to the top ;)
An all-girl band is still still something rare – have you ever faced discrimination, not being taken seriously (because of being young/a girl) by people running a venue, other musicians, audience etc?
Of course!!! The guys (always guys) workin at the venues are always sceptical because we´re girls. The sound engineer for example can come up on stage to help you with silly things and even start fiddling with the knobs on the amp! Thanks but we don´t need help with that, man (don´t touch the amp, I can f***ing do it myself!!! I know how I want my amp to sound!!! gaaaah!). After the show he is amazed and thanks us for an awesome show haha ;)
The same goes with the audience. No one is expecting much from a "girl band", but after a show with Heavy Tiger they´re true believers!
How did your parents react to ”well, we formed a rockband and go on tour”? Or people at your school?
They didn´t understand
They wanted me to be respected as a doctor or a lawyer man.
But I had other plans...
photo: Stinne Skovbjerg What is the Rock scene in Sweden like, from your viewpoint? You seem to enjoy playing in Finland a lot.
Finland is much better! The Swedes are a bit stiff. Finland is more rock´n roll oriented too, which suite us better.
Where and by whom did you record your demo? Are you looking for a record company or would you prefer to stay in the DoItYourself mode?
We recorded our demo with Per Ängkvist at Real Music Studio in Stockholm, done with all analog tape recording, just like back in the days.
We´re looking for a record company to release or upcoming full length album, which will be recorded this spring.
What are your live shows like? What´s the perfect venue/show for you?
Or live shows are full of energy and power! Sweat and blood (you should see Maja´s hands after a gig!)
The audience is more important than the venue. And it´s not the number of people attending that is most important, it´s the vibe of the audience.
You should see a show we did at Dublin Castle in London. It was during the Olympics and the venue was basically empty except from the sound engineer and the bartender. But they we´re rocking their socks off! The bartender was wild and it turned out a kick ass show, thanks to these two fellows.
If you could freely choose a band to tour with, who would it be, and why?
There aren´t many good bands nowadays.But if Hellacopters would make a comeback - count us in!
What are your plans in the (near) future?
Record our album in mid April with Nicke Andersson and Fred Estby in their studio. We´re really looking forward to this! Then release the record and hit the roads again. It has been lots and lots of work with this album and now we´re sick of rehearsals and studio environments and hungry for live shows! Release the tiger!
Cheers! Heavy Tiger