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Hardcore Superstar: The Black Album, a bit different

Rock Hard Festival, Gelsenkirchen, Germany offered a chance to meet Hardcore Superstar. And naturally STALKER took it ... Jocke (vocals) and Thomas (guitar), and they told us some tales of ski-jumping, the art of Street-Metal and about the new song material.

The fifth Rock Hard Festival at Amphitheater Gelsenkirchen was a big success this year, despite bad weather situation on Whitsun weekend. More than 5000 people enjoyed perfect sound with perfect stage view, plus bonus program (signing sessions, Metal market). Three days offered a program variety, e.g. Finnish Folk Metal (Korpiklaani), German acts (the Metalcore band Heaven Shall Burn, Grave Digger) and Hard Rock legends like Irish Thin Lizzy who rounded up the festival as headliner on Sunday. Fans of the rather rough stuff had a lot of Swedish bands to choose from, e. g. u. a. Amon Amarth, Hammerfall, Dark Funeral ... but now let´s have Sleazerockers Hardcore Superstar talking:

Photo: Emma Svensson

Good morning! First of all, how are you guys? It´s still pretty early in the morning and the weather is everything but fine…
Thomas: Great, we thought we were going to Garmisch- Partenkirchen until we found out that it was Gelsenkirchen actually (repeating the word and amusing himself).

Garmisch would be a little bit further in the South.
Thomas: Where those ski- jump contests are.

I see you know what you`re talking about. Do you personally like it?
Thomas: Yes, we’re from Sweden and we used to rule that sport!

There are almost only Metal Bands playing on this festival. How do you feel as a Rock`n`Roll band in between all that stuff?
Thomas: We feel pretty much at home basically, because we also play some sort of Metal. Street-Metal!

I`ve seen that expression on your MySpace for the first time.
Thomas: Right, we even played with Saxon and did a tour with Machine Head and we played with Slayer in Japan.
Jocke: Yeah, definitely.
Thomas: We did Loud Park festival which is a big festival in Tokyo. I´m not sure if you´ve heard of it, but it´s a Metal festival as well. There we played with Anthrax, Slayer, Mastodon and Megadeath you know, the top Thrash bands and we gained a lot of Heavy Metal fans from there. Because our last album is quite hard, but it´s got some catchy melodies.
Jocke: With the last album compared to the first one, it´s like going back to the beginning.
Thomas: Yeah, it´s a comeback album. Still we don´t want to look back, we want to create something new. We always try to do that.

So what have you guys been up to after touring almost the whole year of 2006 with the last record?
Jocke: We`ve been doing pre-production for our new album.

I saw you did some demos…
Jocke: Yeah, we recorded about twelve songs. It`s more Metal, more Thrash this time.
Thomas: It´s even a bit harder then the last, the Black Album (laughter). We call it the black album because it IS black, in fact… “Thank You” is the white album, “Bad Sneakers” is the red album and the first album is actually the first album.

Photo: Nina Remor

When will the final recordings be done?
Jocke: We plan to enter the studio this summer. In the meantime we´re going to do some festivals and hopefully release the new album in November.
Thomas: The first single “Bastards” is coming out in June.

What is it about?
Jocke: It is about me being arrested by the police, actually.

Is it autobiographical?
Jocke: It is, in a way. I got beaten up by the cops.
Thomas: That was also the only time you got beaten up, by two cops. I saw it. I was actually the one how called them!

Another way to get rid of your band mate.
Thomas: Oh, no. I tried to do that for more than twenty years… How old are you?

I´m twenty- two…
Thomas: Oh, we´re so old!

After so many years most bands complain about suffering from exhaustion, writer´s block etc. Do you have these problems as well?
Jocke: Of course, but this is something you just have to do.

What do you think about the common assumption that the Rock´n´Roll genre isn´t affected by these sorts of things, due to the fact that it´s mostly regarded as serving for good entertainment only?
Thomas: Well, we don´t want to be pegged as some sort of Glam Rock thing. Of course, if you listen to the last album you can compare it to other Glam rock bands, but… I love Faster Pussycat, I´ve loved them my whole life but technically they´re kind of lousy. Still they´ve got great songs and this is the music I grew up with. But if it came out today, I would not buy it. For me this band is like a professional athlete. A lot of people pay too much attention to the pictures instead of the music.

Photo: Nina Remor

What about the American market? Is that an interesting aspect for you? According to all accounts and what one sees, the demand for Scandinavian Rock´n´Roll over there is increasing these days. And although the USA is actually the biggest market in music and there should be so much opportunity for people to choose, they seem to long for something ´real´.
Thomas: The problem with the USA is that every band is the best band in the world, but they don´t deliver. Maybe you actually have to move to America to make it. You have to be there all the time.
Jocke: I´d rather play Germany (laughs) than play, you know, the States. Eighty million people around here… and it´s close to Sweden!
Thomas: And Europe is much cooler than the States anyway!

Thomas: You can´t beat Italy or Spain.

Well, I´m half- Italian…
Thomas: There you go.

I think one of the reasons why the crowd goes so wild at Italian shows is that bands never really go there. Regarding the European market it´s always the UK, then Germany, and maybe France, Belgium or the Netherlands. The southern countries are often left behind.
Thomas: Italy is the best country for us to play, we love it.

You put the demo from a new song called “Sophisticated Ladies” on your myspace.
Jocke: Yeah, like a teaser.

How do you conceive myspace as a platform? Do you appreciate it as a way of getting straight feedback from the people without some sort of mediator?
Jocke: It´s really good. Especially for young bands who haven´t got a deal yet.
Thomas: You have to be part of all new things which are happening. And myspace is so huge!

I´m asking this question because many of the “bigger” bands have their myspace but don´t use it the way it´s supposed to be used.
Thomas: But we´re small. We´ve got one of our biggest fans, a girl from Sweden who takes care of our myspace page.

Photo: Ulf Magnusson

I think you can see that there´s someone behind that who`s really committed to the subject.
Jocke: That´s very important.
Thomas: We´re too lousy but she´s a fan and eager to do it. You have to spend a couple of hours a day with myspace. I had my own myspace page and that already took thirty minutes a day.

When can we expect you to be on tour again?
Thomas: We´re going to release the album in winter, so we´re probably going to tour some time around that.

Author: N.R.; photos: N.R., E. Svensson, U. Magnusson
Date: 2007-06-18

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