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Hardcore Superstar: “You can`t stand still when the music is on!”
With "The Party Ain`t Over `Til We Say So", Hardcore Superstar just released their first Best Of album, but the quartet from Gothenburg / Sweden is still so fresh and unjaded that their rapidly growing fan base could mistake them for newcomers. Backstage before the last concert of their Finland tour in Turku, singer Jocke Berg and guitarist Vic Zino revealed e.g. why this very location is very important in the band´s history and in which situations Street Metallers actually do sleep on the street...
Hello Jocke and Vic, thank you very much for taking some time for this interview. How are you and how was this Finland tour so far? Jocke Berg: We are fine and the tour went really good. I mean, in Helsinki, we had like 600 people at "Tavastia". On a Tuesday! So that`s good. And yesterday we played in Tampere at "Pakkahuone" and there were between 800 and 900 people. And in Jyväskylä and Seinäjoki, it was about 260. Vic Zino: That was ok. During our last Finland tour, we played at the same venues and the number of people has grown. At last night`s show we even have doubled the number of people from last time we were in Tampere. Last time, there were 400 people, this time it was between 800 and 900. So I guess we are doing something right... [Laughter]
I think so, too. Tonight`s show here in Turku is completely sold out. Were there other sold out shows on this tour? Vic Zino: No. Last night`s show was supposed to take place in the small club "Klubi" next door, but we sold too many tickets so that`s why the show was relocated to "Pakkahuone". It`s like we sold out two "Klubis" yesterday... Jocke Berg: … because "Klubi" can take about 450 people.
Were there any special happenings during this tour? I mean you had to cancel two shows just recently in Sweden because Jocke fell ill? Jocke Berg: Yeah, because of my voice. I had too many infections in my throat and if you do that too much, singing with an infection in your throat, it`s gonna effect your vocal chords. And that`s what happened.
Is this kind of infection a permanent disease? Jocke Berg: No, I saw the doctor just before I went on this tour and I got some medicine for the throat. He said that I have very strong vocal chords but he can see that I have been singing with an infection, and that`s not good. I think I`m gonna rest after this tour.
Also during the "Dark Decadence" tour last spring, you had to cancel some shows... Jocke Berg: Yeah, for the same reason: My voice! We had to cancel two shows. [to Vic] And on this tour, we had to cancel our gig in Switzerland, right? Vic Zino: But that was because the bus broke down. Jocke Berg: Yeah, that was because of the bus. The bus broke down all the time! Vic Zino: Half of the band got stuck in Germany, on the street. Jocke Berg: We slept outside like bums.
Oh, I have seen this one picture on your website! You had a bonfire... Jocke Berg: Yeah, it was quite cold! [Laughter] Rock`n`Roll! Rockstars to look up at! So we had to cancel the show in Zurich because of the bus and we had to cancel the show in Denmark because of my voice. And it`s not funny but the promoter from "The Rock" in Copenhagen... It was already the third time that we had to cancel a show there, and in summer I met him at the Sweden Rock Festival and he looked angry when he saw me...
How was the "Dark Decadence" tour for you all in all? Jocke Berg: It was awesome! Crashdïet opened up and we in the middle and The 69 Eyes at the end... That was awesome! Vic Zino: It was really, really good. By the combination of this three bands, we got the chance to play at bigger venues than the years before so I guess it kind of broke new ground for us. And when we go back, to Germany for example, I think we will play at the same venues again by ourselves. Hopefully it`s like that.
I was at the "Dark Decadence" show in Hamburg, I`m originally from there, and I had the feeling, too, that this tour was a kind of breakthrough for you... Vic Zino: Yeah, the whole Germany tour was very positive and I think that people will come back as the audience always grow with every show... Jocke Berg: So, you are from Hamburg? Do you know a venue in Hamburg called "Molotow"?
Yeah, it`s very small... Jocke Berg: Yeah, we played there once...
Seriously?!? When?!? Jocke Berg: It was... [to Vic] before you joined the band. When he came into the band, we became rockstars! [Laughter] Well, it almost felt claustrophobic. It`s a very small place. I promise you I will never play that venue again! I would rather quit that band! [Laughter]
I doubt that you will ever have to play there again. How about "Logo"? Jocke Berg: It`s not a good club either, with the pillar in front of the stage. Vic Zino: We played there twice. It was always the first gig of our tours.
And one of those tours was also with Crashdïet... Jocke Berg: Yes, the first. The "Dark Decadence" tour was the second. The first one was the tour for the "Dreamin` In A Casket" album.
Back then, Olli Herman from Reckless Love was the singer of Crashdïet. Could you imagine to tour with Reckless Love as you know Olli already? Jocke Berg: Yeah, I like Olli. He is a very nice guy. But I don`t think that this would be a good thing for Hardcore Superstar to do. To tour with them. It doesn`t feel right.
What is your general opinion about bands like Reckless Love and Steel Panther? Jocke Berg: Actually... [bursts out laughing] What you mean is that Reckless Love are like Steel Panther...!?! [Huge laughter]
Don`t get me wrong: I`m a fan of Reckless Love, I like the guys and their first album "Reckless Love" very much, but since the new album "Animal Attraction" I can`t see a difference anymore... Jocke Berg: Ok, let me tell you this: When we went on tour with Crashdïet, with Olli as their singer, I talked a lot with him. He wasn`t happy in the band and the other guys weren`t happy with him, and Olli was talking about Reckless Love. So for him... I`m very glad for him that he is doing now his real thing... Vic Zino: He fits very well in Reckless Love. Jocke Berg: And about Steel Panther: I love Steel Panther! I`m watching their stuff on youtube everyday. It makes me happy.
You´ve already played with some of your idols. Which ones are left, and with whom would you like to go on tour together? Vic Zino: We did a show with AC/DC in summer 2010 when they were in Stockholm, and everything went cool. But, indeed, it would be really cool and good for us to do a whole tour with a huge band like AC/DC. I think that would work wonders for our career. We also did two shows with Mötley Crüe in summer 2009, in Norway and Denmark. Jocke Berg: Yeah, it would be cool to do an America tour with Mötley Crüe, as their support band, so we can gain ground in the States as well. Vic Zino: Actually, we are booked again for a common show with Mötley Crüe, for next summer here in Finland...
Oh, so you are the mysterious second support act next to Crashdïet? Damn, now I have to go there although I don`t like Mötley Crüe! Well, how about your own support acts Ammotrack and Avatar? Did you choose them? Vic Zino: Yes, we did. We are on the same label, "Gain". We have toured with Avatar earlier, within Europe. They are from Gothenburg. And Ammotrack are from Skövde.
So Avatar and you are from the same city. Can you recommend any other bands from Gothenburg or Sweden in general, which are not so known yet? Jocke Berg: We have this really small band who is on the way up now... In Flames. [Laughter] Actually, I don`t know. I mean the only bands I like are In Flames, The Haunted, Crazy Lixx... Vic Zino: There are a lot of bands that try to break through, but they are missing that certain something. Jocke Berg: The problem with bands nowadays is that they put the image first and just then comes the music. It should be the other way around.
Your music is quite energetic. Has any of your songs been used as an anthem for sports events? I think it would fit very well... Jocke Berg: Yeah, "Wild Boys" were used for the Snowboard Olympics. Vic Zino: And there is also this Swedish snowboarder who did a video with "We Don`t Celebrate Sundays" in the background. I agree that our music fits with fast kind of sports, like snowboarding and skateboarding.
Are you personally doing any sports? Jocke Berg: Yeah! I like running. I couldn`t run for about one month now, because of the infection, so I`m gonna run on Tuesday. Vic Zino: I love sports. I`m doing sports since all my life, like football, running, basketball, martial arts...
As I said already, your music is quite energetic and so are your shows. Do you think that you will do this for the next 20 or 30 years? Both: Hopefully! Jocke Berg: People say that we have a lot of energy on stage and stuff but it`s not like we are faking it. It`s just that you can`t stand still when the music is on. Vic Zino: We don`t rehearse it. It`s just what happens on stage.
Was there any time when you have been tired of all this party thing? Going to parties, doing party music... Jocke Berg: Not of doing party music, but partying, yes. If I compare nowadays to five, six years ago… Like now, I drink a beer. Just a beer and that`s enough. I don`t like to be drunk and to be out of focus. I don`t like it to wake up and have a hangover because then I`m out of order. It`s not that we have any problems with drinking and stuff but... You`re getting older and you have to take care of yourself. It`s better to go out and jog instead of down a bottle of whiskey.
Does anyone of you work as a producer? Vic Zino: No. I guess Martin [Sandvik, the bass player] is interested in that. Martin and Adde [The drummer]. They like that stuff but they haven`t done anything yet. It would surprise me if they did.
How about side projects? Jocke Berg: Me and the guitar player of Avatar, we have this project called "Hate Sublime". It`s like a mixture of Hatebreed and Heavy Metal.
When will you hit the studio to record something? Jocke Berg: We don`t know it yet. We are trying to get the songs. [Laughter] Vic Zino: They try to write songs but at least they have a bandname already!
Are you already working on new material for the next Hardcore Superstar album? Vic Zino: We are always working on new material. There is always a little bit going on...
Do you have a time frame concerning when you will be on tour, when you will return to the studio and so on? Jocke Berg: I heard somewhere that the new album will be out in April 2013. Vic Zino: Yeah, that`s the plan. Jocke Berg: We are gonna have January off and then we are going on a smaller European tour and then we are going to Australia, because there is a big hype going on right now. We have been there once. My best friend and his girlfriend stayed there for six months now and they saw Crashdïet down there and he texted me on that night - it was at the show in Sydney - that he has seen about 70 Hardcore Superstar t-shirts in the audience already. That was cool. One thing we would love to do is the "Big Day Out" festival in Australia. It would be awesome to do that.
STALKER interviewed you in 2007. Back then, your old guitarist Thomas Silver was still in the band. Do you want to tell us more about that line-up change? Jocke Berg: We had this England tour, 8 shows together with Crazy Lixx in January / February 2008, and on the day of our last show in London - it was sold out - Thomas asked for a meeting with the band. He said that he want to leave the band to concentrate on his family. And the sad thing is that the only thing I could think of was: "We need a replacement on the guitar!" And the first guy I thought of was Vic, Crazy Lixx` guitar player. So I went up to him in the tourbus. We shared the tourbus and he was rehearsing when I went up to him like: "Vic, I wanna talk to you!" And he replied: "I haven`t done anything!" [Laughter] We asked him if he could substitute Thomas and he said that he have to make some phone calls. He went out and after a while he returned and said that he can do it. So he learned 4 songs during the first night and about 16 or 17 in two and a half days. That`s good! And, by the way, it was here when he said: "I`m in the band!"
Here?!? Jocke Berg: Yeah, exactly HERE! Vic Zino: There is a video on youtube ["When Vic joined Hardcore Superstar"] where you can see these walls here in the background when I say: "If you are still interested, I`m in the band!" This is now my 7th show here with Hardcore Superstar.
How is your relation with Crazy Lixx now? Vic Zino: Very good! Jocke Berg: You`re best friends with the guitar player. Vic Zino: Yeah, with the new guitar player. Kind of weird. I kind of helped them with their latest record "Riot Avenue". I borrowed them my amplifiers and I helped them with the sound. That was really cool and they are mixing the album right now so I think the guitar sound will be very well-done. [Laughter] I don`t know about the rest!
And how about Thomas? Are you still in contact or are you angry with him? Jocke Berg: No, no. We are not angry with him at all! I grew up with Thomas. I know him since I was 7 years old, so I know him for 30 years.
Is he still active as a musician? Jocke Berg: Yes, he is. He is doing some solo stuff. He is a fantastic Rock`n`Roll guitar player but Vic`s guitar playing fits much better to Hardcore Superstar.
You said that the Rock`n`Roll came with Vic but Crazy Lixx were not bigger than Hardcore Superstar at any point, were they? Vic Zino: No, Crazy Lixx had just released their first album and then we went on tour. Me and the singer Danny Rexon formed Crazy Lixx in 2002 and we released the first album "Loud Minority" in 2007 so we were kind of beginners, but we played loads of shows in Sweden and abroad as well.
This tour is named after your latest release, "The Party Ain`t Over `Til We Say So", a Best Of compilation. So if you look back at your live-history, which was your best show and which was the worst one in your career so far? Jocke Berg: I can say the worst show easily. It was in Karlstad, a month ago. I had this problem with my voice, I had eaten something and during the second verse of our last song "Moonshine", I went out and puked five times. Our tourmanager was holding my hair and I was puking because of the strong medicine. He suggested to end the show right away but I was like: "I have to go out and finish the song!" That was the worst gig ever for me.
Did the audience notice what was going on? Jocke Berg: Yes, I told them. The best gig we have done is every time when we do a good gig. Both: Like yesterday! Vic Zino: At shows like yesterday or the "Dark Decadence" show in Milan, there is something magical about it. The audience was great and we were in a good shape as well. Jocke Berg: 2 000 Italian maniacs!
On "The Party Ain`t Over `Til We Say So", there is a new song called "We Don`t Need A Cure". It`s your brandnew single. Why haven`t you played it live? Vic Zino: I don`t really know. I think we kind of felt it didn`t fit into the set... Jocke Berg: It`s a really, really good song! It sticks in your mind immediately when you hear it. It`s so direct and it`s a really good song but maybe doesn`t fit into the show.
Have you ever played it live? Both: No, we haven`t. Jocke Berg: But sometime we are gonna play that song live.
How about the ballad "Here Comes That Sick Bitch" which was originally an up-tempo song? Have you ever played it live in its original version? Jocke Berg: No, not live. It`s really fast. And there are actually three different versions of it, but I don`t know if we are going to play it.
Once you said that you don`t like it to be in the studio, so there is one album that you have finished in four days only... Jocke Berg: Yes, "Dreamin` In A Casket". And "Beg For It" was done in six days. That`s the thing with me as a singer: The best way to rehearse for me is when I`m driving my car; when I listen to the demos for the record and sing along. That`s the best way for me to rehearse my vocals because I drive a lot. And I think that`s why I do it really fast because I`m so focussed when I`m in the studio and I just want to be done with that fast. I can`t just sit around that`s why I`m like: "Let`s do this shit NOW!" Vic Zino: I like studio work, especially how we did the last album "Split Your Lip". We did it together as a band, we played it together and that`s why it took only 5 days or something like this to record the basics. And compared to "Beg For It", that was a piece of cake... Jocke Berg: I definitely prefer this kind of recording, too, than recording drums, guitar, bass and vocals separately. It`s boring.
Do you always record your albums in Gothenburg? Both: Yeah.
Have you ever thought about working with a well-known producer somewhere else in the world? Vic Zino: I think the ones who know our music best is the band itself and no-one else. Jocke Berg: I think it would be kind of hard because we know what we wanna do and if we don`t like the producer, it`s not gonna work.
Alright, we are almost done so it`s time for the "Famous last words"... Vic Zino: Buy our records! Jocke Berg: Thank you all for coming to our shows - and next time, bring your friends with you!
Website of Hardcore Superstar: http://www.hardcoresuperstar.com
Author: Stefanie Singh, photos: Stefanie Singh / Michael Johansson Date: 2012-03-02