INTERVIEW WITH GÖRAN/GENEROUS MARIA
Let's start with the new album "Command Of The New Rock". I'm very surprised about it. When I compare it with the split-CD, I would say that you've turned more into a straighter 70's direction, production-wise and you opened up your songs to influences that ranges from the 60's to the 90's. It's like a journey through the last thirty years of Rock, but's still a MARIA album. What do you think about it and what was the reason for this change?
Well, I think youīre right in a way, "Command." differs a bit from the Split, but on the other hand I find it difficult to see it as a big "change".. I mean, one reason is that itīs many more songs on the album - the Split had four tracks yīknow - and that provides much more space to explore different angles of rock. And we really wanted the album to be varied and not doing like the same song with different lyrics ten times in a row..
"Command Of The New Rock" got a lot of different moods. It's heavy, it rocks and there are some softer moments where the listener got enough time to relax. Can you agree and was it important for you to capture those different vibes for the album?
Yeah, itīs an important thing. Iīve heard a lotta albums over the years with bands I really like but still, after the fifth or sixth song I tend to get a bit bored if itīs all too similar. it happens a lot of stuff in life, doesnīt it, and itīs hard just using one mood expressing them. Still the accent always gonna be on the heavy side for sure.
I think one of your trademarks is the rough and varied voice of your singer Göran Flörstrom. Have you a trained voice or does it come out naturally?
If you mean like taking singing lessons the answer is no, never. In a way you train your voice every time you rehearse or do a show, donīt you. Even if itīs more like itīs losing a brick or two every time, so in that perspective itīs getting better by getting worse..
Have you recorded the album again at the Monkey Studio in Gothenburg?
Yeah, but it was called Micro Studio this time, a lotta new equipment. Itīs actually a mobile studio and the album was recorded on the same premises. Itīs produced by Dan Johansson who did a wonderful job, even if he gave us a hard time once in a while during the process. Then it was mixed in a "proper" studio here in Gothenburg called Grand G Studio.
I think, the four songs on the split-CD with Skua were are strong presentation of a hopeful new Swedish band. It has been released on the Spanish underground label Alone Records. Have you send Miguel (owner of Alone) your "Strict Nurse" demo has he "discovered" you?
Actually it was this guy José who has a radiostation in Madrid who got us in contact with Miguel. He had heard the 'Strict Nurse' promo and told us about Miguel and that he was looking for bands for his label. So when Miguel heard these songs he wanted to release īem right away. We really owe both of these guys a lot.
Are all four songs from the demo?
Yeah, they are. And when Custom Heavy Records heard the Split released by Alone they wanted to release it on their label in the States as well. So the U.S. release is by Custom Heavy.
Due to the reason, that you've opened-up your music to more to other influences do you still like the songs of the split-CD?
No doubt about that! I still love īem, theyīve got a directness that Iīm really fond of.. Weīre still playing most of the songs live.
When have you decided to release your first full-length on Swedish-based label Lunasound Recording and will you put out more on it in the future?
Well, when Lunasound showed interest of releasing the full-length it kinda felt like a good idea. Their distribution channels and contacts are great.. Alone didnīt have distribution in Scandinavia which of course Lunasound has, for one reason.. And somehow things tend to go a little smoother when band and label are in the same country. And Stuart at Lunasound is a really cool guy to work with. Weīve got a multiple record deal with Lunasound so hopefully our next album will be thru them as well.
Have you played any shows together with Backdraft in the past? I ask for it, because they've also released their debut on the same label.
No, sorry to say, we havenīt. Weīve been trying to get something going quite a few times but for different reasons it hasnīt worked out. Theyīre from Stockkholm yīknow, so itīs not like weīre living next door. But we will, itīs just a question of time and Iīm looking forward to it. Iīve seen Backdraft live once and they were great.
You've chosen a Malleus cover artwork for the new album. How did you get together with Urlo and Poia of Malleus? Was the artwork the band's idea?
The great idea of engaging Malleus was Lunasoundīs. Great guys to work with, theyīve been sending sketches step by step all during the process. The basic artwork idea was the bandīs. Itīs inspired by the Kubrick film "2001 - a space odyssey", you know the first part when these ape-men are running around in this rocky landscape and then all of a sudden thereīs a big monolith standing there, a "new rock", giving them all kinda signals, changing their lives drasticly. And of course we wanted this monolith to be a part of a r 'n' r guitar.. And I guess weīre supposed to be the five ape-men gazing in awe at the New Rock on the cover. Receiving commands from it to conduct this and that. So itīs just a joke all together. I think Malleus did an absolutely excellent job and Iīm very pleased with it.
What are your favourite songs of the album and for what reasons?
Thatīs a hard one to answer. I love īem all as my own flesh and blood, I guess I can say without lying too much. And also because it differs a bit from day to day. But 'A Bed at the Edge of the Universe' and 'Big Shiny Limo' might be two songs I love a little bit more because they are just so much Rock. And 'Bridge Out of Time' is a track that has grown on me, it contains so many moods and parts that just go together so well, like a little journey with different ups and downs but still the same journey..eeh.
Will you play any festivals this summer in Sweden or elsewhere and what about a European tour to present your new album?
Nothingīs absolutely set at this point so Iīd better not say anything for sure.. All I can say is "hope so!".
What are your other plans for this year?
First of all releasing this album and promoting it. Doing as many gigs as possible starting on April 19th with the launch party at Cronan here in Gothenburg. Itīs gonna be a great party with Christian from the Awesome Machine as DJ and.. well, a lotta beer and a lotta cool music. Weīre playing as well of course.. And then weīve started writing our next album so weīre gonna go on with that at the same time. Think weīll play a few newly written songs on the next gig..
People who are living outside of Sweden are always very curiosed about the fact, that there are so much different rock bands coming out of your country. You live in Gothenburg, so how's your sight from the "inside"?
Well, to tell you the truth, Iīm quite surprised myself - "Shit, this is good.. and these guys are Swedish.. too!" I donīt have any explanation at all.. I mean, thereīs talented people everywhere, itīs not like itīs more of those here of course.. And itīs not like itīs crowded with good rock clubs and stuff. Here in Gothenburg it might be a handful of them.. And I think itīs the same situation in most cities. I really donīt have a clue.
Do you like your hometown and how do you live?
Yeah, I like Gothenburg a lot. Itīs a harbour town with a nice archipelago outside and itīs really easy to take a ferry out to one of the small islands, especially in the summer, and yīknow, just be.. Thatīs a good thing when you live in a cramped little flat like I do.
Ok, for this moment there isn't anything more I like to ask. I wish you good luck with "Command Of The New Rock" and for everything elsein life. Finally, is there something you like to add?
Thanks for the interview Klaus, nice talking to you. And for you people out there, check out our album, you wonīt regret it, and Rock on!!