Interview by Miriam C.“In the Red”, beside being the fourth album released for the Swedish explosive heavy metal quartet Crucified Barbara, it shows how the band, through its path, has matured, enhanced and enriched its musical palette. Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I love the ‘booze & party’ themed songs but trying to improve and evolve stylistically is part of the natural flow for a band, probably in this particular case CB were helped by the fact that were able of counting on a reliable partner as their new label Despotz Records but let’s read what the singer Mia has to say about it… Hi Mia, first of all welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you?
Thank you! I’m fine! Right now I’m in a dressing room in Italy. We’re playing at a club called Rock Planet in Pinarella di Cervia. We’re out on the In the Red Europan Tour with Supercharger and Junkstars since 17 days and we’re just about to finish a set of 13 days in a row with no day off so I’m a bit tired. Starting to mix up lyric lines and stuff on stage but the important thing is that my voice isn’t that affected about it, which I’m very happy about. We’ve never done so many shows in a row before. And today I went to the beach 2 times during the day, very appreciated!Well, “In the Red” comes after the release of “The Midnight Chase” in 2012, what you can about its genesis? When have you started to collect the first ideas for this release?
Some riffs and ideas are from the time of making “The Midnight Chase” that we didn’t have room for on that album, but I would say that 98% of it is brand new. We began to work on the album in the end of summer 2013, decided that we had to enter the studio in the beginning of 2014 so we really had to put a fire up in our asses to make it on time. We had a lot of inspiration and were really focused, more than before, when we started to work on the album, because we all felt that it’s now or never. It was not an option to do like the modern way of composing – sending files over the internet and meet in the studio to record the parts. We wanted to go through every detail together in the rehearsal and play through the songs a lot to make sure that we had the right grooves and arrangements to make them fun to play. This way, we knew already when writing the songs that they would work live as well. Then we worked song by song, and when we got stuck it wasn’t a big deal, instead of arguing about it we continued with another song instead, and picked it up later when we had got some new inspiration for the parts we disagreed on. In the end, we really felt like a machine, working every day and with the goal to write the album of the year!“In the Red” represents a sorta of fresh new start for CB, thanks to the signing with Sweden’s Despotz Records, what prompt you to this choice and how was your first approach with Despotz Records‘s boss?
We wanted a record label where we were priority, that doesn’t want to control or change us in any directions, a label that knows how to work with music online and with all the downloading and streaming these days. We had heard a lot of good things about Despotz and they were really interested in working with us, so we had a meeting with them and it all felt very good so we decided to go for it. And it really feels like a great choice!“In the Red”‘s highlight song is without any doubts “To Kill a Man”. I’ve probably listened to it like 100 times, anyway everytime I read the lyric I get heartbroken. Would you mind sharing us some more (creepy) details about it?
This lyric was written mainly by Klara. The inspiration for the song came from a horrifying case in Sweden, a police chief that spent his whole career working for women’s’ rights, gender equality and to improve the situation for victims of rape and violence against women and much more. Then he got caught and put in prison for aggravated rape and abuse of women, on his spare time he was a predator who caused all the damage that he pretended to fight against with his job. A radio documentary about one of his young victims, how this had destroyed her life, was the start of writing “To Kill A Man”. The song is about the fear and anger we feel when we hear those horrifying stories, repeated and getting worse every time, in the news, in the papers, from friends, every day.I’ve recently read about your feature about Pearl Jam‘s “Vitalogy”, I’m wondering to know how personally this album helped you mould the current CB‘s sound…
This is one of all the albums I listened to in the beginning when I started to play guitar and wrote my own songs. What I still carry with me is that I can’t enjoy a too polished sound or arrangement, the modern metal and rock music very rarely speaks to my heart. I don’t want it too perfect, I’m not interested in auto tuned voices and choir samples. And I think it’s the same for the whole band when it comes to the influence from our teenage grunge idols. We want the real deal both on the albums and live.
“In the Red” shows a surprising lyrical maturity aside the fantastic “To Kill a Man”, I can mention “The Ghost Inside” and “Finders Keepers” too. I’m curious to know what’s your favourite song and what it was the main fact/event/thought that influenced you during the writing sessions?
It’s hard to pick out just one because I feel very strong for most of the songs on the album. To mention one I would say “Follow the Stream” since I felt very much while working on the lyric for this song. I wanted to write the song from an animal’s perspective, from inside a slaughter house. The meat industry of today is insane. How bad we treat our animals. When I was done with the lyric and read it through I realized it sounded like it was a war scene. And it is in many ways. I’m not a vegan but I’m getting there step by step. I didn’t write this song to tell anyone how to live their life, I’m not an angel myself, I just think a lot about this and I think that it’s good if people become more aware of what they are consuming and think it through since it’s about living lives; with personalities and ability to feel happiness and worst of all, fear and pain.Guitar World has recently premiered your song “I Sell My Kids for Rock’N’Roll”. I’m sure that the shredders from all over the world will be delighted to learn this new song but was born this partnership?
We were asked to make a play through video for Guitarworld.com which is a big honor, it was one of the first magazines I always bought when I was a teenager, to read great interviews and get cool advices and tricks from the tabs and inspiring words from the featured guitarists. When I saw their examples I thought I wanted to do something different just for the fun of it, so we took my car and our amps and drove straight out in the forest and set up the gear. I don’t really know exactly how we got the request but I guess they liked our album and wanted to highlight us to their readers.From your point of view, what are the main difference that you can find between “The Midnight Chase” and “In the Red”?
It’s a better album, I would say “In the Red” is 2.0 version of “The Midnight Chase”. On the 3rd album we found a greater way to work together, took a step up songwriting- and sound wise but when we had finished it I still knew there were things we could improve even more next time. With this new album we achieved a lot of those things that I missed on “The Midnight Chase”. There is no other CB album where we all have written all songs together the 4 of us in the rehearsal like we did this time and I think we got the great result from that hard work. I worked even harder this time to find the best vocal melodies and we worked a lot with the grooves and tempos to make the songs fun and feel natural to play. We just took everything to the next level and it paid off with our best album so far.Taking a careful look to the cover album I can notice this huge eagle that dominates over the entire perimetre (or circle) and this speedometer. What is the cover’s concept and how those two items are connected between eachother?
The album was designed by the Swedish artist Erik Rovanpera. We wanted to work with him for many years and now when we had the new album coming up we asked if he wanted to design it for us. We gave him some keywords, we wanted the colors red, black and white like our logo, we wanted the meter that indicates the volume going in the red when it’s too loud, a touch of old movie poster and so on.. The crow and the city in the background are for me beautiful symbols of the contrast of living a life on the road but with a constant longing for the beautiful nature, wildlife and deep forests. But I think the big bird and the rest of the album cover has other meanings to the other girls if they would answer the same question. The main thing is that it looks awesome!Would you like to tell our readers about your next tour plans? Where can we come to see you perform? Are there some places you’re looking forward to visit?
Right now we’re on the In The Red tour promoting our new album all over Europe, all the dates can be found on our website www.crucifiedbarbara.com/tour. When we’re coming back home we’re doing a Swedish tour in November, Spain in December -and in January we’re going to the States for the 70 000 tons of Metal Cruise! So we’ve got a lot of fun things coming up! We’re already booking the summer festivals for 2015, just waiting to fill up the spring with even more touring. So keep an eye of the website and our Facebook – and if you want us to play your favorite rock club or festival, make sure they get to know about it!Well, we’re at the end, please greet your fans and our overseas readers freely. Thank you very much!
Thanks for your support, I hope you like our new album just as much as we do and hope to see you on tour soon!
Photos by Linda Åkerberg