Ann-Sofie Hoyles – Spiders

Interview by Miriam C.

Lately, there are a few many current music realities that are trying to revive a musical genre that to some people is still interesting, the rock music, that allowed KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Doors to become famous. Spiders is the latest band in being successful in this hard task. Recently arrived on the shelves, “Shake Electric” embodies perfectly the spirit of the ’70s that now is almost lost. On the occasion of the release of this brand new album, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Ann Sofie in the backstage of the Mostovna venue in Nova Gorica (Slovenia), where the band has had the opportunity to share the stage with Vidunder and Horisont.
 
Hi Ann-Sofie! Välkommen! First of all, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine.

Thank you!

How are you doing? How is this European tour treating you?

It’s really good! I think we’ve done like 7-8 gigs so far, it’s been nice so far. Today when I woke up, I took a walk, a water… the hills and… everything here in Slovenia is really nice!

How did the press receive the brand new album, “Shake Electric”?

I think it’s kinda really well with the record, this is the first gig we’re playing the songs from it and everything, so the audience seems to like it… Yeah, so I’m really happy about the new album and everything.

Since it’s the first time that we meet, would you like to introduce the band to our readers, talking about the beginning of the band? I remember I’ve read on your website that you’ve debuted at one of the most renowned, well known Swedish festival, Way Out West. What are the memories related to that experience?

That’s weird, because we didn’t even have like a name or something! Yeah, we’ve got that gig and we started the band in 2010 with two members, that are not still in the band, the drummer from Graveyard, Axel, and another bass player, called Matteo. So, yeah, we’ve recorded four songs together from the beginning and it was like we didn’t know where to go to…if we were going…

You haven’t had the time or an idea of what to pursuit…

No, it was like that John, the guitarist, he moved from Örebro to Göteborg and he played in bands like Witchcraft and Troubled Horse before, and he wanted to do something else and he had some good ideas with the riffs and stuff like that… He, Axel and me went down to the rehearsal room, we just wanted to play together actually, so it was never meant to be like: “We’re gonna start a band, we’re gonna do something”

It was just for fun!

Yeah, it was just for fun! And then, we released the four songs and we played a lot. Axel said: “Now I don’t have time anymore, because I’m going to play with Graveyard” and we’ve said like: “We have to keep going, this is a really good band”, so Rikard came along with the drums… so yeah, we released our first album, “Flashpoint”, and now we’re having the second out, so we have played a lot together. It’s the best band I’ve played with, it’s exactly the music I wanted to play and everything, so…

So everything happened at the right moment!

Yeah, I think so!

Have you played with other bands in the past, since you said that Spiders is the perfect band you’ve played with?

Yeah, I’ve played with many different people before, but never like these, I’ve never released an album or toured so much as I do now, so much smaller bands before. I played guitar and drums and everything, so I’ve just tried everything out but this is the thing I like the most: to sing and to do a little bit harmonic, percussion, guitar, a few songs… That’s my bag, ehehe!

“Shake Electric” was released on Nov 4th 2014 via Spinefarm Records and it represents a sort of fresh, new start for the band, thanks to the record deal with Spinefarm/Universal. What has prompted you in trusting them? How was the first approach with the label?

I’m really glad about this new label in helping us out, because they can do so much for us, as a small band so… we had the album recorded before and they wanted to release it. That was quite perfect, I think! The guys we have met from the label are so nice, they could be my friends actually so it feels great with them. It’s so new for us, so I don’t know so much, but I think – and I can see on the Internet that we’re reaching more people than we did before – so, we can play and they can help us with all that stuff, so that’s a perfect combination! You’re more focused at the playing…

They cover most of the management stuff, the business, so you manage the artistic side of the music instead of caring the management side…

Yeah, exactly! That’s perfect, because I don’t like the computer or the emails, I don’t like doing that stuff… We had to do it before, but now we just leave it to the label so we can… yeah, do music! Yeah, that’s perfect for me.

This is your second album, while “Flashpoint”, your debut record, was released in 2012. Naturally the band, thanks to its live activity, has acquired and deepened its experience. In retrospect, I would like to ask you Ann-Sofie: what are the main differences that we can find between the first and the second one?

I don’t want to change “Flashpoint” at all, I am really proud of that album, it’s our first and we wanted it to be a “smash in your face” rock n’roll album, like a clean rock n roll music, with no extras… so that’s great, I think! And we decided – to not really decided, that’s a wrong word – I mean: we wrote the new songs for “Shake Electric” for a long time, and I think when you’re really into music, you listen all the time to the new stuff and get other influences, but the big change for that album, “Shake Electric”, is that we chose another producer and another studio… Yeah, everything is new! We worked in another studio in Göteborg, with a guy named Mattias Glavå. He’s fantastic, I wanna work with him again, it felt really good. We recorded everything live, even the vocals actually this time and we used to record live bass, guitars and drums together and doing the vocals after, but this time we did everything together. It was more like live, everything, and then of course we put on piano and a choir this time. The first, as I said, was maybe more a smash like Dead Boys, The Dictators, Kiss and stuff like that, this new one is more like David Bowie, Heart, more glam, well produced…

As I said before, “Shake Electric” represents a new start, so this time around you’ve decided to work with Mattias Glavå (Dungen), so how did you feel like working with him? On which occasion did you approach to him? Also, would you mind giving us some insight about the development/genesis of this new album?

We said to him, we had a meeting before, we went into the studio and we said to him: “Just tell us if you think we should change something in the songs, because it’s nice to hear what do you think about the songs and stuff like that…”. He changed maybe one or two things, because the songs were so ready when we went into the studio, so we were so “well-done” from our side, so he focused at the sound and the microphones and the way he wanted to record it. His ideas were so good, we trusted him so much. It was so nice to work him.

Reading throughout the press release, I’ve discovered that this album was recorded live in a few takes and I must get that you have opted to record and mix it analogically. Is that true? What’s the reason why behind this choice?

I really like analogue, because I think it’s good when someone can handle it. If the guy of the studio just has the analogue and can handle things, it doesn’t matter… So this was perfect, because the studio was perfect, and Mattias Glavå can handle it so well, so that’s perfect for me, because I really like the analogue sound and he can do that! So… that was great for me. Eheh.

Without any doubt, I think that “Shake Electric” re-embodies the perfect spirit of the ‘70s. Personally, while I was listening to it, I was under the impression of entering the “Back to the Future” (the movie by Robert Zemeckis)’s time machine, setting it back to those years. As it wasn’t that enough, Spinefarm Records puts close all cities musical legends such as T. Rex, Heart and David Bowie. Where does your passion from the seventies come from? Was it due to a specific interest or was a natural thing for you to adopt that music style?

I’m not so much into the ‘80s I think. Of course we do listen to our music at the 60s or the 70s, and I can hear it in our music of course, because what you listen to it’s just getting into wrong music. It’s always like that! But I can feel when we create music and when we record. we’re not like: “We wanna do it as we did before”. We always want to step forward and do something new, so even if you can hear that, we listen a lot to old music, it’s more than a touch of it. I think it’s Spiders songs, “Flash Point” and “Shake Electric”, is like “Okay, you can hear that, we listened to the 70s but it’s 2014, the album is released. You can hear that too, I think!”.

So you mix the modern sound with the old one…

Yeah, I think so!

I think that with “Shake Electric” you’ve added successfully, well you’ve mixed the modern sound with the old tunes… Am I right?

Yeah, so the songs – when we write them maybe as I said we listened to a lot of old music, so you can hear that, but the mix and everything is pretty new, so… yeah! It’s a mix, as you said! Ehehe.

Would you like to spend a couple of words to present to our readers your fellow companions, Horisont and Vidunder, that will share the stage with you?

Horisont is from the same town as we are, from Göteborg, and really good friends, so that’s good to be on tour with them and Vidunder, we have played with them before and they’re on the same old label as we are, Crusher Records. I really liked both bands’ music and I think we’re a little bit similar, but in a way not, because Horisont is more like heavier and more hard rock style… and Vidunder has organ… so we’re little bit different from each other, how we sound, how we write songs and… Yeah! But it’s a really nice tour, we’re like 40 people in the crew and it’s so fun together in the bus and in the venues, so that’s nice!

During the past years, both Sweden and Scandinavia have proved to be one of the leading countries in exporting rock/metal bands. A lot of bands popped up, like HammerFall, Blues Pills, H.E.A.T, Europe… I’ve always wondered myself: what is so special over there? Maybe it’s the fresh air, the cold temps. The truth is that I don’t have any clue! But what really intrigues me now is to see that the Swedish business works! Does the government help the young bands with any funds?

Yeah, they do! That’s great! I don’t know, actually I feel the same, I’m really proud about all the bands from Sweden. As you said, ABBA and all that kind of bands… I’m really glad and proud about that! I don’t know the reason why the Swedish people are doing such a great music, ehehehe. No, but as you said, we’ve got so much help actually, with the rehearsal rooms and yeah, money from the government, I’ve never felt like it’s impossible to do that in Sweden.

Okay, that’s good, but what I’d really like to know is: how does this work? I mean: does the government help if you introduce yourself saying: “I have a little band, I would like to expand myself, exporting my music, I’d like to record my debut album”? How does it work actually?

It’s not like that. You can get a little help. If I say: “I have a little band, I wanna do this but how can I…?”. I mean: you have to find yourself the right band members, you have to find the rehearsal room, you have to do so much stuff by yourself! When you’re like a child, you can get help with the rehearsal rooms and stuff like that, and you can go to different schools that are into music. We’ve got help, we’ve got our rehearsal room for free, so we’ve got help in that way, so that’s great. I mean: we don’t earn so much money on this, we have to work without all that stuff on a side…

It’s like a normal day job, like everyone of us…

Yeah! So that’s really good that you can get a little help with money, to pay the rents on rehearsal room, to buy something for your music so you can play… to borrow stuff so… A little help you can get but every band I know from Sweden is so very into it and finds the right band members and they rehearse every week and the right songs… so it’s something you strength for yourself. You wanna do this and you keep the power, ehehe.

Recently there is a new “music wave”, I like to define it this way. There’s the old sound that becomes new. I’m talking about bands like Spiders, Blues Pills and Jex Thoth. These bands play this kind of music that is inspired, influenced by the ‘70s. What do you think about this new music front, movement?

I think that for me it’s pretty normal, ehehe. I mean, that time is so important, it was new with the sound and everything… if you like that, as I do, you listen a lot to it and buy records, you’re just so into it with everything, with the style, hair, the clothes, the sound of the music… and everything is great! When you start writing your own music, it’s a little bit easier to catch up from that time.

So we came to an end, Ann-Sofie. I wanna thank you!

My pleasure, thank you so much!

I hope you have enjoyed my questions. Now you have carte blanche to greet freely your fans and our readers out there!

I wanna say “Hi” and “Thank you!” for reading this, eheh. I’m so happy that you had me here. I’m really glad to play here, it’s a perfect venue!

 

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