THE POODLES – QUESTIONS AND ANSWER SESSION WITH MYGLOBALMIND.COM
In addition to playing not 1 but 2 sets at the recent Hrh United festival in Wales The Poodles also took the time to do some interviews. Here is a question & answer chat with Henrik Bergqvist, Guitarist, of the band. As the interview was sprung at short notice, big thanks to my Myglobalmind colleague Adrian Hextall for assisting with the preparation.
MGM: Swedish band – very US led stadium rock sound. Deliberate?
Henrik: Of course! Jokes aside, we have a soft spot for the magnificent and we often use the word “epic” to describe our music. I think that comes from a certain sound-ideal but also because we think that our music matters and that it has the power to be a positive influence in peoples lives just like the bands that we grew up with had an influence in ours. Also, we want to be a stadium band, so why not start by sounding like one!
MGM: What about the rise of anthemic hard rock in Sweden right now. Why are the Swedes so successful?
Henrik: Because we have been a prosperous country for a long time, and we have long, dreary winters.
You can do one out of three things: drink (a lot), play ice-hockey, or start a hard rock band. Pick one,
or combine a couple of them. If you choose to combine drinking with one of the other two, it’s not going to work out. Some play hockey and form bands, like our former bass-player Pontus Egberg, but in the end music always wins out. I think this is as close to the truth as you are going to get.
MGM: As capable of writing energetic hard rock as you are ballads – is there a preference or do both come as easily.
Henrik: We like the kind of varation that all our heroes excelled in: Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, and others. Heart-breaking ballads and wall-breaking rockers; that’s a good recipie for a hard rock album. We didn’t invent it, we’re just trying to perfect it.
MGM: Tour de Force is the latest studio album – thoughts\writing process\change in style etc.?
Henrik: Our latest effort is called “Devil in the Details” and it came about much like the preceding three albums. It involved a writing process where everyone in the band contributed along with some “outside” writing partners, including producer Mats Valentin who did this album too. Mats is almost a member of the band at this point; he just refuses to go on stage with us! Just kidding, Mats is an awesome musician, writer, and producer and we’re lucky to work with him.
MGM: Two times, The Poodles have entered the knockout stages for Eurovision – whilst the songs have proved successful for you – you’ve not made the live finals on the night representing the country. Do you think you might try again?
Henrik: Who knows? One thing is for certain, the Eurovision has been good to the band and provided us with a platform to work from. At this stage, we have an audience that you might separate from that specific context, but we never say never. We’ll do what we think is right for the band.
MGM: You are a very successful band in your home country. When I look at the melodic rock/metal /sleaze/glam genre 70 percent of those bands come from Sweden. So what do you think? Why is this kind of music more popular in your country than anywhere else?
Henrik: I must refer back to the second answer above, but I’d also like to add that the genre that you mention is very encompassing and allows for a wide variety of expressions that Swedish bands take advantage of, including us! If you want to play in a band, then this is the most attractive outlet; this was the case 30 years ago and it still is!
MGM: After five albums and countless years building such a big following do reviews and critical comments matter so much – who do you listen to , the fans or the critics or both?
Henrik: We try to keep our eyes and ears open to anything worthwhile checking out. This goes for both criticism and praise. We were never a critic’s favourite band, but we have had some good feedback over the years for sure, and we never tire of talking to our fans and well-wishers. We’ll meet you soon on tour!
MGM: Has the dynamic within the band changed now and has the current line-up stabilised?
Henrik: The current line-up with Johan Flodkvist replacing Pontus Egberg has started to stabilise. Pontus left some pretty big shoes to fill and we think that Johan has done an excellent job so far. He is in many respects the perfect replacement, also because he is so different from Pontus. It’s never a good idea to find a replacement for a band member that is almost like his predecessor, but not quite. Just look at Van Halen, Sammy couldn’t have been more different from Dave and I’d say it worked out pretty well for them. Johan is a great addition to the band and you’ll get to meet him soon if you catch us on the road this spring.
MGM: You’ve changed for example the logo on the last two albums so does that indicate a fresh start or did you just decide to get a new look?
Henrik: This goes back to our fondness for variation. We want fans to recognize themselves when they pick up a new album by The Poodles, but we also like to challenge them a little bit. We’ve done this from the start and I think they have responded quite well. I think we’ll continue to nudge them in new directions with every effort that we produce. That’s the only way we know how.
Tour 2015 Dates:
23 april Eventhalle West Inglostadt (GER)
24 april Garage Deluxe Munchen (GER)
25 april Kreuz Obermarchtal (GER)
27 april Z7 Pratteln (CH)
28 april Pacific Rock Paris (FR)
29 april Rockfabrik Ludwigsburg (GER)
01 may Rockcafé Kiss Hechingen (GER)
02 may Hall of Fame Wetzikon (CH)
06 june Tingvalla Tomelilla (SE)