Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
Banner Picture supplied by Andreas , shot by Mark Ellis \ www.shootthegroove.com
Joining Inglorious shortly before the band’s debut album was released in 2016, the last two years have seen the band ascend in popularity and stature with tours supporting The Winery Dogs, The Dead Daisies and Steel Panther doing their cause no harm whatsoever.
Successful headlining tours have followed culminating in a triumphant show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom late in 2017.
As we catch up with Andreas at the famous Shepherds Bush Empire, again as support to Sunset Strip’s finest purveyors of smut, we try to clarify just which ‘Andreas Eriksson’ he is. Our favourite source of knowledge Wikipedia, has ‘Andreas Eriksson’ as a guitarist, a famous footballer and a well respected painter;
AE: Outside of Sweden you don’t hear Eriksson or especially Andreas Eriksson. It’s quite an unusual name. That’s the word I’m looking for. So no, I’ve never been mistaken… anyone who’s into Blues, Rock, music.. they know where to find me and us.
Looking at the time that the band started, Andreas talks then about the time he joined. With songs already written, he still had work to do before the debut album was ready.
AE: It was an intense period for sure! New band, new country, new music. If you listen to songs like Bleed for You or like Until I Die, all those lead parts I guess was what I put all my juice into you know what I mean? The songs were already done and I had just come off a long U.S. trip to California and Tennessee where I’d been for over two months.
I got back and I got super ill like as sick as I’ve ever been. I ended up at the hospital. It’s like an infection headed towards my brain like I’m not going to go into it but I was alright but I had to be hospitalised for like a week and that was on like really like painkillers and cortisone and like some weird medication things. I got off and I was still in my hospital clothes in Sweden and I hadn’t been home for so long so no one really knew I was back. You know what I mean? I was just walking in my flat just surreal experience like I’m fucking nearly — I don’t know like well, how bad it was.
I got back to Sweden and got super ill like as sick as I’ve ever been. I ended up at the hospital. It was some kind of infection but I’m not going to go into that boring stuff. I was alright but I had to be hospitalised for like a week and was on like weird medication, painkillers and cortisone, just a bit out of it. I got back home and I was still in my hospital clothes haha and I hadn’t been home for so long so no one really knew I was back. You know what I mean? I was just walking in my flat feeling real weird and on that first day home, many of my friends came over with like feel-good gifts, wine and chocolates hung out then boom! I got a phone call from a guy up in Stockholm. He’s just asking me, “Hey, I talked to a guy who would like to have you in his band. Are you at all interested to be in a band with the best rock singer on the planet?” I was like, “Yeah,” although my plan at that time was to move to Nashville and continue producing and writing. I was like, “You know what? Yes, put me through or whatever.”
Nathan added me on Skype and we had a meeting that day, that first day home. We really clicked, me and Nathan. Laughed and it just felt great. He sent me some demos over and I took a long walk that night when everybody left and just really tried to gather myself and think about what do I want and how could I fit this band? I could see myself fit in the band, musically and in terms of writing in the future, image with everything. I just — you know what? It’s too good not to pursue even though it’s a different country and I know jack about anything over there ha ha. I still have my base here in Sweden even though I’m rarely home anymore. But that’s basically the early years then everything just happened so quickly. Boom, boom, boom, It’s been two and a half, nearly three very, very intense years.
MGM: You haven’t been able to take a breather because you have to keep it going.
AE: Yeah and it’s been a lot of fun but it’s also been really hard on many, many levels you know?
I mean like everything with securing relationship, financials, whatever. It’s been really hard but it’s funny how when you really just push, push, push, push kind of just like you have to trust the universe . Like we know that we are good enough and we have the right mentality. I’m a Swede, we’re a bit comfortable. You know what I mean? Like we’re a bit like, Nah I’m not going on tour for five and a half weeks around Europe in February in a van. It’s just, not many of us would do that haha.
That is almost like the army, now go and fight! So I was — I had to, what’s the word, acclimatise to that? And so the first few tours was really tough I mean we’ve done a lot of touring, probably done a hundred and forty shows now.
So it’s super cool stuff and there’s been so many good memories and I think in any — like any part of life or whatever, it’s important to try and focus on the positives. If we focus on these two and a half years, we could have focused on so many things that would drive us insane, like your friends are getting kids and getting Master degrees and whatever they do and we’re like, “Yeah, we’re going to fucking slow down???” yeah, you know? [Laughs]
MGM: Where you are now and looking forward as well, the next album, we’ll see you and Drew [Lowe] working together in a studio for the first time as well. How does that relationship sort of work between you bouncing the guitars, between each other.
AE: It’s going to be great. On the first and second album I play all lead-stuff part form a solo or two by Wil on the first album. On the second album, I was involved with songwriting like I was home sitting at my home studio and I was picturing like the opening of the set for the future and so I Don’t Need Your Loving was born. and that came from visualising the next album being real big, organic and in your face. So naturally, I would get solo ideas for these songs. Drew is a really good guitarist. We’re very different. He’s great at lead too but he’s an amazing rhythm player. So he does that so well and on the last tour for example, he did all the acoustic stuff and just nailed it. He’s just so good at that!
And now, Drew is a really good guitarist. We’re very different and I still think that there is this kind of like, “Yeah, I’m the lead guitarist and he returned / replaced Will,” but I’m not stubborn or anything. If he comes up with something that’s a killer, do it. It’s more live, you’ve seen us before, you know?
He’s so good and he’s just an amazing — he’s great at lead too but he’s an amazing rhythm player. So he does that so well and on the last tour, he did all the acoustic stuff and just nailed it. He’s just so good at that.
MGM: He’s got a very sort of chilled approach to the way he plays, doesn’t he?
AE: Right, maybe on how he moves on stage and so forth, he’s just like chilled, stands there, loving life you know what I mean? But he can But he can play wild! So, it’s more — the persona state, he’s just… he’s there. He’s doing his thing and he’s fucking rocking! I love that bloke!
And this is a — like this is an example of what I do that he wouldn’t do haha..
I had a girl visiting from Budapest. She was stood side and the Holy Water solo is coming up. I just ran. I just jumped to the barrier, I turn my head and I see all the boys like laughing and looking, where Nathan is like, shaking his head with that ‘Urgh’ look.
You know that kind of thing? These two security guards, they just walked over looking like they want to grab me and make sure I won’t fall. But here, they untangled a cable and electricity lead, the actual electricity plug adaptor had got tangled up and my whole rig, amp, pedal and board is going through that. I had just pulled it off the duct tape and everything.
Everything would die.. I’d just shut down my whole rig. It’s was very, very near a catastrophe. [Laughing] All to impress a girl haha.
MGM: Effortlessly cool in your head but in reality it’s just….
AE: [Laughing] Just looked real stupid!!
MGM: Now your playing style and preferred guitars on stage have always seen you favouring Les Pauls. I understand you’re now playing a custom Telecaster as well?
AE: The Les Paul is just a killer road warrior, I like all guitars haha, Tonight there’s probably three, four changes and at least you’ll see three guitars.
I picked up a Telecaster though, the day before yesterday, in Glasgow. It’s a custom-built for me, which has single coil pickups and it’s like a bit — yeah, it’s just it sings better I think… maybe not better, just differently. It’s more of a — it’s not as thick and aggressive but having said that, it’s — Jimi Hendrix because be really aggressive on even lower output pickups. So, it’s about what you do. It sonically is hard to describe. It’s just more of a — it cuts through better and maybe it’s a bit more airy and that is hard to explain but the Les Paul is a bolder sound.
I’ve already played it live, the day I picked it up. I just wanted to try it and see what I could do with it. That’s also one huge thing that I’ve learned and gone through is just how me, myself and I, is my worst enemy and worst critic and everything like that and it drives you mad man.
Like I’ve been like, oh my God! When I remember that Saturday at home when I play a guitar for four and a half hours or recorded that demo and the solo that came out, it was just mind blowing. I’m nowhere near that today so I suck! You know what I mean? Like, you have your highest level of playing and as soon as your 10, 20, 30 percent away from that after show, you want to kill yourself.
So I’ve been going through that a lot like if it wasn’t amazing, it was really shit and I would give myself so much grief. I wouldn’t talk to people. But now, I kind of just go “You know what? It’s music. It’s live. It’s not going to be perfect everyday all the time, that it’s amplified with like super loud amplifiers with a lot of cables and a lot of electricity going through, it sounds different every night and you can’t have that expectation of it being consistent. It’s going to sound different.
Still to this date, it bugs me if I’m not a hundred percent there, and I’m trying to prepare and I’m trying to be as professional as I can and that’s why it sucks if you do a bad show. But now, I also met all the greats like I was backstage on a Festival somewhere. I’m talking Tom Hamilton, from Aerosmith, my favourite band. so just hearing other people tell their stories you go like, “Shit! They’ve gone through exactly the same,” and you know what? Not even I would care you know like, you know what I mean? Like if you see a band playing your favourite tunes you wouldn’t really care if one guitar on one song was out of tune. You just enjoy it.
MGM: So with those life lessons, what would you tell any aspiring bands out there?
AE: It’s all about us and the crowd and of course playing good but don’t fucking retire and kill yourself and drive yourself crazy because you’ve missed one thing or because you didn’t do your best show, every show on a 25 show tour, you know? Enjoy every moment!
As the tour with Steel Panther comes to a close, the band can be seen next at the following festivals:
IngloriousDownload Festival 2018
Donington Park, Castle Donington, UK
IngloriousNorway Rock Festival 2018
Norway Rock Festival, Kvinesdal, Norway
Our review of the Shepherds Bush show is here: