Raymond catches up with Klara the guitarist for Crucified Barbara, an all woman Swedish band to talk about their latest release “The Midnight Chase,” influences, the writing process, band history and much more…
Hi there and thank you for doing this interview with ThisIsNotAscene. I’ve got to admit that I’m actually floored by the sheer attitude and energy of “The Midnight Chase”, your latest album. Are you happy the way it came out?
Thank you for your kind words! We’re really happy about “The Midnight Chase”, it’s the best record we’ve done so far and we’re very proud of it. We have worked so hard both on the song writing and in the studio. It’s really satisfying when you finally have the proof of your effort in your hands in the shape of a CD.
In my review I drew comparisons with MC5 and Motorhead. To what extent are you influenced by them?
We’re influenced by anything that’s interesting in some way. It can be anything from great music to love and hate. Our goal isn’t, and has never been, to sound exactly like some other band. We leave it to the listeners to tell us what we sound like. Personally I love both MC5 and Motörhead…
How would you describe the writing and recording sessions for “The Midnight Chase” compared to previous experiences?
The songwriting process was pretty much like last time; sometimes we work individually and sometimes we just jam all together. The song ‘The Crucifier’ for instance, was written during a sound check. There are no rules when it’s comes to how we write songs.
All of us have been spending a lot of time recording song ideas at home. Even if those songs don’t always end up on the album it’s really important to constantly stay creative. When we’re jamming together, trying new stuff and something doesn’t work out it’s really great to have a stock of ideas. For instance; the heavy stoner riff in ‘Rise and Shine’ was a completely different song from the beginning that Ida had been working on at home. And the intro riff and the verse came from two different song ideas me and Nicki had been working on at my place. And parts of the lyrics come from a third song idea we had been working on for years. Sometimes songwriting is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You have the parts, you just have to find the right place for them.
The recording of “The Midnight Chase” was a little bit different from the first two albums. We played around a lot more with the guitar sound. Earlier we’ve pretty much have had one set guitar sound. This time we split the guitar signal and it allowed us to get four, or sometimes even more, amps at the same time. We also had a lot of different microphones on the cabinets. We chose which one to use for every guitar track, letting the song and the style of it decide which one was appropriate.
It was really cool to work with both Chips Kiesby (producer) and Henryk Lipp (sound engineer). They had a great vision and really helped us to find the perfect sound for the album.
You began as a punk band, and your sound evolved into something more akin to metallic hard rock very early on. What accounted for this change?
It wasn’t a conscious decision. We’ve always just written riffs and songs we think sound cool. I think it just turned out that way as we became better at playing and realized there were other ways to write and play music than the punk way. But we’re no strangers to any type of rock or punk and we love to pay around with all genres when writing music.
Over the last few years, there seems to be a renewed interest in the role of women in rock and heavy metal, and growth in the number of visible female rock and metal fans. What do you think accounts for this?
I love rock girls! There can’t be to many of them. I think they’ve always been around but as society get less male chauvinistic they’re more visible. It’s easier nowadays to be yourself no matter of what gender you are. But we still have a long way to go and I really wish women everywhere should be able to be themselves and not be oppressed by gender stereotypes, religion and unfairness.
Do you ever find that you are pigeon-holed by your gender as a “girl-rock” band? How to you combat this?
We always try to focus on the good things and not the bad and we don’t listen to misogynists. We put our energy on writing and performing the music we love for all the great people that like what we do. Most people are smart enough not to dismiss music based on whether the musician is male or female.
Which elements should a genuine Crucified Barbara song have according to you?
Heavy riffs, lyrics about the things that affects us in life. A mix of aggression and vulnerability crowned with Mias beautiful voice.
Sweden does seem to have a valid hardrock tradition with bands like Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters (RIP) but also with heavier edged bands like Opeth, In Flames and Entombed. Where does Crucified Barbara fits in according to you?
Probably nowhere. But we’ve never tried to fit in. We try to be free and spread the Crucified Barbara-love to anyone who wants to listen.
These are hard times for musicians to make something of a living. How do you get by?
If you’re a greedy bastard looking to earn a lot of money, the way to go is not to start a band… Fortunately none of us are driven by money. We do this because we love to write and perform music and because the thrill of being on stage is worth a thousand times more than money.
We all have occasional part time jobs. I work night shifts as a nurse, taking care of the elderly. It’s a job I really like and have been doing for a very long time. It’s a nice contrast to the rock’n’roll life.
What advice would you give young women who are interested in pursuing a career in hard rock, metal or punk?
Buy or borrow an instrument and start writing songs! It doesn’t matter how good you are at playing, you’ll learn along the way. Your creativity is your biggest asset. If you have that you’re halfway there and can practice your skills and techniques.
Can you share some road stories, please?
Well, there are many…. One of my greatest moments was the last show of the support tour we did for Motörhead in the UK. We played the Brixton Academy and Phil Campbell joined us on stage and played ‘Killed By Death’ with us. Afterwards I got to meet one of my guitar heros, Brian May of Queen. I was really nervous and could barely say my name. Brian was really polite and I lived on that moment for months.
How rock and rock is Crucified Barbara?
It varies. 50% of the time we’re all about rock ‘n’ roll and 50% of the time we’re good girls.