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The Quill | Hooray Its A Deathtrip | interview | Christian Carlsson | rock | Lollipop
Hooray! It's A Deathtrip (SPV)
by Scott Hefflon
An Interview with guitarist Christian Carlsson
The buzz is only now building on you guys, and this is your third record, right?
Fourth, actually... The first was called The Quill, the second was Silver Hate, Voodoo Caravan was our third, and now Hooray! It's a Death Trip, our fourth. The self-titled was released Europe in '95, and MeteorCity released it in the States in 2000. We had a five-year deal with our label, and then we could do what we wanted with it, and MeteorCity was interested in releasing it.
I think I missed yer second record entirely...
Many people did. (chuckles) The second record was barely released at all. It was on a very small Dutch label. I think they only printed a couple thousand copies and it's out of print now. But we got the rights to it back this Fall, so hopefully SPV will re-release it. The third record, Voodoo Caravan, is the one that started getting us attention.
The same line-up this whole time?
Yes, for almost ten years. We had a keyboard player on the first record, but he quit, and we didn't care to replace him.
How did keyboards work in?
The guy playing keyboards was our friend, but it didn't really have the right feeling. He wasn't good enough to write his own, and we all tried to write them for him, but the songs were based on the guitar, so the keyboards just sat on top, and it often didn't work... He quit because he felt the same way: There was just no room for him in our sound.
Tell me of forming the band...
We all grew up - and still live in - this small town in Sweden called Monstrose. On the south-east coast. I live about 200 meters from the ocean. It's nice, nothing happens... You play soccer or basketball or you start a band. (laughs) We're all about the same age, we all went to school together, and we all played in different bands in school...
Do you have factories or mills or something, where your choices are starting and making it as a band or working at the factory your father works at for the rest of your life?
(laughs) Yeah! The big industry is, I don't know the English word... They take trees, put them through machines, and out comes paper... One of the biggest paper factories in Europe is in our town, and half the town works there.
So forming a band seemed a pleasant alternative to working in a paper mill for the rest of your life.
(laughs) Yes, I think many people who work there wish they could be in a band... When we were all in school, there were many bands around, but most people stop playing when they get girlfriends or get married and get real jobs, and we were just the ones that didn't stop. So we all got together and formed this band. We have the best musicians in town. From the start, we had the goal to be great, to be rock stars.
What did you grow up listening to?
When I was very young, I didn't yet listen to them, but I saw pictures of Kiss, and thought "Wow, that's really cool, that's the life I want." When we were teenagers, we listened to Black Sabbath and Dio, and Iron Maiden, Judas Priest... That was the mid-'80s, I guess, and we formed bands to try to play like them, but we weren't good enough yet, so we wrote our own songs. Right from the beginning, we wrote our own songs. This is a band of songwriters. If we're not writing songs, it's not worth being in a band.
Who did you play your first shows with?
Our first big show was after our first album in '95, we played the Sweden Rock Festival. The headliner was Black Sabbath, and Fleetwood Mac and Trouble were also on the bill.
Who was your first tour with?
Well, the touring part of this band has been a disaster. (laughs) We've headlined ourselves in Sweden and parts of Europe, but we've actually never had a real tour with a big act headlining.
Never? Eight years and you've never done a tour?
No. You don't believe me? (laughs) You can't tour in Sweden because the clubs are really hard to get into. If you're not a big act, you get no shows at all. But we knew from the start that the only way to do it was to write incredibly good songs and get signed to a decent record label so people could buy the records. We would love to be on tour all year long, but there's just no market for it here in Sweden. If I want to see a good rock'n'roll band play live, I have to travel three or four hours... When I was a teenager, I took the weekend bus up to Stockholm and saw a show, then slept in the subway and came home. Fans still do that, because it's the only way to see good shows. Bands like Monster Magnet and Queens of the Stone Age are as big as U2, Foo Fighters, and Oasis here. If you're not metal, and you're not one of the huge international rock bands, there's no place for you in Sweden.
Have you played much outside of Sweden?
Not much. Probably about 15 shows.
I was frustrated because I got and loved Voodoo Caravan, but I couldn't find any information on your label's site, and it's hard to do a Google search on "The Quill" because you get all office supply companies and literary magazines.
SPV's websites don't have any information on us at all! It's very bad. We have a website just for news and upcoming shows, but it's not much.
People need to know about you guys!
This is actually our first ever American interview. It's a big step for us, really...
Glad to help. What future plans do you have?
We just landed a tour with Monster Magnet and Gluecifer, the biggest thing that's ever happened for us. It starts in February in the UK, and goes through much of Europe and then ends in England again in April.