DATE OF INTERVIEW:
10th July 2009
IDA EVILEYE; KLARA FORCE
METAL DISCOVERY: How are you doing and how was the show for you? It was an awesome show.
IDA EVILEYE: It was a very good show.
(Klara Force on the essence of Crucified Barbara's compositions)
"I actually think when it comes to song writing we have a vision that we want to write really great songs and then the style and genre is secondary. Itís of little importance."
Ida Evileye in the VIP tent, Rockweekend, Kilafors, Sweden, 10th July 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
KLARA FORCE: Yeah, it was a fun show. It was a little bit of technical problemsÖ
Formed in Stockholm back in 1998, Crucified Barbara initially began life as a punk rock act before their music and song writing evolved into a more rock/metal oriented approach with an infusion of palm-muted thrash-based riffing. 2003 saw them ink a deal with Swedish label GMR which led to the release of debut album, 'In Distortion We Trust' early 2005. Over the next four years, aside from several appearances at various prestigious festivals around the world including Download, Sweden Rock, and Gods of Metal, the four talented ladies embarked on high-profile tours as support band to the likes of MotŲrhead; Sepultura/In Flames; Jon Oliva's Pain; and Doro. Then, in February this year, sophomore full-length release 'Til Death Do Us Party' was unleashed to wide critical acclaim, a masterful retro-modern sounding album containing a series of compositions that are driven by a genuine contemporary groove.
On the second day's main stage lineup of Sweden's Rockweekend festival, I arranged to meet with the band a few hours after their performance. And it transpires to be a far from 'normal' interviewing experience. With a pre-organised time of 9:30pm, I hook up with my GMR label contact, Susanne Wallerstein, in the VIP area due to the absence of a dedicated press tent, and she informs me that it will be bassist Ida Evileye and guitarist/vocalist Mia Coldheart who will be doing the interview. She introduces me to Mia who promptly disappears, so I settle down at a table and wait for them to arrive/reappear. As I wait, I'm in the middle of switching lenses on my camera bodies, an obviously unacceptable act which prompts a heavy-handed security guy to appear, grab me and angrily shout something in Swedish, although Susan kindly intervenes to explain that I'm here in a media capacity. A few minutes later, Ida shows up with guitarist Klara Force, and Mia nowhere in sight. As Arch Enemy still play loudly in the distance (and for the second half of the interview, U.D.O.), it is a struggle to hear anything, though we persist with shouting at each other as I quiz the ladies about a range of subjects including the new album; working with Mats Levťn, playing in the UK; and Indian cuisine. And Mia does actually reappear a couple of minutes into proceedings, carrying with her a naked arse. Read on...
MD: In what sense?
IE: Apparently it was the bass drum; the pedal - it broke on one of the songs so we had to fix that. But besides that it was fantastic.
MD: Great. It was good from a spectator point of view.
IE: Thank you.
MD: How is the whole festival experience for you - do you usually just turn up and play, and do some press, or do you try and check out some of the other bands?
KF: Yes, we always try to see new bands, and I think itís a great opportunity to be able to watch a lot of cool bands that you like. For instance, yesterday, Testament were playing. That was cool, but we didnít get to see the show because we were working, but I think itís a nice feeling when youíre on a festival and have the possibility to watch other bands that I like. I love that - you get inspired.
MD: Itís not really known in the UK, but I gather in Sweden that Barbara is the name for a blow-up doll?
KF: Yeah, thatís right.
MD: Barbara in the UK is like the name of an old person because itís a name that has died out; kind of an old fashioned name.
KF: Maybe itís coming up again.
MD: Of course. Whatís the significance behind the band name in having a crucified sex doll? Or is it a random band name?
KF: Itís erÖit can be anything you want. I think itís a fun joke. It can be that, or it can beÖ
[Someone kindly decides to interrupt the interview at this point by approaching the table and starting a conversation with Klara]
IE: Anyway, the band name, I guess after some years itís only a name but in the beginning we were at the Roskilde Festival in Ď97, there was this blow-up doll on a cross and we thought it looked really cool, so we translated it to a name. So I guess thatís where it came from.
MD: Kind of random then!
[At this point, Klara, who is sitting opposite Ida and myself, looks behind us with a startled gaze. I turn round to be confronted with a naked womanís arse. Mia, the bandís frontwoman, is holding a girl with her jeans around her ankles, and wields her bare butt towards my face!]
KF: Weíre sorry!
MD: Thatís okay - a random arse! Do you get many fans bringing sex dolls to your gigs?
IE: No, not really.
KF: Not that we know about!
IE: No, we donít have any sex dolls at our gigs, except ourselves playing around at a festival I guess! [laughs] No, no! I think to say one thing, our band is very serious and we write music because we love music. Our band name is just a name like everybody else.
KF: Itís like a naked ass in your face! We are actually a serious band! I promise! [laughs]
MD: You have a lot of retro influences in your music, like a lot of the old school thrash and rock/metal, but your music has a really modern, contemporary edge as wellÖ
KF: Do you really think so?
MD: I think so, yeah, yeah. But I think part of that is the old thrash and rock/metal is coming back into fashion so by default it sounds quite contemporary as well. But I think it has a very modern groove to it too. Do you always consciously try to not make the music too retro sounding when you compose, or do you not really care about that and just write?
KF: Well, I actually think when it comes to song writing we have a vision that we want to write really great songs and then the style and genre is secondary. Itís of little importance. We want to write great songs that we like, but I think all of us are really into a little bit more old school so I guess thatís always there. When we play riff-based heavy metal, I think itís better to go back to the originals.
IE: When it comes to the sound picture, I think with the modern technique you can do a lot of things that you couldnít some years ago, but all of us use tube ampsÖ.
KF: But I think the modern part of our music is not with the song writing, itís maybe more with the production. Maybe itís a little bit more modern sounding.
MD: Your new album is fantastic - I only heard it a couple of weeks ago actually when I got access to the GMR iPool, but an absolutely brilliant album.
IE: Aww, thank you!
MD: The reviews Iíve read have been really positive too - did you expect such good reviews for the album, orÖ?
KF: Itís weird when you write an album, and you write the songs, and you go into the studioÖfor me, itís like personally, how the fuck is this going to work out? And youíre so nervous, itís more likeÖ
IE: There are so many different things that need to come together.
KF: Yeah, so when itís finished, itís more like a relief. Okay, now itís done.
IE: And we can go on and do shows. I think all of us are very happy about the album concerning the sound, and the songs, and everything. We feel that weíve done a very good album, so I think we deserve very good reviews.
KF: I think weíve done the best we can and, yeah, weíre really happy with it ourselves and then, of course, it makes you very happy if someone else thinks the same way.
MD: I guess until you unleash it upon the world, you donít know how people will react.
IE: Itís very easy to listen to reviews when itís good reviews, Itís very easy to not listen to reviews when itís bad!
MD: You brought in Mats Levťn as producer for the album - how was working with him, and did he bring anything new to the band?
IE: Absolutely he did! We met him because heís living in Stockholm, and heís a well known singer, and a very good song writer, and we felt that we needed somebody to take it to the next level. So we did some pre-production with him, and his involvement was more like arranging songs into the best version of the songs, so he didnít really write stuffÖexcept for one riff on one song. I think that he brought out the best of us. He is a very hard working man! [laughs] He is a talented person, so we took the best out of each other.
KF: But I think it started when we met him. We had a meeting with him, and played some demos for him, and the things he had to say about them was the exact same things we had been thinking of, so it was just like a perfect match. He thinks the same way as we do which was very good.
MD: I guess itís probably quite a unique thing to find a producer like that, on a level with you mentally as well asÖ
KF: Yeah, exactly.
IE: But heís very dedicated as well. He wants everything he puts his name on to be a quality thing.
KF: And since heís a singer, heís also a really great vocal coach for MiaÖ.and for the backing vocals as well. I mean, he was involved a little bit in every part, which is good.
MD: Your sound has progressed as a bandÖI think I read you started as a punkier kind of band, and the first album was punkier-edged rock. Do you aim to diversify your song writing further, or do you think youíve discovered your musical identity now with the new album?
IE: I think that we have settled down for what we want to sound like but, of course, you want to try new things all the time. And, of course, Mia loves her great heavy metal riffs, so I guess I hope weíre gonna write more of those.
KF: But I think the foundation of this band is that we play hard rock music and then thereís always like levels of it, and our goal is to write good songs. We donít really care too much aboutÖ
IE: Öthis style, or that style.
KF: No. But, of course, the foundation will always be heavy metal/hard rock.
IE: But I think all of us have a very weak heart for heavy metal riffs.
KF: Yeah, but itís like so many genres within hard rock music that we absolutely love, and I think itís good to be a band like us because weíre not a thrash band, and weíre not a sleaze band, we can be a little bit of everything, so you can get different parts from everything you love.
MD: I was reading what you all listen to on your website in your profiles - stuff like Katatonia in there and Meshuggah. Quite a diverse range of music.
KF: Yeah, it is.
MD: So a bit of Katatonia-style melancholy might creep in the song writing?
KF: I think itís not conscious but it, of course, affects you.