This is an interview I recently did with the lead singer Jocke Berg from the Swedish glam/sleaze act Hardcore Superstar that after a few years break currently released their fourth studio album. This is also the first interview with this band in metal-rules so I included questions regarding their early career as well as questions concerning the new album etc.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Marcus at Gain for all the help with the interview.
Promo pics provided by: Gain and taken by Emma Svensson.
Live pics taken from Anders Sandvall’s own archives.
Hi Jocke, well this is your first interview with metal-rules.com so would you please like to tell the readers who you guys are, where you started out and some background info about the band?
The band was formed back in 1997 in Gothenburg, Sweden and we have just released our fourth album. The band members are Adde (drums), Thomas Silver (guitar), Martin Sandvik (bass) and me Jocke Berg (vocals).
You have been in the business for some years now, what do you think of your career so far, are you pleased with what you have achieved throughout the years?
Yeah, I’m very pleased. It’s hard work being in a rock band, even more if you are in a successful band. The hard thing is to be on the road all the time. But you have to love it!
What do you think of your debut album BAD SNEAKERS AND PINA COLADA from 2000 if you look back on it today?
It’s a really good album, great debut album. The album contains the hits Someone special and Liberation. Those songs really took us to the top from no were.
What did the media think of that album and did you tour a lot on the debut?
The media for some reason don’t like it when a hard rock band gets commercial hits right away. The fans loved it but we had some hard time to convince some media people.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Hardcore Superstar plays?
It’s hard rock with melodic influences from the 80s. Strong melodies with a “big sound”.
What’s the reason behind you ending up in band in the glam/sleaze genre?
That’s what we all grew up with. We where all teenager in the 80s and that’s the period in your life when you are open for new stuff. It was so natural to start a hard rock band in that genre.
I know you have been support to a bunch of the greatest acts around today, would you tell the readers which ones?
Motörhead and AC/DC. We played stadiums in Sweden and Italy with AC/DC in front off over 50 000 people.
I’d say that you are one of the most respected acts in your genre in Sweden today how does that feel and what do you think of the newer glam/sleaze acts that are coming up today like Gemini5 and Crashdiet?
It’s great with all new bands in the genre. You have to realize that the teenagers today were too young to remember the glam scene back in the 80s. The more successful glam/sleaze bands the better for the genre overall. Now days even MTV plays hard rock. That wouldn’t happen a few years ago.
What do you think is the reason behind so many young new glam/sleaze acts are up-and coming at the moment?
That’s because bands like us grew up with it and the teenagers that were to young when it happened missed it. If you look at the music scene in general it goes into 15-20 years recycle.
Is there any common favorite artist/band that the members in HCSS looks up to or are inspired by?
We are influenced by so many different bands. Mötley Crüe, Guns n’ roses, Kiss, is just a few of them.
Do you have any particular lead vocalist that have inspired you in any way?
No, not any one special to be honest. There’s so many great rock singers.
Where in Sweden do you guys live today? Are you still living in Gothenburg?
Some of us live just outside Gothenburg and some of us lives in Gothenburg.
Who writes the main material in the band?
We write the all the songs together as a band.
Your second album THANK YOU (FOR LETTING US BE OURSELVES) was, in my opinion, a bit more polished and maybe a bit overproduced, was it a conscious move to make the album more “available” for the masses?
No it was more a reaction to Bad sneakers…Bad sneakers had a more “raw” sound and we wanted to develop our studio sound a little bit more. If I look back now you might be right, the sound is very polished but it was never our intentions to produce an album for the “masses”.
After that came NO REGRETS in 2003 an album I think was sadly underestimated because you had some really great songs on that album, how did that album go?
It did pretty well. The album had the hits “Honey tongue” and “Still I’m glad”. The problem was that our record label Music For Nation was canceled so there’s was no one working with the release at the time.
Before this new album you were signed to Music For Nations but your no longer with them, why?
As I said, the label does not longer exist. We are now singed to the Swedish label Gain.
Shortly after NO REGRETS were out the newspaper wrote that you all weren’t friends anymore, that you had lost your record deal, fought with journalists and that the band were put to rest, what’s your comment to all that? Is there any truth in it?
We had been touring for the last five years with out any break. After the US tour and the fight between Silver and the Swedish journalist Fredrik Virtanen we just said to each other that we needed a time away from each other. It became very big news in Sweden and media started to talk about drogs and splitting up. But that was never the intention. We just needed a break.
But let’s now talk about your new album HARDCORE SUPERSTAR, how long did it take to write the album?
About a year and a half. We started right after our break.
When and where was it recorded and who has written the music/lyrics?
We built a studio in an old farm just outside Gothenburg. It was great. We work with the song for over a year and the recording process was during the summer of 2005. The music and the lyrics are really written by all of us. The new thing for this record was that our two closes guy on our record label Markus Tagaris and Magnus Lundback was involved in arranging the songs.
You did an excellent choice of releasing “Wild Boys” as the first single, was it a given choice to make that song a single but why isn’t there any bonus material as track number two?
Well don’t you think that the “pre production take” is a bonus material? We always loved when the bands back in the 80s-90s put their demo versions on the singles.
You did the same thing on single number two, WE DON’T CELEBRATE SUNDAYS, how come? Are you going to release those singles outside Scandinavia?
We won’t release any singles in Europe. The singles are just for the radio to “push” the right song.
Have you done any videos to those singles?
We have videos for both Wild boys and We don’t celebrate Sundays. A third video for the next single My good reputation is coming up.
Why did you name the album after the band?
It felt like a “fresh new start” and we think that the title represent that. Just like it was our first record!
Who has done the cover art-work and what do you think of it?
It’s an idea that Adde came up with and it was the put together by the AD Jani Peteri who added the name in the same “metal style”
Is there any plans on releasing other singles?
It’s a new single coming up in Sweden in March, My good reputation.
The album was produced by bandmembers Adde and Martin together with Johan Reivén, how was it to be produced by two of the members? What’s the difference between being produced by a hired producer and bandmembers?
This time we new exactly what kind of sound we wanted. It was no meaning to get another person involved. Adde and Martin news a lot about sound recording. I just personally want to sing.
Who’s done the mixing/mastering?
It was mixed by Risza and Johan Reivén. Mastered by Dragan Tanaskovic. Johan was the drummer in the Swedish band LOK.
The album have been released a bit earlier here in Scandinavia, how has the media greeted the album?
We have got the best reviews ever…Martin Carlsson from Expressen ( A Swedish daily newspaper) gave it 5/5 and called it “a timeless masterpiece”!
We are also Grammy nominated as the best hard rock in 2005.
Do you have any idea when the album is going to be released in the rest of the world?
It’s already released in Sweden and Japan. The rest of Europe will be in April. Theirs is no release date set for USA at this moment but it will come.
Do you have any favorite track(s) on the album? If so which one(s)?
Bag on your head. I love that song.
Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?
I have to say Sweden, Japan and Italy.
Are you going to head out on tour soon?
We have been touring in Sweden since October and we will go to Japan in March. We are planning to do some festivals in Europe this summer and later on a full European tour.
How is the co-operation between you and your new label, do you think they have done a good job with the promotion etc?
The have made the best job ever. I would say that they have made the best hard rock release in Sweden in 2005. It a small label but they have shown everybody that they can do a better job than all the majors.
When I listen to your new album I think you have gone back to your original sound (the way you sounded on your debut album), what do you think?
It’s more “hard rock” then ever. I don’t think that any of our old albums sound like this but Bad Sneaker are maybe the closest.
Give me three good reasons to buy your album..
Great songs with a fantastic sound and you can hear that all the guys in the band are great musicians. I have to be honest…the new album is fantastic.
What are the plans for 2006 for HCSS?
We will be touring the whole year all around the world and start writing some new songs for the next album.
Thanks a lot for answering my questions, is there anything you would like to say to the readers and fans out there?
I really look forward to see you all out there on this tour. If it wasn’t for all our fans we haven’ been were we are today!
Read the review on the CD NO REGRETS here
For the review of the new CD you have to go to the “Lets get rocked section”