Interview With Merrygold
Interview and Pictures By Anders Sandvall
Here is an interview with Merrygold singer Selma and bandleader/guitarist Per, about
their band and what the future looks like for the band.
Would you like to tell us a bit about the band?
PER: We are a five piece band, two guitars, no keyboards, female singer up front. And of course:
We rock like hell. Here are the members:
Selma: Lead vocals
Staffan: Lead guitar & backing vocals
Per: Rythm guitar & backing vocals
Bollack: Bass guitar & backing vocals
Was it hard to find members for the band?
SELMA: No, I donīt think so. Per came in contact with Staffan who recommended me and
PER: Yeah, that happened just before Christmas 2000. I already had contact with a
drummer and then Staffan got hold of a bass player. The first rehearsal was held January
the 5th 2001. Since then we have had only one major change, and that was when we lost the
bass player and the drummer, almost at the same time. It was at that point in time that
Adde and Bollack joined the band.
What has happened since you did you first live gig last year?
SELMA: Per came in contact with EMI Publishing in Denmark and they signed us, which was
a big thing for Merrygold.
PER: Yes, well, we actually got signed the very same week that we had our first live
gig. But to fully understand the major changes within the band that has happened during
the last year, you have to keep in mind that the first line up was not at all about
forming a touring band but to record a bunch of songs that I had written. As the rehearsal
work progressed we realized that there was more into this than just recording songs like
some studio musicians. And so the next step, and the natural test of us as a working unit,
was of course to step out on a live stage. Doing so, we understood that the band was
actually going to work, and that, if we put all our eggs in one basket, there could even
be success heading our way. Since that first gig, what has happened is that we have
scrutinized everything weve done, both on stage as well as in the rehearsal studio.
Weve been working really hard, trying to mould us together, being one phenomenon,
delivering one experience, finding a unifying sound.
Why have you chosen to call the band Merrygold? Does it mean anything?
SELMA: Per came up with the idea, and we liked it. Merrygold sounds good to pronounce.
PER: Yes, I came across the word, though differently spelled. It had a nice ring to it
so I suggested it to the other members. And yes, it has a hidden meaning.
Personally I think that your music sounds much harder live than on the record I have
heard. Live your music sounds much more like melodic hard rock compared to the record
where it sounds like its influences by melodic hard rock with the foundation in
harder rock, what is you comment on that?
PER: Dont know what to say. Thats your impression, I guess.
What do the other members in the band think about having you (Per)
write all the
SELMA: Im glad that Per has the enormous gift of writing so good music, so I
leave that responsibility to him with all my heart...
PER: I dont know. Let the pot maker make pots, let the carpenter be a carpenter.
For instance, I dont try to take the place of Selma. Or any other member in the band
for that reason. And further; Im not like some tyrant. We always arrange the songs
together. Its a joint venture. We make alterations in the basic form, speeding
things up (usually), cutting things not needed, shortening or extending the form;
sometimes even changing the order of things. And both Staffan and Bollack, and even Adde,
comes up with things that make up for good co-writing. Hopefully we can get that good
balance in the future where we can take hold of everyones creative potential to the
max and yet still be able to keep that unifying sound of Merrygold.
Where do you find inspiration to your music? Are the lyrics about anything special?
If so what?
PER: Im not very political. Im a humanitarian. Im not sociological.
Im psychological. I also like extreme situations. Situations that dare you.
Especially the situations that makes you grow within if you learn to master them. My
lyrics are many times made up as a conversation. Its mostly about relations to other
people. Music is an emotional art form, and being anything but emotional feels silly for
me. OK, I like Rage Against The Machine, and I like the Punk movement for its strong
political leanings, but it doesnt work for me. Actually Ive been there.
Politics doesnt interest me that much anymore, though.
What do you listen to at home? Do you have any influences when it comes to
PER: I listen to everything but country. I think I have one country record at home.
This is also strange: when I played in a hard core punk band, I very much listened to
classical music and Beatles (of course I listened to Punk rock as well), and when I was
into my progressive rock phase I listened to folk music and Hungarian gypsy music. I
always seem to track up things to listen to that is very remote from what Im
presently doing. Influences in song writing? Well, anything that is authentic. Anything
that is for real. And I also like aggressive things. Its like you swallow your
pride, or your shortcomings, and you swallow and swallow, and then suddenly BANG. It all
spills out. That kind of aggression. Iggy Pop has it. Sex Pistols has it. Nirvana has it.
But then of course that aggression has to be tempered. Just listen to Led Zeppelin, Deep
Purple or Hendrix. You follow me? Like for instance Beethoven, when composing by his piano
forte he got too exited, to carried away; he simply went over to a bucket of cold water
which he always kept in his chamber and dipped his head and his hands in it. To temper
himself, to stay cool.
How did you end up on the record company EMI?
PER: Were not on the record company part. Were on the publishing part,
still negotiating. Its been a quite complex ride, you know.
How would you describe what kind of music Merrygold plays?
PER: The best music around. No, but seriously: White transatlantic hard melodic rock.
Have you got enough material for a debut album?
SELMA: We are loaded with Merrygold material.
PER: Yes, weve got plenty more than can be fitted on an album.
How does it work to be a female singer in an all-male band?
SELMA: Oh, I love it! They respect me and I respect them of course.
Is there a big difference between working with just females, as you did in Starz,
than to work with just guys?
SELMA: There is a slight difference between male and female. In general the atmosphere
and the attitude is better between men. Women are... well, known as complaining bitches...
On some of the songs I think that you can sound a bit un-inspired, how do you
comment on that?
Do you have any female singer role models that you look up to?
SELMA: Louise Hoffsten, Tori Amos, Aretha Franklin....
How does it feel to be the face-out to the media?
SELMA: Im proud to sing in merrygold, thereby Im so very proud to show
myself to media.
What are the rest of the plans for 2003?
SELMA: More gigs, more fans, more Merrygold!
Is there any more gigs planned for the rest of the year?
PER: No, nothing planned, but of course we will find some good places to play at.
Have you chosen studio or producer yet?
PER: We have a producer. Maybe, if were lucky, we have even found the studio.
When is the debut going to be released?
SELMA: As soon as possible...
PER: Dead right.
Is there any plans on doing a real tour when the debut is out?
SELMA: Of course.
Is there any plans on launch Merrygold outside Scandinavia?
PER: The world is quite small nowadays, and I dont think that any record company
with acts of international importance would glue themselves to home base, so of course
Merrygold will find its way internationally.
What does the future look like for Merrygold?
SELMA: Hopefully good!
PER: Cant be anything but good, you mean.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of Metal-rules.com?
SELMA: Keep on Rocking boys and girls, cause I will!
PER: A cool site. Keep on rockin. Join the Merrygold parade. Check out our
listen to some of our music.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
SELMA: Thanks and rock on....
Band Website: www.merrygold.org