Here is an interview with a bright new all female hardrock band from Sweden called Crucified Barbara that released their debut album IN DISTORTION WE TRUST earlier this year. I had a chat with the vocalist and guitarist Mia Coldheart and here is what she had to say.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Promo pictures taken by: Micke Eriksson and
Promo pictures were provided by GMR Music grup
Hi, Mia, would you start off with telling us some background info about Crucified Barbara like when you started, how old you are etc.?
CB was formed in ?98. In 2001 we signed with the publishing label Warner/Chapel Scandinavia. And in 2004 we signed our first record deal, with GMR music group. During the years we?ve been doing what every band does; playing live, rehearsing, recording demos and also we have had a few beers. The members are all born between -80 – -83.
Have you always had the same line up or have you gone through any member changes?
Yes we?ve done some changes. There was another vocalist before and I started to sing instead just some months before we got the record deal. She had been in the band since ?98 too (If I remember it correct..) I joined the band in 2001 as a lead guitar player, and started to sing in the late 2003.
Where in Sweden do you live?
We all live in different places in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.
Have the members played with any known bands before CB?
Why have you chosed to have artist names?
It was a stormy night in the year of 2001. We all got together under the dark clouds to make our own band-jackets. There was a big logo on the back and then we wanted to have a name sign on the chest. It didn?t look cool at all with our ?real? names so we just made it up. The whole thing with Crucified Barbara is that it?s something different from the real world and we think it?s more fun with artist names. And the fact that some people find it provocative is even more fun.
Have you done a lot of shows before the album was released?
Yes we have always been playing a lot. Club- and festival gigs, all over Sweden but mostly in the south part, for some reason. We?ve always been open minded and always checked for new opportunities to play. Often, one gig leads to another in the same area. During the years we?ve had a lot of fun and weird tour-experiences. Once we slept in a barn with broken walls, -but I hope that won?t happen again. Once we played at a very nice glamorous party with a lot of stylish people. One of the guys forgot about his nice suit and stage dived in the wrong direction ?towards us! So he fell down right next to Klara and almost broke his back. Then everything got dark since he had fallen on the electricity-stuff and also Klara?s pedals. I didn?t notice so I just kept on singing in the dark, but Klara was really scared since she thought the guy was dead.
Earlier this year your debut album IN DISTORTION WE TRUST came, what kind of respond have you got from the media on the album?
We?ve got good response from the media. Our videos are showed on TV in several countries; the singles has been played a lot on the major radio stations in Sweden and also found its way in other countries too. We?ve done some cool TV shows, and a lot of press (radio- and magazine interviews). The major part of the reviews of the album and single has been very good but of course not everyone. It depends from country to country as well. I find it very depressing that so many respected critics don?t have more common sense than to write a full review only about the bands looks and image. It?s a lot of shit talk about how we look and that we should be a commercial product but that?s nothing but Bullshit Goddammit, as American Dog would have said it. Our label has done a great job I think, we?ve got a lot of space in the media, and the interest for our band seems to increase all the time.
How long did it take to write the album?
Some of the riffs and ideas have been around for years. We didn?t want to throw away good songs just because they?re old. So those who have our old shitty demos might recognize some notes! About half of the songs are ?brand new? written in 2003-2004.
How does it work when you write the material, who does what?
I write most of the lyrics. We write the songs together and it?s always in the name of total chaos. We start up with some cool riffs in the rehearsal place. We come up with our best work of art when we?re tired to death and have no ideas left, just riffing for fun. It?s not the ultimate way to create music and it takes a lot of time, but obviously it works, somehow. But I think we?re more professional now than we were some years ago, we?ve learned a lot on the way and I know that the next album (also) will be a killer.
Why did you chose to call the band Crucified Barbara? Is there any reason or was that just a good name?
There?s an old story about when some of the members were at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark in ?98, and saw a guy carrying around a crucified blow-up doll (Barbara is the name of blow up dolls in Sweden). So they decided to write a song about that ?for some reason, but then it ended up to be the name of the band instead. In the early days the name had a deeper meaning which I can?t reproduce since I wasn?t in the band at the time. Now it?s more just a name. To crucify someone is a terrible act and there?s a lot of madness in it. I can?t name anyone I?d like to see nailed to a cross but there are people who deserve to be, so I guess Barbara is the gathered name for all those people.
Are the album going to be released worldwide? Do you have any dates when it?s coming out in America or Asia?
Yes our plan is to conquer the whole world, but we have to take it step by step, just like New Kids On The Block. During this spring, the album is released all over Europe and we?ve got plans for the US as well but I can?t reveal anything yet. We?ll spread the news worldwide when it?s time!
Why did you chose to call the album IN DISTORTION WE TRUST?
It?s from one of the album tracks. That track is a good presentation of the band I think, except from that screaming crap thing.. a bit out of date! Anyway, since I?m the one doing this interview I will speak for myself on this one? And for me, the sound of a heavy distorted guitar is sometimes the only cure when life is shitty! The album name is mostly about gain levels but also distorted minds.
All of us have different associations to the album name, but for sure Crucified Barbara wouldn?t be the same without distorted guitars.. And life wouldn?t be the same!
How long did it take to record the album? And why did you chose to record it in Pama Studios?
We got in contact with Pama Studios since our publisher Warner/Chapel Scandinavia has successfully cooperated with them with many of W/C?s other artists. It?s a great studio, and the guys we worked with are awesome. We started out with a short demo recording in the fall of 2003, and when it was time to record the whole album there weren?t any discussions. And they were really interested in working with us as well and have done a great job with us also with promotion.
We started to record in March 2004 and finished in June the same year. Viewed on the whole, we spend about 4-5 weeks in the studio including mix. The studio was situated in a small, very beautiful and peaceful place called Kristianopel, in the south of Sweden. It takes 6 hours of driving from Stockholm (if you drive like a slug like me) and we spend a lot of time on the road since we recorded one week at the time. (Thanks to the band Mustasch for doing one of the best albums to listen to on the road!!!)
How was it to work with the producer Mankan Sedenberg?
First of all, we can?t thank him enough for everything he?s done for Crucified Barbara. It was a great experience to work with a producer, and to record in a professional studio. We started out with some re-arrangements of the songs and listened to all of his ideas with our material. Mankan is very professional in many ways. He?s a f****g genius and plays the guitar very well, and he?s also a great person. I developed my guitar playing a lot during the recording process, since he gave me a lot of tips, and learned me the ?fire-playing? (he?s probably gonna laugh if he reads this :-). He inspired all of us to be better musicians I think. I freaked out sometimes in the studio due to stress and other weird psycho conditions that may occur when you?re locked in to a big brother house like that studio.. but he was always cool and even when it was chaos he somehow had it ?and us- under control. So, to work with Mankan Sedenberg was a good experience and a pure pleasure!
The band are also listed as producer along with Mankan, how was it to produce the album?
It was cool. I mean, we haven?t done this before so we didn?t know much about the process. But it would have been impossible for us to work with a producer who decides everything for us, cause then we could just be A-teens or what ever. It?s our songs and our album, so for us it was important to be a part of the producing as well. We learned a lot! For the next album it might work different, and we?ll be more relaxed with working with other people during the process.
Are there any plans on working with Mankan in the future?
Hopefully we?ll spend some more time together in the studio.
Are you happy with the cover artwork? What was the thought behind that?
Yes we?re happy with the artwork. It didn?t end up exactly as the original idea, but we like it anyway. It?s like a glamorous car crash, and there is an idiot standing in the front screaming. She?s probably very hungry.
Are the lyrics about anything in particular?
As I use to say, we don?t play music to make a statement or deliver political messages. We?re just in it for the music. The music and this life style, inspires a lot, and for me that?s the most fun -and honest way to be creative. I write when I get inspiration, and a lot of that comes from the life we all live right now; touring, feeling lonely, having a good time with your friends, guys you meet on the road, guys from the past and guys you wish you could meet, good beer and bad hangovers? There is some humor in it (sometimes internal) and of course a lot of head bangin? rock clich?s, but that?s also with a twinkle in the eye.
Right now I?m a mess so I think I have to start a boy-band sounding solo-project so I don?t dirty all the news CB songs with unhappy love stories. Especially since people have praised the fact that we don?t write about stuff like that?
Are you happy with the album or do you feel that you should have done anything different now that you look back on it?
Yes we?re very satisfied with the album. Of course there are things that we think could have been done in another way but hey, it is our first one, and it was difficult to know how we wanted it to sound. Now we know more what we want and have things to compare with. I think that will be the work on the next album easier in one way.
Do you think it?s harder to break through as an all female hardrock band compared to being an all male band?
We don?t know really since we?ve never been a male band, but for sure people are more jealous and have a lot of prejudices when it comes to female rock musicians. But we don?t really care, the only time we think about it is when journalists asks us.
Were there a lot of labels that was interested of signing you?
There has been some during the years but it hasn?t been right, either for them or for us.
Why did you end up at GMR Music Group, what makes them so special? Where are GMR located? Do you think that GMR have done a good job with promoting the album?
GMR is a small independent label located in Stockholm. We have good contact and can meet them whenever it?s needed since we live in the same town. Since we?re a ?new? band, we also wanted a small label instead of a big dragon to begin with. With GMR we?re in control of what we want to control, we take decisions together and they don?t want to change us in any directions. And they?ve done a great job for us and support us whenever we need it. We?re very aware of that there are people who see big money in us if we could be a bit more commercial, and would like to make a product of us. So we?re careful with whom we choose to work with. We won?t sell us for success; we?re working hard to reach the top.
-You?ll get more muscles from walking step by step instead of taking the elevator?
CB are booked for a lot of festival gigs this summer, you are going to play at Sweden Rock Festival, how does it feel to be playing there?
We can?t believe it?s true and I guess we won?t believe it until we?re on stage. It?s a dream coming true as you might understand. Great festival! And it?s an amazingly good line-up this year. Right after Sweden Rock, we?re flying over to the U.K. to play at the Download Festival. That?s even more insane I think, so that weekend is going to be a blast for sure!!!
Do you have any idea on when we can find the next album with CB out in the stores?
Maybe in the fall of 2006? Just a guess..
What do you think of stage presence, I?ve seen you play live twice and I think you look a little shy on stage, am I totally mistaking me here?
Well we?re not shy. But you can always improve to get the stage performance even better. Then for me it?s a big different between playing in front of 500 people staring at you, waiting for the headlining act, or playing for 100 people who?s headbanging with you and know all the lyrics.. I know that the first time you saw us were at our first gig at the Pain tour and then we?re all a bit nervous so I can agree of that we might looked a bit shy? But the second time I remember that YOU were really drunk so are you sure of what you?ve seen? J ?cause that gig was great for us! For me in person, I have had major problems on stage ?cause I always slur and start to talk a lot of bullshit that no one understands between the songs, but I?m working on it.
You have been out on the road as a support act to Pain this winter/spring, How were you greeted by the fans and how was it to play with Pain? Peter T?gtgren is a legend within the metal scene I mean.
We had a great time. Peter, the band and his crew were really nice to us and we had a lot of fun! The mix CB + Pain was a cool mix. A lot of the Pain fans were very skeptic about us and came just to ?check it out?, but went back home with our T-shirt and record, so we gained a lot of new fans and friends on the tour.
Your first single ?Losing the game? went really well and got a lot of playing time on the music channel here in Sweden, have it climb any charts outside Sweden? And when are your second single gonna come and what?s it called?
Not on any charts as I know, but the video for it has been on the play list for example at Scuzz TV in the UK and Viva in Germany. And a lot of radio stations all over Europe have played it.
The 2nd single ?Rock?n?Roll Bachelor? was released May 25 as a one track radio/promo single.
It?s already on the Swedish radio P3?s playlist as well as Bandit Radio 106.3. There were no budget to make a video this time and we felt really sorry for that. BUT a guy we know, has got a lot of clips from old shows and a lot of backstage shots so he just sat down and made a video himself. And it?s a really funny one, I think. And from what I heard today, it will soon be on TV.
Have you got any figures on how much the debut album have sold so far?
No? but the label says that they?re satisfied with the sales. And it continues to sell all the time so that?s good!
How would you describe what kind of music you play?
Heavy metal/ punk rock?n?roll.
Have you got any particular role models or idols that you look up to or give you inspiration?
When I was younger I got my inspiration from records and my favorite bands. Right now I don?t have any particular role model. But I get a lot of inspiration when I see good musicians and bands live.
You both sing and play guitar, isn?t it hard to focus on doing both things?
I still consider myself as a guitar player, but I guess I?m the Singer to most of you. It was hard in the beginning, but now I don?t think of it. Of course I can?t play with the same precision when I sing at the same time, but I think I?m doing OK. When it comes to practicing, I can?t give my guitar as much attention as I used to before I started to sing, but it?s a compromise that I?ve choose to do.
Do you have any idols within the guitar scene that you look up to?
Do you receive a lot of e-mails and stuff from fans?
Yes we get a lot of fan mails. It?s really fun to read and have conversations with the fans and make new friends. We prior our fans very high of course and do our best to answer e-mails and requests.
How does the audience look when you go on stage, is it mostly men or women that comes to your show?
There are mostly men, but a lot of women too.
Because of the fact that it isn?t so many women that plays harder music is it many guys that comes up to you after the shows?
It uses to be a lot of people who wants to have a chat with us after the shows, but I don?t think it?s because of the fact you mention. I guess ? hope ? that people work the same as I do. When I see a band I really like for some reason, I want to tell them.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Crucified Barbara loves you; hope to see ya all on tour!!! And drink a lot of beer so you STAY HEAVY!
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thanks to you Anders
Read the review of their debut CD
More info about the band