Once again here comes an interview/update with Jacob Samuel, singer in the Swedish melodic rock/hardrock act The Poodles. This e-mail interview was made when the band was in the process of entering the Swedish outtake to the Eurovision Song Contest here in Sweden. For a closer and more in-depth interview with Mr. Samuel check out the first interview in the metal-rules archives.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Frida Rydman at Lionheart International AB for setting up this interview
Promo pictures are from the bands website
Live pictures taken from Anders Sandvalls archives
Hi Jacob, it’s fun to once again talk to you again. It was a while since last time and many things have happened since then. Are you ready to dig into some question?
Hi there, you bet!
Let’s begin to talk about your new album SWEET TRADE that came out late last year. You have been a part of the writing process on almost every song on the album, what are the lyrics about and do what’s the main difference between that album and your debut one?
Very various topics for example Flesh & blood is about a breaking up of a untrue relation, Seven seas about standing your ground and believing in yourself.
How does it work when you write together with other people like Jonas Reingold and Matti Alfonzetti? Who does what?
We have no special way to do it sometimes I have a idea of a song with cords and melody and sometimes they have something that I put lyrics and melody to or only lyrics. Then usually we arrange it together.
Why did you call the album SWEET TRADE?
It’s a nickname for pirate activities, I was struck by the similarities of the life we live and the romantic mind frame of what pirate life could be like traveling from town to town. Accept we don’t kill people and steel their belongings.
The first single released from the album was “Seven Seas” where Peter Stormare featured, was the single a success?
Yes, it sold gold.
How did Stormare end up on the album and what do you think of his effort?
Well we just love that man, great cooperation, he’s did a great job on the song, he’s got the rock & roll authority for real.
In my bio you say that the music on the new disc is straight on heavy metal music with not fuss, what do you mean by that?
I mean that it’s a straight on heavy metal music with no fuss.
How would you like to describe what kind of music you play on the new album? I think you still play a mix of melodic rock and melodic hardrock am I totally wrong?
I think that it’s a straight on heavy metal music with no fuss.
Do you feel that the band have developed in any way in between the albums, if so in what way?
Yes I think a lot of development has been made, first of all we did like 200 gigs between the albums and with that a lot happens with a band we found a good form and new flavors and attitude to the music we play. Secondly I wrote like 35 songs for the new album and with that we got a lot to pic from to have the best possible album. The repertoire has gained range.
Johan Lyander and Matti Alfonzetti has once again produced the album, how come you worked with those producers again and what make them special to work with, what are their strengths do you think?
They have a great way to bring out the best of the band and songs, give it a modern touch yet keep some kind of traditional hard rock sound that find very attractive.
Are there any thoughts to maybe try someone else to produce you guys or are you gonna stick to the same producers team on the next album as well do you think?
No I think we will move on, we’ve done the Raise the banner & Line of fire with a great new talent, Mats Berntoft, who is a genius in my opinion, I hope to work with him on the next album.
You have a long row of well known names that appears on your album like Göran Edman, Mats Levén, Jonas Reingold and Matti Alfonzetti, do you know all them from earlier?
We have the luxury of knowing and worked in the past with these very talented people. We will continue to include a lot of the great forces surrounding us in the Poodles working situation to have a lot of fresh blood in the creative process.
You haven’t featured any cover song on this album, why?
We thought that we had so many great original songs but maybe on the next album for the fun of it.
Which album are you most satisfied and proud of, the new one or the debut?
Sweet Trade but we love Metal will stand tall too, I think that’s inevitable that you like your last words the most.
How long did it take to write and record SWEET TRADE?
The writing process is constantly cocking and we toured a lot during the recording sessions so around 7 months we were in studio back and forth.
Did you exclude many tracks in the final cut?
Loads of them, it was a world championship of Killing your darlings.
What’s the thought behind the cover art-work and who has done it?
Anders Fästader is the man we worked with, at first sight it looks simple but if you look closer it’s very sublime artwork. I think it looks like a classic 70s Queen album, and the thought was that it should be easy to find in the record store but on reissue of the album it’s a new cover with band picture and fire and stuff, pretty cool actually.
Just when you were about to release SWEET TRADE you also released a new single called “Streets of Fire”, what’s the selling points for that single, was it a success like the first single from the new album?
It broke all limits and went double platinum.
Is SWEET TRADE gonna be released world wide and in which territories is it released in today?
Whole of Europe, Japan, Russia and Israel, but we are constantly trying to gain new territories.
Almost right after the album was released you went out on a European tour as support to Gotthard, how was that and did the tour go well?
Yeah, we love Gotthard, great band with great songs. That was a fabulous tour and fantastic audience, we really gained speed on that tour and we would have loved to do the whole European tour with them but our schedule back in Sweden didn’t allow it. I think that opened a lot for our first headline tour that we now are doing in April.
What’s the difference between Swedish fans and European fans, if there are any?
You know we are a mainstream media band back home so that makes a that means you can build a very big crowd in a shorter time. Sweden we have an audience of three generations it’s pretty amazing to have kids, their parents and grandparents on the same gig. But we are gaining a fantastic crowd in Europe as well.
I guess it would be like doing The Letterman show in the states instead of touring three years.
You ended 2007 with more touring in Sweden, how was that?
It was great, we felt that we missed Sweden a little bit last year since we toured so much in the rest of Europe but this year we will do both.
Do you have any special show from the last year that you remember especially?
The Sweden shows with the mighty Hammerfall was very memorable and I would say the Munich show with Gotthard was magic.
Are you gonna tour more during 2008?
Well we start with our first European head line tour in April then we going tour in Sweden from June to August we also do some summer festivals in Europe check our tour schedule on www.poodles.se
Have the urge for The Poodles increased do you think?
We’ve been going for two and a half year now and every territory is still increasing so we see a very bright future for our kind of music and I think we only seen the start of this kind of music growing
Are you big enough to go out as a headline act in Europe?
Let’s find out. Ask me in May.
You’re still signed to Lionheart, are you satisfied with the work and promotion the label have put into the new album?
Yes its working fine.
Do you have any favorite artist/band that you like to work with and maybe be performing with on the next album?
I would like to do a duet with Isabella Scorupco. (A Swedish model and actress).
How would you like to describe a typical fan of The Poodles?
All ages, all sorts, both sex.
Has the band any plans on conquering the US market any time soon?
Absolutely, through Peter Stormare who is anticipating on the album we are discussing when and how but we hope to be ready and have a n opening early next year.
It has gone great for The Poodles in Sweden but how is your career moving in the rest of the Scandinavian countries?
We been very busy in Sweden and mid Europe so far but we are now negotiating with new labels in these countries and plan to tour in these territories too.
You once again entered the Swedish Eurovision song contest this time with the artist E-Type, why did you decide to enter for the second time?
E-type is an old friend and fan of our craftsmanship and we to his, we many times talked about writing something together and It’s been a thrill and a pleasure to anticipate and we are very proud to one of the acts who brought hardrock/metal into the contest. Its 4.5 million viewers in Sweden so it’s good window to be in if you got something good to show.
In which country, besides Sweden, have you album’s sold the most copies?
What I know of, Germany and Spain.
I think it’s great that you after the shows go out in the audience to meet the people and your fans, not many artists do that nowadays. What is the most common question you get by the fans?
How do you hit them high notes, are you single?
Here in Sweden it can be a bit cheesy to be a hardrocker and liking The Poodles, what do you want to say to the doubters out there?
Don’t worry, be happy!
You have been nominated in the best glam/sleaze act genre at the Swedish Metal awards 2008, what do you think of that nomination?
A bit surprising but then again it’s all in the eye of the beholder. You get the feeling that they don’t know our music, but it’s really no problem.
Are there any plans on doing a live DVD at the moment, I think many fans would appreciate a live DVD?
Yes I think we will have something ready by the end of the year we are planning a release by next year.
Was 2007 a good year for The Poodles?
Fantastic, especially thinking of that we gained so much ground in Europe which was the plan and what we hoped for 2007.
What are your plans for 2008 besides winning the ESC of course?
To do a great tour and start the work on the best third album ever made!
Do you have any words of wisdom for the readers and fans?
Be strong, be good, be happy, and see you on tour soon I hope! All the best..
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions despite your busy schedule.
Read about The Poodles CD’s in the LGR section
More info about the band