Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Henrik Karlsson at Sound Pollution. Thanks to Leon Music for the promo pictures of the band taken by: Henrik Hedlund from Chaos Media and Helena Backman
Mama Kin is a hot new act from Sweden that recently released their debut album IN THE CITY. Ward, the lead singer and guitarist, took the time off from his jammed schedule to make this interview possible. Mama Kin is definitely worth checking out if you are into sleaze/hardrock music. These guys are a force to be reckoned with.
Lets start by talking about your brilliant debut album IN THE CITY. How long did it take to write and record the album?
I’d say about a year. We went through all the stuff we had done since day one which was quite a process. Then, half way through the sessions we decided to record everything live instead of one instrument at a time, so we had to start over.
Good thing we did though, because it sounds fantastic!
Who writes the material in the band and what are the lyrics about?
I usually write most of the material but we work differently on each song. Sometimes I have a few ideas that we all put together and sometimes we all have ideas that we sort of jam out together into one song. Superman, for example, was a chorus that we jammed out together when we were shit-faced at two a clock in the morning, then I went home and finished it up.
Were there many tracks that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
We’ve been playing since -01 so of course there was a lot of tracks that didn’t made the cut.
You have released two singles called “Superman” and “In The City”, what has the respond been on those singles?
The first single, "Superman" was released as a physical single with an A-side and a B-side which isn’t available on the album. It made the Swedish single chart and peaked at #26, which we’re all really happy with.
The second single, "In The City" was released as a digital single so I’m not quite sure on that one, but we’ve had a lot of positive feedback on our MySpace, Facebook and website.
You also shot two videos to those songs, what can you tell us about the videos?
We shot both of them in Stockholm and we had a blast doing them! The "Superman" video was a smaller production with a few dancers in an abandoned warehouse and the "In The City" video was more full scale with make-up, hair, extras, actors, models and all that stuff. A lot of girls.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Mama Kin plays?
We’ve been compared to everything from Guns N Roses, KISS and Def Leppard to RATT, The Cult and Thin Lizzy. People seem to find whatever they want to in our music, which I think is great. People can call us what us what they want, we call it ROCK.
Are the singles avaliable out in stores? And do you have plans on releasing any more singles from the new album?
Yes they are. If they don’t have ‘em in, you can ask the store to order them via Sound Pollution. We’re not planning on releasing another single right now anyway, but later on, who knows?
Where does the title IN THE CITY come from? Does the title have any special meaning to you in the band?
It was just something that fitted in to the melody at the time I was writing the song. We did a pre-recording of the track to show the record company and they went: – This is it! You have to name the album after this song!! So we did.
Who has done the cover art-work of the album? What do you think of the cover?
The guy who put the cover together is Henrik Hedlund and he’s first and foremost a photographer. He’s done the cover for the album and also the singles. Henrik has photographed a few live shows with us as well. We love the cover and we think it describes the music perfectly. Hot.
Have you read any reviews of IN THE CITY? What has the media to say about it?
The overall feedback has been fantastic! We got great reviews in Kerrang, Rock Hard and Classic Rock, which are very important magazines for us.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album or are there anything you’d like to have done in a different way now that you look back on it?
We wouldn’t want it any other way, trust me! It came out exactly the way we set out to do it. It also helped us to figure out in which direction we should take the next album.
Did any of the demo songs that you previously recorded end up on the final edition of the album?
Yeah, a few. "Champagne, Chicks & Rock N Roll" was the first song we ever wrote. It seemed fitting to wrap up the album with that one. "Higher & Higher" and "Superman" are two other tracks that previously got released on our demos.
You held a releaseparty for the album in both Stockholm and Karlstad, how was that? Was it fun parties?
Very fun! Both places where packed and it turned out to be great shows and massive parties. It felt great to finally have the album out after all the hard work and to feel the support from all our people out there.
Have you read any reviews of the album by foreign press? Are there any differences in the reviews written by Swedish and foreign press?
The media outside of Sweden have a much more relaxed approach towards rock music. They’re much more able to detect what we’re about.
You chose to work with producer Rikard Lofgren in his studio Leon Music Studio, how come you wanted to work with him?
One time, after several low budget recordings, we saved up enough money to record two songs in a real studio – Rikards studio. Later on he saw us live and approached us about producing our album since he liked our songs so much. We were really happy with the work he had done previously so we said yes.
What’s his strongest feature as producer?
You can easily hear it if you turn up the volume really loud or listen to the songs with headphones – he’s really good at bringing muscles and dick to the production. One other thing is that he’s produced everything from japanese children’s pop to death metal which gives him a lot of knowledge on how to work with different acts.
He has also mixed and mastered the album, did any of the band members take part in those processes?
No. He finished the mixes, then he brought them to us for evaluation. Then we would comment on a few things and he would change them. Nothing major, everything went really fast which is one of his other good qualities.
Do you think that you’re gonna continue working with Lofgren in the future?
In the bio it can be read “This album is like a great big kiss for everyone who miss the good old days when Paul, Gene, Ace and Mr Chriss where everything”. What does the statement mean?
That was something that Sound Pollution, our distributors, came up with. We’ve always had a bit of a KISS nerve to our music which they felt was something to do a little spin on.
That fits just fine with us, since we’re all agreeing on the fact that we’re the hottest band in the world.
Was it hard for the band to land a record deal?
Not so much to GET a record deal. It was hard to get a GOOD record deal. We’ve been approached by different labels in the past, but with bad deals. They all basically wanted us to give up the rights to our music, which we would never do.
You inked a deal with Leon Music, how come you signed on for them?
A record deal is useless unless you have good promotion and distribution. Leon Music provided us with both those things. They understood what we were trying to do and wasn’t afraid to spend money.
Leon Music is quite a small label, do you think that is a benefit for Mama Kin?
Absolutely. We’re in a position where we know we’re the main priority of the label and that they can’t fuck us over. Perfect.
For how many albums are you signed for at Leon Music?
I think it’s a 2+1 deal.
Is the album gonna be released world wide?
Hopefully. Right now it’s out in Europe but I think Leon is negotiating with a label in the US about a possible release over there as well. We’ll see, but of course we’re aiming for world domination.
Leon Music co-operates with both Sound Pollution as well as the booking management FTS, are you happy with the outcome of that collaboration?
Sound Pollution has been great this far. They’ve done a great job. As for FTS, their work starts now with keeping us booked throughout 2010. We’ve also started a cooperation with a US management called ATA which we’re really excited about.
When was Mama Kin founded and by who?
We started out as a three piece act in -01 – me, Edwin and Jon.
Has it been the same members since the beginning?
Has any of the members been involved in any other acts besides Mama Kin?
Elias joined in -05 which made the line-up complete. I played guitar in a rock band called Ben Dovers, Edwin and Elias played in a thrash metal band called HAVOC. Jon started playing when we started MAMA KIN.
Where does the band name come from?
We were all standing in line to this club on the night we got the idea to form the band. I suggested that we needed a band name that was easy to shout. I didn’t want people to have to cut down our name like fans have to with Iron Maiden: "MAI-DEN, MAI-DEN, MAI-DEN".
That’s why we’re called: "MA-MA KIN, MA-MA KIN"!
Did you do a lot of shows during the first years of the band?
Maybe 20-30 shows a year.
Was it given that you were gonna play this kind of music?
Hell yeah. The whole idea was to create the band that we wanted to find ourselves. We wanted to take the best parts of every rock band, mix it up and do a ultimate-mega-rippin’-rock’n’roll-cocktail. So we did.
Is the band inspired by any special artists or bands?
We’re inspired by rock from all the way back to the 50′s up ’til now. I could easily write you a list of 50 bands and artists that have inspired us in one way or another, but I’m too lazy. Our favourite bands to listen to though, would have to be KISS, RATT and Def Leppard.
You come from a town in Sweden called Karlstad, do you still live there?
Elias and Edwin are still living there. I’ve moved to Gothenburg and Jon has moved to Stockholm. But we still have our rehearsal space in Karlstad, so that’s where we team up.
How many demos have you guys recorded?
Maybe 5 or 6? I think it’s 6.
Have you done a lot of touring now that the albums been released?
Not yet. We’ve only done about eleven or twelve shows since the release. Tours are being planned right now actually, but we hope to get as much road time as possible in 2010.
You were support act to Deathstars twice, how was that and how was you treated by the Deathstars fans?
The Deathstars fans are great! There is clearly a difference between us musically, but for some reason it seems to work anyway.
You have two more shows booked so far are you gonna do more touring this year do you think?
Absolutely! A lot of stuff is on the rise but we can’t publish anything on our websites until it’s final.
When can we see Mama Kin out on a proper tour in Scandinavia or out in Europe?
Have you got any festival shows booked yet?
Nothing final, but as I said, things are on the move…
You have mostly played in Gothenburg, Karlstad and Stockholm, why not more in the rest of Sweden and Scandinavia?
Without help from a booker and with an album coming out it’s hard to focus on getting gigs when all you wanna do is play. We’ve been really busy lately, and that’s why we’ve concentrated on the cities in Sweden we’re we know our fan base is strong. Now we have a booker, so we can concentrate on playing.
You have a street team called KinHeads, what do you think of them?
They’re the best. They’re the ones helping us spread the word. Anyone can start a Kin Head chapter on MySpace, just drop us a mail and we’ll send you the stuff you need!
What’s you’re main priority Scandinavia or Europe?
Europe. Then we can do both.
Do you have any plans try to conquer the American or the Asian market?
Absolutely. We just have to take everything one step at a time.
You have got a great reputation in the rock scene, is that because of your hard work or are you just humble guys :)?
Both I think. We like to have a good time and people are usually nice to us when we’re out playing, so there’s really no reason for us to behave otherwise. We treat people nice as long as they’re good to us.
What can the audience expect when they are attending a show with Mama Kin?
The overall feeling of a MAMA KIN concert I think, is the fact that it’s more raw, sweaty and dirty than the album.
As for what the audience can expect – anything. That all depends on the crowd. It can get crazy sometimes with beer bottles flying around, people joining us on stage to sing along, girls AND guys throwing their underwear up on stage etc.
I did a little striptease once.
When do you think you’re gonna have the second album ready for release?
Impossible to say right now. That all depends on how much we will be playing and on how the tours are going.
Are you currently working on a second album? If so can you reveal any title of the album or any titles of the songs?
No title yet, but we have some songs, melodies and riffs that probably will end up on the next album. Oh yeah, we have a working title for the next album – Lazer Mountain.
During the last year’s have the glam/sleaze genre gone through a revival, do you think that are gonna last for a while?
I think it will. The underground scene is growing bigger every day all over the world.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy IN THE CITY?
Are you active on the internet?
Yeah, we have MySpace, Facebook and our official website. Stop by and join us on all our sites to get the latest stuff – videos, music, pictures, blog, dates etc.
Do you think that MySpace is a good way of un-established acts to get out their music to people?
Absolutely. We’ve been able to reach out to a lot more people with our videos and music, especially in the states, because of MySpace.
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question you get from fans?
The most common question would have to be: "When are you guys coming over here to play?"
Well, that was all I had for now. Thank you for taking the time to answer all of my questions, and thank you for bringing such a brilliant album to the world. I really hope you’re coming to stage near me soon.
Thanks to you for doing this.
Do you have any words of wisdom for the people out there?
It’s tough to be strong.
More info about the band