Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Stefan at Zink Music for setting up the interview
Thanks to Frontiers Records for providing the promo pictures of the band
For some reason Pretty Maids have never been interviewed in metal-rules.com so when I heard that Ronnie Atkins was available for interviews I took the chance. Pretty Maids have been in the business for ages and they really deserve to be recognized outside Europe. Listen to their new brilliant album and you will understand what I mean.
Hi Mr. Atkins, it’s really fun to finally do an interview with you. I really love your new album can you tell us a little about it?
Well thank you.
Bassically the new album was meant for release back in 2004 but a lot of different circumstances delayed the whole prosces but finally here we are in 2006 with what I would call an album that coincidently leans pretty much towards some of the stuff that we did back in the eighties, I guess a bit more melodic than our previous output. However simply pretty maids as we sound right now.
As always you featured a cover also on this album, why feature a cover song on every album?
Well perfect strangers basicly popped up at a rehearsel just prior to recording the album and we played it on a detuned guitar which gave it a different feel, that’s why we decided to record it ( it was actually meant as a bonus track )
I’m personally not a big fan of doing covers and it’s definitely not a much for me, but sometimes it’s pretty fun having a go at what others have created.
This time it is a cover of a Deep Purple song, are you fans of Deep Purple?
We were always fans of deep purple in particular the 70 stuff.
One of your favorite subjects to write about is love; don’t you ever get tired of writing so many songs about love?
Yes !!!!. but it’s only fiction really. I know it’s a cliché but it still seems natural to do it after so many years , if it fits the song.
Your new album is titled WAKE UP TO THE REAL WORLD, why have you called the album that? Are you referring to anything in particular?
I guess the title says it all, I mean I always tried to write out of a real life perspective. Wake up to the real world concerns us all, so to speak.
A few of your previous albums have also have thoughtful titles like PLANET PANIC and CARPE DIEM, are there any special meanings behind the titles?
Once again they referr to my oulook on the world we live in.
When did the work on WAKE UP TO THE REAL WORLD begin?
Well the first songwriting session took place in late 2003 and then bad luck started to haunt us. 90 % of the album was written between nov. last year and april this year.
Where was the album recorded?
Mostly in Puk studios in nothern Denmark and on different locations using the pro-tools system
I also read that you have produced the album by yourself, how was it? What’s better, to produce yourself or to be produced by someone?
I guess that after 25 years in the business you mostly know what your aiming at.
Your previous studio album PLANET PANIC came in 2002, what have you been up to since then? Besides recording the new album I mean…
A serious heart disease, a divorce a lot of personel turmoil and a member leaving the band.
How would you describe the music that Pretty Maids plays today? And do you think you have developed music wise throughout the years, if so in what way?
In general I think we been pretty faithfull to our musical roots throughout the years, ofcourse we sometimes try to update ourselves but we always end up sounding like Us anyway, which afterall I guess is good enough.
I think WAKE UP THE REAL WORLD sounds a little more melodic and the sound is darker compared to your previous album but you can still hear that it is a Pretty Maids album. Do you think you have developed a more melodic side to your music on this album?
As I said in a previous answer it probably leans a bit more towards some of the earlier stuff we did in the 80’s. I think it’s pretty typical Maids stuff.
Have you read any reviews on the new album?
Yeah, a few.
You sure have the ability to write really strong ballads but what’s most fun to play live, faster or slower songs?
I guess it depend on what mood your in on the day, I actually normally like to play em’ both.
Where does the band name come from?
From a book Ken once read, I think.
When you and Ken Hammer started Pretty Maids 20 years ago could you ever imagine that you would be active 20 years later?
25 years in fact. I guess no!!!!
If you weren’t a musician in Pretty Maids what had you been doing?
Being a musician anyway !!
You have had a solid line-up for several years now, but now have your drummer, Michael Fast left the band, why, and are you still friends with him today?
I think he lost the spirit and got fed up waiting, yea we’re still very good friends.
New drummer is ex-Royal Hunt member Allan Tsichaja, how did he end up in the band and what do you think of his work so far?
We knew him from Hunt who supported us on our last tour and he was our first and only choice. He’s a great drummer and a real nice guy too.
You have also signed on to a new label, what happed with the old label?
Got fed up with them, u know !
What do you think of Frontiers Records so far?
So far I think they’ve done a good job.
Are there any plans on re-releasing your older unavailable albums?
Not at the moment, no.
You have done a few shows in your home country Denmark this summer, how was that and did you play any new songs for the audience?
It’s always fun playing the summer festivals and yes I guess we played one or two new songs.
You also performed at United Forces Of Rock in Germany in October, how did that go?
Not very well actually, we had a lot of technical problems which unfortunately affected most of the show, but we did what we could under the given circumstances.
You haven’t been out on a proper tour since 2002, can we expect a full-blown Pretty Maids tour through the usual countries Japan, Denmark and Germany now that the new album is out?
I hope so, that’s definetly our overall plan, but let’s see the reaction on the album and what happens.
You are also going to do two Christmas shows in Denmark in December, is it going to be fun to meet the fans there again?
Of course, that’s the only reason why we do these gigs.
I think that Pretty Maids always have stayed true to your music and haven’t followed different musical trends through the years. How come you have stood so solid against trends and casual influences from media and so on?
Well I guess we’re just a bunch of old fashioned farts who happens to still enjoying what we do after all those years !!!.
Do you have any special favorite album amongst the ones you released with Pretty Maids?
I actually think “ Spooked “ 1997 is the best that we’ve done in recent years.
Your voice sounds just as good today as it did when you first started out, how have you managed to keep it in such a good shape?
Nothing in particular really, that’s just the way it sounds, I did quit the cigarettes some time ago though.
Where in the world do you have the biggest fan base do you think?
I think Germany and Japan is our biggest markets, however it used to be.
I have found the album FIRST CUTS AND THEN SOME in two different versions, one released by Massacre Records with 12 tracks and one released by Scandinavian Records with the same songs but with 3 bonus tracks, how come? Which one is the European version of the album?
The Massacre one I guess.
Have Pretty Maids any plans on releasing any live DVD anytime soon? I’d guess that a DVD is long awaited amongst the fans, at least I know I’d loved one..
We do have plans to put something out next year, but it’s not a hundred yet !!!
Are there anything released by Pretty Maids available on VHS?
No !, not as far as I’m concerned.
Do you see Pretty Maids active 20 years from now?
That’s a long time, honestly NO !
When you’re not active in Pretty Maids, do you have any other project you’re involved in?
Musically; not really, but I have some times appeared as a guestvocalist, but very rarely.
I read that Pretty Maids have had financial problems and that Ken Hammer have had health problems, is the band and Mr. Hammer OK now?
Well we always have financiel problems, but Kenny is O.K.
What are the upcoming plans for Pretty Maids in 2007?
A tour some festivals and maybe a D.V.D
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answering my questions, any words of wisdom for the readers and the fans?
Well your very much welcome, and remember :
No matter where you go, there you are !!!
More info about the band