Bass player Martin and guitarist KK
Thanks to Staffan Osterlind at Fassberg & Osterlind for setting up the interview.
Thanks to press responsible for the band: Mats Rydström
Promo pictures taken by: Lars Brundin
Additional live pictures taken from the archives of: Anders Sandvall
Close Quarters is a pretty new sleaze/rock n roll act from Vadstena Sweden that recently released their second album ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE which totally blew my mind the first time I heard it. I decided to take a closer look at the band and hooked up with guitarist KK and bass player Martin Hederberg in order to get to know a little more about the band and their past, present and future. The band have done more than 200 shows so far and have been support act to artists like Backyard Babies, Mustasch, Electric Boys and recently they opened for Tom Keifer in Stockholm. Close Quarters sure is the next big thing from Sweden so you better check out ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE which includes a co-written song with Nicke Borg from Backyard Babies as well as songs that feature appearances from Spike from The Quireboys and Pontus Snibb from Bonafide.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time for this interview. How are you today? Are you ready to kick off the interview?
Hederberg: Yes, shoot!
KK: We’re feeling great. Bring it on!
The band’s brand new album ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE is the second one. For how long have you worked on the album and who’s in charge of the lyrics and music?
Hederberg: The making of this album actually started when we finished our debut album WE BELIEVE IN ROCK ‘N ROLL. Some of the songs on ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE go all the way back to that time in 2011. Most of the music and lyrics are written by KK and me but we all arrange the songs together.
KK: Yeah.. I remember the two of us sitting in the kitchen in Sunlight Studio where we recorded WE BELIEVE IN ROCK ‘N ROLL in 2011 and jammed on “Friday Feeling” that ended up on this record! I had a riff and Hederberg had an other one and then we simply out them together.
Were there many songs you wrote that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
Hederberg: I think we had about 15-16 demos to choose from when we did the final selection for the album. We are not one of those bands that write 200 songs for one album and then throws away 190 of them, we usually hear quite fast if a song is worth working on or not.
KK: I read somewhere that Keith Richards actually had more than 200 song ideas for an album.. That’s crazy! Haha
It’s you two that write most of the material, do the other members have any say in what’s being put on the album?
Hederberg: Of course, in the end we are a BAND you know. Its a democracy, but as in every democracy you need to have someone more in charge that keeps the wheels running, otherwise it could never work.
KK: Exactly! I think it works like this in every band!
What does Taliqua think of singing lyrics he hasn’t written?
Hederberg: So far he has not complained so I think he’s OK with it. Most of our songs are about having a good time, following your heart and letting it loose and Taliqua is all for that.
KK: When we release and perform our songs we do it as a BAND and not as individuals. It’s not important who wrote that lyrics line or who wrote that riff.
Has the arrival of two new members had any impact on the song writing process?
Hederberg: When you’re getting new blood into the band, you also get new creativity. I think it’s important to have an open mind and always be willing to try new stuff but in the end we know what we like and we know what our fans like. Members may come and go but our sound will stay the same.
The title track “Always A Lot, Never Little” was co-written with Nicke Borg (Backyard Babies); when was the song written and how did you end up working with Borg?
KK: We opened for Backyard Babies in 2008 and I have e-mailed back and forth with Nicke and Dregen since then. When we’re going to record WE BELIEVE IN ROCK ‘N ROLL in 2011 I asked Nicke if he had a hit song for us and the day after he sent us that track. It never ended up on the album, obviously, but this time we couldn’t waste such a good song! The song title is also representative on how we see things – if you’re going to play rock n roll you should do it to 110%, otherwise don’t do it all!
Your debut album WE BELIEVE IN ROCK N ROLL came out in 2011; why has it taken you 4 years to release the follow up?
Hederberg: During the fall of 2011 our lead singer at the time Victor Granlund decided to leave the band. After he left it took a while for us to hook up with new members. Taliqua joined in January 2013 and Marty joined in October 2014. Although, we have released two singles and videos plus an EP since the fall of 2013 so we have been quite busy anyway.
KK: A lot of people wanted the job as our new front man, but we never felt 100% with anyone. Then I saw a youtube clip of Taliqua singing a folk song. I liked his look and voice so I sent him an e-mail and the rest is rock n roll history.. or.. will be.. hahaha
The lyrics have got a “we-don’t-care-we-do-what-we-want” kind of attitude, what are the lyrics about?
Hederberg: The lyrics are about having a good time, letting it loose and following your heart, that is what life is about right?!
KK: Yeah, we don’t write about changing the world and stuff like that. We sing about life in general, not only good stuff, most of the songs are about following your heart and living your life!
Both Pontus Snibb from Bonafide and Spike from Quireboys makes guest appearances on the album, are they old friends to the band?
Hederberg: We have been touring with The Quireboys a couple of times and we have also been supporting Bonafide so yes, we know the guys and we have had many beers together.
KK: “Friday Feeling” is a drinking song and what guys suit better for that than Snibb and Spike, huh?
How was it for singer Taliqua to sing duets with the guys?
Hederberg: He loved it, one can say that Taliqua is Spike only 25 years younger. There are many similarities between them.
KK: Haha yeah, we joked about that on tour. Spike said he maybe was Taliqua’s father. ”Your mom was blonde, right?!”. Haha
“Broken Wings” includes Lars Risberg on horns, how did you come up with using horns in the song?
Hederberg: We just recorded horns on the demo for fun because I thought something was missing in that part of the song. Time went on and we got used to it so now it feels a bit weird when we play it live without the horns, maybe we could get backtracks haha.
KK: At first I HATED the horns. I couldn’t stand them, but I have to admit that I was wrong. They add something special to the song.
Where does the title ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE come from?
Hederberg: It comes from the song “Always a lot, never little”.
KK: It such a great title. As I said earlier it’s representative of how look at things.. go all-in or stay at home!
“ALWAYS ALOT, NEVER LITTLE” ALBUM TEASER
Who did the cover art-work? What do you think of it, does it reflect the band and the music?
Hederberg: Christian Wallin did the cover art-work and we love it. He also did the art-work for our EP TRY TO PAY RENT WITH LOVE. It reflects the band but it also reflects the title “Always a lot, never little”.
KK: I fucking love the art work. I even tattooed it on my arm. I got the idea when I was ”window shopping” in Vadstena and saw a religious icon with a nun. I think icons are beautiful pieces of art and I was also thinking that nuns really follow their heart and do what they believe in – just like us! Always Alot, Never Little! Plus Vadstena is known for their nuns and history with Saint Birgitta.
Do you think that the band has developed music-wise if you compare this album with the debut album?
Hederberg: Of course. We have all become better musicians and our live performances has become much better.
KK: It’s still the same three chords, but we play them better! Haha
The bio states that ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE contains hard driving, melodic and infectious rock ‘n roll with a ton of attitude, do you agree?
Hederberg: Yes, that was our intention with this album but you never really know how an album will turn out, the music finds it’s own way.
How would you like to describe what kind of music the band plays?
Hederberg: It´s classic blue collar rock, no bullshit, simply just a slap in the face.
KK: I’d say it’s rock ‘n roll. I have to say I hate when people say we play sleaze! We don’t play sleaze, we play rock n roll. People say we’re influenced by Poison and stuff.. I have never listened to those bands.
I’ve read some great reviews of the album and have to congratulate you, I totally agree with the salutations and love the album myself. How does it feel to get so positive reviews? Was that something you expected to get?
Hederberg: It feels great that so many people like the album. We knew and felt that we had created a really good album and some really fantastic songs but you never know how other people will react. If the music you do makes an impact on yourself only then can it make an impact on others as well.
Does the band care about what the critics say about the band and music?
Hederberg: You often hear artists or artists say that they don’t care about what people say but I don’t think that is true, especially not today when you have a world that is built on what people think and peoples’ opinions, everyone has something to say about everything. Of course it’s better when critics says nice things about you and your band and the chance to get more fans and followers.
KK: Well, if a magazine says we suck I don’t care at all but of course it’s more fun when people say we’re good! If people wouldn’t like us we wouldn’t be able to go out and play! But you should always write and play music that YOU like and not to please critics.
Is there any difference in how the band is treated by the native and foreign press?
Hederberg: Well, I think foreign press has been a bit nicer to us but usually it depends on which magazine writes about us and the album, not which country.
KK: In general I think UK have been more nice actually.
Tell us about the video you shot to “My Way Or The Highway”, when did you shoot it and was it fun?
Hederberg: We recorded the video in Malmö (Sweden) in April 2015. It was really fun, the location was in an old bar and we stood in front of a green screen and played, at first it felt a bit weird but we got used to it pretty quick.
KK: We had some bottles of wine and some beers and then you forgot the green screen and the camera, haha.
My Way Or The Highway (Official Music Video)
I think the video is really nice, clean and aesthetic, what was the idea with the video?
Hederberg: That’s true! That was the idea to show the band as clean and aesthetic as possible.
KK: Yeah, simple and in your face, just like the music.
Are there any plans on shooting more videos to any of the songs?
Hederberg: We have plans to shoot a new video in the future but nothing is decided yet, at first we have a tour to finish and then, if there is time, hopefully we will record a new video.
KK: I think we have to release a new single and video, but as Hederberg said, nothing is decided.
Do you think image is important to a band? What’s most important –great image or great music?
Hederberg: When you play rock n roll image is important, if a band tells you something else they’re lying. Many people, including me, listen with both ears and eyes but in the end it all comes down to good music. You are always one song from world domination.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album or do you think you should have done anything in a different way now that you look back on it?
Hederberg: We are very satisfied with the outcome of the album. There is always something that you thought you could do better but overall the album turned out great.
KK: Yes, we are satisfied but as Hederberg said you always think of something that could have been better, but I thinks that’s good. Peter Forsberg once said that the reason he became such a great hockey player was because he never was 100% satisfied with his playing!
The midtempo song “Broken Wings” is placed in the middle of the album and the closing song is the ballad “For the First And Last Time” was it a conscious move to place those songs on those spots?
Hederberg: When we decided to put “For the First and Last Time” on the album we said that we wanted to close the album with it.The reason why “Broken Wings” was put in the middle of the album was because we wanted to place it near “Friday Feeling” which also was put in the middle of the album.
The album clocks in at 36 minutes, was it your plan to make a short album or did it turn out that way?
Hederberg: We had no plan to make a short album. Our songs are quite short, around 3 minutes, so I think that’s the reason why the album clocks in at 36 minutes. Today when people often listen to songs and not to albums I thinks it’s smart to not make an album that is 45 minutes or more, it’s better to put 10-11 great songs on a short album then to put 15-18 OK songs on a long album.
You not only threw a release party for the album but also toured through Sweden on a release tour, why did you chose to do both?
Hederberg: A release party is one gig in one town, a tour is 10-15 gigs in 10-15 different cities, that’s why I guess.
KK: For us it was like any other show, but the clubs called it a “release party”. We just showed up and played basically.
I saw you when you performed in Malmo and have to say it was a great show. I loved your performance, which one of the shows has been the best and most fun to do?
Hederberg: Malmö was a great show. Also the gig we did with Tom Keifer in Stockholm at Debaser Medis was great. We like to do gigs on bigger stages because it suits us more.
KK: Thank you a lot, glad you liked the show.
Is that concept something you’re going to repeat when it’s time to release the third album?
Hederberg: A release party and a tour you mean? I think we will do that when the next album sees the day.
KK: Of course! Playing live and meet our fans and friends is the reason we do this!
Studio and production
Why did you chose to record the album in Rokkfoxx Studio in Malmo?
Hederberg: Our producer, Staffan Österlind, works in that studio.
KK: Yeah! We recorded “My Way Or The Highway” in February or something and we liked the vibe in the studio so decided to record the whole album there.
Are there any other bands besides Close Quarters that has recorded albums in Rokkfoxx?
Hederberg: I don’t really know which other bands who have recorded there.
KK: I think our manager Mikael Fässberg recorded some solo stuff there.
Is it correct that the album was recorded during April/May? That was really fast I have to say, are you focused when you’re recording?
Hederberg: That is correct. We had rehearsed a lot on the songs before the recordings started and made a lot of pre-productions as well.
KK: Yeah, everything was done in a couple of weeks!
The band and Staffan Osterlind produced the album, what was his part and what was the band’s part in the production?
Hederberg: Staffan was the main producer and did the most of the job.
Is there anyone in the band that takes more part in the production work than the rest?
Hederberg: No we all take part in the production work.
KK: Hederberg is shy.. He’s the one that records our demos so he’s more involved in the pre-production work.
Did you like your stay in Malmo? Did you have the time to see the town or were you trapped in the studio 24/7?
Hederberg: We enjoyed Malmö very much but as you say most of the time we were in the studio so we did no see that much of the city.
KK: We had some beers at Lilla Torg and liked it. Malmö is a beautiful city, bus as Hederberg said we were in the studio most of the time.
The mixing/mastering was done by Petri Majuri in E Studio, Helsinki Finland. How come you chose to let him do it and were any of the band members part of the process?
Hederberg: Petri has been mixing and mastering all of our stuff since “Let’s Put a Smile on That Face” in 2013 and we are very pleased with his sound and work. The band and our producer were part of the mixing process together with Petri.
KK: Yeah, we found him through Hanoi Rocks – Street Poetry. Great album!
Where did Spike and Pontus Snibb record their parts?
Hederberg: Spike recorded in the UK and Pontus in Sweden.
The debut album was recorded in Sunlight Studio, why did you change studio?
Hederberg: Because we wanted to work with another producer, in this case Staffan Österlind and he works in Rock Foxx Malmö.
KK: We’ve always tried different studios. Change is always good to develop your sound!
How was it to work with the legendary Tomas Skogsberg in Sunlight Studio?
Hederberg: It was great and fun. We have three very memorable weeks from sunlight studio and Tomas Skogsberg is a dear friend and colleague.
KK: Skogsberg has produced and recorded some of my favorite albums so it was a great honor to work with him and get to know him.
Label and management
Was it easy to land a record deal?
Hederberg: It’s always a hard negotiation between the band and the label but I think both sides were satisfied with the deal and the terms.
KK: The deal was cool!
Were there many labels that showed interest for the band and why did you chose to ink a deal with Rambo Music?
Hederberg: We have worked with Rambo since 2011 but with ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE we wanted start over and work with new people.
KK: Rambo just released our debut album. All other music have been released on Sound Pollution except our newest album..
Why did you end your co-operation with Rambo Music?
Hederberg: We wanted to start over and work with new people. It was best for the band and for our development.
KK: Like I said earlier, change is good.
Who released the EP that came in 2014?
Hederberg: Sound Pollution.
Were the band without a record deal for a long time?
Hederberg: The band was formed in late 2006 and the deal with Rambo landed in late 2010, so about 4 years without a label.
Fassberg & Osterlind Music is your new label, how did you get in touch with them and what’s the difference between working with Rambo Music and Fassberg & Osterlind?
Hederberg: We knew both Mikael Fässberg and Staffan Österlind before we started to work with them. They are very nice and professional and have a lot of contacts in the music industry so for us it was a great opportunity when they told us that they wanted to work with us. We get along well and we have the same goal for the band, always a lot, never little.
KK: I met Staffan in Los Angeles back in 2009 and Micke and us have been talking for a long time about working together.
What other acts are signed to Fassberg & Osterlind Music?
Hederberg: I don’t know.
KK: I think they have signed Ian Haugland from Europe but I’m not sure.
Is the album released world wide? Who distributes it in Europe and world wide?
Hederberg: Yes the album is released world wide and it is Warner music distributing it.
Fassberg & Osterlind also take care of the management, is it convenient to have the same guys taking care of everything?
Hederberg: Yes we think its great. They know what we want and have the same picture of what our band should be like.
Is it possible to find your albums on Spotify and similar music services?
Hederberg: Yes you can find our music on Spotify, ITunes etc…
Who founded the band and who came up with the band name? Does the band name have any special meaning to the band?
Hederberg: When Close Quarters was formed the members all lived in the same neighborhood or the same “Quarters”. So the name became Close Quarters.
KK: I formed the band with Davy, Viktor Granlund and Rasmus Ejneberg. We’re all childhood friends!
Have any of the members been parts of other bands besides Close Quarters?
Hederberg: We all have had a couple of projects on the side but Close Quarters is the main project for all of us right now.
What bands/artists have been the main inspiration to Close Quarters?
Kiss, Rolling Stones, Slade, Guns N Roses, Nirvana, The Hellacopters, Backyard Babies, The Quireboys and many many more…..
What made you two pick up the guitar and bass? Who inspired you to start to play?
Hederberg: It was either sports or music and after less successful careers in both hockey and football music was the only choice.
KK: Backyard Babies is the main reason I started to play. I saw them on TV when I was 11 years old and then I was hooked.
Do you still live in Vadstena?
Hederberg: Yes KK and Davy still lives in Vadstena.
When did the band start to write own material?
Hederberg: When the band was formed in 2006.
KK: We’ve never played covers.
Since the debut album the band have gone through some member changes, why did singer Viktor leave the band?
Hederberg: He had other plans with his life and wanted to do other things besides music.
KK: We went separate ways as friends.
How did current singer Taliqua end up in the band and when did he become a solid member?
KK: The way I said earlier, I saw clip on youtube and contacted him. He then came to Vadstena and rehearsed and hung out a couple of times before he was a full-time member.
You have also added a guitarist in Marty, when did he join forces with you?
Hederberg: Marty joined in October 2014.
How come you didn’t start out with two guitarists from the beginning?
Hederberg: When Victor was lead singer he also played guitar so from the start we had two guitarists. Taliqua doesn’t play guitar in the band and for us I think it’s better to have a front man that can put all focus on the audience and the singing. That’s why we are 5 in the band instead of 4.
According to my bio the band have done 200+ live shows since the beginning, is that correct?
Hederberg: That is correct.
KK: That’s what it’s all about. Playing live.
You have performed with acts like Europe, Backyard Babies and Mustasch to mention a few, have you been out on tour with all of those bands or done single shows?
Hederberg: We have done single shows with those bands. We have toured with The Quireboys, Casablanca and Vains Of Jenna.
Have you mainly toured in Sweden or have you been out performing in Scandinavia and Europe as well?
Hederberg: We have done some gigs in Norway and one gig in London. Hopefully we will tour in Europe with our new album.
What did the media think about the singles “Blackout” from 2010 and “You Wanna Get Away” from 2011?
Hederberg: They were positive.
KK: yeah, all good. We released “You Wanna Get Away” with Sweden Rock Magazine in 8,200 copies.
And how was the response on your debut album WE BELIEVE IN ROCK N ROLL from 2011?
Hederberg: The response was good from what I can remember.
KK: Yeah, it was so long ago but from what I can remember the media liked it.
Do you think that the bands fanbase have increased with each release you have done?
Hederberg: Yes and we have more people coming to our shows and this tour we’re doing right now is the first headline tour for us which is a new experience.
KK: It’s so cool to see fans sing along and wear your shirt. I will never get used to that!
How does a typical Close Quarters fan look and act like?
Hederberg: The typical Close Quarters fan can be 7 years old or 80 years old. Our music fits everyone.
KK: That’s really the case.
Are you happy with how many copies were sold of the debut album?
What can you tell us about the EP TRY TO PAY THE RENT WITH LOVE that was released last year, who released it?
Hederberg: It was recorded in Linköping in white light studio with TobiasLeffler. It was released by Sound Pollution.
The band is confirmed to be support act to Tom Keifer at his Stockholm show, how does that feel? Are you happy and excited?
Hederberg: The gig was great and it felt very nice.
Is Tom Keifer and Cinderella a favorite of yours?
KK: He’s great but we have never really listened to his work though we’re familiar with who he is. Marty is a big fan though.
Who takes care of the band’s website? It hasn’t been updated for a while.
Hederberg: The band takes care of the website but we use our Facebook page most if the time. Our homepage will get a renovation in a near future.
KK: Yes, we need to fix that!
Is it important to be active at the various forms of social networks?
Hederberg: Of course most of the fans and listeners uses social networks today.
KK: It’s very, very important.
Is it possible to write and interact with the band somewhere? What’s the most common question the band gets from fans?
Hederberg: The fans usually wants to know if we’re coming to their town and play.
KK: Yes. And girls asks us if we’re single and the guys wonder how many girls we get.. haha
Are there any plans on continue to tour on the new album?
Hederberg: Yes we have plans to tour in Europe after new year and a lot of other ideas.
KK: We’d like to play everywhere so we really hope it gonna happen!
Any plans on conquering Europe? Are there any countries that you’re especially interested of touring in?
Hederberg: All countries are exciting to play in but I think UK and Germany would suit us very well.
KK: Japan and US would be a dream come true!
Do you have any support tour booked for next year?
Hederberg: No not at the moment.
Are there any plans on performing at festivals next summer? Which festival would you prefer to perform at?
Hederberg: Hopefully we will perform at festivals next year. It would be fun to play at Sweden Rock Festival because we’ve never played there.
KK: Yeah, SRF would also be a dream come true!
When can we expect to find the third album out in stores? Are you currently working on any new material?
Hederberg: We are always writing new songs and material but right now we focus on ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER A LITTLE and the tour for the album.
KK: Next album will be a killer!
I’d say that Close Quarters are the next big thing from Sweden! What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard your music yet? And could you give them three reasons why they should buy ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE?
KK: Thank you, thank you, thank you!! If you like in your face rock n roll you’d love ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE.
Hederberg: If you like unpolished none perfect high energy rock n roll you should by ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE. If you like to sing-along and drink beer and just forget about your problems for a while, you should by ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE. If you have too much money and don’t know what to do with them, then please support some poor rockers and by ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE.
Well, it’s time to wrap this up now. Do you have any words of wisdom to share with readers and fans?
Hederberg: ALWAYS A LOT, NEVER LITTLE….
KK: Make love, not war. Hugs before drugs. Eat your salad! Thank for supporting CQ and rock n roll!
Thanks a lot for making the interview possible, I wish you and the band all the best in the future and really hope to see you live on stage soon!!
Hederberg: Thanks so much for doing this interview.