Drummer Astrid Carsbring – Heavy Tiger
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Carl von Schewen at Sound Pollution for setting up the interview
Promo pictures taken by: Niclas Brunzell
Thanks to Wild Kingdom for the promo pictures of the band
GLITTER is the name of the brand new second album released by ’70’s rock/punk-influenced female trio Heavy Tiger. Drummer Astrid Carsbring was kind enough to take on this short interview in which we talked about the new album, what’s it like to be an all-female act, and what it was like to perform in Vietnam and Japan. Heavy Tiger has been opening act to Backyard Babies and Michael Monroe and is, in my opinion, the next big thing from Sweden.
Hi, how are you today? I hope you’re ready to kick off the interview at once?
Hi, unfortunately Maja couldn’t make it to this interview, but I (Astrid) will try my best to fill her shoes!
How long did you and the band work on the material for brand new album GLITTER?
After the release of SAIGON KISS we did a lot of touring and there wasn’t much time left for writing new music. But in 2015 things slowed down a little and we started to work on the new songs.
We have been touring pretty much and at first we didn’t have the time to write songs. When we had the songs ready, we had struggles to find the right record company. Finally it turned out well, but all the meetings and discussions took time and energy. As well, recording and creating the album took its time. We’ll try to work faster next time!
Saigon Kiss Music video
I know the band’s been on tour in Japan and Vietnam, how was that? What was the crowd like at the shows?
When we went to Japan and Vietnam, we had already been on a two week tour in Spain and were pretty tired. It was still great and we’d love to get back there soon for a longer tour!
The Japanese crowd really is something special. We had heard it from others before, but you have to experience it yourself to really understand it. They are true fans, they knew all the lyrics and sang along to every song. And in between the songs they were all quiet, because they wanted to hear everything we said. They made us feel like true rock stars.
Playing in Vietnam was very special for us, because when we wrote SAIGON KISS we thought, ‘What if we get to play this in Saigon one day?”. When we got there, it was kinda surreal. We played in an old ammo storage room, and we had to play “Saigon Kiss” at least three times! Not many foreign bands come to play in Vietnam so it must have been a great deal for the crowd to have us there.
Heavy Tiger’s also been support act to legends like Backyard Babies and Michael Monroe, how was that and have you been influenced by those acts?
It’s been really great to play with these bands, they have so much experience and they are really good live acts! Yes, we’ve been influenced by them, especially Maja has listened a lot to those bands.
Where does the band name Heavy Tiger come from and who came up with it?
“Heavy Tiger” is a song by the Finnish band Flaming Sideburns. Maja grew up with their music and was the one to suggest it as a band name. Our name actually got their agent to contact us back in 2012, and we’ve played with them many times since, which of course is really fun!
In September last year the first single “Devil May Care” from GLITTER was released, what did fans think of it and why haven’t the band shot a video to it?
“Devil May Care” is the first song we’ve recorded that was not written by for us (by Ola Salo). At first we weren’t sure if we wanted to record it, but then we thought it could be worth a shot and we recorded it with Nicke Andersson. We have thought of “Devil May Care” as a fun collaboration more than a regular Heavy Tiger song. We liked how it turned out, and so did the fans, but if we make a music video we want it to be a song we wrote ourselves. Actually, we have a music video coming up, with a song from the album. Stay tuned!
With its 33 minutes of music, the album is pretty short; was it your intention of making a short album or did it just happen? I mean 33 minutes is more an EP than a full-length album.
We want our albums to be kick ass all the way through. No fillers, only killers! And we think 10 songs is enough on an album, you want to leave the fans wanting more.
What are the longest song “Keeper of the Flame” and the shortest songs “I Go For the Cheap Ones” and “Downer And a Sunny Day” about?
I don’t like to tell people what the songs are about. I’d rather they listen, read the lyrics and get their own idea of the song.
Do you think the band have developed musically if you compare SAIGON KISS with GLITTER? If so, in what way?
On SAIGON KISS we had a very old school sound, and with GLITTER we wanted to make it sound more modern. We have become better song writers and we’ve focused a lot more on vocals and harmonies.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Heavy Tiger plays?
We’ve picked the best parts of ’70s and ’80s rock, mixed it together and added a modern touch.
How would you like to describe the typical Heavy Tiger fan?
He is a middle aged man who’s been into this kind of music since the ’70s, or a 25-year old dude with long hair and flared jeans. We try to spread our music to a wider audience, especially towards young girls. We’ve even been touring schools in Sweden to spread the word of Heavy Tiger!
We’ve wanted to write a song named “Glitter” since we were switching stage outfits to our glittery gold suits. The song never turned out as we wanted, but we still kept the name for the album. We’ve never thought of rock n roll as something dark, but as light and energy. And when you wear glitter it looks spectacular, and that’s what we want in our shows.
Yes there were some songs left that didn’t make it, but we haven’t recorded any of them, yet.
Who is Richard Löfgren that’s produced the album? Who has he worked with besides Heavy Tiger and where is Leon Music Studio situated?
Rikard is the founder of Leon Music, which is a studio in Karlstad, Sweden. We worked with both Rikard and Gustav Ydenius, who’s also a producer at the studio. They’ve worked with bands such as Mustasch, Sister Sin and Enforcer. The studio is in a large villa in the middle of the forest, and there are beds on the second floor so you literally live in the studio the whole time. There’s no distractions whatsoever so you can really focus on recording, and nothing else.
How was it to work with Löfgren compared to Fred Estby whom you worked with on the debut?
It’s hard to compare the two, since we’ve been on such different levels as a band during the two recordings.
With Fred, we hadn’t recorded in a proper studio before, so Fred had to tell us what to do and how to do it. Even though he wasn’t supposed to be the producer, he really was, because we needed him to.
Now, we are more experienced and know what to do, so Rikard was able to take it to the next level and really focus on the details. Both Fred and Rikard has been really great to work with, they are really good at what they do.
Label and management
High Roller Records released SAIGON KISS but you left them and now Wild Kingdom handles the release of GLITTER, why did you leave High Roller Records?
We think High Roller did a great job, but sometimes it was hard to keep up with each other. They’re based in Germany so we couldn’t have any meetings, everything was done by phone or mail. This time we wanted to work with a local record company, and get a more personal relation to them.
Wild Kingdom is a sub-label to the promotion agency Sound Pollution, are you happy with the work the label have put into the album and the band so far?
Yes we are happy with their work so far, they’ve been very supportive and engaged in the making of the album.
For how long have you worked with your management Versity Music and booking agency Live Nation? Are you satisfied with your co-operation?
We’ve worked with them since 2014, and so far we’re happy with their work. They haven’t had very much to work with since we haven’t released an album in a while, but they’ve made the most out of it.
This is a difficult question. Since we want to be able to make a living out of our music, we prefer that people buy our music. But if downloading for free makes someone who wouldn’t listen to us otherwise do so, it’s not all bad.
Many people talk about all female bands like The Runaways and Girlschool opening doors for women to play harder music; are you or anyone else in the band inspired by these bands in any way?
None of us has listened that much to these bands, but we still find them inspiring. It must have been really hard for them to break that ground, and that’s admirable.
What is it like to be in a all female band when most of the bands that play harder music consist of men? Have you met any obstacles or prejudices through the years?
We’ve met a lot of prejudices, mostly when we were younger and played at youth centres and smaller venues. Before the shows many guys wanted to help us with everything, as if we didn’t know how to set up the drums or even turn on the amp! Then after the shows they came up to us and told us they were shocked that we could play. This happened at almost every gig back then, and I think many female bands quit because of these prejudices.
This doesn’t happen as much now, and I think it’s because people realize we wouldn’t be playing these bigger venues if we weren’t good.
The band provided the music to a commercial in Swedish television, how did you land that deal?
The ad agency contacted us via our management, we recorded a demo and the company loved it straight away. Now it’s used all over the world in their commercials.
Let the sun shine in. TUI
Is it correct that you’re going out on tour in Europe during spring/summer? Which countries are you visiting and for how long are you out?
At this point we’ve only booked shows in Sweden during spring and summer, but we hope to announce shows in other countries soon.
Do you have any festival shows booked for the summer so far?
Yes, we have booked a few, and there are more to come! You can keep yourself updated on our Facebook page.
Is Heavy Tiger big enough to be headline act or are you going to be support acts this summer/fall?
We have done some shorter headline tours before, mostly in Spain. For this fall, we’re thinking of maybe doing a co-headline tour with another band on the same level as us. Nothing is decided yet though, so keep yourself updated!
Why haven’t you toured much in Sweden the past years?
We have done some touring in Sweden these years, but we’ve also wanted to get out there and create a bigger fanbase in all of Europe and Japan.
So far we’ve been focusing mainly on Europe, but we’d love to go on tour in the US. Hopefully we’ll get there soon!
Where in the world does the band have its biggest fanbase?
I’d say Stockholm, Finland and Spain have the biggest fanbases. Stockholm is our hometown and we have lots of dedicated fans here, but Finland and Spain have a better rock scene and they really like us there.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Heavy Tiger yet?
What are you waiting for??
Could you give them three reasons why they should buy GLITTER?
1. Everyone needs more GLITTER in their lives.
2. It’s the best sounding (and looking) album of the year.
3. Heavy Tiger is the future of rock n’ roll.