How the band met, can you tell us a bit about H.E.A.T history? H.E.A.T was born out of the ashes of two other bands? I am interested in the name of these bands and the style they were playing at that time? What was the trigger to create H.E.A.T?
Eric: Trading Faith and Dream were the two bands you are asking. Me (Eric, guitarist) and Crash (drummer), with Jimmy the bass player and Kenny - the previous singer – was the singer of both bands. When the guitarist of Trading Faith left, it was natural to join the force with the guys from Dream band as we all knew each other from back home, and of course we were moving to the same musical direction. Trading Faith was a little bit harder, but basically we were moving in the same direction.
You have “lost” your first singer, which is never easy for a band. One the other hand, you found Erik, who is an unbelievable singer. You were lucky to find Erik, so to speak.
Eric: Oh year we were.
Crash: On the other hand, we got more than 2000 singers when we were searching a new singer (from all over the world). But only one guy did it, who was to be our age, sang like a “god”, look good (MR comment: no doubt he does), and be nice (MR comment: we confirm he is really a nice guy). Erik right away jumped on that opportunity to join the band.
What would be the main difference between Address The Nation and Tearing down the walls?
Eric: I would say there is more energy on Tearing Down The Walls, a bit heavier also in some songs. This album represents more how we sound live on stage.
There were about 30 songs recorded for Address The Nation (your website info).
Did any of these songs finished on the new album or this is brand new stuff?
Eric and Crash: Actually all songs are brand new, except We Will Never Die, which is even older than Address The Nation. We realize it is a cool song, we just needed to change some arrangements and decided to add it to the new album. Otherwise, every song is “fresh new” so to speak.
How do you proceed with the song writing, who does what, who writes the lyrics, etc?
Eric and Crash: Well, it is a band process. For example, the opening track Point Of No Return has been written by both of us, so it became natural to also write the lyrics. Every member participates to the whole process: musically and lyrically.
Talking about lyrics, Inferno lyrics are quite … direct so to speak, especially the first part (like to drink and masturbate). For a melodic rock band supposed to pass on radio, the idea with such lyrics was to shock a little bit, may be to “break” H.E.A.T image as young smart guys? Doesn’t it close radio’s doors, at least for Inferno song?
Eric and Crash: Well that’s the other Erik who proposed that one (laughs!!). It was brutal and honesty at the same time. This is how he lives (laughs!!). More seriously, we wanted to cover it with another word (mass turbate) but Erik assumed 100% this final lyric choice.
Once again the band decided the move into Bohus Studio (Status Quo recorded their million selling album “Rocking all over the world”. ABBA recorded a lot of their music there as well.) with Grammy award winning producer Tobias Lindell and created this new explosive, fresh sound. What does Tobias Lindell bring to the band?
Eric: No he is not the sixth member, but he is the “boss”. He give us a lot of room to do what we want, he may just help us from time to time to go in the “right” direction. He will come and say: “hum, this doesn’t work, stop this, try maybe this”. He is excellent to “tapper and release” the best part of a band. He is not putting his personal stamp on it – far from it – but he does everything so the band stamp shines. Tobias is very easy to work with, very relax, calm, and he makes us sound very good! Actually, he can make any sound … sounds fantastic. Therefore, lots of fun in the studio. He is adorable with us.
I bought this week on iTunes the EP – A Shot At Redemption. I discovered another great song – Under Your Skin, this is a great gift for the fan. Shame (Japan’s bonus) is also a great song – another of these gift that goes only to Japan. Luckily we have internet to correct this. How come you have not included this great song to the original CD and … most importantly, do you have other songs like these sleeping on the sideline?
Eric and Crash: Actually we have three bonus tracks for Tearing Down The Walls, one has not been released yet. We always come up with 13/14 songs for an album and to be honest we know one or two songs will end in a limited edition, or special edition, and it is a very hard process to choose which song will be the bonus one … even for Japan or Europe with our special EP you were mentioning.
Manequin Show – apart that it reminds us Britney Spears Oooops … I did it again - and I am sure you have been asked this a thousand time – I will try to be innovative here with my question. First, Manequin Show is better than Ooooops from my point of view, secondly, I would like to have your feedback about the video clip. At first stage, Erik Grönwall is talking to himself in front of a mirror, where the projected image is different from him? Then after breaking the mirror, it all comes back to normal.
Can you develop a little bit the message of that song?
Eric and Crash: It is a dialog that Erik (the singer) has with himself. The song is about tearing down your inner walls, like many songs on the album are about by the way. So he has a discussion with his “inner voice” and it’s a “negative” talk that brings him down and in the video when he smashes the mirror somehow he answer “no man, f*ck you, I do what I have to do”. Crash: It is about being true to yourself, simple as that!
We can hear a lot of Journey and Europe in H.E.A.T music. What are your direct influences?
Eric: Ouf … (big laughs)
Crash: Lot of thing, but lately it is inspiration from ourselves, instead of sounding like our idols of the past, we try to sound like us.
Ok then, I will got my answer (laughs), what are your idols?
Eric: We like the arena bands like Bon Jovi, Europe of course - they are from our home town – we grew up with that band so it is difficult to escape the Europe sound, so to speak. On the other hands, we listen a lot to modern music, like the Foo Fighters and like the old stuff like Elvis Presley, I listen to everything … almost. Crash: We have a lot of great Swedish acts out there, like Abba and Roxette. The Swedish school :)
Erik Crönwall’s favorite singers, or let’s say reference singers?
Eric: Freddy Mercury, no doubt about it. That’s his idol since he was a kid, and still is!
Clash: And .. Johnny Cash and would say also Elvis Presley.
If I tell you that your last two records are as good as best Bon Jovi albums, what do you answer to this?
Eric and Clash: Thanks man for the compliment!
Based on what I just said, you are one of the leading melodic rock band out there, may be the best.
As far as I am concerned, you should be playing in stadiums. What is missing to achieve that goal? What is your plan to achieve such goal? When do you see that happening?
Eric and Clash: It is a goal, of course. Clash:I think one excellent song that describe our course it “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll, from ACDC”. Slowly, we are getting better and better and better. And also bigger, we have noticed that. Eric: We try to build it slowly, no rush. We do not try to write the “hit” song, try the overnight success thing, Eurovision and Idol, it is fun for a while, but at the end you are back where you were before! Build slowly is definitely our model. I think it is coming, we are playing on bigger festivals, the spotlight on H.E.A.T is going upwards. We can see that from the inside. We will be playing in Spain and Finland by the way, as we speak about festivals. We are headlining one UK festival and also in Chicago, in October, we are headliners of the Big Melodic Hard Rock Festival.
Your all-time favorite albums – five records if possible?
Clash: you first Eric, so I can think of that one (general laugh)
Eric: Fleetwood Mac (Rumours album), I have to say Metallica (Master Of Puppets), and recently Mumford & Sons(Babel).
Clash: Guns and Roses (Appetite for Destruction), Pantera (Cowboys from Hell), and Europe (Prisoners in Paradise) …
Eric: if you ask us tomorrow, it might change (big laughs)
OK then, a harder question, what would be the song played at your funeral?
Eric: Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen
Clash: well … Point of No Return, from our new album (big laughs)
After the funeral question, let’s finish the interview with a funnier tone. Who’s dog is it on Address the Nation cover album?
Eric and Clash: Erik’s sister dogs. There are two dogs on the cover!! It came all naturally. Erik’s sister house is really cool, and we decided to take some photos, just for the fun. As the dogs were around, they just felt to be also on the photos, lying next to us … and there we go. Actually, it was promos photos we send for the medias, and it end up as the cover of our album.
In 2009, H.E.A.T toured with Edguy – and I heard Tobby is a big H.E.A.T fan now. Can you tell us a funny story that happen on that tour because I know Tobby is the smartest guy out there for jokes?
Eric and Clash: Wooaww that was so long ago, five years. You are testing our memories here man (big laughs). First, of all Tobias and the whole band are really cool guys, we had great fun. Well actually we have a good one. You know at the last show of the tour, usually there is something weird that will happen, something to do as it is the end of the tour. On Edguy Save me ballad, the whole band went on stage, underwear, we took our blanket and pillows from the tour bus … and slept on stage while they were playing that song (laughs). The ending show, in Sweden, we had to do something “weird”. By the way Edguy did the same to us. The drummer stole a microphone while we were playing live, and sang our song while we were playing, they remove Kevin’s voice (previous singer) and we could just ear Edguy’s drummer voice … and the guy is not the … Tobby … when it comes to sing (big laughs). So yeah, lot’s of fun to tour with Edguy, a great souvenir !!