Viktor & The Blood: "The Hard Rock Factory"

Viktor & The Blood: Jonas Karlsson, Viktor Norén & Samuel Giers (c) Per Kristiansen
Viktor & The Blood: Jonas Karlsson, Viktor Norén & Samuel Giers

Die Gesichter der schwedischen Jungs Viktor & The Blood kommen euch bekannt vor? Kein Wunder, denn die Band formte sich im August 2011 aus zwei der erfolgreichsten, skandinavischen Bands - Sugarplum Fairy und Mando Diao. So sorgen Lead-Sänger Viktor Norén, Bruder von Mando Diao-Frontmann Gustaf Norén, und seine zwei Bandkollegen Jonas Karlsson (gemeinsam mit Viktor Norén bei Sugarplum Fairy) und Samuel Giers, früherer Drummer von Mando Diao, für neuen, kraftvollen Rock unter den skandinavischen Indie-Bands. Am 24. Jänner erschien ihr Debütalbum "Apocalypse Right Now" in Österreich (Review) - damit im Gepäck touren sie gerade durch Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz. Wir trafen die coolen Schweden zum Interview und erfuhren unter anderem, was ihr Album so apokalyptisch macht.

UNIMAG: You've been to Vienna not too long ago as an opening act for The Sounds. How does it feel to be back on your own tour this time?

Viktor: Great, we like it because it's Spring now. The last time it was freezing. Since we come from Sweden, we hate winter, we want to run away from it. (laughs) So this is much better. It is nice to be on our first main tour.

You're not new to the music business, you've been very successful with Mando Diao & Sugarplum Fairy. How did the wish come up to start your own project?

Samuel: Well it wasn't a plan from the beginning. I just happened to meet Viktor a couple of years ago at a bar in Stockholm and we haven't seen each other for a couple of years. We started talking and came up with the idea. Viktor just said "Hey, maybe we should play together". So we did.

Viktor: Yeah just for fun. We never had any plan ever to start a band. It was like the last thing on our mind. We were just hanging around and me and Jonas were living together at that time in Stockholm. So we used to jam anyway. And then Samuel had a drum kit in his basement, so we just went there. I was writing songs for a solo album and then we started to play those songs. That kind of developed into something completely different. And since we know each other so well, we said after a couple of months, this is more a band than a solo. We should be a band. But it was never a plan. We never said "Maybe we should start a band", because then you put too much pressure on yourself. 

You guys have been friends for a long time. How did you meet?

Viktor: Me and Jonas were in school together. Samuel started to play in Mando Diao 1998/99. So we were hanging around the same crowd.

You are living in Stockholm right now. Is there a big Rock-scene?

Viktor: No it's not at all. Where we come from there's more a Rock scene, it's a bit up north. Stockholm is more electronic. So we are like the only Rock band in Stockholm, which is nice. (laughs)

What does the name Viktor & The Blood mean to you?

Viktor: We thought it would be cool to have a name like Iggy & The Stooges or Bob Marley & the Wailers. It's very classic! Since I was the singer and it was first a solo project and then became a band, we thought it would be cool to call it "Viktor & something". And then, I think, we just wrote a list of words and just went through it and thought "The Blood", that sounds cool. It sounds kind of like the music, which is important, I think. And also since we've known each other since we were kids, we are almost like blood brothers.

Your new album "Apocalypse Right Now" has been out for a month now. Can you tell us what makes the album apocalyptic?

Viktor: I think it's the same thing like with the band name. Naming an album/naming a band you want the name of the album to be sounding like the music, of course. It's not like we are singing about the apocalypse, we are not a religious band singing about the apocalypse (laughs), "the apocalypse is around the corner", no it is more in a vague way, it's cool words put together. Like Rock lyrics should be. It's not too much meaning, it's poetic and it kind of sounds like a Rock album to me. It is dark and the music is kind of apocalyptic sometimes as well.

Since you've already had great success with Mando Diao & Sugarplum Fairy, you are known in the music business. How did it feel after all these years of experience to restart again with a debut album?

Samuel: It's like when you do something for the first time again, it's a great feeling. Because you have a lot of freedom, it's like a blank sheet of paper to start over. But then we also, of course, have a lot of experience from before, so we can take that and put it into this, which is good.

Viktor: In a way you enjoy it more, because you know, what you are in the middle of. When you're in a new band, you don't know anything. You're like in this weird circus going around. A couple of years later you say "Why didnt I enjoy it more? It was so cool". But now we know we are very lucky to be able to do it again. And you know there is so many bands out there and most of them don't get the chance to get another record deal and go on tour. So we feel very fortunate to be able to do this. And we really enjoy the music, we enjoy playing it.

Last time you've played in Vienna, you mentioned that "Not Worth A Second Of My Time" is your guys' favorite song. Why do you like it best? How did the song start out?

Viktor: Well, I think, when we started to jam, we realized, that we wanted to make harder Rock than before. And we wanted to make it as hard as we could. We are not Hard Rockers or Heavy Metal guys so we can't really play Metal, we don't really know how to do that. But we can play Hard Rock and I think this song is the hardest we can play. (laughs) This is as far as we can stretch it. And that's why we like, because this is as hard as we get.

Samuel: It is also, because it was one of the earlier songs, that we really nailed down.

Viktor, you're the songwriter. How do you get inspired to write?

Viktor: I think, it's environmental. Being in this band as well because, like I said before, when we started together to jam, all of a sudden I felt as if I could write 100 songs in a day and before it was a bit harder. So I think it's important to be in an environment, where you feel inspired. Because then, if you can write songs, it's very easy. I know, when I write a song, and Jonas is going to play the guitar, and Samuel is going play the drums, it's going to sound awesome. And if I know that, then I can just keep writing songs all day. So I think it's because of the band.

Since you are a 90s inspired band: What band of the 90s has influenced you guys & your style of music? Do you guys have the same interest in artists?

Viktor: Yeah like Nirvana. Brit Pop. We never really liked the harder stuff, we like it more now. When we were kids we liked more Pop. But now we like to play Rock. We like to listen to Pop and play Rock. Most people are the other way around.

Samuel: I think, of course, bands like Oasis and Nirvana and all the other great 90s bands. But in this band, I think, we didn't really think about the influences or what we wanted to sound like. It just happened like we said before organically and you know it came out of Viktor's pop songs formed into this, what it is now. When people told us it sounds like this and that, that's when we think about it. But we don't really think about it, when we make the music.

You started the year with your first album and a tour. What more is coming in 2014, what are your plans?

Viktor: Well, we gonna record our next album in a couple of months actually. That's the plan. We have so many songs now, the inspiration is high. Even though I say it's easy, you never know, when you're going to run out. So when you are on a high, you better keep on rolling. (laughs) And because we really liked that also, when we were kids. Bands, that we liked, came out with new albums all the time. Nowadays a band releases an album and then they are off for 5 years. And then they come back and "Oh you guys, I kind of remember you" (laughs), but they look different and...

Samuel: ... I think, also you put more pressure on yourself, when you're away for such a long time. Especially for a new band. And we need more songs, we want to tour and play our music.

Viktor: And also we have more songs, so we want to release them. I think it would be cool to have two albums in one year. That's really oldschool. (laughs) But maybe only next year, probably.

How long did you guys spend in the studio for this album?

Samuel: 2 or 3 months with mixing and everything. Viktor did demos and sent them to Jonas and he put some more stuff on it. And then we rehearse it 3 times and then it's done basically (laughs).

Viktor: We are very fast. We kind of have a system, which is very efficient. Like a factory of Hard Rock. (laughs) Maybe that's gonna be the title of the next album... (everyone laughs) "The Hard Rock Factory".

Great, now you already have a name for the next album. (laughter) How do you like Vienna? Do you guys even get to see the cities you play in? 

Samuel: We've been here many times and I like the vibe and everything. But it's like, even if you go to a city ten times, you don't really get to see like the sights or whatever, because you don't spend enough time there. But we've been here and it's a beautiful city.

Viktor: Yeah and great people.

Samuel: Sometimes the security guards can be a bit harsh, I have experience of that at Flex. I remember one time we were playing there, they started hitting people in the crowd. But other than that, I think it's great. (laughs)

What was the funniest or craziest incident you've ever experienced on a stage or on a tour?

Viktor: Well, with this band, we didn't do too many tours. But one cool thing was, I think, the fourth or fifth time we ever played live together, we opened for Bon Jovi in Stockholm with 35.000 people. That was the fourth time we ever played together (laughs) That was kind of crazy, because we were just developing at that time.

How did it go?

Viktor: It was great, yeah. A good start to kind of kick-start the band.

What are some essentials for you when you're on tour? 

Viktor: Now we are bringing our "portable studio"/"Hard Rock Factory" (laughs), we are making demos in the tour bus. I think that's an essential, because we never want to take a break from the inspiration.

Samuel: Yeah, I mean sitting in the car for 8 hours a day is like what are you going to do? (laughs)

What do Viktor & The Blood do when they are not making music?

Viktor: Nothing (everyone laughs)

Samuel: I don't know, just like what normal people do. I have a family...

Viktor: ...Everyone is just chillin', because we are working so hard, when we are on the road, and when we are not on the road, we are basically in the studio all the time. It's also very intense, even though it's the coolest job in the world, it's intense to constantly be in music, because also the music is intense, so you are kind of living in this world of Rock. And then I just like to go out and take a run, like escape the world. That's nice, I think. 

Thank you for your time and good luck for the rest of your tour!

Daniela König

Redakteurin & Fotografin

Website: | Reisen, Food & Musik


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