If this Friday evening wasn’t hardcore enough, somewhere amidst the chaos of life I managed to have a chat with Swedish rocker Joakim Berg of the super hard rock band HardcoreSuperstar to chat about their upcoming album ‘You Can’t Kill My Rock and Roll’ as well as their upcoming Australian tour.
While we didn’t have a Jagerbomb we did have a lengthy convo which was still pretty cool.
J: How are you going?
J: You’re heading over to Australia for the first time in ten years, you’ve got to been keen for that?
Yeah, it’s been a long time. I remember the last time we were there, it was like arriving in a whole new world! If I were to move to any other country in the world, it would be Australia. I love Sweden very much, it’s my home, but if I ever had to move, I would definitely move to Australia. I also hope I get to hold a koala and meet a kangaroo this time, I didn’t get to last time.
J: You’ve got your new album ‘You Can’t Kill My Rock n Roll’ coming out in September, tell me a bit about that?
We started writing it about a year ago, and we’ve released four tracks already. We wrote fifty songs in total, but we only wanted to put eleven tracks on the album. So we went through and picked our favourites and the ones that worked together to form the album. We also have a few extra bonus tracks for a bit later. We thought eleven tracks was the right amount, we didn’t want to go crazy and make a super long record that drags on.
J: Twenty years ago you released you first record ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ which has quite ‘a similar title to your new record, was that a coincidence or was that intentionally linked?
It’s more of a statement actually. It started out as ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’, and now after twenty years in the business, nobody can stop us, nobody can kill our Rock n Roll. If anyone’s gonna kill it, it’s gonna be me!
J: How do you think your sound has developed over those twenty years?
Well I was listening to ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ the other day because I hadn’t listened to it in a very long time. I’d say the main thing is time and experience, my voice sounds so much better now than it did then, and everybody is much more skilled at their instruments. My voice has come so far over this time, I sing much better at the age of fourty four than I did at twenty four, it’s crazy. Our dedication to become better musicians and write better songs has kept us going, and made us much better than we used to be.
J: What’s the secret to the bands longevity?
It’s the love of music. Some day you wake up, and you’re really hung-over, and you don’t want to do it, but then you do and it’s great. I remember being so hung-over before a show one time, I vomited ten minutes before we were meant to play, but I just had a shot of Jager and went on stage, and it was an awesome night! As soon as I get on stage it’s like there’s this force, this power that grabs you and brings such good energy, I love it.
J: I wanted to ask about Soundwave 2014, you were on the line up but had to pull out at the last minute?
We had some issues with the timetable being changed at the last minute to a time that wasn’t suitable for us, and there was also issues with payment. Unfortunately, if we don’t get paid, we can’t afford to go all the way to Australia, so we had to pull out. We were sad about that, and hope we can make it up to our fans this time around.
J: How did you first get into music, particularly metal music?
When I was about eight years old I went to my friend’s house, and his older brother had this KISS record, and we listened to it, and I loved the electric guitar, I thought I was so cool. When I was nine I got my own KISS record, as well as a Motley Crue one, and I listened to them over and over. I remember saying to my mum, “this is what I’m going to do one day”, and she pat me on the head and said “Let’s see about that”. Look at me now! In 2007 we played a hometown show, and we sold out the local venue that had a capacity of three thousand five hundred people. After the show my mum came up to me and said “Now I understand what you said to me when you were nine.”
J: I wanted to ask how the band originally met and came together?
Myself and one of the other members used to be in a band together before Hardcore Superstar, it was a lot more grungy. Grunge was popular at the time, but not what I really grew up with. I wanted to go back to my roots and play some good old rock n roll. So we decided to start this band, and we found our drummer, in the beginning we were a trio. After about six months we found our other guitarist, and that’s how it all began in ’97. Our first show ever was on the fifteenth of November 1997, I remember it like it was yesterday.
J: Do you have any messages for your fans down under?
We’re very appreciative of the support that you have given us over the years, and we’re very sorry about all the Soundwave stuff. It wasn’t our fault, but we hope we can make it up to you when we come back this time.
J: Have you got any plans to collaborate with any other musicians in the future? If you could collaborate with any musician, dead, or alive, who would it be?
No collaborations planned yet, but I would have loved to collaborate with Lemmy. We had a moment on tour once for about four and a half hours. We were on tour and I was in the tour bus, and his manager came to me and said “Lemmy wants to talk to you”. I went to his bus and sat with him, and he offered me a drink, which I accepted. He poured me a drink that was about seventy percent whisky, and thirty percent coke. We just talked about music for hours, and when we were done I was so drunk that they had to carry me out. I saw him again in LA five years later, we hadn’t talked or anything, but as soon as he saw me he said “Hi Joakim! Want a whisky and coke?” As if no time had passed. He was a lovely, very intelligent gentleman. May he rest in peace.
J: It’s been fantastic talking to you!
Seeya later man.
Don’t miss HardcoreSuperstar on their first Australian tour in ten years! Dishing out a range of their hits from across the decades!
Interview by Jonathan Matthews