"It was quite fun, but looking back, I’d never do it again.." - Blues Pills talk their new album Holy Moly!
Every artist secretly dreams of owning their own studio. Whether it's a converted shed in their back garden or a gargantuan space like Metallica's HQ, a place to come and work every day without a ticking clock and ever-growing bill.
Few get a chance to do it. Partly that's time constraints, mostly, it's a case of getting organised. But getting organised is something Swedish rockers Blues Pills have found the time to do.
Their new album, Holy Moly!, was recorded in their newly created Lindbacka Sounds. The band took an old factory in the rural area of Närke, Sweden and filled it up with analogue recording equipment, making their own personal heaven.
With the album now on hmv's shelves, we spoke to bassist and key songwriter Zack Anderson about it came together, both the studio and the album itself...
It’s a very strange time to be releasing a record, have you managed to enjoy the process at all?
"It’s definitely weird, because we can’t really do much, but we’ve got a really positive response from our fans for the album. It’s been fun just seeing reactions and getting nice messages about it. It’s a shame that we can’t go on tour and play shows as we would normally do. We are really excited to play live again."
Did you have a goal of how you wanted the album to move on from what you did on Lady In Gold?
"I don’t think we had a goal soundwise going into it. We had a really long break, and then at the beginning of 2019, we felt ready to start working on an album. We just met up and started jamming and bouncing the ideas we had not really knowing where it would go, but just doing what felt right in that moment. It turned out to be quite a bit rockier and heavier than Lady in Gold."
You built your own studio to make this album, how was that? Was it fun making your own base camp?
"It was quite a long process leading up to that, so it wasn’t just for this album necessarily. But we did move into a bigger space before making this album. It was quite fun, but looking back at the building part, I’d never do it again. I’d rather hire someone for that and spend time making music."
"I’ve been kind of a nerd about collecting recording gear ever since I started to play music. I remember me and my stepbrother would make demo’s on an old portastudio pretty much as soon as we could barely play our instruments, so recording has always been a part of the music."
You produced the album yourselves, why did you decide to do that rather than bringing in an outside voice?
"We actually tried to find a producer but it just wasn’t really working out timewise, or for whatever reason. We were making the demos in our studio, and at some point, we were like 'Well this already sounding pretty good...' We just decided to take it one step further and have that be the final album. Along the way we also just sort of realised how comfortable it was to be able to do it ourselves. It brings new challenges to the table."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"There were a lot of songs which we made a lot of different versions before we were happy. I know 'Dust' had like five different versions. To be honest, pretty much the whole album was like that."
And which came together most quickly?
"When we made 'Proud Woman', we were kind of stuck, so we just said 'Okay, we need another upbeat song'. We jammed and we hit record so if we stumbled onto something we wouldn’t forget. I started to play the riff, Andre (Kvarnström, drummer) played that beat, and Elin (Larsson, singer) just started singing “I’m a Proud Woman” and voila… That was pretty much it. Next song."
When did you settle on Holy Moly! for the title? Were there any other titles in contention?
"We decided pretty much at the last second. We couldn’t find something we liked. Then finally it just popped up and it felt like it fit the artwork and the music. It’s quite an intense album, especially the first half, so it sort of worked. There was a list with a lot of names, but I can’t remember, they were really bad..."
Are you able to make any live plans at the moment? Or are you looking towards 2021?
"We are planning for 2021, but even those plans are a bit shaky. We will see what happens..."
How have you spent lockdown? Have you kept writing?
"In Sweden, we haven't had any total lockdown, so we were still able to practice sometimes. But yes, otherwise I’ve been writing some and we’ve been making some videos for the band. Trying to keep busy."