"We wanted to take our style and push it further than before" - hmv.com talks to Blues Pills
Swedish bluesy foursome Blues Pills unveil their second LP Lady In Gold today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page) and we sat down with singer Elin Larsson and bassist Zack Anderson to find out all about how it came together...
When did you start work on Lady In Gold?
Elin: "In 2014 we entered the studio to write songs. The whole album was written in the studio so it took a really long time, two years. We actually started on this record before our debut came out!"
How did you want the album to move on from your debut album?
Zack: "I don’t know if we really thought about it, but I think that naturally we get influenced by different music all the time so there’s newer influences. This time around we were listening to a lot of soul like Aretha Franklin and stuff with a lot of piano. So we added more extra instruments like organs and pianos and group vocals. We just wanted to take the same style and just push it further than before."
As a band, do you write lots of songs and then choose the best ones? Or is it a more focused process?
Elin: "For this album we had 15 songs I thinkm but we didn’t finish all 15 songs. We have a few songs left to work on..."
Zack: "It seems like we always try to work on more songs than we need but in the end we have just enough for an album!"
You worked with Don Alsterberg on the album, as you did on your debut, what does he give you as a producer?
Elin: "He’s good at squeezing out the best of you. He’s very pushy in a good way and if he doesn’t like something he’s going to tell you that."
Zack: "He just has good taste and also because he’s the engineer and he’s doing everything he just sees the whole picture of recording."
Can you sum up the album lyrically? Is there a common theme or do the songs sit apart from each other?
Zack: "They’re kind of sitting apart I think, because the songs were written over such a long time that they’re just about different things, some of the lyrics were written years apart from the other songs. I think it’s just whatever we were feeling or getting inspired by somewhere along the line of that two year journey when we were making the album."
Elin: "Well this compared to the first album I think is a lot more fictional. Some songs are pretty personal but there’s a lot of fiction in the lyrics."
When did you settle on the title of Lady In Gold? And why?
Zack: "Lady in Gold was one of our favourite tracks which is why it’s the first song on the album. It was also one of the first songs we wrote for the album so it just sort of felt like a good song to sum up the sound of the whole album."
Were there any other titles discussed?
Elin: "Well, we wanted it first to be called Psychological Prison, but we changed our minds because it felt too negative."
What was the song on the album that took the longest to get right?
Zack: "'Bad Talkers'. We re-wrote the song three or four times then we had to start over and re-record the song, and then it would change only slightly so we’d have to re-do another part, we just kept starting over. It really burnt us out… but then that led to another track on the album!"
And which came together most quickly?
Zack: "'Lady In Gold' was one of the first ones we finished, so that was probably the easiest because we’d had the idea for that for a long time and 'Burned Out' came out pretty easily too."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
Zack: "We have Rickard Nygren who’s our organ and piano player and also second guitarist so he’s joined us to help us play the songs live and we didn’t have him last time around. Having him just fills up the sound a lot more for Dorian’s solo’s so you don’t lose the rhythm and everything just sounds much bigger. Rickard really makes the songs more powerful and the piano and organ creates a different atmosphere than what we were able to do before with only guitar."
Elin: "We’re opening up for Deep Purple in end of July in Europe just for a few shows then we have a lot of festivals throughout the rest of summer. We start our headline with Kadavar supporting in October and we’re doing quite a lot of dates in the UK this time around starting from November. We have a few ideas for stepping up the show for venues like Koko but mostly we’ll finally have some new songs which we’re really excited about as we haven’t done them over here before!"
Blues Pills' new album Lady In Gold is out now and available to preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page.