Hardcore Superstar have been the leaders of the Swedish sleaze invasion for over a decade now. Their first tour of Australia back in 2008 occurred just as the band were beginning to break out of the confines of Scandinavia, and saw the band play 2 clubs shows in the eastern states. Since then they have gone on the headline hard rock festivals though out Europe, including playing the main stage of Swedenrock. An aborted tour of Australia a few years back tied up in the Soundwave saga, saw the bands absence in Australia stretch to 10 years. Enter Silverback touring, and a four date tour is scheduled to hit our shores next month including the band’s first ever visit to Adelaide – playing Fowlers Live on of June 17 with Laced in Lust and The Babes. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles caught up with lead singer Jocke Berg to discuss the upcoming album and Australian tour.
It’s been ten years since your last visit to Australia. Why so long between drinks?
We were actually supposed to go back there for Soundwave but they fucked up the schedule. We were scheduled for one time to play and then they change it, and then they changed it again. By then we were fed up with their attitude and what they were doing so we cancelled. It wasn’t right to do that to us – so that’s why we cancelled. We were sad for the fans in Australia of course – but you can’t take shit.
Last time you were in Australia you had a young man named Vic Zino carrying your bags. Now its ten years later what can you see that he has brought to the band?
He’s brought a lot to the band. A lot of energy on stage- I mean…. You’ve seen us through the years. I’ve got a lot of energy on stage, and compared to Thomas (our former guitar player) Vic has a lot more energy. He’s got far to go to reach my energy level, but he’s doing his best. Haha. Vic is great – he brought a whole new energy to the band.
Are you still close with Thomas Silver?
Actually in ten years I’ve talked to him maybe ten times. So were not close friends, but I love the man. He’s a good man.
I was lucky enough to witness your sold out arena show in your hometown of Gothenburg just last month. How important is it to the band to still have such a big following at home, whilst at the same time touring the world?
Yeah… they say that you don’t become a legend in your home town, but…. I’m not saying we are legends or anything, but when we come back to Gothenburg after a tour it’s like meeting your family. When we did that show in Gothenburg, I mean …you were there… Usually I don’t get exhausted from a show even if I’m all over the place. But my family was there, my daughter was sitting on stage, and afterwards I grabbed my family, I went to take a shower and I told my wife “we’re going home now . No after party – we’re going home now”. I love my family, my family is the best. They are supporting me, so I want to go home and spend some time with the kids the next day. But I was exhausted. I grabbed a beer when I got home and sat down on the sofa and I fell asleep.
It’s got to be better to sit down at a sofa at home rather than a hotel?
Yes, Home is home.
For that show you had quite a big production. Confetti bombs, illuminated rotating crosses, … even an onstage bar. Are you planning on bringing the full show to Australia?
It costs too much money. We aren’t going to bring the bar with us, but I really wanted to have that. Maybe the confetti bombs. But we can still bring the fans up onstage. You got Jägermeister in Australia don’t you?
OK… problem solved.
Four shows in four days – that’s quite a hectic schedule. Are the band planning any time off to relax whilst in Australia, or will it be a fly in-fly out visit?
That’s the sad part. Travelling so far to a land that… I remember last time we were there ten years ago in Sydney and Melbourne, I wanted to stay there a week more. But we don’t have the time because we have shows at home. But this time were going down about the June 11 and back home by the June 19 so it’s in and out sadly. But I would like to see as much as I can. I really want to meet a kangaroo or a koala. [Ok, if you any spare time whilst you’re here, we’ll see what we can do for you haha].
In regards to the new album, you have already released a handful of songs. What is the idea behind releasing a string of singles prior to the album itself?
We talked about it before we recorded the album… the last Ghost album, they did that. They released four or five singles before the album. We thought that would be cool. Instead of releasing two singles, and then let the fans wait for half a year for the full album to come out – just give them teasers while they wait. I don’t know if it official yet but were leaking Baboon on the May 18, and then we’re releasing another one after that.. and then comes the album on September 21.
With the videos for this album you seem to be having quite a bit of fun and creativity. What’s been the driving force behind making this style of video this time round?
The stories in the videos as going along with the lyrics. ‘Bring the House Down’…. Is like…. Kick the record labels arse. Destroy their office- because no one likes record companies, haha.
I see a lot of your artwork from your recently released CD’s and t-shirts seems to be very “tattoo” inspired. Where has that arisen from?
We found this awesome artist in Argentina – Gisele, who is amazing. She makes amazing artwork, so we asked here is she wanted to, she is a fan of the band. We asked her if she could do some artwork for us on the singles and the t-shirts and album cover, and she was like “yeah! Please I want to do that!” So we kept in contact, we’re still in contact – She’s the best. She’s a tattoo artist as well.
Each of the band’s releases has quite a different feel to it, breaching out in many directions such as glam, sleaze, punk, metal, thrash. Is this something the band does on purpose or just a natural evolution for the band?
I think it’s a natural evolution actually. We write songs that we like ourselves. If it’s a good song, it’s a good song… then we put it on the album. Of course we wrote a lot a crappy songs throughout the years. I think we wrote like fifty songs for this album, so there were a lot of crappy songs as well. We have to like them ourselves – that’s the most important thing. I think if we like them, and people can see that we like them – they will like it. They have a neutral feeling but they can see in our eyes that we love what we do, we’re loving the new songs, we love playing the songs live and then people will get into it.
All these aforementioned hard rock genres still seem to be very prominent in Sweden, whilst tending to struggle in many other parts of the world. Why do you think Sweden still support the heavy rock, sleaze and metal genres?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s something in the water supply here in Sweden. We drink rock n roll! In Sweden we either play soccer, or ice hockey or play music. Martin used to be a hockey player, I used to be a soccer player – but were better playing music.
Are there any up and coming Swedish bands that you think we should be on the lookout for?
There’s a good band, a really good band, friends of ours….. The Last Band. They’re awesome! Check them out. They’re releasing a new single and video today I think.
I’ll have to have a look.
Check them out, they’re really good.
You’re visiting Adelaide for the first time, playing on a Sunday night. What do you say to the people who are still unsure if they will come out on a Sunday night to see Hardcore Superstar?
If you don’t go, you’ll miss the time of your life. You’ve seen us Lindsay, so you know what I’m talking about.
For Sure. I’ve been telling everyone you one of the best live bands I’ve seen.
We Don’t Celebrate Sunday..so come!
We’ll party on Sunday. Anyway Jocke, thank you for your time today and we can’t wait to see you here in Adelaide. There’s a lot of great support bands lined up for the tour so it’s gonna be good! You’ve got a lot of fans here in Adelaide, so hoping you can pull a great crowd even though it’s a Sunday night.
Nice talking to you. See you in Adelaide.
Interview by Lindsay Bulach
Catch Hardcore Superstar on the following dates…