Sweden’s Spiders have just released their second album, Shake Electric, on Spinefarm Records and vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles was kind enough to talk to Rock! Shock! Pop! about the band, touring, and of course the new album itself.
Rock! Shock! Pop! - So Shake Electric is out now, Spiders’ second album. How would you say this differs from the first record, Flash Point?
Ann-Sofie Hoyles - I think you can hear elements that are similar to some tracks from Flash Point but after Flash Point we started to work more together with the songs so you can hear all of Spiders members in the new album. I think we also got more influences from the late 70's like Heart, T-Rex and David Bowie. And of course it's a different sound because we choose another studio to record this album. Mattias Glavå who recorded, mixed and produced the album works totally analogue and we also recorded more live this time, even the vocals.
R!S!P! - What sort of experiences did you get after recording the first album and touring for it, and how did that shape the second album?
Ann-Sofie - One big revelation for myself was that I really like to record the vocals live together with the others. We have always recorded guitar, bass and drums together and then I did the singing after, but for Shake Electric we recorded all together (only backing vocals and guitar solos and percussion are done after) and it felt that we all got more energy from each other in the songs. I can also feel that we work better together since we have played a lot live since Flash Point, we trust each others capabilities to write songs and how we all work in the studio.
When we're out touring we also spend a lot of time together in the bus, listening to good music and getting influenced at the same time of what we all listen to, it's great to spend much time together when you create music because you start to understand how your band members think about music!
R!S!P! - You’ve just recently finished up your ‘The Creatures Of The North’ tour in which you played 23 shows in 23 cities in 23 days. Was this exhausting or do you guys get off on touring? I know some bands enjoy it more than others.
Ann-Sofie - It's been a great tour and we had a lot of time in the days free so we have seen so many nice cities and met a lot of lovely people. Some days it was many interviews before the gig but it was really exciting and we felt glad that so much happened in these 23 days! Then I think it's easy to be on tour when you're surrounded by your husband and best friends all the time, I couldn't enjoy the tour so much if I didn't like these people so much, that's what it's all about in the end!
R!S!P! - What has the fan response been to hearing the new material played live?
Ann-Sofie - I was so surprised when I saw people singing along in the new songs! That made us feel confident about the new songs.
We also felt that the new songs worked really well together with the old songs, we mixed 50/50 I think.
In the new songs, it's more backing vocals and I play guitar in some of them so it all felt new and fresh for both us and the audience I hope!
R!S!P! - I’ve never seen you play live in person but have seen enough clips online to know that Spiders shows are pretty theatrical. What do you feel Spiders brings to the live experience that other bands do not and how important is the look of the band to you?
Ann-Sofie - I love to see bands live and I really appreciate when bands do "the little extra" to make a great show, in Spiders it's really important to get in the mood before we get on stage so we always put on our stage clothes and preparing us together for a great show! I think that people that like to see Spiders live can feel that we don't just get up and plays some songs, it's more than that! That's how we feel about being on stage.
Rock n' Roll is about creating magic in music… energy and how you move and look. I love Little Richard, MC5, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Tina Turner and bands that really knew how to shimmer and explode live!
Many of Spiders’ stage clothes are hand sewed and designed by us and the artists behind it.
R!S!P! - Tell us about how Spiders got started. How did you and the other guys in the group meet and what inspired you all to put a band together?
Ann-Sofie - It's so fun to think about how it all started because Spiders was never meant to be a band like we are now. From the beginning it was only an idea to use John's old riffs he had and make a 7" or something. So he and our ex-drummer Axel Sjöberg (of Graveyard) decided to jam some day and then me and our ex-bass player, Matteo Gambacorta, came along and we did 4 songs so fast! We had so much fun together and one day Axel told us he had booked a studio (Don Ahlsterberg's) and that we also had a gig! Haha, we didn't even have a name at that point! After that we never wanted to quit playing so we've just kept on rolling and have been so lucky that our friends Ricard Harryson (drums) and Olle Griphammar (bass) wanted to join us!
R!S!P! - I hear a lot of 70s glam/punk and garage rock influences in your sound – bands like The Stooges and The New York Dolls and The Runaways and early Alice Cooper – yet Spiders are obviously from Sweden. Do you feel American music has had a bigger influence on your style than European rock n roll? If so, why?
Ann-Sofie – Haha, yes all the bands you named are favorites of mine… When I look in my vinyl collection it's so many great American bands from the 60's and the 70's, but also bands from England. In that period everything was new and many great bands recorded the best albums I've ever heard! And when I was younger and got more and more interested in rock n' roll music I started to search for the roots of it and I found the old blues and soul and it's from America so it's always been many bands from your country that inspired me. I have dreams of touring in America and also recording there someday! I've been on vacation in San Francisco, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi and New York and I really love the musical culture over there!
R!S!P! - What is the writing process like within the band. Is there one principal songwriter or is it a collaborative effort where you all work together?
Ann-Sofie - John has written most of our songs and I have done some of them too but I think we finished most of the song-ideas together in the rehearsal studio. The drummer is also a really good lyrics writer!
R!S!P! - Female vocalists aren’t as common in rock n roll as male vocalists, for whatever reason. Why do you think this is and have you ever been treated differently in the industry because of your gender?
Ann-Sofie - It's not only in the rock n' roll scene this is a problem, it's the whole society that has been pretty fucked up with problems about genus I think, but it's on its way to change I think and hope. If you listen to many rock bands from the 60's and the 70's you can't really hear if it's a male or female vocalist, rock n' roll is very androgynous music which is good and you can't even always see if the bands are girls or boys, haha!! The only way I get treated differently from my male-friends who play music is that I always get questioned about it I think, I haven't noticed anything else!
R!S!P! - Who would you say are the vocalists who have had the biggest impact or influence on your own singing style?
Ann-Sofie - To sing is a little bit special if you compare it to playing an instrument. When you sing you have to get used to how your voice sounds and you can't do so much about it, haha. But of course I'm influenced from great singers I listen to and many of them come from the soul music. Tina Turner and Etta James are two favorites and then I love Little Richard and Freddie King, so pretty strong and expressionist voices, and I love to mix that with a touch of monotone singing as Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.
R!S!P! - What makes the band want to play the style of music that they play? And by that I mean what makes you all want to play this style instead of something that might be more commercially successful?
Ann-Sofie - Music is the most fantastic thing I can do in my life so I would never throw it away by making music I don't like. Spiders always follow our hearts and we just make music we really like to play and if I wasn't a member myself of this band I would love to listen and see the band live, that's what drives us.
R!S!P! - You’ve played with a lot of interesting bands over the years – who has been your favorite and why?
Ann-Sofie - Ok I have two!! Haha! We did a month European tour with Graveyard and that was so fun because they are close friends to us and we both bands play a lot which means we don't have time to see each other so often. So to see them every day in a month was really nice!
The second is the Norwegian band Kvelertak, they were such nice people, it's almost a year ago and I still miss them. It was fun to see that our music fit together with their music and their audience.
R!S!P! - Rumor has it that Spiders are going to be touring in North America soon – is that so and if it is, what can American (and Canadian?) fans expect from the Spiders live experience?
Ann-Sofie - Yeah, as I mentioned earlier in the interview - it's a big dream for me and Spiders to tour in America but nothing is confirmed yet, but when we come over you can expect four happy, excited Spiders members that are gonna play shows with so much energy and magic that you're never ever gonna forget us! Hahaha.
R!S!P! - What else can Spiders fans expect from the band in 2015? Anything else you want to mention before we wrap up?
Ann-Sofie - Right now we're working on a new video to one of the songs on Shake Electric and we are going to play a lot live and we are also writing new songs already! I think you are gonna see a lot of Spiders in 2015!
Thank you so much, it was nice to answer your questions. See you!
R!S!P! – And thank you for taking the time to talk to us! Anyone who loves rock n roll should check out Spiders’ website here and keep their eyes open for tour dates and other info.