It took a while, but finally, here’s my interview with The Generals from Karlstad. I went to Karlsdad a weekend last February, so it’s a little more than one year ago! That was the day were I managed to do three interviews and concert in one day!
In the afternoon I met with Hednar, Dick and Rickard from The Generals, in the bar Heaven & Hell (R.I.P.) in Karlstad.
It turned out tha band isn’t from Karlstad actually, but a band from county of Dalsland and managed to keep together for 14 years without changing any members.
It became a interesting and fun afternoon in Karlstad, and here’s the interview:
Hello mates! Could you do a short presentation of the band for those that don’t know you?
Hednar: We started in 2002. Me and Dick got together when we were doing our military service, and we became buds. A year after that we formed the band, mostly for fun, just to play some rock n’ roll. Richard and Dick met in high school.
Rickard: And then came Martin, and that’s when we became a band, and the one thing we had in common were Entombed, and bands like Grand Magus and Spiritual Beggars.
Hednar: We didn’t write that many songs in the beginning, we started by rehearsal the song Angel of betrayal with Spiritual Beggars.
Dick: But we had some luck in the beginning. We won a competition, and I think we were almost to old to participate… But we played two songs and we won, so we thought that, “Well, guess we are pretty good then…” Our first gig after that was on a lorry platform…
Hednar: It was a different time then, with the live-scene and everything…
Rickard: There was no Internet at that time. You took the phonebook and try to find places to do a gig and then we called them up and said: “We want to do a gig at your place, we cost 2000 Swedish crowns!” And the answer was: “OK, you’re in for the next weekend! “
Me: But is it easy to get gigs today?
Rickard: I think it’s harder for newly started bands. It’s not hard for us to get gigs, but at the same time, we don’t play for free anymore. And that’s not what the clubs wants to hear, but we won’t go to this small town and pay to play, you know!?
Dick: It’s hard. There are so many bands today, so it’s a very saturated market today.
Me: Do you do any gigs nowadays?
Rickard: Well, no… Here’s the thing. We’ve released two albums, and now we want to have something new to offer. So, when we release the next album, well then, we will have to show it of course.
Me: Yeah, I’ve seen some clips on Facebook that indicates that you’re recording some new stuff?
Hednar: Well, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re in the writing process and it’s going pretty good. But we can’t spend that much time in our rehearsal studio right now. Life is getting in the way, three or four children, houses and cars that have to be fixed… so we rehears between 9:30 and 11:30 pm…
Dick: I’m really looking forward to this album! Fucking exciting!
Me: Is it like two years since the last album? Or is it three?
Hednar: Three I think. That’s when we did a short tour in Sweden, and the last time we played live, right?
Rickard: This next album, we have an idea of what it should be like, and so what if it takes us one extra year to complete it? There’s no one chasing us, so when we release it, it’s going to be really good!
Me: At least as good as the last one I hope?
Hednar: It have to be better!
Me: But I really like the last one, “Blood for blood”!
Hednar: Good thing that you liked it!
Me: I might think that your first album was a bit better….
The Generals: It’s always special with that first album, it’s kind of a best of album for a lot of years…
(Then we had a short discussion about the first and the second album, I don’t think that you have to hear that…!)
Hednar: We released the first album seven years after we started the band, so some of the songs are about five years old, some a couple of months… Of course, it’s a bit special.
Me: But OK. It’s been a lot of years since you released that one, and you haven’t played live that much… So, I guess you didn’t start to play death metal to get rich and famous?
The Generals: Well, no… or… well it started that way….
Rickard: No, I think we realized pretty soon that we started in the wrong genre if we wanted to be rich!
Hednar: We can’t make a living out of this. We might have if we could do it all over again if we would be like 20 years old, then we could drive around in a bus, making contacts with a decent fee and no obligations.
Me: Maybe it’s easier when you’re younger. How old are you guys today?
Rickard and Hednar: We’re all born in 1982, except Martin, he’s two years younger than us. So, we’re 34 today.
Me: Where do you have your fans?
Rickard: We did a pretty big tour with Annihilator so that gave us pretty much fans, even though we haven’t been touring Europe after that.
Hednar: We’ve played a lot in The Netherlands as well, and they seem to like us. We were talking about at doing a headliner-tour in Europe after the next album, but that’s just thoughts right now…
Rickard: But it’s a tough genre. We see bands that come here, bands that you’ve really looking forward to, and then there’s like 40 people in the audience… It’s hard being in the tough genre.
Dick: We always try to do an amazing show, even if it’s like 4 people looking…. We always have a great time when we do a show!
Rickard: If we get one fan out of ten that’s watching, it’s a win!
Me: But there is still bands out there that are pretty big and playing rather heavy music…
Rickard: It’s all about getting around and be seen.
Hednar: Yeah, that’s how you have to do it today. Touring and be seen.
Rickard: Well, you could be lucky and get a fat record-deal…. Then the company makes sure you’re out there and seen. But we’re on a small company without muscles.
Me: Yeah, I discovered you on Metalcentral when you released your first album.
Hednar: They only released two albums….
Rickard: Well, at the same time, there is some kind of freedom there… But it would be great if someone said, here’s $20000, make an album! That wouldn’t hurt if you know what I mean…
Me: So, what do you do to be seen? NOT update your webpage, that’s for sure….!!!
Rickard: What the fuck!?? Hahaha!!! But that’s actually a really interesting question. If I ask you (me, thePepsRocker that is), do you look at band webpages, or do you follow them on Facebook?
Me: To be honest, in your case, I just checked out your webpage when I got contact with you.
Rickard: We’ve discussed whether we should have a webpage or not. Just do Facebook and Instagram? On Facebook I think we are pretty updated. It’s all about being seen.
Hednar: We’ve been kind of inactive. Maybe we fallen into a trap, living on old qualifications.
Rickard: Right now, it’s family and children, so we don’t gig that much anymore. We have to make this next album come true, and hopefully it will get better. We are still active, we write stuff and hang out.
Me: So, about that new album, do you have any plans for releasing it?
Hednar: No such plans at all! With the last album, we made time lines and stuff
Dick: And we had the studio booked and everything was good to go, so we just had to put that last piece together
Rickard: Yeah, everything was booked and we had to create the last song in the studio!
Dick: But that was one of the best songs on the album I think.
Rickard: Yes, it was! We created the song “Evil Transcends” in the studio.
Hednar: Yeah, we would like to avoid it this time… If we were to book the studio today, we would only have half of the songs ready…
Rickard: People ask us, when are your next record due? And I think that, it’s been three years since the last one, so if it takes another year, it doesn’t really matter. It’s better that we do a really good album, so what when we release it! We don’t feel any pressure, I mean, we’re not on every body’s lips right now anyway!
Me: When I was doing research about you guys, the feeling I got was that you’re a really great band live. So how do you do it? Most of the times here in Sweden, people just stand with their arms around the chest!?
Dick: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of people telling us that we did a great show.
Rickard: Yes, a lot of the times we’ve seen that the crowd is starting to move around. I think that we have that rock n’ roll groove in our music, you know?
Dick: And we don’t stand still. We move around. I mean, it’s no fun looking at some dude in a grey t-shirt, playing the guitar and like stare at his watch all the time…
Me: Yeah, you do have a lot of rock n’ roll in your music. A lot of late Entombed I think…
Hednar: Do you hear it on both albums?
Me: Well no, mostly on “Stand up straight” of course. But it still there on “Blood for blood” I think. So, what are your influences?
Rickard: We all have very different influences. I’m most in to reggae and classic rock, Hednar loves American 90s hard-core like Biohazard and Life of Agony. Dick’s an old punk-rocker, and Martins the most metal head of us, but we meet each-other with the blues, and combined we make death-metal!
Hednar: That’s one of the reasons we went on this road
Dick: It was rock n’ roll riffs with death-metal drums that Martin likes. Like an early song with the Hellacopters with a double bass drum beat… When me and Rickard jam together it’s just easy. Playing the guitar with someone else, it’s just difficult!
Rickard: We just clicked together! We knew!
Hednar: This death n’ roll label we got, we got it with our first album. It wasn’t something we started to do, that’s just the way it became.
Dick: Hahaha, our friend Bobby, he was like…. Tractor-rock!!
Me: But do you really have to put bands in genres? Why not just “we play metal”?
Rickard: That’s what we said for a long time. But there are others that labeled us.
Hednar: For me it’s OK. I don’t mind. I’m more like, hey if that’s what we do, and people like it, I go for that!
Rickard: Well there are more bands out there that are called death n’ roll, and they all sound completely different. There are those that sound really bad!
Me: Thinking of any particular band…?? Hehehehe!?!?!
Dick: Well, fucking Sparzanza then! Fuckers!! Hahahaha!
Hednar: Hahaha! No, but Weileby (Fredrik Weileby, singer of the band Sparzanza) did sing on our demo. He helped us a lot in the beginning and also did some singing when we did our first live shows.
Rickard: Yeah, Sparzanza is a really active band…
Me: I understand that they’ve done a lot for the bands here in Karlstad?
Dick: You should really interview them instead, hahaha! (well I did, you can read the interview here:)
Rickard: Yeah, Johan in Sparzanza work with Studiefrämjandet (an adult educational association), and really helps out here.
Me: There’s a lot of metal from Karlstad these days?
Rickard: Well yes, there’s a lot of metal these days. I think that it’s much thanks to Ola. He runs the metal-club. He started it like 15 years ago, and it’s a big deal if you get a gig there. It was a big deal for us anyway.
Me: And now something completely different… I was watching the video for the song “Blood For Blood”, and I was wondering – how do you do a video? I mean, you are like standing out there in the forest, doing your thing. Do you carry all of the equipment?
Rickard: Well, you don’t have to do that much, that’s the good thing about it.
Dick: But we had a lot of people helping out!
Rickard: We like to play music and then you have to find people that like to do videos. It’s like doing a gig and not get payed that much, because people think it’s fun doing music videos.
Me: Quid pro que- like?
Me: So, a silly question: It’s playback?
Hednar: Well, yes…
Me: Don’t you feel silly standing there and pretend to sing?
Hednar: Well, yes… it’s kind of special. And all of a sudden, you’re playing your ass of on the guitar and the singing for like 20 seconds, and all of a sudden you have to do something else… But we have these big PA-speakers and some form of click-sounds, so you will know when to start, and after that it’s just like to it…
Dick: We put the drums in the middle of a field! There was a big crowd watching, and a guy on a tractor…
Rickard: Even more people than we have on our gigs!!
Hednar: But that scene when I hanging with the handcuffs, then we had to speed it up. It’s twice as fast when I’m singing, so the singing will be normal when the video goes into slow motion. Damn that was hard to do!
The Generals: Blood For Blood:
Me: Damn it, this is the end of my manuscript…
Hednar: Well, we can keep the talking going… Shit, it was a long time ago we did this. We haven’t been around lately. Usually we do this if we release an album or so…
(And then came a lot of talking about the music scene today, is Metallica good or anus… And my friend Andreas started to interview the band, but he was only there to take pictures… He managed to take ONE picture! 🙂 But that’s a whole other interview. And who knows, it might see the light of day! Hahaha!!)
Me: Have you made any money on your music, or has it just cost you a lot of money?
Dick: So far, I think it has cost us money. Equipment, the bus across Europe. But that’s nothing that we regret.
Hednar: Yeah, we’re on minus totally speaking
Rickard: But now we’ve agreed on, that if we’re going to Stockholm to do a gig well, then we are going to get paid. We won’t pay to play you know.
Hednar: We’ve done that part, and that’s no fun!
Dick: We can play for free, but lifting all the stuff and the travels, that’s what we want to be paid for. Playing is the fun stuff. Lifting equipment and instruments, that’s the back side of Rock n’ Roll. And every time you want to party there’s always someone that like: “No no, you have to get out before 2 am, so it’s time to pack things up!” Hahaha!
The fun thing about our tour in Europe was that we became friends with the roadies, so at the end of the tour, we didn’t have to carry a thing!
Hednar: Hahaha! That’s right. But that’s how it goes. Are going to use the roadies or the lights, well then you have to pay, but we couldn’t afford that. It was triple the money compared just to be able to go with the bus.
Rickard: We partied with the roadies every night so we became buddies, and all of a sudden we had a light-show!
Rickard: But this is perfect with an interview! Now we’re almost in the game again! It’s great!
Me: And thinking of how long it takes me to do stuff, you will be in the game again when I’m ready to release this interview….
Speaking of that, a new album. Is it on its way, or what?
Rickard: We’re working on it….
Me: Great! And you will keep the sound? You’re not going soft or something? What could we expect?
Rickard: The songs we have today, they are pretty heavy.
Hednar: I have a good feeling. Really good, and I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be really interesting.
Dick: That’s why really big bands lost their fans because album number five doesn’t sound like the first album. Like, the old stuff is better.
Me: But on the other hand, isn’t the third album kind of make it or break it?
Hednar: Yeah, that famous third album. The thing is, that many band doesn’t last long enough to be able to do the third album, so for me it’s just a win that we’re working on that. And as a bonus, I really feel good about it.
Rickard: And I also believe that we are better at writing songs today. We have evolved and everybody’s more involved in the writing process this time. We know how to make a song.
Me: so, how do you write a song? Do you write notes or do you yam a song together?
The Generals: Wtf?? Notes!!! Hahaha!!
Rickard: I don’t think anything is written down, maybe the lyrics.
Hednar: I kind of like to sit home alone and write lyrics to some recorded material. With the “Blood For Blood”-album we did a lot of writing in the studio.
Dick: Other times, there’s someone that have a riff, and we build from that. If it’s crap, we do it all over again.
Hednar: Sometimes I have something in my head and I kind of hums it to Rickard or Dick, so I get it from my head to their fingers.
Dick: And then it can sound amazing and when we do it with drums it can sound like crap! And the other way around, it sounds crap without the drums… but we filter really hard. If it doesn’t sound good, we throw it out!
Me: Sounds great that we’re maybe hearing some death n’ roll metal from the Generals in the future! I’m for sure are really looking forward to that.
To finish it all off, do you have a message for your fans?
Dick: Be patient!
Hednar: We’re alive, and kicking!
Rickard: We will see you on the road!
Me: Thanks! And thank you for taking the time to meet me. I had a really good time and I’m really looking forward to the next album!
The Generals – Stand Up Straight:
The Generals – Blood For Blood:
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