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By: Sarah L. Myers

Thirsty: Are The Hives taking a little tour break? Is the band on hiatus right now?

Chris Dangerous: Yeah, we just finished a quite intense period of touring so we’re having a - I’m in the middle of having three weeks off before we go back to America. We’re leaving on May 13. We’re doing the cities we normally don’t do. This tour is just two weeks long. I guess we’re doing some weird cities in America and Canada.

Thirsty: How did all of these collaborations on the new record come about?

Chris: I mean, the main part of the record was recorded by Dennis Haring and we did it in Oxford, Mississippi, and that came about because we - the previous three records we recorded in Sweden so we just thought that it was really time for a change and we just started to discuss producers and we couldn’t really decide on one. So the main part of the record is recorded in Oxford, Mississippi, and mainly because we really loved the sound of the Buddy Guy record called “Sweet Tea” so we just contacted (the producer) and we had to wait for him to get finished because he was recording Modest Mouse, their latest record, so while we were waiting for him we just couldn’t sit around at home doing nothing so we just thought about other people to work with. The guy from a band in Sweden came up and we recorded a song with him in Stockholm and then we remembered that we had met Pharrell in Japan and he wanted to work with us. So we contacted Pharrell and he said, ‘yeah, come to Miami and we’ll do some stuff!’ And the Timbaland thing is not on the record but he just asked us to be on his record and then we said, ‘ok, so you come to Stockholm and record some stuff for our record.’ But none of that got finished in time, but there’s just a lot of weird circumstances and time issues that made it all into this “Back and White” album, which has seven producers, so whatever! That’s pretty much what happened.

Thirsty: I read a quote from you where you said, “there’s really no point in making a record you have already done.” Is this really what drove you guys to experiment with these new sounds on the record?

Chris: Yeah, we had a set plan for the first three records and we were gonna quit after those, but then we decided to keep on going.

So, yeah, we had to do something that felt very interesting to us because we were so fucking good at being The Hives that it was ridiculous and so we needed to sort of mess everything around a bit just to make it interesting so that’s what we did. And I think, by far, it’s our best record actually.

Thirsty: I’ve seen you live three times, and I think you’re the best live band I’ve ever seen. I was surprised that the sounds on the new record really translated to the stage.

Chris: Yeah, I mean, that’s the thing about us though. We always use tons of shit on the record, like synthesizers and a lot of percussion shit, but we always try to play the songs as just a five-piece live and I think we do a pretty good job at it and I think the songs get very interesting.

Thirsty: I read that Andrew 3000 from Outkast borrows a lot of his onstage moves from The Hives!

Chris: Oh, yeah, he’s a friend of ours! And we actually flew to Atlanta to meet him before but he’s such a busy man we didn’t have time to record with him, but that was on the drawing table as well for this record. But hopefully we’ll have a chance to record with him because we sat in his car and listened to some stuff and I think it would be amazing. Yeah, he’s one of the guys that we really love.

Thirsty: What’s your favorite song to perform off the new record?

Chris: It changes. It’s used to be “Won’t Be Long”, but lately it’s been, I really love “Bigger Hole to Fill” and I like “You Got it All… Wrong”, I love, I mean it changes all the time but there are a few that I really like, though.

Thirsty: There seems to be a great appeal to children with The Hives’ music, in a way similar to The Ramones or They Might be Giants. Have you ever thought of recording a kids record?

Chris: We did a song for Cartoon Network, so I mean,

there are six kids in the band and we always try to - if you can get a three-year-old to like your music, you can pretty much get everyone to like it. So of course it’s important to us but a kid’s record as such, no, I don’t think so. But I mean, a song for Cartoon Network I think will be enough and then I think our music is good enough for children to listen to anyway.

Thirsty: The Hives seem to be very present with the release of this record. You’re playing football games, your songs are being used in commercials for Sears and television shows - was this your plan to market the album this way?

Chris: I mean, not at all. That’s the thing again. We wanted to change everything about the band for this record and we always said no to commercials so we thought, ‘what the hell?’ There’s a saying in Sweden that you cant talk about the Finnish until you’ve been there. I’m actually Finnish so… but you know what I’m getting at? We had to sort of say yes to a few things to see what actually happened if you did, because we were always saying, ‘no, we’re not doing commercials.’ Like, what the fuck? What does it matter? Let’s try it! See what happens!

Thirsty: What are your plans after this next leg on the tour? Did you take some time off before you started this original tour?

Chris: Not really, because we tour for such a long time and we never write on tour. So when we got home from “Tyrannosaurus Hives” we had two weeks off and then we started our rehearsals in the Hive Manor to rehearse the new stuff. For us, it’s not like that. I know it’s like that for the outside world but we work 24/7 all the time pretty much. We can’t do it any other way, and I know that. I mean, we’ve been a band fifteen years and have made three records. Or four. But on the other hand, they are four really good ones. So, I mean, we couldn’t do a record every year. I don’t think records that are made the year after the other one are that good, either. I think bands that put a little bit more time into what they are actually doing and analyzing it a bit more, the records would come out better. It’s just our way of looking at it.

Thirsty: When you were recording the “Black and White” album, were you listening to any artist that you think influenced the sound of the record?

Chris: Not really in such, because we always listen to millions of bands and gazillions of records but I mean as far as influences go, we can be as influenced by a scene in a movie, whatever movie, you know. It could be whatever. It can be something that makes you think or something that makes you feel something. That’s enough. And it doesn’t have to be a song, and we don’t, we never steal the intention of it from the band just because we think it’s sort of cool. Influences can come from wherever and it’s, we’re not the kind of band that sits down and says, ‘oh, we need a song in shuffle. Ok, bring all your shuffle CDs. Every song, and we’ll see which one is best and we’ll steal it.’ We don’t work that way. But, I mean, of course we’re influenced by bands because we like bands and therefore you’re influenced by them. But as far as my drumming goes, I can tell you that it’s very much influenced by Max Weinburg from the E Street Band. It doesn’t sound like it but that’s just the way it is because I think he’s really good. Being influenced by something doesn’t have to mean that you’re actually obsessed by it, or stealing it or something, you know. It can be whatever.

Thirsty: Speaking of influences, one of my favorite songs is “Diabolic Scheme”, which sounds so much like something like Screaming Jay Hawkins. I’m so glad you’re continuing to perform that live.

Chris: Yeah, we like it! It’s such a - it actually has, it’s not like what you call a filler. We really like it, too. And I’m very pleased that we were able to pull it off live and not using all of the strings, you know? Because we thought it was going to be hard. We are kind of good at it now but it was hard in the beginning because recording it and sitting with a string section and everything, it’s very different feeling compared to sitting in a small rehearsal space and trying to get it together as a five-piece. But I like that one a lot!

Thirsty: I read a rumor that you were in the process of recording something with Jack White?

Chris: No, here’s the thing. When we were recording in Oxford, we flew to Nashville to watch a hockey game. We met him and the day after Nicolas and Pelle went down to the studio where The Raconteurs were recording their record and Jack wanted Pelle to just stomp his feet in the ground while having a microphone on it. But it got blown out of proportion because people thought that he was making a duet with Jack White, singing a song called “Footsteps”. So what it was, it was Pelle’s feet tramping on the ground, like regular old fucking footsteps and it’s on the Raconteurs’ record, but it’s no more than that! We’re friends with him, so someday we may do something together but it hasn’t been more than that up to this point.




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