2. November 2009
Interview with Pontus and Henrik from The Poodles
Pontus, me and Henrik
Calle: To people who don’t know The Poodles, can you give a short history of the band?
Pontus: The band formed in 2005 when we were given the opportunity to compete with the song “One Night Of Passion” in the Swedish leg of the European Song Contest. So we basically formed around that opportunity and that went very well and after that we recorded our first album and have been touring back home in Sweden and the rest of Europe. And we just released our third album “Clash Of The Elements” a few months ago and we are now currently out on our second headlining tour in Europe.
Calle: What bands are your biggest influences?
Pontus: We all grew up listening to 70’s and 80’s hard rock and heavy metal so many of our main influences come from that style of music, but it’s also from classical music and pop music as well. But there aren’t any specific bands that we are influenced by.
Calle: You have been in the Swedish Eurovision song contest two times. Do you think you have gained many fans from that and do you think you would have made it this far if you hadn’t appeared in those contests?
Pontus: It’s true we have gotten a lot of fans back home in Sweden because of the song contest, but maybe not in the rest of the world. But that’s how we started and we are grateful for that.
Henrik: I think the Eurovision Song Contest is different from what it was ten years ago. Now it’s a great way for a band to get exposure and it doesn’t matter what genre it is. If it’s metal or disco or whatever.
Calle: The famous Swedish actor Peter Stormare (Prison Break, Chocolat etc,) co-wrote the song “Seven Seas” from your second album “Sweet Trade”. How did that collaboration start?
Pontus: It’s basically like this. When we wrote that song and recorded it, we as a band and the producers felt that there were some elements missing in the song. And then somehow the idea of Peter came up and our management got in touch with him and send the song over to him. He then came up with some ideas and he basically recorded his parts over in L.A. where he was living. And we think it turned out fine in the end.
Calle: How did you guys feel when Pontus Norgren told you he was leaving the band?
Pontus: It was sort of hard and unexpected, but he has found the right place for him and he fits in really good in Hammerfall. And we gained Mr. Henrik Bergkvist on guitar, which has turned out in the most fantastic way.
Calle: Did Henrik audition for the band or had you already and decided to ask him to be in the band?
Pontus: He was one of the first names that came up because we had been in contact with him from the very start of the band, but he was tight up with other things at that point. But he was a natural choice for someone to call when we needed a new guitarist. We did have a small audition with only four guys to make it to the last round. But this is how it turned out and we are very pleased to have Henrik in the band.
Calle: And Henrik what do you think you’ve brought into the band?
Henrik: We have very similar taste in music and we have played with some of the same people in the past. But I guess I have brought in the more rock and bluesy style of playing, where Pontus is more of a metal kind of guitarist then I’ll ever be.
Calle: You recently released your third CD “Clash Of The Elements”. How has the response from the critics and the fans been so far?
Pontus: It’s been very positive and overwhelming. The fans seem to be getting really into the music and we have been getting a lot of great reviews.
Calle: What are your personal favourite songs on the new album?
Pontus: I really like “To Much Of Everything” and songs like “Give Me A Sign” and “Dream To Follow”.
Henrik: I like the first single from the album “One Out Of Ten”, because it’s a great mix of a mid-tempo song and a ballad. Also the second single “I Rule The Night”. It’s one of those songs that grow on you. When you make a record some of the songs stay the same and some of the songs can grow on you after the CD has been released. “I Rule The Night” is one of those songs.
Calle: On the new record you chose Mats Valentine to produce the album and Mike Fraser to mix it. Any particular reason why you chose those two for this album?
Pontus: Well Mats had worked with us on two previous occasions with the songs “Line Of Fire” and “Raise The Banner” and we were all very happy with the result of that. So it was pretty much as an effect of that we really thought we should work with him on a full production. The thing about Mike Fraser was also a little bit by chance you might say. We were sitting on the tour bus last summer discussing whom we wanted to mix the record and his name came up as one of the guys we would really love to work with on a new record. So we found an e-mail address where we could reach him and we send him a mail telling him a little bit about the band and we also send him some songs he could listen to. And then to our big surprise he came back to us and asked us when we wanted this to be done. He said “I would love to work with the band......
Henrik: ....but I’m finishing the new AC/DC album at the moment, so after that I have time to work with you guys”. And of course we said yes!!
Calle: You released the new CD on your own label Rosehip Alley Records. What was the reason for that?
Pontus: Last fall when we were getting ready to go into the studio we sat down and had some discussions with our former label and it pretty quickly became very clear that we wanted two different things. So after talking to them we both decided it was time to go our separate ways which we did and faced with that situation we pretty much had to go on with the recordings ourselves as scheduled or wait around to see if we could get another deal. Then we just decided to do it ourselves and then we find different partners to work with as far as for the distribution in different territories and stuff like that.
Calle: You mentioned that this is your second headlining tour in Europe, but what about the US. Do you have any plans on going there in the near future?
Pontus: Yeah, we are looking into that, but we have nothing concrete at the moment. There are a few options at the moment that we have to look into before deciding on anything. And we definitely hope to get our music released properly over there soon and to go over there and play.
Henrik: It’s a big country so you need a good plan before you go over there and jump in. It’s very easy to disappear with all those bands trying to break in the US.
Calle: You have released three CD’s in only four years, when can the fans expect a new CD from The Poodles?
Pontus: It’s actually three CD’s in three years depending on how you look at it. And if you look at the market outside of Sweden it’s actually two and a half years. But the plan is to start a new production in the fall of next year.
Henrik: We also have a live DVD production in the finishing state, so we hope for a release of that early next year.
Pontus: Yeah...so that would come before the next studio album.
Calle: About tonight’s show, what can the fans expected from you guys?
Pontus: Take cover!!! It’s going be a musical mixture of all three records. And it’s going be an energetic full blasting show.
Calle: You mentioned the song “Raise The Banner”, which you wrote and recorded for the Swedish National Olympic Team for the Olympic’s in 2008. What’s next for The Poodles?
(Both guys laugh)
Henrik: We have to figure something out. They have the Olympics in London in 2012...laughs...
Pontus: There’re no plans at the moment, but it’s hard to go up, when you have made a song for the Olympics....laughs...
Henrik: Maybe the soccer or hockey world championships. If we get asked to do a song for something, we decide if it’s the right thing for us. You never know what’s going to come up, but we’ll keep doing something like that as long as we feel good about it.
Calle: Do you have any last words for the fans?
Pontus: Well, just check out the new album and if you get a chance to come see us live....then go ahead and come to the show!!!!!
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