Chris Dangerous of The Hives (2012-06-22 the AU interview)
By Sosefina Fuamoli
I was lucky enough to score some time with Chris Dangerous, the phenomenal drummer for Swedish rockers, The Hives, this week and to say that I was freaking out was a slight understatement. I'd heard horror stories of other interviews conducted with the band in the past and so there was about 80% of me that was expecting many things to go wrong. I was in luck though, as my chat with Dangerous about the new Hives record Lex Hives went off without any major hitches. Apart from a bout of jet lag, Dangerous was more than happy to open up about what drives The Hives in doing what they do.
Hey Chris, how are you?
Hey! I’m good, actually! I’ve just toured from Europe to the US, so I’m Washington DC and I’m a bit jet-lagged, so please bear with me!
We’ll take it easy then! How’s the tour been so far?
It’s been going really well. You’re never really certain what’s going to happen when you’ve not been touring for a while, but it’s been going well. People seem to be loving the new songs and I think we’re just getting better every day.
I have to say first off, and you’ve probably heard this many times by now, thank you so much for Lex Hives! It’s been far too long and I know that I personally have wanted this album so hard since I saw the band live last year.
As usual, The Hives have produced some pretty unbridled and chaotic rock with this record – it’s been five years since The Black and White Album; following the success of that record, did you all decide you wanted to stick to the formula which made that album the success it was, or were there other things creatively, you wanted to explore and develop here?
You know, when we did The Black and White Album, we wanted to change everything around as much as we could. We used a lot of producers and recorded all over the planet and everything else. When we started to think about Lex Hives, we just thought that we would do something very different again. In our world, it’s a very different record from the last one because we produced it ourselves and we only rehearsed at home and then we just went into the studios and recorded what we had rehearsed. It’s very much like we went back to the way we used to make records in the beginning; short periods of time in the studio instead of one time. It’s very different.
Musically, I guess we moved in a direction…we can’t stop it, you know, even if we wanted to. We’ve always made our records to please ourselves because that’s the only thing that we can tell…if it has any meaning. If we like what we’re doing, we know it’s good in our ears. We can’t really make records for anyone else. It’s just what we wanted to do and what we had to do; I mean, it took some time, but we toured The Black and White Album for almost two and a half years. We couldn’t really do it any quicker!
Your talent as a drummer in particular, is always something I find pointed out or highlighted, whether it’s in an album review or from a live show – for someone who is used to and quite good at drumming some insanely fast beats, did you think you really had to challenge yourself when it came to Lex Hives?
[Laughs] No, I mean, on this album, we didn’t write what instruments we’d play because we were all producing. I mean, I play the drums, but I’m also involved in trying to hear which vocal take is best, you know? Everything is made by The Hives and every instrument is played by The Hives; all of the guys are as interested in what I’m doing behind the drums as they are with what everyone else is doing. I mean, you always want to push yourself as far as you can go in a certain direction and we’ve always tried to do it.
I understand you’ve been able to perform the new stuff live over the last few lots of shows the band has done recently; how have they gone down with the live audience?
They seem to love it, you know? I guess it’s down to YouTube and all of those things; now we’ve played the songs a number of times, when we play some songs for the second time, people already know the lyrics! People seem to love the new show and love the new songs; the shows get really sort of interesting that way because people are as much into the new stuff as they are with some of the older hits, you know? It’s been a blast actually and we’re very lucky to be able to experience something like that. It used to take some time before people knew the songs, but it’s so instant now!
I guess that one of the main drawcards for The Hives as a live act, is the pure theatrical nature of the shows; it doesn’t matter whether you’re performing your own club gigs or massive festivals, the vibe is always the same. How do you all manage to keep on top of your game when your touring schedules are so packed out and extensive?
I guess it’s because we love what we do and we cherish it in a way; we try to keep fit by running and biking and shit before we do the shows and we don’t drugs and stuff. You’ve got to stay good at it if you want to be good at it, you know? There’s no way around it, if you want to play a show that’s really fucking great, you need keep your shit together because people are going to notice if you’re not.
Speaking of the live crowds – I’m sure you’ve all had this question thrown at you a lot recently too, but with Lex Hives out and doing impressively well by all counts, when are you guys coming back to tour?
Yeah I mean, we’d love to, we love playing Australia. Of course you know that you’ve got a beautiful country! We love Australia and we love to play there, we try to come back every tour. We want to come back, hopefully this spring; nothing is booked yet or anything like that, but we’re working on it.
I got really sick at the show you guys played in Adelaide as part of the Splendour in the Grass sideshows last year so I had to bail from the front row; I’ve hated myself ever since!
[Laughs] Oh I’m sorry about that!
So if you can work on coming back soon, that would be great.
[Laughs] Yeah, we’re working on it! We could probably move to Australia, that’s how much we love it!
That’s brilliant. Well that’s pretty much all I had today Chris; thanks so much for today, congrats once again on the album, you guys have made many a fan happy with this one!
Thank you so much! Sorry for being so jet-lagged too!
That’s okay, have a good night!