The Hives - INTERVIEW
I did this Interview with Nicholaus Arson from The Hives for bedroomdisco.de originally.
The lead guitarist told me everything about their upcoming World Wide Web World Tour and if the band is working on new music at the moment!
Hello Nicolas, first of all, how are you and how did you deal with the situation the pandemic caused over the last few months?
Nicholaus: Hello! I‘m very good, thanks! We‘re rehearsing now for the upcoming shows and it‘s fun, it’s unbelievably fun to rehearse, it’s never been this fun, because we’ve been so far apart from each other. You’re not supposed to meet, you’re not supposed to travel, we followed those guidelines as much as we could, but in order to do these shows we have to do a bit of rehearsing. It’s definitely better than sitting at home (laughs)!
That doesn’t sound too bad! So how did you guys come up with the idea of the „World Wide Web World Tour“?
Nicholaus: Just like many other artists and bands we saw our whole year falling apart, you know, nothing happened. And you could take that time and start working on new stuff, which is what we’ve done as well, but we have so much new stuff, so we were, more or less, ready to go off and record. And we did! We‘re working on two new records and also a third one (laughs), so we have tons of new material. But we miss the playing and the touring for The Hives, it‘s so deeply edged into our DNA (laughs). I mean if you’re a rock band, that’s what you do, you tour and you play. We were missing it way too much, we‘ve also seen all those livestreams and stuff, but we didn’t think they were really good, so we wanted to do it in some other way. We also don’t want to do just one show, because that is not touring, we want to do several shows. We originally had plans to do way more than this, but I think if this comes out well, if we stay healthy, if we can do these shows, if people buy tickets and it turns out to be a good thing for us, then we would most likely add more shows to this tour.
Since you play the shows from Sweden, you play in different time zones. Do you think you‘ll have the same energy on stage at 6am as you would have if you‘d play a normal show?
Nicholaus: Yes! That has to be the case, I mean you can be tired on your own times, but you can’t be tired on „Hives-Time“ (laughs). That should be fine! And that’s what you’re doing when you’re on tour as well, you have your sleep deprivation, maybe a bit of partying in your system and you have to fight that thing every day! You’re supposed to be able to do good shows! I mean we’ve done shows where we’ve been asleep and people woke us up and we got straight on stage and did the show and then got off and got back to sleep (laughs). You gonna have to be really really tired in order to not do a good show!
You already teased it a bit; will you play some unreleased songs at your web show?
Nicholaus: Yeah! We have so much new material and we like playing the new songs! Theres a bunch of unreleased tracks!
So you’re also seeing the upcoming tour as a part of the promo for the upcoming records?
Nicholaus: Yes, I mean every show where we play new songs is kind of promo for new stuff. But we haven’t planned it as promo, we just wanna play some of the new stuff whenever we do shows, ‘cause we like playing our new stuff on our sets. So I guess it’s promo (laughs).
Did your way of producing, writing and recording got influenced by the pandemic?
Nicholaus: No, not influenced at all. It hasn’t been inspiring, it’s the opposite of inspiring, you’re basically just fighting being bored all the time. We’re not going to sing about sitting at home and being bored (laughs), that’s for other bands to sing about, but it’s not very „Hives“.
So you don’t feel like you had any benefits from the way COVID slowed things down?
Nicholaus: No, I mean we haven’t produced a record in eight years, it’ll be nine in this coming year. So, no we definitely did not have any benefits of it slowing things down (laughs), it’s been to slow for us the past eight years! I mean we usually tour our records for about two years, so at least for five years we haven’t done anything. We really want to get this show on the road, and like I said, we have so much new stuff! The hardest thing for us really has been boiling it down. The past months we came up with the idea that we could release three records then, that’s when it got a whole lot easier! We just have to figure out when and how we’re gonna record each record and how we make them sound separate from each other. Because we like, when each record has its own sound, we did that with all of our past records, they all have their own personalities.
You’re trying to make the shows for the World Wide Web World Tour as authentic as possible for the audience, your fans will be able to send audio messages or call you on stage. Do you think this will make it more authentic to you as artists?
Nicholaus: That’s what we’re hoping for at least! This is kinda uncharted territory for us, we’ve never done this before. If we get to choose between doing this and paying live for real, we would pick playing live every day, because for us the crowd is almost 50% of the show! All these things, that we’re including in the set, is the way of trying to make it as good as possible and as much as possible. We’ll see how that turns out, I mean we haven’t even done the first one yet (laughs).
Speaking of live performances, you guys are known for your black and white stage outfits. How did that stylistic device develop? Is there any story behind it?
Nicholaus: There are several stories! We just thought it would look better. We always liked it when you could tell that a band belongs together, based on their outfits. That was one thing, and the other thing was, that we started around that grunge era, around 1993 or something, people would wear flannel shirts and toned jeans, so we started to wear the opposite of that. We started wearing suits, we thought it was fun as well to dress up for the show. The black and white thing came from a cartoon called “Spy vs. Spy” in “Mad Magazine”, we thought that was cool! In the beginning Pelle was supposed to be the “monochrome”, like the photo negative of the rest of the band, we would be dressed in black and he would be dressed in white. But that was a little bit too hard, so we ended up dressing all black and white.
What do you love most about playing live and what do you miss most about playing live?
Nicholaus: Right now I miss everything about playing live! We really
miss everything, like, if we play Berlin, I‘d want to go out and eat Falafel and stuff. It’s all of that stuff that happens around touring, but mostly I miss the shows!
What do you look most forward to in 2021?
Nicholaus: Well, hopefully playing real shows, I mean we have planned some for summer and fall, we really hope we can do those shows. That is definitely my number 1 wish for myself (laughs)! But the bigger wish is for the pandemic to end and for vaccination to work!
If you could name three artists you listen to most frequently at the moment, which ones would it be?
Nicholaus: It’s mostly been The Hives (laughs), but also Toots & the Maytals and some other usual stuff (laughs). But all and about it really has mostly been The Hives. When we’re done rehearsing I don’t always go home and listen to music, I just rest the rest of the day!
Do you listen to your own records, after you finished producing them?
Nicholaus: Once they’re mastered and released I almost never listen to them, because then we play them live so much, so I don’t have to listen to them. But every once in a while, I got to go back to them, to listen to a song to learn it again. Then I like our records! But I don’t sit around and listen to The Hives. I might be when we’re all old and quit the band, then I‘d listen to The Hives (laughs)!
That was my last question actually! Thank you so much for making time for this and much fun with your tour!
Nicholaus: Thank you very much! Have a great day!