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H.E.A.T interview – March 2014

H.E.A.T_Tearing Down The Walls_cover_ low resI spoke to Erik Grönwall and Eric Rivers from Swedish melodic rock band H.E.A.T at their hotel in London to talk to them about their forthcoming album “Tearing down the walls”, their tour plans, festival plans and more…

Your new album, “Tearing down the walls” is due to be released in April.  When did you start work on the album?

Eric: I guess we started immediately after the release of our previous album, “Address the Nation”, so maybe 2012.
Erik: Yeah we started writing songs back then.
Eric: Then it took us a month in the studio, so in total one and a half years

It’s a long process isnt it?

Eric: It is, time flies.  It’s something that people don’t see.  They expect us to go into the studio, write the songs and do it all in a month.  it takes time to write songs – we write all the time.

Then of course once it’s recorded it has to be mixed and mastered, then there’s all the promo before the release.

Eric: Exactly.  Our part was done in August so we’ve been waiting since then.
Erik: We were working on the artwork since then but yeah, a lot of waiting

It must be quite frustrating when you’ve recorded stuff you’re really happy with and then have to wait six months before people can hear it.

Eric: It’s the worst thing about this job – the waiting.
Erik: You just want to release it when it’s done but I guess to make sure as many people hear it as possible you wait and do the promotion before the release.  We released an EP about 20 days ago, just as a teaser so people get interested in the band and the album.

This was the second album you’ve recorded with Tobias Lindell as producer.  How do you enjoy working with him?

Eric: He’s just like us, he likes beer, we have a good time – he’s a good friend, so he’s easy to work with.
Erik: Very relaxed and calm, and he’s not very dominant.  He just sits in his chair and tells us if something sucks or is very good.  He’s good like that, and he’s a great sound engineer.  The sound that he got on the “Address the nation” album and this album, it’s his signature.

What’s the song writing process in the band?

Erik: I think it’s just ideas that you have and show to one or two people in the band.  I wish we could be one of those bands that just writes everything in the rehearsal studios togetehr, just jamming, but it’s easier working in front of the computer, you have an idea for a chorus or a cool title for a song so you show it to someone else and start the creative process – just bouncing ideas off each other.

How would you say the album compares to “Address the nation”?

Eric:  It’s a little bit heavier, more energy, and we’ve been working more on the live part for this album.  We want to improve our live show, so with the art work you can do cool things like the backdrop, and that whole theme is very good to work with live.  I guess we thought this one through a little bit more.

As well as the real party sing-along songs you’ve also got some ballads on the album.

Eric: I’m looking forward to that when we do them live, taking a five minute break.
Erik: Yeah because you get to go off stage.

So while Erik is still singing, you’re off-stage having a beer?

Eric: Excactly

One thing that surprised me was you saying you’ve been working on improving the live show – people who saw you last year will wonder how you can improve it as you’re a great live band.

Erik: Thanks
Eric: I guess you can always be better.  That’s the attitude you have to have, always trying to improve.

After playing last years Firefest you’re back this year as headliner for the last ever Firefest.  It must be a good feeling to move up the bill like that.

Eric: Absolutely.  It puts a lot of pressure on us as well, but I don’t think we feel that pressure, we should feel that pressure.
Erik: I’m starting to feel that pressure being here in the UK with people talking about it.  It’s an honour just to play on the last Firefest, and to headline Friday night is going to be magic.
Eric: A special night for us.

Speaking of pressure, you’re due to support the Scorpions in Madrid on Friday night.

Erik:  Talk about presure
Eric: I’ve been looking forward to that one for a long time
Erik: 13,000 Spaniards, it’s going to be crazy I think.

It must be very different when you’re supporting another band because at your own shows the audience is your fans, but with a support slot then many of the people there won’t have heard you at all.

Eric: Most of them probably won’t have heard us before.  We’ve really got to step up to the plate and make an impression on those guys.  Our job is to warm up the crowd before The Scorpions and I think we’ll do a good job.  That’s where you want to be as well.  People haven’t heard us so if we can make a good impression then we can win a lot of fans there, so it’s a good opportunity

If you can impress even 10% of the crowd that’s still a load of new fans.

Erik: Exactly.

You’ve got Tour dates in Sweden in April and May.  Have you got plans for touring later in the year?

Eric: Absolutely. We’re working on that.  The UK has been very good to us, so we want to focus on playing here and are also looking at a European tour.  We’re actually looking at some dates in May but we’re not sure – maybe we’ll postpone it so we have time to promote it, maybe to after the summer

Are there likely to be any appearances at festivals this summer ?

Eric: Absolutely.  We’ve heard a lot about the UK festivals, supposed to be very good.

Presumably you can’t say which ones till they get officially announced by the festival.

Eric: That’s right, that’s how it is.

What’s the best part of being on tour?

Eric: You get to see a lot of cities, meet a lot of people, but the best is to go up on stage and have the fans like your music.  That’s the best place to be.

Whats the worst part?

Erik: The travelling.
Eric: Yeah the travelling.  You get very tired and you need to stay focussed.  We experienced that when we were in France two days ago and we were really tired at the end of the day and couldn’t really focus on the interview we were doing, so I had to go buy the guys a beer afterwards because we felt bad – we were just goofing around and laughing about internal jokes.  We do try and stay professional, but the travelling is what brings you down sometimes.
Erik:  There’s so much time to kill.  You’re on the tour bus for maybe 8 hours in a confined space.  Thank god we have laptops so we can keep ourselves busy.  We were in China three months ago, and that was crazy travelling, we travelled 700 Kilometers a day, did ten shows in eleven days and travelled so much on airplanes and trains.  That was crazy, but it’s all worth it when you’re up on stage – that’s when you go “This is the best job ever”, then when you wake up the next morning having slept three hours it’s “What am I doing here?”, but you know it’s all worth it in the end.

I’m guessing you don’t get wifi access very often on tour to catch up on emails and the internet.

Erik:  We’re always playing hunt the wifi.  That’s the mission of the tour – it’s the most asked question.
Eric: We’ve got really good 4G networks in Sweden, and when I got home from the China tour I went out to eat and asked them if they had wifi, then remembered I have awesome 4G and can just use that.

I think people assume touring is quite luxurious but there’s not much space on a tour bus, and you have to hope for showers, toilets and wifi at venues.

Erik:  I think it was Glasgow, we had to hike to the train station and shower underneath with all the junkies, it’s pretty dirty.
Eric: A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Thank you both for your time.

“Tearing down the walls” will be released on 14th April 2014 via earMUSIC


Photo copyright Gustaf Sandholm Andersson
Photo copyright Gustaf Sandholm Andersson

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.