Stomping out new sounds, but they still don't play funk
The Hives are my Old Favourite Band. After years of having to look into music history to find great rock 'n' roll, the Hives's 2000 album, Veni Vedi Vicious, arrived and declared the search over. It wasn't long before the infectious live shows by these small-town Swedish kids took America by storm.
Dressed in matching suits, the band brings an energy and enthusiasm to the stage rarely seen these days. With their third album, Tyrannosaurus Hives, unleashed on an unsuspecting public, they are ready to become my New Favourite Band all over again. I caught up with Dr. Matt Destruction before the Hives's rock-fueled Los Angeles shows to discuss today's music scene, teenage taste and future lawsuits.
[more:]Prefix Magazine: You guys have said that you figured people would copy your sound, but no one did so you have to show people how to do it right again. Do you think no one tried or they just did it poorly?
The Hives: People did it poorly. We got all this attention and we thought that bands would just show up, you know? That's how these things usually happen, and then people get tired of it after a while. But rock is here to stay, and we try to do a different album every time. We don't feel like it (Tyrannosaurus Hives) was Veni Vedi Vicious again. A lot of garage bands are popping up in Sweden now, but we aren't a garage-rock band. We are the Hives. PM: I heard you guys scrapped a bunch of songs while you were making the new album after you decided to go back to your known sound. Is that true?
The Hives: We tried every angle, because we like so much different music, even Motown. We start one song with one style and it could end up being a punk song in the end. We have our sound, so why scrap it when we have been creating it for years? So, no, there wasn't any different album. We did different things on the album. PM: I listen to it and notice all this new stuff, but I still think, This is the Hives.
The Hives: The way we recorded was different; we had more room in the studio. The sound is drier, the mikes are closer, but we are still playing live. We wanted to still have the energy of playing live but have some new stuff, like a synthesizer. PM: I've heard about the rules you guys made when you formed. Do these still apply, and did you break any of them with the new record?
The Hives: Well, we don't play funk. The rules were for getting to the basics and getting to the stuff we like to play. But they don't really apply any more I don't think. When you're fourteen, you're playing stuff you like then because it has attitude and you have a certain connection to it, but you don't know what it is about until you get older. PM: Aside from you guys, only a few bands rock live right now. Why do you think it is? Do you think what you do is too hard?
The Hives: I don't know. Some bands expect too much. They start a band and they think everything will go their way. They will be successful and popular. But it is much better to play with people you like and play music you like and have fun. You have to play what you like. PM: Why do you think European people have so much better taste in music than American people?
The Hives: It's a time right now when American people forget their own culture. If you are thirteen right now and your dad likes rock, you can't like it, because you have to rebel or go against what your parents like. But when you are in your twenties, you start to discover the good things. PM: That's true. People in America grow up listening to the great rock all around them, so in Europe, people have to maybe dig more, and discovering great music is half of the fun.
The Hives: I think, too, Europeans have copied American music for years. But we are just getting good at it again, so European people are getting into better music because of it. PM: What is your favorite Stones album?
The Hives: I just bought Exile on Main Street, but I don't have many of their albums. PM: What music from the sixties and seventies do you listen to the most and have been influenced by the most?
The Hives: The Sonics are a big one. Probably the biggest. PM: When I listen to the Hives, I hear the Sonics and the Stooges.
The Hives: The Stooges, yes. PM: Do you prefer Fun House or Raw Power?