Interview with Mia Coldheart, Crucified Barbara’s guitarist and vocalist
Every time a band comes out with a new record it’s labelled as the best in its career. This time it’s true. Are you happy with the reviews so far?
I think we’re making better albums each time, I don’t know if I could handle a release that I thought wasn’t better than the previous one. We are really proud about our new album In the Red and we’re also very happy that the media and our fans seem to agree, the reviews and response have been awesome!
How do you gauge the success of an album, now that the selling record numbers are not a real factor?
It’s difficult to answer, I guess social media and live gigs are the way to see how the music is received. And of course the reviews from media.
Which are the opinions you care/fear the most, those you are willing to listen once you’ve got the CD out of the oven? Friends, family, fans, press…
I would actually say what I fear the most is my own first listening of the finished album. Working on the songs for so long, recording and trying to re-create the magic vibes on the crappy demos in a great studio, re-arranging, changing stuff and then when it’s all recorded it’s the whole mixing and mastering process that takes a lot of listening, input and time. When all that’s finally done and you have rested your ears and brain for a couple of days for the first time in a year, and push the play button to listen to it when the final master is done, that’s definitely the scariest part!
What will you compare the sensation of having this first copy of the new CD in your hands with?
I don’t know what to compare it to but it’s a great relief and it’s always so much fun to hold it in your hands, seeing the artwork on a real piece. This time we were more satisfied than ever with both the music and artwork so it was really a great feeling.
You’ve changed your composing process, so you’ve been working all together and the songs came out rehearsing from Monday to Friday, and playing during the weekend during months. It’s been a funny process you’re already missing or do you feel relieved that it’s finally over?
Right now I’m not really miss it honestly, it was a really tough period but we had our deadline and we were constantly looking forward to next day, next song, never allowed ourselves to get stuck for too long with something, we just kept going. It’s of course tiring to be locked in to the rehearsal for hours every day and sometimes just have to force the creativity out of you, but it worked so well. If I for example had a bad day or just totally drained of inspiration, I was just honest about it and said hey, I can’t really add anything today so can we maybe work on that drum and bass part that Ida and Nicki wanted to work a lot on today.. then I took a nap in the merch box with my mic in the hand and when the song all of a sudden started to sound amazing, I got feeling back and happily started to get ideas for the vocal lines… that’s how we went on. But it was also very fun to define this great way of working together so I’m also looking forward to see what we will come up with next time, we’ll definitely continue working this way when we can find the right time for it.
“In The Red” it’s more varied than your previous efforts, more unpredictable. Is it an intended move to explore new paths?
We didn’t plan to write unpredictable songs, we were actually a bit afraid in the end of the writing process that all songs would turn out sounding like the same song since we wrote them all one after another, it felt like we kept using the same chords and melodies for each song. But when we heard the songs recorded in the studio we were happy to hear that our only goal was achieved – they all had their own “personality”. Like every album, we don’t plan to write songs in a specific genre, we like rock and heavy riffs, that’s it. We worked around grooves, riffs, melodies, and when we had a shell for a song we tried to find out which direction the song wanted to go and followed that instead of trying to force them to be something else.
But it keeps your trademark. What’s in the core of your sound, this thing that makes you unique and that is present since the very first day and that will surely remain forever?
We are always trying to make our albums as close as possible to the music we play live. We don’t want the audience to miss parts from the album when they hear it live. Our sound and spirit is the result of 15 years of hard work, constantly touring and that all the work we put in the song writing, and the great chemistry between the 4 of us. We are always listening to each other and we’re never considering a song finished until everybody is satisfied with it.
The first contact the listener gets with the album is a fast solo in “I Sell My Kids For Rock’N’Roll”. Great! How did you choose this as album’s presentation card?
We always want to go out hard with the first track, and when we heard all the recorded songs, there was no other option than to put it first, it was the perfect track to start the album with.
One of my questions was about being an all-female band and if with such this line-up your musical path has been easier or tougher. Will I find the answer in this song lyrics? Is it a punch to questions such as mine?
I Sell my kids for rock’n’roll isn’t about that we want to sell our kids, I hope that people are smart enough to understand that we’re working with rock lyrics, not facts… The song is about these questions that we are so tired to answer, and those prejudices that we are so tired to hear about. The chorus is a answer to those who don’t think that women should play rock’n’roll because it’s “not appropriate” but for us it’s just about the wish to make music, it hasn’t anything to do with if you are a man or a woman. The rest of the song, all the verses are made of all the questions we get, how we can get along as girls, that a very “powerful” person in the music business in Sweden who didn’t want to work with us in the beginning because we’re women and won’t last as a band because of that, now thinks that we are too old to be worth to work with, and all other sad things that we get to deal with. I they think the same about Backyard Babies, Hardcore Superstar, Metallica….. And I’m also curious to see how many other bands can be mentioned that played as much as we have done, with the same line up for 10 years and 4 albums. Maybe there’s many, but still I don’t think there are many of the questions we get as being female rockband makes any sense at all. I wish that the journalists could take more responsibility to help the music scene becoming more equal by not separating musicians from each other with other things than the music and the image of the band.
You’ve grown up as a band, and it’s reflected in your lyrics too. Rape, bullying, animal abuse… Is it a matter of maturity, compromise…?
We have always been writing lyrics about things that are important for us, fun things and more serious subjects. The lyrics on this album is as you mention, a result of who we are today, what we have lived, what we care about and think about.
The band’s rhythm groove has gained more presence. There are even crucifiedbarbarized disco vibes in “Electric Sky”. Tell us more about it.
We have worked a lot on the grooves and finding the best tempo and beats for each song, even more on this album. Since we are first of all a live band we always want to write songs that are fun to play live and fun to listen to, we are constantly working on that and improving for each album. Sine we wrote all the songs in the rehearsal and played them trough a lot before entering the studio, we took the time to feel in every song and we didn’t considered it finished until we could actually feel that all the parts were perfect including a great groove. Ida and Nicki have really become a tight rhythm’n’ bass section and spend a lot of time also on their own to make the grooves even better.
And the vocals are getting better each album. It will be difficult reaching/keeping that level during your long tours. Any special training, preparation for the album and then for taking it to the stage?
I’m happy to hear that. In the beginning of our touring life with the release of the first 2 albums, I took a few technique lessons to learn how to make the voice last for more than 2 gigs (which was really hard for me in the beginning, I couldn’t speak a word after a weekend on the road!). Now days, touring just make my voice stronger. I always want to challenge myself in the studio and with the song writing, but then when we’re gonna start touring with the songs I think “Oh no, why did I write these high pitch melodies with no space to breathe between the lines…” But after some gigs the voice and me gets used to it, and I love to see how far I can take it. I warm up a little bit before each show but nothing more than that. I don’t worry too much if my voice is fucked up in the morning or if I feel a bit sick, worrying just destroys your self confidence, which is the most important thing you need on stage. Shut up “the Ghost inside” and just go
You’re a non-stop touring band. Playing in front of your crowd is the better way to catch what they like the most. Do you take it into account while thinking of new songs, on how they will sound onstage and how they will work?
Of course we want to play songs that our audience like, and the songs that are working best live are the songs that have the most fun playing in the rehearsal room. So it makes sense all the way, the songs that we find most fun to play are the songs that the audience like the most as well.
Being on tour seems to be everything but monotonous and boring if we watch your DVD “Til Death Do Us Party”. What’s the best and the worst thing of being on the road?
The worst part would be the long waiting days and being away from your family for such a long time. The best things are being on the road together with your friends, travelling to all these cool places that we’ve never would go otherwise, meeting great people, having so much fun on stage and also feel how the band become tighter for each show we do.
You’ve chained a long recording period with a long tour leg. Don’t you ever want to disconnect from the band or even from Rock’n’roll? If so, how do you do it?
Making music, touring, recording, it’s a constant wheel that has to spin 24/7 so it’s hard to take a break. Even when we sometimes get a week off, the mind is still set on the band so it’s quite difficult to find time to re-charge the batteries for real. When I’m on the road I relax with drawing or talking a walk to just get out of the bubble for a while. When I’m home I try to find time to be in the stable and hang out with horses, or just walking in the forests.
And which is your fuel to carry on such this activity?
The constant need to play rock’n’roll, to turn up the amp and feel the strings vibrate, that’s what always brings me back on track. And to do this with my best friends, we have a special bond from all what we’ve lived together and the life we have, it’s my fuel.
You’ll visit Spain again soon. What do you recall from your previous gigs around here?
We have always had really great and fun gigs in Spain, we always feel very warmly welcomed by the crowd!! Last time we also had a really insane night at a nightclub in Barcelona. And I also remember a nice lunch outside, if I remember it right it was in December and we were sitting outside in the sun, while people back home were fighting with rain and snow. That’s another great highlight of touring outside Sweden, wherever we go it’s always better weather than back home ?.
What can we expect for your five upcoming Spanish concerts? How would you sell yourselves to attract people coming to them?
Since we’re out on a really long tour right now you will see us in our best condition, I would say we are better than ever and we’re really excited about playing the new songs live. We’re ready to deliver a full energetic rock’n’roll show at it’s best so don’t miss it!
Thank you for attending us!