We’ ve interviewed Betina Mathiesen, Anashi’s founder guitarist, the swedish band that succeeded in their homeland at the end of the nineties and went to America under the name of The King’s Queen. Almost 20 years later, she talks about the band’s history, why they called it a day and how it went in L.A.
Listen to Anashi as you read the interview:
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Let’s make a tour through Anashi and The King’s Queen history. You started the band focused in the search of a drummer. Was it the hardest musician to find?
It was for sure the hardest to find a good bass player, a good siger was hard too but there’s a lot of singers out there much more the bass players for an all girl band. There’s a lot of not so very good once, the once with the attitude that well girls just have to look cute, and my band was NEVER about that we wanted to sound as good as possible.
Talking about Carina, she was the one that stood more time with you. So she was more than just a musician for Anashi and for you.
If you mean Carina Anderson, yeah we where friends too and we hung out alot. I was more with Catrin and Ulrika though, as Carina spent a lot of time home with her boy friend. I think honestly Catrin Adfors the drummer was the one I was the closes to and then Ulrika.
The only one I never really got close to was any or all the bass players, don’t know why, just the way it was I guess. We where all friends and stuff but not all of us hung out after practice or gigs, even when we lived in Hollywood in the same apartment it was a matter of styles and whom you had more fun with, some liked party ing more then others and so the would hang out
You started in the metal golden age, so among tons of good metal emerging from around the globe. How do you recall this great metal days and what are you missing nowadays?
Oh wow I miss the whole dynamics of that time, people L.A everything it was fun lot of great music then everything got so “pop” if you know what I mean like the no balls music pretty boy music, didn’t’ like that still don’t. I miss Judas, AC DC and bands like that that kind of music has this raw but yet clean power to it with and intense beat I LOVE that music you can feel it in you bones and it made you feel good no matter what mood you where in. Today there’s a few bands out there like Nickelback they are doing a pretty good job in that almost same style. More modern but similar.
In Anashi you can hear a lit tle bit from here and there, melt to create your own sound. But paying attention to your songs you can catch some hard rocks influences like in “Nasty” or some Maiden or Scorpions splashes like in “Got To Fight”. Which bands influenced you the most?
AcDc Accept, Saxon, Iron maiden, ToTo, Scorpions Judas Priest one of my favorite bands then and still is Manfred Mann Mann’s Earth Band , and later Led Zeplin, and a lot more I can’t even think of right now.
You were “Young And Wild”, as your song said, and brave enough to create Anashi as an only female band. You were the one behind this idea. Why to form an all-female band?
You know that s a good question, honestly I am not sure, I think it was kind of like I wanted to prove to the world that girls can do it too.
And after all this years and your experiences with several bands, do you regret keeping it all-female? Or it’s not a matter of genre at all.
No not at all it is fun with an all female band. However as time went on and my all girl band split up I formed bands with guys as well as girls I prefer male singers for instance and so the bands I’ve had after all except one has had male singers. I just wanted to have a band that would have fun and sound as good as possible I didnt care about the sex of the person, really.
However that being said it was more fun being an all girl band on tour and stuff.
It didn’t pass too much time from your birth until you recorded your first “One 4 All, All For 1”. How was the feedback to this demo? Did it succeed to make you break into the scene?
Yeah even though we where not ready in my mind it actually got us a lot of attention and it drove us to try even harder to get even better, it was a very helpful tool sort of speak, got us in the door for sure.
And then was the turn for “We Got It”. Eleven brand new songs just one year after the first demo. After it, you take the decision to fire Carina Andersson. Why did you take it? Didn’t’ you loose some sound profundity or complexity?
The rest of us the 4 left we all agreed that Carina started to sound all the same all the time her lead playing didn’t’ develop at all she had a guitar sound that didn’t fit into our music it was too messy. She was a very nice person and we all liked her a lot and it was very sad to say bye to her. The fact that I now wa s the only guitar player made me have to work 100% hard on getting better play harder louder and fill the gaps. We all liked the new sound that you can hear later in the songs we play once we changed our name from Anashi to The King’s queen, if you listen to -like a thief-, -love child- , we’ll rock you all – mad dog, and too later, the 5 first songs that came to represent our style we wanted or where going for.
Was it hard for you to be in charge of the rhythm and lead guitar duties?
not really once I found whom I was as a lead player and what I wanted to sound like I just went for it and it was a lot of fun, live it was cool too as it made us all work very hard on how to make it sound just as we wanted to.
After the next “Take It Or Leave It”, you heard the call from abroad. The United Kingdom and America were waiting for you. How did you notice their interest?
Actually we had interest from the US and England much earlier then that. They contacted us on the phone don’t know how they get a hold of the number though some of the promo tapes that sent out to magazines had my number on it.
And you made a Swedish tour to get some money and try to live the so-called American dream. Were you headlining the tour? How popular were you back these days in your country?
We where the main act all the time on our tours there where other bands opening up for us, like local bands to what ever city we played in. We where very popular it seamed? News papers wrote a lot about us, and people recognized us and we signed autographs and stuff.
And then you moved to the West Coast and made some gigs and recordings. Then you changed your name. Why?
We changed our name as the music had changed a lot we thought? It was a new band even though most members where the same.
You went back to Sweden to make some summer gigs, and then back to the US. But afterwards the band split up, due to the lack of compromise from some of the girls. Did you try to resurrect it with new members? Or you needed fresh air and to start from zero?
the members that didn’t work our became VERY lazy, didn’t help with anything, ice cream and tv all day, they got overweight and didn’t care about them self’s or the band. WE HAD TO split up. The reason we split up was simply I didn’t want to fire anyone so I quit. that way they couldn’t get mad at me or what ever, then I asked the drummer whom I still played with is she wanted to stick with me and she did and that is that.
You moved to Minnesota. Did you feel disappointed about the L.A. scene? What were you expecting and what did you really find?
I was sick and tired of the constant “fake”, everything. even the weather was getting boring, I wanted the seasons and “real” people. I missed green gras and cows….
I was contacted by two producers from Minnesota whom wanted to sign a deal with me, they wanted me to be the song writer and guitar player. They flew me up to Minnesota 2 times we did some recordings and after the second time there I said yes under the condition I didn’t have to be the band leader and that I didn’t have to play lead, I just wanted to be more in the back ground, and write the music of cause. I packed my stuff said bye to my friends in L.A and took my old Datson 1983 and drove all the way from L.A to Minneapolis. It turned out very good and everything was better then expected. They paid for me a monthly salary and home to stay and got the band together we called Blessed Juliet, three guys and me as well as a female singer.
And what are your current workarounds? Are you still playing music, and into metal?
I don’t play in a band, I do still listen to metal bands sound like Nickel back and many more. I am teaching my two year old to play music, any instrument and that is such a great feeling, we sing and make up songs sometimes that is so much fun and it’s amazing the amount of intelligence in this tiny little 2 year old human.
And still in touch with the other Anashi musicians?
No sadly not, I wish? I’ve tried to contact Ulrika Dahl the singer, but no luck so far.
Is there any available Anashi material, reuniting plans, re-release thoughts, internet presence?
I will be making you some really cool CDs, all of the songs you know of as well as the once you don’t have and also some live rec. Song’s no one has BUT myself. not even the old band members I am the only one with these recordings and I will send some to you. And you’ll be the only one but myself whom has these recordings. Reunited as a band, ha, ha, that would be the day. Well who knows maybe when we’re all a 113 years old we’ll get together and jam. I would love to re release some of the stuff and do it with the help of the Internet, don’t know if there would be any interest though, although I have to say I still like the songs and I mean like 90 % of all the songs I’ve ever wrote or co wrote. Music’s great I think I like it. I’d need to fins someone with Internet experience and get a Anashi/The kings queen music up.
Now that you have a clear look of Anashi’s history, what would you have changed to write a better history?
I would change NOTHING at all. Everything and I mean that is the way it should be, it was an amassing road to travel I loved every moment of it and I am happy I did it my life is and has been awesome and I am so thankful for everything.
Do you think you deserved to get a higher status in the female metal world? Are you still receiving feedback from these days?
Yeah I do actually, we are still if you compare us and the last recordings we did, we are still better then some female bands out there I think the main reason is we didn’t play trash, black or speed metal we where more up beat I think not as dark as many bands.
We are receiving some feed back, hey I’m talking to you right???? You are some of the “feedback” and I am very honored.
Tell the readers what were they missing not checking Anashi out.
You’ll be missing out on some real feel good heavy metal or well breed metal as we called it.
Our music fits you no matter what mood you’re in and it’ll make you happy or happier. Kind of like a big hug from someone who you care about.