April 2002 - GENEROUS MARIA
GENEROUS MARIA aren't your typical "stonerrock" band. They more on the sleazier side of Rock 'n' Roll and their refreshing blend includes everything from The Doors to The Stooges to The Cult. As you can see, it's all about tradition and less about inovation, but who cares when the music is passionate and well-executed. So, it's time to take a look behind the curtain and find out more about Maria's world.
Let's start with the new album "Command Of The New Rock. 'm very surprised about it. When I compare it with the split-CD, I would say that you've turned more into a straighter 70's direction, production-wise and you opened up your songs to influences that ranges from the 60's to the 90's. It's like a journey through the last thirty years of Rock, but's still a MARIA album. What do you think about it and what was the reason for this change?
Well, I think you're right in a way, "Command." differs a bit from the Split, but on the other hand I find it difficult to see it as a big "change".. I mean, one reason is that it's many more songs on the album - the Split had four tracks y'know - and that provides much more space to explore different angles of rock. And we really wanted the album to be varied and not doing like the same song with different lyrics ten times in a row..
"Command Of The New Rock" got a lot of different moods. It's heavy, it rocks and there are some softer moments where the listener got enough time to relax. Can you agree and was it important for you to capture those different vibes for the album?
Yeah, it's an important thing. I've heard a lotta albums over the years with bands I really like but still, after the fifth or sixth song I tend to get a bit bored if it's all too similar. it happens a lot of stuff in life, doesn't it, and it's hard just using one mood expressing them. Still the accent always gonna be on the heavy side for sure.
I think one of your trademarks is the rough and varied voice of your singer GÃ¶ran FlÃ¶rstrom. Have you a trained voice or does it come out naturally?
If you mean like taking singing lessons the answer is no, never. In a way you train your voice every time you rehearse or do a show, don't you. Even if it's more like it's losing a brick or two every time, so in that perspective it's getting better by getting worse..
Have you recorded the album again at the Monkey Studio in Gothenburg?
Yeah, but it was called Micro Studio this time, a lotta new equipment. It's actually a mobile studio and the album was recorded on the same premises. It's produced by Dan Johansson who did a wonderful job, even if he gave us a hard time once in a while during the process. Then it was mixed in a "proper" studio here in Gothenburg called Grand G Studio.
I think, the four songs on the split-CD with Skua were are strong presentation of a hopeful new Swedish band. It has been released on the Spanish underground label Alone Records. Have you send Miguel (owner of Alone) your "Strict Nurse" demo has he "discovered" you ?
Actually it was this guy Jos, who has a radiostation in Madrid who got us in contact with Miguel. He had heard the 'Strict Nurse' promo and told us about Miguel and that he was looking for bands for his label. So when Miguel heard these songs he wanted to release 'em right away. We really owe both of these guys a lot.
Are all four songs from the demo?
Yeah, they are. And when Custom Heavy Records heard the Split released by Alone they wanted to release it on their label in the States as well. So the U.S. release is by Custom Heavy.
Due to the reason, that you've opened-up your music to more to other influences do you still like the songs of the split-CD?
No doubt about that! I still love 'em, they've got a directness that I'm really fond of.. We're still playing most of the songs live.
When have you decided to release your first full-length on Swedish-based label Lunasound Recording and will you put out more on it in the future?
Well, when Lunasound showed interest of releasing the full-length it kinda felt like a good idea. Their distribution channels and contacts are great.. Alone didn't have distribution in Scandinavia which of course Lunasound has, for one reason.. And somehow things tend to go a little smoother when band and label are in the same country. And Stuart at Lunasound is a really cool guy to work with. We've got a multiple record deal with Lunasound so hopefully our next album will be thru them as well.
Have you played any shows together with Backdraft in the past? I ask for it, because they've also released their debut on the same label.
No, sorry to say, we haven't. We've been trying to get something going quite a few times but for different reasons it hasn't worked out. They're from Stockkholm y'know, so it's not like we're living next door. But we will, it's just a question of time and I'm looking forward to it. I've seen Backdraft live once and they were great.
You've chosen a Malleus cover artwork for the new album. How did you get together with Urlo and Poia of Malleus? Was the artwork the band's idea?
The great idea of engaging Malleus was Lunasound's. Great guys to work with, they've been sending sketches step by step all during the process. The basic artwork idea was the band's. It's inspired by the Kubrick film "2001 - a space odyssey", you know the first part when these ape-men are running around in this rocky landscape and then all of a sudden there's a big monolith standing there, a "new rock", giving them all kinda signals, changing their lives drasticly. And of course we wanted this monolith to be a part of a r 'n' r guitar.. And I guess we're supposed to be the five ape-men gazing in awe at the New Rock on the cover. Receiving commands from it to conduct this and that. So it's just a joke all together. I think Malleus did an absolutely excellent job and I'm very pleased with it.
What are your favourite songs of the album and for what reasons?
That's a hard one to answer. I love 'em all as my own flesh and blood, I guess I can say without lying too much. And also because it differs a bit from day to day. But 'A Bed at the Edge of the Universe' and 'Big Shiny Limo' might be two songs I love a little bit more because they are just so much Rock. And 'Bridge Out of Time' is a track that has grown on me, it contains so many moods and parts that just go together so well, like a little journey with different ups and downs but still the same journey..eeh.
Will you play any festivals this summer in Sweden or elsewhere and what about a European tour to present your new album?
Nothing's absolutely set at this point so I'd better not say anything for sure.. All I can say is "hope so!".
What are your other plans for this year?
First of all releasing this album and promoting it. Doing as many gigs as possible starting on April 19th with the launch party at Cronan here in Gothenburg. It's gonna be a great party with Christian from the Awesome Machine as DJ and.. well, a lotta beer and a lotta cool music. We're playing as well of course.. And then we've started writing our next album so we're gonna go on with that at the same time. Think we'll play a few newly written songs on the next gig..
People who are living outside of Sweden are always very curiosed about the fact, that there are so much different rock bands coming out of your country. You live in Gothenburg, so how's your sight from the "inside"?
Well, to tell you the truth, I'm quite surprised myself - "Shit, this is good.. and these guys are Swedish.. too!" I don't have any explanation at all.. I mean, there's talented people everywhere, it's not like it's more of those here of course.. And it's not like it's crowded with good rock clubs and stuff. Here in Gothenburg it might be a handful of them.. And I think it's the same situation in most cities. I really don't have a clue.
Do you like your hometown and how do you live?
Yeah, I like Gothenburg a lot. It's a harbour town with a nice archipelago outside and it's really easy to take a ferry out to one of the small islands, especially in the summer, and y'know, just be.. That's a good thing when you live in a cramped little flat like I do.
Ok, for this moment there isn't anything more I like to ask. I wish you good luck with "Command Of The New Rock" and for everything elsein life. Finally, is there something you like to add?
Thanks for the interview Klaus, nice talking to you. And for you people out there, check out our album, you won't regret it, and Rock on!!