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It’s always going to be a pleasant day when you know you have an interview with The Hives. We were excited to have the opportunity to speak to the brother of Howlin’ Pelle, Nicholaus Arson. Being the guitarist of the Swedish rockers, he talked about the new album Lex Hives and how thrilled they are to be heading back to Australia.
It has been five years in between album releases. Nicholaus explained why it took so long. “We usually don’t take as much as five years, but we occasionally have three or four years between records. The reason is that we tour our records for a reasonable time in between. We don’t write music on the road. I mean, we toured The Black and White Album for three years and we made a record in two, which was really supposed to be like a year…a year and a half (at the most) which is usually what it takes us to make a record. This took a lot longer because we were doing a bunch of other stuff as well.
He then told us what Lex Hives was all about. “This one was basically supposed to be all hardcore Hives. It was supposed to be as much The Hives as possible, as much Hives as you could have on one record. Basically we were tracing back in a sense. We wanted to go back and make a garage-sounding record. We were playing songs that we thought were Hives enough.”
The band also self-produced the album, which may have caused the delay of the release. Nicholaus said, “It was great. It wasn’t time saving or anything, as we thought it would be. It was fun, I think we’re pretty good at it. We always used to produce in a sense as well. We are doing exactly what we wanted.”
After departing ways with Interscope Records, the band is now independent. They released the album through their own label Disque Hives. Discussing the feeling of being independent, he said “It feels great. Interscope wanted to release pop records. They didn’t want to bring up the millions of dollars that we needed (laughs) to do the record with them, so we decided to go independent. We still worked with the other labels to release the record. You know, we released the record through Universal Sweden. Basically we were hand-picking labels that we liked and that we wanted to work with. It’s a pretty good deal!”
Furthermore, he cleared up any confusion about the differences between their time on major and independent labels. “We always had the same sort of freedom stipulated in our contract ever since Tyrannosaurus Hives really, and before that, the Barely Legal album and the Veni Vidi Vicious album. We did exactly what we wanted to do; there was nobody telling us what this sounds like and there was nobody telling us what to do. Basically if we could stay within what we had (stipulated) we could do whatever the f**k we wanted. We did exactly what we wanted to before and we’ve done that ever since. Nobody ever has the last call on what we were supposed to record, write or make. It was always us. Whatever you hear on The Hives’ records is one hundred percent The Hives.
A post-punk revival occurred in the early 2000s. This era included bands beginning with ‘The’ breaking through the airwaves. Others included The Vines, The Strokes, and The White Stripes. The Hives are still going very strong. Nicholaus briefly commented regarding the scene. “When we were becoming popular at that time we were about twenty years old. Now we are right over thirty, which means apparently, according to the male evolution, now we are in our sexual prime, which exactly correlates with the punk rock sexual prime (laughs). We have at least another five years of a good rocking out.
The band’s upcoming tour of Australia is almost like it was set in stone. The dates and venues are very similar to their previous tour of The Black and White Album. Nicholaus exclaimed, “We love coming to Australia! We always have great shows in Australia. We’ve always had great festival shows and great club shows there. I mean the weather in summer time is pretty superb. You know, all surfin’ and barbequein’ and playing rock and roll! It’s pretty sweet.”
He told us, “This time it will be the full-on Lex Hives show. It’s basically The Hives in their superb attire, the top hats and tails, and The Hives basically playing at least half the set of Lex Hives songs. We might change it up, but we’re on tour for the Lex Hives record…plus, of course all the hits. You’ve got a pretty good deal going there. It’s all the hits and more, and by more I mean Lex Hives.”
The Hives are not to be missed. Lex Hives is out now.
The Hives – Australian Tour Dates
Wednesday, 2 January
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Sunday, 6 January
The Forum, Melbourne
Monday, 7 January
The Metro, Sydney
Photo by Tobias Sutter