220 Volt interview January-2004.
One of the best melodic acts ever on the big Scandinavian music scene of the glorious 80's is back in business.
After several festivals this summer - among others Sweden Rock 2003 - 220 VOLT is now ready to enter the scene again.
Power Play Records will soon re-issue the bands excellent 1988 album "Eye to Eye", and on the album there are new artwork photos and photo material in general as well as two bonus tracks!.
I have talked to one of the two guitarists Mats Karlsson - here are the words:
Q: You and the rest of the band 220 Volt is re-united after 10 years of abscence! What was the occasion for a new start?
A: I was transferring lots of old demos from cassette to CD. I found some stuff that we did early on with 220 V, I thought it was a shame that we never got to release that. Material from the first years back in 1979-1983. During that process we realised that it was soon going to be 20 years since we released our first single. So we had a discussion with the line-up that existed then and we agreed to give it a shot.
Q: You have just re-released your 1988 album "Eye To Eye" - have you got any reactions on that one?
A: A few, some people don´t seem to like the cover.....I hope they like the music though.
You can´t please everyone....I know that the company re-issunig it (Power Play Records) worked hard on the thing and that is worth a lot. I´d rather have an official re-issue out than all the bootlegs, Trading is fine, selling is not O.K. Apart from that reactions have been great!
Q: Can you describe the work proces doing this new release. How did it start up? And why start out with "Eye to Eye"? .. many of my connections around the world are very exicited about the reunion and the re-release - it is a very strong album!
A: Thanks for your kind words, there was a lot of work going into that album and I´m happy it still makes you and your fiends excited. Just to clear up a few things, we as a band are NOT re-issuing this album. It´s done by an American label called Power Play Records. We´re only trying to help them out a bit. Our old record company (SONY) wouldn´t let us do it. Power Play contacted our tribute website, and asked if anyone could put them in touch with the band. I recieved an e-mail that I forwarded to SONY. Thankfully they let the guy license it. Why Power Play chose to start out with ”Eye to Eye” is really a question for them. We as a band only gave him some connections to work on and helped out with some historical bits and pieces.
Q: What more is released in this "new" era of 220 Volt?
A: We appeared on a compilation album in Germany in 2003 (Munich´s hardest hits) and released a limited edition (1000 copies) anniversary thing. That album is called ”Volume 1”. We recorded the 2 songs from our first single again in a rehearsal room (like in the good old days). We had a few new songs that was done in the same style, we added 5 live tracks (soundboard recordings) from Sweden Rock Festival 2002. All in all 11 tracks a full album and a thing for the closest fans. Not a big budget or production, just for fun…We have recorded a few shows and are still wading through the tapes in hope of having captured a real live album. (release will be sometime in the first 6 months of 2004)
Q: How do you see the CD's chance on a very complex market of today? To me the LP's with 220 Volt are essentiel for me and my musical background and for the Scandinavian melodic rock genre, do you get some reactions from fans?
A: I haven´t heard anything special….I´m not sure I know exactly what you mean…If you mean the ”Eye to eye” CD?? The market is complex, so you need to find someone who is willing to pay for some marketing..and a band that will do interviews and support the album in general. With those things lined up and a name that is somewhat familiar I think you could do pretty good.
Q: What are your main influences in music and now that you are an established artist you must be the influence to many young newcomers (especially from the many artist comuing from Sweden these days) - and what is the story about the band 220 Volt? How did you start up in the first place?
A: When it comes to hardrock, my influences are the same as they used to be: Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin..but I´ve always listened to other stuff as well. My older brother got me into symphonic rock when I was young and I still enjoy some of that. I also have a softspot for singer/songwriters that make a song work with just an acoustic guitar or at least very sparse arrangements. I also find myself much more into lyrics these days and the singer/songwriters are usually very good lyricists….I hope to record an album like that someday soon.
I hope we have inspired a few of the upcoming bands, that would be nice.
220 Volt started in Östersund, Sweden in 1979. I met Thomas Drevin at a miniature golf track way back and we became friends. Thomas and me started the band and it took about a year or maybe a little more until we had the line-up that we have now again. The full history will be up soon at www.220 VOLT.se
Q: The Swedish melodic rock/hard rock has always had a very creative scene- and many of the new up & comings bands hail from Sweden - how do you do that? In the glorious heydays of "Hair rock" back in the 80's 220 Volt, Europe, Treat and Alien were all bands with a certain Scandinavian sound - and that is still a fact! New bands like Sayit and Crystal Blue can still deliever the goods. But also the old bands are still active - is there a certain Sweden-sound?
A: I really have no idea. I think we just play and perhaps something from the Swedish folk music comes through??
I don´t know much about the hardrock scene in Sweden, new bands and stuff. But I have promised myself to check out a few that I´ve been hearing good things about.
Q:How about the band itself? What are you up to these days? And how about a tour and the future 220 Volt!
A: We´re going to finish a live album, release it asap and hope that we see all of you on some festivals in 2004. We don´t plan far ahead, but we´ve done some writing and it´s promising, so we´ll see. The new stuff is harder and more progressive, more like the band was very early on….even before we released albums….We might do something with it.
Q: Thanks for your time. I hope that everything will work out as planned - and that you will have a possibillity to record as a singer/songwriter someday!