Swedens best kept secret The Plastic Pals (read the live review here on Music-News) were available for an interview after their gig at the Enterprise in Camden. More precisely, very nice and very cool frontman Hawk, aka Håkan Soold revealed some secrets during our chat.
Music-News: In 2008 Sid Griffin from the Long Ryders headlined a Paisley Underground celebration gig at the Windmill in Brixton, with the Plastic Pals backing him. How did the collaboration come about?
Håkan Soold: It was Nick West, the editor of Bucketfull of Brains magazine, and his friend Gurbir Another Cowboy Dhillon who arranged for the whole gig. Gurbir had googled for bands influenced by the Long Ryders, Dream Syndicate and Green On Red and he found us on MySpace. So he asked whether we were interested in coming along to play a set with Sid. After Elvis (Sid) had left the building, the Pals finished the night with some Dream Syndicate and the Only Ones and also some Green On Red with Adam Killip and Will Burns of fine local bands The Tailors and Treecreeper (go check them out if you havent).
M-N: The Only Ones had a massive hit with Another Girl/Another Planet. They agreed for the song to be used in a Vodafone commercial. If The Plastic Pals were approached, would you be ok about one of your tracks being used in a commercial?
HS: I would be very selective. I wouldnt want a track of ours to be used to advertise just anything. If I were to sign an agreement with a publisher for licensing, I would make sure to put some clauses in it regarding things that we wouldnt wish to do. Vodafone and stuff like that wouldnt be any problem, but we wouldnt be ok about any child porn for example, or other bad things. So its yes and no to using our tracks in advertising. Actually, action figures would be cool! Why not Plastic Pals action figures? Ha ha ha.
M-N: Your musical influences range from Tom Verlaine to the Velvets and the Stooges. A lot of retro punk/garage rock basically, and also some blues. Do you feel this particular type of music has lost its edge and rawness nowadays?
HS: Well, to me its like folk music or jazz. That kind of music is grown up, but new kids are getting into it as well. Bands like The Strokes or The White Stripes lead people to older bands like Television, but obviously its no longer a punk thing. I mean Iggy Pops playing Stooges shows with James Williamson next year. Im sure its gonna be a thrill, but its still sort of a circus, aint it? Its not like Iggys gonna cut himself up or anything, is it?
M-N: How does the garage rock/punk scene in Stockholm compare to the London scene?
HS: I would say that in both cities you need to struggle to get people out. Most people these days seem to be more into mainstream music advertised as indie. The internet is a curse and a blessing. You can find everything, but the majority still seem to end up with stuff from the Top 40. We just keep sending CDs to people like Steve Lamacq or Marc Riley and hope he plays them sometime. Weve been played on BBC6 by Pete Mitchell, but hes on XFM now.
M-N: What inspired you to your new tracks Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea and A Turn Of The Tide?
HS: Well, none of my songs are autobiographical. Obviously, there are parts of yourself in everything you create. But my songs are stories about what I see, like places, or friends, or people around me just various characters really. As for Devil And The
this particular song does have parts of me in it, but is also very much about friends and people Ive met or seen. Its about fooling around in your youth and then finding out you have to pay the price later, that youll have to fight for your dignity from dush till dawn, struggling to make your meet.
As for Turn Of The Tide, its about going through hard times but at the same time keep on believing that one day your ship will come in.
M-N: Do you have any musical collaborations planned, or upcoming gigs in the UK?
HS: We are working on getting festival gigs in France and Spain. We had the honour and the pleasure of playing with the fine Australian band called The New Christs its Rob Younger from Radio Birdman and Jim Dickson from The Barracudas. So we supported them in Halden in Norway and these guys told us we should be playing places like France or Spain, as it would be good for us. Rob Younger is fan it seems. He told our bass player Thank you for your record. Its not a CD, its a RECORD he said and that he really enjoyed it.
M-N: What about gigs in your native Sweden?
HS: When I got back into song-writing after a long break, this was five or six years ago, I was writing the songs in Swedish. A friend I was playing with at the time told me I really like your music, but if you stick to this kind of sound with just a few listeners in Sweden, you might as well consider writing songs in English and so I did. Of course, that also means that were alienating ourselves a little from Sweden and striving more towards abroad. I mean, most Swedes are pretty good at English, but if they want to connect with a Swedish band, most of them still prefer them to sing in their mother tongue.
You also asked about collaborations. Well, Chris Cacavas from Green On Red plays keyboards on our album and we will collaborate more with him in the future. Also, my old punk band Guds Barn (meaning Gods Children in English) are reforming in April next year for a one-off big punk event in Stockholm. So its gotta be in Swedish again
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