Backyard Babies
This interview was made in Londres (UK) as the band are in European Tour 2004. Ben has met the singers and guitars player Nicke and Dregen.

Tonight is the first date of your new tour. You'll go to Japan and come back in Europe after. What do you expect of it?

Dregen: Oh, well: playing for more people, in more places, new places. You know everything that you want when you do a new record, like being bigger and better, playing better live shows.
Nicke: with the last tour, we've been quite everywhere: South America, Australia. This will cover South Asia, Japan, New Zealand and Thailand. Hopefully we will play in Bangkok.
Dregen: and maybe Russia. And we have a date booked in Paris, but this is more close to April.

How do you feel about the success of Making enemies is good? Did it open doors for the band?

Dregen: Yeah! It took us to new places, bigger clubs. But I think we feel good to have this new album, we are proud of it. It has been a long process to record it because we were on tour in America. We had a break in studio to go touring, and then we back. This album feels more focused on what we did.

Your new album "Stockholm Syndrom" is now gold in Sweden. Do you consider this as recognition of your long hard work?

Nicke: Yeah, and this is also cool. We haven't done a live gig yet and the album is already gold. Record sales, it's not important. It's a pay off. The more gigs we do the more we are happy! Sometimes, doing a record is only to have new songs and go on the road again.

Do you live thanks to the Backyard Babies or do you have to work?

Dregen: No we live of this since 1995.

What does the cover represent for you?

Dregen: Well, first of all, we are a band that like to have ourselves on the cover, because all the bands we like has the habit to have them on the cover. It represents us walking and moving forward. For us, this mean "we are still on the road".

And why does the sky is in red?

Nicke: Euh, because it was just a nice colour! (Laughs)
Dregen: it's not coming from a deep reflection!
Nicke: we're not that deep! (Laughs)

What is the most change in this new album?

Dregen: I think the songwritting is a bit more direct and more riffs. On the last album, we had more string arrangements, keyboard and all this stuff. On this one, this is only two guitars-bass-drums! The simplest Rock'n Roll!

This album is produced and mixed by Joe Barresi. What did he bring to your sound?

Nicke: He has been really good. He mixed our last album. He saw us play live in 98 and he was really impressed. He wanted to make an album with us close to our live performance. He's really good in saying "this riff is shit, find something better, you can!" We don't need any contribution in our songwritting. And he was perfect in "that should go away and that should stay".
Dregen: and he is a real professional. The last album, it took 4 months to do it, and this one only three weeks.

Why did you mix it in Los Angeles?

Dregen: because Joe is from there, and this is his favourite place to work. He has mixed there so many records; he knows everything about the techniques of the studio. And also for the sunshine!

What do you think about the new fashion of playing rock'n roll?

Dregen: I have no problem with them. I have more problems with nü metal bands: they are screaming, are aggressive, but there is nothing true behind it. Sometimes, bands on stage, are taking themselves to seriously, in the way that rock'n roll should be like having fun on stage and sometimes laugh of yourself

What Rock'n Roll mean for you nowadays?

Dregen: Fucking! (Laughs)

It seems to be a complete way of life in your case?

Dregen: Yeah, and this is not a cliché! Just before the shows, we're not change our clothes and put some make up! Shit no! We live like this! This is our lifestyle.

Your attitude on stage makes me think about the Clash or Sex Pistols?

Dregen: Thank you very much! I really appreciate what you said! Those two bands are why we play this venue tonight. This is the smallest club of the tour! The Clash, The Pistols, The Rolling Stones played here!

You have recorded a song with Joe Ramone and 30 others guests called "Friends". How was this experience?

Dregen: We wrote this song in 1999. And then we decided to have all our friends singing on this track. We took a recorder tape on tour, our friends were writing their own lyrics and singing. We finally put all together in studio. When Joe died, we decided to use this song as a tribute.

How did you feel about the death of Joe Ramone?

Dregen: We met him in New York in 1997. He went to all our shows. We became friends at this time. We were very sad when we knew about his death.

You have toured with the biggest rock'n roll band: AC/DC. How was the experience?

Nicke: it was like being at a Rock School during one month and a half! It was really great. We learnt one thing: we can play big stages and feel comfortable.
Dregen: Angus Young was very happy because the public was very receptive. This is a big challenge to support AC/DC because most of the time, in big concerts like this, you only come to see The Band! And Angus was like "No, they do like you! A two guitars Rock'n Roll band, yeaaah".
Nicke: We tried one new songs on stage, and the public was well reacting!

What gear do you use on stage (guitars, amps, drums…)?

Dregen: we play Gibson guitars, Fender's bass and we use Marshall Heads, Ampeg amps and the drums are … I have no idea!!!
Nicke: Peder plays drums!!! (Laughs)

What are the plans for the future for Backyard Babies?

Nicke: this whole year, we will tour. We want to do some festival during this summer. The album will be released in America, we hope playing there in few months. We have to teach them how to play Rock'n Roll music because they seem to have forgotten that!
Dregen: We are going in few days in Japan, and then we will come back in Europe. We will play in UK, in France, in Sweden, in Germany …

What do you want a teen to remember from a Backyard Babies gig or CD?

Dregen: Exctasy! I want the public to having fun, to forget their daily life. We deliver no political messages; it's just "be happy in your life". Get drunk, have sex, love music!


How did you come to tattoo?

Dregen: We grew up with the last generation of tattooed rebels. We were like 15 years old and we wanted to have a tattoo. But my mum was like "Oh no no no!" Today it's more common, even my mum have a tattoo.
Nicke: when we were 15, we had long hair and a ring in the ear. We were the little rebels! It was like in the continuation

Which is your first one? And why did you make it?

Nicke: we went me, Dregen and a friend pretty far actually because there is no tattoo shop in where we're from. We all made quite the same tattoo with the classics symbols: the rose, the skull, the dragon …

Among all your tattoos, which one do you prefer and Why?

Dregen: I would say my last one.
Nicke: I love all my tattooes, I don't have any preference.

Which is the last one?

Dregen: a cross

What does it symbolize for you?

Dregen: (he seems embarrassed) I like the X because it's the only letter which is a number too.
Nicke: my last one is the skull on my throat.

Did it hurt?

Nicke: Actually, no! This is more an uncomfortable feeling, like you can't breathe during few seconds.

Have you got an idea of the next one?

Nicke: no
Dregen: no

Is there a tattooist's works that impress you very much?

Dregen: Yeah, there is a guy called Robert Hernandez, he is from Madrid. He is really impressive, he is doing big portrait which look like more a photo.

Would you like him to tattoo you?

Dregen: Yeah. But it takes like a couple of years between my tattoos.

For you, what's the importance of tattoo in the rock's spirit?

Dregen: For me, the body is like a diary. Tattoos are important in Rock music because artists are freer to have some, like on the hands or in the neck. When you work, it's more difficult.

Have you a message for kids would be tattooed?

Dregen: you should do something that you love. You can't regret something you love. And no political messages!
Nicke: musically and lyrically, we want to keep us free of politic. We focus more on human being. Music is a very strong way of saying something. Bands like Rage Against the Machine done it really well !

Interview Ben
Translation Tataye

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999