It seems that you are not as popular as a few years
ago, what gives you the fire to keep on doing this ?
what did you think about tonight ? We still have a great time on stage.
But obviously at the end of the day the problem is that there is a reality
to face : we have bills to pay, we have family to put food on the table.
And you know, the day we cant do that anymore were sort of
fucked. Thats how simple it is. Right now its not a very good
time for us economicaly, but were still managing to make it work
and were being smart with our money, so it works but its not
easy and were very far from being rich rockstars you know. But we
still enjoy each others compagny, we still kick ass on stage. And as long
as those two things are there well just try to make the other things
met Ray from Downset last year in the very same place. He played in
front of 200 people and said that it would be stupid not to come and
play for those 200 true fans...
Well, I mean you always play for the true fans. The hardcore fans, that
known you for years. Sometimes you are lucky you have a hit on MTV or
some other shitty channel and you have a big record company behind you
and thats cool when that happens. Weve had that as well.
But once again we cant control that. Its all about having
fun at the end of the day. Sure we have a serious message but it doesnt
mean you cant have fun and party. For me its perfectly natural
to combine those 2 things. Even if we party on tour, we try to keep
the focus right. Being able to party and doing your work on stage, which
is also a way of partying.
And a lot of bands forget that you know. Because they get successful
and they take things for granted. We had some of those syndromes seriously
because we were big in the beginning. In some ways we are spoiled you
know. We take things for granted. But I think it helped being from Sweden.
In Sweden we dont specially think of people who are more successfull
or earn more money than you. Its really based on regarding of
who you are, not based on income or success. Its based on how
nice you are toward the people. Of course there are Swedens that are
assholes, maybe some of us are assholes occasionnaly. But you know were
all try to make this ship work together. But of course its hard
from going bigger to smaller. I admit. Its not always easy. But
this is where we are, so we make the best of where we are and hopefully
well get bigger again.
But seriously this is the more fucked up business to be in right now.
First of all there is the whole downloading thing that scared record
company. 15 years old today dont buy cds. They download it, listen
to it and throw it away then download something else. Im older,
people from my generation like cd collections. I like booklets, I like
lyrics, but I also download. I have shitloads of downloading music,
but I also have shitloads of old music.
this why you inclued a Dvd with your last album. To make people wanna
buy your album ?
was Nuclear Blasts idea. They try to add value to the cd of course.
Because they realize the market is changing. So if you add a bonus feature,
it makes people into buying the cd. Its very simple. This is just
some commercial tactics, its not wrong but its only commercial
reasons. And I think its good. Its really smart because
it gives you extra value for your money. But I hope that one day we
can released a dvd that is ours. A Dvd with a complete shows, all the
videos instead of almost all the ones like it is on the Nuclear Blast
Dvd. You see thats the kind of Dvd we wanna do, including backstage
footage, party footage, interviews. It will be cool to released a Dvd
fuckin loaded with lots of informations and entertainement
at the same time.
you participated in the making of the Dvd that is with the album ?
of course we approved the footage from the festival. But its too
bad they didnt get all the videos. It was for legal reasons because
we had a couple of different record companies in our past. So it was
difficult to get all the rights. So I think there is only 8 videos out
of the 11 that we made. So its only about legal bullshit reasons
that not all of our videos appears on this Dvd. But I still think its
a great Dvd you know. And for all the people who never had the chance
to see us, its a chance to see what we are on stage.
the show itself ?
is a great show, not the best show weve done, but its great.
We approved it. I think there are some sound problems on it, also its
early in the day and we had a spleepless night the day before. We played
a protugues festival really late the day before. Got about 1 hour of
sleep and then flew right away to this festival. But I mean it
a luxury problem, so because I know the background and the story behind
it, we were so fuckin tired on that gig, but it doesnt show. Because
once again you give everything youve got anyway. But dont
get me wrong its a good show.
The good thing about that show was that the filming was pretty well
done. A lot of festivals dont have film teams that actually have
the brains to see what the band is doing and cut it differently for
every band. Some people just film because its their job you know.
But for this festival the people behind the cameras knew how we move
on stage and what we did you know. Im talking too much but Im
were talking about the fun that you have on stage, and I think thats
really unique to Clawfinger, the people can see that you have some fun
and you are able to pass your enthousiasm to the crowd. People can feel
that. Not all bands are able to do that...
if you like a death metal band you have to be hard ! I think it took
us a few years but I think you can combine it. Its really easy
to do, its simple communication. I mean look at the fans that
have payed to see you. If its necessary get down in the audience
with the fans, let them sing in the micorphone. Its very small
things, it doesnt get a lot of effort from us. Just look at the
people, smile to them, try to make them have some good time to the show.
And if the fans want to come up on stage its cool as long as they
are carefull with our equipement and dont stay too long on stage
so that they get anoying. Yeah see, things are as simple as that.
your new record Hate Yourself With Style, what was the response
from the fans and the medias in general ?
been very mixed. I think that has always been the case with us. Exept
maybe at the beginning when we were like the cool thing. People lied
in the beginning they were like Oh its great even
if they didnt care. Thats what happen when youre really
successful with something. Evereone will just hooks on and pretend to
like you. And you always have about 30 % of the fans that maybe like
you but dont really understand what youre about but because
you are popular they just sort of want to hang on to this attention
that you are getting. And see, thats the good thing about not
being big. The people who come are all real fuckin fans. Thats
an upside to be a big fuckin band. And thats why some of
those bands choose to separate themselves from the fans. Because they
know that they are so many people that are not for real. So its
become difficult to deal with it, to go down into an audience and just
talk with people anymore. Because you always have some people that just
want to get your attention like oh I talked to him and hes
like in this cool big band. But its not just a thing for
bands. If you are succesfull in any line of work youll always
have people that would like to hang on to you and get a piece of you.
So you know, in some ways I understand people like Metallica or these
really big bands, they have to separate themselves, otherwise theyll
be eaten up. Anyway, its a weird fuckin business, its fucked
up in lot of ways but also its the best fuckin job, so
the departure of Erlend, Hanke and Andre are more and more involved
in the band...
has been with us since the very beginning. Hanke has been with us since
1997. I think what happened was when Erlend left, basically the last
2 or 3 years he wasnt happy being in the band. And when one personn
isnt happy, he makes moving forward harder. Its like having
a boat trying to sell, but the ancre is still in the watter. He enjoyed
being on stage, but everything around it, the touring, being away from
home, the bus, he didnt enjoyed it. Because you have to compromise.
Its always about team work. And he was the guy in the band who
was least capable of doing team work. He wanted things to be by his
standards, by what he thinks is good or bad. And so far there was no
surprise. We saw this coming. And when he left, all the sudden we all
had the same goal again. There was nothing stopping us, the whole procedure
of recording and being a band together became so much easier. And it
also changed the power stucture within the band. All the sudden Jocke
became a step forward into the writting. Everything became more spontanious
and based on just having fun. I mean life goes on. We never considered
quitting when he left. But Bård, our guitar player was worried
because they used to be 2 sort of x-men. For me personnaly, in all I
see, it didnt make much of a difference. Because he wasnt
happy in the end and therefor he didnt participate much in the
song writing or in the life of the band. I wish him the best with his
computer writing business, I know he has a good job now, congratulations.
Thats what he wanted. He wanted to have a 9 to 5, to have the
security of a home, to be at home with his wife all the time. Fair enough.
If thats what you feel you have to do that you know.
it changed your way of writing ?
Like I said, it made everything more spontanious. It made the whole
procedure much more relax. Its one less opinion to care about.
It means, that there is one person less whose opinion has to be taken
into consideration. All the sudden we were 3 people in the song writing
department. Which of course makes it easier. When we were 4 we always
have to make compromises. Now, the guy who burns most of the song, finishes
the song. The other guys say what they dont like, we fix that,
and it just sort of rolled on. So it became a lot easier to write songs.
There will be people out there wholl think that this album is
not as good as the previous one. But thats the way it is. And
were having more fun than ever you know.
released a « Best of » last year. Any word on
that cd ?
We have nothing to say except that we were not a part of it. We were
not involved in this released. It was made buy our old record company
who released our first 3 albums. They did that because they knew we
had a new record coming on a new label. And they wanted to ride on that
wave and sell some albums. They didnt asked us to write notes,
add pictures or anything. So of course I like the release because its
our songs, but Im also pissed of because there is no bonus materials,
no b-sides, no remixes. There is no added value for the fans. And that
you have those kind of materials to add ?
We have a lot of b-sides and remixes. I would have also love to write
some notes about some of the songs we made or whatever. But they never
even asked us. And for that reason I dont like it. They should
have cared a little bit more. And thats one fucked up thing about
the music business, its business. But what they didnt realized
is that they would have made more money if they had added some extra
our last interview, you said that being on a major label wasnt
the right thing for Clawfinger. Do you think you have found the right
label with Nuclear Blast ?
hard to say. Because we havent been to Nuclear Blast very long.
And they are still a major label. The difference is that they are one
major label which works with one gender of music. So at least they are
working within a territory they know about. Actually we are very different
from most of the bands on that label. Were probably one of the
more commercial bands. Compare to some of the stuff they have, we are
very easy listening. But still, its a metal label, they know the
metal scene. They have street teams, and other stuff. We can say that
they have a more down to earth approch about the music. And I think
it helps. Im still not sure if its the right label, Im
not even sure if we should be on a label. Maybe we should start our
own label. I dont know its too early to tell. But so far
its been good. Ask me again in 6 months.
is hidden behind the name of your new record Hate Yourself With
thats what we do as human beings. We pretend to be something were
not. We try to live up with somebodys expectations. But we dont
show it to anybody. We have these stupid masks on and try to pretend
that we are happy and sometimes were fuckin miserable. That
was my idea with the tittle. But maybe for some people it could mean
something completely different.
time you produced the whole album by yourselves. Why such a choice ?
weve talked about it since the second album. We just never had
the balls to do it. Its basically the answer to the question.
Jocke, our keyboard player, has done some good work on production for
some swedish bands. Weve done remixes for Rammstein for years.
We know how to do this shit. Its just the question of having the
faith to believe in yourself enough to do it. And for this album we
decided it was fuckin time. Theres no big secret behind. That
was it. We just felt that after all these years, we were mature enough
to do it.
Its really different from our previous albums, more basic, less
keyboards, but were really happy with it.
you think you made the right choice ?
I think it was the right choice. The thing is that youre never
totaly satisfied with your own productions. As soon as you finished
it, you ear things that you would have like to change. But you have
to live with that. And try to make better next time. Thats what
keeps you going also. Its a bit of a cliche but its also
true you know. Never being totally happy make you wanted do always better.
were talking about the kind of Dvd that you would like for Clawfinger,
do you have yet any plans about one ?
just have to be the right timing you know. And I dont think this
is the right time. Were still trying to get back up a bit on the
ladder. I hope well be around long enough to release a full packed
Dvd, but only time will tell. Now isnt the right time anyway.
lyrics are very strong, do you consider yourself as a spokesman ?
Ive always liked bands like Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Public
Enemy and a bunch of other bands who have always been very outspoken.
Thats the way I do it. Thats the way I love writing. And
of course its probably based on where I grow up, in a hippy communauty.
Its not pre-planed, but I dont know any other way to do
it. I just like to try to say things, things that are in my mind, things
that are anoying me. Wether it is homophobia, racism, things that concern
me. The problem is not coming up with a topic, the problem is writing
a lyric that I feel is good enough. Thats the problem because
Im never satisfied mostly.
time you were talking about the fact that french people always make
big strikes. What was your reaction about the lattest events that happened
here, strikes and riots ? I think you saw that on tv...
It was on the news everywhere. I think its great but in the same
time its strange because french people seems to be very relaxed,
very sort of laid back, they drink some wine, smoke a joint, listen
to reggae music, rap. Theyre like hey men, cool !.
And then you have this history of being revolutionnaire. And I think
its great. Sometimes I doubt that protesting is the right way
of doing it. Me and Jocke did this big protesting a month ago in Stockolm
against the fact that there is no control about all the weapons that
are sold all over the world. And it turns out that there was nobody
there. We were supposed to be there and showed are as celebrities or
whatever you want to call it. They planed this thing for month but nobody
went there. Maybe thats the problem, because its planed
it sorts of backfires. Whereas here its just improvises, go out
and fuckin protest. I didnt mean that the people didnt feel
anything about weapon control, but it was too planed maybe. Here youre
fuckin burning and youre so pissed of that you go out there and
trash things. But Im a bit in the middle because sometimes I think
that the best thing is a non-violent approch. Because its necessary,
it has to be this way. So it sadness me when it has to go through violence.
So I hoped it made a difference. But its too sad it has to go
this way. But I was happy when I saw it on the news, because its
so for real. There is no big plan behind it, no mastermind. Its
just based on raw emotion from a bunch of people that are fuckin dissatisfied
about the way things are.
get back to Clawfinger, have you ever played in the United States ?
It doesnt work there because we have a song called Nigger.
That fucks it up because were all pink guys, none of us are browns.
Maybe it can happened now because its so long ago that song was
released, so maybe it wouldnt make a difference. But I mean the
racial situation there is so much balck and white and so much complicated.
you have a distribution there for your albums ?
Actually our last album is distribuated there because it is on Nuclear
Blast and they are pretty big there. But you know, I dont really
think much is gonna happen. First of all, to make it over there, you
have to go there and tour your ass off. And the problem is that were
getting old. The majority of us has families. And it would get probably
3 or 4 months of touring there to even get noticed. And until somebody
told us that we can bring our family with us, nobody are gonna sacrificed
our families that much anymore. That hungry we are not anymore. We can
not do that. I can not live with not seeing my son for 5 or 6 months.
I cant do that anymore. Sorry. If thats the price I have
to pay for the States, I say fuck the States. If it has happened in
1995, I would have done it without a blink of an eye. But not now. But
I still loved to go over maybe to New York, or couple of other places.
And I think that people there would be pretty surprised to see what
we have to offer. Because american bands have this attitude of being
rockstars. Whereas we dont really have that thing going for us.
Were not really good at being rockstars. I think that would be
an intersting thing to experience. So I would loved to go over there,
but touring and touring and touring, no ! Its too late, Im too
the past Ive never been into Rammstein music too much. I discovered
it last year. But when I listen to them, I think theyre using
a lot of Clawfinger stuff in their music. Do you think you had an influenced
on them at the beginning ?
know that we have an influence on them. They even told us so. They even
choose our first producer because they liked the guitar sound on our
first album. Its not even a secret. I think what they do is very
different from us when it comes to the musical aspect. But when it comes
to the guitar riffs and guitar sound, especially back in the days, it
was very similar. Theyve choosen a much more risky approch, singing
in german, uniforms. Theyre really provoking feeling. Theyre
using it and I think its intersting. Because in the past, germans
have not been allowed to talk about their past, and say things about
the second world war and of course the whole nazi thing. And these guys
are using a lot of that simbolysm and are forcing people to react. So
I think its really intersting and that they are doing it really
fuckin weel. Sometime they go over the boarder, over the limit to what
is tastefull. But well, I know for facts that those guys are the opposite
of being nazis you know. That was the first thing we checked out when
they supported back in 1995. We had there lyrics translated, we checked
out what these guys were about. Because obviously we didnt wanted
a support band that was a nazi band. And we quickly understood that
they were playing around with this symbolism. Those guys grew up in
east Berlin, so they truly are the opposite of being nazis. I dont
know why they actually did it, but it was of course to create reactions.
looks like what you did with your Nigger song...
in some ways. But even more provocative. At that time, we werent
smart enough to realize that we were provocative. I was more a case
of being honest, saying exactly what we were thinking whithout taking
into consideration if it could maybe offend people you know. Maybe today
I would have written those lyrics differently. Im not sure. But
back then, I wrote the lyrics in 1991 or some, that was the way I did
it. I grow up loving bands like Public Enemy, NWA, all sorts of rap
stuff. I always asked myself why they are using this word ? And I guess
some people think its stupid for a white guy from Scandinavia
to have those feelings and those thoughts. But that was just the way
I felt, so I wrote those fuckin lyrics. There you go. We know
what were trying to say so there is no problem. If people misunderstand
it, we explain it to them and they realised were not racist.
you had a bad experience on stage when you played this particular song
would say that 99 % there hasnt been any problems or what so ever.
I would say that there has been a couple of gigs, out of the 700 or
whatever weve done, I dont keep count. Back in the days
in Sweden there was some skinheads in the audience and when we said
it was an anti-racism song, they through out bottles at us. But they
didnt hit us, there wasnt a big problem. So there have been
times where people were like what the fuck is this song, what
are you saying ? But the funny thing is that there are always
been white people, not black people that seemed to be offended buy this
song. And as long as you know what youre trying to say, its
always easy to have conversation with people who misunderstand you.
So to answer the question, there has been a few occasions where things
went wrong, but not many. Which proves that most people have brains,
and can read lyrics.
to finish, what are your planes for the next months ?
we have 10 more gigs in France. Then were going home for like
10 days. Then were doing Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
for about 3 weeks. And then a few vacation with some festivals surrounding
there, in Switzerland, Germany
Not as many festivals as I would
have done. Maybe a few more will pop up really soon. And then well
see, maybe we should tour more, or start recording new songs. It all
depends with what will happens commercialy. So well just wait
and see !
hope that you will work on a new album soon !
what you say is that you hope this album dont sell much then ?!
(Big laugh) I would love to record a new album but at the same
time I would love that this album sells more so that we can tour more.
The best thing is to do both I guess. But its hard to find time
to write songs on tour. Because youre always in dressing room,
in buses, doing sound checks... There are not many times where you could
just sit back and really focused on song writing. Some bands can do
it. We cant.
you still have some ideas for your next record ?
of course. You always have some ideas, lyrics, guitar riffs, drum beats.
But finding the time, on tour, to put them together is hard !
Interview Manu & Pierre