Interview conducted June 19 2010
Interview published June 21 2010
When I saw that Crucified Barbara
was about to play in my very small hometown on the countryside in northern
Sweden, I was not late to sign up for a chat with singer/guitarist Mia
Coldheart an hour or so before they went out and
played a solid gig, alas for a very scarce crowd. A very friendly and
down to earth girl who were more than happy to share a few things about
the past, present and future in the Crucified Barbara camp with us.
Tommy: The band has existed for quite a
while now, you started in 1998 but you have only released two albums up
until now. It took a long while from the formation to In Distortion We
Trust (2005) and then again a long while up to 'Til Death Do Us Party
(2009). How come? Is that a calculated move, to go easy forward?
Mia: When we started, or rather when I joined
the band, it was still on a demo level. We were not ready to release
an album at that point, it was more that we met, we started playing
and it felt really good. It was on a very basic level then. When we
released the first album 2005, we did not have any big expections
on what would come out of it all, since the record company said that
"we'll make this album, we'll shoot a video and release everything
in Sweden". We got no promises from their side, but everything
just grew with time. The album was released in several countries,
we got booked as support act for tours and the ball was rolling. When
we really would have needed to enter the studio again, we got the
offer to go on tour with Motörhead and to go to Australia and
there seemed to be no end to things. It's was also very hard to turn
those things down when you were being offered it hands down at that
time. And after all this we were pretty exhausted, so when we decided
to take a break from playing, it took quite some time to reload, so
to speak. And then, when the new album finally was finished we had
to wait over half a year for the appropriate time to release it. Indeed,
it took a long time, but we are really satisfied with it and it feels
like it was worth the wait and we got to do everything we wanted in
How does the planning look for the next album? That is a little bit in
the works, if I am not completely mistaken? At least you have started
to write a bit?
Mia: Yes, you are correct, we have started
the writing. However, we have not planned anything about where we
are going to record it, and I hope we can work with Mats Levén
again as a producer but nothing of this is decided on. It's just my
personal wish, since it worked very well the last time. We have a
lot of song ideas already, and a heap of material that did not end
up on the last album which we'll see what we can do with this time.
But first we have a pretty tough summer schedule and we are going
to work that out first and then we can concentrate on a new album
during the coming fall. We hope to be able to record it this year.
Tommy: Now this is a just a guess from my
side, and I know I may very well be out on a limb here. It may be fifty-fifty
with this, but; can you make a living out of this at this point? You are,
and have been, touring quite a lot. Or do you all still have to have jobs
on the side to get by?
Mia: You are more or less spot on there, it's
fifty-fifty (laughs). It kind of depends, when we are touring a lot,
as you say, we can make it on this alone. You kind of have to, really.
It is damn hard, though, and during periods with less shows we work
a bit on the side. At least as far as we can, since it's hard to puzzle
everything together and it's not the easiest thing to find a job where
you can come and go as you please on a relatively short notice; "On
Friday I will be leaving and I'm gonna be away for two weeks",
you know. But we'll get by and we are doing what we want to do. After
ten years doing this we have found a way that works.
Tommy: Now when you have reached this level
of recognition and appreciation, where you (at least partially) can make
a living out of it, does it feel like you thought it would feel when you
dreamed about it years ago starting this band up?
Mia: For me personally, I don't think it would
feel any different from now if I we did this completely full time.
Difficult question, I have not really thought about it that way. The
"rock star" life can have many sides to it. It would be
one thing if you went by limo everyday and had a completely different
life. But we are very pleased at the moment. We were actually just
a moment ago discussing how fun it is to be on the road playing gigs.
We are very pepped (laughs).
Tommy: You are about to play at Wacken this
year also. You have to tell me how that feels. That's quite an acknowledgment
to have been invited there.
Mia: That's really something. I did not think
it would happen so soon. I mean, you hear stories about how hard it
is to get a foot in there and that record labels have to buy themselves
a spot for their bands there, and that has not been an option in our
case. It's a really big thing for us to have landed this, and it's
gonna be damn fun. It's the highlight of this year for sure. Very
mighty. I can not really imagine what it's going to be like, but we'll
just have to wait and see (laughs).
Tommy: It's sort of a milestone in your
One thing that I ask in many of my interviews: What is the next big goal
for Crucified Barbara? Where do you want to land after the next big step?
And how are you going to bring it there? Are these things that you think
about and discuss?
Tommy: Do you have one single, specific
thing that you are working towards that you have not done yet? For example
a certain festival to visit, a certain band to open for.
Mia: Hmm.. difficult, we have not really thought
about anything like that. On a personal level, I would really like
to go back to Australia to play (laughs). That was so much fun. Right
now the name of it escapes my mind but there is this touring festival
in Australia, which is really big down there. That would be so much
fun. When we were there the last time, in 2006, I think I have never
felt so strongly that I could consider abandoning Sweden to live someplace
else. We travel a lot and see so many places and countries, but you
seldom stay long enough to explore it more deeply. But in Australia
we had a few days off, and it was damn nice, great gigs, nice and
friendly people. And great wheather (laughs).
Tommy: In Distortion We Trust was released
in a big part of Europe when it came, but also in the USA. In terms of
sales, how did it go there and how is it holding up today? Have you seen
any figures lately?
Mia: Well, it did somewhat good. The new album
is not even out there, I believe. After the release it got some publicity,
but since we never went over there to play shows, it's so hard to
stick out on the market.
Tommy: You have never to this day played
Mia: No, we haven't. We keep getting a lot
of emails from people that want to see us there, but... well, it has
to be arranged and financed somehow, and I believe that it would work
out good but at the moment we have so many other things going on.
Tommy: 'Til Death Do Us Party on the other
hand has only been released in Europe, not in the USA. How come?
Mia: Since we are on a smaller label with relatively
small partners along the line, where everyone is working more or less
on their own side of the field, it has simply not really caught on
there yet. That is of course the advantage with being on a major label,
who has tentacles everywhere and gets things going in a whole different
way. But I feel pretty confident about the small scale situation at
the moment, it's nice to at least be able to have control over certain
things yourself in the way that we do. That's pretty nice, actually.
But the american market would indeed be an awesome journey to embark
on in a near future (laughs).
As mentioned before, you have earlier been on the road with Motörhead.
Personally I think that their fans could appreciate Crucified Barbara
quite a lot. What kind of response did you get at the time, and also afterwards?
Mia: Yes, we did a tour with them in England
for a month. You know, it's hard to know before how the reception
is going to be. They have pretty loyal and dedicated fans, you know.
But it turned out to be a damn good tour. Often we played almost just
when the doors opened and so on, but there were quite big venues so
eventually there were big crowds. We really hit it off a few times
and it was very valuable and satisfying to just be a part of the whole
thing. It was after that tour that we were so tired, so I could not
stand even looking at a guitar for the next three months (laughs).
But yeah, it was really great, and just fact that we have that as
a merit is very nice. Having toured with Motörhead is always
a good thing to have in your portfolio.
Tommy: The european headline tour together
with Bonafide, then. How did that go down?
Mia: That was equally awesome and fun. That
was the first real headline tour we did on that scale, having our
own nightliner and playing our own gigs like that. It was really cool.
It varied a lot, however, some places were absolutely packed and intense
and some gigs were merely half sold out. But it spanned from big cities
to small country side villages, so that's just normal. It was up and
down, a lot of long and hard days, but some really cool things happening
in between. Just like a tour should be. That one was pretty long,
almost six weeks over the fall and winter. But we got it steaming
pretty good (laughs).
Tommy: About your recent participation in
the Eurovision Song Contest; would you consider entering again with a
more "metal" type of song? This time it was with a more laidback
and softer power ballad.
Mia: Well, perhaps with a song that is taken
off an album or something like that, in that case. The thing with
that ESC song (Heaven Or Hell) is that we got asked to perform it
in the swedish qualifications, since I had been singing on it on a
demo a long time ago. Originally we were not supposed to play it but
it was sent in and it was picked as one of the qualifying songs and
we got the gig. It came right out of the blue, really, and we decided
to go for it.
Tommy: Holding on to what you said there
about singing on that demo; I remember reading somewhere that you also
write songs for other bands?
Mia: No, I am not a song writer for others
in that way. I have however earlier had as a sidejob to sing on various
demos. The persons that wrote Heaven Or Hell wrote several songs for
the ESC but this was the only one that made it to the end this time.
And when we as a band were asked to do this, we thought "If they
want us to do this so bad, we're going for it". In some part
because of the actual song, but I also know that the arrangers of
the event specifically wanted Crucified Barbara since I guess it breaks
off nicely to the rest of the starting field. Some people said "but
now you can write an own song and try out for next year". But
we have never wanted to participate in that contest in that kind of
way, meaning writing an own song, send it in, hoping to get picked
and then perform it ourselves. That is not really for us, but this
thing we did this year was first and foremost a fun and nice thing.
A lot of other bands who have participated in ESC have talked badly about
the whole thing in the media at the same time as they play there just
to be seen and to do promotion for themselves, but you have all the time
seemed genuinly happy and interested in the whole thing.
Mia: That is very true. At first I was against
the whole thing, even though I like to watch it every year. I believe
that if you are to do a thing like that you have to be able to stand
up for it with your head high. We thought the song was good and that
it would be fun to do it. The only thing that made us think an extra
time around was the hardrock fans and what they would think about
it all. But refraining from doing it because of what certain people
might think just feels so wrong. We just jumped into this and saw
it as a big and funky adventure, which is exactly what it turned out
to be. A very fun experience, to put it simple. Something completely
different, and I can tell you, it was the first time in many years
that I was nervous about something. So looking at it that way, it
is also just nice to have pulled a thing like that off.
Tommy: What was your experience of the arrangement
of the whole big spectacle?
Mia: It was very nice, we got an amazing vip
treatment all the way, there were great parties and just plain fun
in general. I had expected it to be more posh with a lot of noses
high in the air, so to speak, considering the type of artists present,
but the majority were really nice and friendly and it was a nice mix
of people. Really nice. We also though that the media would be way
worse than they turned out to be, but Crucified Barbara does not have
many secrets. We get everything out in the open right away, so there
were not many skeletones to be dug out from the closet (laughs).
Tommy: Would you recommend other rock/metal
bands to do the same thing?
Mia: I definitely think that we will see one
rock band in the contest every year from now on. They want it that
way, I believe. The only thing that people had against us this year,
unless they are talking about other things behind our backs, is that
they are happy for us and everything but some are pissed because they
felt forced to watch the show (laughs). There is not much cred in
the rock world for watching a show like that. But I think people will
have to get used to doing that every year from now on. But as an answer
to the question: yes, I would absolutely recommend it, if you want
a few weeks of fun.
Tommy: Just a few final words about the
rest of the summer ahead for Crucified Barbara. What's on the schedule?
A handful of festivals, I presume?
Mia: Yes indeed and speaking of Wacken, as
we discussed earlier; since we landed that gig quite some time ago,
it has for some time felt like a nice anchor to fall back on in case
people would have flamed us and spat on us for playing in the ESC
(laughs). In that case we always have Wacken. We have some other awesome
festivals lined up, yes, and the usual club gigs, both in Sweden and
abroad. Right after this gig we drive directly to Stockholm and then
we fly to Italy early in the morning to play at a biker festival tomorrow.
A big contrast compared to this little godforsaken village.
- Mia: Indeed, but I like those contrasts.
Tribe: How hard is it to motivate yourself
for small gigs like this in these kind of small towns? Look outside: it's
cold, it's rainy and the risk of a scarce audience is pretty big. And
you have sunny Italy waiting around the corner.
Mia: Not hard at all, it's up and down all
the time. One day you play for several thousand people, the next day
for ten. It's just nice to play, to be on the road with the rest of
the girls and to meet people. Like here, everybody is so nice and
they are doing their utmost to make you feel good and be comfortable.
I understand it's hard and sad for the arrangers of this festival
that it's pouring rain, but you just have to keep up a good mood.
Of course it's always nicer to play for as much people as possible,
but... I mean, sometimes we play in night clubs in small towns, where
there is a disco just before we play and as soon as we step off the
stage the disco music starts pumping right away. You get used to the
fact that there is a big variety in the audiences we play for. You
are not appreciated by everyone, far from it, but as long as there
are few persons showing up who are happy that we have come to their
town to play then we are also happy since we have been able to brighten
up someone's day.
Tribe: I guess it has to do a lot with a
certain level of professionalism also.
Mia: Well, it would be just terrible if you
would show up and be grumpy. There is absolutely no reason for such
behavior, unless you've had a really bad day, but still you will just
have to try to keep that to yourself during the gig. I feel confident
for tonight, and I hope we can gather a decent crowd. Then we will
be happy (laughs). I just feel sorry for the ones that are going to
take down the stage later on in the rain and everything. At least
we get to be inside where it is warm.