MIC - Music Interview Corner

MIC article: HELLSONGS at "U & D"


Interview with HELLSONGS at the "Umsonst & Draussen" festival 2012
in Würzburg, Germany

One of Germany´s largest gratis music festival celebrates a jubilee: the "Umsonst & Draussen" in Würzburg has its 25th anniversary and comes up with very special acts.
In addition to performances by international musicians like TALLULAH RENDALL from London and GRANVILLE from Caen in France, could the 85 000 visitors also experience gigs of anniversary bands like the PLASTIC PEOPLE.

Another highlight of the anniversary edition of the "Umsonst & Draussen" was undoubtedly the performance of the Swedish band HELLSONGS. The metal cover band from Gothenburg is interpreting heavy metal songs in their own unique way. So the METALLICA-hit "Seek & Destroy" becomes a rousing folk-rock ballad and IRON MAIDEN's "The Evil That Men Can Do" turns into a sweet pop song.
In the new lineup with singer My Engström Renman and David Bäck on keyboards, HELLSONGS made the festival audience not only romp, but also laugh.

When the host asked after his wishes for the introducing of the band on stage, frontman Kalle Karlsson expressed the wish to mention his own collection of ecological underpants.
- Even tough the band has recently recorded their new album "Long Live Lounge" with the "Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra"!
After the gig the „head of the band“ agreed to do a spontaneous interview with, in which his ecological underwear was one matter of course.

Kalle, how did you get the idea to play metal songs that way?

I´ve heard a song of ZWAN. Do you know ZWAN? It´s similar to SMASHING PUMPKINS. They made a B-site of their first single record "The Number of the Beast". I´ve heard it a thousand times and I thought: Fuck! These lyrics are great! It was so intense, even stronger than the original version. And I was still standing there like: 666 Number of the Beast.
That was damn awesome, when I was a teenager. I was always only listening to the hardest stuff, when I was a teenager. So I realized: There were so many of the metal classics I grew up with, which deserve the same kind of tribute like this song.
At the same time we started the band. I came from Stockholm to Gothenburg, so I called a friend who lived in Gothenburg, and said: "I'm coming down soon, in a week I am moving there. Let's start a band and play something like this. It's certainly damn much fun to play together". He said: "Sounds good". So we started the band. We had done maybe one to two rehearses when a friend came and asked: "Can you come and play in my barn? I have a party". We said: "Yes, definitely". And then we got a great feedback from the people. They said: "Wow, that was damn good". And then everything went pretty fast.

Not long ago you recorded an album together with the "Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra". How was that for you?

It was magical! I can´t read notes, I´m more or less an autodidact. It means, I know approximately which cord I´m playing, but that´s not my cup of tea.
And then you´re entering a concert venue and play with musicians, who see a score and can play it as if they were reading from a book aloud. It´s unbelievable great.
The arrangement was unbelievable. I´ve played our songs so very often, but then it felt as if I was playing them for the first time. I got heebie-jeebies. Really. It was an unbelievable time to work with them. But I think, it was also funny for them. Once I said: "First there comes the chorus and then we stop a of a sudden" and they asked "The chorus? Is that stroke 72 till 76?" I answered: "I don´t know, but this here is the chorus". There were to different worlds meeting each other. That felt really good.

You have got your own collection of ecological underpants. Can you introduce them to us?

Yes, of course. I started it tree years ago, together with two friends. Because we couldn´t find any underpants, which were not only ecological, but also fair trade and halfway good looking. So we started to work on that. I don´t know anything about the clothing business, but I had the feeling, we could manage it together. Our collection it called "Lounge Royale". It has nothing to do with HELLSONGS , even though HELLSONGS wear them of course.

Can you show it?

I love to show it. (Kalle opens his jeans and let them down). This here is a prototype. I use them since one and a half year. I´ve tried different ones. This is a late prototype. They will look approximately like this. Here is the logo: A rabbit standing on a heart. Yeah, they will look like this. 100% ecological cotton. It´s important. Why should people have no ecological underpants?

Which meaning has this underwear to you personally?

I think, I have the advantage to live in Sweden. In a country, where everything is quite easy. It´s quite easy to live there. But it´s not so easy for everybody everywhere. I think, we Sweds use a much to big part of the world´s nature resources. And if I can make the world a little better and a little more comfortable with that, I love to do it. You have only one life. I have two children. And I thought: "Damn it, I need to do something that makes the world a little better for them".

And where can we buy your ecological underwear?

You can buy the HELLSONGS-version at the HELLSONGS-webshop. It has a HELLSONGS
-print at the reverse. But at the 28th of June we´ll finally get the finished "Lounge Royale" underwear. It´s only a few days until we´ll get them and we´ll launch them all on our homepage. That´ll be great. Then you can say, that I´m an underwear-... Don´t know how to say... "Boss of it all". An "underwear-Boss of it all".

Photo: Hellsongs press photo
Article: Kati Rausch