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Crucified Barbara Interview

Performed on June 21, 2012 (via Skype)

Crucified Barbara’s third album, The Midnight Chase, just might be the most fun you have with your clothes on this summer. This all-female outfit from Stockholm, Sweden isn’t in it for the angelic vocals and symphonic elements. Nah, the Barbs are all about straight-ahead rock & roll with raw-edged vocals and plenty of riffing. What else would you expect from a band that describes their music as “loud, dirty and sweaty”? But they forgot sexy. The Midnight Chase is certainly that … and FUN too.

Crucified Barbara

Sonic Cathedral’s Robin Stryker sat down to chat with Mia Coldheart, vocalist and lead guitarist for Crucified Barbara. Dive in for Mia’s take on The Midnight Chase, touring with her rock sisters, naked arboreal adventures, and much more!

Robin:  A big Sonic Cathedral “welcome” to Mia Coldheart, vocalist and lead guitars for the Swedish band, Crucified Barbara! Jumping right in, would you give us a quick introduction to your band, Mia?

Mia:  Yeah, we’re a hard rock & metal band from Stockholm in Sweden, and we’ve been going on for almost 14 years now. I’ve been in the band for 12 years. So far, we’ve released three albums … the first one in 2005 … and we’ve been touring a lot during this time. We are basically four girls from Stockholm, playing rock & roll!

Robin:  From some of the YouTube videos, it looks like the Barbs have an absolutely riotous time together. Can you give us a sneak peek into the personalities of your bandmates?

Mia:  (laughs) We are all really good friends, and we’ve grown into being like one big person. Klara Force is the one who is most organized, I would say. She is always the one who is taking care of us. Like when we fly, she takes all the passports, and is like: “Hey, come on! Get up.”

Then we have Ida Evileye. I think she is the social one, who really likes to speak to everyone and socialize. She is not afraid of making hard phone calls to tell someone to “fuck off” or something. (laughs) Then we have Nicki Wicked, she’s the clown. She is really an acrobat and makes everyone laugh all the time. She’s totally crazy, like drummers are!

Robin:  Congratulations on the upcoming North American release of your third album, The Midnight Chase, through Nuclear Blast Records! Which of the tracks do you think best captures the loud, dirty, sweaty, sexy vibe that is Crucified Barbara?

Mia:  (laughs) Oh wow, it’s a hard question to analyze your own music like that. But we released one single -- “Into the Fire” -- and I think that is a good start to introduce everybody to Crucified Barbara because it contains all the heavy parts, the rock & roll parts, and it’s got a lot of energy. The message is just to do it; don’t hesitate to do what you want to do; and don’t let anyone hold you back! I think that is what we want to say. But my favorite on this album is “Rock Me Like the Devil” because it’s heavy and it’s fun to play!

Robin:  I absolutely love (but am also surprised by) “Count Me In” because it is a rather tender song, compared to the other in-your-face tracks. What can you tell us about that song?

Mia:  First of all, it was not meant to be soft from the beginning. It was a regular song, but it didn’t seem to do it. So we tried to play it just with a piano and guitar once in the rehearsal room, and felt like “this is the way it’s supposed to be.” We wanted to give the listener a breathing pause and to show our soft side as well. The lyrics are kind of dark ... you can listen to it as a love song, but it has a darker meaning to it.

Robin:  With you being both the vocalist and lead guitarist, how do you keep from getting mixed up during live shows, when you’re singing and playing with thousands of fans screaming and all the distractions going on around you?

Mia:  I don’t know! (laughs) I really have no idea. I started in the band as just the guitar player, so it was not my intention to sing from the beginning. It just happened because our first singer quit, and we had to look for a new singer. So I just tried it, and it worked. It was HARD at the beginning, but I learned along the way. I had to practice a lot, but now it is a natural part to play. I feel really naked now without the guitar, so I just do it. I don’t know how.

Crucufied Barbara

Robin:  Do you have a favorite guitar that you love rocking out with?

Mia:  Yeah! Actually, I only have three guitars, and I really love all of them. I’m not the one who wants lots of guitars “just because.” I have my Flying V … it’s a black Gibson Flying V Gothic … and I’ve had it since 2004. I’ve never played any gigs without it, except maybe one gig or two when I couldn’t have it because it was in service. So it’s my black Flying V. Now I actually have a Gibson Les Paul as well, which I got some weeks ago, and I love it too. But my V is always my number one.

Robin:  Do you have to try out the guitars first to see if they fit your hands well? I mean, us women have smaller hands than the dudes do.

Mia:  Not in that case. I think it is first of all to find a guitar that talks to your eyes … that you want to play it. I never had any problems to play because they’re not that big. I tried those guitars with smaller necks that are made for women, and it doesn’t do it for me because I want to feel the real instrument. We play heavy music -- it’s a lot of aggression and adrenaline -- so you need something stable. You know? I really like the Gibson I play, and have never had any problems for that reason.

Robin:  I understand that all the Barbs are foodies and great cooks, so your songwriting and recording sessions often feature food just as much as music. What do you guys like to whip up when you want to inspire your muses?

Mia:  What do I like to cook? I actually like to try out different things every time. I love cookbooks! It’s really funny because they are the most-selling books in Sweden, but no one uses them. (laughs) People are so stressed that they just buy a lot of cookbooks. But I actually do it, and I try to do new things every time. I like to try vegetarian things because I don’t eat meat. Yeah, I try new things every time.

Robin:  When Crucified Barbara were working on The Midnight Chase, what did you want from the new album?

Mia:  First of all, we had a lot of focus on songwriting because we wanted to write great songs, and wanted to work even harder this time. Before, when we started, the thing was to write heavy riffs and cool riffs, and then try to find some vocal melodies that fit. But to make the best songs, I think you have to go with the melody, and don’t compromise with that. So we thought a lot about that, and I think we succeeded because we are really happy with the new songs. We have become better songwriters.

We also wanted a more natural sound -- less modern metal, and more rock & roll. Now we have our great Mesa Boogie amp, with its deep voice. We didn’t want the trigger on the drums to be digital, just the real wood sound on the drums. And I think we got it now the way we wanted it.

Robin:  Crucified Barbara are just coming off the Sweden Rock Festival and a major tour in France. Which of the new songs did the crowd really go crazy for?

Mia:  Hmmm, I think it was “Into the Fire” because it is the one that we released, and people had heard it and seen the video. But, on the tour in France, it was really cool to try out some of the new songs and to see that the audience really liked the new songs and tried to sing along, even though they didn’t know the songs already.

You can see all the people in the audience. You notice so much from the stage, and can see what everyone is doing … if they are on the phone or if they are talking. (laughs) Here you can see some of the difference between the old songs and the new songs, because you can see their heads start to shake without themselves noticing it. So that was cool!

Robin:  What’s next on the tour front for you? It looks like Crucified Barbara are starting to make plans for a South American tour.

Mia:  Yeah! I’ve heard some rumors about the end of the year, but I don’t have any dates yet. I REALLY hope so, because it is about time and now we have this album that we are really proud of. I think it’s about time we come over! (laughs) We’ve wanted this for so many years, and we’ve gotten so many requests from fans over the years. Finally, I think it’s going to happen!

Crucified Barbara

Robin:  Has there been any discussion of perhaps a North American tour? Nuclear Blast is one of the few labels that gets its European bands to North America, so that we can see them live too.

Mia:  I really hope it’s going to happen. Nuclear Blast is a GREAT label. They are working hard and are really enthusiastic about our album and the band, so I really think they can make it.

Robin:  Random question … what is the best prank that members of the band have played on each other during tour?

Mia:  What do you mean with that?

Robin:  A “prank” is like a joke that you play on someone.

Mia:  Ah, okay! Hmmm, I think we’re actually not that kind of band because obviously I didn’t know that word. (laughs) We’re always kind of nice to each other. Maybe because, for example, I HATE people making jokes on me. I think that’s why we have stayed together so long … we know each other’s ups and downs, and respect each other. If someone gets drunk and passes out, we don’t paint their face and take pictures. We are kind of nice, so I can’t recall anything specific.

We just do fun things together. Like we had a vacation last year in France, and we were up climbing naked in trees. It was crazy! So we just have fun together.

Robin:  I certainly hope there were no fans with cameras around; otherwise, I’m sure we would have seen it on YouTube by now. (laughs)

Mia:  (laughs) I HOPE not, too!

Robin:  Getting off the subject of music for a bit, I read that you were the winner of the celebrity horse-jumping competition at the Stockholm Horse Show recently, riding that beautiful bay horse, Carolus Rex. How long have you been riding?

Mia:  I started when I was nine, and went on until I was like fifteen. Then I stopped because it took so much time … you know, being a teenager with school, starting my first band, boys and things. So I just quit, and I had been missing that for so many years. I basically quit because I wanted to play music.

But then, luckily enough, the music got me back to the horses again. I was invited last fall, and I had to ride for six months. (Now I continue with another horse.) The music got me back into the life with horses again!

Robin:  Hooray!

Mia:  Yeah!

Robin:  I’ve always wanted to ask an all-female band about the logistics of touring. Guys can grab their least-stinky stage gear and be ready in a few minutes, but that wouldn’t seem to work for women. What do you when you are at a venue that only has a very small backstage area?

Mia:  It works quite well, actually. We can even stay on a tour bus (where you can’t even turn around), and we can get dressed for a gig. The thing is, with the band, all of us throw things on the floor all the time, and there are bags everywhere. It doesn’t matter if we have a big room of 200 square meters or one square meter, because it looks the same anyway! (all laugh) We learned the way not to bring too much shit. We just bring the necessary things, and it works. It’s never been a problem really. We are so tight in the band as friends that it just works somehow. I don’t know how.

Crucified Barbara

Robin:  What is coming up next for Crucified Barbara?

Mia:  We have some summer festivals in Sweden, and we’ve got Italy and France. Then we have a tour in the fall in Germany and Switzerland. Hopefully we’ll go to Brazil and Argentina, and hopefully the U.S. at the end of the year as well. We are just getting on tour now to promote this album. Yeah, back on the road!

Robin:  Mia, speaking to Crucified Barbara fans from your heart, what would you like to tell them?

Mia:  Well, I really hope you like our new album because we do! I think it’s the best we’ve done so far. We have a new energy in the band that we haven’t seen before. Even if you’ve seen shows with us before, you should come again because this is like the new Crucified Barbara. We’re ready to get back on the road, and hopefully we’ll see you soon!

Robin:  From my heart, I’ve enjoyed The Midnight Chase so much! Thank you so much for talking with Sonic Cathedral today, Mia.

Mia:  Thank you!

Many thanks also to the mighty Nuclear Blast Records for setting up the interview with Mia!

Crucified Barbara

Photo credit: Tallee Savage/Graphic (Mattias Savage)

Crucified Barbara official site: www.crucifiedbarbara.com

Crucified Barbara on Facebook: www.facebook.com/crucifiedbarbara