This interview was taken at the beginning of 2010 and published in the Bulgarian webzine Rawk'n'Roll, coinciding with the release of the bands breathtaking second album (here is the review, though it is only in Bulgarian). Now Asteroid is on hiatus (I hope temporary) but I decided to place the interview in English, so it could be available both for the band and its fans outside Bulgaria.
Few years ago Asteroid released a great three song demo. Then they recorded and EP with four pieces which until this day is among the strongest space/stoner rock records. The split with their fellow-citizens Blowback blows heads off and their debut album is amazing. And a month after the release of their killer second album, the guitarist and singer Robin Hirse was so kind to talk with me about music. In common.
Hi, guys! First of all, I’d like to share with you that you are the third band from Sweden I am making an interview with. Ironically, the first two bands have split some time after the interviews. So, are you sure you want to continue with this one, haha?
Why the hell not, haha? We don’t fear this curse of yours…
Well, if you are answering to this question, you obviously are not afraid of the “curse”. So, have you heard of Blind Dog and The Hurricanez (formerly known as Boogieman)?
No man, doesn’t ring a bell.
You are now at the very final stages before releasing your second album. What should we expect?
This album is much more back to our roots. More of the early sound and wibe… The production is lighter with a lot of space. But still with the same groove as always. Perhaps it’s a bit darker then our last record.
Tell us something about the writing and the recording of the new album. Where did you make it, any interesting stories around it?
The album was recorded in Elvis brother´s studio way out in the wood. We recorded there in the middle of winter, and in Sweden that means 20 below zero and lots of snow. But that’s really the best way to do it. No distractions! Just us, the music, our engineer Oscar and enough alcohol to kill a heard of elephants! As usual we write the songs either in our rehearsal by loosing ourselves in a jam, or at our flats. We try out different riffs and ideas to se what works, twist it around, break it into pieces, then put it back together again,
Would you share some thoughts of some of the songs we are going to hear next month?
All the songs on the new album are really interpretable. Lyrically we all have different opinions what the songs are about. If Johannes sing a song I know it means something else for him than what it would mean too me. The thread that brings them all together musically, if there such a thread would probably be that they compliment each other, almost like they were made to fit together. When one song brings you down low the next one comes along and points you in the right direction again.
What was the perception of Asteroid?
Bigger that Jesus!
Somewhere between the two albums you have changed a member of the band. How would you describe Elvis in few words?
The unknown son of John Bonham. He’s a great drummer and musician and has always been a close personal friend. Which is very important for us as a band, if you don’t like the people you play with it always shows in the music you make.
I guess you three have to work aside the music. What do you do for living?
Both Johannes and I work with rock n’ roll in different ways. I help rock bands in different ways. We have a “school” were the kids can learn how to play and find people to play with. I find a cheap rehearsals and places to play live. Help them with merchandise and thing they need for their band. Johannes is working as one of few Swedish rock music consultants, and is arranging and promotes rock shows. Elvis works at a printing press.
Now some years back – how the band was born? When and where did all start?
As for most bands it started after a jam session. We’d known each other for a while from other projects and one late night, after a really long evening in the pub, we found ourselves in a studio jamming like mad. This was back in the winter of 2003.
One should be deaf not to recognize the influence of the early 70s in your music. Which of the old bands are you listening to, just to mention some names? Is there a common favorite band or when it is about the old dogs you split in different camps (i.e. Black Sabbath vs. Hawkwind)?
Well we’re all fans of the classics like Sabbath, Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and so on. One common favorite would probably be Captain Beyond. But we’re not at all restricted to the 70s, there are plenty of new bands that we like; Big Elf, Mars Volta, The Black Keys, just to name a few. I don’t think we have split views on any bands really.
From some time now we can see the resurrection of the vinyl. What’s your position on this? Will we see an Asteroid LP?
We’re counting on it! But it’s up to our record label.
The first album is called Asteroid, the second one is Asteroid II. Will the third be named Asteroid III and after the fourth should we expect particular album titles?
I understand what you’re referring to, but the album is not actually called Asteroid II. That’s just a way of keeping track of the albums. If you look at out previous work neither the demo, the ep or the first two albums have names.
How often do you meet Doctor Smoke?
Dr. Lennart Smoke is our family physician.
A lot of bands have gone away during the years – big ones and small ones. Some remain just as a blurry shade of a glorious past, while a handful of others remain solid as monoliths. Speaking of this, AC/DC announced an eventual concert in Bulgaria next year. How do you feel about AC/DC?
Personally I think the soul of AC/DC died with Bon Scott, they lost they’re groove after that. I don’t really like bands that just keep going even when they don’t have anything fresh to bring to the table. And I know that Johannes is not a big fan at all.
You are musicians but also music fans – which bands have you seen live and which one impressed you most?
The last show we saw together was a Swedish band called Trummor & Orgel (Drums and Organ), an instrumental duo. That totally blew all our minds. We are also big fans of Johannes brothers band Graveyard, awesome live act.
Which ones would you like to see in future?
And we’re all looking forward to the Jethro Tull gig in 2010.
You have made a split album with Blowback. Do you still see each other, do you play together?
We see then almost every week because we share our rehearsal with them, but it’s been a long time since we shared a stage together. Neither them or us play very often in our home town.
Your first EP was a blast. It is one of my favorite stoner rock (if I can use the term) records for the last decade. And it is absolutely out of print now. Have you thought of re-release along with the demo?
Actually it’s been a plan ever since Elvis joined the band to do some sort of re-recording of the demo and the EP. We’re testing out old material to see what would work. But no dates have been set so far.
Any chances to see Asteroid go farther than Sweden, Austria and Germany?
Of course! We’re planning a tour the spring/summer which will hopefully take us to Poland, Czech, France.
If it depends on you – with which of the Swedish bands would you go on tour?
Well we had a blast on our tour with Graveyard and as long as the band is cool to hang out with and we like the vibe in their music we can pretty much see ourselves going with anyone. I think we could be a cool mix alongside Trummor & Orgel, that would be cool.
Since it is the beginning of the year now – which were the most impressive albums in 2009 for you?
Hm, tough question, what’s new. We usually listen to albums from early 70s you know. I know Johannes liked the now Mastodon album.
With whom would you guys share a joint?
That list would be far too long…
The photos are taken by Melody Rönnlund: www.melodypics.com and from the band's myspace profile.