It’s now or never.
Sat on the steps inside The Box in Crewe, MR’s Lisa Billingham is joined by Coldspell’s Michael Larsson ahead of their headline gig with Twelve Gauge and Daylight Robbery…
It’s great to have you back in the UK and tonight is the last gig of this mini northern UK tour, how has it been received?
Well, it’s way too short and I wanna go home now [laughing]. Yeah we played in Bolton, we played in Workington and then with Edens Curse in Glasgow and then Grimsby and now Crewe. It’s not easy to get anything going or get it all done but this was possible to do now for five days. We can’t wait to come back again!
Yes ‘cos I remember you saying a while ago you would split this tour into two little parts, one now and then hopefully the southern part of the UK early in 2015. With 3 albums in the bag, and Frozen Paradise released in 2013, Coldspell are definitely moving onwards and upwards, tell me more about who does the songwriting?
Well I guess it’s my fault. I’m the one to blame [laughing]. It’s a long history actually. Way back in the 60s, no, actually when I lived outside Stockholm, I started working on some songs and I had Ian Haugland (the Europe drummer) playing on those songs and you know, with the twists and turns in life, it brought me up to Kiruna in North Sweden and I guess I had a huge backpack of songs and ideas and I always thought I should do something about it and it was actually my wife saying “now is the time, it’s now or never”. So we have done three albums. I write the music and then have some co-writers for the lyrics and Niclas has done some lyrics as well. It’s my brainchild.
Have you started writing for the next album?
I’m always writing, the problem is not to get songs to the album but what I am doing now, getting ideas, riffs, the lyrics. Some songs are more or less done already and some are just ideas. It’s nice to do an album with some sort of variety, you know, not the same key and not the same tempo but not lose the thread, the Coldspell sound. Every album had a plan but with Frozen Paradise, it needed to be a bit more heavier, a little more tough, but not without losing the melodies and all that.
And who produces your albums?
I guess I am the producer but we have Tommy Hansen from Denmark, who does the mixing and well, does his share of everything and I think he has become part of the sound as well because when we signed with Escape, we had some options and they said Tommy Hansen would be good for you. Well that was the best thing. He worked with Pretty Maids back in the 80s and with Jørn Lande on his Duke album, so he is more into this edgy guitar sound.
So it’s suitable for the Coldspell sound?
Yeah I think so. We’ve been talking about the future and everything. We’ve done three albums with him so is it time to move on and try something else? But you know what it’s like trying to find the ideal person.
Are you able to record at home or is everything done in the studio?
Well I record at home just to make sure I get the ideas together but I don’t do any production stuff at home. For example, the first album we recorded most of the parts in the studio of Pelle Saether who plays in Grand Design, so we worked with him for all three albums and for the latest album we did the drums and guitars. We haven’t decided how to do the new album yet. I mean doing the vocals, we can do back home and the keyboards we can do back home as well. For drums and distorted guitars it’s very important to get the right sound.
Do you have a favourite track?
Do I? That’s a tough question. Well I like Paradise as it’s a more up tempo song as well as Goin’ All The Way…. it’s not a ballad but a love song actually. It’s a good one I think. Like I said it’s not easy to write songs about sex, drugs and alcohol for me. I think it’s more unique if it relates to something for example, one of my favourite songs is Life Has Just Begun because it’s not commercial, it’s more like ….. in Norway, the killing at Utøya a couple of years ago, it’s a song about love, frustration and everything, so more on the darker side.
Coldspell have had some team changes in the last few years and the latest in 2013 when you welcomed Chris Goldsmith after Kebbe’s departure. 2014 has been more settled, do you think you have now found the ideal line-up?
I think so. You know what it’s like. You start out with the 5 piece band and its always like that. When I started Coldspell I had a plan and there was no turning back. It was up and forward as in where we can bring it and you know what it’s like, people have families, their lives and jobs and it’s not always easy to make that part of life work along this rock n roll thing.
When you are on the road for such a long time it’s a big commitment…
Yeah it is and I love it. I really wish I could do it more often but you know what it’s like. It’s a matter of the economy. But back to the line-up, we’ve had some amazing guys in the band but I actually have to say that this line-up is almost perfect. At this moment, we are a 5 piece band with a keyboard player but due to personal stuff, he decided to not be a part of it this Fall. So we will see at the beginning of the New Year what the future has to bring.
Who were your early influences?
Oh my god, there are so many. Well, early influences, I grew up listening to Black Sabbath and I think Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore was a huge influence even if I don’t listen to that much but I guess he affected me more and also Rainbow. I still think that Rainbow Rising was one of the best albums ever! Other than that I have a huge fascination for guitar players like Jake E Lee, George Lynch, John Sykes and Eddie van Halen of course.
With Christmas edging closer, what does 2015 hold in store for Coldspell?
Pretty much starting to collaborate with the management back home in Sweden and we got plans. Let me see what happens but we are working on some festivals and we got some proposals about going back to the US again in Spring so we’ll see what we come to with that. Otherwise it’s this show tonight then we do a show on 12 December in Sweden and after that show I haven’t anything booked, I will close the door and start putting stuff together. The plan we have is to have an album out before Summer, at least by May.
Ok, so you are on the road and up close and personal with the guys most of the time, who does what to get you all laughing? Is there a joker in the pack?
At the moment, I think everyone makes everyone laugh, but we have a joker in the band since he joined us….it’s the bass player, Chris [laughing], with him its Christmas every day! He brought so much to the band.
Thanks so much for letting the Midlands Rocks people have an insight into the world of Coldspell and on a personal note, hurry back to the UK !
Oh we’d love to do that, it was great to be back here.