Crucified Barbara's Mia Coldheart Discusses New Album "In The Red"
Band Photo: Crucified Barbara (?)
The Swedish all-female hard rock / heavy metal band Crucified Barbara is on the verge of releasing fourth full-length album "In The Red," due out September 10th via Despotz Records.
Vocalist Mia Coldheart was kind enough to connect with Metalunderground.com to discuss the new album, including tough issues like sexual abuse and gender roles in the metal scene brought up by the track "To Kill A Man."
Read on for the full interview where Mia talks recording in Gothenburg, shooting a music video, and digging deeper past the surface with song titles and lyrical themes.
xFiruath: Let's start with the new “In The Red” album: when did you start work on these tracks and how does the Crucified Barbara writing process usually go?
Mia: We started to work with the new album really focused in the Fall 2013, and we spent a half year in our rehearsal place to jam, write, arrange, and polish the songs one after one until we were satisfied with them. Every week, Monday til Friday we met, all 4 of us, and a lot of weekends we spent on the road with live gigs, so you can say that we’ve seen a lot of each other lately... On this entire album we’ve written all the songs together like this, which took a lot of time and energy but in the end it was well spent hours of playing, arguing, discussing, arranging, changing, feeling… because I believe that we have written our best album so far.
xFiruath: Where did you record the album, and how do you think these songs differ from your previous output?
Mia: It was recorded in the Music-a-Matic studio in Gothenburg Sweden, the same studio as “The Midnight Chase” album and with the same producer team, Chips Kiesbye and Henryk Lipp. We have taken our songwriting to a higher level, we have worked harder on the grooves and vocal melodies this time. We never had any rules when writing our songs to force them in any directions or genres, and this time when we wrote during this concentrated period of time, we were a bit afraid that all songs would sound the same. But we worked really hard on each song and didn’t leave it until we were really satisfied with it, and the result I think is our best album so far and full of songs with life of their own that doesn’t sound the same at all.
xFiruath: On the whole, what do the lyrics deal with across the album?
Mia: Life… I wrote most of them this time except from ”To Kill a Man,” which had lyrics by Klara, and I deal with all different kind of things. An animal’s view from inside a slaughter house, lack of self confidence, a rock’n’roll Hollywood diva in a helicopter full of money, a love song to the one who walks beside you and do all those crazy things with you and feed you with the feeling that the sky is the limit, relationship stuff… I just write about the things that touches me and makes me feel things, good or bad, and need to be sung.
xFiruath: Speaking of that track, fill me in on the recording of the “To Kill A Man” video.
Mia: It was produced by 11Frames, the great video team from Gothenburg. They also made the video for ”Rock Me Like the Devil” from our previous album. We recorded it in a theater in Varberg. I did the script to the video since it was important that it ended up just like we wanted (and also important that we knew the guys from before so we knew they would deliver just want we wanted) because the subject can easily be ”sensational,” it’s easy to make horrible scenes like in the movies, but we didn’t want to focus on the victims, to ’cause more damage, we just wanted to present facts since they are horrible even without scenery.
xFiruath: On the subject of “To Kill A Man,” that video actually got some interesting debate going some time back and I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. The track deals with the issue of frustration over sexual abuse going unpunished, which is an important issue and something many can relate to, but the song's title and the nature of the band leads to an interesting question: wouldn't it be really offensive if an all-male group released a track titled “To Kill A Woman?”
Mia: No, I wouldn’t find it offensive, and I think it’s not even a relevant question if those people could take a short moment to find out what the song is about before losing the temper. If a boy band wrote a lyric called ”To Kill a Woman,” it would definitely catch my attention and make me wanna know what’s the thought and meaning behind that title because I would never in my mind imagine that any band would seriously write a song with the actual meaning ”kill a woman” and I’m sad (but not surprised) to see that some people react offensive on this.
The song was mainly written in frustration over the Swedish police chief who dedicated his career to fighting sexism, standing up for equal rights and against abuse and rape of women. Then he went in prison for aggravated rape, purchasing sex, assault and more, which of course put the whole country in shock when it was revealed.
Rape, sexual abuse, and violence is every day news, you find the real cases in the papers everyday, and you find the never ending fiction cases about rape, murder, violence in movies and in TV series everyday. We’re constantly fed with this and it feels like it’s becoming normalized. Until the day it’s your mother, sister, friend or girlfriend who gets attacked. Or your dad or son or brother… Then (that I wish no one) the thought will probably hit you too sometime: how does it feel to kill a man. This song, and our intention with the song is not that we want to kill men, to clarify to the ones that can’t think further than a song title and there for get personally offended.
The song is about the constant fear, anger, and sadness that we – from a woman’s perspective - feel about rape, rapists, and for the constantly growing number of victims of all kind of sexism. The song could even have been called “To Kill A Woman” and still be about the same subject ’cause raping someone is hurting someone on the inside for the rest of her/his life, a life can be totally destroyed. But for the song, I really don’t think that it had made any difference for the guys who get blinded of rage every time a woman or man speaks up for women's – or as I prefer - human rights.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about what's going on with the album's artwork – who created it and how does it connect to the album's themes?
Mia: It was made by the great artist and designer Erik Rovanpera, we have admired his work during many years and for this album we asked him if he wanted to do the design. We just told him some guidelines that we wanted our logo colors red, black, and white, quite clean and rock’n’roll, and we wanted the VU meter on the cover as well since that’s our thought behind the title ”In the Red,” that we want to push things as far as possible with this album, loud and with full speed forward in the red. We didn’t want ourselves on the front cover this time as on the last albums, we’re quite tired of that by now and just wanted a cool design, and I’m really satisfied with Erik’s work!
xFiruath: How long has Crucified Barbara been with Despotz Records and how did you get hooked up with the label?
Mia: We were recommended to sign with them by our manager Lena Graaf who has known the Despotz guys for a long time and thought we would make a good team. We signed with them this spring and she couldn’t have been more right in my opinion. It’s a small label with a big heart for music and their artists, they understand who we are and where we want to go as a band, they don’t try to change us in any directions. Even if it’s a small label they deliver more than many big labels do these days, and they have done an extremely good job already so I’m really curious and excited about a future together with Despotz records.
xFiruath: Where is Crucified Barbara heading out on tour in the near future, and have you had any really memorable live shows recently?
Mia: Right now we’re planning ”In The Red” European tour that will kick off in Oslo in the middle of September, then we’re heading out in Europe together with the cool bands Supercharger and Junkstars all together in a big bus for about 4 weeks. After that we’re touring in Sweden for a month and our last booked dates 2014 is a tour in Spain in December so we’re looking forward to a busy Fall!
xFiruath: Besides your own album, what's coming out soon you are excited for and what albums have you been listening to lately?
Mia: I’m lost, I’ve been locked up in my own music bubble for the past 12 months, but hopefully some great bands will pop up and surprise me! I mostly don’t listen to much music when in the process of making our albums, mostly because I’m too stressed and I also want to keep my mind clean from all kind of music. But when I’m in my art studio working with my paintings and hand craft, I enjoy listening to a bit softer music. Love albums like “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” with Lucinda Williams, “Watcher Of The Skies” with Martin Rubashov (Despotz release), “Raising Sand” with Alison Krauss & Robert Plant. When I feel like getting a pure rock’n’roll injection I usually go and hang out with my band colleagues, they always have good music to recommend and I love being at clubs when they’re DJ’ing, but I’m totally useless for those things myself as you can imagine after reading all this.
xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to discuss?
Mia: Thanks for the interview, and thanks to everyone who read this far, must be a true CB fan, or crazy, or both! Love you all Crucifiers out there! I hope you will like our new album, we’re really proud of it and can’t wait to get back out on the endless roads and all the cool rock clubs waiting for us!
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