From R*E*P*E*A*T Issue 19
February 2002, Cambridge Junction.
Interview by Nadim Samman and Richard
When we went to interview The Hives; they
were polite but reserved, at first. Dr Matt
gave me a banana and some crisps from his
rider, so he was cool. They were also
reading an article about themselves in the
NME when we walked in - Howlin' Pete
was still reading it and showing it to the
roadies when we left.
N: Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Chris Dangerous, drummer of the Hives.
R: It seems you can't go anywhere these days without people talking
about the hives, does all the attention ever get to your heads?
C: I don't think it does, because we're sort of doing the same thing
as always, just with a bit more people enjoying it. No, I don't think
it gets to our heads.
N: Being Swedish you're a descended from Vikings, it's interesting
that in the past your ancestors would have literally invaded this
island, whereas now the hives invade it culturally. How do you feel
C: It feels pretty good, but I don't consider us
Vikings, we're not here to kill, we're here to make things fun, we're
here to make people enjoy
R: What's the meaning behind your name the Hives, since it can
either be a skin disease, or where bees live?
C: It's the disease, we did it the old fashioned way and looked it
up in the dictionary and thought it sounded great and thought we could
meaning of the word into a great rock band.
N: After your success with the metric system do you plan to introduce
the European single currency in time?
C: Hahaha. 1 dunno really. I think we're gonna try
to get the metric system in a bit more and then we'll see what our
next major scam is. We haven't really figuired it out yet, but it
N: You've been pretty successful recently, you've gone from playing
small venues like the Garage, to playing Brixton Academy in a few
short weeks, has this surprised you, and has it changed anything?
C: The thing about Britain is that bands seem to get huge in a really
short period of rime because all the magazines can't write about different
stuff, they all want to write about the exact same band and there's
hype about the Hives right now but people will probably hate us in
two years so we might as well enjoy it. As I said before, we're still
doing the exact same thing, except the venues get bigger and we get
some money that we can put away, but otherwise we're still the same
band playing the same songs.
(Dr Matt walks in) Dr Matt: The people were first.
the magazines were late
N: Coming from a punk background, are you cynical
about the attention you get from the coke-snorting, London fashionista
crowd in the press and at your shows, or do you embrace it?
C: The thing is that all the capitals in Europe havethe type of people
who think that they're a bit too cool to move around, but we get them
dancing anyway. Of course it's a good thing that lots of people listen
to your music, it somehow gives you your faith back that people actually
have taste! It was funny at the Astoria because people came fashionably
late and they didn't even get in on the guest list because of the
long line, that's pretty funny.
R: You must be aware of Dr Matt Destruction's
cult following, when can we expect a solo album?
C : I don't know really, but I think that the day we quit, he
might do one. He's a bit of a genius, he's a Dr of bass and he's lucky
with the ladies.
N: How did you come up with your pseudonyms?
You've got to ask our parents, they've got the
R: How have the Hives being influenced by British music?
C: We've been influenced by a lot of British bands from around 1977,
but not that many bands nowadays though, there's not that much rock
coming out now.
N: There seems to be a lot of garage punk bands coming
out of Sweden these days, the (I)NC, Division of Laura Lee, Randy
to name but a few...
C: There's always been a lot of garage punk bands but now it's sort
of getting up in the charts. The last time that happened it was in
the eighties and before that it was in the sixties. I guess it's time
again. I don't know if it's a reaction against manufacturf music today,
but if it is, then it's a hell of a good one! We get a lot of questions
asking if we think we're sellouts because we sell a lot of records,
but just think that it's a really good thing that a lot ofpeople are
starting to like better music. If we're in the charts I'm not complaining
N: Speaking of which, now that you're successful, are you going
to stay independent? I understand that a lot of people are interested
C: We actually don't know yet, we're pretty happy where we are. Of
course there's a lot of major labels trying to sign us, but we haven't
had time to sit down and think yet. As long as we can do exactly what
we want, we might as well be on a major 1abel. There's no point in
changing what we've already got just to be on a major, but if we can
get things to work exactly the way we want then we may change.
R: When can we expect new material from The Hives?
Actually after this tour we're going to go home and play for ourselves
and try to rehearse for three months. Afterwards we're going to America
doing some festivals, but not many. We've got a lot of time but we
won't release anything unless we're happy with it. Before 2005 maybe.
R: It's obvious you've got a big following in Britain, but how
big are you in the States and elsewhere in Europe?
C: We've only done one American tour and it was great, much better
than expected, in Europe we've been pretty big for some time. It seems
that England got it last, but now it's our most successful country.
Even though it happened some ten years before you were born, the
hives are famed for entertaining troops during the Vietnam war. Has
has this affected your attitude to jungle warfare as opposed to nuclear
war, or punch-ups at a bar?
Dr Matt: Energetic music is just like nuclear weapons!
What's it like travelling around Britain?
The nature is beautiful in Scotland. We miss woods and lakes in Sweden,
we don't get to see much travelling on a bus. The times we're awake
we're usually in a venue, we try to see as much we can, but we don't
get that much time to do it.
Do the drugs get better the more famous you get?
We stick to alcohol, that's worked so far so we stick to it.
N: Do you like big shows or little shows? Are you enjoying the
new aspects of playing bigger shows now that you get bigger or do
you prefer the intimate punk rock venues?
Small shows can be more fun. because you're closer to the audience,
nowadays there's a ten metre gap. but the good thing is that you get
to play to more people loving us, and we get to love more people.
Dr Matt: You could say that it's more fair if we play bigger shows
so that people, more people in a particular city, get a chance to
see us. Every show has it's own climate or charm. We love playing
R:Where did you get the idea for the flashing sign, because it
We've had the flashing sign for two or three years, we just thought
it looked really good, it looks brilliant. We're not the first band
to use it, but ours is probably the best one. Although 1 used to be
scared it'd chop my head off because we hung it up really badly.
Dr Matt: In the beginning it was the most dangerous sign you could
have, it wasn't even earthed!
Chris; It looks good when everything is really bright. White lights
are better than orange. The lights make it evangelical.
N: What are your thoughts on bootlegging? I must admit I've bought
a fake hives jumper before, is it a sign that you've 'made it' when
people start bootlegging your shit?
It was pretty fun at the first gig at the Astoria because there were
lots of people selling bootlegs, and there was this one big guy selling
t-shirts, we knew that there was nothing we could do about it so we
went as a band with our tour manager and asked if we could get five
bootlegs each- he told us to fuck offl
R: Does it upset you when you see people making quick money from
all your efforts?
We don't do this for money, we're about the music. We like playing
shows and doing great music together. If we can make money off it
then how can we complain - making money off our hobby?! Even if we
get bigger and bigger, it doesn't mean we're going to change. We're
really happy with our current record, our sound is moving towards
something we're happy with. In the first record we knew how we wanted
to sound, but not how to get
there, we're on our way...
Do the Hives prefer Chips or cream buns?
I think we like them both, maybe if you look at a picture you'll figure
out who likes what!
Would like a copy of the magazine?
Yeah, thanks a lot.