We gave Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist of The Hives a call. Here is what happened:
After a five year hiatus from being in the studio, your new single ‘Go Right Ahead’ came out on April 15th and the album Lex Hives will be coming out in June. How does it feel to be back in the studio?
It did feel good, it was in the winter, it was really great. You have to switch it off, so sometimes you’re in the studio, sometimes you’re on tour. Our tours take a long time so it takes a really long time between being in the studio, so it was really fun and it sounds pretty good. We’re really happy with the result and all of that. Pretty positive right?
What kind of direction are we going with the new album?
It’s rock and roll, yeah it’s a rock and roll direction. It’s a very classical rock and roll, one could say, very much rock and roll.
Are we going back to the roots of the Hives then?
In a way, yeah. Our plan was to make the most ‘Hivesy’ album we could probably like and in order to do that we tried to really search what was good about the Hives and what we liked about the Hives, so it’s a very very Hives influenced album.
That’s good to hear. Where does the name come from ‘Lex Hives’?
The name comes from the Romans, yes the Roman Empire, it’s the fact of enforcing a set of rules and accepting them as standard and that’s basically what we did. We came up with some rules about how to make it ‘Hives’ (laughs) and we applied them. So I thought, coming up with making these rules, it was our way of making it as ‘Hives’ as we could possibly make it.
And how long has it been in the pipeline for?
It took about a year and a half to make it, of which maybe two months was studio time, including mixing, so it wasn’t that many days in the studio. It was mainly a lot of mixing. It wasn’t that many days in the studio but it was a lot of editing, rehearsals, trying to figure out the songs, learning the songs, writing the songs and all that.
So is it quite a natural process or is it actually that you sit down and write them, or do you wait for inspiration to come?
Yeah, you know, you have to have a moment, a spark of inspiration that can come at any time, but then finishing them is a matter of hard work. Hard tedious work.
I can imagine. Some of the bonus tracks on the deluxe edition are produced my Josh Homme. There’s been a lot of talk about this, bands like the Arctic Monkeys went through a Josh Homme producing stage and they came out a completely different band, what kind of influence…
(interrupts) We did a set with Josh and we were…erm… possibly less influenced. I think that the Arctic Monkeys being a different band after being produced by Josh Homme has more to do with them wanting to be a different band, than with Josh Homme. He’s a pretty sensitive guy, sensitive towards what the band wants to do. But we did that after we were finished with our album, we recorded a couple of songs with him just because we’re friends and I wanted to hang out, it was a really good excuse to hang out.
You’ve done around 400 gigs in the last few years, does that kind of stump the creative flow or does it help with the experience of it?
I feel that they are very different things though, I mean I don’t feel like we get better as a band in the studio by touring really, because you have to… What I mean is one is basically inventing and one is reiterating, in a way. One is performing something that you’ve already learnt so it’s very different in that way but you do become better as a band and I feel at this point it would probably be a mistake for us to get better as a band and get tighter, it solves the problem that we’re too tight.
And what are the future plans for the Hives?
Touring again, 400 more and another 400 to finish. I think we’ve done about five.
There’s no rest for you then.
Nope, we don’t do rests. We do rock and roll, we don’t do rests.
Interview by Rob Dewis