Before getting to the latest album, let's look back over our shoulders first. Beginning at the very start of things. Mustasch was founded in 1998 and was kind of the phoenix that rose from the ashes of punk band Grindstone. That is a far cry from the typical Mustasch-sound. What triggered you to go off in such a different direction? I mean, Ralf was also the lead singer of B-Thong, which is also a totally different cup of tea.
Grindstone was a 70's style rock 'n' roll band..it wasn't a punk band! And if you mix that with the B-Thong sound, you'll end up pretty close to what Mustasch sounds like, so it's really not a different direction after all.
Well, that's a matter of opinion than hahahaha. Anyway, outside Sweden countries like Germany hailed you right from the start (the EP 'The True Sound Of The New West' 2000). Did that surprise you?
I didn't know that until now. I always thought 'Above All' was the starting point for most abroad countries. But as for 'The True Sound…' it may have been all about timing. To release something that nothing else sounded like at the time, is bound to be recognized, I think. If we hadn't written 'Homophobic/Alcoholic', I guess someone else would have written something along those lines eventually.
Fast forward, after the release of 'Powerhouse' in 2005/ 2006 the contract with EMI was terminated. Did that feel like liberation?
EMI was very good for us at the start, but in the end we got less priority than needed, so in that way it did feel like liberation. A major label is a huge machine, and is great at many things but also somewhat slow on certain issues. But I mean in no way to complain about EMI. They were all very professional to us, and we wouldn't have been where we are without them.
The mini-CD you released in 2006 ('Parasite') was released by Bohus Entertainment and the new album is released by Regain Records. Finally found a solid base, label-wise?
'Parasite!' was re-released by Regain and was originally just meant to be a single. Like a sign of life you could say; just to show that we're still going forward, but Border Music insisted on an EP, and IMHO they were right. With Regain Records we were given free choice in cover design, tracks on the album etc so, yes, this felt good right from the start!
Let's get to the album now. First of all, the recording process. For 'Powerhouse' you chose to do it all yourselves with some help from Roberto Laghi. I read somewhere you wanted to catch the live feel on the album. How did you do it, this time around?
This time we made a studio album altogether. The vocals on the album, for example, were all composed in the studio and the string arrangements as well. We didn't even make a pre-production demo, partly because we have two fathers in the band, thus very little time left over, and partly because Regain didn't want a demo. Per Gyllenbäck (boss of Regain): -If you haven't changed your sound into electronic music, feel free to do the album as you wish!
It was mastered by icon Vlado Meller at Sony Music Studios in New York. How did that come about?
Ever since 'Above All' (2002) we talked about doing an American mastering, but it's quite pricey, so it never happened on the EMI days. This time we had a descent budget, and this was one thing we decided for from the start. Dragan Tanaskovic (Bohus Mastering), 'Powerhouse' (2005) and 'Parasite!' (2006), does by far the best work in Sweden, but something happens to the sound in the US. If it's the different voltage or the equipment over there, I don't know, but Vlado Meller sure put a good crunch to the sound!
If you had to formulate an overall mission for the band, what would that be?
Our mission is to create the music we like ourselves the most. This may sound pompous, but if you don't really love what you're doing, you shouldn't be doing it at all.
Reviewers and metal heads all over the world will pass verdict on the album in the weeks and months to come. Does that affect you? Or couldn't you care less what is written and said?
Music is a matter of taste and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but every review or opinion counts and affects you, as long as it's not a hasty one. You can always tell if the reviewers/metal heads have done their “homework”, or if they just listened through the album once.
One of my personal favorites is 'Double Nature'. Can you tell me what the lyrics are about?
Ralf (vocals, lead guitar) writes mainly all lyrics himself, and they are often about his life, his way of life and his aspects of life. Take that in consideration plus that a rock 'n' roll singer's life and/or personality often differs from the rest of us (cliché, cliché, but true), and you'll get the idea of the lyrics of 'Double Nature':
Born a believer. I walk alone. Can't find a place where I feel home.
Well I'm crazy, but I am sane. I'm guilty, but not to blame.
This is my nature, who I am. If you don't like it, here I stand.
I wanna keep it, though I eat it, shove it in my mouth!
I can't control my evil I.
I wanna keep it, though I eat it, have a bigger bite!
I love you baby, though I hate you. I'm a Double Nature!
Now a heretic, I have become. I've lost my faith in god and man.
I am a demon, free from sin. But there's no angel who lets me in.
My wheels are rolling. They're rolling fast. Straight outta hell, away from my past.
Now here's a warning. Some final words. Turn me down, and you'll burn, burn burn burn.
I am awaken. I never sleep. My eyes are bleeding. I'm a freak.
I'm short of patience. Don't mean no harm. I'm just a guy with a burning heart.
The album is released. If you got the chance to go back into the studio and change just one thing about it, what would that be or do you feel it's the perfect album?
There have always been some things on every album you've liked to have changed afterwards. If it wouldn't be so, I don't think your interest in your work is at 100%. But this time we all in the band feel that this is the best album we've done so far. Maybe there are one or two tracks that are stronger on our other releases, but we feel that this one is going to last a lot longer as an album.
If you have a couple of albums under your belt, like you guys have, in general things turn into a kind of routine or so I'm told by some friends of mine. Is that the case with Mustasch too and if not, how do you keep things fresh?
No, it's not, I hope. We try to look back on previous songs all the time, so that we don't repeat ourselves. Our drummer, Mats Hansson, is a good example of that. He never re-uses a drum pattern or a drum fill. The rest of us have to persuade him really hard in trying to change his mind, and we hardly ever succeed. And in the end that's all for the best.
If you had to pick one thing by which you want to be remembered when you're dead, what would that be?
The music. That is what I do best, I think. In any other case, I'm just a fluke of nature going completely wrong in life. ;)
What can we expect from you in the future?
We are touring Sweden this summer, and in the fall we are coming to Germany, Belgium and Holland, hopefully as package tour together with Hellfueled and Crucified Barbara. Sometime later this year we will also release a compilation from the EMI years, as they haven't released those albums world wide.
Any famous last words?
Download the album from Internet, and if you like it, buy it! Heavy Metal In The Night!