Hi Anders! Congratulations on your debut album. How do you feel about it since it's out?
We’re just so happy and excited for the future right now. The band is in a really good place mentally, and we’re just enjoying every show we’re playing. It’s been a dream for us to record and release a full-length album for years, and it’s so nice to finally achieve that.
Tainted Lady isn't really a household name amongst the fans of good old-fashioned hardrock. Yet. Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band and what makes you tick?
Three of us started the band when we were around fourteen years old, almost ten years ago. Jonatan (guitars) and I met in school and Fred Over (drums) lived in the same town as me. We’ve seen all the local bands around us dissolve through the years, but we’ve been able to stick together. I believe it’s the power and joy we get from just playing together that has always been so strong, that it never really mattered too much if we had success or not. We promised each other to give our lives to the band very early on, and we’ve kept that promise.
In the early years we just wanted to be an old school 80’s-style rock band. We had grown up with over-produced nu metal, post grunge, and all that stuff from the early 00’s. So when we started playing guitar, I think we really discovered and fell in love with a lot of the old guitar bands like Metallica, AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Whitesnake. It helped that YouTube was just getting started, so we suddenly had access to endless hours of rock history. Those were the years of Guitar Hero, Jack Black, and just a general resurgence of 80’s metal. It was like a breath of fresh air, it was so refreshing and raw compared to the 00’s rock everyone was used to. And the guys in these bands could actually play and sing - they had REAL talent! We aspired to be them, even if it was hard work, but we were pretty fearless and all of us developed our skills really fast.
In our early twenties the last pieces of the line-up puzzle fell into place. Daniel our bass player joined in 2013 and he was just a perfect fit, and he had just as much passion and drive as the original members. In 2015 our British lead vocalist Michael Catton joined, and that was when we started writing our debut album. We didn’t really want to start our career before we were 100% happy with the line-up. He is just the perfect singer for our band, and one of the best modern rock vocalists in my opinion. To me he is the perfect blend of skill and attitude.
We still have the same roots as back then, but these days the focus is more on writing something that has some real personality, something that separates ourselves from the pack of other retro rock bands. I usually say that we learned our craft from these great old rock bands, and now we’re using those skills to create something new. It’s actually not a pre-meditated choice from the band, it’s just that none of the band members will get excited, if you bring in a straight up 80’s metal song like back in the day. It needs to feel like it’s somewhere we really haven’t been doing before. And then it needs to be good as well.
How was the music scene in your hometown when you grew up?
The closest city when we were starting out was Fredericia, Denmark. Everyone there played metalcore, hardcore, black metal. We never really felt we belonged musically, but there were a lot of nice people there. The good thing about it was that the level of musicianship in some of these bands was really high, so there was a lot of good healthy competition. We found out later, that local scenes in other cities around Denmark vary very much in level of skill. Most of them don’t match the level of Fredericia.
Like you already stated you guys are hugely influenced by rock music from the 80s. Can you get a bit more in detail about that?
I think our early roots, and the bands that really taught us how to play are bands like Guns ‘n’ Roses, Metallica, AC/DC, Whitesnake, Skid Row to 70’s stuff like Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Kansas, etc. But now all of us are inspired by so many different genres. We’re actually really open minded listeners, and personally I’ve borrowed a lot of stuff from other genres when writing songs. Genres like folk, metal or even rap. That’s not just something I write in as a general statement. I can point to a lot of specific things on the album, directly influenced by these genres. A good song is a good song, and I’m not robbing myself of a great musical experience, just because I play another genre myself.
Which five records have played the most significant role in your life and why?
Deep Purple – Machine Head: This was the first rock album I really heard as a kid, when my uncle gave it to me and my brothers when I was six years old. There are no bad songs on this album.
Metallica – Master of Puppets: These guys taught me Jonatan and I how to play guitar in the early days. I love Metallica so much.
Whitesnake – Live In The Still Of The Night (DVD): This live DVD was our “Holy Bible” for making a good live show in the early days. Doug Aldrich is probably my favorite guitar player ever.
Rival Sons – Pressure & Time: Jay Buchanan is probably the best rock singer ever to me. He has brought his folk sensibilities and song writing skills into the modern rock scene, which was so needed in this genre. It’s a very inspiring band.
Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us: This is the most honest band out there. There is a no-bullshit mentality to this band that inspires me so much, and their influence is all over my songs, even if the genre is very different from ours. Their songs have real meaning, and connect deeply with me.
And what is right now the artist or band you admire most?
I think Rival Sons is a band that has had a very big impact on me in recent years. There is so much to learn from those guys, in terms of writing and keeping it real.
I can think of a lot of cool bandnames for a rock band, but I would never have thought of using the moniker 'Tainted Lady'. It sounds more like a gril thing to me...
We actually came up with the name way back when we were just kids in 2009, and the amazing thing is the fact that we still like it. I remember just finding the word “tainted” on the Internet and liking how it sounded. It felt good to say, but none of us had any idea what it meant. I think Fred (drums) came up with the idea of Tainted Lady. It really didn’t mean anything particular, it just sounded cool. When Michael Catton (vocals) joined our band a few years ago, I remember he said that one of the things was drawn to about the band in the beginning, was that he really liked the name. And he is a native English speaker, so it must be a good name!
Alright, let's talk a bit out about your album 'How The Mighty have Fallen'. Are you satisfied with the efforts and results of the studio session?
We’re really proud of the album. We had written so many songs in the year up to the recording session (at least 35), so there really isn’t one note, beat or lyric on the album that we don’t love 100%. We’re happy with the production as well. The producer Soren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Mike Tramp) is just the perfect fit for us. We share the same roots musically, and he is good at achieving the authentic live feeling we want our music to have. We recorded all basic tracks for the album live, together as a group. But at the same time he also manages make everything have high production value. It’s just a good blend between sounding dirty and nice at the same time.
How did you guys handle the songwriting? Was this a one-man effort, or the result of of jamming on some random ideas?
Like every other band says, it’s a different thing for every song. Me and Jonatan wrote most of the songs on this album, and then the band came in to arrange them and put their touch on them. Back in the day, I would usually start by writing a riff and then write a vocal over it, like most guitarists do. These days, the best songs come to me all at once. Usually I won’t even have my guitar with me, and the lyrics, melody and riffs will pop into my head, and I just try to capture what I can. I like to fiddle around with the melodies and words afterwards, to make sure everything is perfect. I love the craftsmanship of making a good song, and I pride myself on making good rhymes and cool word play.
What is your own favorite song on the record?
My favorite song on the record is probably 'Song Of Reckoning'. I just think it’s a really fun and creative song, and I love the juxtaposition between the dirty up-tempo guitar riff and the folk-ish vocal line. It’s a different sound, but it really worked out. I’m also really proud of the lyrics, because on the surface they are written in this poetic style inspired by Led Zeppelin and Rival Sons, but the subject matter is more inspired by modern bands like Architects.
The artwork on the album reminds me of some old hippie stuff from 40 years ago mixed with some ancient Mayan influences. What the deal here?
The other guitar player, Jonatan, created our album cover. We all really love it! He has always been handling all of our visuals from day one, and he created our band logo and everything back when we started. I think it was inspired by the intro of the album, which we all kind of felt sounded like something Native American. So we just wanted the visuals to match the music, and he came up with this concept of a fallen warrior girl, who could represent Tainted Lady. It also fits well with the album title 'How The Mighty Have Fallen'. She has a logo on her headband, which is our spin on an ancient sign, which means art, music and poetry. So there are some cool layers to the album art, and it relates really well to our lyrics.
If you had to convince everybody out there that 'How The Mighty have Fallen' is an awesome album that everybody should have, how would you sell it?
We aimed at creating good songs that actually had real substance and meant something to us. I’d like to think that this album will give the rock listener something authentic, in a genre that has a lot of posing. We’re in it for the songs. Every word and note has to mean something to us, and I think you can tell. So what you’re going to get is an authentic, energetic, youthful, passionate rock record, to sum it up. It’s a fresh take on something retro. And then we just have some really skilled people in the band, so it’s a great record for musicians as well. While the songs sound pretty serious and sometimes angry, I think the delivery has a lot of tongue in cheek humor and love for the great bands we’re inspired by.
Your musical influences are firmly rooted in the 70s and 80s, but the rock music and business scene has evolve enormously since then. What do you think of music business and rock scene as it is today?
I think rock music is very much out of the mainstream these days, so we don’t really believe we’re going to be big rock stars like in the old days. Our dream is to be a hard working touring band like Rival Sons, Airbourne, etc., living only from playing music. We don’t really care about the music business, we just want to write awesome music. We do it because we love doing it, and because we have a need to do it. We hope a lot more people will discover us of course, but we’re going to continue our creative journey regardless of what will happen. We just love making music, everything else is just a bonus.
Okay, that's it for now, so let us finish with your future plans. What have you got in store for us in the coming months?
We’re going to play a lot of shows in Denmark and Europe this year. It’s all ready so much fun! We love being on stage and it’s definitely worth all the planning and travelling. We will release our debut album this spring, and hopefully it’s going to put us on the map for a lot more people, press and venues. We also have a lot of cool videos planned, both behind the scenes stuff and music videos. Hope to see you all on a stage in a city near you!