November 3, 2014 Interview – Klara Force of Crucified Barbara
Sweden has been a fertile land for Rock and Metal bands for some time now. Hailing from the country’s capital of Stockholm, for sixteen years Crucified Barbara have established themselves as a Heavy Rock band to be reckoned with, combining razor sharp guitar riffs and raunchy vocals that no one can deny. Having made their first appearance on North American soil in 2013 as support for Crashdïet, signing a new deal with Despotz Records, and releasing their fourth album Into the Red in 2014, Crucified Barbara are just getting warmed up living their Rock-n-Roll fantasy. Recently we sat down with guitarist Klara Force for a closer look at the progression of the band, their new album, passion for music, and more.
CrypticRock.com – Crucified Barbara began for you sixteen years ago and in that time the band has toured all over world and released three studio records not including your newest to be released soon. Tell us a little bit about what the years past has been like for the band?
Klara Force – As you said, we have been around for so many years. We started of as just teenagers wanting to play in a Rock band; recording demos and playing around our home town of Stockholm. Then, in 2004, we got a record deal and recorded our first album. Then it just started; and we have been touring a lot ever since, now we have our fourth album out.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, you have been very busy over the years. You initially began as a more Punk Rock style band but changed to more of a Hard Rock/Metal band. What inspired the band to change directions?
Klara Force – I think from the beginning it was a mix between Punk and Grunge; we were very inspired by the Grunge scene with bands like Nirvana. It was actually Kurt Cobain who made me start to play guitar. I guess from the first time I ever stepped on a distortion pedal I knew I wanted to play heavy Rock music. I thought. distortion, wow, what is this cool thing, I have to do this forever and ever. Then Mia, who is now the lead singer and lead guitarist of the band, when she joined the band she had more of a Thrash Metal background. It was natural for us to take a little bit more of those influences. She joined the band back in 2001, first she was just the guitarist, but then we realized that she had a great voice as well, so now she has double responsibilities.
CrypticRock.com – Interesting, so basically it is a mix of all your influences put together that made you decide to go in the direction that you did.
Klara Force – Yes, I do not think we ever decided anything. We just started writing songs and that is the way we do it still. We have an idea, we like it, and then we see where the riff takes us. We are not afraid to try anything no matter what style it is. We just see what happens and then we put our sound and brand on it. We try to keep an open mind when it comes to creativity, which I think is the best way to do it, not to limit yourself and try to copy someone’s style; you have to be free and open in your spirit if you want to be creative. I think that is what works for me.
CrypticRock.com – Yes agreed, and you mentioned about that diversity; that you want to have that open-mindedness. It definitely seems the band can fit in within a variety Rock and Metal genres since you have toured with the likes of In Flames and Motorhead. How important is it to the band to have that diversity to appeal to such a broad audience of Rock fans?
Klara Force – I do not think it is a matter of appealing to as many people as possible; its more of a matter of having to stay true to ourselves and do what we love. We would never start to write music just to please someone else. We do not think of sales or whatever people may like. We try to do the best we can the way we love, the way we want it, and hopefully the people will still want it.
CrypticRock.com – Right, understood; you know you have to follow your artistic vision and that will make the best music, absolutely. It seems that a lot of the time people will sometimes look at female fronted or all female bands as a novelty and lump all female bands into one category as just female Rock bands when, for example, Crucified Barbara and Arch Enemy are two vastly different things. How do you feel about these generalizations some may make and do you think we are taking the right steps toward more gender equality in Rock and Metal?
Klara Force – I think we have been proving ourselves for many years now being on the road. I think people who come to our shows, they know that they can put us in a girl band genre, we do our thing, but I would think at the same time I its kind of human nature that you have to put labels on stuff to understand the world. I am not saying it is a good thing but I can understand why people would do that, just to simplify the world I guess.
I read an interview with Danko Jones and he said, “It is funny because I always get compared to Phil Lynott just because I play Rock and I have brown skin.” I guess that it happens to people; they need to find somethings that is similar. Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy and Danko Jones, they do not sound similar at all, but still people compare it and I guess that is the same with an all-girl band thing. Of course for us, it is kind of tiring, especially with interviews, we get approached with this question all the time. I think people should focus more on the energy and the music and try not to find labels all the time. Although, it is the same as I spoke before with creativity; try to have an open mind and a free spirit. If you like it then you like it, no matter what it is.
CrypticRock.com – Of course people need to label things to simplify them. The point is that we should look at music as people, not someones skin color or if they are female or male. It should be music for music sake and it is frustrating for pure music fans when people look at a female band as a novelty. They should be liked for their music not because they are females.
Klara Force – Yes absolutely, but it goes both ways; sometimes it is a good thing people get interested. They think, “Oh wow, girls playing, that is rare, I have to check it out.” There are also many times people think, “Oh fuck, I am not going to listen to that, it is girls (Yuck),” and then they do not even give us a chance. I think if you are going to have that attitude in life you are going to miss out on a lot of things.
CrypticRock.com – You are right, it is closing being closed minded and sadly will result in missing out one some great things. Now you have released your fourth studio album titled In The Red on September 10th here in North America. What was the writing and recording process like for this album?
Klara Force – I would say it was the best one so far. We put a short deadline on ourselves to finish the album. We booked the studio so that we did not have a choice; we had to be finished with the songs and it worked out. We wrote the album by basically jamming together for half a year, meeting up every day in the rehearsal place, and wrote songs no matter if we had inspiration or not. We just jammed and then the inspiration came.
CrypticRock.com – This record definitely has very strong music and seems to have a clear theme lyrically with a strong message. Was it the band’s objective to make a statement musically as well as socially on this album?
Klara Force – I think it felt important to us to take a stand and allow ourselves to be a little more serious. We have always had serious topics, not in all songs, but we have never been afraid of it. It just felt right to not write about dragons, swords, and drinking beer. We wanted to write about matters we actually talk to each other about within the band that interests us such as society, equality, and what going on in the world. It is a mirror of the people we are. We always speak a lot about current events, about humanity, and philosophical topics.
CrypticRock.com – Right, it is really great that on this record you have chosen to interject that more because you know it is a mirror of yourself, but perhaps that makes the music slightly more emotional because you are releasing these true feelings.
Klara Force – Yes, that is right, it is very emotional for us. When you have the lyrics that you really stand for and that really mean something to you, I think that shines through and I think the audience likes it too.
CrypticRock.com – It connects with the audience. Are currently touring European in support of the album. Will there be any plans of returning to North America at some point in the near future?
Klara Force – We are definitely coming back for the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, which we are really looking forward to. We did a U.S. tour last year with our old friends Crashdïet and we had a great time, so we are hoping that we can come back and do another tour.
CrypticRock.com – That is exciting to hear. One would imagine it was a great tour with Crashdïet. How did you find the North American audience responded to the band ?
Klara Force – The audience responded great, I was amazed, it was our first time playing there and it was really cool to see that people came to the shows.Crashdïet had been there a few times, but we had never and it was really cool to see that people came to see us too. People knew about us, knew the lyrics, and were so supportive, so it was a great experience. Of course it was fantastic to see the country and all the different parts of the states. It was very interesting. We would love to come back as soon as we can if we can organize something, and yes we are definitely coming back.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent, that is something for fans to look forward to. What are some of your musical influences?
Klara Force – I love music and I listen to a lot of music. Not everything that I listen to you can hear it in the music that we actually write and play. I love Jazz and Country music. I am very open-minded when it comes to music. I do not have a band that I think we should sound like, so I cannot really name an influence that has something to do with our band; it is hard.
CrypticRock.com – Right, that makes sense. When it comes to musical influences, sometimes an influence is something that you love but it may not necessarily reflect in your music.
Klara Force – Exactly, it is very good for the creativity to listen to a lot of music even if it is not your genre just to keep your mind and spirit open to see what is possible and to see what other people do. I would not go a day with out listening to music. Music is the greatest invention, music, I could not live without it. (Laughs)
CrypticRock.com – Music certainly is an amazing gift to have. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Klara Force – Yes, sure, I would say my favorite Horror movie is The Shining (1980). That is a great one. It is scary as hell though. I used to watch a lot of Horror movies when I was a kid, but as I get older I am more easily scared now I think than when I was fourteen.
CrypticRock.com – As you get older tastes may change. There are so many good Horror movies from the ’80s. What are some of the movies that you watched when you were younger?
Klara Force – I think I have seen them all; A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), Friday the 13th (1980). I have seen most of those 80’s classic Horror movies, but my favorite is definitely The Shining. The acting is so great, Shelley Duvall appears so scared. I guess she must have been scared for real because there is no way of acting that well. You can see it in her body and see the fear in her eyes.