【face-to-face / interview】CRUCIFIED BARBARA

Swedes, CRUCIFIED BARBARA, are about to publish their fourth album-studio. Titled ‘In The Red’, it will follow ‘The Midnight Chase’ which was released in 2012. To celebrate this event, we met Klara Force and Mia Coldheart — respectively guitarist and singer of the band — around a table at Black Dog bar. Please note, they will play at Le Petit Village festival on August 23rd 2014, Forges de Feux festival on September 12d and Mennecy Metal fest on September 14th.


Your fourth studio-album will be available on September 10th. Titled « In The Red », it will follow « Midnight Chase » which you told at the time was your best album so far in terms of songwritting and sound. This time around, do you think you surpassed the level ?
Klara : I think we did, yeah ! I can definitely say this is our best one so far. This time around, we chose to continue to work with the same guy with whom we worked on the previous album, « The Midnight Chase », because it was such a special experience to us. We kept a very great memory of the last recording, it was so much more fun than the previous albums. With him, I think we found our way to write songs and well-working together, so we wanted to keep on going on that path. This new album, « In The Red » is heavier and darker yet more melodic at the same time. You know, we are not afraid to mix different styles and I think we have evolved since our last recording. Of course we are always planning to make the best album so far ! The first album is more raw, the second one was more based on how we sound live, the third album was more melodic and better in every kinds of way and the new one is a mix of them all. Heavy, melodic and dirty !

What’s your favorite song on the album ?
Klara : Oh… No, I can’t choose. It’s as if you were asking me which kid I love the most.
Mia : I can answer (laughs). I would choose « The Ghost Inside » ! I like all parts of it. I love the riff and the lyrics. It’s a great song. I like singing it. Yeah, that would be the one.
Klara : Well, as for me, « In The Red » would do. The riff is heavy and the lyrics are great !

So I guess the title and idiom « in the red » doesn’t mean what it generally means which is experiencing the situation of spending more money than earning (laughs) ?
Klara : Well, it could mean that too (laughs). You know, being a musician is hard work and it takes tons of dedication and money. Often have we to invest our own money into our music and you end up spending more money than you earned. So yeah, the title could mean what the idiom usually means but the real meaning, the main idea was to write lyrics about us being united, a machine that crushes everything on its path. That is why I would choose « In The Red » as a favorite song because I think it would portray the feeling of the girls as a band when playing on stage. When you play loud and heavy, the sound-volume indicator goes in the red.

The album cover was designed by Erik Rovanpera. Can you share the story behind the collaboration ?
Mia : It’s a Swedish artist that we have been admiring for many years. He’s a great artist and designer. We wanted him to design our album-cover so we contacted him. We gave him some keywords and ideas. We told him what we liked : old American movie aesthetic and posters, Russian propaganda imagerie, logo-type art, black and white, a little bit of red and some other things like that. But he was pretty much free to do whatever he wanted to. We are happy he did an amazing job.

The first music video of the album, « To Kill A Man », holds a very special meaning. It portrays extreme violence against women and how easily it is socially accepted. It is so rare that the subject is discussed in music that I want to thank you for it. Do you think it is your duty as public people to rise awareness ?
Klara : Definitely. It’s the duty of every person that has the privilege to be heared by an audience. Actually, it’s the duty of every single person on the planet. Everybody should talk about injustice. With the band, we can spread the word and maybe rise awareness, it’s definitely something that has not to be taken lightly. It’s a privilege that has to be respected, you know. It’s an important thing to do, especially as women. Like you said, sexual violence against women is a subject that isn’t discussed in hard rock and music in general which is a shame. We had to do it ! I can’t tell you how important it is, I mean sure you know it, sexual violence is rooted everywhere ! It’s a huge problem that has to be taken very, very seriously. Things are changing but the process is too slow.

Have you checked-out the comments below the video ?
Mia : No, we’d rather not to. I think we say quite obvious things but no matter what you do, people will always get you down, especially when it’s about women and even more with the anonimity that the Internet offers. And, I think it’s pointless to argue on sexual violence against women. It’s tragic, period. Have you read them ?

I did. Unfortuntely and without any surprise, some YouTubers blame you for engaging yourselves in man-bashing and man-hating focusing on the title of the song, To Kill A Man, while other YouTubers approve the cause but reject the name, feminism, because they take it as an offence. Feminism has become tainted with all kinds of negative connotations, when in reality, it’s about humanism and equality of men and women. Why do you think feminism has become such a dirty word ? And what would you say to those people who think you are misandric ?
Klara : It’s very sad if people consider the word feminism as a bad word. Do they really ? Feminism is not about man-hating. Like you said, it’s about humanism, and it’s called Feminism because we live in male-dominated societies, patriarchal societies and therefore, in order to get men and women to be equal, you have to work more on women’s rights than men’s. You can’t reach equality by increasing two uneven levels, it’s obvious you have to raise one to meet the other first. Feminism is only the word that was given to express the work towards equality of sexes. Why feminism has become a dirty word ? Well, maybe because feminists are usually portrayed in a stereotypical manner as angry women in the media. Maybe because the word lexically alludes to female-centrism so they think it’s a female-related problem and every female-related problem is ridiculed. But actually, feminism is what will stop men from being ridiculed as girls for expressing their emotions, for crying and so on. Every normal human-being is a feminist. You can’t erase the past nor change the History. People shouldn’t be afraid of the word (laughs). If you don’t like the way it sounds, you are probably misinformed. In Europe, women are still being less paid for the same jobs that men are doing, are discriminated against and sexually harassed in the workplace, on the streets and at home, they are shamed for things that men aren’t shamed for, they are also told to take precautions against rape as opposed to teaching boys not to rape, I could go on and on. People should be treated equally no matter what the sex, gender, age and race they are. Fortunately, feminism isn’t a bad word for everybody. In Sweden, we have a huge feminist movement and the majority of the people support it. No wonder why Northern Europe is always on top list of the best places to live in.

“ One fifth of all the world’s women have been raped or attempted rape in their lifetime. The dark statistics became the basis for the song ‘To Kill A Man’ and our most important of the video. The production company 11frames has captured our vision perfectly and we are proud that we take the opportunity lifting heavy topics such as violence and sexism with a really heavy hard rock video.” Crucified Barbara – Official Website 

Mia : And for the people who think we hate men, you should seriously read our lyrics. Don’t focus your mind on the title of the song. Open your minds and read about feminism. You’ll see it’s actually a good thing that would also do good in your lives. Gender stereotypes also damage men. Humanity as a whole will gain from feminism, it will be better off when women and men can live without those boundaries.

What is also nonsensical is that you are blamed for being angry. How in the world you shouldn’t get angry with sexism and rape-related subjects ? As artists, would you say anger is the most inspiring emotion to you ?
Klara : It is for sure. But, every strong emotion can be great sources for inspiration. It goes without saying that most of us seek positive emotions and experiences. We want all strong positive emotions in our lives like love, joy, happiness, success, and so forth. But good music and art in general is often the result of the channeled negative emotions born from bad experiences. Music is a good way to channel anger, fear, loss, frustration, inequalities and so forth. It’s like a therapy. I think it’s important to have something to channel and cope with those emotions. Maybe we want to keep positive emotions to ourselves, our private lives.

What would you advice to a girl that is thinking of starting a band ?
Klara : Go for it. Having a band is a lot of fun. You don’t have to be great, just play play play. Don’t wait to find the perfect band members, play with whoever crosses your path, the more you practise the better you’ll get. You have to get out, meet people, and play with them. When starting, music is maybe something you should do on the side of another career, so that you have something to fall back on. And, if your music career gets more successful than your other career, you should definitely continue in music.

Do you think being an all-female-band has been an handicap, to the extent that you have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously, or an advantage, to the extent that, being rare, you get attention more easily ?
Mia : It’s like you said, it’s a mix of both. It can be an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. But we never focus on that.

What do you think is the greatest strength of the band ?
Mia : I think the greatest strength of the band is that we are best friends. We have the same goals. We are all ready to sacrifice the same things. We are on the same page. We are naturally in sync. We all love the music we play. Together we are unbreakable. We are a unit.

Do you plan to headline-tour Europe soon ?
Mia : Yes, but I can’t tell you more about it. We’ll do it on the band website soon.

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