【face-to-face / interview】H.E.A.T

Tearing Down the Walls, the fourth studio album by the Swedish rock group H.E.A.T and first album without the guitarist Dave Dalone, will be out later this year by the record company Gain/Sony Music. To celebrate this release, we met the singer of the band, Erik Grönwall, at Hard Rock Cafe, Paris (FR) to discuss its content.

HEAT

You will release a new studio album ‘Tearing Down The Walls’ on April 11th, 2014. What can you tell us about it ? What can we expect ?
Erik Grönwall : Hum, it’s definitely heavier than the previous record. This time around, we wanted to have great songs for live-shows. We focused on that particular matter. I guess, it’s full of energy, life, melody and overall passion. The album cover was made by a russian guy who goes by the name Alexis S. Vitaly and what we want to covey with the title « Tearing Down the Walls » is : stop being your own worst enemy, stop taking too much care of what everybody thinks. You can be whatever you want to be. Everything is possible ! Tear down your walls, stop nurturing your negative side. Be positive and work towards what you want to be. Yes, you can accomplish anything. Tear down your walls then you’ll be free ! Your worst enemy is yourself, nobody else.

Do you think it is your duty as a public person to channel positive messages ?
Erik Grönwall : It doesn’t have to be. I mean that we weren’t seeking for that. Every song was going into that direction but we didn’t think about channeling positive messages through the album when we were making it. It wasn’t intended, planned or made on purpose. It just ended up that way. All the songs were and are about breaking free so, yeah I do think we are communicating a positive message but I don’t think about it as a duty. It’s just a fact, an inevitable kind of choice, something that came out of chance.

Do you have any anecdote behind the making ?
Erik Grönwall : Hum, when we get together with Tobias Lindell who is a very good sound-engineer that produced the album, we drink a lot. You know, Swedes are famous for drinking. The coolest anecdote I can give you is that we were wasted all the time (laughs). We have a tradition called Crave Party, which is basically made for drinking. What you hear on the album is a bunch of drunk guys playing together and just having fun (laughs).

With insight, what would you say you have brought to the music of HEAT ?
Erik Grönwall : It’s always hard to say but I guess I have brought energy. Being the frontman, you have to focus on entertaining your guests, the audience. You have to focus on the live-acts. I think I’ve brought energy to the live performances. Concerts are very important to me, it shows if the band has real talent, or not. People who go to live-shows have a psychological investment in the band. You can’t disappoint them. You have to give your absolute best. After attending the show, people are more likely to back this up by buying the albums. You have to make them want to hear from you again. Concert goers tend to talk up the bands they have seen in concert. I put a lot of energy into the live-shows to stand out and leave a mark.

H.E.A.T played with big names such as ALICE COOPER, THIN LIZZY and on big festivals like Sweden Rock Festival. You will also support SCORPIONS on March. Have you learnt anything from touring with those big names ?
Erik Grönwall : They’ve been on the road for 20 years more likely. They know what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter if they’re having a bad day, they are always professional, which is a quality trait. Personal issues, no matter how consuming they can be, never interfere with their professional life. I just love the fact that they succeeded in pulling themselves out of a personal issue that may be important and stressful. No matter what they go through, they get up on stage and give the audience their best. It’s always inspiring to see your heroes at work.

Musically-speaking, have you learnt anything ?
Erik Grönwall : Hum… I remember opening for WHITESNAKE, they had moments when they would bring the music down and clap together to make the audience cheer and scream. I just love that and we’ve actually been working on that. Believe it or not, it’s not that simple to communicate with the people and make them participate.

Being an opening act or touring with many other bands, how do you manage to make a last­ing impres­sion on the audience while only having a few selected songs to play ? How do you make your live-shows stand-out ?
Erik Grönwall : Energy is what it’s all about. You have to be crazy and give 100% of yourself each time, which is cool with me because I like being the center of attention, kind of (laughs). The live-act is our greatest strength. It’s what we do best, this is what I do best. I live for that. Talking about live-shows, we’ll be touring in Europe at the end of the year with a stop in France. I hope people who are reading this interview, will come and see us. I can’t wait to tour ! What I love best about it, is seing the faces of people having fun. I love seeing their reactions. It’s such an ego-boost (laughs). It galvanizes me, I just love it.

Thank you for the interview. See you on stage.
Erik Grönwall : I hope so. Thanks Mandah.

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