From R*E*P*E*A*T Issue 19

The Hives
February 2002, Cambridge Junction.
Interview by Nadim Samman and Richard

When we went to interview The Hives; they
were polite but reserved, at first. Dr Matt
gave me a banana and some crisps from his
rider, so he was cool. They were also
reading an article about themselves in the
NME when we walked in - Howlin' Pete
was still reading it and showing it to the
roadies when we left.

N: Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Chris Dangerous, drummer of the Hives.

R: It seems you can't go anywhere these days without people talking about the hives, does all the attention ever get to your heads?
C: I don't think it does, because we're sort of doing the same thing as always, just with a bit more people enjoying it. No, I don't think it gets to our heads.

N: Being Swedish you're a descended from Vikings, it's interesting that in the past your ancestors would have literally invaded this island, whereas now the hives invade it culturally. How do you feel about that?
C: It feels pretty good, but I don't consider us
Vikings, we're not here to kill, we're here to make things fun, we're here to make people enjoy

R: What's the meaning behind your name the Hives, since it can either be a skin disease, or where bees live?
C: It's the disease, we did it the old fashioned way and looked it up in the dictionary and thought it sounded great and thought we could change the
meaning of the word into a great rock band.

N: After your success with the metric system do you plan to introduce the European single currency in time?
C: Hahaha. 1 dunno really. I think we're gonna try
to get the metric system in a bit more and then we'll see what our next major scam is. We haven't really figuired it out yet, but it will come.

N: You've been pretty successful recently, you've gone from playing small venues like the Garage, to playing Brixton Academy in a few short weeks, has this surprised you, and has it changed anything?
C: The thing about Britain is that bands seem to get huge in a really short period of rime because all the magazines can't write about different stuff, they all want to write about the exact same band and there's hype about the Hives right now but people will probably hate us in two years so we might as well enjoy it. As I said before, we're still doing the exact same thing, except the venues get bigger and we get some money that we can put away, but otherwise we're still the same band playing the same songs.
(Dr Matt walks in) Dr Matt: The people were first.
the magazines were late

N: Coming from a punk background, are you cynical about the attention you get from the coke-snorting, London fashionista crowd in the press and at your shows, or do you embrace it?
C: The thing is that all the capitals in Europe havethe type of people who think that they're a bit too cool to move around, but we get them dancing anyway. Of course it's a good thing that lots of people listen to your music, it somehow gives you your faith back that people actually have taste! It was funny at the Astoria because people came fashionably late and they didn't even get in on the guest list because of the long line, that's pretty funny.
R: You must be aware of Dr Matt Destruction's
cult following, when can we expect a solo album?
C : I don't know really, but I think that the day we quit, he might do one. He's a bit of a genius, he's a Dr of bass and he's lucky with the ladies.

N: How did you come up with your pseudonyms?
You've got to ask our parents, they've got the

R: How have the Hives being influenced by British music?
C: We've been influenced by a lot of British bands from around 1977, but not that many bands nowadays though, there's not that much rock coming out now.

N: There seems to be a lot of garage punk bands coming out of Sweden these days, the (I)NC, Division of Laura Lee, Randy to name but a few...
C: There's always been a lot of garage punk bands but now it's sort of getting up in the charts. The last time that happened it was in the eighties and before that it was in the sixties. I guess it's time again. I don't know if it's a reaction against manufacturf music today, but if it is, then it's a hell of a good one! We get a lot of questions asking if we think we're sellouts because we sell a lot of records, but just think that it's a really good thing that a lot ofpeople are starting to like better music. If we're in the charts I'm not complaining about it.

N: Speaking of which, now that you're successful, are you going to stay independent? I understand that a lot of people are interested in you.
C: We actually don't know yet, we're pretty happy where we are. Of course there's a lot of major labels trying to sign us, but we haven't had time to sit down and think yet. As long as we can do exactly what we want, we might as well be on a major 1abel. There's no point in changing what we've already got just to be on a major, but if we can get things to work exactly the way we want then we may change.

R: When can we expect new material from The Hives?
Actually after this tour we're going to go home and play for ourselves and try to rehearse for three months. Afterwards we're going to America doing some festivals, but not many. We've got a lot of time but we won't release anything unless we're happy with it. Before 2005 maybe.

R: It's obvious you've got a big following in Britain, but how big are you in the States and elsewhere in Europe?
C: We've only done one American tour and it was great, much better than expected, in Europe we've been pretty big for some time. It seems that England got it last, but now it's our most successful country.

Even though it happened some ten years before you were born, the hives are famed for entertaining troops during the Vietnam war. Has has this affected your attitude to jungle warfare as opposed to nuclear war, or punch-ups at a bar?
Dr Matt: Energetic music is just like nuclear weapons!

What's it like travelling around Britain?
The nature is beautiful in Scotland. We miss woods and lakes in Sweden, we don't get to see much travelling on a bus. The times we're awake we're usually in a venue, we try to see as much we can, but we don't get that much time to do it.

Do the drugs get better the more famous you get?
We stick to alcohol, that's worked so far so we stick to it.

N: Do you like big shows or little shows? Are you enjoying the new aspects of playing bigger shows now that you get bigger or do you prefer the intimate punk rock venues?
Small shows can be more fun. because you're closer to the audience, nowadays there's a ten metre gap. but the good thing is that you get to play to more people loving us, and we get to love more people.
Dr Matt: You could say that it's more fair if we play bigger shows so that people, more people in a particular city, get a chance to see us. Every show has it's own climate or charm. We love playing anywhere.

R:Where did you get the idea for the flashing sign, because it looks great.
We've had the flashing sign for two or three years, we just thought it looked really good, it looks brilliant. We're not the first band to use it, but ours is probably the best one. Although 1 used to be scared it'd chop my head off because we hung it up really badly.
Dr Matt: In the beginning it was the most dangerous sign you could have, it wasn't even earthed!
Chris; It looks good when everything is really bright. White lights are better than orange. The lights make it evangelical.

N: What are your thoughts on bootlegging? I must admit I've bought a fake hives jumper before, is it a sign that you've 'made it' when people start bootlegging your shit?
It was pretty fun at the first gig at the Astoria because there were lots of people selling bootlegs, and there was this one big guy selling t-shirts, we knew that there was nothing we could do about it so we went as a band with our tour manager and asked if we could get five bootlegs each- he told us to fuck offl

R: Does it upset you when you see people making quick money from all your efforts?
We don't do this for money, we're about the music. We like playing shows and doing great music together. If we can make money off it then how can we complain - making money off our hobby?! Even if we get bigger and bigger, it doesn't mean we're going to change. We're really happy with our current record, our sound is moving towards something we're happy with. In the first record we knew how we wanted to sound, but not how to get
there, we're on our way...

Do the Hives prefer Chips or cream buns?
I think we like them both, maybe if you look at a picture you'll figure out who likes what!

Would like a copy of the magazine?
Yeah, thanks a lot.