DM: For our readers that might not be as familiar with H.E.A.T, could you explain your style a little bit, give us the “H.E.A.T mission statement” so to speak.
Erik: The mission statement…wow, to conquer the world! We really just make things up as we go. I would say that we play melodic rock.
Jona: I think most would say that.
Erik: I just don’t like the label AOR.
DM: Why’s that?
Erik: Cause I think we’re more hard rock.
DM: I would agree with you.
Erik: Some people like to label us that way. I don’t mind but I’m not gonna do that. So yeah, melodic rock, hard rock, rock ‘n’ roll.
DM: You guys are known for having a very energetic live show and you seem to have a genuine connection with your fans. Is it difficult to keep that energy and connection every night?
Erik: You have good and bad days as an artist as but it gets easier when you have the audience as soon as you walk on stage. It’s always just before the show, like you can feel a little bit slower some days and then you just walk on stage and you’re just like, “Fuck, we get to do this.” We really enjoy it, and if you have energetic fans that helps a lot.
DM: So is there any preparation mentally or physically to get out there and go as hard as you do?
Erik: Yeah, well I do a lot of warmups and we shadowbox a bit, that and Gin tonic, it’s our ritual. So we get a few beers before and get in the mood for the show and that’s how we last on stage.
DM: I saw you guys in Chicago at the MelodicRock Fest, do you notice any differences between playing the states and playing in Europe or elsewhere even?
Erik: Well, it’s a tough market in the states for this kind of music. We’ve been there twice and it’s been at that festival. There’s definitely a market there but it takes a lot of investment in time and money. I guess we started building but it’s going to take a while. But, now we’re just working on it.
DM: Yeah, it seems you’re a hit with that older crowd right away in the states. The guys who are going to Winger shows are going to get it. It’s just getting that younger crowd will be a challenge.
Erik: Exactly, and I think that you can’t label it AOR if you wanna reach them. We love AOR fans as well, but, if you label it AOR and kids don’t think what their parents like are cool.
DM: And AOR is not really cool.
DM: Mainstream people don’t know what AOR is but rock is timeless and you’re clearly a rock band.
Erik: Exactly, We’re a rock band. So that’s how I like to label it. But, I mean in Spain it’s crazy. The audience is crazy.
Jona: I think like the further south you go the spicier the people get. You know what I mean?
DM: Yeah, I think so.
Jona: Been to Argentina once to play a show and it was fucking crazy.
DM: I can imagine
Erik: Yeah, so Spain, Italy, down south tend to be crazier.
DM: The stateside shows definitely seem like there’s gonna be a lot more dads than maybe some of the videos I’ve seen from other regions in the world.
Erik: but it does feel like the audience has been getting younger every year in a way.
Jona: Yeah maybe, When I started this band it felt like it was only the AOR dudes but now it’s like younger rock kids that come to the shows. A new generation.
DM: So, since we are talking about geography, where exactly is ‘Shit City’ located? I can’t recall seeing it on any globes or maps.
Jona: Haha, It’s pretty close to Stockholm actually.
Erik: It’s blurred out on Google Maps… but really we had a few discussions with the city where we used to rehearse…
Jona: We had this great relationship with the community and the politicians and everything and all of a sudden they dumped us. There was a political change and now it’s like we’re not welcome anymore.
DM: Wow. That’s a more serious answer than I expected. So, you seem to always have great bands opening for you. Do you have any say in picking the openers?
Jona: Absolutely, We always do.
Erik: Yeah, we have the final say.
Jona: We get suggestions and we have a few different choices for openers. For this tour we selected Shiraz Lane and One Desire who are unbelievable. Suits really, really well. So happy it happened.
Erik: It’s the best package I’ve been involved in.
DM: Are there any other bands from the current scene that you would hope to tour with at any point?
Jona: I would like to go on tour with the giants, maybe go with like Def Leppard or something, that would be awesome. Join them for a tour, or maybe Whitesnake would be cool. I mean with the younger bands really anything goes. We’re all a happy family.
DM: Now, if you could pick any three bands from any era, active or not to tour with; what would that tour look like?
Jona: Def Leppard for me, I’d say. I mean for me Iron Maiden would be a dream even though it might not match…
Erik: Little Richard and Queen for sure. I love the 60’s. I love the 50’s and 60’s that’s what I listen to before the show actually. Little Richard and Creedence, John Fogerty. I think he’s very underrated as a rock star. He’s like the… he’s definitely top 10.
DM: So we’ll do H.E.A.T., Fogerty, Little Richard and Queen?
Erik: Haha, No, I think it’s better with the Iron Maiden and Whitesnake
DM: Changing gears to the songwriting and the albums, it seems like you’re always progressing. No album sounds like the last. Is that something that’s consciously decided upon or does that just naturally come about?
Erik: Naturally, I would say. I think we’re experimenting a lot. It’s feels like we haven’t really found the sound yet. Like we have the core sound, we have the rock sound, but it feels like we’re experimenting a little bit with the production and the songwriting. And I like that and if we can make good music while doing that…
DM: A good song is a good song.
DM: It does seem like the latest album undoubtedly had steps in a new direction in terms of production as well as songwriting. The minute the singles were released your fans were torn it seems.
Jona: and to go with a single like ‘Time On Our Side’…
Erik: No one remembers a coward. No risk, no fun. But, I actually prepared the guys before we released the first single ‘Time On Our Side’. I told them, prepare for some strong reactions.
Jona: Oh yeah. It’s a great song but I mean it’s out of the box for us.
DM: Fans can get very opinionated about their favorite bands.
Erik: Well if you look back on other bands in history, every band tried different things or had that album that stood out, you have to evolve. So we’ll see what the next album will be like
DM: Do you have any ideas of what direction you’ll be headed on the next album?
Erik: We have plenty of music already.
Jona: : A lot of demo’s, some pretty hard songs, I think its more rock.
Erik: I think it’ll be a combination of ‘Address the Nation’ and ‘Tearing Down the Walls.’ We draw inspiration from other stuff than rock as well like from ABBA, or pop music in general. We have a rich pop history in Sweden.
Jona: I guess that goes back to what you said, “A good song is a good song.” And then you can produce it and package it.
DM: Exactly. So do you have any specific musical goals you would like to achieve?
Jona: I would like to do that big tour. Like a support band tour for a really big band. Like Bon Jovi. Do like a North American tour, I mean we could definitely do it I think.
Erik: Queen and Adam Lambert announced a tour in North America, so something like that.
DM: Just do that, seems easy enough to get…you mean you don’t Adam Lambert’s number?
Erik: Adam, Call us! But I think that would be really cool and I think that would be really good for us. We notice when we play at huge festivals that when we come back and do our own headlining show, your smart people come rolling in.
Jona: We like it when there’s a lot of people in the crowd because that’s the bigger party you know?
DM: Makes sense.
Erik: It’s all about the fun you know and that energy, there’s just more of that to give and take.
DM: Now you guys are very active on social media but I have one specific question, how exactly did you end up in what looked like a intimidatingly big ball pit?
Erik: Oh that was backstage!
DM: There was a ball pit backstage? That was not what I was expecting. I’ve never seen grown men look happier then when you were all in that ball pit.
Jona: It’s probably used in some kinky parties in Germany. We dive into that in that picture.
Erik: I like it cause when you look at pictures, a lot of rock bands and metal bands they try to look angry as possible and I respect that and I like it, I do it sometimes too. Depends on the mood, but I also like to just go the other way and take a picture here with a lot of different colored balls. Let’s just smile and look happy.
Jona: We got some great feedback on that one too. Like kids at McDonald’s.
DM: We do have one reader submitted question. This reader would like to know “How exactly do you get so perfect?”
Erik: Hey, no one’s perfect but we do drink a lot of beer.
DM: So it’s the alcohol?
Erik: Could be the alcohol, haha. We just basically, we’re just trying to have a good time. We get to do this, we get to be out on tour and see a lot of different countries and meet a lot of different people. You can go pretty far in life by just smiling. It doesn’t take a lot to be nice to someone or give someone a bit of your energy because you will get it back. That’s basically what we’re doing here. We’re just out having fun and wanna share that with the people and we get the energy back and it’s a give and take. I mean so, if she thinks that we’re perfect maybe it’s because we’re smiling all the time.
DM: Wow, that’s way more profound of an answer that I expected. It’s very true though. Is there anything else you guys wanna add about anything at all?
Erik: We’re just happy, very happy…We are just here to do our best.
Interview Conducted by Sean Cantor