Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 46 - Electric Boys

ELECTRIC BOYS

Formed in 1988 in Stockholm, Sweden and known mostly from their biggest hit ‘All Lips N’ Hips’ - now Electric Boys are back! After releasing the ‘greatest hits’ compilation back in 2009, their newest record ‘And Them Boys Done Swang’ (click here to read the review on Rocktopia) is clear proof that the funk-o-metal legends stood the test of time... Thereupon, Alexandra Mrozowska caught up with Electric Boys singer/guitarist Conny Bloom to talk about the new album itself, as well as reuniting after long years of hiatus, coming back to the funky roots, the band’s past and the promising future ahead... and much more!


To begin, we’ll focus on the newest Electric Boys record – ‘And Them Boys Done Swang’. Not counting the Best Of compilation, the band’s last album ‘Freewheelin’ was recorded in 1994. How do you think that such a long hiatus could come up roses eventually? How did it affect the newest record?

“Yeah it’s been a long time since the ‘Freewheelin’’ album. I think good songs and a strong identity are timeless. Most people who have reviewed our last album says it’s the best we’ve done, which is hard for me to judge but of course I’m happy to hear it! It’s difficult to say how the long time gap has affected the new one though. Hopefully we’re a bit older and wiser - we don’t fight as much as we used to. There’s a ‘new’ and fresh vibe about it as well and we are all having a great time doing what we do best.”

With ‘And Them Boys Done Swang’ you continue the tradition of blending funk music with hard rock riffs. Have your lyrical and musical inspirations changed considerably with recording this album, or not?

“I think the main difference is that we focused the production and the sounds on trying to make it sound as natural as possible. We’ve played our instruments for a long time and have good tones without having to tweak it lots in the studio. We wanted to capture how we sound live, basically. Soundwise, it’s the best album we’ve done for sure. When it comes to lyrics, I write about stuff that inspire me, stuff I wanna write down on paper and that can be anything. Mostly about relations and feelings.”

Throughout all the band’s albums, the new one as well, there is a clear Beatles-esque vibe in your music. Who were the other artists that influenced your newest record, except from the Fabulous Four?

“No one in particular actually, but our roots are there as always: 70’s hard rock and funk... 60’s melodies to a degree. We don’t say, like, we wanna do an album that sounds like this or that. I write songs and then we choose which ones we like the most and that is what eventually ends up on the record.”

Which are your personal favourites on the new album?

“Damn that’s difficult! ‘Angel In An Armoured Suit’ perhaps at the moment. I think they all have ‘something’... a good lyric, a cool guitar riff, a nice groove or whatever...”

In some reviews of ‘And Them Boys Done Swang’ I came across some suggestions about the new material’s resemblance to Hanoi Rocks ‘Street Poetry’ - reasoned by Electric Boys’ members tenure in the Finnish band. How far do you agree with it, what’s your take on that?

“I haven’t read that anywhere. If so, it’s not that strange since I came up with 4 or 5 of the songs on the ‘Street Poetry’ album. ‘Power Of Persuation’ for example, I had parts of since I was a teenager. I didn’t wanna use it then ‘cos it kind of reminded me about Hanoi Rocks but then when I was in Hanoi I could finally do something about it. ‘Powertrip’ sounded very old Status Quo, like on the demo but we changed it around till it sounded like a Hanoi rocker.”

You’ve already released a video to ‘Father Popcorn’s Magic Oysters’ off the newest record. Why this particular song has become a first single from the album?

“Because we felt that it was important to release something that has the typical elements that people consider the Electric Boys sound. That song pretty much sums it up. It’s got the 60’s style, the riffs and the groove. It was the record companies idea and it felt right.”

Do you plan any more videos or singles in the future?

“Yeah!! Next up is ‘Angel In An Armoured Suit’. It has worked great live and get’s the crowd singing. I also wanna do a video for ‘10000 Times Goodbye’ at some point. I’m also editing some stuff myself which is for the fans, you know, from sound checks or something somebody has filmed from the side of the stage etc. “

The ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation you released back In 2009 (‘Now Dig This! The Best Of’) included the remix of ‘All Lips N’ Hips’, a track we can consider to be your biggest hit. If to compare it with the original version, which one’s actually better in your view?

“I probably like the remix best. There’s something about the original though because it was the song that opened up doors to so much for us. It’s what got us famous in the States, got us to work with Bob Rock, not to mention all the free lapdances etc. Even Alice Cooper mentioned it as being one of the best songs that year.”

2009 was also the year of Electric Boys’ reunion after years of hiatus. What has prompted you to reunite?

“After Hanoi Rocks, me and AC wanted to do something that was a little more funky and 70’s sounding again and felt that the best guys to do it with would be Franco and Niclas. I mailed them and they were really excited about the idea! From there, things went fast. We got together, the vibe and our sound was still there, it just needed to be polished a little.”

From all the Electric Boys albums, which one’s the most precious to you?

“I have to say the first album ‘cos it was such a different sound from what other bands were doing at the time. Having said that, in years time when looking back, I think the new one will stand the test of time the best ‘cos it’s very honest, very natural sounding. The focus is on the songs and the performance, not on fancy production tricks.”

Which recording was the most fruitful process and which has brought you the most fun?

“Recording with Bob Rock was a trip of course. He was great. I had some problems with letting go of my ‘babies’ at times which created a bit of tension but the end result was good. I also had a great time in Abbey Road doing ‘Groovus Maximus’ and ‘Freewheelin’’. I love London and just hanging out there at the time was inspiring plus the studio has such a nice sounding room.”

What were the circumstances of joining forces with Bob Rock in the band’s early years?

“Bob’s nothing but great!! We had a chance to record some stuff before ‘Funk-o-Metal Carpet Ride’ was released in the US and we wanted to work with him. He liked what he heard, so we went to Canada for some time to record in Little Mountain Studios. We would love to work with him again! I think he’s now based in Hawaii and I have noooo problem whatsoever considering recording an album there, ha ha!”

In 1992, Electric Boys recorded a cover of ‘King Kong Song’, originally done by ABBA, for the album ABBA: The Tribute. In fact, ABBA was one of my childhood favourites; do you dig it personally? Any comment on the record itself?

“I don’t think I heard the whole record actually. We chose ‘King Kong Song’ because it was the only song with a heavy riff in it, ha ha! I don’t remember much about the recording but we did it in the legendary Polar Studio in Stockholm before it closed down. I remember the release party though and I think Bjorn and Benny would have preferred that song to just be left alone! The lyrics are seriously cheesy, but like I said, it had a RIFF.”

In general, what’s your approach towards covering songs? If you could record your version of any song of any genre, what would it be?

“I like the idea of a good cover. It would have to add a different take on the original version though. It’s also a way to show your fans what you like yourself by what cover you choose. I’d like to have a go at Betty Davis’ ‘The Quintessence Of Hip’. There’s a tape of us doing ‘Life’s Been Good’ by Joe Walsh lying around that we might release at some point.”

Do you have any particular memories or anectdotes from the famous ‘Beatles studio’ – Abbey Road in London, where your sophomore album ‘Groovus Maximus’ was recorded?

“The studio had a great vibe! They showed us around at first to look at all the old Beatles gear which was fun but after that you’re off into your own world again. People say “we can tell from the song ‘Mary In The Mystery World’ that the studio inspired you” but that’s not right. The song was written before and it would have sounded a bit Beatles-esque no matter where we recorded it. We stayed in their apartment during the recording and drank beer in their pub. I’ve been in worse situations! Absolutely loved it!

Is there anything among music today you find promising or interesting?

“Hmm, I like Dungen from Sweden, Gogol Bordello, Liny Wood. At home I listen to the radio or reggae, Blaxploitation, mixed tapes. I’m not overly impressed by rock music nowadays, a lot of it is just the same kind of “wall of sound” of distorted guitars. I like to hear and watch people play that have an unique tone and vibe that moves me. There’s was a lot more of that in the 70’s for instance.”

What are the band’s future plans?

“To tour, then tour, then tour some more! We see making albums as a way to promote the tours, not the opposite. It’s great to record, write songs etc but if I had to choose I’d say I’d wanna tour and play live. I get restless when being home for too long. Too many places calling my name.”

What are you guys up to at the moment?

“Promoting the new album, getting ready for festivals, setting up the whole machine around the band, trying to make sure it works as efficient as possible. Also, we’re making some new merch, new video etc so there’s plenty to keep us busy for some time.”

In Fireworks #37 you said to fans “bring your dancin’ shoes cuz we’re gonna boogie’. Is there anything you’d like to add?

“Yeah! Don’t forget your air-guitars cuz we’re gonna rock hard too!! Peace!”


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