Dead by April: The best behaving band in the world?

Those Swedes unite Metal, Pop and Rock, Clean and Growl vocals like no other band. Dead by April start all over with a new line-up, and it seems to work well. Their new single „Freeze Frame“ was just released and they presented their new songs live on stage – which sound very promising. The live-DVD is in the making and the band seems satisfied with the development. At the show in Pratteln, Switzerland, we chatted with Pontus, Marcus, Zandro and Alex about changes, drugs and sightseeing and how they work in studio.

You’ve already played a couple of shows on this tour, how was it so far?
Zandro: Yeah it was ups and downs!
Pontus: Paris was nice! UK as expected, the venues are shit and the country is shit, but the fans are best.

You have the say that!
Zandro: No, that’s the truth, the fans are amazing.

What is shit about the venues?
Pontus: It is dirty, there are holes in the walls. The venues are…well, you can say I find it hard to find the right words for it. They are just so…

Crappy?? Bad sound, bad conditions…
Pontus: Bad condition. That’s an understatement
Zandro: Let’s say that you don’t feel respected as an artist

So the hospitality is also not nice there?
Zandro: No, the dress rooms are like the worst places you have ever seen
Pontus: It is like a warzone.
Zandro: No, actually like prison I can imagine, I’ve never been to prison, but I can imagine that it is like a shitty prison.

Do you prefer to play in your home country or abroad?
Pontus: I think both have different…ah it is hard to say actually, I love playing abroad but I also love playing at home as well.
Zandro: I’d say the circumstances of touring is better at home, but the fans are more singing along on tour.

So the Swedish fans are a bit holding back in that case?
Zandro: Yeah, they are bit shy!

You just had a Line-Up change and Jimmie Strimell is no longer a member of the band, what is the reason for that?
Pontus: As he said himself in a Swedish article, he is a drug addict. And that are his own words. And obviously drugs are very destructive forces and can destroy a lot of things and it almost destroyed this band. So there was really no other choice than to move on without him. So we had to make that choice. Christopher is an awesome replacement, he is just great.

Is he now a full member of the band?
Pontus: Yes definitely!

You wrote in the official press release about the break up with Jimmie, that you are as a band strictly against drugs, that’s quite unusual for a band in this genre. You wouldn’t count yourself to be one of these “Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll” motto bands?
Pontus: Yeah I know that! And NO we wouldn’t describe us like this!
Zandro: Definitely NO. Me and Marcus just worked out for an hour in the dressing room and ate some fruits and water.
Pontus: We don’t even drink alcohol. Well, maybe occasionally, but we don’t party, when we are touring or gigging, we are basically doing our job.

I haven’t seen so many bands like this. So you might be the best behaving band in busisness. Is there a special reason why you are like this?
Zandro: We are 30+
Pontus: Well I have been like this since my youth.

Well, I know bands who are 50-60 + and still not behaving like this.
Zandro: personally I can’t sing when I am having a hangover. And we all look at it as if it is our job. As it is our job. And normally you don’t drink when you go to your job.

You have many young fans, is it important for you guys to be kind of a role model for these youngsters?
Zandro: That’s not the reason that we don’t drink. We are just going on the stage and perform and that’s our job. And we wanna do it as good as we can.

So it doesn’t matter to you, what kind of impression you make to the fans?
Zandro: Of course it’s good, that they know that we are not doing drugs.
Pontus: Of course it does matter, but that’s not the main reason. We are just like that as persons. And not because we wanna be a role model to someone else, but this is just how we are.

Fans always have expectations in their favorite bands, do you feel a kind of pressure from it, or how is it?
Pontus: No, again, we get a lot of comments both on facebook and at the shows that we are very caring and we are just like any human, we just hang around with our fans taking pictures and sign stuff and we love that. A lot of the fans say that most bands are dicks (laughs) And that they are bad behaving. So they appreciate it a lot from us and I love that, that gives me lot of energies and lot of inspiration.

Do you think that you have some kind of a closer connection to your bands that usual, because of that?
Pontus: Maybe yeah, probably.
Zandro: Yeah!
Pontus: I remember from day one that this is very important to us to have that connection. Not to be a rockstar and to behave yourself to be a bit better then everybody else. We are just 5 regular guys who like to play music.

You have a new member “Stoffe”, can you maybe introduce him a bit more to the fans, where did you meet?
Pontus: He is the guy to ask that (points to Marcus)
Marcus: I found him actually, I think it’s almost 6 or 7 years ago maybe more, he sang in my former band BY NIGHT. And that’s why I know him . And I just told him that you have the whole package, yeah tattoos and blabla… and he can sing very good, so I told him that we are searching for a singer and we hooked up couple of times and he came to the studio as well with the whole band and we talked and he was in.

It’s now the first tour with him, how is it? Is everything fine or did he turned out to be a little diva while touring?
ALL: (Laugh) NOoo!
Zandro: No, he is really down to earth kind of guy who is managing with his new life very well. He is just one of us now.
Pontus: It is so much better now, ´cause before we had to go constantly around, worrying or arguing with Jimmie and everything around that. And now all that is gone.

So you don’t have to worry anymore if you can do the gig or not and these kind of things?
Pontus: Exactly!
Marcus: We just relax and have fun together.

You are in the middle of recording your new record I think, right?
Pontus: Yeah it’s still a long way to go. All drums are recorded for the whole album, we are getting there.

Do you already have a release date?
Pontus: No nothing official! We just released our single “Freeze Frame” ( ).
Do you already have a name for the album?
Pontus: Yeah we do but…
Marcus : (with a big smile, super happy, raising his hands up) I came up with it…..(all laugh)
Pontus: Yeah (laughs) Great Marcus. It’s a great name and it is perfect for this album but we can not tell yet…

What can the fans expect from the new record? Is it the same like the last one or what makes it different?
Pontus: Well, not the same, it would be a shame to do the same all the time, but you can definitely expect the same ingredients, the sound is pretty much there. One step or a couple of steps more involved, so you can see the metal parts maybe they’ll be more brutal or faster or what ever. I would say maybe more riffs in the metal parts and the pop parts are also still there. For example on “Empathy” we played around with a choir thing, we never did that. I thought that fits perfectly, so it is more involved, but it’s the same sounds and the same ingredience

And who was responsible for the song writing?
Pontus: Yeah, Jimmie was involved just a little, but now he is gone and I am doing that by myself.

Did you need to do some changes because of the singer change or didn’t that matter?
Pontus: No,no Stoffe, he is full range, he is awesome.

I’ve read that Zandro’s vocal student Julia Pragler is doing the background vocals on a new song “Empathy” How did that came up? I wanna know more about your vocal coaching.
Zandro: Last minute. I have a couple of students I do vocal coatching for. And she is a talented young girl and I connected very well with her and her mom, and when Pontus showed us this choir, I had the idea to bring in other people. And I thought that would be a great Idea for her to come around in the studio. She is actually finishing the whole song, just her voice. It came out so good!

So where are you doing it, and how many students do you have?
Zandro: Right now I am doing it at our rehearsal studio. But I am just about to have my own studio, my own place. In Gothenburg.

Would there a possibility that you also offer that one day to people from abroad on tour or something like that?
Zandro: Of course, I never thought about that but sure we can do that. You could also do that on Skype or something like that. Thanks for the suggestion.
Pontus: (points to Marcus) And you also you have a couple of students, don’t you?
Marcus : Yeah but for the moment right now, I don’t have any because two of them are touring I think. Normally I have like 3 or 4 guys that are coming back.

So they are themselves already touring? Talented Students then
Marcus : Yeah, I think they are on tour now, and so am I.

So you guys are all from Gothenburg, right?
Pontus: Not originally, I think Marcus and Christoffer is from ¨..
Marcus : Halland (A region which spans in the south of Gothenburg with the main city Halmstad) it’s about 45 minutes south from Gothenburg.
(Alex joins us)

Are there some Rock sightseeing tips you can give to our readers? What should they definitely check out?
Alex In Gothenburg??
Pontus: There is a place called Sticky Fingers. I would say that is the most common venue where hard rock bands play.

But what kind of places you prefer? You don’t go to bar’s at all, I guess?
Pontus: No, not me!

Ok any nice restaurants / cafes or sightseeing tips, anything you recommend?
Pontus: Oh yeah there are many good restaurants in Sweden. Just visit Gothenburg and you definitely find something.
Marcus : I’d say a place called Haga. It’s like an old village part of Gothenburg with a lot of coffee shops and vintage stores.

Is it something like Gamla Stan in Stockholm?
Marcus : I’d say no!
Pontus: I guess it’s the same concept but… it’s hard to describe. It’s a region that differs a little bit from the rest of the city.

Also some kind of a old town?
Pontus: I guess but not that old.

And as you guys are all covered with Tattoos, so what studios do you recommend when visiting Gothenburg?
Pontus: NO! I have not a single one.

Zandro: Three of us

So where do you get your tattoos?
Zandro: My guy is my best friend. He’s called Frederik and he works at the Gothia Ink Tattoo.( )So he does my tattoos.
Marcus : I have done some at the same studio. But I had a sponsorship before it and I changed it to the same studio and now I am changing once more. But it’s nothing done yet and I can’t even remember the name of the studio actually. But it is good.

Fan Questions: Emmi from Vaasa, Finland
(In the future we will occasionally invite our readers to hand in 3 interview questions for their favorite bands – you will appear with a photo in the interview, too. You can make suggestions about bands and questions already via – mention the band name in the subject line – or via contact option on our website.)

Emmi has been listening to Dead by April since about 3 years. She found the band accidently and loves it because of the melodic music, it was a real “hitshot” to her. Her favourite song is “Crossroads” because it means a lot to her.
How did everything begin. Where did you met each other and why did you found the band?
Pontus: Oh that’s such a long story. Well, Jimmie came to me, to the studio and asked me to write some songs and I actually said No. ´Cause I wanted to foucus on my songwriting career, but after couple of days I called him up and said why not, let’s try it. It all went well from the start, we wrote a couple of songs and put them up on myspace, we got a huge response and form there we found our different members along the way. I mean, this is such a long story, I guess, and now we are there. You can read about it on Wikipedia, I think (all laugh)

2. What have been the longest studio sessions?
Pontus: One day or for a whole album? Ever?? OR??
Alex: You are always in the studio.
Zandro: Pontus´ whole life is in the studio.
Pontus: For a period in my life I actually lived in the studio, so it’s 6 moths then. (laughs)

And how long have you been working on one song for example?
Pontus: Ah it´s everything from couple of hours to several years. That’s so different. That’s a hard question.
Zandro: We don’t normally work as many other bands where the whole band enters the studio and does the album together. We don’t work like that. He is recording his drums one week (points to Alex) and I sing two weeks after that.
Pontus: We could record it live if we wanted to still. But I don’t know…
Marcus : I don’t see the point.
Pontus: It might be fun actually to try it! I don’t think it would sound different, not necessarily! But it would be more challenging, more work.

Her last question: If you could bring someone back ´´from the other side´´, who would that be?
Pontus: : (lightning-fast) Micheal Jackson!!!!
Zandro: My grandmother!
Marcus: I have never thought about that… I don’t’ know actually. Maybe Dimebag Darrell yeah…
Alex: I would say my grandfather from my mother’s side. Maybe of my father’s site because I was just to young so I didn’t know him.

Some final words for the Fans?
Pontus: We love you! You are the best!
Zandro: Without the fans we are basically nothing. We have all the respect and love for them.

Thanks a lot and best wishes
All: Thank you!

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photo by Beatrice Tornros

Sandy Mahrer

Fresh Act editor, reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Pop-Rock etc. Less Death, Black, Grind Core