Latest release: C’mon Take on Me (Nuclear Blast)

Sleazier than a cheap whorehouse yet as infectious as the STI’s inevitably lurking there, Swedish hard rockers Hardcore Superstar are headed back to Australia for Soundwave. Vocalist Joakim “Jocke” Berg chatted with Loud about the festival, their array of influences and boozing anthems.

Q: This will be your second time in Australia I believe.

A: Yeah, it’s our second time. It’s like six years. It was like six years ago we did a show, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. It feels like too long since the last time, we have to go there more often. It’s gonna be a blast. I mean, we talk to a lot of colleagues here in Sweden, and they say that it’s the best festival in the world. So we’re looking forward to it.

Q: Your music is so upbeat and high-energy, which I can only envision is magnified within the festival setting.

A: It’s a lot of fun. A lot of energy, a lot of power; we always try to invite the audience. We have this song called ‘Last Call for Alcohol’, and in that song we invite the fans up on-stage to have Jägermeister with us. I can promise you that there is no one who is going to be disappointed about the live show.

Q: That’s the type of lyrical subject matter which ought to translate effectively to audiences over here too (laughs).

A: (Laughs) Yeah. Let’s have a drink (laughs).

Q: Which bands do you hope to catch at the festival?

A: Actually I want to see a band called Terror, Rob Zombie, Trivium and DevilDriver. There’s a lot of bands that I want to see actually. I’m going to be a fan as (much as) a musician (laughs), so it’s gonna be awesome. I think playing Soundwave is good for every band, because it’s a big festival, there’s a lot of people there and you can get your music out. I know for a fact that we have a lot of fans Down Under, so I think it’s (also about) going to meet new fans. That’s the thing about festivals to me; a bigger audience, instead of playing small clubs in front of your own fans, you can maybe get some new fans who think it’s good.

Q: In the current industry climate, you have to attempt to build on any momentum you establish, so would a return to Australia for the next album cycle be likely then?

A: Yeah, yeah. Six years, it’s a long time. It’s a real long time for a band to not go back, so we have to go back to Australia much more. On the next album, we have to come Down Under again on the next album. It can’t be like six years again, it’s too long. You have to keep it going, keep it rolling.

Q: In addition to Soundwave, is the band playing any side shows in these parts?

A: I think we’re doing like two side shows; one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. I don’t know the name of the venues, but that’s what I’m told, that we’re doing two side shows.

Q: How has the touring in support of C’mon Take on Me being going thus far?

A: It’s been going great actually. We did this European tour, a co-headlining tour together with Buckcherry. We had another American band as an opener, and it was like 90 per cent of the tickets were sold out, so it’s been a great year. The record has had a lot of good reviews and it’s been an awesome year.

Q: In what respects do you feel the latest record is a step up from previous releases?

A: I think this last album is more, wider than the earlier ones. You can even hear like a little bit of a grunge influence in it. If you listen to the song ‘Long Time No See’, you can hear like a, I don’t know if you know this band, Mother Love Bone?

Q: I do indeed.

A: Yeah, if you listen to ‘Long Time No See’, the ballad, it reminds you of Mother Love Bone. Then you have another song on the record which reminds you of maybe earlier Stone Temple Pilots. We try to do something new on every record. But I think this last record, it’s like more, wider than the other ones. It has a lot of different styles and influences in it. We’re never going to stop playing the street metal that we play. We have a lot of thrash metal influences in our music as well, so we try to combine those, the street and the thrash. That’s why we call it the street metal, so we’re always going to stay true to the Hardcore Superstar sound. We’re never gonna change that, but we can work around it.

Q: Which member of the band coined the term “street metal”?

A: It was the drummer (Magnus “Adde” Andreasson) in the band who came up with the title of the genre. I mean, both thrash and punk are from the streets, so why not call it street metal? We made our own genre (laughs). There’s so many bands that came after us, it’s like we’re the grandfathers of sleaze rock and street metal (laughs).

Q: Is there much music that the members listen to regularly that you’re also influenced by which may surprise some fans?

A: Yeah, when people see pictures of Hardcore Superstar, they think that, ‘ah, these guys listen to L.A. Guns and Mötley Crüe’, by the way we look. But we also grew up, we used to skate a lot and we listened to bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, the Bay Area scene, Testament, you know? And so we listen to thrash metal when we grew up, and both the sleaze/glam scene. That’s why we try to combine them these days, to do something new.

Q: The amusing aspect of that is obviously the thrash fans essentially declared war on the glam devotees during the ‘80s (laughs). Now you can unite them under one musical banner.

A: Yeah (laughs). Instead of a fight scene between genres, we’re standing tall together.

Q: Any famous last words?

A: I want to see some kangaroos; I haven’t seen one in real life (laughs). You have to be at the show when we are doing our show at Soundwave, or you’ll regret it for your whole life. Don’t miss it.

You can catch Hardcore Superstar at Soundwave:
22/2: RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD
23/2: Olympic Park, Sydney NSW
28/2: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
1/3: Boynthon Park, Adelaide SA
3/3: Claremont Showground, Perth WA