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Monday, April 15, 2013

Exclusive Interview with Jakob Samuel (The Poodles)

The Swedish melodic metal band THE POODLES were always one of my favorite bands out there and I was very happy to hear that they are about to release their new album "Tour De Force" in four weeks. So in promoting this new record I had the opportunity to interview singer Jakob Samuel about this new piece of work as well as future plans and lots of other interesting things. Check it out!







Hello Jake. I think you are busy with lots of promotion these days, so it's great to talk to you. How is everything going?
 
Jake: Hi there, Thomas. It's going great, very busy but this is the way we want it, it's nice that the new album raises so much interest.

The Poodles just recorded their new album "Tour De force". Please tell us something about the album title, what does it mean?

Jake: The whole album is our Tour De Force. It's a power statement, a great achievement, we've been around for a while and feel we are stronger and more energetic than ever with the skills and experience to do what we want with the will to give life and love to this style of music and disrespectful enough to break the conventions we want that surrounds different genre of music. We are very proud of this great album and I hope you enjoy it.
 
The first thing I noticed was that your band-logo is gone. Why?

Jake: It's just a matter of layout, we tried to use the old logo in the new artwork but it didn't fit in. We will use the old logo too in other contexts but in the cover it felt nice and fresh to use this new one.

On your last album (“Performocracy”) you wanted to sound more epic and some songs felt a bit darker than usual. When I look at the new cover artwork it seems like this style will not change. So why did you choose this path? What can fans expect from the new material?

Jake: I think you'll find big parts of "Tour De Force" is really kick ass Rock'n'Roll, but I think we always had some epic and orchestrated material on all our albums, songs like "Shadows", "Rockstar", "Flesh and Blood", "Sweet Enemy" and "Love is all" so this element has always been around in my opinion and so it is on this album. But I very seldom think in genres when I write, I just go for things that give me goosebumps and stick to that. 
 
I've to say I'm a huge fan of your two first albums, especially "Metal will Stand Tall" is one of my all-time-favorites. Could you imagine to go back to the roots, when it comes to songwriting?

Jake: It's very nice to hear we belong in your all time favorites category and there are always a lot of different things that decide what album ends up there for different people. If you were very happy or sad when that album came out, if you met your girlfriend/boyfriend during this period, if you just discovered the band, etc and this is all fantastic, but I can't see the big difference in our albums apart from that we are a band in development, thank god, and we are simple moving along the great highway of Rock'n'Roll, doing new great records with our full hearts and souls, at the top of our ability and that's what every great band do and should do. So no, I don't believe in going back, but then again you might find the new album a lot like "Metal Will Stand Tall".

It took you a long time to release a new album. What happened with you guys in the meantime?

Jake: After six extra ordinary, very hectic years, 4 studio albums, 1 live DVD and 1 live album, an endless road of touring we needed a break. I went sailing for a couple of months and did a solo album called "Pastpresent" on SonyMusic Scandinavia and the other guys played all kinds of stuff with various people just to get some perspective and peace of mind. This was a luxury we could treat ourselves and has been very healthy for all of us and we are very glad to be back on track!

So, "Tour De Force" is some kind of "Comeback". Do you feel much under pressure?

Jake: Yes you could say that, but no, no pressure is involved, just excitement and lust!

Who was mostly involved in the songwriting process this time?

Jake: I wrote the most of the songs with Mats Valentin, Rickard Nilsson, Pontus and Henrik, also Pontus and Henrik have composed two songs themself for this album.

Which bands are your musical influences nowadays?

Jake: A lot of the bands that have been the soundtrack to our lives, like Aerosmith, Mötley Crue and Guns & Roses but also British bands Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. This is some of the common inspiration that we have, but I think our sound has a lot of other significant individual inspirations as well. We are a band with a various musical interest and musical background so this mixture is the foundation of how things turn out.


There is a bonus track, called "En För Alla För En" on the new album. It's the official Swedish team song for the 2013 World Championships of Ice Hockey. So, how did it happen?

Jake: I'm actually more of a football fan myself but Fredrik Thomander and Anders Wikström wrote this great song and asked us if we would record it and try it out. So we did, it turned out very good and the team and staff loved it so this is of course a great honor.

You've also shot a video to this one. Is this the official first single from "Tour De Force" or is there another song set to release as digital single?

Jake: Yes a really cool video will be released soon to this song recorded with the team and in the Globe arena in Stockholm. Soon after this the new fantastic song called "40 days & 40 nights" will be released.

How do you guys choose the songs, you want to release as single tracks?

Jake: This is always a hard thing to do especially for us who wrote the stuff so we have our staff and people that we know and trust as a reference group to help us. 
 
I've read the Poodles will hit the road again and are announced for some festivals yet. Will there also be a headliner or co-headliner tour in Europe (maybe Germany, Spain, France, ...) or even in America?

Jake: We are going to Spain on the 23 of April for a couple of gigs and Denmark in May, then we tour Sweden during the summer and hope to hit the European roads for a couple of weeks in October to begin with. We are working to find a booking contact in America and will see soon how this turn out, but this would be very exiting. 
 
Two times, The Poodles tried to attend the Eurovision song contest. Could you imagine to do it a third time?


Jake: Tried to attend? Two times we attended the Swedish Eurovision song contest and the first time 2006 was our great breakthrough the second time in 2008 was a cooperation with E-type and we had massive hits in Scandinavia with both songs. This is one of the greatest TV-shows in Sweden and a fantastic thing to be a part of if you have a good thing expose. Maybe the best promo moment if you know how to use it. And yes we would love to do it again if the timing is right. [note: I rather thought of the big final of the Eurovision Song Contest, not just the Swedish one.]
 

What was the most spectacular moment in your career with the Poodles?

Jake: There are so many, but one thing that come to mind is of course the moment we understood that we had reached through the TV screen in 2006 and went straight to the final in the Swedish Eurovsion, over night we were the rock band on everybody's lips in Sweden, another is the fantastic tour we did with Gotthard in 2007, and the first headline tour 2008, our first nr.1 on the album charts with "Performocracy" is a beautiful moment too (laughs) but as said, there are many moments to remember.

After releasing 5 studio records, do you ever thought about doing a best-of album?

Jake: Yes we have conceder it being an album that should be done soon, but it's more important to do new original albums if you have the flow. This is something we have as a future plan. 

 

You are a very successful band in your home country. When I look at the melodic rock/metal /sleaze/glam genre 70 percent of those bands come from Sweden. So what do you think? Why is this kind of music more popular in your country than anywhere else?

Jake: Yes this is a funny thing, we seem to have a aptitude to bring this genre into the future, but I think we have a long tradition of Swedish bands since way back, Europe, Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman etc. I think many of the musicians like to play this kind of music, but it's not a massive genre in Sweden. Many of the new bands are well known outside Sweden among the dedicated fans to this kind of music, but not so commercially successful in Sweden.
 
After being years in the business, do you still care about reviews and other stuff from the media?

Jake: I am interested to know how people find our work and if I see an interview I often read it, but I don't google it and search reviews, this is something our webmaster and promo people do. 

The final words are yours!

Jake: Thank you, I've been talking for a long time now so I'm pretty satisfied (laughs). I strongly suggest that you guys out there check out the new fantastic album and that we'll see you on the "Tour De Force" somewhere down the road!


Jake, thanks for the interview. I'm very looking forward to the new album and live-dates!

Jake: Thank you, my friend, all my very best!

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