Interview: Joakim ''Jocke'' Berg of Hardcore Superstar
Sweden’s premiere purveyors of thrash metal meets sleaze rock, Hardcore Superstar just wrapped up their first Australian tour in a decade! Having last toured Australia way back in 2008, Hardcore Superstar made it up to their fans for all of that lost time in a humongous way. Fusing a base of hard, aggressive heavy metal with the catchy, melodic and decadent hard rock of glam’s glory days, Hardcore Superstar's self-coined ‘street metal’ is made for the stage. We got to speak with lead singer and party animal, Joakim ''Jocke'' Berg about being back in Australia, their upcoming studio album and much more.
It's so great to have Hardcore Superstar back in Australia after 10 years! How do you feel about it all?
Yeah it's definitely been a while, we were supposed to come down in 2014 to do the Soundwave Festival. But someone fucked that duck and it didn't end up going ahead. They changed our schedule around and we didn't get the money before we got on the plane, so we ended up cancelling. But there were a lot of other bands that didn't get paid for that festival as well, but you know, it's a long way to go and it can be very expensive, logistically also, very hard. But we're very excited to be back in Australia this time.
So are we, we're very excited to have you guys back here.
Yes and we promise that we will make it up to you with some amazing shows that's for sure.
I know it's been 10 years since you were here last and a lot has changed since then. Do you have anything in particular that you're looking forward to about being back in Australia?
Yeah I mean, I remember the last time that we were there, when I walked around Sydney, listen, I love my country, I love Sweden, but if I were to move to another country it would be Australia. Everyone there is just so cool and down to earth, and this time also I really want to hug a koala bear and I want to see a kangaroo, I just have to make that happen and all of us want that to happen as a matter of fact.
I'm sure that can be arranged.
Yes, well I do hope so, that would be wonderful!
Let's talk about your new album 'You Can’t Kill My Rock ’N’ Roll' which is out this September, was it a fun recording process for yourself and the band this time around?
Yeah it was, because this time we recorded the album in our bass player's (Mark) home studio. It was a very relaxed environment and we were able to be a bit more, well, relaxed about the whole process actually. When you rent an expensive studio to record in, you can't really fuck around and then you get stressed about that and that's not what we wanted for this album. We took our time with this album to do the very best that we could.
You just released your latest single 'Baboon' recently and a new music video, can you tell us how that was to make and the concept behind it?
We all love "Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys, and we wanted to do something similar to that, like a homage I guess you could say. The song is about a guy, who is a typical guy, everyone has met him before, he comes to the party, gets too drunk and ruins the party, trying to kiss the girls and stuff like that. I got to play that character, which was awesome and whole lot of fun. Music is about having fun and I think that we show people that with this video.
You certainly do. With your sound, upon first listen and first look it's clear that Hardcore Superstar are all about having fun, partying and rock and roll. What's it like in a live show setting?
Lots of energy, every night when we go up on stage we try to invite the audience to be part of the band almost, to be united as one. Sounds cliche but we are all about rock and roll and bringing that fun to everyone that wants to come and see us perform. We like to drink beers, meet fans, we're just all about having a good time and I think we succeed every night with that because we can see these people having fun with us. Whether they're coming from their regular day jobs and they go out and see a band, they don't want to see a band that is boring and just says "Good evening, and good night" that isn't fun. They want to see something happen on stage, an experience, and every night is different because we're playing to different crowds. It's amazing.
You guys play festivals and smaller club shows, you've played with all sorts of bands big and small. What's your current take on heavy music not only in Europe but all over the world from what you've seen?
Yeah I think the heavy music scene is really strong right now, I think it always has been. Like, today it's okay for someone to listen to black metal and for them to also listen to a band like Hardcore Superstar. You don't just have to listen to the one style of metal, because back in the day, black metal guys would just listen to that one type of music and nothing else. Today, we are all united and it's because of music, there's so many different styles of metal and you can listen to more than one.
What bands made you want to start your own band and eventually lead to where you are now in Hardcore Superstar?
Motely Crue, of course they have had a massive impact on us. But also we listen to a lot of the Bay Area Thrash Metal, and also Suicidal Tendencies is another band we listen to a lot. You can hear some of those bands in our music, the riffs, we take some of our influences and make them our own.
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Written by Steve Jenkins