Interview: The Hives

by - 5/22/2021

Photo credit: Shane Gardner 

Entrevista originalmente publicada no Scream & Yell em português. 

Interview originally published on Scream & Yell in Portuguese.

Nicholaus, thanks for the interview. How are you doing?

I’m good, rehearsing for the shows. During the whole pandemic, let’s say, we did it less. Less of everything. Just a downtime, really. But lately we have been working on new material and rehearsing for this shows...
So, The Hives' (and the world's) First World Wide Web World Tour... How did you come up with this idea and what are your expectations for this event?

Well, we miss it too much, playing live. It’s on our DNA, so we just miss playing live. And we wanted to do something that was as close as a live show as possible. And this means playing in the same time that we would have in another country, and have crowd participation. So, with this, they can send voice messages, call in… So, that will be a bit weird, but also, that kind of happens on a normal show. Often Pelle talks to people and stuff and helps the show move forward a little bit. So the idea came from trying to do something as close as a live show as possible.

How important is it not only for you guys to get back to work, but also your crew... And to help show business workers to actually earn some money in this difficult time?

Most of our roadies have different jobs as well. So, we talked to them and made sure they were doing OK. But we did one show and one live stream in about a year and a half now. So, the best part of it is that it was so much fun to see each other again, you know? I mean, the crew and the people that we work with. That was so much fun, so yeah. I’m really looking forward to that. And also, we want to do shows back to back as well. You wanna be tired, you wanna have that in your system. It’s what it’s supposed to be. 

Where exactly is this place where you guys are going to play the concerts?

I’m not sure I can tell you that [laughs]. It will be a safe, underground, sealed, pandemic-safe bunker. But in order for us not to have millions of people travelling there, we can’t reveal it. It’s not our usual studio or rehearsal space, it’s a place designed specifically for doing the First World Wide Web World Tour.

And do you have everything that a normal concert would have, like the lighting, the settings… Or is it different somehow?

It will be different. It will be as much as a real concert as possible, but we’ve seen some examples where you put everything up as you would in a normal concert, and it doesn’t look really good when you film it. So, we took some inspiration from filmed performances and videos in order to do it. 

How do you rehearse/prepare to a show like this? Do you have to, like, do a pilot like they do on TV shows or something like that?

We’ve been rehearsing the songs as if it were a usual concert. Of course, we will have these segments where we will have to, you know, have some audience participation in there, so we’ll have to figure that out. I mean, we didn’t rehearse with someone calling in. We should have though.

How different will this gig be comparing to countless other live streamings we've been seeing since March 2020, when the pandemic hit?

Hopefully that’s going to be better. And also, it will be more like a tour, where we play in different timezones, so we’ll have sleep deprivation as a usual tour… So with that, we hope to achieve something that hasn’t already been done before.  

Why did you choose São Paulo as one of the few selected cities for this event? And what are some of your memories from our country?

I mean, who doesn’t want to play São Paulo, to begin with? That’s the reason [laughs]. We’ve had great shows in São Paulo and in other parts of Brazil as well. We definitely wanted to have a South America show, and we’ve had great shows there in Argentina, Mexico, Peru. So, we wanted to stop by.

The ticket price for the shows, including the one where you expect to reach São Paulo fans, is US$ 17.50 (in our currency, it's around R$ 92.75), which is a considerable amount, taking into account how badly our economy is doing right now. How can you make sure fans won't regret making this kind of investment?

Ehh… I mean, if you wanna see the greatest rock show on Earth, then buy a ticket. It’s as simple as that. I don’t wanna get into people’s economy. If you feel like you can’t afford it, and instead you wanna buy food, then you should do that. Food will be better than a Hives’ show. I mean, it will be equally great. I can’t put pressure on people to buy a ticket, but it will be a great show.

SPIN magazine has said you guys are the best live band in the world. How can you make that magic happen when you have no audience there, in the venue, with you?

Like I said, we put out this effort to have the callers, the crowd noise from recorded shows from where we have previously played. With that, hopefully - and I say that because we haven’t played the first one yet - that will give both to us and the crowd the feeling of a usual concert. 

What are you guys going to play? I know you are accepting requests, but I'm sure you have a few song selections previously rehearsed, right? Can we expect the hits? Covers? B-sides? Maybe some new tunes?

Yeah, there’ll be new tunes. People can vote for your favourite songs, and also new songs that maybe they haven’t heard before.

Is it possible that you are going to extend this virtual tour after you finish all the six planned gigs?

Yeah, definitely. If this turns out well and we don’t lose all ur money doing it and the pandemic keeps dragging on, then definitely we’ll be looking into doing more shows. It’s already fun and we haven’t even played yet.

It's been a while since your last studio album, "Lex Hives". Recently we've had an interview with Ben Kweller and he said how streaming platforms have influenced the way artists are releasing new music. To get into a Spotify playlist, for example, you only have one shot, so it's not interesting to release a full record, it's better to just put out a song at a time. How do you feel about this?

I didn't know that. I mean, I probably heard about it, but The Hives have always been making records. Right now we’re working on two records. We have two pretty much done, ready to rehearse and record. And then we’re working on a third record as well simultaneously. For us it’s always been about making records, we want to release our music as records. But if we get together with the record and company and they tell us, ‘well, everything will be so much better if you just release a song at a time’, maybe we’ll do that. And if we release one song a month from now on, I think we can go on for about four years almost. We have a lot of material.  

Are you already making plans to come back to playing live at venues, with actual people there watching you? Or is it too soon?

We have the whole summer booked for festivals. But if this tour goes well, we might do more virtual shows if the summer and fall dates don’t happen. We have an European tour planned for the summer already booked, with the European festivals booked as well. So, if we’re allowed to do that, we’ll do it. That’s wishful thinking, perhaps, but that’s where we wanna go. 

Any final messages for the fans reading the interview?

Yeah, it will be great seeing you guys again. It’s been way too long since we saw some São Paulo faces. Tune in and let’s make this thing explode together.

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