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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 10:12 GMT
My Music: The Hives
Howlin' Pelle (centre) and his band are stars in Sweden
Howlin' Pelle (centre) and his band are stars in Sweden
Stylish Swedish punks The Hives combine infectious, scratchy garage rock with a screaming, high-kicking performance, and have become one of the most hotly-tipped bands for 2002.

More than 700 people recently turned up to see them at London's Virgin Megastore. Lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist talked to BBC News Online before the show.


When did you get the Howlin' nickname?

I got it when I joined the band - but I've been in the band since I was 14 or 15. It came from me screaming a lot when I was excited. I've calmed down a bit, though. Man, you should have seen us when we were 16.

Are you a wild band?

Sometimes we are but we don't really like it when some bands have a long, boring party for the entire tour, and it never peaks. So we pick our dates to have parties and we have parties where something actually happens. The wildest of the bunch would probably be Vigilante Carlstroem or Dr Matt Destruction.

What makes you convinced that you are going to be successful?

I'm not convinced that we're going to be successful, I'm just convinced that we're good. The band sums up everything that we like about music. It's the stuff that we like, distilled into its purest form. It seems that we have the same taste in music as a lot of people nowadays.

The Hives only wear black and white suits
The Hives only wear black and white suits
What do you consider to be good music?

The most obvious things are 60s garage rock, 70s punk rock, 50s rock and roll, soul music and new wave.

Are you carrying on the Swedish tradition of good tunes?

We take our influences mostly from elsewhere, but that's what people do in Sweden. I think it was Henry Ford who said it's not the best inventions that people pick up on, it's the improvements of the best inventions.

Are you big stars at home?

Yeah. There are not that many people in Sweden, and we're one of the four biggest rock bands there.

How would you like to be described?

It's rock music that is meant to excite people.

Who is on the Hives tour bus stereo?

You can't really listen to anything that excites you on the tour bus because you're strapped in and you can't really do anything with what you feel. You just listen to a bunch of mellow stuff on the bus - mostly country music and soul music, and a bit of reggae.

What was the first record you bought?

I have a hard time remembering because I taped records for a really, really long time because I was a cheapskate.

What type of music did you grow up listening to?

At first I grew up listening to a lot of blues because that was what my dad listened to - old 30s, 40s and 50s blues. And then punk rock came along when I was about 13 or 14.

If you organised a rock festival, who would you have on the bill?

There are a couple of smaller Swedish bands I'd like to put on there, one called CDOASS and one called The Savages, and The Soundtrack of our Lives. Plus The New Bomb Turks and The Compulsive Gamblers from Memphis. I'd like to have the MC5 circa 1970, James Brown sometime around 1967, and then I'd just put on U2 to secure the ticket sales. I'd better make some money.

What songs do you sing in the shower?

I sing Shirley Bassey tunes in the shower. Maybe a bit of Sinatra as well. Mostly square music. Elvis too.

Your band only wears clothes that are black and white - what is so great about those colours?

It's always appealed to me and the other guys in the band. That's one of the things we had in common. It just looks good in different combinations. By definition, apparently they're not really colours. It's called something else, I don't know what.

Is it a deliberate style?

Everything we do is really deliberate. It's a gang mentality in the band, to feel that we're connected to each other.

See also:

02 Jan 02 | Music
Sound stars of 2002
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