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......::::IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC (Sweden)::::......
Realized at: 16th, March 2017
Author: Daniel Müller

Daniel: Hi Nicke! Letīs start at the beginning: When and how did it all start with Imperial State Electric?  

Nicke: I think it started like about 5 days after we played the last show with The Hellacopters in 2008. And it took about 5 days before I realized that I want to play. I didnīt stop to take a break. Already before that I thought about working on some songs because I got a studio and started to learn how that works. I had started that. I got like a cover band together which was supposed to be with Thomas. We had a club night once a month for a fan club where we played our favorite songs from the 70īs, like Alice Cooper, Sex Pistols, Cheap Trick and stuff like that which then eventually this is the same powers that worked on the first Imperial State Electric album. They played on one song, I think, on that album. We evolved to write a song together and they got released. These were the first guys I asked to play those songs.      

Daniel: Whatīs the meaning of the band name? Is there a certain meaning behind it? Or should it just sound cool?  

Nicke: Oh, I think it sounds pretty cool! But itīs just a band name, you know? I thought it sounded epic and funny and I like the word “electric”. I play electric guitars. So itīs like an empire of electric guitars where I rule the world. I decide how to play the electric guitar. You cannot have seven strings on an electric guitar! You can only have six!   

Daniel: Please give us a short overview of your album releases!  

Nicke: What do you mean? Oh fuck! I donīt have that in my head. The first one came out in 2010. It was called “Imperial State Electric” because it was the first album. I did that mostly myself and I had a few songs and some others thought that they were boring. So I recorded them myself. But I wonīt do that again. There is no one to tell you it sucks or itīs good, you know? So the next album, “Pop War”, came out one year after or two. I donīt know. You must Wikipedia that, haha! Itīs your question, not mine! We did that more as a band. The difference between that album and the first one is that we put this one out as the first proper band effort. Then we put out “Reptile Brain Music” which was the third one, I guess, you know? I donīt know what to say. The main difference there is that there were different songs on it than on the one before with the same band. There has always been a difference between all the records. The fourth album was “Honk machine”. Maybe the biggest difference there was that I didnīt mix it. We had an outside person mixing called Stefan Boerman who also had worked with The Hellacopters before. We mixed a Bullet album together too. So he mixed that. And I really like having someone else to mix the album sound. The latest album, “All Through The Night”, we had another guy to mix it called Frans Hägglund. That would be the main difference there, I think, apart from the songs. There are totally different songs on it.

Daniel: Which bands are your main influences?  

Nicke: Thereīs very many bands. Everything I listen to is an influence. I would say even crap is an influence because I can say I can do better than that if thereīs something I donīt like! So anything! I mean, I grew up with Kiss and then after Kiss it was Sex Pistols and The Ramones, punk rock. I got into faster punk rock, like GBH, The Exploited and Discharge which led me to hardcore, thrash metal and death metal. And also gone back. Thatīs like a short version of my life.  

Andreas: Iīve got a question too: I wrote a review of your last album for CROSSFIRE and put it into my top 10 of 2016. And when I heard the album I also thought of Smokey because of some slow and harmonic parts. Is that right?  

Nicke: Well, I think the best way to answer this is that what people hear is more a reflection on their record collection than maybe mine. One time I had someone, a Hellacopters fan, who said that one song sounded like Red Hot Chili Peppers. I almost killed that person because I hate them, haha! For me they are the worst band ever placed on Earth! But that means it was supposed to his record collection, not mine! But then again: I like Smokey way more than Red Hot Chili Peppers! I actually have two Smokey albums! My friends listen to Smokey! They have some good songs, but I wouldnīt say that were a hugh influence. But itīs true!  

Daniel: What are your lyrics about? Is there a certain message you want to spread to the listeners? Or is it just about cliché?  

Nicke: That depends on what you think is a cliché! Sex, drugs and rock & roll? I havenīt written one single song about sex! Yeah, one, but it was more ironic, a fun thing. I canīt do that like other people! I havenīt written a song about drinking; maybe on the first Hellacopters album I might have mentioned īhaving a drink or twoī in my lyrics. Cliché depends on how you look at it. Well, a lot of people drink, a lot of people have sex, a lot of people take drugs. Does that mean that itīs a cliché? I guess it depends on how you write about it. Well, I sing īOh, baby!ī a lot of times. Thatīs a kind of cliché, I guess, because itīs been used. But thatīs something I like. But I would rather call it classic, not a cliché. But thatīs not really up to me. I spend a lot of time on my lyrics. I think if the lyrics are okay, it makes the song even better. And I canīt say that I write about the same thing all the time. Itīs more about personal experiences. A lot of times I can write about someone else, but then I realize that they are also about me because I think people are different, but not that different. And I think thatīs interesting!    

Daniel: I read somewhere that you write all songs alone. So are Imperial State Electric just a solo project of yours or a real band in your opinion?  

Nicke: Someone needs to write the songs. And Dolph and Tobias write songs too. The difference is when they wrote only one song I have written twenty. I just write more frequently. Also quite a few times Dolph has written lyrics for my songs Iīve done musically. I do most of the songwriting, but the other guys help up. So weīre definitely a real band!  

Daniel: In Imperial State Electric (and earlier in The Hellacopters) you took over guitars and vocals. But you are also the drummer of Entombed. So do you see yourself as a singer, guitarist or drummer actually?  

Nicke: If I had to choose one of these, it would probably be drums actually because I think thatīs what Iīm better at. Iīm pretty good at faking playing rock and roll guitar, haha!     

Daniel: I only knew you as Entombed drummer. So when did you learn to play guitar at all?  

Nicke: You mean when I learned to fake guitar? Haha!  

Daniel: Was it much later?  

Nicke: Yes! I was always interested in making songs. You canīt really make songs on the drums! Thereīs no melody. That was more to have something to play too. So that came later, yes!   

Daniel: Letīs come to your past now a little bit: Why did The Hellacopters split up in 2008. What were the reasons? What went wrong?  

Nicke: I canīt really say that anything went wrong. We were together for 14 years. I would see it the other way: How was it so good for so many years? I mean, how many bands are together for 14 years? You start at a certain age, you grow older, you drift apart, you have different opinions about things, why you do it etc. There was no specific reason. But I think it was time to quit. And I still donīt regret that. But I think itīs great now! Now we play reunion shows. We get paid with lots of money, haha!  

Daniel: In 2014, Entombed split up in two parts. Now there are Entombed and Entombed A.D. Do you know about the reasons?  

Nicke: Yes, but itīs really boring. I donīt want to talk about it.  

Daniel: Really? Also for Entombed fans?  

Nicke: What do you want to know? Well, I mean thereīs a thing between Alex Hellid and the A.D. guys, of course. Thatīs how it started. And I got involved because I didnīt think it was fair that L.-G., the singer, who never wrote one word for lyrics or music and never even bought a microphone, should have the name Entombed. Simple. So I got together with Ulf and Alex and we did a reunion of what we think is Entombed. We did that. And it was really fucking awesome! I enjoyed that a lot! So we will probably do something more.  

Daniel: Have you heard the two Entombed A.D. albums “Back To The Front” (2014) and “Dead Dawn” (2016) yet? And what do you think of them?  

Nicke: Yes, I heard it. I sounds pretty good! It doesnīt really sound like Entombed to me because for me it needs Ulf on guitar. But thatīs just my opinion. And also you have to remember that I started Nihilist and Entombed.  

Daniel: The last Entombed album, “Serpent Saints - The Ten Amendments”, was released in 2007; long ago! I heard you will continue with Entombed now. Is that true?  

Nicke: We will probably do more stuff. We havenīt really.  

Daniel: Are there already plans for a new album?  

Nicke: Who knows?  

Daniel: And what would it sound like after the split from all the ex-members?  

Nicke: If there is a new album, of course, itīs gonna be amazing! Otherwise we wouldnīt put it put!  

Daniel: What would it sound like? More like the first two albums or more like the later stuff? Do you have an idea?  

Nicke: Nobody knows yet. But it will be good if there is one!  

Daniel: Today there are many bands that copy the old style of Nihilist/Entombed, like Lifeless and Revel In Flesh from Germany, Entrapment from The Netherlands or Profanal from Italy.  

Nicke: Really? I donīt know. I havenīt heard it.  

Daniel: Is that something that makes you proud? Or do you think itīs ridiculous when young bands only dig in the past?  

Nicke: Iīm an old guy playing old stuff. No, people can do what they want to do. And I guess itīs flattering! For me, thatīs a compliment if people like your band! So I canīt say anything bad!   

Daniel: You also play in another death metal band called Death Breath. Where exactly are the main differences between Entombed and Death Breath in your opinion, both musically and lyrically?  

Nicke: Well, not very often, but yes. Yeah, there are some similarities, but there are also differences, of course.  

Daniel: Or is the only difference that you just play another instrument there, like bass guitar?  

Nicke: No, I play drums. But I play guitar and bass there too, haha! I think the point with Death Breath is that itīs maybe simpler, more īold schoolī if thatīs the word; more like the very early formation of the genre death metal. Itīs more about Repulsion and Master etc.  

Daniel: Is it true that you also play in a soul band called The Solution? Do you also like soul music or is it just an experiment for you to improve as a musician?  

Nicke: Yes, we did two albums! I couldnīt play anything I donīt listen to! I listen to soul music a lot!  

Daniel: Is it important for you that all your bands sound different? Or did that happen accidently?  

Nicke: I donīt think about it that much. I also think sometimes you need to keep things separate. I donīt think it sounds good to put an Entombed part and a soul part together. In Imperial State Electric maybe itīs a little wider. The frame work is a little bigger than in the other bands which I like too. But I think the whole point is when it feels good, it is good! And if thereīs one more person than yourself to like it, then itīs good!  

Daniel: When you look back: Is there an album you like most or least? And why?  

Nicke: I donīt know. I donīt think about it too much. I think my favorite Hellacopters album is ”By The Grace Of God”. And with Entombed, I donīt know. Thereīs always something about your first album because itīs the first one. But I canīt really say.  

Daniel: Is it like with children? No matter what, you must love them all?  

Nicke: Haha! Not at all! Although I heard people say that! Theyīre not like children; not at all! I have a child, so I should know! No, itīs always a snapshot of the band at that time. I canīt say thatīs bad. Itīs just like how it is. Sometimes I think it could have sounded different maybe. Like for example: If the second album, “Clandestine”, had the same sound of the fourth album, “To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth”, but with the same songs, I think that would have been a much better album. But you canīt change that anyway. Thatīs the point.   

Daniel: What are your future plans with Imperial State Electric!  

Nicke: Well, the finishing of that tour will be in Berlin tomorrow and Copenhagen on Saturday. And then we will write some more songs. Well, I always write songs. We already have a few. Then we go to Greece and play some festivals, hopefully put out a live album; something like that. And I will do some Hellacopters shows this summer too. Itīs a reunion thing. We did two shows last year and that was fun! So weīll do some more. But Imperial State Electric is my main thing at the moment. But who knows? I have a lot of ideas.  

Daniel: Okay, Nicke! Thanx for your time! Do you have some final words for your German fans?  

Nicke: Never give up to rock and roll because rock and roll will never let you down, haha!  



Author: Daniel Müller



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