PONTUS SNIBB (BONAFIDE) INTERVIEW:
March 11, 2011
Bonafide’s lead singer Pontus Snibb is a young rocking man who plays the blues as well as rock. He started his music career by playing in bands in the Swedish blues scene before he decided to rock a little harder and formed Bonafide in 2006 with bass player Michael Nilsson. The duo completed Bonafide by adding lead guitarist Mikael Fassberg (who had played with Paul Di’Anno and Manny Charlton of Nazareth) and drummer Sticky Bomb. In October 2007 they released their self-titled debut, followed by 2009’s Something’s Dripping and now the brand new EPFill Your Head With Rock. In between, Bonafide recruited Niklas Matsson to sit on the drum seat, a musician who also sharesan apartment with Pontus in Stockholm. With some fine CDs in their back catalogue and during their second European tour (26 dates in 33 days), I joined Bonafide after their kick-ass show in Berlin — falling into the backstage room, crashing onto the table, starting the recorder and… here we go!
Sleaze Roxx: Pontus, when I first heard your voice it reminded me of 1970’s rock singers — in that it is very rough, but also clear, and with a touch of blues in it.
Pontus Snibb: Oh yes, my favorite singer is Rod Stewart… all those blues ‘n rock guys. I grew up in a musical family, my father was a musicianand taught me a lot about performing — the gig is always important. If maybe two people love it you have to give your guts, especially when you know that people come a long way to see youus. Tonight we had some friends here from Sweden sowe partied with them and put on a great show.
Every show is important, no matter if there are 50, 500 or 5000 people in the crowd. If we were big enough to play arenas that would be fine, but you lose the contact with the people — you can’t see eye to eye. It’s a give and take when you play music and as a musician you perform to get a reaction from the audience.
Sleaze Roxx: You are on the road from February until end of March, starting in Scandinavia and followed by Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Italy and Spain. Have you had time for some sightseeing?
Pontus Snibb: This is our first real headlining tour and because the tour’s long, and when the travel takes so much time, we haven’t had much time for sightseeing. Here in Berlin we haven’t had time because the trip was long… but we did have some days off in Prague (capital city of the Czech Republic). I love that city… good beer, very old city, with a lot of culture. Then we have some days off in Italy and Francewhere we can look around a little bit.
But it’s all about the shows. I remember a show in France on our last tour — we play clubs in front of an average of 200 people… I mean we are big in Sweden, but outside it looks a bit different — so we played that show in France in front of 500 people who just wanted to see us, that was enormous. We went, ‘oh yeah, they came all to see us’. That’s the moment that makes a tour cool.
Sleaze Roxx: As I listened to your music I was impressed with how you can sing slower songs with the same energy and intensity as the fast songs, for example “Elvis Chapel Blues” or even the cover tunes like “I Don’t Need No Doctor” from the latest release Fill Your Head With Rock. How would you describe the Bonafide style? A lot of critics compare Bonafide with earlier AC/DC, I don’t really see it that way, but sometimes people must pigeonhole bands.
Pontus Snibb: We are often describe as the new AC/DC and of course I love AC/DC — we love the same guitar sound and we are a four-piece band with bass, drums and two guitars. The thing is, I have the exact same roots. I come from the blues and I used to be a blues guitar player — I reallyplayed the blues all the time and listened to B.B. King and stuff. That is what AC/DC made, they took the blues to a new level. I can totally understand that, because my songwriting is like that. You have the roots from the blues, the classic rock thing from the ’70s, and it comes all together so naturally. I’m a big music fan with a bigger record collection, I like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Motorhead and even Megadeth. A good song is a good song, it doesn’t matter what style.
Sleaze Roxx: How come so many bands from Scandinavia, especially Sweden, have broke into the hard rock market in the last few years?
Pontus Snibb: The music scene is good in Sweden. For bands there is no pay-to-play and if you have a musical talent in school the teacher can help you a lot and they help you to come into a playing situation.
It is pretty well organized from state side, if you have the talent you will get support. Sweden handles music like an export article. If a band or a songwriter is good enough, they will send you to Los Angeles and help you to record something or find you connections to big promoters. For being a professional musician, Sweden has good spirit, and it is like a big family. I know the guys in Hardcore Superstar and Crashdiet for example, and Stockholm — where I live — has a fantastic scene where you can contact other musicians, have a chat and a beer and network.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your future plans after the current tour?
Pontus Snibb: We are booked on some good festivals this summer — Show Bike Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France in June and Norrtalje Blues & Rock Festival in Sweden in July.
In the meantime I am already writing new material for the next album. On this tour I have worked ideas out with guitarist Mikael Fassberg… so we can listen to the two guitars and get an idea of what the songs will sound like. With the ideas that we have so far it’s gonna be a cool Bonafide release — and probably we’ll have one slower song on it, who knows. We will try to record during the summer and release the new CD in early 2012.