INTERVIEW WITH SANTA CRUZ BASSIST MIDDY
Date: October 24, 2017
SANTA CRUZ ARE A GROUP THAT APPEARS POISED TO RISE TO THE TOP. AFTER REACHING THE #1 SPOT ON SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2013, THE FINNISH SLEAZE ROCKERS CHANGED THEIR SOUND TO A MORE MODERN ONE, WHICH SEEMS TO HAVE SERVED THE BAND WELL GIVEN SOME OF THE TOURS THAT THEY WERE A PART OF IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. SANTA CRUZ ARE BACK QITH THEIR THIRD FULL-LENGTH ALBUM ‘BAD BLOOD RISING’ WHICH INCLUDES THE APTLY NAMED ANTHEM “YOUNG BLOOD RISING.” SLEAZE ROXX SPOKE TO SANTA CRUZ BASSIST MIDDY ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM AND MUCH MORE.
Sleaze Roxx: Congratulations on your new album ‘Bad Blood Rising.’ How was writing and recording this album compared to your previous ones?
Middy: Like the previous album, [Santa Cruz guitarist] Johnny mixed and recorded this one but when it comes to the writing of the album, we had a totally different approach. This time, we all got into our rehearsal space and started working on the songs. We had the skeletons of the songs and with everybody contributing, started adding meat on them. It took us about a month to have the demos to a point where we could go into a studio with them.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the idea behind the title ‘Bad Blood Rising’?
Middy: Well, the album was originally called ‘Young Blood Rising’ but we figured that we’re not that young and pretty anymore [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that a big theme throughout the album is depression, which is not exactly the most upbeat subject matter [laughs]. Why did you guys decide to tackle a darker subject like depression on the album.
Middy: I don’t think it’s in any way a big theme of the album. In the same way as the songs vary from each other, the subjects of the lyrics vary. This time, the lyrics are way more personal than before. But in any way, I don’t see this album having a depressive cloud floating over it. Although depression is a matter that should be talked about more openly in general, I feel that people with depressive thoughts are often afraid and sometimes even ashamed to talk about it. And depression is too often seen as a sign of weakness which it totally isn’t.
Sleaze Roxx: What are your favorite songs on ‘Bad Blood Rising’ and why?
Middy: It usually takes a bit longer of a period of time for songs to become your favorites and rise above the other tracks. But at the moment, my personal favorites are “Breathe” and “Bad Habits Die Hard” ’cause both of the songs are something totally new to our band.
Sleaze Roxx: One thing about Santa Cruz is that your album covers are quite different from other bands. Aside from the debut EP ‘Anthems From The Young ‘N’ Restless‘, none of the album covers have any of the band members featured on them. How have you come up with your album covers including the one for ‘Bad Blood Rising’?
Middy: I guess it’s just that our favorite album covers have art work on the cover and not just a photo of a band. We have been trying to keep something familiar in all of the album covers we’ve had so far. We’ve never even discussed having ourselves on the cover. But the bandana idea behind the ‘Bad Blood’ cover was originally Johnny’s and I think it turned out great.
Sleaze Roxx: Santa Cruz took what seems like a big risk from 2013’s ‘Screaming for Adrenaline‘ record to 2015’s ‘Santa Cruz‘ album by modernizing your sound in a big way. I mention that because ‘Screaming For Adrenaline’ landed the #1 album on the Sleaze Roxx’s Top Ten Albums of 2013 but the follow up was a big shock to a lot of Sleaze Roxx writers and readers. What led to the decision to make such a drastic change and are you happy with the move?
Middy: It was just a natural move for us. The first album had songs from a long period of time and in a way, it was a tribute to our idols who were the reason Santa Cruz ever started as a band. But on the second album, I think we found our own unique sound that really sounded like us. Of course, the type of music you make changes as you change. I think it’s just natural that the band’s music develops all the time. For example, if you think about the first five Metallica albums, none of them are a copy of a previous one. The only band that is not allowed to change is AC/DC. So yes, we are happy with the move.
Sleaze Roxx: Santa Cruz appear to be one of the rare “newer” bands that get coverage from a wide array of publications including some that mainly cover more established and better known groups. For example, I have seen articles about Santa Cruz in RollingStone and Blabbermouth.net which traditionally do not cover that many “newer’ artists. What do you think has been the difference for Santa Cruz compared to other bands to get that expanded coverage?
Middy: For that, I don’t have an answer. But it feels great that so such a wide range of publications see us as worth mentioning. Gotta say they have exquisite taste [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: Are there any plans for Santa Cruz to play shows in the USA and Canada in 2018?
Middy: Yes, we are planning to do an European and a North American tour during 2018. We also have plans to return to Japan.
Sleaze Roxx: What are Santa Cruz’s other plans for the rest of the year and 2018?
Middy: Tour pretty much throughout the whole year with the ‘Bad Blood Rising’ album.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question — what are your top three favorite albums of all-time and why?
Middy: It’s impossible to say just three but these following come to my mind at the moment. Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite For Destruction’ — It just might be the best album ever made. It was the album that made me wanna play in a band in the first place and it doesn’t have a single bad song on it. Sex Pistols’ ‘Nevermind the Bollocks’ — The album is just filled with awesome sometimes, even poppy tunes, wrapped in snotty wrappers. This is an album I had on a heavy rotation back when I was in elementary school. This was also my gateway album to punk music. Slipknot’s ‘Vol.3: Subliminal Verses’ — This album has an awesome dark soundscape in it. It’s been on my heavy rotation for ages now and I often listen to it before gigs and it gets me in a certain state of mind and pumped before the show. Corey Taylor is a kick ass singer and I’m also into his style of writing. All in all ,a badass album but like I said, I could name you a hundred great albums. These were the first that came to my mind.
Santa Cruz‘s “Young Blood Rising” video:
Finnish Hellraisers SANTA CRUZ return with their latest single and video off their forthcoming album, Bad Blood Rising, on M-Theory Audio (out Nov 10th.) Pre-Order – CD and limited-edition colored vinyl available now at www.m-theoryaudio.com/store or pre-order digitally via iTunes or www.santacruzbandofficial.bandcamp.com