MATTIS KARLSSON (DYNAMITE) INTERVIEW:
May 10, 2014
Just like a meteor, it appears that Sweden based Dynamite is a band on the rise. Formed only two years ago, Dynamite are already on the verge of releasing their second full-length album, ‘Blackout Station’ on May 24th, and are scheduled to play some of Europe’s biggest metal festivals this summer. Sleaze Roxx caught up with Dynamite frontman Mattis Karlsson to discuss everything from his uncanny Bon Scott sounding voice to the upcoming follow-up to his band’s 2013 debut ‘Lock N Load’.
Sleaze Roxx: So Mattis, let’s tackle the obvious — your singing sounds very much like the late great AC/DC frontman Bon Scott. Has this always been the case and how do you feel about the comparisons?
Mattis Karlsson: Well, before we recorded our debut album I had never sang before. So that was the first time I had ever sang — so that is my sound.
Sleaze Roxx: How do you feel about all the comparisons to Bon Scott?
Mattis Karlsson: It is a privilege — it’s not a bad reference.
Sleaze Roxx: I’m pretty sure you have heard this as well, but Dynamite sounds a lot like Bon Scott era AC/DC musically as well. What are your thoughts in that regard?
Mattis Karlsson: Well, it is the music we all love in the band, you know. We love the riffs, the songs, and the intensity so we get inspired by it. But yeah, I don’t think we sound exactly like AC/DC, but it is an influence.
Sleaze Roxx: Even though Dynamite is a young band, formed only two years ago, you have already released one self-titled four song EP, a full-length record with ‘Lock N Load’, and you are about to release your new album ‘Blackout Station’ on May 24th. Is this a conscious effort by the band to release as much material as you can in a short amount of time?
Mattis Karlsson: Yes, as long as it is good and we stand for it. We would like to make one album each year if it is good, you know — not just because we had to do it. We worked hard with it and we really wanted to write something fast.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there any story or idea behind the album title ‘Blackout Station’?
Mattis Karlsson: Well, it is an album about partying. It is fun, you know — ‘Blackout’. And trains are a cool thing, so ‘Station’ (laughs).
Sleaze Roxx: How long did it take to record ‘Blackout Station’ compared to ‘Lock N Load’?
Mattis Karlsson: We found we were in a really great and big studio, so we had three weeks total just recording. So we did everything in about 15 days. We made ‘Lock N Load’ with a friend of ours in his studio, so I don’t remember exactly — but I think it took about two to four weeks, maybe.
Sleaze Roxx: How do the songs on ‘Blackout Station’ compare to ‘Lock N Load’?
Mattis Karlsson: We are very happy with the first album but this one is so much better, both in the sound of the songs and we improved very much as writers. Me and Sebastian (Hed-Plikas, guitarist) write all the songs, riffs and melodies so we have been much better at writing songs over the year — much better songs.
Sleaze Roxx: For a relatively young band, Dynamite is getting to play lots of metal festivals this summer — you have the ‘Bang Your Head Festival’ in Germany, the ‘Rockharz Open Air’ in Germany and the ‘Vasby Rock Festival’ in Sweden. What is your secret for landing these great gigs?
Mattis Karlsson: (Laughs) We know the guys from Bullet! We’ve made a little mini-tour with them because we know them, we like them, and we hang out drinking and such. J.P Higgins is also the reason that we will join forces with Bullet this summer. He is Bullet’s manager and has helped us out a lot! So yeah, it is contacts really that are everything — and some gigs are just plain luck.
Sleaze Roxx: How did the guys in Dynamite meet or get to know each other?
Mattis Karlsson: We knew each other from different bands we played with — no bands that you would recognize, just small bands locally. Also, some of us went to the same school so we know each other from there. No one was a stranger when we started Dynamite.
Sleaze Roxx: And how long have you known each other?
Mattis Karlsson: Well, about three or four years. I’ve known bassist Adam (Butler) since I was a little boy because we come from the same city just outside Vaxjo — it is an even smaller city called Ryd. So yeah, we knew each other before.
Sleaze Roxx: How would you describe each band member in Dynamite?
Mattis Karlsson: Our drummer Jonas (Hagstrom) likes to eat (laughs) and he has a good rhythm going on. Sebastian, he is a good guitarist and he works really hard with the band — with different sounds and everything else. And Adam keeps ‘swinging the bass’ like Bon Scott said (laughs).
Sleaze Roxx: (Laughs) What is your favorite Dynamite song and why?
Mattis Karlsson: I think I like “Bullseye” the best because it is a straight rock and roll song. It is about finding a woman in the night — in the drunken night. Classic but cool, you know?
Sleaze Roxx: What is your favorite Dynamite song off the new album coming out?
Mattis Karlsson: Ohh — that is even harder. I like every song, but if I must choose something it is going to be “Burn It Down” or the title track “Blackout Station” because those two are the newest songs we wrote so I have not got tired of them yet (laughs). But I think every one of them is so cool and powerful, so it is hard to pick one out of them.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you. What are your three favorite albums of all time and why?
Mattis Karlsson: I love ‘Powerage’ by AC/DC of course because of the same reason — it is so strong and it is raw power, you know? Well, I can’t say three AC/DC albums, that is too much, right? (laughs)
Sleaze Roxx: (Laughs) It is up to you.
Mattis Karlsson: Then, I will say ‘Blackout Station’.
Sleaze Roxx: And one more.
Mattis Karlsson: One more — hmmmmm. I love the Misfits, I have always loved the Misfits so I must say ‘American Psycho’ — Such a different band you know. They are the only ones that do that kind of stuff good, and with the crimson skull logo it is so perfect and everything.