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Mia Klose: Interview ‘Hard Rock Hell’ 2013

Mia Klose: Interview  ‘Hard Rock Hell’ 2013

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After an awesome unplugged set at Hard Rock Hell VII recently, I was able to catch up with Mia, Connor and Jonny later on in the day in order to find out a bit more about the band:  

Welcome Mia Klose, you played at HRH today?

Mia: Today, yeah well we played today at 1pm, we were one of the first acts.  We were expecting it to be a very small stage you know with maybe a couple of people that had just made it out of bed.  We came and went on stage and it was a huge room packed with people.  Up at that time to watch us playing.  My god, we were very happy about that amount of people.  Our first time in Wales.

Obviously I know you Mia…can the rest of you guys introduce yourselves to the readers.

Jonny:  I’m Jonny the guitarist,

Connor:   Connor C-Rexx the bassist.

You played an unplugged set, is that something new or have you done it before?

Connor:  Yeah we’ve done it before, we supported Mike Tramp in May, and so we sort of rearranged the songs for that time.  So when they asked us if we wanted to play Hard Rock acoustic, we said yeah of course.

Do you vary your set list depending on the type of gig you are playing?

Jonny: We normally have a set list planned out that we do for most gigs, occasionally we will add one more or a couple more songs that we are playing along the set. But most of the time I think we are pretty consistent.

Mia: Yeah!

Jonny:  Yeah, but it is nice to do something different.  You know we really appreciate the chance to, you know, play the songs in a different way and again we have done the acoustic thing before but not to a big audience like this.  So it’s kind of a chance to show what we can do as well, so you know, we have really enjoyed it.

Mia:  Yeah, it’s fun to do something different and not always do just the same.  I mean we played these songs at so many gigs now and for a long time to promote the album so, I mean; it’s just lovely to have the chance to rearrange the songs for a reason and play them in a different way of course.

Speaking of the album, London, this was your debut album released in 2012?

Mia:  Yeah, it’s been out now for a year so we have just been writing new material for a second album.  So we haven’t planned anything more than the writing so far but we will be recording a single in January hopefully that will be like a teaser for what’s to come.

So anything to expect from the new album, such as change in style or similar to what you are doing at the moment?

Mia:  Well I think that the London album has got a little bit of a mixture, there is some songs that are very melodic and there is ‘Lady Killer’ and ‘Never too Late’ which are a bit more metal and I think the direction we are taking is more towards the melodic side but there are still gonna be some heavy riffs and stuff.  It feels like we have got a really warm welcome from the AOR scene, the kind of music I love the most like Bon Jovi and Def Leopard.  So I think you will hear definitely some influence from that side of the genre definitely there will still be heavy riffs, don’t worry Jon.  Jon likes his riffs heavy we know that (laughs).

How did you guys get together?

Jonny:  Me and Mia have known each other for a quite a few years and worked on a few projects before this, and I know Conner and Mia have as well.  So I guess it was just a case of Mia needed some guys and there we were!!

Mia:  Well the truth is I needed a guitarist about a year ago, I went to watch a band called the Burning Crows at the Borderline and the bass player has got long hair and sort of looks a bit like Jon in the face and I stood there and thought, oh he looks like Jon a bit…I need a guitarist, oh shit yeah that’s great I’m gonna call Jon, so I called Jon and then he joined the band.  Jon really owes the bass player in that band a couple of drinks.

Jonny:  I have to thank that guy yeah, so this is how picky Mia is about finding band members!! (laughs)

How would you describe your sound guys?

Jonny:  I guess its Classic rock, 80s influence, Heavy rock.

Mia:  Yeah, Classic, melodic rock inspired by the 80s that’s how you would describe it.

What about your influences, do you have very different influences as band members or are they similar?

Jonny:  I think there are some bands that we all love; I mean we all love Skid Row, Guns n Roses, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi.

Mia: Can you imagine, Skid Row are one of our favourite bands and we played with them twice last year.  Before that we were doing local pub gigs.

You’ve played some really big festivals, you’ve been a really hard working band and you’ve not had an easy ride to get to this stage. Has it been strange making the transition from playing local pubs to festivals?

Conner:  Definitely from me, coming from obviously that kind of scene the ‘toilet circuit’ so to speak.

Mia:  And there you are talking about playing literally next to the toilet door!

Conner:  And yeah I’ve actually done that before, I’ve had to hold my breath playing next door to the toilet.

Mia:  Every time someone needed to go to the toilet they had to cross over Conner to get in to the toilet.

Conner:  I’d hold my breath while they went in!  But obviously, going from that kind of situation to, as Mia explained, we had Sweden, Bloodstock and here at HRH and obviously I go out in London to the pubs in central London and for people to recognise you and you don’t know them at all.

Mia:  It’s really strange.

Conner: It’s like, what just happened, like what?!

Mia:  It’s like, it’s just me! (I’m just a normal person)

Did you guys play in bands before you got together?

Mia:  Yeah we have all got a long musical history; I’ve been doing music since I was 3 years old.

Did you go to Music College?

Mia:  Yeah, my dad is a violinist, so I started to play violin when I was 5 years old and I played several instruments, I played the drums, guitar.

I bet you could show these guys a thing or two?

Mia: (laughs) Yeah

Conner:  That how I learnt to play (laughs)

Mia: No, but we have all done this for a long time and it’s this last year where things have really gone from, you can see a massive difference from a year ago until now.  When it starts to happen it’s like a snow ball effect, you know, once the ball started to roll its like amazing.

Mia:  it’s a lot of hard work though, I’m not gonna lie.  It is work 24/7

Jonny:  Yeah, Mia works 24/7 and even when she’s like hanging out at gigs and stuff she’s always working in some capacity.

Mia:  It’s like, what can I do, what networking can I do, great I’m gonna talk to that guy.

Jonny:  But it all pays off the work, like, you know we do put a lot of hard work into the behind the scenes stuff; the rehearsing and writing and everything else but it’s all worth it when you get to come and play fun shows like today and meet loads of cool people, and see loads of awesome bands.

Mia:  It’s exactly like that, I mean, sometimes you are just thinking why am I doing this? Why am I working 24/7 without getting, you know, there’s no money in this. We don’t earn a living from this, sometimes you are thinking why am I doing this is it ever going to be a paid job?  But then when, like, this morning when we played this gig, that’s when you’re like, I know why I’m doing this, it’s worth it.  If you’re passionate enough it is.

How does the writing process work for you guys?  Do you write the music first and lyrics later?

Jonny:  We’ve kind of done it both ways round, like sometimes I’ll write a riff or the other guitarist we’ve been writing with will write a riff and then Mia will write something over it.  I’ve got to say, I’m not just saying this because you asked, but Mia is very easy to write with because she is one of the only singers I’ve written with who will write a vocal part to go over a guitar riff but then she’ll just write the next part on her own, over no music, and the bit after that.  I mean she makes it really easy to write songs with really.

Mia:  This is the first time I’ve heard Jon say this! (Laughs) Thanks Jon.

Jonny: (Laughs) you can pay me later.

Mia:  Really I paid him to say this (laughs).

You talked about your influences before guys; can I ask what was the first and last record you ever bought?

Jonny:  Oh man, I can’t remember! you are going to have to come back to me, I’m wracking my brains.

Mia: My first one was Ace of Base, do you know? I guess they were really famous everywhere but they are a Swedish band.

Conner:  I think mine must have been a Hendrix one.

Do you listen to a lot of different genres of music?

Mia:  I take my inspiration from everywhere that I can possibly take it from, but the music that lies closest to my heart is the music we are doing which is inspired by the classic 80s rock.

Jonny:  Yeah, I listen to a fair bit of stuff outside the rock genre.

Mia:  I think it is important to, I mean if you only take your inspiration from those bands, the music is just gonna sound the same.

Jonny:  Yeah, your just gonna sound like a bit of a rip off, whether you mean to or not.

Mia:  Yeah, I think it’s good to take inspiration from everywhere you go in life and everything you see and hear is like you can make it into something new.

Jonny:  On a technical level, as a guitarist, I mean you can listen to jazz guitarist or Spanish guitarist and they use like a different scale and that can sort of work its way into your playing somehow, and it just makes things a lot more interesting.

Mia:  Yeah

Are you big into jazz then?

Jonny:  Not really, but I hear things here and there.  There are some great jazz guitarists.

Mia:  I mean, the base for metal music lies within the classical like Bach and stuff like that.  You can hear definitely where it’s all coming from.

Conner:  Definitely, the technicality side of it.  For me, my parents were more on the softer side.  My mum was probably more into the Hendrix and Zeppelin, but my dad, for him Zeppelin’s too heavy.  He likes soul and reggae and this is what I grew up on, obviously being a bassist those styles are quite fundamental for me, one of my main influences would be James Jameson from Motown.

Who would you guys most like to tour with, and why?

Jonny:  I reckon Motley Crue, Just because they are Motley Crue! Mick’s still got it!

Mia:  Because you’re asking, I’m just gonna say I think we should go and tour with Aerosmith, Kiss, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Slash’s band, did I say Motley Crue?

Jonny:  I said Motley Crue.

Mia:  Well, I’m saying it also, and then we could headline it (laughs).  We played a festival with Kiss this year, that is like the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.

What advice would you give to younger bands trying to get into the industry?

Mia:  My first advice is, if you want to become rich then this is not the business for you (laughs).  Look for another career in that case, because if you are in it for the money you’re not gonna be able to have the drive to take yourself somewhere.  And then the second thing is, you are gonna have to work really hard and it’s like any other job, like, you know,  you are self employed, your gonna have to get up early and do some work as no one is gonna force you out of bed.  You’ve just got to have the drive to do it, so you need to be extremely passionate about the whole thing, otherwise you are absolutely not gonna be able to do it.  That’s my advice.

Jonny:  Erm, I think just practice a lot, write good songs and it probably helps to be in a town where there’s a thriving music scene.  I guess part of what brought us together is that we all went and lived in London where obviously there are a lot of bands and musicians, so you know it’s easier to find a band in some ways.  If you live in the middle of nowhere it’s probably not gonna be as easy to get in a good band.

Mia:  I think it’s all about taking all the chances that you can possibly get.  I grew up in the countryside in Sweden, there’s not that much going on there but I’ve taken every single opportunity that I ever got.  Playing in the church, in school graduation that’s so far off what we’re doing now but I’m taking all those chances that I could get and now this is where we are.

Conner:  (To Mia) You never know, if you’d never took those things you might not be here now.  Stick to your craft really, it’s one of the main reasons you are in the kind of thing for it you know.

What does 2014 hold for you guys?

Mia:  Writing and recording in January we are gonna record a single and make a music video, I don’t know when the video will be coming out but we will be starting the recording for that single as soon as possible.  And there will be a teaser for what is to come on the second album basically.  Then we’ve hopefully got some great things coming in the summer, gig wise, maybe festivals.  We are looking forward to the summer.

How can people find out about you guys?

Mia: The best place to go is https://www.facebook.com/MiaKlose and then miaklose.com where you can get t-shirts, album, everything Mia Klose.

Is there any message you’d like to give your fans?

Mia:  Follow your dreams guys!!

Conner:  Cos it’s never too late (laughs)

What bands are you looking forward to seeing at Hard Rock Hell 2013?

Jonny: I’d like to see Skindred.

Conner:  Phil Campbell, Black Star Riders.

Mia:  Michael Monroe, one of my absolute favourites of all time.

Thanks for a great interview guys and I wish you all the best for 2014!