Danish three-piece PET THE PREACHER know what it takes succeed as a band. We caught vocalist Christina Hede Madsen perfecting his craft, to talk about their fantastic new LP, musical royalty, screaming vocals and all time classic albums
by STEVE FLETCHER
May 27th 2014
Hey Christian, cheers for taking the time to answer our random pop quiz questions.
Thanks for the interview.
Where are you right now and what were you doing before you sat down to this?
I am actually practicing guitar (have to work on some technique), making a cup of coffee and talking to my girlfriend. Oh and enjoying the sun of course.
Nice. Can you tell us a bit about your band and the rather fantastic LP you’ve just released? Where did it all start and what are the underlying concepts behind The Cave & The Sunlight?
Well I sing and play guitar, we’re a trio from Copenhagen, Denmark and we are all about heavy, bluesy rock; with a hint of metal to it. We just released our second full length “The Cave & The Sunlight” and we are damn proud of it to be honest. It is not a strict concept album like “The Banjo” was, but it has a feeling of unity and an atmosphere that runs through the record. It’s about seeing life as a maze, where we all go in circles and repeat our mistakes in life. The lyrics are very diverse, but I still feel they’re all connected in some way. It is a proper, heavy rock record.
Indeed it is. Nice artwork too. Who’s responsible?
Emy R. from Arrache Toi Un-Oeil. Fantastic artist. Check her out if you get the chance. She came up with the whole concept for the album-art and captured everything we wanted. Could not be happier with it.
Did the LP turn out as you imagined?
No. Fortunately it did not. You also have ideas and directions, but once you go into the studio, it’s about giving life to the songs. The B-section you loved, might be shit in context and you always have to keep focus on the good song. So things change. And things get better. When that’s said: I think we did well this time.
We would agree. Is there anything you would have done differently – either in writing or recording?
Yes there is. That’s why we’re writing album number 3. If everything was perfect and the best this band could be, there would be no need to continue. But this album is a piece of art and the songwriting and playing is , by far, the best we have done.
To us, there’s a deep stoner groove going on that’s kinda bluesy, a bit metal and a bit off the edge alternative. How would you describe the sound you’ve created?
I think all your descriptions fit nicely on us. We try not to overthink it, and hopefully we’ll stumble upon a sound of our own. But we know we want to be heavy, groovy and deal with the more melancholic and dark side of things. It just attracts us artistically. We want to be a rock band with a lot of layers. Heavy music with depth must be the goal.
That is right up our street man. So how was the creative process for that?
It differs a lot. But I always write lyrics, and we have a common understanding when it comes to new songs. We can often feel if it’s something for us, or not. Every idea is tried out and we all have a say in the music. But we’re tough on each other and we’re really trying our best to make it all work for the greater good, to push ourselves forward as a band.
How have the new songs been going over live so far? Do you play as close to the record as possible live, or try to improv a bit and mix things up?
It’s been going great. The songs are really diverse and that means we can have a lot of them in the set, without compromising dynamic structure. They really kick ass. When we play them live, we play them a bit different. Heavier and more raw. But we record live in the studio, so the overall feel and swing is the same.
So what was it about Napalm that felt like the right home for the direction of your music?
They had the power and recognition we needed to progress. They’re a big, respected label and we can feel that people are more aware of us now. We need that. To be able to make our fan base grow, so we can tour more and more of the world. We really live for doing what we do, so we’re always looking for partners who can help with our vision. Napalm can do that right now and they are great to us.
Tell us a bit about your influences and if you could resurrect one (person or band), who would it be?
I have a ton of different influences and they change as I learn to know more and more music. The other guys feel the same way. We’re very open minded when it comes to music and genres. It’s all about the right situation for it. I love heavy metal, doom, rock, grindcore and I love pop, electronic and country. There are no rules as long as it has some kind of quality. But if I could see one band live in their prime, it would be Led Zeppelin. They’re magical and the royalty in my world.
There must’ve been some tough moments throughout your existence as a band so far?
There has to be tough moments, or else you are not challenging yourself enough. But you have to get over it and move on. It can be difficult to make something that you all feel strongly about, but it’s all worth it in the end. To make music is the most rewarding feeling of all. It is addictive.
What’s the worst/craziest thing you’ve ever done on stage?
I have no idea what the worst thing I have done on stage is. The audience will have to decide haha.
Come on, dish the dirt. Have you ever smashed an instrument in sheer anger?
No. I only play them with sheer anger.
Good answer! What would you say you’d be doing if you weren’t making music?
I have no idea. Maybe some other kind of art.
Ok. When did you first realise making music was your purpose in life?
When I was about 17. I was hugely into film making when I was a child and teenager, and played the guitar on the side. But when I heard Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC, things started to change. After high school I really started practicing a lot and tried to develop as a guitar player. I’m not a child-prodigy or one who easily learns. It’s hard work, but at the same time the most fun in the world. The passion and drive, I have always had that, but when I started making my own music in a band, things just fell into place. I know I was born to bring this music to life.
That’s a wonderful thing. And what about the scene around you – how’s the local scene in Denmark and are there any upcoming bands you think we should keep an eye out for?
It is really good. There are a lot of good venues and people who really want the best for music. It can be difficult to see it all from an objective point of view, but these are all bands ( in very different genres) who deserve recognition: By The Patient, Helhorse, Förtress, SEA, Bersærk, Chorus Grant, Get Your Gun, Baby In Vain, MØ, Cancer, Hexis, Ajuna, Scarred By Beauty, Blaue Blume, Ruined…and there are SO many more. But that was off the top of my head.
That’s our next few weeks sorted. What’s your take on the Rock and Metal scenes right now in general? We think they’re both crying out for innovators. Where have all the singers gone???!
I think the “scene” is so big, that you can find all you are looking for. But you have to listen to a lot of shit to get to the good stuff. I think there are many great singers. Even in more contemporary metal. I think Matt Heafy is a great singer. Joe Duplantier from Gojira is great too. The guy from Sylosis is awesome. Graveyard has a really good singer and I even think Michael Poulsen from Volbeat has a very personal style too. It think there are a lot of good voices out there.
That’s why we dig The Cave & The Sunlight. Retains its ‘heavy’ but never resorts to the wracked screams and growls that renders stuff today so proposterously adolescent.
Haha I see. Well I really like the screaming vocals as well, and think they can be just as beautiful as a clean voice. But we all have different opinions of course.
Ok some quick fire Q’s to finish up. What’s been the standout Rock album from the last 10 years for you?
Crack The Skye by Mastodon.
Yes! Good shout. If you were asked to define Metal, which album would you use?
Metallica: Ride The Lightning
Another fine choice sir. What about the three best things about being in your band?
1: The fact that I get to play with both Torben and Von Larsen. 2: Our attitude towards the band, we take what we do seriously 3: We get to see a lot of beautiful places on tour
And the three worst things?
1: When we argue over something stupid on tour 2: The Farts 3: Logistics
Oh man, that does sound terrible. Well thanks again Christian and all the best, with everything
Thanks for talking to me man. Take care