It's been less than a year since I had the chance to talk with Toschie and Audrey Horne's new album was still in the making. Now, with "Youngblood" receiving raving reviews all over the world from fans and critics he proved once again to be one of the most interesting persons to have a nice talk. This time it included a lot about the band's new music approach, influences and (of course) TV series among others. Ladies and gentlemen, hats off to Audrey Horne and mr. Toschie.
Hi Toschie. It's great to have the chance to communicate again only a few months after the last time, as you release your new album, "Youngblood" in a few days. How are you?
I'm good, thanks for asking. We are releasing "Youngblood", and the feedback so far have been great, so I`m happy these days.
Congrats for your new album. It's one more step in the evolution of Audrey Horne's inspired music.
Thanks. It is one more step yeah, hopefully one that goes forward and not backwards. Seriously, I think this is our best album so far and one where we have managed to capture the live energy that our music needs to be at its best.
I'm not going to get into any comparisons with "Audrey Horne" (not yet), firstly because I've adored the previous album so much that it’s going to be unfair, but also because they seem to be quite different albums. "Youngblood" seems to be more rock oriented, with less heavy elements. Was that a purpose or did it just come naturally?
It came quite naturally, and we never intended to write songs that were more classic rock oriented. We wanted to make a more energetic album, so we got together in our rehearsing studio and wrote all of the songs together as a band, and the result of that was music that were influenced more by, the music we grew up listening to.
So, it's ok to argue that this is a 'classic rock oriented' album? I can hear more Rainbow, Thin Lizzy and classic rock elements than before combined with some modern stuff. Would you agree?
Yes, definitely. Like I said, this is the music we grew up to and the one that has been in our roots for the longest time. It is at the core of our musical upbringing and we wear our influences on our sleeves. As long as you add your own style and create something good out of it, I don't see a reason to hide it.
You didn't work again with Joe Baressi this time although he did a fantastic job on the previous album. Instead you chose a fellow Norwegian producer, The Magnet. Could this be a risk? Tell us about him, the collaboration and the differences in working with these two producers.
First of all, Magnet is a performing artist, more than a producer and we wanted him for the job, because he understands the live situation better that way. Joe is more of a producer and a damn good one too, but we felt Magnet was perfect for this job. It was a risk, but you have to take those to create something truly good. We are still in touch with Joe and might work with him again some day.
You also chose Napalm Records to release the album. What led you to a more metal oriented label? Were there other options at the table?
There were several other options on the table, but we chose Napalm because they are changing their roster towards a more hard rock direction and they have a strong promo set-up. They also made us the best offer.
Now, "Redemption Blues" that opens the album seems to be the one closer to the previous album, music wise. Could this be the reason that it was selected as an opener? It's one of my favorites, no doubt.
I guess it does follow in the trails of "Charon" and we chose it as an opener because it is one of the most energetic, and at the same time catchy songs. A real good kick starter.
Then, the three catchier songs of the album are the first three ones on the album. There is a theory that a friend of mine who is a musician once told me 'labels suggest putting the catchier songs first, because some journalists don't even listen to the whole album'. Although I can’t believe it, could this be the case?
I know that to be the case for many artists, but Napalm never interfered with any musical decisions and we prefer it that way. We have always tried to make albums for people who listen to albums, not playlists. An album is best if it has an opening, a journey through it, and an ending, so that the whole thing can be experienced as one piece. In the long run, a band’s legacy lasts longer by great albums than by one off hits.
"Straight Into Your Grave" has a great chorus which in my opinion shows what a great singer you are. Once again you nailed it with your vocal lines, but it’s times like the last refrain of that songs (when you change the line a little bit) that I am sure you’re one of the most unique voices in today's rock music.
Thank you for those kind words, I'm sure there are many way better singers then me out there, but I do a pretty good job in Audrey Horne if I might say so myself.
The same title track should be the obvious choice for a potential single. Tell us what it's about...
It is about how we all will be disappointed and will disappoint others on several occasions in life, but we have to keep going. If you let someone into your life you risk getting hurt, but we still do so, because the other alternative is not a good option.
In general, are the lyrics still a little abstract for the listener to take them where he wants? I don’t have the lyrics yet, but my impression is that this time they’re less dark than the previous times. Am I wrong?
I write lyrics to fit the atmosphere of each song and they are more pictures than stories and I guess this is a way less darker album, so naturally the lyrics are maybe a bit brighter, but they will always be a bit on the dark side anyway. I'm not a good storyteller like Bob Dylan or Tom Waits, but I try to balance between cliches and a new way of looking at things.
I have one song that I really enjoy very much. It's "Pretty Little Sunshine". Quite unusually 'happy' for Audrey Horne and although you may disagree I can't help thinking of Buckcherry when listening to this song. I adore it. I can’t think anyone would stand still when you play it live.
It is a bit different for us and we debated for a while whether it should be on the album, but we decided to do so, cause it gave the album some of the dynamic it needed. It is also an ass kicker to play live, and hopefully it will be a hit within our audience.
Also, "I Wanna Know You" is a hell of a party rocker tune. Why did you want to close the album with this one?
It is, but actually it does not end the album. It is a bonus track on the ltd version, and does not appear on the actual album. "The King Is Dead" ends the album. We wanted a more epic and groovy song for the end.
One thing I think I missed on the album is a song in the vein of "Sail Away". There is no 'ballad', there is not a “clearly sad song” on the album. I loved these moments on your previous album. Why so?
I guess we were rocking too hard to ever slow down and write a ballad, but we have talked about it lately that we should write a classic ballad for our next album. I love singing ballads and most great albums have one, so next time we will deliver one and that is a promise.
Last time we spoke, you told me that had some more cover versions of bands like Ozzy, Rolling Stones and U2 that you didn’t use in the previous album. Is there going to be a special edition of the album including them at some time? What do you plan to do with them?
No, I guess we used the best ones for the bonus disc on "Audrey Horne", but maybe we will record some new ones. I would love to do a version of "Blinded By The Light" by Bruce Springsteen and made famous by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Damn good song and I think we could have done an interesting version.
Putting all your albums in a row, it’s easy to see you much you have evolved as a band from album to album. Although I guess it’s too early, could you see what the next step is going to be? Could you foresee where the sound of Audrey Horne is going to get?
No, but off course we are in some charge of our destiny, so I guess it will be more of this classic rock thing we are doing, but throw in a ballad and maybe some more stuff like piano, choirs, horns and violins. A bigger production...maybe we will go all "Use Your Illusions" on you. Who knows!
You've been named after a character from the TV series "Twin Peaks" and last time you made it pretty clear why you chose Audrey. Now, with many great new TV series, which character would you name your band after, picking from the most recent ones? Are you a fan of TV series? Which ones are your favorites?
If we were to name ourselves after a newer TV series character, it would be 'Daryl Dixon', after the bad-ass dude in "The Walking Dead" and if you ever question his bad-ass-ness, you should check out the movie "Boondock Saints". I am a big fan of TV-series, and I don’t watch normal TV, only these series on DVD. My favorites are: "The Walking Dead", "Homeland", "Sopranos", "The Wire" and of course my all time favorite "West Wing", about president Jed Bartlet.
Now, as we’ve only entered 2013 I guess you could share with us your favorite albums of 2012.
Deftones - "Koi No Yokan"
Blackberry Smoke - "The Whippoprwill" (kick-ass southern rawk)
Van Halen - "Adifferent Kind Of Truth"
Graveyard - "Lights Out"
Frank Ocean - "Channel Orange"
Rival Sons - "Head Down"
So, when are you playing Greece? (This was not negotiable about if you're coming or not in case you didn't get it, haha...)
Hopefully soon. Did another interview from Greece the other day and they asked the same, so it looks like we should come as soon as possible.