Grand Rezerva is another great Swedish band that has been in the business for a decade a now. They are one of that country’s finest Hard Rock exports and they have a new single, Hellhound, that was just released this year with its respective music video.
I had a discussion with their vocalist, Michael Svensson, and we discussed many different topics regarding the band. Hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for doing this, guys. It’s a pleasure to have you here.
Thanks for having us.
I want to start from the beginning for those readers that are not well-aware of the band’s history. What is Grand Rezerva as a band and how you guys got together?
The band started in 2009 after I got contacted by our record label Tripaway Music in New York. They had heard some demos that we had posted on MySpace and they wanted to work with us. They asked for some more tunes and we sent over some more demos. They then decided to put out a 5-track EP
Why the name Grand Rezerva?
Finding a name is the hardest part. After a dinner with some wine and hours of brainstorming I said like a joke “how about Gran Reserva” like the wine here, holding a bottle in my hand. The others thought that it was a cool name, but came up with a suggestion to change the spelling to GRAND REZERVA instead.
Which albums and musicians influenced you throughout the years?
We all are influenced by different kinds of music from blues to heavy metal. But to name some common artist I would say blues legends like Robert Johnson, Son House and John Lee Hooker. On the rock n roll side, I would say Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, KISS, Whitesnake, Deep Purple.
Sweden is a country known for its prolific Rock and Metal scene. How much of an impact did your country had on you as musicians?
Very much. Sweden has city-funded rehearsal places, and at some of them you can even borrow musical equipment for free. This opened for a very creative process as musicians growing up in Sweden. We could follow close at hand how bands like Europe, Entombed, The Hellacopters made their way forward. This inspired me to create too.
Hellhound was your newest single and I think it’s a very solid track. What was the process behind making this song?
We wanted to make an homage to the late great Robert Johnsons tune “Crossroads”. Keeping things easy when it comes to the music, and create a straight forward tune that’s easy to relate to, just like the blues.
By the way, the single’s artwork is stunning. Reminds me of a 60s horror film. Who was artist that did it?
It’s actually our bass player, Zoak. He’s into graphic design and has done our last couple of covers.
How is the writing process in Grand Rezerva? How do you approach making a new song or album as a whole?
It starts with either a riff or a lyric piece. Then me and one of the other guys work it out in the studio and then present it to the rest of the band. Or sometimes you just write a tune from a scratch when you just have stuff in your head that needs to come out ?
Marketing, especially of the digital ilk, has become more and more important in the music business. How have you fared promoting the band in multiple platforms, live shows, etc.?
We’re somewhat lucky since we’ve been around a few years and have had the privilege to indulge in the social media, when it was still young. Our record company found us through the social media platform MySpace and we have been able to connect with fans all over the world promote our music and shows. We use mainly three platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The band’s first official release was in 2009. Are you planning something special for this ten years anniversary?
We’re thinking about it. Nothing is yet planned, but there’s bound to be something happening.
Looking back on your career, how do you guys feel about it? What are you most proud of?
That we’ve managed to survive ten years as a band and that we’ve had the privilege to release music and meet people from all over the world.
Do you have any special or funny anecdote of your years in the music business?
There are many of them, some you can’t mention in a magazine ? But one that comes to mind is when went to Munich, Germany, and we got flown in to headline a show at a new club. We got picked up at the airport by a driver with a sign with our name on it. Usually we rent a van, pack up our backline and go to the show ourselves. Then there’s people at the club who treated us like mega stars, driving us to our hotel, taking us to restaurants. And then the audience who went crazy as soon as we hit that first chord. We had to stay for two hours after the show, signing stuff, taking pictures and just hanging out. That night we made some new friends that we keep in touch with. That was one of those moments that you know why you do all the hard work that it is to be in a band.
And what do you want to achieve in the coming years?
Continuing to put out new music, play shows and meet new people
What plans do you have for this year in terms of shows and releases?
We have some shows planned, and we’re planning on releasing some more tunes in the near future.
One final question: What makes a musician and a band, according to you?
Hard work, determination and not giving in on your creative process. Do it the way you want to do it and not the way others say you should do it.