Rogue Mag interviews Dregen, it gets dark…

Rogue Mag Music - Dregen Announces Release of Debut Solo Album
Dregen / Photo by Niclas Brunzell

1. Congratulations on a great album. How did you find working on this project, being in total control rather than part of a band?

Well, as I have said before, I love being in a band and stuff; I love the democracy of a band, being with the guys, you know, but I enjoy being the dictator right now (laughs). I have been doing albums and touring for 25 years, and with this record I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound – what kinda songs, what kinda musicians. I guess making this album is just something I grew into…”

2. What made you decide to write your own album?

I’ve had it in my head for quite a while; I knew that someday I would make a solo album. With Backyard Babies, we were constantly touring and making albums, and then we decided collectively to put the band on hiatus for a while back in 2010. With that decision, I knew after the last show, which was actually in Japan in spring 2010, that I was going to start work on a solo release…”

3. Everyone misses The Hellacopters. How was it working with Nicke Andersson again?

It seems that great songs are written when we hang out in the studio together – magic happens! I don’t know what it is, I just love playing with the guy.

4. Despite working with so many different artists on this projects (including Karl Rockfist, Sami Yaffa and John Calabrese), the album has a feeling of continuity. How did you manage that?

Actually, it’s not that many people – basically, I only used 3 different drummers and 3 different bass players, and I played all of the guitars and handled the vocals myself… the good thing with this solo approach is that I can hand-pick the right person for the right song… you know, this drummer would be great for this part, and this drummer would be great for this song… I custom-made the decisions for the songs.

5. Are there any other artists you wish you could have had on-board?

As this was my first solo album, it was really important to show my true colours, and to show other people that I can do this by myself and not have big names involved, big celebrities or rock stars, with a sticker on the album saying: ‘featuring Slash and Ozzy Osbourne’, you know. I wanted to do my solo album by myself, but in future I wouldn’t say no to having Ace Frehley and Angus Young and Chuck Berry playing some of the guitar solos!!

6. Which is your favourite track?

It’s a clichéd answer, but I can’t pick just one, because I am 100% satisfied with this album… I suppose ‘Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road’ is the most different song I have done in a while, so I like that one a lot.

7. ‘Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road’ seems to deal with some dark issues, what’s going on there?

With the solo album, it was important for me to show the listener what kind of record collection I have at home. The whole idea was to take my entire record collection and boil it down onto one album, to show all of my influences, what I have been growing up with and what I listen to today. And with ‘Flat Tyre On A Muddy Road’, it came from the fact that I have always been listening to old Blues music and a lot of old black music – that hasn’t really been shown in The Hellacopters or Backyard Babies, but referring back to that music was just natural for me. Lyrically, I didn’t just want to write the normal party rock ‘n’ roll songs, I wanted to touch upon the deeper subjects, you know! I don’t know if it has something to do with age, because I have just turned 40, but when you reach a certain point in your life, the people around you are sometimes getting sick, dying even, so I touched upon some darker subjects here….

8. ‘One Man Army’ – is this song about you?

(laughs) Yeah, it is. It was one of the first songs I wrote for the solo album – I thought it was time I became a One Man Army!

9. How long did it take you to write the album?

This album was a luxury experience for me… With bands, you go in and start this and that, and you are there for four or five weeks, then you come out of the studio with the completed album. With this record, I have been working on it on and off, which has been really good, a luxury thing for me. On the other hand, I am dead broke now! It was expensive, as I was only working on days where I actually felt like recording, and I hope people can hear that. It’s been made with a lot of energy and passion. I spent a year and half in the studio, but in terms of actual recording time, it probably took like 3 months to do the whole thing. Remember, I was making the new Michael Monroe album (‘Horns And Halos’) as well…

10.There are obviously a lot of different musical influences on the album; who else are you listening to at the moment?

When I’m writing, and this has been true throughout my career, actually, and when I am recording an album, I hardly listen to music at all. I feel really old school here, but the last 10 albums I bought were re-issues from the ’70s (laughs)… but new bands, hmmm… I heard a new punk band from Scotland that I thought were really cool, they’re called Hologram, and I got their album a couple of days ago… Oh, and I just heard the new Imperial State Electric album, which is going to come out in November just before the UK tour, and that’s great!

11. Is this the first of many solo albums?

You know, I approached this album like it’s the only one I am ever gonna do in my life, the only solo album. But it was really fun to make, and people seem to like it, so I’m pretty sure there is going to be more solo albums…

12. Scandinavian rock music has its own sound. Where did that come from? How did you guys come up with that?

I don’t know why it is. With Sweden it’s, like, English is our second language, you know, and I think all Swedes have grown up with English and American music, and then you put a splash of darkness into it, and freezing f**king cold, and you get the Scandinavian sound!

13. We can’t wait to see you in the UK; who else is coming along for the ride?

Its a co-headline tour with Imperial State Electric, which I think is a great package. In terms of my band, the other members are Maarten on bass, Richard on drums and a guy called Michele on guitar, and they haven’t really been in any famous bands before, so it’s going to be totally new guys for the audience, but they are awesome!

14. You must have seen it all before, but are you looking to cause some mayhem on this tour?

Always! You know, I can’t wait to come back to the UK to play my own club shows – it’s going to be a high energy rock ‘n’ roll show, and there is going to be some mayhem, I’m sure of it!

15. What advice would you give to someone starting a new band or solo project?

I feel like an old duffer here, but my advice would be – rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, and start writing your own songs from the beginning. I started writing songs on one chord. You know, every band sounds terrible in the beginning, but it’s better to start writing your own songs, rehearse a lot and take any gigs you can get – you just have to start playing and hope for the best, you know? You can’t start and expect to be playing the f**king Reading Festival as your first ever gig. A lot of new bands start out playing cover songs, and I think a lot of bands get stuck in a covers band swamp. You don’t want to end up wearing a Bryan Adams T- shirt and playing in pubs, so start writing your own songs and rehearse a lot, then it’s going to be fine.

‘Dregen’ is available to buy now
Buy Dregen via Amazon
Buy Dregen via iTunes


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