The Swedish sleaze, street rock masters HARDCORE SUPERSTAR hit our shores in June (full tour info below) and Megan took the time to have a killer chat with front man Joakim ”Jocke” Berg, about what to expect from the onslaught!
(Megan) Hi Jocke, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today. How’s your afternoon so far?
(Jocke) Thank you! It’s good, I’m sitting in the tour bus on the way to Sweden Rock, we are headlining day one. We don’t go on stage until after 11pm but we are really looking forward to it!
The anticipation is electric awaiting your arrival in Australia. I can’t open any social media page without a mention of the tour. What’s the energy like in the Superstar camp?
It’s great, it’s really great. We’ve been rehearsing for a couple of days now. First up we have Sweden Rock, then we go into Milan tomorrow for Malt Generation festival and Madrid on Friday. Then back home on Saturday and then we come to Australia on Monday!
Wow, no rest for the wicked!
Yeah it’s going to be a crazy couple of days but it’s going to be awesome to come back. We’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time.
Your 11th studio album, You Cant Kill My Rock and Roll is coming out on September 21st , 2 decades ago your very first album named Its Only Rock and Roll came out.
(laughs) Yeah, long time ago!
Is the new title a nod to the longevity and dedication you have to music?
Yeah it’s a statement you know, you can’t kill my rock and roll! I mean the first album was called Its Only Rock and Roll so it’s as if to say we are still here, you can’t kill us!
So far we’ve seen four singles of new material, Have Mercy on Me, Bring The House Down, Electric Rider and your most recent Baboon. Do you think fans will hear any more teasers before it’s released in full?
Yeah probably another one coming in August.
I read that you got some inspiration from Ghost in regards to trickling new material out to keep the fans updated.
Yeah we thought it was a cool idea to do when releasing an album. To give the fans teasers and to almost release half of the album before the whole thing is out. We are always willing to try something new.
Almost to say, hey we’re still here, we haven’t gone anywhere!
Yeah! Exactly! Bands that I like and listen to, they release one or two singles before the album and then there’s a half year wait and I feel like the dust settles too much. I just think it’s better to keep the fans updated along the way.
Speaking of your teasers, you just release your most recent single Baboon, that seemed like a fun clip to make.
Yeah, it was fun to write but especially the video was fun to make. The song is about a guy that everyone as met, you know, the party crasher, the baboon, the stalker, you know the guy that is too much. I think everyone can relate to that video.
Absolutely, I’ve met a few!
Yeah! Me too (laughs) you and I just have to make sure we are never the baboon of a party.
What do you think is the secret to still enjoying yourself that much after 20 years in this band on and off stage?
I know it sounds a bit cliche but it really is the love for music, you know? Me personally, I don’t like being in the studio, I like to do what we do live. Live and studios are two different worlds in Hardcore Superstar. For me, Hardcore Superstar is a live band, you have to see it but of course we have to record the albums to do the live shows. I’m happy to sit in a studio and work my butt off to get an album out if that means I can go back on the road and play a live show.
I’ve been following your socials for quite some time now and see you’re a big music fan of Saxon, Misfits and King Diamond who you pay tribute to most Mondays to name a few.
Oh yeah, I love love King Diamond!
Is there an act past or present you wish you could tour with?
We would love to tour with King Diamond, if we had the opportunity to. It would be a dream! We have toured with Saxon which was awesome. Actually Biff (lead singer of Saxon) emailed me when we did a UK tour, and we spoke about him coming down to see the show but he was building a studio for his son, you know, keeping music in the family so he couldn’t make it this time.
Please correct me if I’m wrong but 2018 marks 10 years of Vic being in the band. His first live show with you even being in here Sydney!
Yeah! You’re absolutely right. The fun thing is, the last time we came to Australia, it was February. So now it’s June, just a couple months off it being exactly 10 years.
When he joined there’s no denying he brought a very charismatic stage presence and distinctive guitar sound. How has it been having him on board?
He’s an awesome guitar player and he brought a lot of energy as you said. In terms of song writing he brought a fresh mind and ideas, it’s been great. We’ve written some awesome music together and there so much more to come.
Seeing as it has been such a long time since you came back, we won’t even mention what happened last time.
Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing once you get down here?
Yeah, I want to meet a koala and a kangaroo. That’s actually the only demands I have for the whole tour. We only have a couple days before the tour starts then four shows, in four days, in four states! So I will try my best to meet the kangaroo and the koala.
These days, unfortunately we are seeing music venues close and record stores closing as streaming is taking over as a way to access music. How do you feel the music business has changed in the time you have been involved?
If you talk, selling records, I mean, almost everything is on the internet now. The vinyl is coming back, which is good. It’s nice to see it’s resurgence. But I think in a way it’s getting bigger because of the internet, it’s easier to reach music these days, I think its developed in the right way, but we did not think that in the beginning, because of the down load but I do think it’s heading in the right direction. Just a different way for people to hear music.
There are so many negative comments about the way music is heading, and it’s nice to hear some positivity!
Yeah, I’m a positive guy!
It must be challenging putting together a set list from 20 years of material, of course there are going to be some staples that you feel as though you should play.
Yeah we have to play the hits, you can’t take them off the set list. I want to make my fans happy not cross with us.
Are there any surprises in store for the Australian fans?
Of course, we will play the singles from the new album and some older tracks, as well as the obvious ones that we have to play. We feel like we have built a really strong set list. Still time to tweak it though, but we think the fans will be satisfied.
I think so to! Even without your usual stage props, like the pop up bar and huge crosses.
Yeah unfortunately we can’t bring that this time. We have them today at the festival, we have the full stage production. Keep an eye out for some live videos, you’ll see what we are all about before we come down.
Your live shows are incredibly energetic and I feel as thought there is a heavy emphasis on making sure every person has a good time.
You said it. I think as a front man it’s very important for me to let the audience in. To let them be a part of the show. I’ve seen far too many bands who just stand there and don’t communicate with the audience and look like they don’t want to be on stage. That’s not Hardcore Superstar! We are all about the entertainment, having a good time you know. Delivering an energetic show. Have fun! It has always been that way, always will be. Music is about having fun, and that’s what we want to deliver every time we step on stage.
To wrap up, what do you hope an audience comes away with after watching a Hardcore Superstar show?
The main goal for us is when someone leaves the venue, or concert hall or festival, wherever they see us, they will turn to each other and say “Damn! We had a good time tonight!”
I’m sure that is about to happen a lot in Australia.
That’s all I have for you today Jocke, thanks so much for your time. I am really looking forward to your shows next week, all the best at Sweden Rock!
Cool, I will see you in Australia, thanks a lot Megan! Take care.
Tickets available http://silverbacktouring.com.au/531-2/