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H.E.A.T. @ Jive, Adelaide 11/09/2022

This is one gig I was quite excited to get to. Initially a double bill of Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T and Crazy Lixx, these were two bands I wasn’t sure I would ever get to see live in Australia. Thankfully we have promotors in this country who have survived the last couple of years and are still willing and able to take some risks and bring out some bands that don’t necessarily have a large commercial following here in Australia. Thank you, Silverback Touring, for this one!

Unfortunately Crazy Lixx dropped out of the tour quite late in the game but after initially being disappointed, my excitement grew quickly again as I continued to read so many glowing reviews of H.E.A.T’s live performances leading up to this night.

There was a lot of buzz about the band coming from social media, particularly once the tour progressed through the other states, before they finished their run here in Adelaide.

The gig in Adelaide was held at Jive, which is a great but somewhat intimate rock venue. There was most certainly a great vibe in the venue as everyone here seemed to be very keen to see out the weekend with a rock gig, before heading back to reality on the Monday. There was a lot of talk amongst the crowd about the great show they were expecting from H.E.A.T.

The beauty of getting to catch some of these tours in Adelaide, rather than a larger city, is that as a punter, you get to see the band in a more intimate setting, up nice and close. I would recommend more people from Melbourne and Sydney get tickets to Adelaide gigs! Who knows which bands you may never get to see in these smaller settings again! Despite this being a more intimate gig, it wasn’t lacking in enthusiasm from the crowd or in atmosphere at all.

Opening the show was Melbourne’s Wicked Smile, fronted by ex-Pegasus vocalist Danny Cecati. With big powerful vocals, riffing guitars, and a super melodic rock style, they sure suited opening for H.E.A.T and went down very well with the crowd.

The second support act was Cassidy Paris. As soon as Wicked Smile finished their set, half the band left the stage while the other half stayed on as Cassidy’s backing band (including her dad Steve on guitar), without a break between sets. Cassidy’s set showed her give a great high-energy youthful rock performance which showcased her songs nicely and further amped the crowd up for the main event. It’s great to see younger rock artists still coming through the music scene.

H.E.A.T kicked off their set at full speed with One by One from their 2020 album H.E.A.T II. Almost right away singer Kenny Leckremo had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he was a ball of energy from start to finish. Despite H.E.A.T being a melodic rock band, often known for the odd power ballad, their set did not contain one mellow tune or a single moment to catch your breath, they just ripped through a great set of big anthems with huge choruses and tons of energy. The next couple of songs also came from their 2020 album with Rock your Body and Dangerous Ground. The first song from new album Force Majeure was Hollywood which seemed to go down just as well as the material from their earlier albums. A definite highlight from the set for me was 1000 Miles from their self-titled 2008 debut album, although the set as a whole, which contained a good mix of songs from their career so far, didn’t have a low point to contrast this with.

By the time the band had worked their way through their set of 17 or so songs, they must have been exhausted. Not only had Kenny managed to keep his energy at 110% for the full set but Jimmy Jay on bass and guitarist Dave Dalone kept up the pace with him at the front of the stage. Rounding out the line-up was keyboardist Jona Tee, whose big synth chords were certainly a major part of the signature melodic H.E.A.T sound and Don Crash on the drums, who looked to be a sweaty mess by the time A Shot at Redemption closed out the set.

From the look of the big smiles on the faces of the band members and also on the faces of the crowd, I think it’s safe to say everybody in attendance had a great night at this gig and it would not surprise me at all if H.E.A.T returned to Australia for a second time within the next few years and played to even bigger audiences here.

To the rock fans who considered catching H.E.A.T but ultimately decided not to go, I hope you do get another chance because this is one band that really puts on a killer show that you don’t want to miss twice.

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Album InterviewsInterviews+1

Interview with Kenny Leckramo (HEAT)

Scandinavia heads down under as Silverback Touring bring you two of Sweden’s finest Hard Rock exports H.E.A.T. This will be the first Australian Tour and the action takes place in September 2022.

Over the last several years H.E.A.T has established themselves as one of the leading brands in the melodic rock scene, both in their homeland Sweden and internationally. They have toured and performed front of thousands and thousands of fans around the world

In April 2008, their self-titled debut album was released and became a massive vitamin injection for the genre and instantly received accolades from both fans and critics worldwide. The release was followed up by immense touring and H.E.A.T played with bands such as Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy and on big festivals like Sweden Rock.

Since that time H.E.A.T have released a further 6 studio albums and have established themselves as a major force in the hard rock world.

During the Covid period, the band experienced a shift in personnel with original vocalist, Kenny Leckremo, returning to the fold replacing Erik Gronwoll. The band has a new album, Force Majeure, releasing on 5 August just in time for their Aussie visit.

“What can you say about H.E.A.T? If you don’t like these energetic Swedes you must be dead inside, as this year they’ve shown the UK crowd how to be the most complete band on the planet” – Classic Rock Magazine.

Local support comes from rising rock starlet, Cassidy Paris who fuses elements of melodic rock, pop punk and classic rock and is making noise all over the world as an artist to watch. 

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Interview with Jona Tee (H.E.A.T)

Today marks the seventh album release for Swedish heavy rockers, H.E.A.T. Titled Force Majeure, this album sees the band extend their live show energy into a collection of stadium anthems including monster singles ‘Hollywood’, ‘Back To The Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’, and is a return album for founding frontman Kenny Leckremo. The band will also be making their Australian live tour debut next month, playing four shows across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

Silver Tiger Media’s Tammy Walters had a chat to keyboardist Jona Tee ahead of their release and shows.

How are you feeling with your new album Force Majeure about to be released on Friday 5 August?

I don’t think we have really realised it is so soon. But we’re really excited! Going to burst. We will be in Finland on Friday opening for Toto so we will have some sort of nice release party I hope.

Oh, that will be such a good time. As soon as ‘Africa’ comes on you’ll jump into full party mode!

[Laughs] Oh yeah, for sure!

So how long has Force Majeure been in the works?

Basically we had a singer swap, so we got our original singer, Kenny, back in the band. He rejoined in June or July in 2020, which was the beginning of the pandemic which means we had a lot of time to sit down and write music. So somewhere around there we started to write for it and we started to record August last year, so one year later, here is the release!

Kenny was a big part of the identity of H.E.A.T your debut record, and Eric was a huge part of the band for a big part of your lifespan so it would have been nice to have H.E.A.T II as a send off for Eric.

Oh yeah, definitely a big send off. We love that album too so he left with a bang!

Exactly and H.E.A.T II received a lot of praise for returning to your heavier roots. Have you tried to continue that for this album with Kenny being back?

Absolutely. We set out to continue the same vein as HEAT II, and obviously it’s a little different because we have a new singer and he sings a bit differently than Eric, but Kenny is super involved in songwriting and production and Kenny plays a lot of different instruments so with all of that in it, it becomes a bit different to HEAT II but still i think the sound is still on par or in the same vein.

We’ve already heard three songs from this record, ‘Hollywood’ which has already been turning a lot of heads to watch what H.E.A.T are doing, ‘Back to the Rhythm’ and ‘Nationwide’ – all of which are huge stadium anthems. Is that what this album is about?

Hell yeah! I mean, we love to play live and that’s what we’re kind of doing now which has been awesome, and ‘Hollywood’ is working so well live. It’s probably my favourite to play at the moment – when that chorus hits, it’s like ‘YES!’. You can feel the energy!

I’ve seen footage and it’s wild! Was ‘Hollywood’ written with the live show in mind?

You know when we first started the band, we were studio based really and me and Dave we had been working the studio a lot back then but as we started to play live it was like ‘okay’. We always felt like a heavy metal band, rather than a studio AR band so when we went on stage we felt more like Iron Maiden rather than Coat or some band like that who are moreso musicians. I guess at some point, and I think it was Tearing Down The Walls, around there, that maybe it started reflecting in the music that it was more raw and live focused and more ‘okay, what do we want to do live? What do we want them to sing and play more awesome live music? But it should be awesome to listen to in your headphones as you’re going to sleep as well.

I think you’ve found that balance well. But you are known for being a great live act and I think touring with so many amazing rock legends like Alice Cooper, Toto and Sabaton has elevated your live show even more.

Oh yeah! We were blessed to play with so many incredible acts like Alice Cooper and Toto and all of the festivals we’ve been to. Last weekend we played in Wales at Steelhouse Festival and I saw Saxon play for the first time and I was blown away. I was like ‘what the fuck!’[laughs], and that really inspires you to lift your game and step it up!     

Australia hasn’t had the opportunity to witness that though. H.E.A.T hasn’t played here before!

No, it’s our first time now in September. It’s going to be awesome. Me and Eric flew over in 2016 and played Melodic Rock Fest in Melbourne but it wasn’t H.E.AT, we did a few HEAT songs acoustically and played with another band which was for fun. We had a break with the HEAT before into the great unknown, so we flew over for that and spent a week in Melbourne. But now we’re going to come full force with HEAT which is going to be awesome. And CRAZY LIXX are coming along as well so it will be amazing. Awesome band as well, amazing live!

Being your first show here in Australia, and with a new album, what will a set look like for you? Are you going to try and balance out the newer songs with older ones that we love but haven’t seen live?   

We try to incorporate songs from every album but we have seven albums [laughs] and a bunch of music and it gets harder. We want to play the new stuff and we really want to play songs from HEAT II as well because we didn’t get to tour it so we have four or five tracks from HEAT II, yes we will play a few from Force Majeure as well but we try to play at least two from the first album, one from Freedom Rock and a couple from the Eric albums as well!

That sounds great because we had missed out on seeing you through all of your era’s, and it will be great seeing Kenny step up into the Eric vocal songs. Has that been a learning process for him?

I think he has done his thing with Eric’s songs. It’s not copying Eric’s style, he does his own thing and adds his melodies and small wails and stuff like that. He’s more soulful – I don’t know if that’s a word – he likes more soul and does the runs more than Eric who is more of a power singer. He does his interpretation on tracks, it sounds really cool! It’s awesome to play all of the tracks live at the moment!

I have to ask about the new album’s title, Force Majeure. Is that a nod to the changeover of singers or is there another meaning to it?

For us, it’s like the word force was with us all along. We wanted to make it undeniable and have this force – that was the key word – and we thought about naming the album just Force but then we thought of Force Majeure and we’re like ‘oo’. It’s like a major force and it reflects the pandemic it was written during. Force Majeure, I mean swapping singers is almost a force majeure but you can read some meanings into it.

Up for interpretation!

Most of all it sounds badass.

It does! I won’t lie I did look up to see whether you were using the English or French pronunciation but glad I didn’t have to add my French ‘r’s onto it.

[laughs] Haha yeah we’re using the English pronunciation until we go to France and sound quite pretentious! *imitates French accent* Force Majeure.

So it’s out on Friday – are there any other single releases or music video releases coming with the release?

We wanted to but couldn’t make it work because we are touring. But as you do these days, you have a focus track and that is ‘Tainted Blood’ for us. That is the one we pitched to streaming platforms. And I really love that track and cannot wait to play it live! Actually I think we’ll be playing it for the first time in Australia because the album will be out by then so we can play more songs from Force Majeure!

Amazing! We obviously can’t wait! Why was ‘Tainted Blood’ a standout for you?

I’m not sure it’s a standout but it has this heavy riff that is reminiscent of Judas Priest and I kind of love that classic metal vibe to it!

We love Judas Priest here so that’s a good sign! In terms of that logical side of pulling this album together, you did say it was created during the pandemic. Was that during lockdowns, were you writing together?

Most of the time we would write individually to get the basic idea of the track and then get together to finish it. But in terms of lockdowns, we didn’t have any hard lockdowns in Sweden which everyone had to do their share of separating and distancing from each other. So it was up to everyone to make sure they didn’t affect people. So we all got together and hung out in the studio together and we did!

That makes it so much easier. And I guess with Kenny being back it would have been important for dynamic.

Yeah and just hang out and get to know each other!

Were you in contact with Kenny during his departure?

Every now and then but not really in contact. We met up in 2015 the last time before he rejoined the band, with me, him & Dave, and Dave wasn’t in the band then. We had dinner and a few beers, actually a lot of beers [laughs] I remember! But apart from, that there would be the text are Christmas or birthdays. Until he decided to rejoin.

So how did that conversation happen that he wanted to rejoin? With him rejoining like an instant back to being close or was there a big transition period?

We had to make sure he had his priorities right this time because he left the band for a reason back in the day but he has a lot of regret leaving and you can tell and he has been very open about that. He missed it and wanted to get back. He told me in 2019 when Eric was still in the band that he wanted to come back and I told him it would be pretty hard because we had a singer but you never know for the future. It happened quite quickly for him actually. You never know!

It all happened for a reason!       

It worked out so well and we’re super happy to keep it in the family!

   That familiarity helps with excitement for fans as well.

We can tell that because we sold out our show in Stockholm and I think a lot of that is because Kenny is back. We sold out our biggest venue so far! It has to be because he is back and we’re so glad for what’s happening moving forward.

So does that mean already planning for the next album?

I actually couldn’t sleep last night because I was shifting through a shit load of song ideas! I’m constantly working on new stuff. So absolutely. We’re touring now but creating music is a constant thing. I can’t turn it off. We should start recording again next year, at least I hope!

Incredible! Well, remember when you do start planning the next album tour to add Australia to the top of the list!

We will, I cannot tell you how excited we are to be coming down and playing!

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