RISE AND SHINE FULL INTERVIEW APRIL 2011 WITH JOAKIM KNUTSSON,
Here is an interview I did very recently with Joakim "Jocke" Knutsson lead guitarist with Swedish Hardrockers RISE AND SHINE, who have just released their 4th album on I Hate Records titled "Empty Hand" here is what Jocke had to say in reply to the questions I emailed him:-
Hey Jocke, Rise and Shine is now in its 18th year as band, did you ever think you would still be making music this far down the line and have four albums under your musical belt with this band?!
JOCKE:-Yes. We never had this idea that if the band is no big hit we would call it a day. We play the kind of music we love and feel is somewhat a missing link in the music scene. When we started the music we play was not really the shit to do. Now it seems to be a small hype around it which is both cool and irritating in a way. Every average sucker has Pentagram as favourite band today, how annoying isn’t that? Good for Bobby and the guys of course and he is a fan of ours as well, I actually got to sign a record for him once. Got so confused that I forgot to ask for his autograph, haha!
About 18 years and four albums if you asked me 18 years ago I probably guessed we by now made six or seven albums. But that’s life. We feel privileged being able to record at all these days.
Please introduce the readers to the band members and who does what.
JOCKE:-Josabeth Leidi sings but prefer to call it voice and plays acoustic guitar. Sometimes she plays a recorder as well. She is half Italian and has a temper to go with it. I (Joakim Knutsson) play guitar. Me and Josabeth are the main song writers. Dennis Pålsson on the bass has been in the band since the beginning part from a stint a couple of years ago. Magnus Rydman has been on the drums for seven years now. He origins from the south of Sweden as all of us and has mainly been playing in rock and roll type of bands before joining Rise and Shine. He is stubbornly in to seventies hardrock. Daniel Josefsson is the latest recruit he played in Beneath before and is now working on Swedens #1 metal/punk magazine Close Up. We all got this infamous Scandinavian drinking habit and live in the same area of Stockholm, Hökarängen. Hök is Hawk in english that's the reason for the new logo with the hawk. Except from Daniel the rest of us were friends even before Rise and Shine existed.
Speaking of albums, you have just had your 4th full length album "Empty Hand" released by I Hate Records, How did this (very well deserved I must say!) deal with this label come about?
JOCKE:-We sent new tracks around got positive feedback from a handful labels. We choose the one that seemed to do the best work for us. Lets face it, the label is run by a real hardrocker who loves the music not someone who is just wants to do business.
Were you familiar with much of the labels past output?
JOCKE:-Yeah I was well aware of the label and some of the releases.
What happened with your previous label partnership, was it a mutual decision?
JOCKE:-Somewhat, Josabeth was not to fond of the work they did.
Please tell the readers in your own words a little about the new album and why the title "Empty Hand"?
JOCKE:-Hmm, I didn’t write the lyrics to that one. Josabeth thought it was a good name for an album. I guess it isn’t to positive but then again we are not always as people. We laugh a lot but we also are disappointed with life sometimes I guess that’s the reason for the title. Midlife Crises maybe.
There is as always a great mix of tempos going on.
JOCKE:-Yeah you know all members of Rise and Shine got a vast music interest. Even though we are in to doom and stuff like that it would be impossible for us to go for that tempo for a whole album. We are more like Uriah Heep in that way. Different tempos and feelings. Josabeth tend to make more doom songs than I. I tend to be closer to Judas Pries and Guns ‘n Roses in the song writing, haha!
There has been a gap of around 5 years inbetween the release of your 3rd album "Ghosts of the Past" and the new album, why was this?
JOCKE:-We work like Def Leppard and need about five years, hahaha! No I don’t know really. Trouble with record labels is one reason. Band members having “better” things to do is one. This won’t happen again. I will not tolerate that we will start working on new tunes next week. We will also try out a couple of odd cover tunes.
How long have you been sitting on the material for the new album, has it been a case of writing over a few years for this or did it all just come together more recently?
JOCKE:-Except for “Harmony and Noise” and “Someone else’s Share” (written before the third album) we wrote the rest of the album within two months. We booked the studio and then we had no choice.
One of the songs on the new album "Someone Elses Share" has to probablys be the hardest and most fiercest sounding song I have heard by the band, it has an 80s metal vibe to it to my ears but you can still clearly tell it is Rise and Shine, what were the inspirations for this song musically?
JOCKE:-Josa wrote it I did the riffs and arranged it. For my part the inspiration was Accept and Ozzy.
Is there any plans for the band to get out onto the road outside of Sweden and undertake a proper tour at some point to support this album? You played the UK just over 10 years ago, any chance you could make a return to these shores at some point?
JOCKE:-Well if we get the opportunity we’ll come. Unfortunately getting on proper tour like support act costs a lot these days so I can’t give any guarantees. I guess if people want us to and if the album sell well it will be some gigs around Europe and hopefully even rest of the world as well.
Some of the lyrics on this album seem very dark and quite depressive, can you tell us abit about what subjects the lyrics deal with on this album.
JOCKE:-Except from “King Cliff” which is a tribute to you know who all the lyrics is about our lives in general. Well “King Cliff” is also in a way he meant much to us when we were teenagers. Dark lyrics yes. It seems a bit wimpy to complain considering that we are living in one of the richest and best countries in the world. But I guess it is back to the being in the middle of life stuff. Damn I should listen to the tune “Midlife Crisis” by Faith no More I might learn something.
You have seemed to have gone through a lot of member changes over the past 10 years, what has kept you going through the tough times, how long has the current line up been together for?
JOCKE:-Current line-up for about a year. Maybe actually that’s the thing that brought us together, I don’t know. The downside is that it takes five years to do a record and stuff when you have changes in the band all the fucking time. One thing that I can be honest with is that Rise and Shine isn’t a very democratic band. Me and Josabeth decides about 90 percent. That can be hard to accept.
Yourself and Josabeth also play in the great punk-metal crossover band Satanarchy who released one great album and you have recently became active again with this band, please tell the readers abit about this project and what your future plans are?
JOCKE:-We’ve been doing new stuff for a new album and started play shows again. Hopefully we release something later this year. It has also been shown interest in releasing “Disgraceful World” on vinyl. Max from bands like Hearse and Furbowl plays the drums and makes killer punkmetal tracks mr Violence of Gehennah fame growls his lungs out. I got this urge to play some really aggressive stuff now and then. That is aggressive in the old school way. Not the tight as fuck kind of way. That’s why we started the band ten years ago.
You run (or used to run) a label called Freedoom Records aswell as co-running Primitive Art Records, both labels are known for releasing stuff by Rise and Shine aswell as a Trouble tribute CD, various Gehennah recordings, the infamous Headbangers Against Disco 7" trilogy and you also released the first 7" by Witchcraft, what is the status of both labels right now? Are any titles still available?
JOCKE:-At the moment nothing is happening. I had some ideas for Primitive Art though which Paulo also felt was cool. Maybe it will be something released in the future. Probably like exclusive 7 inches. You need to do stuff which has the money back guarantee these days and I think we got some coming. Well a few copies of some of the records still left. Some of them are extremely rare these days like the Witchcraft 7 inch you mention.
What are the future plans of Rise and Shine, what else have you got planned for this year??
JOCKE:-Hopefully some touring and we will start writing new songs it will not be another five years for the fifth album. That is to long you might be dead and buried in five years and you know I do not want to have any regrets in the arms of death!
Many thanks for answering my questions Jocke!!
JOCKE:-Kat it is me who should be thanking you instead. Cheers!!!