Shiva: Sweden's melodic rockers get tougher.

Shiva's duo of Mats and Anette talk about their new harder rocking release and life as Sweden's Shiva.

Hi guys, Congratulations on the new album. It's a slightly heavier affair than the debut - what thoughts did you have in mind when starting to write and record this new album?
Mats: Thanks a lot! We wanted to do a heavier album than “SHIVA”, but still very melodic. It felt more exciting to do something different on Desert Dreams comparing to our debut and it felt naturally in a way to take this step.
Anette: Yes, it s a little bit heavier and harder than the first album but it s still very melodic and, in fact, Desert Dreams has more ballads than the first so it has a soft side as well.

I think the album is partly in the style of the debut and partly heavier, and little more contemporary. Are there are any bands that have influenced your style in this manner?
Mats: I listen to all kinds of music, everything from hard rock, heavy- , trash- metal to classic- and pop-music and I can t particularly mention new bands that I m influenced by. But I know that my old influences still means a lot to me.

There is only two of you, yet the sound is very full. How do you arrange things in the studio to ensure the full band sound?
Mats: well, on “Desert Dreams” I play all the instruments myself except Losing my Child were Niclas Olson plays the piano. I always have an idea how it should sound before recording, so the instrument part takes very little time that includes the guitar-solo too. We mostly lay down our time to get the right feeling on the vocals and of course the in the mix-down process, that s what means most in the end.

Do you think fans of the debut will accept the heavier sound and have you had much feedback from them yet?
Mats: Some of the old fans have reacted a little negative to our heavier sound at first, but after a several listening they become more positive. Especially when the have understand the lyrics. There are always people that don't want changes from a band but we must follow our heart, otherwise it becomes boring, so the album.

You had a two album deal with Z Records - what prompted the move to MTM Music?
Mats: Well, we didn't want to be in that messy sinking ship. And we understood very early that this label didn't work professional. In fact we haven't seen a single penny from that stinking label (shame on you!) Oh yes, we did get 25 copies of SHIVA s.t. that was more than generous! So you can imagine how much this has cost us.

And how have you found working with your new label?
Mats: They work very professional and they are very easy to work with. No problem there, thank God! I've been in contact with Mario at MTM since one month after signing with Z Records 2002. We have also got paid by our new label :-), we aren't use to that (ehh..)

There are a lot of great Swedish bands out there - do you hang out with or are good friends with any in particular?
Mats; The only one I can think of is my very dear friend Niclas Olsson (Alyson Avenue). It was thanks to him we began play again after many years of silence. Then of course I had help from Tommy Dennader and Tony (Seven Wishes) when we left Z Records, so we stay in touch.

Who do you take advice from when working on a new record?
Mats: Until now we have done what feels right for us. We can t make an album asking people around or people telling us what to play. First of all it must be fun and by heart. Both Anette and I have day-time works and families and that little time that s left we want to enjoy doing music. And I think you can hear at both SHIVA-s.t and Desert Dreams that we have fun doing it. The main thing for us is not to make the most beautiful melodies and harmonies. A good song for us is when you can feel a lot of passion hearing it.

I admire the lyrical depth of some of your tunes - they have a clear message and are very passionate. Who writes the music and the lyrics and where does the lyrical inspiration come from?
Anette: I m very glad to hear that you think so. We have come to realize how important a lyric is to a song and we want to get better in that. Mats usually come up with an idea, a theme, when he works with a song. Sometimes he has a chorus or a verse finished when we meet to try out new ideas and sometimes just keywords. From that we discuss what kind of feeling or sense we want for the song and then I usually finish the lyric at home. I think we have a good teamwork around the lyrics and we are getting better at it. The inspiration comes from life it selves.

Do you get the opportunity to play live at all and if so, who rounds out the band on stage?
Anette: No, not yet anyway. We have a couple of old friends that could help us out if that would be in question.
Mats: As I said before we've been delayed for some reasons (the Z Record thing), maybe up to 1,5 year. All this has cost both money and energy but we hope to be able to play live as soon we have the chance. If this all goes well, we would love to go on tour at least play at festivals. We have talk to some musicians who are willing to help us out. The only name I can give you at this moment is Niclas Olsson (Alyson Avenue) on keyboard.

What bands influenced you as young musicians and to get started in the very first place?
Anette: to be honest, I can t remember who influenced me to be a singer because I was only 5 years old when I decided that..:0). The bands I grew up with were Saxon, Halloween, Queensryche, Whitesnake and TNT just to mention a few. But I also liked Whitney Houston, Billy Idol, Aretha Franklin and of course my favourite - Freddie Mercury! I have always liked different kind of music styles but hardrock was and still is the greatest.
Mats: It's pretty much the same as Anette but to mention some others, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, but also Abba, Beatles, Queen and many more.

And what are your favourite albums of all time and currently?
Anette: My favourite album must be Metallica the black album. I haven't found anyone who can match up to that one.
Mats: The black one

So what comes next for Shiva in 2004?
Anette: we will soon try out some ideas and begin working with album No 3. And of course continuing promoting Desert Dreams through interviews etc.

How do you envision the next album sounding like?
Mats: we begin were we ended. That means like the first 5 song on Desert Dreams but you never know! We will improve the songs, production, sounds and work a lot with the lyrics. And maybe I'll practice on the guitar before recording it. :-)

Anything you would like to add?
Mats: Many things have been said about Desert Dreams and we have got many new fans. But for the ones, who don t like the heavier stuff, listen to the lyrics! Enjoy!
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Many thanks for taking the time to do this interview!
Mats: Thank you!
Anette: Thank you! for taking the time, and giving us an opportunity to speak our minds. We want to thank our fans out there for believing in us. We love you!