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A Dirty Dozen with MIKAEL JACOBSON from LIAR THIEF BANDIT – March 2021

| 25 March 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Liar Thief Bandit will release their third album Deadlights on May 14, 2021. The album contains 12 tracks of modern-sounding and forward-thinking Scandinavian garage rock and will be released on digital, vinyl, and CD format. Liar Thief Bandit effortlessly blends smooth guitar licks, infectious hooks, and uplifting lyrics with a ton of live-rock energy, creating an album that easily would pass for a best-of collection of singles. Recorded in Tambourine Studios, who launched the career of The Cardigans among others, and produced by Erik Sunding, who’s been the engineer/producer for bands such as Terrible Feelings and Bob Hund. The production on Deadlights is spotless, taking the spirit of Garage rock revival to a completely new level. Deadlights is released on The Sign Records, who’ve previously worked with Liar Thief Bandit for the release of the band’s 2019 7” split single ”Virtue Not a Vice / Saved by Rock n Roll” together with Grande Royale. Nothing can stop Liar Thief Bandit – get ready.” We get guitarist / vocalist Mikael to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

With this release we wanted to do something we hadn’t done before. After playing live extensively since the last album, we recorded the foundation of the songs live in the studio to capture the essence of our stage performance. The songs are inspired by and created during a hectic period of touring and the lyrics weigh heavy on life experiences I’ve gathered both in my personal life and out on the road. As for nuggets there’s a pretty obvious one in the latest single released to date, ‘Right from Wrong’ – I think basically anyone who’ve ever listened to rock music can figure that one out. Friends that’ve been around for a while might recognize our tendencies to mix action and melody with heartfelt lyrics, although we’ve made sure to challenge ourselves venturing into territories we don’t normally enter musically.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My older brother played the guitar and listened to a lot of hard rock when I was growing up, so my first steps into music came from him. He wrote his own songs and he gave me my first experience first-hand with someone being influenced by the music they loved and turning it into songwriting. It rubbed off on me at an early age even before I realized it.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Well, this one is easy. The Hellacopters, their song “Hopeless Case of a Kid in Denial,” their live show at the Hultsfred Festival 2001 in Sweden (which I saw on TV at the age of 13), and their live show at KB in Malmö, Sweden in 2005. They are the main reason that I play music in the first place, their album High Visibility was the one that made me want to pick up the electric guitar, start a rock ’n’ roll band and the rest will become history.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Other than The Hellacopters I would say Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Turbonegro, and Gluecifer.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

If he’d still be with us, Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy. I think our songwriting techniques would blend into something amazing. He was such an inspiration.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We tend to blend classic rock, hard rock and good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll in a trio setting. Heavy focus on melodies and making the arrangements pop, our main goal is to make the audience feel something extraordinary while listening, watching and experiencing our music. The most cringe-worthy must have been a guy in the early days of the band after a show when we had just released our debut album back in 2016. He said he would hear a little Volbeat in it. I couldn’t believe my ears! Luckily, we’ve never heard it since (from what I know).

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Niklas (bass) does the cooking, William (drums) makes sure there are plenty of drinks (for his and our sake) and no one cracks out the acoustic guitar. Well, if it has to be someone, I guess it’s me but in our camp that’s a big no-no (unless another band we hang with starts, then I usually jump in under the influence, haha).

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I don’t really get starstruck but I guess the close as it gets would be when I met Nicke Andersson from The Hellacopters when I was in charge of merchandise for one of his other bands Imperial State Electric back in 2014. It was a bit surreal to stand and chat with your main music influence but it was also a very pleasant experience.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I’ve developed an addiction for adrenaline and I just can’t get enough of the kick of being on stage in front of an audience. That, combined with being able to meet so many great people from all parts of the world is hands down the best part. If it wasn’t for music, I really don’t know where I would belong. I suppose that if I wouldn’t be a musician, I would still want to be in the music business working with other bands and helping them rise to the top.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I always enjoy talking about my lyrics. I find them different from most lyrics in our genre and I don’t get asked about them too often. So, the question I’ve always wanted would be: “What is your relation to lyrics? Do you give them much thought and what inspire you when writing them? Is there an overall theme for your lyrics or a message you want to get through?” And the answer would be: I’ve always had a thing for the written words. They often come to me early in the songwriting process, as soon as I have a song idea going, I’ll start writing lyrics simultaneously as I get inspired by the melody and the mood of the song. Most of the lyrics I write touch on the subject of picking yourself up during or after hardships in life, taking chances and facing obstacles with a positive state of mind. Basically, turn your setbacks into challenges, your self-doubt into determination. I always write from within and try to make it able for others to relate and apply the words to their own experiences.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I guess there are always situations that you look back on with that feeling but the most significant for us would be making decisions in the past about certain shows and contracts. But the thing is, everything is clear in hindsight and most of the times everything looked good on paper and as the question implies, if it wouldn’t change our current situation, I don’t think that we really regret any of it in the end.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Well, I cannot choose anything other than High Visibility by The Hellacopters. Than record means so much to me in so many ways and to be part of that magic coming together firsthand would be surreal! As I stated earlier, it’s the record for me, the one that changed and shaped my musical life.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss touring. So much. Performing live, see beautiful places, meet wonderful people and gather new experiences. We are doing our best to be creative during these times, writing new songs and keeping the faith but we all really can’t wait to get out on the road again!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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