To combine EBM/Electro with Metal is surely not a new formula of success, and the Swedish act Red Cell can be considered to be a part of this genre. Recently signed to Progress Productions (www.progress-productions.com), a young Swedish label mainly based in Electro/Industrial music, they have earned a lot of recognition from fans of both genres, Electro and Metal, with high chart positions. Their live shows are well-attended and they are currently the most successful act from their label. Time to start an interview and bass player Per Johansson gives us the needed background info on Red Cell….
Chain D.L.K.: Lets start as usual: please briefly introduce your band Red Cell and its members to our readers. Please go also into the history of the band and tell us a bit of its founding….
Red Cell: Red Cell was formed in 2003 by bass player Per Johansson and vocalist Jimmy Jönsson, later on Jens Eriksson on synth and Stefan Aronsson joined on guitar. That’s about it. Very briefly.
Chain D.L.K.: Your hometown is Gävle, based in the middle of Sweden. But all of you seem to live now in different towns like Uppsala, Örebro or Gothenburg. How and when do you guys come together to keep the wheel in motion?
Red Cell: Well, when we recorded our album we spend a lot of time together of course, but today we only see each other during the gigs. Times change and today we are all students and have a busy schedule. Sad, but true.
Chain D.L.K.: Red Cell did win a demo contest in Sweden called “Quest for Fame” and this brought you the offer for a record deal. What were the reasons that you didn’t accept that first deal?
Red Cell: We felt that Progress Productions could offer us a deal that felt better for us as a band. I knew Torny before we signed to his label and we have always trusted him. We are both realistic and work closely which is really important!
Chain D.L.K.: So you are signed now to Progress Productions, a label more focusing on Electro/EBM. What has Torny Gottberg’s label to offer for a band which can surely sign with a more Metal-based label?
Red Cell: Well, we knew all the way that Torny hasn’t worked with so much Metal before, but he has fine contacts [for promoting] to the Metal-crowd as well so we are very pleased with how it turned out.
Chain D.L.K.: So we have four different band members with different music tastes. Is it at times difficult to find an acceptable compromise when you compose new tracks? Please try to explain us how you normally create new tracks…
Red Cell: We usually start with a melody or some type of loop that some of us compose. After that we try to find out how we want the song to turn out. Then we try to work in that direction and sometimes we follow the road, and sometimes we end up with a completely new song. For instance, “Attraction” from the record sounded entirely different from the beginning, but during the working process new things came up and something new was suddenly born! And another important thing is to know when the song is ready. That can be really difficult in electronic music.
Chain D.L.K.: Being placed on Pos. 7 of the Swedish national Metal charts is a fairytale-like story. Would you say that Metal fans are normally more open-minded than the Goth/EBM/Electro audience to rate you that unexpectedly well?
Red Cell: It’s hard to say, because there will always be those who only listen to Metal and nothing else, and on the other hand people who only listen to EBM, and think it’s a sin to mix synth with guitars for example. But that ideology has never been anything for us. We mix what we like and if you like it, cool, and if you don’t like it, fine, that’s cool as well. But I think that during the last years, I have seen many of my “metalfriends” taking a big step to discover more electronic music, and I don’t know if the trend is the same from the other side, but hopefully we will see a bigger acceptance for mixing different types of music in the future!
Chain D.L.K.: Your official debut “Hybrid Society” is out now and people expect a lyrical content about socio-critical elements. What is it mostly all about? What can give Red Cell a real inspiration?
Red Cell: I believe and hope that every person has a critical side. We are not an exception. But we never mix politics with our music in Red Cell. Our band is about something else. We create music and hope to be something to experience and discover live or maybe in a record store. It’s simple. We are inspired by so many things and some of those things can be found in our lyrics, but keep in mind, that it is up to the listener to draw his or her own conclusion what Jimmy means in his lyrics. Nothing is definitive.
Chain D.L.K.: I think it is a pity that the playing time of “Hybrid Society” is a bit to short with about 38 – 39 minutes. Wasn’t it possible to include some more tracks?
Red Cell: Yes, it was possible. But we want to do songs that are around 3-5 minutes… Maybe we could have made some more songs, I don’t know, but we decided to do 10 good, hard tracks for 38 minutes instead of repeating melodies one too many times, which I think can be heard [too often] these days…
Chain D.L.K.: You are often playing live, mostly based in Sweden. I would like to ask how much of your instruments are really played “live”. How is it with the electronic part of your music? Please try to explain us your show to all of us who hadn’t until now the chance to see you on stage…
Red Cell: Well, that’s an interesting question because many seem to wonder about that! In some reviews in newspapers and people after gigs, many actually believe that we are doing playback! Maybe we should take that as a compliment, but we play live. Of course a rock band is more “live”, using drums when we have backtracks, but we play guitar, bass and synth live. And of course all vocals are live. It’s impossible to play everything you hear on the record live, and we think in some way, a concert is very much a visual act, to see us behind the music, and we hope that everybody who wants to see us live will do that!
Chain D.L.K.: Some words regarding the future of Red Cell. Can you already confirm new releases? How is it with a tour outside of Sweden?
Red Cell: No new releases are planned at this time. We focus on “Hybrid Society” now and we will do promotion for this record by playing live in Sweden this autumn. After the new year we hope to go abroad in Scandinavia and maybe one day visit Germany and after that world dominance. No, just kidding. Maybe…. Heh-heh….
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else you would like to tell us…?
Red Cell: I would like to thank you guys for paying attention to our music, and everybody else who has been reading this. Take care and thanx once again!
Chain D.L.K.: Thank you very much and good luck along the way.
Visit Red Cell on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]