Draped across a plush leather couch, I feel awkward, not because it’s an interview, but because I not used to this sort of thing. I’m in a bar, with two fairly attractive young women, and they’re talking to me. “What’s your sign?” won’t work on these two. They’re battle worn music veterans. Sure they’re cute and about my age, but they’re also possessed with a maturity I can’t hope to match.
Swedish rock act Sahara Hotnights got its start about 10 years ago when a couple of 11-year-old girls decided to pick up axes and bang out a few tunes.
Ten or so years later, the girls: Johanna Asplund (bass), Jennie Maria Asplund (guitar), Josephine Forsman (drums), Maria Elisabeth Andersson (guitar) are on their first headlining tour of the America. Touting their newly released record, Jennie Bomb, the band is currently traveling the country with a mission. As Forsman and Asplund explain it, they’re coming out to rock hard and revive the lost genre of female driven rock ‘n’ roll. Oh yeah, and to get away from the English.
Hatchet: How’s America’s rock scene different from the Swedish scene?
Josephine Forsman: It’s not really different. It’s different than the English audience. We’ve done a lot of tours there. They’re kind of stiff, and the American audiences are more open.
H: So the English are stiffer than Americans?
Johanna Asplund: They’re too cool.
Forsman: Like sometimes they move their head but that’s it.
Asplund: Being a support band in America is much nicer. Being a support band for an English band, some of them treat you like shit. And the clubs that you play in, they don’t really care who you are. They don’t think about the fact that maybe one day we’ll come back as the headliners.
H: So now that you’re headlining, are you gonna treat them like shit?
Asplund: Oh yeah.
H: You guys have been together for10 years. How old were you when you started?
H: Is it hard for you guys, being young and on the road?
Forsman: We’re not that young now. Six years ago, maybe it was a problem when people asked about us then.
H: If I were doing what you guys are doing, it’d scare the hell out of me.
Asplund: Actually, I’m starting to feel really old. You know how everything works.
H: So you guys have a grip now on putting records out and touring?
Forsman: I think we know exactly how that works. Of course there will always be difficulties with labels. That’s something you really can’t control. But we have gotten used to being on the road and sleeping in shitty hotels.
Asplund: Now you discover that a good label doesn’t exist. We’ve talked to a lot of people , and we discover that some of them are assholes and some of them just have weird ideas.
H: Do you guys have trouble with clubs and booking and stuff like that? People taking advantage of you because you’re young?
Asplund: In the beginning there was a lot of that. I remember we and a couple of friends who had a band, went on tour. We were selling merchandise and everything. We came back and gave all the money to the record company. We didn’t get anything. We discovered that a couple years ago. We were like, ‘Did we ever get any money from that tour?’