During those dark days when melodic rock was a dirty word, Germany's Bai Bang retreated from the studio to the live circuit, releasing only the compilation Best Of Bai Bang between the years of 2001 and 2009. However since then we've been spoilt, with the double B's returning with three albums in four years. The band's latest effort All Around The World being a celebration of good time anthems with party lyrics and hooks aplenty. Sea of Tranquility's Steven Reid recently quizzed Bai Bang singer Diddi Kastenholt about how he plans to get his band's message All Around The World...
Hi Diddi and thanks for taking the time to answer some questions!
Hello! Nice to talk to you!!
The reaction to your new album All Around The World has been really, really positive; you must be delighted by the album reviews and fan reaction to it?
Oh yes, we are! It's so great to get the good reviews and to get the great response from the fans! I knew from the beginning that this was the best album we have ever done, so far at least, but I was worried about the reviews in a way! We did get some very good reviews on the last album Livin My Dream so I thought, "How can we get even better reviews this time???" But, I knew inside that this was better so, it's very nice to get this good reaction!!!
The song "Everybody Everywhere" starts the album in amazingly fiery fashion, simply kicking in almost mid chorus. What a great way to set out what the album is about. Was that the intention?
This song was actually the very last one to be recorded!!! We had only one song left to write…. I was not satisfied with the ideas I'd come up with to that point for it!! We had to get the album ready!! The label had to wait! I did not want to just put on 'another' song; it had to be good!! One day I was at a shopping mall and as always, having my cell phone with me, this song just came out. I do record ideas, riffs, melodies, hooks, all kinds of stuff on the phone, so I don't forget it and so I still have if it's any good…And this time, I came up with the hook and recorded it straight away! Next day I was in the studio and, two hours later the lyrics and the chorus was done. Next day the whole song was ready. It took four hours! I really love this song! It's a killer kick-start for a party!!!
Your last two albums Are You Ready and Livin' My Dream both have very self-explanatory titles; what is the message behind All Around The World?
It actually had a "working title" at first; Never Slow Down, but I changed it. We love to play All Around The World!!! And we've got fans from all around the world! That's why.
All Around The World has the same punchy sound as Livin' My Dream. How much has your producer for both those albums, Pontus Assarsson, influenced your sound?
Pontus and Bai Bang have been working together since 2008 and we fit very well together. He is like a sixth member of the band. We understand each other perfectly! He knows what we want.
So have you had the chance to play many shows in support of the album yet?
No, only two so far - one at High Voltage in Copenhagen and the other at The Tivoli in our hometown of Helsingborg, when we had the release party on May 17th, but we'll have done Rocklahoma when this comes out, and then, we hope, many more.
What other touring plans do you have?
As I say, lots of shows and, hopefully some more festivals like Rocklahoma. We're doing Wacken Open Air again - we're doing a press show and meet and great at that… - and we're doing the HEAT Festival later in the year.
Before your 2009 album, Are You Ready, Bai Bang took quite a while away from the scene...
That's right. We did play a lot live, but did not record. We did release a 'Best Of Bai Bang' CD, but the live offers were so good.
However, since then you've released a new album every two years. What do you put that reinvigorated work-rate down to?
I think our music style began to be popular again, simple as that! We've had a lot of support from our fans and we got a lot of energy from playing live, which was really inspiring.
Unlike many bands, who have been going as long as Bai Bang, you guys never changed your approach, while others incorporated grunge or more "modern" aspects in to their sound. How challenging was it to stay true to your musical beliefs during those times?
Oh yes, many bands changed their sound and even their musical styles, but Bai Bang kept on. The grunge period was hard on every hard rock band, but we did what we always wanted to do, play our glam hard rock music.
How important has it been for Bai Bang to hook up with a label like AOR Heaven, who are passionate about keeping the music we all love alive?
It's great!! To have AOR Heaven as our label is the best! They really like the music. It couldn't be better!
The music industry has changed hugely since Bai Bang first formed. How difficult is it for you guys to keep on releasing quality albums and playing great live shows in the current climate?
It's easy! When you love a thing that much, as we do; loving hard rock music, it's never difficult. I think we are getting better every year! The sound and our performances on stage is now better than ever and we love touring, being on stage, meeting the fans.
In recent times you've added a second guitarist, Jens Lundgren, to the band. Why did you feel the need to add a second six string?
Well, we have had two guitar players before, but with this new album we definitely do need a second guitar player. It's essential for the sound and Jens is a great guitar player; and a really nice guy.
How did you hook up with Jens and has having him on board changed the sound of the band?
Johnny, our drummer, knew him. He was introduced to us and after a rehearsal he was in the band! It sounded so much fuller and moreover, it's good on stage!
And very recently you've just parted company with bassist Joacim Sandin. What were the reasons behind that?
Many marriages fall apart and this one too. It was bound to happen really. It's never good to play in three different bands, there will be a collision! And so it happened! Now, he is no longer in the band and we focus on the future.
So, the fact that Joacim was in more than one band caused difficulties in planning Bai Bang's schedule?
YES!! That was a big problem! It's OK to have projects on the side, but you must have one band that's more important. If the other bands get more attention, it's time to say goodbye!
However, you've very quickly brought "Sikk Roxx" in to the band. How did you decide he was the man for the job?
We knew each other before this basically - he lives in our home town. After we rehearsed we said immediately, "He´s the man for the job!" Great bass player. Very good on stage and one of the nicest people I've met! And he's been in plenty different bands before.
Well that's all my questions; is there anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks a lot! We really hope you like the new album All Around The World! We really hope to see you soon at a gig!!! And, Rock on all around the world!
(Click here to read our reviews of All Around The World)