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The Poodles have just released their new album 'Sweet Trade' via AFM Records and it is well worth getting if you love melodic hard rock. Over to vocalist Jakob Samuel...
1. What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Just finished pre-rehearsal for the tour. Looking at the new set list, very enjoyable to play the new songs and the new set list will be really, really good. We do five songs from each album, new songs like 'Thunderball' and 'Seven Seas'.

2. You did a great job with the last album and this one and how do the band feel now that this is becoming more like a full time band?

We are all happy campers, we really wanted to do this. We've been doing this for two years now and we are really happy about the situation. We have a wider base to work on, not only Sweden but Europe as well.

3. Are the Poodles a continuation of your old band Jekyll and Hyde and does that band influence the Poodles at all as a band?

We don't see it as an extension of Jekyll and Hyde as we have done so many other things in between. It's been ten years since Jekyll and Hyde but its not something we look back too.

4. Did you expect such great reaction to your debut album 'Metal Will Stand Tall' and having hit singles in your native Sweden?

We expected something but nothing like the reaction we got. It is always hard to know what fans will like, We did what did and hoped for the best. The Eurovision was one part of the whole thing and it had a deep impact and made way for the album.

It's fantastic to have four hit records, every musician's dream is to make it and get recognition.

We have been doing what we do for fifteen years and we never worried about being a one hit wonder. We are in this for the long run.

5. Was it hard to write a follow-up to 'Metal'?

I wouldn't say so as I have always written a lot and had over thirty songs ready for this 'Sweet Trade' album. We had a candy box to pick from! Songs that don't achieve the album may come back later on and some on 'Sweet Trade' didn't make the debut to start with like 'Band Of Brothers'. Some will come out as bonus songs in different territories or maybe recorded with other artists. We are with Universal in Sweden so they may use some.

6. Could you take us through some of the songs on the new album 'Sweet Trade'?

'Flesh And Blood' I was played a year ago and I really loved the song for the fantastic melodies, so beautiful with a chord in the beginning. I immediately I just heard in my head 'I want flesh and blood'. I really wanted it on the album and was really quick to write the lyrics for it. It represents a lot of what the Poodles are about a cool riff, strong melody and good energy.

'Streets Of Fire' is a song about the energy comes out of things you want to do and following your inner vision, energy that you have. We you do and move on your own path it becomes like a runaway train, so fast and so hard energy. It's a song that turned out really cool on the album.

'Seven Seas' - I read a lot about pirates awhile back and one about Black Sam figure. When he was finally captured his head was taken off and before he finally sank he swam 8 rounds around the boat before he sank. There are so myths around pirates and thought we should do a duet on this one, I wanted a rough character on this one. I saw some similarities with a pirate and a rock musician but we steal people's time but hopefully we entertain them!

We went through a lot of people looking for such a singer and the guy who came up were mainly actors, so Pippa Soloman ('Prison Break', 'Fargo') is a big Swedish actor and he was the one. He is a bog rock 'n' roll fan, so we said lets check with him and once we got to hear it he wanted to do it straight away. He was really thrilled to do this and he filled the character that I wanted to fill very well. He's the Black Sam character.

'Walk The Line' is about one of my friends who has been really bad into drugs and finds it really hard to get out of it. I wrote it in a very special place, around seven years ago and re-wrote some of it for this album. The string arrangement is really fantastic.

'Thunderball' is a fantastic album song. It grew on me and all my favourite albums have five or six direct songs and five or six songs that grow on you.

'Reach The Sky' it had the hardest way to get on the album but the rest of the band was reluctant to add it to start with. It has the classic clichés in the lyrics but it does work and in a good way.

'We Are One' it is a classic hard rock ballad, very powerful and strongly melodic. Really about feeling isolated and reaching to another person. 'Without You' is almost like an imaginary person you are looking for but never find.

'Band Of Brothers' is about the band and the life we have been living for a long time and trying to achieve. Something we really wanted to do this thing and be the best we can.

'Heavens Closing In' I heard over six months ago with a totally different lyric and it was called 'Hell Freezes In', I've never heard that before. You can do what you want to do, you have a chance to live your life and dreams if you give yourself a chance.

7. What has been the reaction so far to the new album?

The general reaction back home has been surprise at following up with such a strong album. We have not had much time to read many reviews yet but the first ones we have read have said this album is even better than the first one. The first album back home had hard critics back home but this time it has been much better received. With reviews the good reviews are good to keep and the rest you should just leave behind you, unless they are a very good critic just carry on.

8. How are the preparations going for the tour with Gotthard?

We tour a bit back home but it is the first tour on the new album and we are special guests on the Gotthard tour which allows us a longer set time. We can bring more of our show on the road, like this time we can bring the drum kit out. We can't do a big tour of the UK or Spain due to cost and tour support. I guess the previous HammerFall tour came out more expensive than they thought. This is the first step and we definitely go out again. Thunderground being cancelled was a big blow, we were really sad but we want to get back and play Britain.

9. Who are your musical heroes and why?

Classical music to start with as my mother is a classical conductor but then rock 'n' roll and hard rock plus Supertramp and Billy Joel. I am a fan of good music not really into genres. I just love good melodies.

10. What band would you love to tour with if you had the chance?

David Coverdale and Whitesnake, Bon Jovi (but not so much what they do now) and Audioslave. Definitely Guns 'N' Roses and if Queen were around. To play drums with Talisman was great and to tour with them, people like Marcel Jacobs and Jeff Scott Soto.

11. What do you do with your spare time outside of music?

Spending time with my family and friends, having dinners and socializing. I read a lot of books as well.

12. Message for the fans

We have a great tour ahead of us and if you can't make it follow us on the website

Interview © 2007 Jason Ritchie. With thanks to Mike Exley.
All rights reserved.

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