Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: November 2010
Brian Rademacher: Hello Emil and welcome to RockEyez
Emil Ekbladh: Thanks, it’s good to be here!
Brian Rademacher: Let’s start off by telling me a little about DIRTY PASSION’s history?
Emil Ekbladh: We started off in 2006 and have kept busy since. We’ve released a great number of promo singles and played well more than 100 shows. We’ve toured with - and played support act to - bands like FASTER PUSSYCAT, ENUFF Z’NUFF, Y&T and SAXON all over Europe.
Brian Rademacher: I see you are friends with Liz Hellman on Facebook, what were your impressions of her son Dave Lepard of CRASHDÏET?
Emil Ekbladh: Dave was a great talent. I’m a big fan of CRASHDÏET’s debut album so much because of the amazing vocals. It’s such a shame it had to end just as everything was taking off for the band. I’m glad they finally decided to continue. Actually we have the great honor of being on the same bill as CRASHDÏET here in Malmö, Sweden in December (2010). As I said, I’m glad they continued.
Brian Rademacher: Were you in any bands before DIRTY PASSION?
Emil Ekbladh: I’ve played in a couple of bands before, none worth mentioning. I was originally a guitar playing vocalist, but eventually decided to drop the guitar and focus on the vocals. I felt that the guitar playing was compromising my singing too much. I’ve never regretted my decision.
Brian Rademacher: It seems this time around Sweden is leading the resurgence of 80’s music, why do you think Sweden has become such a hotbed for this style of music?
Emil Ekbladh: I’m not sure... There are a lot of good rock bands around here and the Swedish people in general seem to appreciate classic rock music a lot. I guess it’s easy to start a rock band when everyone appreciates it.
Brian Rademacher: You have a new CD coming out, "Different Tomorrow", is this your first and can you tell us anything about it?
Emil Ekbladh: "Different Tomorrow" is DIRTY PASSION’s debut album coming out this December. In our four years or so, we’ve done just about everything except putting a record out. We’ve gotten plenty of offers from labels wanting to sign us but it never really felt right. There are so many people out there starting up record labels, signing bands and trying to make it, but usually they have no idea what they’re up to and the next thing you know the label is gone. Believe it or not, but we finally managed to find a label that has been around long enough to know what they are doing and is run by great supportive people. They thought we were great and it was mutual, so we basically signed immediately.
Most of the songs from "Different Tomorrow" were written just before we got signed and recorded right afterwards. We spent three weeks recording the album in Malmö’s Berno Studio; a studio that has produced a great number of well-known rock and metal acts. The album was mixed and processed using a lot of analogue equipment, which gives the recordings a great warmth and presence. Each instrument feels more alive. No one does this anymore, now that almost everything is digital. We’re really proud of the result and I’m sure fans will love the album!
Brian Rademacher: What were some of your favorite bands back in the day?
Emil Ekbladh: I listen to a lot of the classic rock bands like KISS, GUNS N’ ROSES, EUROPE, ALICE COOPER and more, but I also listen to some not-so-old bands like THE DARKNESS, BACKYARD BABIES and THE HELLACOPTERS.
Brian Rademacher: What was the song you played over and over again as a young kid?
Emil Ekbladh: Probably something by KISS. I know I played "Alive III" thousands of times until the CD wouldn’t run in my player anymore. I’ve always been a fan of live records.
Brian Rademacher: When DIRTY PASSION plays a live show what can fans expect?
Emil Ekbladh: You can always expect the greatest rock n’ roll show. We always deliver a kick-ass style and we’re very serious about it. We never go up there and suck. I would consider us more of a live band than a studio band and I’ve always felt that the response from the audience makes us give it a little bit extra. You should have the highest expectations on us, ‘cause we’re gonna live up to them for sure!
Brian Rademacher: After a show when you go out to eat what is Emil Ekbladh’s favorite meal?
Emil Ekbladh: Beer! I think it’s more about drinking actually... We eat before the show and then we focus on the drinking (after)!
Brian Rademacher: How hard is it being faithful since you’re in a relationship and also in a rock band?
Emil Ekbladh: It’s not very hard. You need to know where your limitations are, and if you do, it’s not gonna be a problem. Sure, there’s temptation and there’s always people who wanna be around you, but that’s part of this life and you gotta remember that you are the one responsible for your own actions.
Brian Rademacher: What was the first concert you ever saw and did it make an impact on you?
Emil Ekbladh: I think the first real rock concert I attended was KISS during their Psycho Circus tour in Gothenburg, Sweden back in 1999. That was great! It was so loud and powerful and it made a huge impact on me. The audience was so into it. After the show it felt as if like blood was coming out of my ears. I had never heard something that loud before. Anyway, I soon realized that was what I wanted to do in life...
Brian Rademacher: What was the first CD that you bought with your own money?
Emil Ekbladh: It must have been "KISS Alive II". I remember thinking the guitars were so raw and the sound and crunch of them was so perfect. The vocals were really intense and high pitched, like nothing I’ve ever heard before. You don’t hear stuff like that on the radio. That’s when I got hooked!
Brian Rademacher: What does your family think of your music career?
Emil Ekbladh: Friends and family are very supportive and they believe in us. It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t – I would be doing this anyway!
Brian Rademacher: Do you feel a band from Sweden can’t become famous unless they reach the shores of the US?
Emil Ekbladh: Yes! A lot of bands are really famous in Sweden, Europe and Japan but never get the break they deserve in the U.S. I guess it’s really hard to get noticed ‘cause there are so many great bands already. If you sell some 10,000 records in Sweden you’re famous. If you do the same in the States you’re probably not gonna be "famous". However, fame doesn’t really matter. We’re here to deliver the rock music we love and I would be just as happy selling only one CD. That’s okay, ‘cause I do it for myself first and foremost. This is what I love and this is who I am.
Brian Rademacher: What was your first job?
Emil Ekbladh: Probably delivering newspapers in the neighborhood, I think.
Brian Rademacher: What is a typical day for you these days?
Emil Ekbladh: I wake up late as hell and then there’s usually a lot of band stuff during the day. I keep in contact with the record label, people we work with in one way or another and of course the fans. Later in the afternoon I go to the rehearsal studio and meet up with the boys and we stay until pretty late. When coming home again there’s more band business to attend to such as answering fan mails and making new connections.
Brian Rademacher: Tell me your impression about each member of the band?
Emil Ekbladh: I Christopher is an amazing guitar player. He can play just about anything and if you close your eyes while listening, you’re gonna think that there’s two guitars playing. Not a lot of people can play that way, I certainly can’t.
Björn is taking care of the groove and somehow his bass playing always takes the songs to a new level, even when you thought it wasn’t possible; a great performer and cornerstone of the band.
Markus is a great driving force of the band. He knows how to keep it going onstage as well as offstage. He keeps pushing the band to their limit which is great. Awesome drummer, no doubt about it!
Brian Rademacher: Tell us 5 things that people don’t know about you?
Emil Ekbladh: I have an African Pygmy Hedgehog running around in my kitchen making a mess every night. He’s a great pet!
I’ve turned down an audition with CRASHDÏET. It was when they decided to continue after the passing of Dave. I was busy with my own projects at that point so I couldn’t make the commitment and decided I better turn it down.
I’m a huge fan of the MacGyver TV-series. I have all the seasons and watch them whenever I get the time. He’s a real hero!
When KISS released "Alive IV" they decided to put some fan mails in the booklet and asked fans to send in letters for possible inclusion. I wrote a line saying something like "Thanks for the greatest show ever", signed it with my name, and the next thing you know my letter is in the album. They put this collage of letters in the digipack edition and possibly in the LP edition as well. Very cool!
I am – and have always been - a vegetarian. I can eat everything except for animals in any form.
Brian Rademacher: Who is your favorite singer and why?
Emil Ekbladh: My all-time favorite singer would be Joey Tempest or Axl Rose. Joey has this very powerful, but at the same time smooth and soft voice. His vocal range is amazing. Axl Rose is a completely different type of singer and I don’t think I have to explain a lot about his voice. It’s just stunning, like something you’ve never heard before. Although you can practice and get better, I believe there’s little you can do to alter the sound of your voice. You can affect it to a certain degree, but you basically sing with the voice you were born to have. I’m personally much closer to the Joey Tempest type of voice, but I would never dare to compare my singing skills to his.
Brian Rademacher: Many US fans may never have the chance to see the band live, is it possible that you will be selling autographed merchandise on your official site?
Emil Ekbladh: I’m sure we will come over to the U.S. to play some shows in the not too distant future. Some of you guys will definitely have the chance to see the band in action. We get requests for signed stuff from people around the world all the time and we’re happy to assist them. At some point we may start selling stuff through our website, but we don’t feel we have the need yet. We rather have people coming out to the shows to see us and pick up the merchandise there. It’s possible to pre-order our upcoming album through a link from our website and that goes for International customers too.
Brian Rademacher: What is the thing that makes Emil Ekbladh pissed off the most?
Emil Ekbladh: Injustice. I can get really pissed off...
Brian Rademacher: And what makes you happiest?
Emil Ekbladh: Being onstage makes me happy. One hour onstage is enough to forget about the other lousy 23 hours of a day.
Brian Rademacher: How was it making the video for "D.O.A."?
Emil Ekbladh: We did that video with Jonas Hansson, who was in a pretty successful band called SILVER MOUNTAIN back in the 80’s – also from Malmö. Jonas is a talented guitar player and I think at one point people were arguing whether he or Yngwie Malmsteen was the greatest one around. Anyway, we found out that Jonas was a just as talented music video producer so we hired him. What came out of it was the coolest video ever and people just love it!
Brian Rademacher: Do you see DIRTY PASSION reaching the shore of the US at some point?
Emil Ekbladh: Yes, we’ll hit the States at some point, rather sooner than later!
Brian Rademacher: Emil just wanted to congratulate you on the new CD and wish you guys the best. Would you like to say anything in ending?
Emil Ekbladh: Buy the CD and catch us on tour! Log on to www.dirtypassion.net to find the latest about the band. If you’re into classic rock, I’m sure you’ll love us!