Interview mit Ola & Jens [The Ark], 03.10.2007, Köln, Prime Club/Tourbus
The Ark kommen aus Schweden, The Ark rocken und The Ark sind mal wieder auf Europa-Tour unterwegs. Diesmal im Gepäck haben sie ihr neustes Werk „Prayer for the weekend“ einschließlich ihrem Hit „The worrying kind“. Mit diesem hatten sie Anfang des Jahres am Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki teilgenommen und eine glamouröse Show abgeliefert. Viel Glamour und Glitter gab es auch beim Konzert im Kölner Prime Club, wo The Ark am Tag der Deutschen Einheit gastierten. Ich sprach im Tourbus mit Ola und Jens über Sonnenbrillen und Make-up.
L: How are you doing? How have been the shows so far? Is it the second time that you´re here in Cologne´s Prime Club?
O: No, I think it´s the third time. Yeah, at least. It`s the third or fourth time that we`re here. I think we played in this club every time we were in Cologne. I think we even played here when we were touring with Zoot Woman back in 2001. So we go a way back the Prime Club in Cologne and The Ark. And this tour´s been great so far. Today we´re a bit tired. We were in Paris yesterday, but yeah, we probably get in shape in time to the concert.
L: Today it´s a public holiday here in Germany called German Unification Day. How did you spend the day so far when all the shops were closed? Did you have some sightseeing-tour here?
O: Yeah, we went to the Cathedral. It was very, very impressive. And there was this big golden coffin. That is a nice Cathedral. I feel very relaxed when I´m in Cathedrals.
L: For all who doesn’t know The Ark: How would you describe the band and music-style in one sentence?
J: The Ark is an excellent live-performance act which really gives a good show and the music is just fabulous.
O: Yeah, it´s a very new way Glamrock-opera.
L: You´ve published your fourth album “Prayer for the weekend” in the beginning of this year. How does the newest album differs from the previous ones? Are there maybe any new elements that we can find on that newest CD?
O: Actually there aren´t very many new elements in this new one. But our albums so far have been very diverse and very varied like and they differed very much from each other. And I think on this newest album we just put together all the best things from the previous albums and made one really good album out of them. I think you can recognise elements from all the previous albums on this newest one. The first album was very playful and cheerful. Yes, it was a happy and crazy album. And the second album was more like bombastic and the third one was more sparse, more minimalist and more dancy. And I think on this new album we put together those elements into one unity.
L: Beside your album-release there was another big event in this year: The Eurovision Songcontest – you took part in in Helsinki. How does this possibility become true for you guys? And how important is such an event for the band?
O: Well, in Sweden the Eurovision is a very big thing, you know, and everybody either loves it or hates it, but everybody watches it. It´s like the biggest TV-event in the whole year in Sweden. So we thought it would be good promotion to be on that show, because we knew that our album will be released about the same time, so that´s very much why we did it. And it was never in our plan to actually win the Swedish competition.
J: But we did! (laughs)
O: Yeah, we did. (laughs as well) Our original plan was to become second or third, but we were too good, so we won. (grins) It was not in our plan to be part of the European Contest. But we had fun and made a lot of interesting fun-experience, meeting a lot of people from other European countries and press and media from other countries.
L: Was it directly obvious that you will take “The worrying kind” as the song for the Eurovision Songcontest?
O: Yeah, the reason why we joined the Songcontest was that we had done this song that felt very much like a classic Eurovision-song. We thought about the idea of joining, cos the song sounded like a song that would fit there. We didn`t write the song directly for the Contest, no. It just had this, you know, all this 70ies Glitter-Pop feeling. So we thought it would really fit in that sort of environment.
L: Alright. You started with the band in the 90ies and it wasn`t easy for you in the beginning. But over there years you achieved a lot of people, you won many awards and toured around the world. But are there still any dreams or aims that are waiting for their fulfilment?
O: Ja, we wanna play a bigger venue in Cologne. (all laugh) No, we wanna play bigger venues all over the world and have that kind of success we had in Sweden. We would like to just be given the chance to release our albums and to tour all over the world. Well, we`ve been touring in many parts of the world, but I think we would really like to reach out to more audience and become, you know, successful in more countries.
L: Could you complete the following sentence: Music is…
J: Music is necessary.
O: Music is fun. (laughs) If it`s fun, that is good enough for me. But of course music can also transfer important messages and ideas. And I think that is one thing we`re always trying in The Ark – to combine music that is fun and cheerful and makes you feel good, makes you wanna dance and rock out, with a meaningful content and either with sort of a political message (car horns` honking outside, all are looking through the window out of the street) or philosophical message or just something that makes you think, you know, in a new direction. There was a small collision between two cars. (points out of the window)
J: So Germans doesn`t jump out of their cars and scream at each other when they bumped into each other…? (wondering)
L: Ähhhmm…not really, maybe sometimes, but… (a horn is blown loudly)
O: They just honk their horns… (laughter)
L: By the way: You´re the first Swedish band I am interviewing and I have no idea of any Swedish sentences, but is there any important Swedish sentence that I should have to know? That I have to learn right now?
J: There is one good sentence that you could say in Swedish “Jag älskar The Ark”.
L: “I love The Ark” or something like that?
J: Yeah, that’s the first thing people actually learn in Sweden. (grins)
L: In German it would be “Ich liebe The Ark”. Do you know any German sentences or words or phrases?
J: I used to study German for five years when I was a Kid, but I lost most of it now. I can pick up some things, if I´m here for a couple of weeks probably. I can understand a lot, but it´s hard for me to speak it .
L: No sentences right now?
J: I can say anything. Just tell me what to say and I say it. (laughs) Ich möchte essen jetzt.
L: Ahh, you´re hungry.
J: Habe Hunger, ja.
L: So you didn´t had any lunch?
J: No, we skipped lunch today.
L: Do you collect anything?
J: I´m not a collector, no. I wouldn´t say. Maybe records and albums…music.
L: Okay, and you? (talks to Ola)
O: I used to collect sunglasses from the 70ies. Christian Dior- and Emanuel Kahn-sunglasses. But, you know, I´m not too engaged in that anymore. And nowadays, well, maybe I will start collecting guitars. I just bought my second guitar. So that´s maybe a start to a collection.
L: Tell me…how much make-up does a man need?
O: Oh well, he doesn´t need any at all really, you know. It´s all got to do with how it feels. You know, I like make-up on stage, but I don´t think I really need it. And actually I think that I quite of look prettier without make-up. It´s a funny little ritual to have before the gigs, you know, a way that makes me a bit calm and makes me focus before the concerts. And I think it´s the thing that I used to work as an actor, as a musical-actor. I love that theatricality that I got on stage. I like that make-up enhances theatrical effects that you can make with your face. And of course it´s enhancing the androgynity of my face which I think is interesting. There is a sort of message in that as well. It can inspire and provoke people and it´s a fun-thing. (siren of an ambulance is increasing, Jens imitates the sound, the ambulance passes the tourbus)
J: Notarzt, sounds like Mozart - Notarzt! (laughter)
L: What are your plans for after the show? For later on this evening?
J: We`re probably going to that place across the street. (pointing out of the window)
L: Rose Club?
O: No, no. I think it`s the other place “Stereo Wonderland”. Last time were in “Rose Club”.
J: But we gonna be the DJs there, so it`s gonna be good. Cos Martin, the guitarist, and we have an American friend with us and they`re gonna DJ tonight after the show. I don`t know which place it is, but it`s one of these places there.
O: The thing is that the “Rose Club” looks very much like a porn-club, but I know from experience that it`s not, cos we had the afterparty there last time we were here. And it was pretty nice.
J: But tonight I`m sure it`s gonna be lot of good music on the aftershow party and we`ll have a couple of drinks and gonna have a great time I think.
O: Yeah. And our friend from L.A. is gonna be DJ some good obscure glamrock-hits.
L: Cool. But what can we expect from the show this evening?
O: I have no idea. We gonna play a lot of our hits, a lot of our best songs. It`s gonna be a cool rocking uptempo-set, I think, and with a lot of spontaneity and theatricality and good times. And hits that you`ll be able to dance to.
J: We never know ourselves and what`s gonna happen before, so it depends…we`ve been in this venue before, so we know what it can do for us, but you can always find something new, some new path to walk.
O: Yeah, that`s the fun-thing about the club-tours; that you can make every show very different. When you`re on a big tour like we were in the summer touring Scandinavia doing big outdoor shows, it`s pretty much the same stage you`re playing every night. And it`s very strict what you can do and not, because on this big stage you can`t go out in the crowd, because there are too many people and that would be dangerous. It`s really strange, but in a small club, on a small venue, you`ve got more free room actually. You can do more things, you can be more spontaneous what I really like. And that`s why one show on club-tours is never like another one.
L: So you prefer the smaller shows than the big ones?
O: I would say I prefer a combination, you know. Because as a stage-artist I prefer doing the small shows, because that is more the challenge reaching out to the audience. And that is more fun and you can go more crazy. But if we would only do those small shows, there would be a bad sign about where your career was going. (laughs) So I`m glad we`re doing the big shows as well.
L: But with the big shows you can also reach more people, I think…
J: We can reach more people, we can have a big light-show, we can bring other things into the show like technical things. I mean it`s also good.
L: So both have their good and bad sides…
O: Yeah. But on big stages you can`t transfer your messages across so well. On a small stage you can just like twinkle your eye and everybody sees that, you know. So that`s what I like.
L: Okay, I thank you very much for the interview.
J & O: Thank you.
Interview for: fhradio & darkmoments
Band-Photo: taken from thearkworld.com
Interview-Photos & Photo Ola: taken by Alex M., (c) auroraborealis
Website Band: www.thearkworld.com
(c) fhradio, darkmoments