Interview with Anders Wikström (Treat)
Treat released their debut album back in 1985 (“Scratch And Bite”) and now they are back on record with the new album “Tunguska”. I got a chance to talk to the bands guitar player Anders Wikström.
WHAT MAKES TREAT A RELEVANT BAND 2018?
-Tough question,harder climate for rock bands today than it was when we first came out.
In my world it is to continue forward, Robban(Ernlund,singer) and I actually spoke yesterday about how to make the band better in a wider perspective, it took some time to land in ourselves after the reunion. Everybody in the band knows what to do now and we focus on what lies ahead
YOUR NEW RECORD BECAME #1 IN SWEDEN ON FRIDAY,CONGRATULATIONS
-Thank you, well no one of us expected this of course, we have had hits but not a number 1.
High chart positions was or even am today something we don´t take for granted as a rock/hardrock act, it´s not that easy to have “hit songs” or “hit albums” as a rock/hard rock band .
This new album was kind of a long process, we released a video this June, to let everybody know that we are still here and about to release new material, we had great response to it and when we announced the new record we made a good amount of pre orders which was fun and a feeling that we were not forgotten.
WHAT DOES TUNGUSKA MEAN?
-It was an incident / explosion in Siberia Russia in the early 1900s, caused by a meteorite.
ANOTHER TRACK I THINK IS AN ACTUAL PLACE IS “HEARTMATH CITY”
-Well it´s not a place physically. It´s more of a mindset. A state of getting rid of insignificant things where you can put away the bad things in life and only focus on the good things, a dreamy place.
ALMOST 35 YEARS INTO YOUR CAREER ITMUST BE HARD TO CHOOSE A SETLIST?
-Of course, now with a new record out, we put quite a few new songs in there . We also try to change a lot during the course of the tour and avoid getting stuck with the same songs throughout the tour.
The newer songs kind of suits good in comparison with the older songs. We want to play new songs, of course now with a successful album it´s easier to put more new tracks into our set. Hard to please everyone. We ourselves think we have lots of great songs to play. Try to rotate more.
COULD YOU PICK ONE FAVOURITE SONG TO PLAY LIVE?
-I can´t pick just one song, that is hard, there are several new songs who kind of plays itself you just go along with the track, I never felt that earlier(before the reunion) . We are greatful for having the opportunity to do records in 2018 and do older songs in new versions
-After the reunion and up til now we have going out on shorter tours, no one in the band can do months and months of touring, we focus on shorter tours. And the feeling in the band is that we all are ok with it. And the cycle of touring /album/touring doesn´t become a heavy burden on our shoulders. We can be out of the spotlight for a while, then come back and still have an audience. That´s a good thing about being in a rock band that has been around, you don´t feel afraid of drowning in playlists on Spotify for example. We have already built a reputation, people know our logo, our style and our sound. Bands today need to work much harder to get somewhere, far steeper hills to climb today.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGH POINT OF YOUR CAREER?
-Doing the first two records, being able to tour the Swedish “folkparker” in the 80´s is a fun thing to have done. We are grateful for being a part of Swedish culture. Supporting Queen at Råsunda, Monsters of rock 88 in Germany where Iron Maiden and Kiss headlined. That was actually our first real steps into Europe. Japan for the first time in 1990. We´ve been there 3 times now and soon on our 4th trip there.
Sweden rock festival 2006, the reunion gig was scary but fun, none of us had the slightest idea how the reception would be and of course reaching #1 spot on the Swedish album chart yesterday (21/9). But hopefully we have our best gigs ahead of us, but we take nothing for granted at our age.
OTHER WAY AROUND THEN, WORSE POINT?
-(long silence), Never really that bad periods, well 1992 wasn´t that good to us.We released our selftitled album with Mats Levén on vocals but everyone told us that our kind of music was outdated. We worked so hard for nothing actually. When the record came out, music business had totally changed and the record company and “everyone” kept saying that there was no place for a band like Treat. It wasn´t fun anymore, there were no way to go than to call it a day.
SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION BEFORE THIS INTERVIEW I CAME ACROSS YOUR DISCOGRAPHY AND SAW A RECORD CALLED “MUSCLE IN MOTION..:”, WHAT’S THAT?
-Ah, you´ve seen that too, well it´s a bootleg and for what it´s worth , the cover is “dreamhunter” but its badly put together, we are actually working to do a proper release of that album and put it together with other songs never before released . I don´t mind bootlegs if they are recorded by one person but “muscle in motion” are made out of stolen demos and songs someone has come over in one way or the other. We have absolutely nothing to do with it.
I ALSO STUMBLED ACROSS YOUR NAME WITH MENTAL HIPPIE BLOOD.
-Yes, in Mental Hippie Blood i did come in as a replaceman after their first album. Did the album “Pounds” where i wrote 6 songs, did a tour with the band and then it all came to a halt, that´s all I will say about it. Today I am friends with a few of the guys so no hard feelings there. It was relaxing to have another role than the one I have In Treat. Today it feels like the band split in just the right time.
ARE YOU IN TOUCH WITH ANY OF THE FORMER MEMBERS EXCEPT MATS LEVEN(WHOM ANDERS HAVE REVERTIGO TOGETHER WITH)?
-Ken stopped on his own free will, I really doesn´t know to this day why , probably sick of the whole thing. He now plays in Swedish Popband Factory on a “for the fun of it” level. With Leif “Lillen” Liljegren it became clear when working on ”Organized Crime” that he wasn´t ready to step up to the level the rest of us wanted. It´s all kind of sorted today…We keep in touch through social media but not on a daily basis.
TREAT AND EUROPE BECCAME SUCCESSFUL ALMOST AT THE SAME TIME. WERE THERE EVER A “BATTLE” BETWEEN THE BANDS?
-No it was a newspaper thing, we were friends and are still today, they send me a message to say congratulations on our number one spot. I think it was because we were the only bigger hair and spandex bands in Sweden at that point in time. Media made it into some kind of Elvis/Tommy Steele thing. But we´ve been on tours together, done festivals and as of 2015 we did a tour of japan together so no, we have great mutual respect for each other as persons and musicians
THE ”UPDATED TREAT SOUND 2018”?
-We´ve modernised the sound yes, kept our sound we have had on our previous records(since the reunion). Today we ourselves decide how we are gonna sound, of course we have a dialogue with our record company, but they put a deadline and we deliver the goods and hope they like it. Everyone knows there is no budget for long studiosessions for example as it was back in the days. Today we can stand behind what we do in a different way than in the 80´s and 90´s. In a way I am glad we never had a big hit, imagine the anxiety the members of Europe must have felt trying to do a follow up to “The final countdown”. If it feels good, it will probarbly come out good too
TOURING PLANS BEYOND THIS COMING TOUR?
-We will do another tour of Europe in the spring. European festivals also. Hopefully do something stateside too, it´s a challenge doing north America since it´s big and you need working visas and stuff it has to be worth it to do it but I am hopeful. We did a gig in Chicago recently and we came down well so hopefully we´ll be back there again soon.
3 FAVOURITE RECORDS?
-Tough one! Let´s refrase it and say 3 records that inspired me:
“Sweeet Fanny Adams” (Sweet) influenced me a lot in the 70´s, “Pyromania” (Def Leppard) has meant a lot to me . If we talk so called modern day metal i´d say “Sound of Madness” (Shinedown).
FIRST SHOWS YOU ATTENDED?
Alice Cooper Gröna Lund 75
Swet Concert House 1975
Kiss Gröna Lund 1976
BEST SHOWS YOU HAVE SEEN LIVE?
-When U2 played Stockholm stadion in 1992/1993 on “Zoo Tv Tour” it felt like I was floating on my way home, so cool .
Judas Priest on their “Screaming for Vengeance tour” in Stockholm. First time selling out Johanneshovs Isstadion. They were on fire! Having just done a successful album and a successful Us tour.
Then we talk a bit about all the reunions and final tours where he says he accepted Judas Priest more now than when they did their reunion tour, sad that KK and Glenn isn´t there though.
Me and Anders agree that we hope Kiss REALLY DO say goodbye this time around and the fact that Ronnie James Dio had steelwires instead of vocal chords.
I thank you Anders for this conversation and I wish you good luck in the future.