Abrakadabra, the new album from Gothenburg’s leading exponents of street metal, HARDCORE SUPERSTAR! HARDCORE SUPERSTAR have recently released three alcohol fuelled, riff laden singles Catch Me If You Can, Dreams In Red and Weep When You Die. The success and acclaim of You Can’t Kill My Rock N’ Roll inspired the band significantly and writing for the next record enthusiastically started whilst out on tour. Connecting with so many fans, old and new has helped to influence the shape and sound of the new record.
Recorded in 2020 and 2021 at both Österlyckan and Bombastik in Musikens Hus – Gothenburg, the decision was made early on to once again work with Johan Reiven, who was responsible for production duties on the bands Black Album. Abrakadabra is uncomplicated, rock n’ roll escapism and entertainment at its best, sprinkled with a little bit of magic for good measure. Vic Zino from Hardcore Superstar speaks to Hi Fi Way about the album.
The new album Abracadabra has just launched worldwide on all platforms. How have you found the initial reaction to the album in the last few days?
It’s been overwhelming to be honest. We knew it was a good record, but its very nice to see that people share the same experience as we do. It’s been really good.
A couple of negative ones which is fine. It’s peoples’ opinions. But mostly positive.
That’s good to hear. The press release for the albums says that this album is the album that should have followed up the self titled “black” album. Was that something that you guys actually set out to do or did it just evolve that way?
I think it was a bit of a goal to go back to roots, to find our way back to the old sound. Every record we have done has its own sound and every new record is a reaction to the last record. So yes and no. We talked about ‘what are we’ and ‘what do we want to do’, ‘how do we want to sound and what is the next step”.
Almost going full circle maybe?
Yeah. Something like that.
The band has followed a formula with the last couple of albums where you have been drip feeding five or six songs prior to the release. What’s your personal opinion on releasing an album that way, the pros and the cons of having five or six songs out before the album is released?
I like it like that. I think it gives people time to give the songs the time that the song deserves. They can listen to it and form their own opinion of the songs. And cons, the only con I can see is when the album is released but in my mind its been released for like two years.
Yeah, because the first single about six months ago? Would that be right?
Or even more! To be honest I don’t even remember. Haha. It’s been a while.
As far back as I can remember you guys have always written songs that transfer perfectly to the live arena. This time around we have songs like Forever and a Day which is a big anthem which undoubtedly can be played live. Is this just an uncanny knack that guys have to produce these songs, or do you set out to produce a song that you know you can put on to the stage?
We just do something that we like. It’s as simple as that, we do something we like. Cool riffs, good melodies, and huge choruses. If you like something you go towards that way. You might take different paths, but your path is always going to the same finish line.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have your big anthems type songs, and then on this album we see songs such as Fighter which seems to be a very introspective type song, so to me I take that as one of your guys’ stories. Are the band member encouraged to bring those types of songs to the table?
Definitely. Hardcore has a (inaudible) side as well. Ballads have always been a part of the band. For example, we did Standing on the Verge from the Black album, and then Run to Your Mama – those kinds of songs. It’s always been present. So I think we as a band can cover a lot of ground because we like so much music and we’re not afraid of exploring.
Everybody can read something into those songs. Standing on the Verge is one of my all-time favourites, and everybody can listen to songs like Run to Your Mama and Fighter and hear their story in it.
Yes, people can relate to them very easily.
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to the new album quite a bit in recent days and one of personal favourites on the new album is the song Influencer. Is this aimed at anyone in particular or just a comment on society in general?
Haha. No, no person in particular. Just society. I love the lyrics, its soooo fun. Its just how it works, no one wants to do the hard digging. They just want to sit on a yacht and drink champagne or chardonnay or whatever the lyrics say.
Actually, that may have helped me with my next question. Because when you’re driving along in your car and you’re trying to sing along to the lyrics, it helps if you actually know the lyrics.
I was going to ask, can you please enlighten me, what are the lyrics that you say after “Rolex” Is it “Chardonnay” is it?
No, its “Montrachet,” it’s an expensive wine.
I was rewinding, I was playing, I was playing again, and again and I could not work out what it was.
(singing and fist pumping the air) Rolex! Montrachet! We were going back and forth – was it going to be ‘Chardonnay’ or ‘Mon Roche’. Both worked. It’s a good thing that you bring that up.
I sat there listening and in the end I just threw my arms in the air and gave up.
(laughter) That’s good! That’s good!
Now after this interview I’m going to needing your postal address. I’ve got a bill coming your way. I think I blew my speaker on the opening riff on Give Me A Smile. That opening riff is just amazing.
(laughter) Its pretty hard. Extreme. Very aggressive and hard.
Yes it is. You can often due some flashy and intricate guitar work. But that one there is solid, its brutal, its loud, and yeah, I think I blew my speakers.
Okay. Haha. Just send the bill.
So the album is out, I’ve seen a few tour dates out and at the moment you’re on the road I see, is that correct?
That is correct (pans the camera out of a moving tour bus to show a snow covered highway and pines).
Wow. I haven’t seen anything like that in a while.
Yeah, its snowing here.
So what’s lined up for the next twelve months for you guys?
Well the summer is coming up. We have a couple of dates before the summer. And then summer comes and the summer will be packed with festivals. All that funs stuff we’ve been missing for a couple of years due to whatever has been going on in the world.
It’s definitely been some interesting and unpredictable times over the last two years. Some bands have let that stall their career while other bands have used the time very wisely. What did Vic Zino do during the Covid times?
We finished the album recorded late 2020, and that got mixed during that time. Then I actually started studying music as well. Studying to be a music teacher. That’s going be a part of the next five years of my life.
One of the more interesting Covid time project I saw was by someone you’d be very familiar with … Chris Laney with his ‘At The Movies’ project. I don’t know if you kept track of that. They were saying the other day they had still never played together yet, and two years later they still haven’t played together.
Yeah I did.
Did you undertake anything like that?
No. School and getting accepted took a year of study just to get accepted. That was my main focus apart from the band.
Speaking of artists doing side projects I guess you’ve heard the news of another Swede – Erik and the Skid Row announcement. What was your take on that?
It reminded be a bit of a few years ago when Vic Zino moved from Crazy Lixx to Hardcore Superstar. Was that mainly to do with opportunity and touring or just change?
I saw opportunity to do this full time and of course I loved the band! I actually did both bands for a while. I did a couple of months of touring with both, and it just didn’t work. It was affecting both bands and I didn’t feel very good about that, so I had to choose. I chose Hardcore which I haven’t regretted since.
A question I like to ask bands from all around the world, are there any up-and-coming Swedish bands we should be on the lookout for?
Oh my god, I have no idea! (laughter) I’m so into my own shit right now that I don’t have time to explore. Which is unfortunate.
Interview By Lindsay Bulach