I am not the greatest fan of tribute bands but when done the way BACK:N:BLACK does it convinced me that I had to interview them, © Anders Ekdahl 2015
The most obvious question is why do a tribute band to start with? Do you see yourself as a tribute band? What differs a tribute band from a cover band?
-It’s very simple: we love AC/DC! We are huge fans of the music and it’s just a lot of fun to play these great songs. It is also a challenge, because these guys are some amazing musicians. It is great to play for people that love it just as much as we love it. We are not a “tribute band” who is trying to emulate the look and mannerisms of AC/DC. We are not AC/DC and we never will be. No one else will ever be AC/DC or come even close, for that matter. We are five girls who play AC/DC, as ourselves. I don’t know whether you could call this a cover band or a tribute band. I’m not very fond of putting things into corners. I guess the term “cover band”, as I understand it, is about playing songs that people like to hear to have a great time. So that’s us. A “tribute band” is a band that shows their admiration for another band. So I guess that’s us too. In the end, BACK:N:BLACK is best described as “The Girls Who Play AC/DC”. Because that’s who we are and what we do.
How come you decided on AC/DC? What is so great about them?
-I don’t know what’s great about the guys, but they seem genuinely happy doing what they do and that’s a good thing. For us it is definitely the music that’s so great: simple, to the point, timeless. It just never gets old.
To me there are two eras; before and after the death of Bon Scott. But is there a difference in playing “old” AC/DC and “new” AC/DC with one vocalist alive and the other dead?
-For us there isn’t a big difference because Hell-ena is one person with her own voice who can sing both Bon and Brian songs. Of course, there are slight differences in the style of the music throughout the 40 years the catalog of AC/DC spans, but that just makes it more interesting.
With a recording career that span 4 decades how do you pick songs for your set list? Do you go for the ones you know are crowd pleasers or do you go by personal preference?
-We play both. We like to adapt the set to the shows we play. If we know there will be a mixed crowd, at a festival for example, we make more of a “crowd-pleaser” set list with songs that are more known than others, like Highway To Hell, Thunderstruck, Hell’s Bells, etc., while still throwing songs like Shake A Leg, for the AC/DC fans in it. But if we play shows where we know many AC/DC fans are going to be at, like Bon Fest, we can belt out more of these, like Down Payment Blues, High Voltage, Live Wire, Riff Raff, Go Down… And the people there know every word to every song, just amazing.
AC/DC’s hardrock hasn’t changed that much over the years but are there albums that are less interesting for you than others? Like the late 80s f x.
-Yes, indeed we haven’t played much off of those. But this can change anytime.
Do you incorporate new songs into the set whenever AC/DC releases a new album or do you only stick with the old ones?
-Yes, we do incorporate the new ones as well. Rock Or Bust goes over really well!
When you play live where do you get the biggest response, on festival stages or on club stages?
-Hard to say! I would say they are about the same. But no show is like another.
What reactions have you met from people into AC/DC? People that are hardcore fans.
-Very positive! I think what the people like about us is that we love AC/DC as much as they do. I think this comes across with the passion that we have for this band and the people can just feel this. We get a lot of support from all over the world, which is really something I would have never expected and I am very thankful for. Of course, as usual in rock, it has been a bit slow to adapt for the past 50 years and thus we encounter some people who take it upon themselves to declare who gets to play what music, and criticize us because we apparently have the wrong thing in our pants to play AC/DC, which is ridiculous and just shows their own insecurities. Because why else would they criticize a band with a passion for what they do?
Do you do this exclusively or are you in other bands too that you’d like to promote too?
-I play in a band called D’ANGLERZ, who plays original material. We are just mixing our first album. The music is a bit heavier and darker than AC/DC. Hellena also sings in her own band Natural Born Killers who just released an EP.
When you get as much coverage as you seem to get it won’t go unnoticed by AC/DC. What response have you had from the band themselves?
-We have heard both from Phil Rudd and Chris Slade that they like our band a lot! And we gave a DVD to Brian. Let’s see if he has something to say. 🙂
What does the future hold?
-Hopefully more shows playing AC/DC’s music, more travel and more good times with friends! It’s addictive! Our schedule is getting to be very full in 2016 and we look forward to meeting many other AC/DC fans all over the world!