Johnny H of Über Röck recently conducted an interview with BACKYARD BABIES and MICHAEL MONROE guitarist Dregen (real name: Andreas Tyrone Svensson). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Über Röck: How does it feel to finally have your own [solo] record out there?
Dregen: I have been doing this for 25 years now and I love being a musician and I love recording albums, but when you get up to your 10th album, it's still fun, of course, but it gets a little bit more like a job. I've just turned 40, and now I've released my first solo album, and I'm singing for the first time, and I feel like I'm fucking 21 years old again! I'm like a kid. Like, "Oh my God, let me see the cover!" You know, it's a new dimension, for me personally as well as for me, the musician; it lights up some sparks in me, and I'm really enjoying that.
Über Röck: There's a lot of different things going on sound-wise on this record; was that down to the influence of your producer, Pär Wiksten?
Dregen: Yeah, a lot. I co-produced the album with him. I had meetings with different producers, but when I met Pär, I knew he was the right guy. We share the same ideas about rock music. I'm a Gemini, I am born in June, so I'm slightly schizophrenic. [laughs] On one hand, I am very conservative when it comes to rock music, because I like '70s guitar sounds, and I also hate new bands trying to sound like a band from the '70s. I have been recording on vintage gear, but my solo album sounds very 2013, I think; it's the perfect mix, a blend of old stuff with new, crazy, fresh sounds. I think Pär has been an angel with this project.
Über Röck: It doesn't strike me as being a typical guitarist's album; was it intentional to make the songs paramount rather than them being a vehicle for your playing?
Dregen: Yeah, and the biggest challenge for me was handling the lead vocals. I mean, I'm pretty confident in my guitar playing, but then I tend to play in a different style to the songs. I'm not a guitar player that can play whatever, I'm not a master of the guitar, and I think that saved me, actually, because I have my own style and my own tone, and I can't really do anything else. I think that's what holds the album together; even if the songs are different, you can hear from my guitar playing that it's very much me, that it's a Dregen album.
Über Röck: What's the plan for your involvement with Michael [Monroe] going forward?
Dregen: I'm still a member of the band, and we were just shooting a video the other day in Helsinki, for the song "Stained Glass Heart", which is going to be the next single. Rich Jones, the guitarist from Ginger's band, is filling in for me on the road while I'm doing my solo tour, so I'm going to be back in the band at some point, but I don't know how long I am going to be away for… hopefully not too long.
Über Röck: I saw recently that [BACKYARD BABIES'] Nicke [Borg] turned up at one of your signing sessions. What are relations like with you guys these days? Will we ever see a new BACKYARD BABIES album?
Dregen: Oh yeah, definitely. The relations are good with the BACKYARD BABIES members, and I can promise you that there is going to be another BACKYARD BABIES album. But I'm 100% into my solo project right now, so I can't say when that might happen. We can go in tomorrow and start recording a pretty good album, but I don't see any point in doing a decent BACKYARD BABIES record. Maybe in a year or so we'll be ready to make the ultimate BACKYARD BABIES statement.
Read the entire interview at Über Röck.