Exclusive Q and A: Her Bright Skies Talk 'Rivals,' Setbacks, Swedish Rock

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OurStage Exclusive InterviewsPrepare yourself, America. Swedish rockers Her Bright Skies are bringing their potent blend of post-hardcore, punk, and modern rock to the rest of the world with their most recent album, Rivals. Inheriting the mantle of fine Swedish rock exports from the past, the band’s songs brim with unstoppable power and energy. We caught up with guitarist Petter Nilsson to chat about Swedish musical history, breaking out stateside, and the message behind the new album.

OS: Sweden has a history of great heavy bands as well as fantastic pop music. Do you guys feel a affinity for particular Swedish bands from either of those genres?

Petter Nilsson: Definitely. Obviously the best skatepunk band (Millencolin), best metal band (In Flames) and best rock band (The Hives) are from our home country. We owe it to those guys that we’re here today. Sweden has always had an amazing alternative scene, which sadly has stagnated the last few years. With this album we hope to change that.

OS: You’ve described your sound as Nordic in the past, but how would you say that characteristic manifests itself aurally in your music?

PN: It’s hard to pinpoint but i’ve always thought of the Nordic sound as a little rawer, a little edgier. Those attributes have always defined Her Bright Skies music and that’s something we’re very proud of. With that said, most of the bands we grew up with listening to are American, and we’ve always loved the american music scene. Our intention has always been to mix the two ways of writing music and expressing yourself into something new.

OS: What is it like to break into the music scene in the states as a band from another country?

PN: It’s pretty unreal. Knowing there’s thousands of people liking your music and they haven’t even seen our live show is a great feeling. At the same time it’s frustrating. We’ve never got the chance to really meet our americans fans and that’s something we’re working on changing pronto!

OS: How does the songwriting process break down for you guys?  Is it a collaborative effort or more of one person’s input?

PN: It’s collaborative for sure. Everyone brings their own influences to the table. Every song gets re-written, re-arranged and polished until we’re all 100% satisfied. It’s time consuming, but worth it in the end.

OS: You guys seem to have a generally hopeful vibe to your music. Is this reflective of your personalities, or is it just how your songs turn out?

PN: When you’re in a band you always need to keep your head up. There’s gonna be a lot of bullshit and setbacks before you make it. You need to push through it and come out strong in the end. The lyrics are influenced by our lives in a band, and the songs, I guess, become anthems for us. To remind us what we’re capable of and keep pushing forward.

OS: What’s the meaning behind the title Rivals?  There are some pretty prominent messages of solidarity with friends and family on the album.  Do those ideas tie into the album title at all?

PN: Just like i answered in the last question, we’re all about standing tall and sticking it to those who say it can’t be done. Just as you said, family is important to us, and not just family by blood. We consider our friends and fans our family as well. Rivals is a tribute to all the people who have stuck with us and it’s a message to our supporters that you can do whatever you want with your life and nobody gets to stand in the way of that. We’re rivals. To the world, to our “friends” in school, to shitty promoters that cheat you of your money, you name it.

Check out the video for the band’s most recent single “Lovekills” below!

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