The Hives
Track by Track
by Eric Davidson

Though Swedish garage-pop masters The Hives recently threw out their newest album in five years, Lex Hives, for the minions to munch on, they’ve been slipping cool vids, pix, and info around the internet for awhile. So by now the questions of where the heck have they been hiding have been parsed a bit. Thus, instead of taking that line of inquiry, we decided to go directly to the songs, where your music love should probably reside anyway. Guitarist Nicholaus Arson took time out from the ongoing, and recently revived, Hives world domination battle plan to school us on some specific tunes on their latest platter.

“Come On” is a great opening, a classic rave-up, party-starter. Kind of reminded me of the Devil Dogs’ “Big Fuckin’ Party,” from Saturday Night Fever.

Nicholaus Arson: Yup, spot on! I would say we always wanted a party-starter of some sort that would get the beer drinkers out of their seats and make the cool kids pee their pants. This one, after thorough laboratory testing, does both.

“Go Right Ahead”—I have already mentioned to you the by now overstated ELO “Don’t Bring Me Down” nicking... or was that all a big misunderstanding?

NA: Sampling, unintentional, whatever. It sounded good and we just rolled with it. The similarities were there, but when it comes to rock & roll, they will always be there. More like we struck a gold oar and someone had been digging there before us a little bit in the ’70s. There was plenty left over, however, so we just kept digging and mining and digging and mining. After that we rode into town and got drunk. That’s where we are now.

I remember Pelle (singer Pelle Almqvist) telling me a few months back that he’d been listening to AC/DC a lot. Is “I Want More” the fruits of that? Also, Pelle mentions “human eyes” in the lyrics. Do you guys know that Detroit band, Human Eye?

NA: I think so. That, and Joan Jett and Dr. Dre, I think. Yeah, Human Eye are cool!

“Patrolling Days”—what were you patrolling? And why are those days (as the lyrics say) “over?”

NA: We’ve been a touring band for 15 years now, and so for 15 years we have been patrolling the musical world. That’s a way of saying that by now you know our greatness and we shouldn’t have to prove ourselves. We still do patrol, however, and will continue to do so forever and ever. Just another tender Hives way of saying we slay, really.

There seems to be a lot of fuzz and effects (i.e. toys) on “Take Back the Toys.” Yet it’s not overly produced, and is, in fact, pretty stripped down, but sonically tweaked. How did this song come about?

NA: Yeah, The Hives go ’90s anthem on yer bum! We thought it sounded Mudhoneyish, but more powerful. We had the riff and then played it through once and nailed the arrangement in the rehearsal space right away. And that was pretty much it.

“Without the Money”—this is the always welcome, late in the album, slow dance song. What are some of your favorite slow dance songs?

NA: I love “Unchained Melody.” The title promises so much, and then it delivers.

I like “These Spectacles Reveal the Nostalgics” a lot, sounds like you guys doing a Crime song, fast. Pelle says something about, “When it’s all over, you’re gonna know it was the best that you had yet.” Is that maybe a reference to those who want bands to remain the same, not try different things, and then once the band is broken up, you realize you didn’t know how good you had it?

NA: Well, in a way. It’s about people glorifying the old days and not seeing what’s good or even great about today, like how people say they only like the first three Ramones records when the Ramones in fact did amazing shit all the way through. “Pass a dump along the road, the rearview mirror turned into gold. You will wake up and smell the coffee, only to discover it has gone cold.”

“My Time is Coming”—your time is still coming? Man, how massive will things get for the Hives?!

NA: Let’s just say super-duper massive. People don’t even know. Oh wait, let’s add “statues and pyramids massive.”

“Midnight Shifter” is a good bit of a soul stomper. What’s the story behind that one? Pelle said you’d been listening to a lot of those R&B comps that Crypt Records put out a few years ago. He also said that was presently his favorite song on the record.

NA: Yeah every other day it’s my fave song on the record too. I think it’s The Hives doing an All Night Soul Stomp record. We used to listen to that a lot, songs like “Boogaloo” and stuff. We always loved Mitch Ryder too and James Brown, of course, etc. etc.