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In Words: Helldorado

- Helldorado - March 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

© Helldorado

Helldorado - March 16th 2011 (by email)

If you hear Helldorado you would never expect them to come from Norway. They don't take the easy way and create sounds at the computer, they do it the old-fashioned way. Reason enough to find out more about Helldorado!

First I would like to know why you choose the name Helldorado?

In the beginning Helldorado was the working title on a side-project we had with our folk-band: The Tramps. This was in 2000. Within this side-project we played old spaghetti western like Morricone and old country like Hank Williams. The side-project developed to be our main band and the name Helldorado just hung by us.

Sinful Soul was released in your home country Norway in 2009, now it's released European-wide. Why the delay?

Sinful Soul has been followed with accidents from the start, resulting in numerous delays. The recording took, for some peculiar reason two years. During the release in Norway in 2009, I had to surgically fix my shoulder that had bothered me for some time. This resulted in delaying the European release, but the day I was ready to do gigs again and we should be on track, I fell down some stairs (on a gig) and broke my wrist. When this healed, we changed record company and distributor in Europe, and we started the planning from scratch. We have also had sic family members to tend to. It has been like a curse hanging over us. Maybe it is something mysterious with the house we recorded the CD in that damned us. Sinful Soul was recorded in an old big spooky stone building that used to be a lunatic asylum in the 40's and 50's. The house lied isolated, and with quite a distance to drive, so we had to spend several scary nights in that house. You could almost hear the insane screams still hanging in the walls. God knows how many people that was lobotomized and died in there. We may have awaken something. When the asylum closed in the 60's, one of it's habitants moved into the forest near by, and still lives there thinks he's a cat. Several times we saw him sitting outside staring into the window. That really put the fright in us, and none of us dared to go outside to show him off or talk to him. After dark, we stayed indoors watched Romero movies, when we didn't record.

Your music seems to influenced by movies makers Tarantino and Rodriguez as well as Enrico Morricone's music. So I guess, it's your favorite genre.... What move hooked you up?

You are right. We do watch a lot of movies and are fascinated by many directors like David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, Jim Jarmush, Coen Bros, G Romero and many others, but my first Tarantino film was Pulp Fiction. This, together with Lynch's Wild At Heart and Leone's Once Upon a Time In The West formed a base for my fascination for films. The Snake Girl Song from our first CD Lost Highway is inspired by From Dusk Till Dawn.

Norway isn't the place you think of first when it comes to your sound which is described as Americana / desert rock. Was it difficult to get accepted? Was playing live important to convince your fellow countrymen?

We never sat down and planned to play the music we do. It all fell natural for us, maybe because of our folk background. We have all grown up listening to Country, garage and rockabilly, so we are clearly inspired by this. You don't have to be a cowboy to play country, a Jew to play klezmer or a slave to play the blues. We feel we are accepted my our fans, but to get playlisted in the formatted radio-stations in Norway has been hard.

Sinful Soul... How long did it take to write and record the album?

As I mentioned, we used two years to record the album. A part of this, besides the curse, is that we have had some brakes in-between for to produce the strings and the horn section. It has been a puzzle to make the songs work. This album is not that based on the vocal lines as the previous, but depends more on the production and the interaction between the vocal melody and the horn and strings.

These days many bands use technology to create sounds, you used a real horn section and strings. Is it important for you to get the true sound?

Yes, it's very important for us to get a honest product. We see no use in using samples when you can use the real thing. We are not into, as you now know, to do it the easy way to save time.

What inspired you to write Cross-dressing Truck Driver?

I sat outside a pub in Camden, London, having a beer, when I saw the most fascinating person. Dressed in cowboy boots, a lumberjack shirt open to his belly button, tucked down in his tight worn jeans, cowboy hat and a big rough truck driver mustache all the way down. He must have been two meters or so. He looked tough as hell, hadn't it been for his walk. The most feminine walk I have ever seen, with his arm wrists out to the side like a little new hatched chicken. Look, I said, there goes a song.

You did a video for Hellraising Outlaw, why not Sixty Seven or And The Ravens Did Croak?
Who had the idea for the Hellraising Outlaw video? And who did realize the short film?

It could as well be one of those to. The video is made by two young film students and they was almost free to do what they wanted to what song they chose. We had a short meeting with them and planned the story, the rest was up to them.

Would you like to do the music for a movie? Play in a movie?

It would be great to do the music for a movie or at least some of our songs. I don't know how we would be as actors, that is not our field. I'm sure it would be as actors making and recording music. It could be a disaster (Don Johnson) or it could work out fine (Juliette Lewis). We could be like the band in From Dusk Till Dawn or at least some zombies.

A short tour in spring is scheduled, you'll play in Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands and Belgium... What about other countries? On the way?

We will not do any more gigs this tour, but we hope to do Germany and some other countries in not too long. If the venues want us we'll be there!

In 2005 one of your shows were recorded and shown on German TV (Rockpalast), did you felt an effect? Did you get more attention from Germany after it's been aired?

Unfortunately, we haven't toured Europe since 2005, so it's hard to say.

As Sinful Soul was initially released in 2009, new songs should have been written... How many songs do you already have? Any idea when you'll enter the studio?

We have plans in starting the recording for our next album this year, but this time the recording process will be much shorter. We will do a short studio session in mid-April, and hopefully it will result in a single release as a taste for what's to come.

Can you already tell us a bit about the next album?

It is too early to say anything about it, but as we have decided to make the recording process as short as possible, we will try not to make it as complex and as 'produced' as Sinful Soul. We have grown fond of our trumpets on our live gigs, so maybe trumpet based garage rock.

What's on your schedule for 2011?

Our goals are to finish a new studio recording during 2011 with release 2012, and do another European tour with focus on Germany in October / November 2011. We have also plan to do a 'live' studio recording for release 2012.

I really hope they will come on tour in fall, coz this is the type of music you have to enjoy live. And if you are in a country which isn't on their tour schedule, then watch the video and listen to the album - and request them at your local club!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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