Interviews anglais

NICKELBACK (22/05/17)

Version française

A few weeks before the release of their brand new record, Nickelback was in Paris for some promo and we did have a chat with Mike!

Hello Mike how are you?

Mike Kroeger (bass guitar): I’m well. A little bit tired my body wants to be asleep right now. (laughs)

How was your radio show this morning?

Mike: It was fantastic! Really really good and we have another one later today.

Your new record “Feed The Machine” is about to release. First can you explain its mood and the message driven by the title?

Mike: I think the “machine” is what makes everybody kind of behaved themselves. The “machine” is what we offer our control to. The “machine” doesn’t take to control of our lives because we give it to it. That’s sort of what it’s about here and the machine is the control structure that we all participate in.


And what about the video clip for “Feed The Machine”? With its concept and the apocalyptic themed mood.

Mike: We actually went out for submissions and the director that we found had this particular idea and he wrote up a storyboard to see if we wanted to do it that way. Reading it first it was kind of difficult to understrand what he was proposing but we got along with him and it turned out to be a cool art piece.


It’s the band 9th album. What make the band so cohesive for its longevity but also to be that creative? Not falling in easy ways.

Mike: Longevity is just being close as friends and family, staying together. Althought you have fans loving what you do, you also have to push the boundaries, try new things or make it sound just a little bit different, making it a little bit more complex. We always realized that we can’t just sit back and keep doing the exact same thing over and over again. Writers improve just by doing a lot of writing. And the more you do, the better you become. With that theory in mind, at each album, the writer should improve. (laughs) A creative person, the more he creates, the better they get.

The second song you unveiled was “Song On Fire”. It’s a more mellow song comparing to the title track but isn’t it what Nickelback is about? The big rock songs but also the mellow songs. How do you balance between those two aspects especially after eight records?

Mike: I think that there’s so much different musical influences in this band. Some are really heavy metal fans, straight head rock fans, progressive rock, jazz. Even with those influences you can only decide to do one thing. If you have a group of people that all come from different places it’s really cool to follow some of those styles and just see where it takes you. For us I think it’s natural to balance between the rock and the mellow songs, it may be yes. Because we always do in the end, trying to have heavy and rock songs and some more melodic songs. I guess we also do it instinctively.


Two tracks kept our attention: “The Betrayal Act III” and “The Betrayal Act I”. First is, this last one, the reason you have 11 and not 10 tracks on the album as planned?

Mike: Actually it isn’t. “The Betrayal Act I” was the tenth track. “For The River” was the last minute addition and it just went from a concept of a guitar part and quickly Chad decided to finish it up and put it on the record. Originally we were supposed to do that one later on and submitting it sometime next year as an additionnal single. But Chad wanted to do it right now and we struggled to in a very short time. (laughs)

Was it the first time being in a hurry for a track or a recording?

Mike: Actually no and the best example is the track “Animals”. We had one day left before our deadline and that song was written, performed and recorded, mixed and mastered in one day. That was amazing but it was also the fastest song we ever wrote.

What are they about? The topics and the way they relate to each other. Where’s “Act II”?

Mike: I’m starting to figure out where “act II” is and that’s the one in the Bible. I think that Chad just heard the music that Ryan wrote because Ryan conceived that whole thing musically and I think that just stroke him and made him think of “The Betrayal” in some way. Then it just started to flow out of him. Creatively it’s just an amazing thing with that guy.

And about “Act II”?

Mike: I don’t know (laughs) you’re not the first one to ask me that but now I have to ask them (laughs) like “what the fuck guys?”

Why this choice ending the album with an instrumental song?

Mike: I don’t know but I think it’s a good way to finish an album with an instrumental and the fans will love it until the last note.

Top 3?

Mike: I really enjoy playing “The Betrayal” because it’s really hard to. “For The River” too because when we were at the point where I got to play on it, I never heard it before and it was a running track, trying to figure it out and it’s a difficult one and challenging too. “Must Be Nice” is fun too, really groovy and funky sound.

You’re also reissuing three albums on vinyl this summer. What is your opinion on the constant raising sales with the vinyl market? Is it surprising you?

Mike: It is surprising because until recently music wasn’t a physical thing anymore it was a digital file. So now to see people and music fans wanting actually to have a thing, a product, a tangible item, it’s very cool. Especially vinyls it sounds the best.

Do you buy vinyls too? What is your latest purchase?

Mike: The last one I bought was “Kind Of Blue” of Miles Davis.

Being a kid you played in a grunge cover band. What was your reaction when you heard of Chris Cornell’s death? How close were/are you with grunge music?

Mike: Oh I’m not recovered from that news. It makes me really sad. I don’t know exactly what happened to him (on the day of the interview) but to have somebody that important it’s just sad.


Many artists are really into social medias. How do you relate with them? Addicted?

Mike: I’m not really addict of it but I like it and I use it a lot for our communication with the band. But for my own personal use, I don’t really have a great presence. I have a couple of alias accounts that I have fun with but I don’t have like a “Mike Kroeger” fan page.

With “Feed The Machine”, what can expect the fans?

Mike: In many ways it’s like a normal Nickelback album, so something he would probably be happy to hear but on this album we also really wanted to make a great rock album and that’s something that people will hear.
Next plans?

Mike: We’re touring North America soon and we’ll probably come back to Europe next year.

And what about France? Last time the tour didn’t stop here.

Mike: I know that. I’m not really happy that there’s no French shows because we really love France. I don’t like to promise things because a lot of time it’s beyond my control but I want to.

If you had to pick a track as the soundtrack of your life, which one and why? Or the track that defines you.

Mike: That’s hard to do but I don’t know if I know myself that well to have a song that does it. I think Chad could probably say that “Photograph” was the song that encapsulates his life, but I can’t do that. (laughs)


And if you just want to relax and chill, what will you listen to?

Mike: Really heavy stuff. French band actually.


Mike: Yeah! They are my favorite. To me what I like about their music is the level of commitment and conviction they clearly have to their music. They’re really good at it but also, I feel it, it gets me. 

Finally we are “RockUrLife” so what rocks Mike Kroeger’s life?

Mike: Right now Gojira! (laughs) Seriously right now it’s all I listen to. But I still need to see them live!