Volume 92, Issue 75
Wednesday, February 10, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Cardigans are winning at their favourite game
Photo by Jorgensen
By Mark Lewandowski
When The Cardigans released Gran Turismo on Nov. 3, 1998 in the United States and Canada, it came not with conquest, but company. The new endeavour went head-to-head with efforts from Beck, Oasis, Alanis Morrisette, U2 and the Rolling Stones on what became the biggest release day in recent memory. This promotional pile-up might have left some artists feeling overlooked, but not The Cardigans' guitarist and composer, Peter Svensson.
"It buried us a bit but we'll do okay. I don't care too much about sales, it's not the biggest thing for me," Svensson explains. "It's going to work because there are a lot of songs we are planning to release and it's a very good album."
Gran Turismo is The Cardigans' fourth album and was released in early September in Europe. The different release dates between Europe and North America were due in part to the buyout of the band's former label Polygram by Universal Music Group and the peculiarities of the two industries.
"The record company change slowed things down around the release of the album and they initially waited [a few weeks] for release of the single in the U.S.. But we have a really good feeling because there are some new people who we seem to connect with at the Mercury [Records] office," Svensson comments, adding the crowded release date should not pose any problems for the band or the label because of the forgiving nature of the North American music industry.
"In the U.S. they just released "My Favorite Game" about three weeks ago. Things in Europe work faster when it comes to releases it's always the first week that matters. Here, it can go for half a year and have its peak after five months. 'Love Fool' got big after three or four months," Svensson remarks. Gran Turismo and the success of their second single "Erase/Rewind" here in Canada should peak interest in The Cardigans.
As well, media interest in The Cardigans has certainly peaked. When Peter Svensson became available for interview after weeks of delays he was in Montreal, enjoying the tour. But Svensson admits sometimes things get a bit crazy. The band even brought in some fellow Swedes to join in the fun.
"One of my favorite bands, [Kent] is on this tour supporting us. It is a dream come true to tour with them because they are like old friends we go out every night," Svensson says excitedly.
In Sweden, the support for The Cardigans is at an all time high, Svensson explains. "This is our most successful record over there and it feels really good. It's not that our image is different there but we've been around for a long time so people have seen the development."
Unfortunately the band's internal machinery has developed faster than its North American image. Many fans seem only interested in lead lady Nina Persson because of her "media magnetism." But these external perceptions do not discolour the tightly bound fabric of The Cardigans.
"She's really important because she's the front figure and she's got this wonderful voice that people like but we are really a band and it's very much a collaboration," Svensson communicates. "For media she seems to be important but she's not the natural star. She looked good in some people's eyes and we don't think too much about it. We try to prevent ourselves from being the band with the female blonde girl," he says.
This tour should keep The Cardigans busy until the end of the summer but Svensson is interested in the challenge of doing a rolling summer festival. "I would like to do it because all of the people there are not coming for you, so you feel like you're working the crowd so you have to do your best."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999