With the critically acclaimed Only Come Out At Night released earlier this year and a third album mooted these are exciting times for the man who’s twiddled nobs for Europe, Candlemass and Treat.
rushonrock: Following the release of two well received solo albums in two years are you more musician than producer in 2010?
Chris Laney: It’s tough to say. I suppose I try to devote the right amount of time to all of the projects I’m involved with. When I made the first record I was just a producer making an album. I didn’t think anyone would care! I wasn’t confident enough to go out on tour and only booked five or six shows. Next time around there was a lot of interest and I really wanted to do the whole band thing for real. I spoke to my boss at the studio and he said I’d got to do it. That inspired me to take the music side of things seriously.
rushonrock: So have you always been a frustrated musician inside?
CL: I wouldn’t day frustrated really. I started off as a musician in bands and as time went by, and I started working with other bands, I wondered why I didn’t ever meet a producer like me and get the record contract they had! Over the years I’ve worked with the likes of Europe, Candlemass and Treat and I work for the best production company in Sweden – so now I look back at the music I made as a 17-year-old and I realise it wasn’t really top notch. But of course there were times I’d feel a little bit of envy and eventually I get sucked into these bands anyway. The way we work is that for six weeks I spend every waking hour with them as a producer and making a record is like having a baby with these bands.
rushonrock: Does your production background help or hinder you when you make your own record?
CL: One of the reasons I made Only Come Out At Night was to test myself. I think I know the way that I sound or the way that I sound best. The new record’s a little bit rough around the edges but I did that on purpose. I got a call in the middle of December last year from the record company asking if I could have a master copy of the album ready for the middle of January. I said yes. Then I contacted my friends and said let’s just make this record and have some fun. But it was a very short time period and that’s why there’s an extra edge to the songs. But the album sounded good to me and it was a very relaxed process. Of course I want to make the best album I possibly can but if you have too much time then it becomes a problem. The way we made Only Come Out At Night was the way they used to make rock records – we just went into the studio and winged it!
rushonrock: OCOAN features an array of hard rock talent – was it a conscious decision to pepper the album with big names?
CL: For me it’s like this: if a plumber needs help to fix his pipes he calls his best plumber friends. I wanted the right friends for the job for this record. And although it looks like I’m name-dropping Stockholm has a very small community of professional rock musicians – we all know each other and these guys were the right people in the right place at the right time. Look at Conny Bloom – he offered to help and why would I turn that offer down? I like to be in a band as such and going solo can make you nuts. I’m a team player at heart and when I set about making OCOAN I decided to have some fun and bring in some friends to make some good music.
rushonrock: How was it working with Conny?
CL: He was on top form. He’d been putting together the new Electric Boys album, which is brilliant by the way, and he was on fire. I’ve known him for 10 years and our daughters went to the same dance class – that’s what I mean about the close-knit community that is Stockholm! In terms of our musical tastes he’s more of the 70s guy and I’m more the 80s guy but we have bands like Cheap Trick in common.
rushonrock: And you hooked up with Europe’s drummer Ian Haugland…
CL: I actually started off life as a drummer so I really wanted to percussion to sound spot on. I was living in a flat when I started playing – I had my kit in there and I was thrown out after three weeks. But for me drums are the key to rock. If the drums are pumping then that’s where the rest of the band get their energy from. I’m so flattered that Ian wanted to do the record because he’s the best in the business but funnily enough I didn’t fancy him as a drummer on the first few Europe albums! Now I view him as absolutely awesome and he even said to me that he thinks the work he’s done on OCOAN is some of the best he’s done.
rushonrock: So what do you enjoy most – twiddling knobs or belting out rock anthems?
CL: It’s two different worlds. When I work as a producer I live in my own little bubble. I used to call the studio my cave – I only came out at night. Going out to play is another thing entirely but I like making other bands sound good. You know what, I can’t actually choose!