"Jumping up and down, screaming, slapping yourself in the face," Pelle Almqvist says. "It's sort of about getting your heart rate going any way you can." Almqvist—better known as Howlin' Pelle among the ranks of his band, the Hives—is describing his prep routine for the explosion of energy that is a Hives show. "It really happens from going out onstage, hearing the first note, hearing the music start," he says. "I just love hearing my band play. I can try all kinds of calisthenics, but it doesn't actually happen until I hear it start."
The Swedish garage-rockers have been putting on their notoriously wild live show for almost 20 years now. But they tried something new with their latest album, Lex Hives, moving on from an expired contract with Interscope to release the record on their own label, Disque Hives. "All of our albums are kind of done by us and then delivered to the record company anyway," Almqvist says. "It feels good, unless someone gives us an offer we can't refuse at some point."
The band also shook things up by recording the album in eight different studios. "We'd finish two or three different songs, go in to record those in the studio, go home, then work on some more, then go in and record those," Almqvist says. "I think it influenced the music. Every song ended up sounding a little bit different." But unlike 2004's The Black and White Album, which enlisted four different producers, the Hives went back to producing themselves this time. "Working with different producers was really interesting and fun, seeing how different people work," Almqvist says. "But it's sort of a natural thing for us to react against the last one by doing the opposite."
In fact, Almqvist says "doing the opposite" is key to the Hives' continuing youthful spirit after almost two decades in action. "If you don't feel excited, you just don't do it for a little bit," he says. "We're really protective of that thing that gives us that energy. It's the most important thing in the world, so we don't want to fuck it up." | RDW
The Hives • 6/27, 6:30 p.m. • Clutch Cargo's • 65 E. Huron, Pontiac • 248.333.0649 • clutchcargos.com • $25