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The smashing self-titled debut CD release by

This month's POWER PLAY RECORDS exclusive interview is extra special and very significant because it is with one of the incredible bands that will be premiering on the POWER PLAY RECORDS music label later this year (as an officially licenced re-issue).

Of course we are speaking about 220 VOLT.

220 VOLT
is probably the greatest hard rock / melodic metal band to ever come out of Sweden. The band formed in 1982 and put out their first release, a vinyl single 'Prisoner of war / Sauron' , that was a limited pressing of about 500 copies. The single was a huge hit with the locals and the copies quickly sold out. Word of the band spread quickly and soon the band was signed to CBS Records. CBS ushered them into the studio and in 1983 the band released it's self-titled debut "220 VOLT". The album was a big success and the band's fan base quickly grew …soon they were fast on their way to recording several other amazing albums and in the process, taking Sweden, Europe, and the rest of the world by storm!

2002 marked the 20th ANNIVERSARY of their first release and to commemorate the occasion the original founding members took a bold step and decided to re-form the band and release a full length album. The result is the fantastic new CD entitled, 220 Volt "Volume 1".

220 VOLT - Discography (full length recordings)

· 220 VOLT (self-titled) [1983 EPIC/SONY ]
· Power Games [1984 EPIC/SONY ]
· Mind Over Muscle [1985 EPIC/SONY ]
· Electric Messengers [1985 EPIC/SONY]
· Young and Wild [1987 CBS RECORDS]
· Eye to Eye [1988 CBS RECORDS] *
· Lethal Illusion [1997 EMPIRE]
· Volume 1 [2002 VOLT CD]

* POWER PLAY RECORDS is excited to be officially re-releasing
220 VOLT's "EYE TO EYE" and is proud to be able to include 2 bonus tracks
[" Still in Love " (re-mix) and " Criminal "] previously unavailable in the U.S.A., and with all new artwork!

Recently, POWER PLAY RECORDS was thrilled to be able to catch up with a few of the band members of
220 VOLT
, for an exclusive interview.

Founding members Mats Karlsson (lead guitar) and Thomas Drevin (guitar) had the following comments for us:

The questions in this interview were presented to Mats Karlsson in the fall of 2002. Mats was nice enough to pass the questions on to current 220 Volt guitarist Thomas Drevin and ex-vocalist Jocke Lundholm. Thomas' comments will be included in this part of the interview and Jocke's will be included separately in part 2.

[POWER PLAY RECORDS (PPR)]: How did 220 VOLT come together (the original lineup) and who came up with the band's name?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: Most of us went to the same school and already knew each other. I started the band with Thomas Drevin and we were supposed to play covers originally. But that never happened. At one rehearsal someone was changing the battery in one the effectpedals and said: Why don´t we call ourselves 9Volt ?? and Christer ( I think) said, well what about 220 Volt ?? And that was it.. 220 Volt is what we get in our sockets over here in Sweden. We never changed our name. It´s very simple but it´s the perfect name for a hardrockband we think.

[PPR]: 220 VOLT never did a "LIVE" album…did you ever consider doing one? Why didn't you?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: Well, we were supposed to after "Eye To Eye" but the whole thing was cancelled. We had booked a place for two nights and set up with a support act but I can´t remember the exact reason. We weren´t exactly on great terms with our record company either. A piece of history though, the live album was going to be called "Voltergeist". When 220 split up we formed a band called Voltergeist, four out of five members were from 220 Volt.

[PPR]: What new bands do you really like that are out there now?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: To be honest, not a whole lot of the new hardrock acts. I still like the classic bands just as much though. Led Zep, Purple, UFO, Black Sabbath and others. For a while the whole scene sounded the same to me. You can´t really tell who´s who…whereas all the "old" bands had their unique style.. I think that´s missing today.

 [PPR]: For a melodic metal band you guys tended to use acoustic guitars very little…is there any particular reason for that?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: No! It just turned out that way, and I don´t think it´s about to change at the moment anyway.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]:
I never played the acoustic, so naturally I didn´t write any such material.

[PPR]: Thomas Witt produced many of your releases. What was it like working with him? Do you still keep in touch at all?

[220 VOLT - Mats]:  We still keep in touch, he runs a record store and I go there from time to time to buy records. He turned our attention to a couple of things that we never had thought of, timekeeping and such. And he was also on our side against the record company ( mostly anyway). But at the same time, we´ve always been strongminded people and wanted to do things our way, even at that age 18-20 years old, so there were a few battles. But we´re great friends.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]: He was the first one we got to know from the business, so he had some tips regarding writing and recording.

[PPR]: When you were growing up did you guys always want to be in a band or did you have other occupations in mind? Also, did your families and friends encourage you to pursue your musical dreams or did they always try to talk you out of it?

[220 VOLT - Mats]:  I was always into a lot of sports, downhill skiing and stuff like that. All of us were involved in sports in one way or another I think. Our families knew each other and supported us all the way. They had to drive all our stuff to the gigs in the beginning, cause we were too young. They´ve been there all the way and I think they enjoy it just as much today.

[PPR]: Have any of you had formal music lessons or are you all self taught?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: I have a bit of both actually. But my older brother taught me how to play the guitar. I was a drummer before that. Big Ian Paice fan. Mike our bassplayer took lessons in classic guitar for many years, but ended up playing bass. I studied music theory and production a few years ago and gained a lot from that I think.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]:
Mats learned from his older brother and I watched them and learned from that.

Every band makes mistakes along the way, do you have any tips or advice for aspiring musicians to help them avoid these pitfalls?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: If you feel that you´re really getting somewhere, get someone to help you out on the business side of things. And make sure they don´t screw you financially. All bands make the same mistakes and I think they should make a few of them aswell, cause it makes them even more determined. Apart from that, music should be fun try and remember that cause it usually gets lost along the way.

[PPR]: Who were your early influences/heroes? Do you pattern your playing after anyone?

[220 VOLT - Mats]:  I´d have to say Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker , Eddie Van Halen and guys like that. The melodic guys. I´ve always enjoyed music that is "musical" so to say. It´s got to have some kind of hook or "swing" that makes me freeze. I don´t know if I pattern my playing after anyone, but I guess my influences shine through every now and then.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]: Blackmore, Schenker. I don´t know if it shows, others will have to be the judge of that.

[PPR]: What are your immediate music plans? Any projects in the works? Who's in the band now?

[220 VOLT - Mats]:  Write some great new songs for the new 220 Volt project. I´ve also been working on a solo thing for a while, but it´s more mellow stuff. 220 Volt 2002 consists of the same line-up as it did in 1982. Christer Åsell Nääs: Vocals, Thomas Drevin: Guitar, Mike Krusenberg Larsson: Bass, Peter Hermansson: Drums and Mats Karlsson: Guitar

[PPR]: Why did original (guitarist) Thomas Drevin and (singer) Christer Asell initially leave 220 VOLT? What brought them back (today)?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: All I´d like to comment on that is, at that time for certain reasons it didn´t quite work. But we´ve remained good friends. I mean I´ve know these guys all my life and We thought it would be a great thing to be able to do something together again. This line-up started the band got a record deal with CBS/Sony. It deserves another chance and it brings back some very good memories. We´re also celebrating the 20th anniversary of our very first record/single this year.

[PPR]: 220 VOLT for the majority wrote powerful lyrics with a positive message, you didn't just write about the typical subjects (sex, drugs, and rock n' roll). Where did get your inspiration from for the lyrics and did you intentionally set out to avoid being cliché?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: We never wanted to be positive to drugs or stuff like that. The lyrics were mostly the work of Jocke who was our singer after Christer. He wrote some great stuff. And we tried to stay away from the obvious. In the early days though I don´t think we cared so much. Now we´re working on stuff we wrote early on, and the lyrics aren´t that great in places but we don´t want to change it around too much. We´re trying to keep the spirit of what we once did.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]: We´ll see what happens with the new lyrics, but I think we´ll try and stay away from the obvious.

[PPR]: What bands did you most enjoy touring with when you were on the road and what was your most memorable show/tour? (good or bad)

[220 VOLT - Mats]: The AC/DC tour I´d say. Full house every night. I´ve never been on a bad tour, but I have experienced some bad shows, with powercuts and stuff like that.The two biggest tours were with AC/DC and Nazareth and they were the coolest one´s. I also enjoyed the shows later on when we headlined ourselves.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]: I remember playing a show when our fireworks in the beginning made the whole place blackout. All the fuses blew up, hehehe…

[PPR]: What lesser known bands that never made it big do you think deserved a better fate?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: I know that I enjoyed a band in Stockholm called "Four Sticks" a lot, but nothing seemed to happen with them.

[PPR]: I think 220 VOLT has some of the tastiest and technical guitar solos ever recorded . Were most of your solos planned out or did you often do them spontaneously?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: Well, thanks a lot!! Most harmony parts were figured out in advance, but at least my solos were always spontaneous.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]: You have to be talking about Mats' solos…

[PPR]: Many people have not had the pleasure or opportunity to see 220 VOLT in concert. How did you try to come across when you performed live (did you try to play note for note like the album…or did you improvise a lot and stray from the original recordings)? Did you ever do any cover tunes? Which ones?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: We went through different phases and I think we tried it all. But solos were seldom the same from night to night. Also we tried to keep the setlist varied. We did play some covers the last few years. Stealin´ ( Uriah Heep), This Flight Tonight ( Nazareth version), Gimme All Your Lovin´ ( ZZ Top), Long Live Rock n´Roll ( Rainbow) are the first one´s that come to mind. I´m sure we did more covers but I don´t remember right now.

[PPR]: Was there any reason that you decided to form the band with two guitarists? Did you have live performing in mind…or were there other reasons?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: The reason was that we were two guitarists forming a band. I was 14 years old and I don´t think we had any plans whatsoever besides that we wanted to play guitar.

[PPR]: How many guitars do you own? What models do you have and which ones do you enjoy playing the most? Do you still have any of the guitars kicking around that you used way back when you started the band?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: I have 7 guitars, one is an acoustic. The other one´s are 4 strats, one Fender Mustang ´65 and a Flying V. My old Mustang has been around since we started the band and I also have a Strat that I bought very early. I still use the strat, but the Mustang needs some repair. I´ve also had the V and one of my Marshalls that I still use for more than 20 years.

[220 VOLT - Thomas]: I have 5 guitars, one is put together by different pieces, 2 Blade Strats that I really like the sound of and two acoustics.

[PPR]: If you could go back in time and change things, would you? What would you change?

[220 VOLT - Mats]: I don´t think that way. I look ahead and I always try to make my next thing my very best.

220 VOLT:

Mats Karlsson - Guitars and vocals

Christer "Frille Asell" Naas - Lead Vocals

Mike "Larsson" Krusenberg - Bass and vocals

Peter Hermansson - Drums and vocals

Thomas Drevin - Guitars and vocals

***Photos are copyright and property of Lasse Thoresson used by permission, courtesy of 220 VOLT.

Power Play Records
would like to thank Mats Karlsson and Thomas Drevin for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our interview questions (thanks as well goes to the rest of the members of 220 VOLT ). Keep up the great work guys and drop us a line from time to time to let us know what 220 VOLT is up to! We would also like to thank Lasse Thoresson for the great photos!

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