Text: Eva Houšková
Foto: Bonafide archive, Jiří Rogl
BONAFIDE are young Swedish band playing old hard rock – simply said. But it's not that exact, much less simple. There are four excellent musicians in Bonafide who, apart from instrumental skills, have also talent for writing great songs. Their music is often compared to AC/DC, but it isn't any imitation. Bonafide are Pontus Snibb (vocal, guitar), Mikael Fässberg (guitar), Niklas Matsson (drums) and former Michael Nilsson has been recently replaced by Martin Ekelund (bass guitar). Their fresh straight music with the strong riffs kick you up and 'fills your head with rock'! Currently they're preparing their third studio album; not only about it I talked with the frontman – singer, composer and multiinstrumentalist PONTUS SNIBB.
You were a co-founder of Bonafide in 2006. When I look at your past shows since then, you have been on tour very often. Do you think that these frequent shows have been the reason for your quick jump to the top?
Actually I started it as a side project to my solo career, and it became the other way around quickly, ha ha. Now my solo career is on the side… Yes, absolutely, all the live shows around Europe helped the band to become a better stage act, getting the whole thing together, and knowing what I wanted out of the band.
You've played with such legends like eg. Deep Purple, Status Quo, Y&T or L.A. Guns. Didn't you have a stage fright, when you were staying on stage with these legendary musicians for the first time?
They were all very nice to us and Y&T are our friends now. So not really. And the bigger the stages, the less stage fright I would say. Small intimate clubs where the audience are really close is actually harder on the nerves. But now it's all just a lot of fun. And we're enjoying playing a big festival one day and a small club the next!
You have the albums Bonafide (2007), Something's Dripping (2009), EP Fill Your Head With Rock – Old, New, Tried & True (2011) out – and your third studio recording will come out soon. What is its title and what will the fans find on it?
The fans will find my finest songs up to this date, actually 11 of them. It's gonna be a great album and we are starting recording it early February 2012. The working title of the album comes from one of the songs, that could well be the first single: Rough Cut. I's gonna be a really rocking album with some new inputs to it all, but you'll have to wait for later when it's released.
Where will you record your new CD, who will cooperate with you and when will it be released exactly?
We will record it in GIG Studio in Stockholm, where we recorded the covers for the EP, and where I recorded my new solo album with Pontus Snibb 3. This time I'm gonna produce the album myself, cause I have a very clear picture of how I want it to sound, some of the songs are two years old, and have grown in my mind so to speak… it's gonna rock as hell!!
Micke Nilsson said good bye to Bonafide last autumn, because he wanted to pursue another project. What's his project about?
It was more the lack of time actually, with all the travelling and so on. I don't think he has a new project yet. But he'll find one for sure!
Micke was replaced by Martin Eckelund. Where did you find him and what enticed him to the band?
An old buddy of ours and sound engineer introduced me to Martin. I gave him nine songs to learn for the first tryout, he nailed it all without blinking. Actually it has never felt as good. He's a real pick-player and lifted the band to new highs! We're very happy to have him aboard!
You were on succesful UK tour in December. How were things and what were the responses from UK fans?
Really great response over there. We've been interviewed in the great UK magazine Classic Rock two times now, and got voted best song of the year for Fill Your Head With Rock, and the UK rock radios play our songs, so there's a good thing going in the UK, for sure. We've just got new dates there for next summer. Check out the web site for details.
I really like your video blogs and I'm sure that the fans appreciate it, as well. It's evident there aren't just excellent musicians, but friends with the same kind of humour in the band...
Yeah, we're having a great time on the road, four crazy guys, ha ha. We hang out when we're at home too, can't get enough craziness…
It's known that you grew up in profesional musician's family, so no wonder that you have become musician as well. Nothing but music has attracted you ever?
No, I've always known I want to be a musician. Never looked at anything else, and will never do. I live and breathe music, that's my life.
What were your musical beginnings?
Playing drums from the start, then started with guitar and vocals because I wanted to play with my dad who's a drummer as well. So we formed the family band under the name SNiBB.
You play in another bands besides Bonafide. One of them is Pontus Snibb 3, classic hard rock band, where you sing, your colleague from Bonafide Niklas Matsson plays drums, Mats Rydström is bassist and your debut album will be realesed this February. The next band is Jason & The Scorchers where you play drums, guitar and sing vocals; this is another cup of tea – combination of hard rock, punk rock and country rock. Isn't one band enough for you? You must have nearly no free time…
As I said, I do nothing else, so I have enough time for all three bands. I feel like I need them all to be musically happy, as well. After twenty Bonafide shows, I wanna play more Power Trio stuff with Pontus Snibb 3, after that I can't wait to bang the drums again… and so the story goes, ha ha.
And what about the other members of Bonafide – do they have any side projects, as well?
No, not really; Niklas has Backdraft, but they're not doing anything at the moment. They are not full time musicians as I am. I would never have time for three bands if I kept a steady job at the same time. I think the goal for all is to be able to quit the daytime job and focus on the music instead.
You have a very mature voice for your age. How do you care about your vocal chords?
A lot of whiskey and cigarettes, ha ha. But seriousely, I'm blessed with good vocal chords, I sometimes warm up the voice before a show, that's all. I've been singing for over 15 years now and have learned how to do it properly.
You played in Prague last February. Even thought there weren't a huge audience, you played the whole valuable show, and the fans left enthusiastic. Can we look forward to your return to Prague this year?
Our plan is to tour a lot in 2012, I'm not sure if we get back to Prague. Of course, we want to, it's one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. And the beer… let's not forget the beer!!! We had a great show last time, small but a fantastic crowd!!! Hope to see you all again soon…