2010.01.26 – CROSS – Hansi Cross (interview)

Do You know Cross?? No?? What a mistake! Swedish band formed by Hansi Cross is one of the most interesting Swedish prog rock band. Their last last album “The Thrill of Nothingness” contains a lot of beautiful tones and it’s a symbol of special period of Hansi Cross’ life. I asked Hansi some questions so enjoy this interview.

Hi Hansi, first of all I’m quite curious if this is your first interview for Polish media?

Hello Piotr, Yes I believe it actually is.

„The Thrill of Nothingness” came out quite recently. Bearing in mind circumstances surrounding this release I guess this must be an important album for you?

In the sense that I suffered from a terrible hearing loss with a horrendous tinnitus and for awhile I believed that it would never be finalized and that I would never be able to create any more music, or even listen to music…Yes, compared to that it was, probably, the most important period in my life when I became good enough to finish it.

…and how are you feeling right now?

Very good, thank you. At this point I am 85% restored and after having a 2 year break from music I am more inspired than ever. I’ve actually already written the basic material for another album already. I also have this new love in my life so, thing’s are pretty close to perfect right now ;-).

What is the feedback to „ The Thrill of Nothingness” in the world, what type of response have you received so far?

It is mainly positive. Some reviewers are whining a bit though as it is more traditional (which they mainly interpret as “Genesis influenced”) than earlier Cross albums, but that is what we wanted to do this time…and many are also very pleased with that.

The album came out in two versions including 1 or 2 CDs. Could you tell me a few words about a 2 CD version?

We had recorded about 110 minutes of music and liked it all but we felt that we did not find a nice flow over a double album. So, we decided to put together what we felt would be a solid album that would have a kind of theme as “the album” and have the rest on a bonus disc for the fans who want it all.

Are you thinking of recording a new album? Due to well known reasons this one took a few years to be released.

Absolutely. I have this incredible flow right now. This time it will probably be that nearly all music will be my compositions but arranged by the band. I have sent the other guys the first sketches and am awaiting their inputs. This will go on, back and forth, for a couple of months. I expect that all songs will be written, with lyrics and all, towards April. Then we will rehearse and record in June.

Let’s move on to something else. You are in charge of a record label (Progress Records). Any comments about the year 2009 in terms of albums released?

We are all happy that “The Thrill of nothingness” finally saw the light of day. We also released the debut from the Dutch band Illumion, an interesting, talented band and we have high hopes might come up with an awesome follow-up. Another Dutch band, Silhouette, and the Norwegian heavy proggers Adventure had their new albums released on Progress. Both these could almost be considered as debut albums as their first albums was self released works with limited production quality. And, not least, Brother Ape which I have liked for many years, came up with a truly brilliant new album.

…what are the plans for the label for 2010?

The only one we are 100% certain of is that the new Magic Pie will be out in late March/early April. But there is chances for a new Brighteye Brison, the follow-up to Illumion’s debut and a couple of other’s.

What is your opinion about prog scene in Sweden? I must admit that the bands from Sweden have a very distinctive style – let’s call it a Swedish school:-)

I agree that at least many of the Swedish bands have something typical “Swedish” about their music. It’s definitely not that they sound all the same, it’s difficult to put the finger on what it is but…yeah…”the Swedish school” kind of works for me too. I know what you mean. I believe that the same can be said about the Polish scene. We’ve seen an explosion of fine Polish band during the first part of the new millennium (which of course makes me think of the band Millenium as one of these). Most of them have something that I feel could be called “the Polish school”.

For an average Pole (but maybe it’s not only our problem) Sweden is associated with Abba and Europe. What do you think about these two bands? They popularized Sweden all around the world (and Europe is still doing the same!)

Two successful bands that I don’t listen to. Sometimes it seems that I’m the only person on Earth that doesn’t like Abba. I find them extremely boring, kind of cheap actually. But many of my friends, also people mainly into prog, like them so I guess they were good.

Let’s move back to Cross, are you considering any concerts or maybe due to your health problems this will not be possible?

At this point it is not possible. It could ruin what I have achieved. As I said…I am 85% restored now and things are still progressing. I am truly happy as it is and don’t consider myself having any health problems but I want to give myself the chance to do what I can to reach perfection. If I find that the situation is very stable we might give some concerts – that would be great, and I’d love to come to Poland – but for now I and the other guys focus on making another album. As you pointed out it took 5 years between “The Thrill of nothingness” and “Playgrounds” and it also went 4 years between “Playgrounds” and “Secrets” due to other reasons. One of them was that our drummer lives in the US and with 9/11 and all that things became delayed. He lived in New York at the time. But now our aim is to catch up with another release in about a year from now.

Thank you very much for your time. All the best in 2010. If you wish, please write a few lines to our readers.

Thank you, Piotr. And thanks to all music fans that support musicians by buying their music as a way of giving something in return for the pleasure of listening to music. By doing that you are creating a two-way flow, it becomes a connection between the artist and yourself that is a benefit to both parts in the long run. I wish you all a superb 2010.

Piotr Michalski

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