Interview with Ronnie Atkins - Pretty Maids, April 2010

First off I just want to congratulate you on an album well done!

Pretty Maids - Well thanks a lot !

Four years has passed between your two latest albums - quite some time, but what kind of expectations do you have for 'Pandemonium'?

Pretty Maids - Well during the years I have learned not to expect too much, I guess it comes with age, ha ha. But with this album I must admit that my expectations are bigger than they have been in many years, since I believe that this is the best album we've done in something like 15 or 20 years. I'm really happy about "Pandemonium".

Where do you see the main difference between this album and your latest album "Welcome to the Real World" from 2006? I think you have created one of your most complete albums ever, and all the songs are at a very high level.

Pretty Maids - Well this album just got it all as far as I'm concerned, good riffs and good melodies and a great sound so I wouldn't dare to compare it to Wake up.... Not saying that Wake up necessarily is a bad album but this one is just far better and a bit back to the roots, you know we always do our best but sometimes you make good records and sometimes you make great records. I consider this one great, among the best we've done really.

I think the material captures the spirit of the "Red, Hot and Heavy/Future World"-era perfectly - all wrapped in a modern sound. Did the spirit come over you natural when writing the songs?

Pretty Maids - Well I totally agree with you. But no nothing was planned the songs were simply written as the ideas came to the surface. But there just were this great spirit in the band throughout the writing and recording process so it was one big pleasure to do this one and I guess we just managed to get that on the record.

On 'Pandemonium' you have been working with Jacob Hansen. Did you feel it was time to work with a new producer and what kind of influence did he have on the result? I think the album still sound very much like a Pretty Maids album with a slight Jacob Hansen feel to it...

Pretty Maids - Well Jacob was actually suggested to us by fellow Danes VOLBEAT, and from we met the first time we just clicked and he was an excellent choice. Jacob obviously had wanted to work with us for a long time so he was quite familiar with the band and our sound from the eighties he grew up with albums like Red Hot and Future world. But as I said he'd done a great job in really going into details with all the songs. Sometimes we ripped them totally apart detuned them and rearranged them with new melodies etc.

New guy - Morten Sandager - comes with a different background (musically), has that had any influence on the sound? I think he has had a healthy influence on your overall sound on "Pandemonium".

Pretty Maids - Morten is a real treat to the band and he's a pleasure working with. Probably one of the nicest persons I have ever met, besides that he's a great musician with a good set of ears and basically into a lot of the same music as we are, And yeas he's had a good influence on the whole project.

How did you come up with the title for the album, and is there a deeper meaning behind the title?

Pretty Maids - The title track was written during the COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen while we were in a rehearsal camp and as always the world leaders came to no solution and that in fact is what this song is about.

What's your personal pandemonium?

Pretty Maids - There's none

Tell us a bit about artwork...

Pretty Maids - Basically an idea that came out of the blue from a German art worker named Kai Brocksmidt, we liked what we saw and chatted a little forth and back and that was it. On top of that we introduced the old logo from the future world era, since we thought it could be nice bring that back on the cover.

'Pandemonium' is your second album on Frontiers Records - one of the premier melodic metal labels in the world. How important was it for you to have a label that understands what Pretty Maids is all about? And were they your first choice...

Pretty Maids - Well Serafino Perugino approached us in 2005 and I guess he was an old admirer of the band and since that we've worked together. But yeah I of course think it's really important to have someone behind you who are into and behind what you are doing. We never did any demo's so I guess they have faith in us.

Ken Hammer and Ronnie Atkins in Pretty Maids and on stage. Kenneth and Paul off. Do you feel the old stage names have helped you separate the two things? And why have you kept the stage names over the years?

Pretty Maids - We took the names all the way back in 1983 because our first label Bullit records demanded that we changed our names back then and not to cause total confusion on the second album, we decided to stick with these names. That's all there is to it.

Horsens in December - how important is it for you to play the Christmas concert in your hometown? After all it is most of all just a big get-together for family and friends, and a great way to kick off the Christmas time...

Pretty Maids - Well hell yeah ! and that's fun. There's somehow always a great atmosphere at these so it's just a big party really!

What tasks lay immediately ahead of Pretty Maids - any touring plans, festivals, single shows or...?

Pretty Maids - A couple of gigs during the summer and a full scale European tour in the fall and hopefully a trip to the east as well, but let's see how the album goes that is after all a key factor.

Former member Michael Fast is now your booking agent - but how many of your former members do you still have contact to?

Pretty Maids - Well sometimes we bump into each other, but it's very rare, not that there's any bad blood between us, as far as I'm concerned.

Has any new bands caught your attention this past year, or do you keep going back to the bands you grew up with and admired?

Pretty Maids - Well I'm just a fan of good music in general, but talking hard rock I've been pretty fond of a band like Shinedown. But yeah I mostly listen to a lot of old stuff Sabbath, Zep, etc.

Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?

Pretty Maids - Well you're welcome. Yeah I hope that the readers enjoy our album and to face them alive on stage in 2010/2011 on the Pandemonium tour.


Interviewed by Kenn Jensen

Pretty Maids - Pandemonium

Album available on Frontiers Records.