Sahara Hotnights

Life on the road ain’t easy. Just ask Sahara Hotnights frontwoman Maria Andersson, who didn’t exactly get her beauty sleep the night prior to her interview with Pollstar.

The Swedish pop-rock quartet was finishing up U.S. dates in support of its third full-length release, Kiss & Tell on RCA Records, and prepping for a video shoot of the new single, “Who Do You Dance For?” which will only be broadcast in Sweden.

“I’m not supposed to be hung over,” a raspy-voiced Andersson, who performed to a sold-out crowd at Los Angeles’ Roxy Theatre the night before, told Pollstar.

The shoot will be a nice change for the group of early 20-somethings who spend about one third of every year touring.

“All the videos that we’ve done before are performance videos,” she said. “For this one, we’re not going to bring our guitars. We’re just going to try to look cool sitting in a parking lot in L.A.”

And for this attractive foursome – consisting of Andersson on guitar/vocals, sisters Jennie (guitar) and Johanna (bass) Asplund and drummer Josephine Forsman

looking “cool” isn’t a difficult task to pull off.

Immediately following the July release of Kiss & Tell, which is their major label debut in the U.S., the girls hooked up with former Pollstar cover-boys and fellow Swedes The Hives for numerous club dates.

Those gigs managed to sell out San Francisco’s Fillmore, Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club, New York’s Irving Plaza, and other venues. Pretty good for a group of girlfriends who began playing music as pre-teens in a small town.

“I saw them at a show in a small town in northern Sweden just by accident,” Hotnights manager Hansi Friberg told Pollstar. “I was there to check out another band, and they were on, and I was totally blown away by them.”

At the time of their meeting, Friberg was running a small record label and managing bands part-time. Since the foursome was already signed to another record label, the thought of working with them never crossed his mind.

“And then a couple months later, I bumped into them again and they were talking about how they didn’t feel they were being treated the right way on their label,” he said. “And that’s how we came up with the idea that I should manage them.”

Friberg took the Hotnights from a small Swedish label to BMG where they released their 1999 debut, C’mon Let’s Pretend (which earned them two Swedish Grammy nominations), and made managing them his full-time gig. What made him jump in with both feet?

Sahara Hotnights

“It’s the whole approach by the band,” he explained. “Like a take-no-prisoners type of approach while they’re on stage. All of them are individuals doing something that I think is unique. I have never seen it before, and I haven’t seen it since.”

Early on in their career, Sahara Hotnights traveled the world alongside bands including The Donnas, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, The Hives, Cooper Temple Clause, and The Datsuns. The band made its way to the States in 2002 following the release of its second album, Jennie Bomb on Jetset Records. Since then, the foursome has headlined its own tours and recently finished U.S. dates with Los Angeles indie outfit Phantom Planet.

“I think it’s been good here from day one,” Andersson said. “I don’t know if we just play good or it’s just that we have luck. There haven’t been any problems.”

The best part about Sahara Hotnights’ most recent tour? Surprisingly enough, it’s their bus.

“That’s luxurious for us,” Andersson laughed. “The first tours we did, we traveled by van and had many sleepless nights at Motel 6. We’d sleep in a room with five or six people; it sucked.”

“It was worth it back then but now, after having this bus with the shower in it, we couldn’t think of anything else. We’re so happy about that.”

For a band that plays approximately 110 to 130 concerts every year, a little luxury couldn’t hurt. And agent Marty Diamond of Little Big Man Booking – who recently signed the group – wants to keep the ladies motivated to tour.

The Hotnights recently finished a two-week trek in Scandinavia, and are now taking a much needed break – but not for long, Diamond told Pollstar.

“We’re looking for additional opportunities for them in the States,” he said. “I think they want to keep going at it, and I know that RCA wants to certainly keep going at it as well.”

Diamond added that with their recent string of dates with Phantom Planet (which included many college cities), he is trying to “introduce them to a new audience, and widen the audience that is obviously aware of them.”

“We haven’t done that before, so that was kind of a new crowd for us,” Andersson said. “We mostly play like over-21 bars, the regular beer drinking, bar-hopping types.”

“What I noticed was that there was a lot of girls at the show … because [Phantom Planet] are good looking guys, or whatever,” she said laughing.