MP3: Tomas Halberstad - Travel as I wait

Remember Punk of Country? Sure you do. They were one of the first prominent acts to give away an entire album's worth of music via the web. It also helped that they did that indierock thing pretty darn well too. I actually was all set to include 'em on "Reader's companion volume two" but then they broke up during the recording of their second album. It's the classic story: increased pressure from a label who doesn't understand them leads to internal tensions and then BANG! It's over. Even more of a pity too, 'cuz the demo version of the track I received for submission was amazing and by far their best stuff yet. Anyhow, time moves on and so do people and now ex-Punk of Country frontman Tomas Halberstad finally has some new music to unveil. And since he's a resident of Göteborg, what better way to do it than with our Saturday Gbg Spotlight feature?

Of course, first of all I must ask the standard question: How long have you resided in Gbg, what brought you there and what keeps you hanging around?

I first moved here in 1987 and then moved away in 1992. Then I moved back in 1998 and have been living here since.

First time around it was my mother's work, which brought me, us, here. The second time it was the unwillingness to move back home after three years in a student apartment during upper secondary school in Uddevalla. The option was to move in with my sister in Göteborg.

What keeps me hanging around is the fact that I have my life here; most of my friends, my school and that I dislike to travel which develops into a disliking for moving around. I moved a lot as a kid, don't want to do that any more.

You have a kinda peculiar job, right? Guarding the yacht club at night? Do you think that working the graveyard shift affects the way you see the city? Do you think it influences your music as well?

I had a job. I quit that in January in order to be able to go back to school. I still work there from time to time, for extra money, so yes this summer I guarded boats but over the course of nine years, doing what I did, I guarded a lot of things: cars, trucks, offices, goods, you name it.

Working at night, with what I did, changed the way I view the city and by city I am also counting its residents. The city and its residents become less friendly at night. It's also a quite surreal experience to drive around in areas of the city designed and built for thousands of people and lots of cars and be all by yourself.

It influences my music, but perhaps not more than any other type of work does. I suppose if you work all day at the post office that will some how find it's way into your creations.

Furthermore, I understand you've been on kind of a fitness kick recently - does trying out different modes of transportation, whether it's jogging or inline skates or whatever, affect the way you experience the city? How much do you connect your physical well being to your artistic health?

The fitness thing doesn't affect the way I see the city at all. I just do it because I grew tired of being fat.

I think my physical well being is linked in chain to my artistic health, if by artistic health you mean the ability to write music. If I feel physically well it is easier for me to feel mentally well and if I feel mentally well I have the ability to write music all though good physical health is nor a pre requisite for mental health, but it helps.

It's been quite some time since Punk of Country called it quits - why did it take you so long to make new music? How comfortable are you with being a solo artist anyway?

I've never stopped writing music. There has just been a lack of end product. The reason for the long process is money. I wanted to do this the right way and the right way for me meant it would have cost a lot of money if I wanted to do it fast. Rob [producer/engineer Roberth Olausson] and I recorded when we could, where we could.

As for comfort: I am completely comfortable. I'm a very secure person.

Tell me about the new album! Got a song that you'd like to share?

The new album took two and a half years to make, just finishing it in August. It all started when Rob called me one day and asked me if I wanted to do an album, or at least record some songs, in exactly whichever way I wanted. He wanted to help me get my vision out so I guess this album is my vision.

I have played back the album for a couple of friends. All of them liking different songs, but almost all including this one in the liking pile. It's called "Travel as I wait".

Any word yet on how/when it will finally be released?

No, no word. I'm hoping for a 2008 release if not by an existing label then in some DIY-fashion.

Tomas Halberstad - Travel as I wait