After a couple failed interview attempts with artists who shall go unnamed, our Göteborg Spotlight Series is back with this week's guest Mattias Hellberg. For those of you with your heads in the ground, Mattias has been around for many years performing with acts such as Nymphet Noodlers, The Hellacopters, Hederos & Hellberg, The Solution, Nationalteatern besides working under his own name and is now back with a new group, The White Moose. That group's debut album "Out of the frying pan, into the woods" came out earlier this month and so I tracked down Mattias for a few questions...
You're still based in Gbg, right? What's kept you there all these years? Ever considering picking up and relocating somewhere else?
Yes I'm still here. Well one reason is I'm quite happy to have an apartment... some kind of safety thing I guess. I'd love to have a little shack in the Caribbean to go to in the wintertime though.
What makes the Gbg music scene special, if it's even special at all? The people, the geography, the weather... what are the primary characteristics that define the city and its artists?
I dunno if there is a special scene here. Think there's quite a good diversity of scenes/bands/clubs. People tend to say that the music from here is more working-class with a more "rough" touch. Maybe it used to be that way, but I don't think it's a general "tag" to put on the Gothenburg "sound" anymore. Maybe I'm wrong...
So you've started to do shows with Martin Hederos (The Soundtrack of Our Lives) again as Hederos & Hellberg -- why resurrect that project now? Why'd you even stop playing together in the first place?
Well, we were asked to close the Way Out West festival this summer in a big beautiful church. An offer we couldn't refuse. It was a bit scary but great fun at the same time and it was an amazing vibe in a packed church way after midnight. And of course nice to play together again. Then we did a weekend in our old hometown Karlstad and Oslo in November. But now we both got new albums to tour and promote (TSOOL & mine), so now there wont be much time for anymore reunions for a while...
Why we stopped playing together was because the project started to grow out of proportion, we had to say no to some quite good offers (tours) because it would interfere with TSOOL. So it was better to call it off and quit.
And now the new band The White Moose - how did this group come together? Do you see it as an extension of your solo career or it is more of a full band project?
I wrote the songs early this year and had already talked to Ludwig (Dahlberg, The (International) Noise Conspiracy) about him playing drums with me. Then I just asked Olle and Henke (Hagberg, Whyte Seeds and Lindén, Fox Machine respectively) to join in and the band was goin'.
I don't think I've had much of a "solo" career. This is something new. It can't really be a full-band project as I have to consider the other guys got other bands. We'll find a way to make it work though.
Obviously you keep yourself very busy with all sorts of musical adventures - got any more surprises we should look forward to? Anyone in particular you'd really like to worth with?
I'd love to learn how to play the Oud. I also have a dream about going to some foreign country and making music with local musicians.
Lastly, got a song you'd like to share? Tell me about it.
Ok I choose "Why is it so?" from the new album "Out of the frying pan, into the woods". It's actually the first song I wrote after Nymphet Noodlers split up back in '96.
I think I had some plans for a solo album back then already, but I was not much of a songwriter, so it got put on hold for sometime... The original version was an acoustic Stooges kinda "ballad" with different lyrics, same refrain though. This new version is something else... Maximum White Moose Jazz.
Mattias Hellberg & The White Moose - Why is it so?
I apologize that I haven't kept up the weekly Göteborg Spotlight in recent weeks, but it will be back. Questionnaires have been sent, new interviews are being set up as we speak. In the meantime, here's the opening track from the "Lägg av! Ni fattar ingenting! - Göteborgsprogg 1970-80" compilation - one of Nationalteatern's best known numbers.
Nationalteatern - Bängen trålar
Hopefully you've heard of Viktor Sjöberg by now. If not through his involvement with Jens Lekman as a member of his backing band, perhaps you saw this recent feature in Dagens Nyheter? Or maybe you've been following all the praise being heaped on him on behalf of folks such as myself and other corners of the interweb like Digfi and so on. Through it all, let me say this: he deserves it. He's not only a superb musician who excels in every genre, he's also a perfect gentleman and I'm honored to be of his acquaintance.
When I set out on this Gbg Spotlight feature at the beginning of 2008 Viktor was at the top of my list - it was never matter of "if", only "when". And that time is now.
You moved to Gbg for school, right? How long has it been now? Think you'll stick around once you finish your dissertation?
Well, not exactly, I grew up in Pixbo just outside Gothenburg so I have pretty much always been here. I lived down south for little over a year though, which is where I met many of the people that are my closest friends today. Some of them has since then moved to Gothenburg, such as Johan (Gustavsson, aka Tsukimono). I have been living in central Gothenburg since around 2004 and I don't think that I would want to live anywhere else in Sweden, at least not in any other city. I am finishing up school right now (for real this time!) and who knows what the future holds? But I can safely say that if I were to leave Gothenburg I would go to California rather than anywhere else in Sweden or Europe.
What do think is the most charming aspect of Gbg? On the other hand, is there anything about the city you wish you could change?
My mother, my dog and a lot of my dear friends live here. That's fairly charming. I think it has a lot of possibilities and it can certainly be a beautiful place when it wants to be. I could get into a discussion on how right now I think that we probably have more things going on musically than Malmö or Stockholm, but that feels kind of irrelevant. It rains a lot and it's very windy and more than often overcast. These conditions make for creative indoor activities and good friendships.
As far as music goes, you seem to be involved with both the pop and experimental scenes. Is there a lot of crossover between the two? What characteristics do they both share, if any?
I don't what to say, really. I guess there are a few artists that walk this line separating "pop" and "experimental". Personally, I think that this a hard thing to do and I think very few people succeed. Thinking more about it, I find that I generally think it works best when so called "experimental" artists incorporate popular music into their work, rather than the other way around. (If this is done in a non-ironic manner that is.) Pop music with an presumably experimental edge is generally just a bad make-up job and one of the worst things in the world. One big exception that actually lives in Gothenburg is Erik de Vahl, who to me is an excellent pop artist that not only writes beautiful songs, but also is sonically restless. It seems to me that he explores new areas because he needs to, not because he wants to make up for something that isn't there. I have been listening to his unreleased new album for almost a year now and I think it's the best thing he's ever done. I hope he decides to put it out some day.
You always seem to have a ton of amazing projects going on all the time - what are you currently working on now? What about stuff your friends are doing; got any tips on artists I should be paying more attention to?
I am finishing up my follow up album to "On a winter's day", entitled "Breakfast in America". I have been working on it for pretty much two years and it's definitely my most fully realised project so far. It is very much a pop album and it is inspired by the feeling of greatness that pop music can provide you with at certain points in your life. It's about seeing America out of a train window with your oldest childhood friend, catching all those youthful dreams and finding new ones. It's about finding love in people, in the landscape and in the golden sunshine. Basically, loving life.
I am working with my New Jazz Ensemble in different ways, we just did a show as a quartet last week and we are doing another one as a septet this week. After that there'll be a small tour with Malmö popjazztrio Auton. We are playing Copenhagen, Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm. I am also putting out their debut album on my label, Structures Sonores this week, so there is a lot of work going on with that.
Gothenburg artists that you should check out? Well, I hope you listened to the song "Feeling small" by Johan Gustavsson's Gutted String project. He has another one that is called "Ferry from here" that is also fantastic and I know that he is working on some spectacular things. There's more things going on I guess, but that's the last thing that seriously blew me away. Oh yeah, and I like Madamm. She has the best guitar sound in town.
So do you have a song to share either from yourself or another artist you admire? Tell us about it.
Johan sent me this music while I was in California over the summer. I was sitting at the Escondido Public Library working on a paper when I suddenly got a hold of the library wifi and checked my email. I found this song in my inbox and I began listening to it over and over again. The idea of Johan singing his heart out on the other side of the globe was very appealing, but even more so it was a completely brilliant song. That the key line is dealing with drowning in noise is very fitting in so many ways. I hope to hear more things from Thee/The Gutted String asap.
We're not the only ones commemorating a birthday this week; Göteborg-based booker/show promoter Parapluie turned 3 and celebrated by throwing themselves a party and Jonas Lyckander also took the time to answer a few questions as part of our ongoing Gbg Spotlight Series.
So it was your birthday this week - how was the celebration?
We had a great night at Pusterviksbaren in Gothenburg! The Deer Tracks, Jonathan Johansson (just signed for Hybris) and We Are Soldiers We Have Guns gave us the best of pop!
So you've been booking indie/pop shows for 3 years now - how healthy do you think the scene is in Gbg? How do you think it compare to the way it was 3 years ago?
I think the indiescene in Gothenburg is pretty good right now. We have lots of nice venues and a bunch of dedicated club/promoters that bring nice bands/DJs to town.
Three years ago the scene for indiebands was smaller. Now there are shows almost every night where you can go and hear new music. That's good.
Likewise, how do you think the Gbg scene compares to other cities in Sweden or elsewhere? Is there anything in particular that makes Gbg special? Is there anything it is lacking?
I like Malmö. Malmö is the Swedish Berlin! Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö have tehri own scenes and they are pretty different from eachother.
The scene in Gothenburg is open and friendly for new acts. Not too much attitude.
Who's your favorite local act right now?
My friends in Fantasikrig are great! They will do a show at Klubb Populär @ Storan in Gothenburg next saturday. It will be nice.
Do you have a song from them you'd like to share?Check them out at myspace: http://www.myspace.com/fantasikrig
The new myspace music is a total shitsystem, but I did manage to grab a track for reposting. Check it out below.
Fantasikrig - Lovisa och David
Our guest in this week's entry of our ongoing Göteborg Spotlight Series: the mighty Alarma Man! Not only were they kind enough to answer my questions, they also sent over the very first taste of what's to come on their new album. Read on...
It's been quite some time since we've heard anything new from you guys - why the long wait? What have you been doing these past few years?
Since the release of our 12" split "Duets" you mean? We continued working on songs for a full length album and got the chance to move from our old place to Dieter Schöön's Lablaza (the same place we recorded our debut album). Lablaza was both chaotic and a very creative environment for us. A couple of month passed by. In October 2007 we felt pretty close to start recording the album. December came up and our landlord got an offer he couldn't resist. We were threwn out of Lablaza and Bandidos moved in. So there we were. No rehearsal room, no studio.
A week went by and we found a new home. We moved in together with a bunch of other creative bands/people (URAN, Dieter Schöön, FBFOS).
We started building the studio, in which our album where going to be recorded.
During this 1,5 months we wrote a bunch of new songs.
At this time the idea of collaborate with Adam Magnusson as a producer/sound engineer came up and he became a part of the process.
In march we hit the studio. We all study or work so it took a bit longer than expected to get it done. Now when the album is done we're looking for a label that wants to release it.
Besides working on the album we've been on a couple of tours in Europe and we've helped friends on live gigs and studio albums. (C.Aarmé, Cut City, Uran, Boy Omega and Dieter Schöön).
How does Alarma Man fit into the "Gbg scene"? Does a cohesive scene even exist?
When I hear "Gbg scene" I think of Håkan Hellström and a bunch of bands started by ex-members from Bad Cash Quartet, but I'm not sure if that scene really exists. There are too many band in too many genres to say what would be a part of it. Alarma Man has never felt like we're a part of any scene... If you need to be a part of any, we choose the "good band" scene.
We do have the Koloni/iDEAL scene here in Gothenburg. It's really inspiring to live in the same town as Christian Pallin (Koloni) and Joachim Nordwall (iDEAL). They manage to bring us bands that I've never heard of before and those bands are always good or totally crazy. Either way I'm always satisfied when leaving the venue.
So do you think there's such a thing as a Gbg sound? Or would you say that bands in Gbg are brought together by other circumstances or ideas?
Nowadays you don't need a "real" studio and expensive equipment to make music. I guess the "Gbg sound" was killed by Cubase and ProTools. When comparing Cut City, Uran, Repoman and other great bands from Gbg, I find it hard to see any similarity except for that they make good music. Gothenburg is known in Sweden for it's "loose" and friendly attitude. Perhaps that's the thing with bands from here. Gbg bands focus on the music instead of looking good on stage... haha!
Okay, so tell us about the new album. How is it different/the same compared to what you've done before?
This album is the best music we've ever done (yes I know it's a cliche, but it's true).
Lots of people are asking if there will be vocals on this album. Yes. There will be. A lot!
Adding vocals wasn't a big decision for us. We made "Duets" as an experiment and liked the idea of working with vocals. It might seem a bit strange when you've been known as an instrumental mathpunk band, but we feel comfortable with it. We've never had a plan to be an instrumental band forever and we didn't have a plan to start singing on our second album. It's just the way it turned out.
Another big difference is that we worked with a producer. We needed an outside persons thoughts and vibes in the recording process. Adam has a big part in the arrangements and how the songs turned out.
Our first album was a lot of high speed craziness and big guitar riffs. 4 years has passed by and our new songs are slower, darker and colder. I think a held back fever is a good way to describe the album.
Got a song you'd like to share?
Here's a song from the upcoming album. Its a three-faced song about being chased, therefore the name "Nightwolf". Look out for the saxophones in the chorus, played by our friend Joel Westberg!
Not every worthwhile Göteborg-based artist is a well-known commodity. At least, not yet. This week's guest in our ongoing city spotlight series: Gustaf Malmros, ex-Instrumen, currently Extended Heads/The Extended Head/Spit Spat Black Cat.
You've lived a lot of different places, how did you end up in Göteborg? How is it different from other cities you've lived in?
My girlfriend started an education in Gbg, which made it a good spot. At first it was terrible and nothing but rain. Then the sun lit up the city and I found out it had more to offer. The Extended Head became plural with a drummer (Pontus Torstensson) and a bassplayer (Mikael Gustafsson). Extended Heads was born. Nothing but sunshine.
How does The Extended Head/Extended Heads fit in with the Gbg scene + sound, if at all?
I don't know the Gbg scene or sound, except that it has always been considered a rock town. Extended Heads' new wave / grunge sound has had a good response. And I've been to some good Gbg-shows myself.
What do you do when you're not playing music? Got any favorite hangouts? Where would you take a guest from out of town?
This fall I'm living in New York, but normally I work in a bar/café called Publik (Andra Långatan 20), and that's where I would take my guest from out of town. Best hangout, best discount.
Got any plans for the future? Any goals?
Future=? Goal is to get paid for my work.
Lastly, do you have a song to share? Tell us about it.
The song I would like to share is recorded by Extended Heads in Gbg at the end of July this year. It's called "Dear lucky winner", and is about a spam mail.
Extended Heads - Dear lucky winner
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.
I already posted a track from Silverbullit as part of our ongoing Göteborg Spotlight Series, but today I'm happy a present an interview with guitarist Andreas Nilsson, an artist who's also well known for his phenomenal video work. Madrugada, José González and The Knife are just a few of the names of artists he has collaborated with. Andreas may no longer be a Gbg resident, but his contributions to the city's music and art scene are numerous. Read on...
First off, my standard intro question: how long have you lived in Gbg? What brought you there and what keeps you in town?
I moved here at age 17 to go to artschool. Lived here for 17 years, so half my life... I live in another town now, but I miss the sort of underground musicscene that Koloni, Kning Disk and Ideal bring to Gothenburg. It's amazing that a town of Gbg's size has such a big scene for this kind of stuff.
You seem to be working more visually these days as opposed to sonically - which medium would you say is your strong point? How often do the two overlap? If someone asks "so, what do you do?" how do you answer?
The way that I work is a cluster of things that I barely understand the logic of myself. But I try to overlap as much as possible. It's an ok place to be in, the twilight zone.
If someone asks me what I do, I lie and tell them I'm a horsewhisperer or something.
How was Way Out West? Were you satisfied with Silverbullit's set? See anything of note?
Playing with Silverbullit again was great. Always fun to see Simon play keyboardsolo in his patented rapestyle and we were touched by all the people that showed up.
But I didn't have time to see much else at the festival. The Bug had a great stomach-turning bass. My big festival moment this year was My Bloody Valentine at Roskilde. It was so loud that I experienced a physical reaction in my nose that I had never experienced before. It was kind of buzzing and humming the day after, very strange.
I understand you managed to get Freddie Wadling to make a guest appearance - who's idea was that? Was it a matter of mutual appreciation or did it take more wrangling to get it together?
We've been working on a track that Freddie gave us as a demo. The idea of playing together came to us in a DHL-package.
What current projects are you working on? What can we expect to see/hear from you in the next six months or so? What are the chances of a new Silverbullit album?
Just finished a video for a British band called White Lies. The track is called "Death". Today I'm in Gothenburg working at the Stadsteatern. I'm working on a play called "Butterfly Kiss" together with director Malin Stenberg. A dark and surreal text about a dysfunctional family with an urge to kill. It premiered 19th Sep for all you culture vultures out there.
Finally, got a song you would like to share, either from one of your own bands or from a local act you admire? Tell me about it!
Both Kite and Prince of Assyria obliged by sending in tracks for posting, but since Andreas recommended a specific Kite track, that's the one I'm going with today. Stay tuned for more on The Prince- a recommendation from Andreas Nilsson does not go unnoticed!
Kite - My girl and I
This week's guests in our ongoing Göteborg Spotlight Series: Detektivbyrån.
First, the standard question: how long have you lived in Göteborg, what brought you there and what keeps you hanging around?
Different for all of us but between 3-5 years.
Martin was brought here first, he had a love story in Göteborg and when we wanted to start this band I (Anders) moved here and soon Jon too. After my four years here, the windy weather keeps me a little confused, it's never still, as in Wermland where we come from, there it's quiet and never cold winds like this. I like both. Right now a lot of things are happening with this band and it suits us to be in a city with much going on, musically, also we have both our booking agency and our distribution company right around the corner here in Göteborg; that's nice since we want to have a straight and good contact with everyone we work with.
How do you guys fit into the city's musical landscape? Are you more at home in the folk or indie scene? Or is there another niche that fits you better? Or does that kind of segmentation even affect you at all?
Since we play instrumental music that happens to reach so many different kinds of people from many different places in the world, I would say we don't have much in common with any kind of scene in Göteborg or anywhere else. I think we contribute with something beautiful to the musical landscape of Göteborg. We don't call us indie but other people do, sometimes we call ourselves folk but there's so much we do which is not "folk", I don't know, we never think about this really.
This summer we have played both at Urkult which is very, very folky out in the deep woods of north Sweden, and at Emmaboda which is called Indieboda and that tells about their profile.
To me, we are something new. Someone called us Folktronica. Maybe that's it. But that's just words, in fact we have people listening to us who have never heard about "indie" or "folk" and they don't care, they are not a part of a scene and we don't have a need to be either.
What inspired your interest in traditional Swedish folk music? Was it hard to find eachother/other people who shared similar interests?
We are from Wermland, in those cabins out in the woods of Wermland everyone has an accordion. It's like people in cities have an e-mail. Both my grandmother and grandfather has always played the accordion for me. (My love for accordion though actually started in 1989 with the extremely beautiful song "Lambada" by the group Kaoma, I got a mix tape from my parents which they bought at a gas station when we drove from Karlstad to Stockholm at the higway of E18, I listened to that song every night, rewind, listen, rewind, listen...).
One day in 2004 me and Martin borrowed an accordion from our grandmother and just did a song. Martin pulled the accordion bass side forth and back and I played the buttons, it was too hard to do it by myself at that time. =)
The three of us knew eachtother before the first time we played together in this band. We had a very clear idea of what to do together and it was magical how easy it was do work together from day one.
Would you say that Detektivbyrån inspires listeners to become more interested in Swedish folk tradition or do you find that it works the other way around, inspiring people who are typically only interested in folk to branch out into other modern indie/experimental music?
Sure, both of them, and that's fun!
"Indie kids" come up to me after shows and tell me their parents gave them an accordion as a birthday present, they started to play it since they listened to us, and that's one of the most beautiful things I can hear after a show. Then there's an local radio station which has this accordion special every Thursday and usually there's just old traditional stuff, but they really dig us and play for the old people out there, and these people send cute e-mail to us, they are glad we are taking care of their accordion tradition.
How excited are you to play this year's Nordic Roots fest? Got any other plans for when you're over here?
Hey, none of us has even been to the US so it's pretty huge for us, both as a band and personally. We met a band that had played at that festival and they told us it's one of the most amazing audience you can get, I asked them if there's something special to think about when we are going and they just answered "Have FUN, have so much fun." And we will. We will enjoy every second of it.
I'm scared of the long flight. It is NOT natural to pretend you are a giant bird together with a huge group of people. People get caught and locked in for stuff like that, but in this case it's legal, we even pay money for it...
We are gonna play at Lotus festival in Bloomington, Indiana the week after the Nordic Roots fest. We have people in both LA, NYC and other cities, wanting us to play at their clubs and we really want it to happen but I'm afraid we won't make it out there since the big distances you got. We'll see what happens. It's the first time we come over but hopefully not the last.
Lastly, how about sharing a song from the new album? Tell us about it.
You can download two songs from the new album at detektivbyran.net, please choose one of them whichever you prefer, or use both! "Om du möter varg" was written on Martin's and my grandmother's electric organ, out in her cabin. "Neonland" was written as a lullaby for my little kid.
For all readers, we'll release our new album "Wermland" on our own label Danarkia, 3rd of September. It's financed, composed, played, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by ourselves and if you want to you can Pre-order it at our website detektivbyran.net
If you do you'll get a signed copy up on the release date.
I flipped a coin and it came up "Neonland", but you really can't go wrong with these guys no matter what you do. If you like what you hear, head to their site for more.
Detektivbyrån - Neonland
Besides Broder Daniel, the one band I really would have wanted to see at Way Out West was Silverbullit. I've actually been fortunate enough to see them twice already, once when opening for The Soundtrack of Our Lives in SF and again at Umeå Open in 2005 when they so obviously blew away every other band. Even today, without a new album to support since 2004's "Arclight", I'd still rank them as one of Sweden's best bands. And now I read that they even got Freddie Wadling (Cortex, Blue for Two, etc.) to make a guest appearance? Gah! I should've been there! YouTube just ain't gonna cut it. Silverbullit's massive wall of sound simply doesn't translate to the small-screen format.
Still no word on whether there will ever be a new album, but at least we can still celebrate their back-catalog. Here is "Only gold" from the aforementioned "Arclight".
Silverbullit - Only gold
Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the new Division of Laura Lee single "Central Park". This is the first single from their forthcoming album "Violence is timeless", due out in limited vinyl format on August 15 with the CD version to follow on October 29. But that's not all! They've also enlisted the help of many friends and peers to create videos for each and every track and will be slowly releasing them to the public as we get closer to the album's release. Peep the first clip for "Central Park" right here, courtesy of UK-based animation team Man vs Machine: [click here]
Also, seeing as how a new DoLL single ties in nicely with my weekly Göteborg Spotlight Series, I decided to track down drummer Håkan Johansson to answer a few questions. Read on...
First, my standard question: how long have you lived in Gbg, what brought you there and what keeps you hanging around?
Per (Stålberg, vocals/gtr) and I had been talking for a while about moving the band to Gothenburg and try to make some kind of music career, but it wasn't until I got approved to artschool that I grabbed my stuff and left Vänersborg. This was in 2001. Gothenburg has pretty much everything you need. Great music and art scene, clubs, bars and most important all the friends I have made during the years here.
I hear a very strong DC influence on the new album - is that a conscious thing? Are you trying to separate yourselves from the Gbg sound? Does such a thing as a Gbg sound even exist? Or are you just hanging out with Shelby Cinca¹ too much?
We have never really aimed for a DC sound, but after growing up with the Discord catalog on our record shelves I think it was unavoidable. When we started this band we wanted to create the same vibe that the DC scene had, and this has followed us throughout the journey. Yeah, hanging with Shelby in DC a lot the last couple of years reminds me of this frequently. The Gothenburg sound... ah yes.. I see us more of the outsider in this bunch. We are a part of the Gothenburg scene, but I don't know if we are a part of the sound. To be honest with you Avi, I'm not sure this "sound" even exists.
Speaking of Shelby and DC, are you still active with Man and Wasp/Frantic Mantis or have you consigned yourself to doing locally-oriented sideprojects like the rest of your bandmates? Do you think there's anything particular about the Gbg scene that makes it easier for folks to collaborate? Also, how awesome is Repoman?
Frantic Mantis are on a hiatus. Man and Wasp is the main sideproject at the moment. We are working on an album that might or might not come out in one shape or the other next year. All the side projects I have been involved in have never been planned. We just had some extra time to jam, and the ability to record it. When playing with Shelby everything just turns into gold. I think there are so many projects around here in Gothenburg 'cause everybody knows everybody, and playing music with people other than your regular bandmates is a way to play other styles and develop as a musician. Yeah Repoman is awesome! I am still bummed I wasn't asked to play drums for them.
Does the same sort of collaborative/cooperative community exist in the Gbg art world as well? I know of a few other local Gbg musicians who double as artists and vice-versa besides yourself, but do you think there's much crossover overall? How would you say the two worlds are the same/different?
Music and art just goes hand in hand. Just look at iDEAL as a label and artcollective, and then Silverbullit with Jon and Andreas who're doing awesome music, videos, projections and art. Nowadays, and even 10 years ago, the DIY way was the way to do it. When a band or artist wanted to release a record, a record cover had to be done. Then you wanted to make some merchandise, a website etc., but there was no money to pay for it. You had to do it yourself. And I think this has grown stronger over the years. Personally, I think doing a record cover for a free dinner is way more fun than doing a company branding that pays your rent for a full year...
Who came up with the concept of getting friends to film videos for each song on the new album? How do you think the experiment came out? Any favorites we can look forward to?
This was something that I Made This came up with. We loved it the second we heard the idea. I won't spill too much, but I love the one Kristofer Åström did. And although I haven't seen them yet, I am especially excited about the ones Joe Lally from Fugazi and Jason Lytle from Grandaddy are putting together.
Tell us about the new single "Central Park"!
I will quote Jonas (Gustavsson, bass) on this one:
"Music is time consuming. Four years, we waited for this song. When it finally arrived, it was finished in four minutes. Four chords. It's yours for free, because some secrets are to reveal."
Division of Laura Lee - Central Park
Worlds collide! Besides Broder Daniel and maybe Håkan Hellström, Bad Cash Quartet is the preeminent band that defines the classic Göteborg sound with their slightly shambolic yet anthemic pop music and snotty, out-of-key vocals. They became a bit more polished (and boring) towards the end, but I'll always hold their sophomore album "Outcast" as a classic. I strongly considered posting from that album, but in the end decided to say screw it and went with this, their cover of The Bear Quartet's "Put me back together". Besides, I've already talked about "Too bored to die" more than once. Anyhow, this song is from BCQ's later, more lackluster period and it really doesn't stand a chance at competing with the original, but at least they try to put their own spin on it. I just don't think that sucking all the energy out of it was the best way to go about it. Mattias Alkberg's vocals on the original get more and more manic as the calamities pile on, Martin Elisson plays it closer to the chest. And no one can compete with Jari Haapalainen's explosive leads. Still, it remains a great song. There's not much shame in admitting defeat before the mighty BQ.
Semi-related to this whole weekly Gbg nonsense: who's going to Way Out West? What bands are you looking forward to seeing?
Bad Cash Quartet - Put me back together