Welcome back to Lords of Metal with a new record. Your previous two albums were received very well here by my colleague Vera, but the new record landed at my feet. So, for me and all people new to you, could you describe what kind of band you are?
Well, we started out back in 2001 with the intention to write and play music that we liked ourselves and not to compromise or fall back into recognizable licks or riffs to please anyone else but ourselves. Pretty egoistic, huh? Haha! But we've had a damn good time doing so and we've even gathered some fans, so it seems to be working out. About details, David (Zackrisson; guitars and vocals) and I (Rikard Sjöblom; keyboards, guitars and lead vocals) started the band together with a different drummer and bassplayer. Pretty soon we noticed that the drummer wasn't really into what we wanted to do so we looked around and we found a guy called Magnus Östgren who joined us and also a guy called Stefan Aronsson who recorded a demo for us and asked if he could play some keyboards and flute with us. We sacked our first bass player and brought along Magnus childhood friend Robert Hansen on bass and then we recorded our first album 'Från En Plats Du Ej Kan Se', this was in 2003. Before the album was released however, Stefan quit the band and left us with the problem of a vacant slot for a keyboard player. I decided together with the other guys that I would play both keyboards and guitar and that's the way we've done things ever since!
The previous two records were a kind of twin, this new record is destined to stand on its own feet. Is there perhaps still a concept behind the new record, or is it 'just' a diverse collection of compositions that you've come up with?
There's a red thread throughout 'DS' that deals with loneliness, being alone and not belonging in the society you're living in. It's also about looking on the world with new eyes, finding love, getting laid, playing music, drinking, smoking... Life in general, I guess, haha! Mainly it's about someone who's alone and is trying to find a way out though. Sort of a coming of age story, you know!
As I haven't heard your previous records, I'm wondering if some major changes happened within the Beardfish style?
It's tighter than ever I think. I suppose this album is a bit trickier to get into as a listener too, but hopefully it's rewarding once you've listened a couple of times.
The sound is very good. Do you still manage to record and produce your music in the rehearsal room? And if so, what kind of rehearsal room is that?
We do a whole lot of different stuff when it comes to recording, but the latest albums have been recorded in a remote cottage/cabin outside of our hometown. We brought along all our gear and recording equipment and lived there for about a week and recorded all the basic tracks. Then we recorded vocals in our rehearsal room/studio, which is just a big room filled with a million different instruments basically, haha! The album was then mixed at my flat.
Your influences are from all over the place, but what did stand out for me was the way of singing which reminded me very much of Mike Keneally, being a somewhere between the storytelling of Zappa and bright and jumpy melodies. Did he influence your vocal approach when searching for your style back in the days?
The vocalist(s) who inspired me most in Zappa's bands were not Mike Keneally (although I like him very much!) but rather Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) and especially Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke and the man (Frank) himself! Other than that I've been heavily influenced by some of the grunge scene vocalists such as Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder and also Jeff Buckley. I've never really been in search of a particular style per say, I like being a bit all over the place.
I read you will be touring alongside Dream Theater in the Progressive Nations Tour in Northern America. That, I assume, must be a great opportunity for you! After looking you up on YouTube, I concluded it must be a blast to see you guys play live, so are you also touring closer to home to spare us the flying tickets?
Don't know if you've read already that we did not go on the Progressive Nations tour because of our record labels distributor SPV claiming bankruptcy which in turn lead to our tour support being suspended. We were really upset about this, but we're looking forward to new things and yes, we have a tour through Europe in mind, probably in the spring of 2010!
Those were my questions for now, I expect to hear a lot from you in the future and wish you all the best. Thanks for answering, and if you would like to add anything, feel free to do so below!
Thanks for the interview, hope you like the new album!