First of all I would like to congratulate you with the great new album 'In The Wake Of Evolution'. In my review I concluded that this new one could be the best Kaipa album to date? What do you think yourself?
The normal reaction is that the latest album always is the best, but sometimes you're wrong. But this time everybody that has been involved in the recording process have pointed out that this is without a doubt the best album so far and I think I have to agree.
Since the 're-animation' of the band in 2002 Kaipa released five albums which is quite productive. Can you tell us how a new Kaipa album is started? Do you do the same thing or were there significant changes over the years?
I always start trying to find the important main melody, that's the heart of the song. In many cases it is just a short small melody line that is asking for my attention. It often happens in the morning when I drink a cup of coffee or when I go on a bicycle ride. The important thing is to take care off these small signs when they appear. When they're once captured I can spend weeks developing the basic one minute idea into an eighteen minutes song like 'Electric power water notes' on the new album. In this situation one thing leads to another in a most natural way. Writing music is in a way like being on a fascinating journey where you don't know what's waiting around the corner. Maybe I'm only trying to create the music I personally would like to explore if I wasn't a musician.
Kaipa was founded more than 35 years ago, your productivity and the quality of the albums show a genuine inspiration and drive. What are the main differences between let's say 1975 and 2010?
The roots and the basic music sources are the same but as a musician and composer I have a lot of experience and knowledge today that I didn't have in the 70's. That doesn't necessarily mean that the music we make today is better than what we did in the 70's, that is always a question of taste. Kaipa today is a logic development and continuation of the past and 'In the wake of evolution' is a logic development and continuation of the previous album 'Angling feelings'. Our first album (1975) was recorded at Marcus Music Studio in Solna on a 24 channels analogue tape recorder. That was just fantastic compared to recordings I had done earlier with my previous band San Michael's using just two channels 1971-1972. When you record in a studio you have a limited time for the recording session and you can sometimes feel a pressure that can lead to situations where you have to accept recordings you're not fully satisfied with.
All new technology we are using today of course makes it much easier to record an album. We can use all the channels we need, there is mostly no time limit and if we want to we can work in different studios and just send the files over internet. Before Kaipa started 1973 I played in my first band S:t Michael Sect 1964-1969 and in the later version of the same band San Michael's 1970-1972. San Michael's recorded two albums. The first one was recorded and released 1971 and the second one 'Nattåg' was recorded 1972 but it was never released. Not until 2009 when Japanese record company Marquee released the album for the first time after 37 years. This album is also released in an European version 2009 by Transubstans records.
I think the first seven years were, except having a lot of fun, like an education learning the basic rules of playing in a band. 1970 I had grown as a musician and I started to write own songs. I think San Michael's in a way are the roots of Kaipa. The band disbanded early 1972 and for one year I worked as a backing musician behind other artists. During this year I realized that I wanted to form a new band where I could develop my musical ideas. 1973 I formed KAIPA first as a trio and in the summer of 1974 we added Roine Stolt on guitar.
I read the term 'progressive folk fusion rock' that is used to define the Kaipa sound. I agree for 100% but which of those four styles is the biggest ingredient?
It doesn't matter what we do, as long as we use the name KAIPA people will always say we play progressive rock and it's probably still the biggest ingredient. Already on our first album 1975 you could hear the folk music influences but today they are more an integral part of the compositions. In the 70's we listened to a lot of fusion in our tour bus but I don't think we incorporated in the music at that time. Today, with such great musicians in the band, it feels very natural to include fusion in our music.
All the people that are in Kaipa are all very capable and talented. When a basic idea for a song is introduced how does the transformation into the final version go? Does everybody have their influence on that?
All the songs are written by me but the other members are very important to form the final result. When I write a new song I often make decisions based upon my knowledge of the other members personality and ability to shape the music. This feeling has become more obvious for every new album we've made together. I always record demo versions of the songs where I play and sing everything. The other musicians listen to the demo before we start recording so they can get to know the songs and understand my intentions, Some parts are strictly arranged but mostly I give them free hands to bring their own ideas and energy into the final result.
You worked with Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) and now Per Nisson (Scar Symmetry), both very talented of course. What do they have in common and what is different between them. Did you have to get used to work with someone else in Kaipa?
In common: Great musicians able to play different types of music in their own personal way, their ability to play fantastic and emotional solos. Difference: I'm impressed when Per says 'You just can't play this on a guitar', and one week later he send me an audio file with the 'you just can't play this on a guitar – stuff'. Roine use to say 'I never play what people ask me to play, I do it my way, take it or leave it'. I've never had problems to get used to work with the musicians but I've learned that it's sometimes wise to 'kill your darlings'.
The prog scene has expanded very much in the last twenty years. Did you keep up with the new bands? Any specific favorites perhaps?
When we recorded 'Notes from the past' 2001 I started to listen to a lot of new progressive music because I wanted to know what's going on and because people expected me to have an opinion about a lot of new bands. I'm not sure I was so impressed, I like all types of music and it became tiring to listen to a lot of bands sounding almost the same. I remember I liked the first Transatlantic album and I thought it was great to see Roine as a member of this group and I was impressed by some instrumental passages on some of Dream Theater's albums. Today I don't care anymore which means there's a lot of 'progressive music' that I haven't heard.
Talking about prog through the years, please make your choice out of these names (if you like) and it would be nice if you can tell why that specific choice…
Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson:
They are both very important if you look at what they did during the 70's. But I prefer Peter Gabriel because he found new directions and he has recorded a lot of interesting music on his solo albums.
Pink Floyd or Genesis:
Frank Zappa or Robert Fripp:
They're both very important and outstanding musicians.
Dream Theater or The Flower Kings:
I like both bands in small portions. They both have their ups and downs and I'm looking forward to hear something new and fresh from both of this bands.
Marillion with Fish or Marillion with Steve Hogarth:'
No idea, for some unknown reason I've never been interested to listen to them.
Are there plans for Kaipa to perform live on stage any time soon?
No, I have always considered this to be a studio project.