Interviews by DPRP's Dave Baird & Ian Butler
When InsideOut announced that THE TANGENT, BEARDFISH & RITUAL would be touring together as a triple bill, two DPRP team members, Dave Baird and Ian Butler went along to one of the concerts on 24th May 2008 at Spirit of 66, Verviers, Belgium, to interview members of all three bands. As is always the case with this time of event, the best laid plans go awry and the interviews were conducted rather hastily undertaken around the band's performances. So here's the result of chatting informally to members of each band at different points during this special evening.
Interview with Beardfish members Rikard Sjöblom (Vocalist), David Zackrisson (Keyboards/Guitar), Robert Hansen (Bass) & Magnus Östgren (Drummer)
DAVE: Hi guys, how are you?
BEARDFISH: Hello, we're great
DAVE: How's the tour going?
BEARDFISH: Fine, fine
DAVE: We've some prepared questions which we can ask but the whole idea is for you guy to talk and publicise yourself because when I go on the web I don't see an awful lot of information about Beardfish - a website sends you to Myspace with a short biography in bad English...
BEARDFISH: * roars of laughter *
DAVE: ...and it's not good, OK?
BEARDFISH: We're working on it
DAVE: OK, so "Sleeping In Traffic Part 2" has just come out, we had the pleasure to review it a DPRP, not sure if you read it yet? If you did but didn't like it then you can blame me! But Beardfish don't yet have a big penetration yet on the market, you're a new band for many people so tell us about yourselves
|Sleeping In Traffic
|Sleeping In Traffic
BEARDFISH: We are four guys making music the way we like. What we like to play, we play and many people find it retro and 70's stylish but it's nothing that we've set out to do. We've set out to do 'timeless'
DAVE: Well it certainly does have a retro feel, obviously with modern production values. Something that myself and Ian have discussed quite a lot is that when you hear, and review a new band it's a very easy thing to do to try and find reference points in the music you already know, styles and genres. Now one thing you guys have done on the last two albums, consciously or not is that you've got pretty much every style you can possibly imagine
BEARDFISH: Well that's probably unconscious
DAVE: Where do you feel are you main influences?
BEARDFISH: I've listened to Zappa so much that I think that shines through quite a bit
DAVE: South Of The Border guys, with the Crimson bit in the middle
BEARDFISH: Laughs, yeah, that's quite right. That part in the middle is actually something that I came up with a very long time ago and we played it with Beardfish back then in 2002 as well. Then it just fell away though but we picked it up again for this album
DAVE: I guess a professional musicians, when you're jamming you come up with a lot of stuff that you put on the back burner that then redurfaces after a while?
IAN: So you made no conscious effort to make a tour of the styles because listening to Sleeping In Traffic Part One and Part Two it's really like a mini-tour through the history of prog - Camel, ELP, etc.
BEARDFISH: Well yes there's a lot of Camel influence
DAVE: Well both albums are quite new to me, just had them for a few weeks for review and I'mm admit that the first time I listened to them I was thinking "What the fuck is this?" because my background is mainly in Yes, Crimson - bands you can hear echoes of in the music but not dominant
IAN: I hear Steve Marriot, Peter Green with this bluesy Hammonds going on
DAVE: And I was grasping for references with bands I knew in order to try and describe the music to others and in the end I gave up and said, "Well they kinda sound like Beardfish actually"
BEARDFISH: Laughs - that's cool
DAVE: What we appreciate about your music is that it's actually quite complex but with a relaxed vibe at the same time
IAN: It doesn't sound like you're forcing the key changes, we must play in 4/4, then we must shift to 7/8
BEARDFISH: Well most of the time I don't even notice we're playing in 7/8, we just play it and if it's a problem, well...
DAVE: You formed the band in 2001 with just a couple of the present members
BEARDFISH (DAVID): Yeah just me and Rikard
DAVE: So you're the main guitarist but Rikard, you're playing a lot of guitar as well as keyboards
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Yeah I try to make it about 50/50
DAVE: Where did you meet, you guys are quite young, no?
BEARDFISH: Yeah, I'm 23 and he's 26 erm 22...
IAN: Do people often ask you "well this type of music was made before you were even born"? How do you know this music? I get the same question about the stuff I listen to.
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Well my dad was a huge fan of this music, Magnus' dad too had a lot of vinyl that we've been through.
BEARDFISH: My father as well, and my mum.
BEARDFISH: Then you start finding stuff and "yeah try this, and that"...
IAN: Normally people into this type of music say "If you like this then have a listen to that" and that's how the word spreads. If you go to Mellotronen Records in Stockholm, have you been there?
BEARDFISH: Yeah, yeah, have you been there?
IAN: Yes, I said I like a bit of Landberk, Paatos and stuff
IAN: Yeah, got all their stuff
BEARDFISH: It's very useful but the guy there, he can be a bit forceful
DAVE: Sees you are a tourist! Do you have a credit card... Anyway, now you've got a record deal with one of the major labels, Inside Out, who are a great label for prog, and you're touring here with some, well I would say prog giants, but then again Andy hasn't been on the prog scene that long actually but has become quite a big thing in a short time and Ritual not that well known I don't think, but they are an amazing band. How does it feel to be touring together, how is it say compared to a year ago?
BEARDFISH: We love them, they are great guys, really helpful
DAVE: Andy was up there playing with you and it was working, you were clicking
IAN: What was evident from watching your soundcheck was that you're really having a lot of fun and you were playing like it was a concert
BEARDFISH: Well you're here you know!
DAVE: Well I've played gigs for two people before - my girlfriend and the barman..
BEARDFISH: You play yourself?
DAVE: Yeah but not at your level guys! What was great to see, you just came up to the keyboard and bang, you were all playing together, tight, it's great. You don't seem nervous at all
BEARDFISH: Well that's because we're drunk all the time! No... we're quite tired but we've been playing a lot so it's fun
DAVE: It's not the first time you're touring though?
BEARDFISH: Yes it is
BEARDFISH: Yes yes although we did do some gigs in Holland and Belgium before but this is our first real tour - living the dream
DAVE: Are you working normally, studying or is this full time?
BEARDFISH: Richard's a bar pianist
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Yes really!
DAVE: So you have to be able to play all sort of styles which maybe comes out in your music
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Yes that's right
IAN: Do you do requests?
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Sure, yes I do
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Laughs - Actually I do get quite a few like that once people realise I'm into prog. I also play in some cover bands and stuff like that just to make a living
DAVE: Well it's great that there's younger people like yourselves coming into prog with a fresh sound rather than more of the same stuff, it's exciting to hear. What new bands are you listening to, I guess you don't just listen to the old stuff?
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): (Worried looks and a lot of laughter) Well we go through different periods as a band
BEARDFISH (MAGNUS): Except for me, I only listen to The Cardigans
DAVE: That's not sooo proggy though?
BEARDFISH (MAGNUS): Well their early instrumental stuff is quite experimental
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): We've been listening to prog for well thirteen years but it's all about playing, listening and having fun, you've got to have fun when you're playing the music. That's why we started playing and that's why the music sounds the way it does...
DAVE: It evident really, both on the CD and now having seen you play, you're not so serious...
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Well we are serious about making good music but we want to keep some humour in it
DAVE: Actually both Ritual and The Tangent also have a certain element of humour in their music, maybe it's a prog thing?
IAN: Very tongue-in-cheek
DAVE: How are you writing your music, are you jamming it or what?
BEARDFISH (DAVID): Rikard is writing most of the stuff
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Each member contributes, I do come with a lot of stuff but we put it together as a band
BEARDFISH (DAVID): Richard also has a lot of solo stuff and he plays in some other bands, he really writes a lot of stuff
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): You really do love me don't you?
BEARDFISH (DAVID): Sure
DAVE: How *was* the shower together by the way?
BEARDFISH (RIKARD): Oh it was amazing - Oh man, I'm getting red in my face now...
DAVE: "Sleeping In Traffice: Part Two" is just out so maybe early to judge sales but you've probably seen reviews? Have they been positive?
BEARDFISH: Yeah very good but you know we only care about the bad reviews
DAVE: Well you can learn a lot more with some constructive criticism
IAN: Who is reviewing you, any newspapers or is it really limited to the prog zines?
BEARDFISH: It's really just websites but it has been reviewed very quickly this time whereas with the previous album it took about three months
DAVE: I think that's a good message for the band, "Sleeping In Traffice: Part One" created enough interest so that when "Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two" came along people were actually waiting for it. And I guess you're already working on the next CD?
BEARDFISH: Yeah we have two three songs already, erm quite long songs...
DAVE: Well 35 minutes will take quite some topping (SiT)
BEARDFISH: Actually that's quite an old song, it's from 2002. We changed it a bit but mostly it's the same. We never intended for it to be that long, we maybe thought it would be like 20 minutes but when we actually timed it we were like, 'Oh my god, what the hell is this?', over thirty minutes
DAVE: Yeah but it's OK
BEARDFISH: Sure, it doesn't feel like thirty minutes
DAVE: Chopping and changing a lot and before you know it you're in a bar with the Bee-Gees playing
BEARDFISH: Yeah, we were actually quite scared of that, the "Staying Alive" bit...
DAVE: What, for the reaction?
BEARDFISH: No, for the copyright! But the record company thought it would be OK
IAN: So what about all these great band coming out of Sweden?
BEARDFISH: We have no idea - But there are a lot of good musicians in Sweden
DAVE: Yes, but why in Sweden? It's the long dark night right? Nothing to do other than watch porn and learn to play guitar...
BEARDFISH: You may be on to something there that there are a lot of good musicians in Sweden and good musician, probably early in their career seek more challenging music to play and there not so much to do in Sweden compared to big down here
BEARDFISH: And with prog you can play anything
DAVE: Maybe the education is better plus you have this great heritage of Swedish prog and the folk music before it
BEARDFISH: There's a lot of folk influence in our band believe it or not, and Ritual of course...
DAVE: Even Opeth has lashings of folk in their music
BEARDFISH: I like Opeth very much
DAVE: The new album is very good, I have it pre-release for review
BEARDFISH: I haven't heard it yet
DAVE: Different, more keyboards. Anyway guys, you need to have your dinner, have a fantastic show and thanks for your time
BEARDFISH: Cheers, thanks a lot
Beardfish Official Website
Beardfish MySpace Page
DPRP Review of Sleeping in Traffic - Part One (2007)
DPRP Review of Sleeping In Traffic - Part Two (2008)
DPRP Concert Review of Above on 22nd May 2008