The mysterious Dr Space, leader of Scandinavian space rockers Øresund Space Collective kindly beamed down to Earth on a stopover on his way to galaxy NGC 2770 to observe and record the latest exploding star, the sound of which is to be used as a rhythm track on the band’s next release. I managed to engage him in this chat while queuing for the canteen checkout… I may have made some of that up… Enjoy!
Roger: The band members come mainly from Denmark and Sweden, hence the band being named after the bridge connecting the two countries. How did the band first evolve?
Dr. Space: The band, collective, began in 2004 after I stopped playing with the Danish stoner space rock band, Gas Giant. I started putting together jam sessions with my friends in Mantric Muse and Bland Bladen. At first it was just jamming for fun but it turned out we were making some really cool music so we decided to start to play live in Feb 2005 and then also go into the studio in July 2005 for the first time and it has just taken off from there. It how incorporates people from a lot of Danish and Swedish bands like the Carpet Knights, The Univerzals, Papir, Causa Sui, Siena Root, My Brother The Wind, Drahk Von Trip, ILDHU……
Roger: I’ve been listening to your latest cosmic journey, the fine Sleeping With The Sunworm, which is the third album to be pulled from the 2008 Black Tornado studio sessions in Copenhagen. How much music was recorded at that session? Is there any left that might yet be released?
Dr. Space: This was a very productive two day recording session with around 9hrs of material recorded. We only have one more piece of music that we plan to release from this session. There was a jam happening when Anders, the sax player had to leave in the middle and he accidently unplugged the line boxes for both guitars. The jam was really cool and has a good groove so I sent these files over to the USA to a good friend name Greg Kozlowski, a guitar and synthesizer player who has been in the US space rock bands Architectural Metaphor and Secret Saucer. He has made a number of overdubs and a pretty cool track out of this. This we plan to do something with at some point. It still needs a proper mix. Also, the very last jam of the studio sessions was around 90mins long and the first part of this jam is the long track called High Pilots. Around 40mins Stefan (guitar) and I stop playing while the others continue. There is some cool stuff in this jam but it would need a guitar overdub but we could make something from it with some work,
Roger: How does the band go about recording the sessions? You are known for your improvisational approach, but surely there must be some framework to start with?
Dr. Space: Actually, the studio sessions are exactly like our concerts just without the people. We set up a PA in the studio and we just set up the gear and jam without any framework at all. We may discuss what key to play in and there are some times some discussions around creating a type of frame work but actually, we never do. It is all just total free form space rock from the heart and soul of the very intensely listening players and we take the best stuff and mix that. We usually record 6-10hrs of material and this will make 2 or 3 records.
Roger: Have you ever sat down and written a composition from start to finish or is there always an element of improvisation? With the undoubted talent the band has at its disposal, I’m sure you could come up with a written work of some magnificence!
Dr. Space: There has been some talk about making some more structured material but the problem is that all the members of the collective except myself play in other bands so these guys are using all their own compositions for their own bands. Johan from First Band From Outer Space and I did make a composed song with vocals and an improvised synthesizer space out in the middle, but this is really something different. We are trying to make some things slow, heavy, doomy, but we ended up with a pretty catchy song in the end after two days.
Roger: Leading on from that, have you ever been tempted to use a vocalist, even if only as another instrument? If there is a new Robert Calvert out there somewhere should they apply for an audition?
Dr. Space: Sussane from Drahk Von Trip, a very cool Swedish psychedelic band that does not exist anymore, she did some skat singing stuff at two of our concerts, one in 2007 and one in 2008. The one from 2007, there is some video of out there. We also spoke with Damo Suzuki and he was totally up for jamming with us but our paths have still not really crossed…perhaps someday. There was a US band called Finally Balanced (they did a great version of Hurry On Sundown by Hawkwind), they had a very cool vocalist who did improvised poetry stuff. If we could find someone like him locally, that might work.
We actually do have some stuff with Dan McGuire from Facemop, a record that has spoken word vocals over the top of our own music. Disjecta Membra is a cool CD which has three OSC numbers and Dan doing spoken word stuff and then there is Glossolalia which we provided all the tracks and Dan and some of his friends made a few extra overdubs. This I like quite a lot. It was a successful collaboration. Doing it live though is something completely different.
Roger: Presumably you all have other projects you are involved with so how difficult is it getting everyone together for a session?
Dr. Space: Everyone except me plays in other bands. It is actually not that hard to get people together if I really want to as there are so many people in the collective, great musicians that I trust to play with, so it is not as hard as you might think as I have 20 different people or more I can call on.
Roger: I was going to ask if you were going to tour the new album but as the music is improvised presumably what you do on a stage bears little resemblance to what is released from studio sessions?
Dr. Space: The live concerts are really different from the studio recordings because you are really influenced by the place, the people, the sound on the stage, the feedback, the way you are feeling that day, that each show is really quite different. If you go and listen to the 4 shows we played in April with two different drummers, sax players, pedal steel, etc… these shows were really different with the first ones more jazzy and spaced out and the last two very electronic, where we were feeding on the vibe of the people at those shows…
Roger: I suppose what happens on a stage also depends on how many band members you can gather together for a gig?
Dr. Space: Sure…our last concert in Christiania on their 40th birthday for the 3rd set we were three keyboard players, saxophone, two guitars, bass and drums. It increases the potential dynamics and complexity if we are so many. The last studio session from Oct 2010, we also had one jam where there were 4 guitar players so everyone has to be good at finding their space.
Roger: Who are your favourite space rock bands? I can also detect a sprinkling of fusion and prog and even dance music influences in some of your compositions, and I’m guessing the guitarist must be a fan of Hendrix and Eddie Hazel from Funkadelic amongst others?
Dr. Space: My favourite space rock bands are Hawkwind, Alien Planetscapes, Architectural Metaphor, Omnia Opera, Ozric Tentacles, Mandragora, Gas Giant…… As for guitar players you are probably referring to Tobias (The Carpet Knights) as he often plays these cool funky guitar licks. I love the old Funkadelic stuff and Ed Hazel was cool. The one EP he released has some great stuff on it. Even though I am not a guitar player I do have some favourite players like Frank Marino, Stefan Krey (Gas Giant), Richie Blackmore, Paul Kossoff, Warren Haynes, Uli Jon Roth, Magnus Hannibal (Mantric Muse), and Tony Iommi.
Roger: So, what’s next for OSC?
Dr. Space: We have two releases planned for 2012, both taken from the Oct 2010 studio session. The first is a vinyl release called Phaze Your Fears. The other is a CD release (as it is 75mins of music) and was mixed by Steve Hayes of Secret Saucer. We also hope to have a studio jam session with the guys in Causa Sui over in Odense, Denmark as well as another studio session of our own and I hope to invite some other unique players to twist up the sound once again. We may have a chance to do a slow spaced out improvised DOOM session at Copenhagen’s Doom Days in May. This is still undecided. I am sure we will play some other shows but no big tours or expectations really.
Roger: I always like to end on food related note, so, what’s your favourite mushroom (heheh)?
Dr. Space: Portabella and psilocybin of course.. I do a lot of cooking with normal mushrooms. I like to cook as a hobby.
Roger: Many thanks to Dr.Space, and we look forward to more explorations of the inner and outer reaches of the universe!
Dr. Space: Thank you and all the best to you and your readers. Check us out on the net!