Rock Impressions

BEARDFISH interview with Rikard Sjöblom (italian version)
by Massimo Salari and Giancarlo Bolther

You’ve started in 2000 and you did four albums, would you like to do a balance with a bit of history, please?
We started in 2001, back then it was David (Zackrisson: guitars) and I (Rikard Sjöblom: vocals, guitars, keyboards) and a drummer named Petter Diamant and a bass player named Gabriel Olsson. In 2002, Petter quit and we were joined by drummer Magnus Östgren and he brought along bass player Robert Hansen who started with us in 2003 after we sacked Gabriel. We also had a keyboardist back then called Stefan Aronsson who recorded our first release “Från en plats du ej kan se…” but he quit the band when the album was released. So this line-up has stood the test of time since late 2003! We’ve released four albums

I own all your albums and I have to say that your artistic skill was grown album after album, which is the secret of that?

We’ve basically played a lot together, around when we recorded “the sane day” we usually had these monster-rehearsals that lasted up to 8-9 hours. That’s the key.

Can you tell me more about the lyrics of “Sleeping In Traffic:Part Two”?
It’s up to the listener, you can interpret them as you please. They’re personal in one song and fictional in another but I don’t feel that I have to tell people what is fiction and what isn’t.

The song “Into The Night” is the perfect shot of what is the swedish prog today, it reminds bands like the Flower Kings, Landberk, Magic Pie, but also Genesis, Gentle Giant, Spock’s Beard and King Crimson too, in other words it’s a summa of the best prog of today, which are your inspirations from the past?

We like all sorts of music, sure we like a lot of the old prog stuff, mainly King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Zappa, Camel – but we never try to sound old. As for the Flower Kings, Landberk and Magic Pie I must say that I haven’t listened a whole lot to any of them. I’ve listened to Morte Macabre, Reine Fiske’s (Landberk) side-project together with Stefan Dimle (Paatos) among others and they made a wonderful album (symphonic holocaust).

In my opinion the Gentle Giant are understimated today, what do you think about this band?
Underestimated? Who said something bad about them, let me know so I can pound on them!!! Haha! No, but seriously, I love Gentle Giant.

“The Hunter” shows your sesibility for the melody, it’s very seventies tune, what do you like best from that period?
Everything, basically… Zappa’s best stuff is from around that period, just the other day I was listening to some Mama Cass – she’s cool, King Crimson around ´73-´75 is absolutely amazing. I like the fact that the best (pop/rock) music ever made was recorded around this time (65-75), there’s more good stuff than bad basically!

Did you have got some weird things happened during the recordings of “Sleeping In Traffic: Part 2”?
Nothing that we didn’t plan or played a part in. Oh, wait there is one thing, the guy who we borrowed the recording equipment from surprised us with these weird synthesizer guitars that he had brought along, we ended up using them on many tracks.

In your opinion which are the main differencies between “Sleeping In Traffic: Part 1” and the new one?
Part one is not as consistent as part two, it was recorded over a long time (one track here, one track there, you know…), this in turn made a pretty cool record though, sort of like a best of album. But part two is more an album than part one in my opinion.

In the bass lines of “Into The Night” it seems to me there is something from Jethro Tull (Too Old To Rock’n Roll To Young To Die), i’m right?
We hadn’t heard much from that album and a guy we know pointed this out to us as well so I had to give it a spin. And yes, there is a bass line that reminds of a Jethro Tull line, but this is just a coincidence. Great minds think alike, I suppose – Hahaha!

What is necessary for a prog album of today to catch the attention of the media?
Honest, I have no idea whatsoever…

Listening to “Sleeping… Part 2” i’ve found it very tight, without low moments, it’s always interesting, how do you go with the composition process?
I usually write the songs, (on this album Robert Hansen has written some stuff in “Into the night” though) and then we rehearse them, arrange some and that’s the way we do it.

In the last fifteen years the best prog music came from your country, there is a particular reason?
Maybe the labels are looking for more where Änglagård came from? Probably just a coincidence. Maybe it’s like grunge and Seattle, you know.

Looking back there is something you would like to change, if possible?
On the album, no, I’m very satisfied with it.

What does it mean your band’s name?
There is a deep sea fish called Beardfish. We didn’t know this though, it was just a name to us (and it has nothing to do with either Spock’s Beard or Fish, or Phish).

Which developments could take your sound in the near future, do you look for something in particular or do you take it as it comes at the moment?
We take it a little bit as it comes and this approach has worked for us so far. Something new always comes up, this time it was the synth-guitars that spiced the songs with a new flavour together with some more acoustic elements like that dampened piano (“As the sun sets” and “Sunrise again” but also in “Into the night”).

There is a particular song from your four albums that you like best and why?
I think it’s “Into the night” that is our common favourite, it’s fun to play! I like them all actually, but some are better for live use than others. “Sleeping in traffic” also has a special place because it’s one of the oldest and most outstanding Beardfish songs.

And there is one that you dislike?
No, not one!

If you have to choose a colour for your music…

Do you plan to record a live album or a dvd in the near future?
We want to, have no plans for it right now though.

You are coming to Italy with label mates Ritual and Tangent, it will be a very special event, how are you preparing it?
We’re rehearsing and trying to coordinate everything with the instruments and transportation to Hamburg where the tour will begin. We’re actually leaving tomorrow night as I’m writing, so it’s exciting right now!

Do you know some italian artists?
Not really, although isn’t that horror-film composer Fabio Frizzi from Italy? He’s done some great tunes! And The Watch, right? Eros Ramazotti? He he… Premiata Forneria Marconi as well…

Feel free to end with a salute or a message...
Cheers to you all! – Rikard Sjöblom of Beardfish

Reviews: Sleeping in Traffic: Part One; Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two; Destined Solitaire;
The Void

Live Reportage (in italian)

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