BANE INTERVIEW (italian
by Michele Maestrini
Your first cds are very different each other, some are progressive
in the vein of Camel, others have a fusion feel, than the turning
point with Cheval who began the new course of the band. How do you
see today this sort of journey the band did through the years?
I think you are correct in regarding Cheval as a musical
turning point for IB. Mats Nilsson, the guitar player, left the band
just before the album was recorded, which had a major impact on us.
We had to change our sound and our arrangements. We also started working
with musicians outside of IB’s core group, which led us –
in a natural way - into other types of music, certain aspects of art
music for instance.
It has been a constant musical journey, and we still don’t know
where or how it will end eventually. 2003 is an interesting year considering
we have managed to work on two diametrically opposed CDs. MIND Vol.
3 is largely improvised music based on fairly loose ideas, short themes
and loops, stressing musical freedom. On September 6th, IB’s
latest studioproduction will be released. This album has a completely
different approach to composition and places a focus on vocals.
If we will release a MIND Vol. 4, it could be a combination of these
extremes. We’ll see what the future has in store for us.
Anglagard, Ritual, Anekdoten, Landberk....can you explain
why Sweden is so prolific for progressive rock bands?
No, I’m afraid I can’t. Back in the seventies,
this type of music was criticized by the press and ignored by the
larger record companies in Sweden. You shouldn’t exaggerate
the importance of progressive rock in this country. It’s still
a minor subculture, with a small but enthusiastic audience. However,
I do have a feeling of a growing interest in progressive music lately.
The bands you mention are really the second generation of Swedish
progressive rock in Sweden. IB are somewhere in the middle between,
on the one hand, bands like Kaipa, Samla mammas manna and Dice and,
on the other hand, Landberk, Anekdoten etc. The interest in more recent
Swedish prog seems to have started something of a new era for this
type of music, which is great. Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings belong
partly in the 70’s, partly in the 00’s. I have no explanation
for this other than the fact that Sweden is quite a good country for
music generally, particularly within the fields of pop and jazz.
What creative process do you use for the composition of Isildurs
An easy question which is hard to answer since the process
is quite straightforward, but different to what people seem to think.
I never sit down to write an IB-composition, it just happens to turn
out one way or the other. I get asked to compose music which is to
be integrated with other forms of art fairly often, theatre music,
When the music has been used in its initial environment, it may surface
as an IB-composition, but most of the time sounding completely differently.
The tempos may have changed, but most importantly, the instrumentation
has changed. A good example is “Celestial Vessel from MIND Vol.
2, originally a piece composed for the inauguration of an eight-metre
light-statue on December 31st 1999. Originally, the composition featured
four musicians (keyboards, guitar, percussion and trumpet) but in
later versions the arrangement has changed, now featuring IB plus
a horn player. The form of the piece has also changed after being
performed live and the current version has expanded to a more epic
and dynamic work.
You made a substantial number of albums in the past years....
what do you think is the most important for the history of the band
and what is the most important for you?
Managing to develop The Voyage from a piano piece via a piano
trio, and later an electric setting to an orchestral version was a
big thing for IB. The successful integration of acoustic and electric
instruments can be credited to the conductor/violinist Joachim Gustafsson
and the arranger Jan-Erik Sääf. They did a fantastic job.
The possibility to experiment but, at the same time, to feel safe
in our artistry, has always been fundamental to the band. Objectivity
is important to reserve the right to be a part of the arrangement.
The music is always at the main thing and this has a lot to do with
IB’s history, something new members sometimes have a hard time
understanding. Wheather you like it or not, you are part of an almost
30-year old group which has always worked in a very dynamic way.
Can you tell me something about the Zorn trio and his role
inside the band?
The Zorn Trio are good friends of ours, and it comes naturally
to exchange musical favours, the idiom permitting. Metamorfosi Trio
is another example of a highly successful collaboration. Joachim Gustafsson,
the violinist of The Zorn Trio, also works as a conductor, which has
meant a lot to IB regarding connections with formally trained musicians.
we are in front of a lot of good bands in the progressive rock vein,what
are your favourites? And what kind of music do you listen to, apart
Very rarely do I listen to progressive rock. I’m not
even aware of the names of the more recent bands within this type
of music. I suppose I’d better shape up! I’m happy for
the success of the Swedish bands you mentioned above although I’ve
only heard fragments of their music. But to answer your question,
I must say that Gentle Giant really were something else. The sound,
the compositions and not least the kindness that I’ve only recently
understood existed between some of the band members. The way I see
it, they have no followers. King Crimson keep the flag flying, but
they have never really accepted to be defined as a prog-rock band,
which is probably a good thing. I also like Peter Gabriel’s
music a lot. Vangelis is another musician I find interesting, not
only as a keyboard player, but also as a composer and as a conceptual
artist. Outside of prog-rock, there are lots of artists, composers
and musicians I enjoy listening to. John Cage, Erik Satie, Terje Rypdal,
Arvo Part, Dmitri Shostakovich, Björk, Aphex Twin, Frank Zappa,
Anton Webern, Claude Lloyola Allgén and Viking Dahl, just to
mention a few.
Mind vol.1 is one of the most brilliant albums of the last years;
after that you made the vol.2 that is another masterpiece. Now Mind
vol.3 who is very different from what you did in the past and i think
it wrongfooted a lot of listeners who probably were expecting another
cd in the vein of Mind vol.1... what can you tell me about the work
you did with the Metamorfosi trio and how did the collaboration begin
you for your kind words! I would like to answer your question by asking
a counter-question: How can you move on as a group if you do not dare
to try new things? When I say new things, I mean new things for IB,
not for music in general. Having worked with Metamorfosi Trio on MIND
Vol. 3, I hope that we will be somewhat freer in our way of working
with IB’s music. This is an important development for IB and
it has been made possible thanks to Luca Calabrese’s, Franco
Feruglio’s and Christian Saggese’s humble approach to
working together as musicians. Our meeting was coincidental but now
it’s crystal-clear that we will continue to collaborate. Personally,
I think that MIND Vol. 3 is the most progressive thing we have done
so far and the positive reactions we have had from our audiences please
me enormously. I hope that our collaborations will continue, and who
knows, maybe there will be more records of this line-up.
days there is a lot of music downloadable from the internet;how do
you see this? do you look at internet in a positive way or in a negative
way for music in general?
of course! As far as putting getting your music out there without
spending an arm and a leg, the situation is better than ever. The
Internet should change the music business radically during the next
few years and it will be exiting to see where this development leads.
You should never forget that the big money is being made by the major
record companies, and as a composer and musician you are always certain
of the fact that whatever happens, you will always be at the short
end of the stick.
you choose not to sing in your last albums? how do you see the possibility
to have a singer for the future of your band?
matter of fact, the new album is a vocal album. It features not one,
but four vocalists, three of them women. This will obviously be very
different from MIND Vol. 3. The question is, how will it be received
by our audience? We have put in a huge amount of energy and hard work
in order for this CD to be as good as possible and we are looking
forward to September 6th.
are your projects for the next future? are you planning a Vol.4? and
what direction it will have? are you planning some tour for this summer?
I am composing music for a children’s play featuring a string
quartet and a percussionist – Kjell Severinsson of IB –
which will be premiered in September. The play is to be performed
at least 69 times. As far as IB goes, we will perform at Würtzburg,
Germany on June 15th, in Falkenberg, Sweden on August 5th and in Gothenburg,
Sweden on August 16th. On September 6th, we release a new CD and at
the end of October, IB will do a short tour of Sweden, Italy, Germany,
Belgium and The Netherlands. Check our website (www.isildursbane.se)
Thank You! Everyone in IB gives their
Reviews (in italian): Mind vol.2;