Scandinavian Indie - Blithe Interview
Scandinavian Indie Presents: A short interview with
by Erik Söderström (firstname.lastname@example.org)
after a gig at Herrgår'n, Linköping, Sweden, 28-Sep-95.
Mattias Norlander (guitar)
Fredrik Brändström (vocals & guitar)
Emil Ödling (vocals, guitar)
Johan Nilsson (drums)
(c) 1995 Scandinavian Indie
If the answer is "A." it was answered by the group as a whole.
Q. WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE GIG TONIGHT?
MN. It went really well. And it was fun too. Everyone knew what to do and the crowd seemed to know all our songs.
EÖ. I didn't hear what I was singing from time to time. I'll be louder the next time though!
FB. It was the best gig ever. But I want to sing more!
EÖ. I have told him to sing more, but he always comes in at the choruses, which, I'll admit, is what I want him to. I noticed I slurred a lot, so maybe that's why he wants to sing more.
FB. That's the effect punch has on you!
EÖ. No... no, I slur anyway! I forget the words, and then I slur. Maybe it's an age thing. And everything goes too fast live too!
Q. WHAT SONGS DID YOU PLAY?
A. 'Allegiance', 'Rockin To a Lullaby', 'Haven', 'Losefer', 'No Comfort Holden', 'Now You Know', 'The Bridge', 'Hellstreet', 'Mint Addict', 'I Guess Yes' and 'Bike Helmet'.
Q. WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
MN. Fredrik is from Piteå, and the rest of us are from Umeå.
Q. WHY DID YOU RE-RECORD 'ALLEGIANCE'?
MN. It was a lot calmer, mushier before. The new recording made it a lot better. It's got more speed now.
Q. WHAT ABOUT THE NEW TRACK, 'BAY OF SOULS' ON THE LATEST WS COMPILATION?
EÖ. No one (of us) knew anything about the compilation. It was like 'What? are we included on a new compilation?' It was Mattias who found it in a record store one day. We have no idea why Jocke released two compilations in such a short time.
[Here, Henrik from Cloudberry Jam cuts in saying "Blithe is probably one of the five best bands in Sweden. Magically good songs with intelligent arrangements plus Svedalas best singer. Next question!"]
Q. ARE YOU PLAYING IN ANY OTHER BANDS?
EÖ. Well, I play guitar in a band called Carpet People. Only live though, because they wanted an additional guitar when they play live.
FB. You already know that I play in Starmarket...
Q. FREDRIK IS KIND OF A NEW MEMBER ISN'T HE? WHAT HAPPENED?
MN. Fredrik joined some time before Verse Chorus Verse. In november 1994 if I remember it right. Nils Forsberg, who played bass back then, quit around that time. Partly because he moved to Stockholm, but mostly because he felt that nothing really had happened the last three years (of five) he'd been playing.
Q. HOW ABOUT INFLUENCES?
A. Sonic Youth, William Holden, The Pixies, Wallace Wood, Abba, Thin Lizzy...
Q. ARE YOU TOURING RIGHT NOW?
MN. Yes, you could say that. We started yesterday in Gävle, where the audience consisted of about thirty people, so tonight was kind of a big turnaround for us. Anyway, we have six gigs on this tour. Tomorrow it's Halmstad, then Gothenburg and Stockholm, at Studion next weekend (7/10).
Q. HOW ABOUT RELEASES?
A. Demos as well? Okay then. Our first demo was called "Soft Demo" on Powers of Flowers (POF 001) and it was released in 1991. It had the tracks 'So Far', 'Happy', 'Soft' and 'Afterglow'. The next release was a mini LP on Garageland Records called Blithe (BF642), also 1991. Then came Pagan Rituals Under a Midnight Sun, on West Side (WeCD 038) 1992, Head Is Mighty, West Side (WeCD 057) 1993 and Verse Chorus Verse, West Side (WeCD 093) 1995. The last two were also released in Japan on LDC on Pioneer, the first in july and the second in august this year.
Q. ANY COMPILATIONS?
A. Of course. Hmm, North of No South - Compilation One (NONSCD-01) 1992 with 'Ugly' and 'The Vanishing Boy'. On West side, we've been on West Side Strikes Back Vol IV (WeCD 046) 1993 with 'Wallace Wood'. We're All Part of a Family (WeCD 073) 1994 with 'Allegiance'. the 23enigma (WeCD 095) 1995 with 'Bay of Souls'. On The Outskirts of a Small Town... (WeCD 101) 1995 with 'Bay of Souls' and 'I Guess Yes'. We were also included on a 7" single compilation with The Bear Quartet and A Shrine on Sticky Records, only released in the UK.
Q. WHY HAVEN'T YOU RELEASED ANY SINGLES OR EPS?
A. It's like this. Jocke is waiting for a label in the U.S. (Alias, that also handles Archers of Loaf among others) to make up their minds about signing us or not. Some representatives came over to Trästocksfestivalen and talked to us. They were really nice. But we can't release a single before they decide what to do. Jocke is probably careful with the whole thing. He did call last week and said that it was "ok" now, but you know how it is...
Q. WHAT FESTIVALS HAVE YOU PLAYED?
A. Hultsfred 1991. Actually, Nils bought a bootleg from that festival because he'd read we were included on it, but the sound on it was just too damn lousy. It wasn't even worth the cassette it's recorded on.
Shades of Orange played that year as well. You know that the guy who played bass is now a member of Popsicle? Well, anyway, then we've played Dalarocken 1991 and Trästocksfestivalen 1991, 93, 94 and 95. The first year Trästocksfestivalen was a tent. Ha ha.
EÖ. Trästocksfestivalen is a great happening. And it's free! That's something we all need more of I think. All ages. That's something we all need more of as well. It's such a great event. One can see a lot of bands, and you know you play for an audience who are there to see you. It's not at all like if one had to pay to get in.
Q. WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO RIGHT NOW?
EÖ. Smiths, Gorilla Bisquits (with Walter before he joined Quicksand), Fugazi, Palace Brothers and Crow (from Australia.. they sound like early Throneberry).
FB. Dinosaur Jr (Bug), Daydream Nation, Sonic Youth, Gorilla Bisquits (Start Today), Jimi Hendrix (Are You Experienced) and Public Enemy (It Takes a Nation...).
JN. Wedding Present (Seamonsters), Cure (Seventeen Seconds), Sonic Youth (Goo), Breeders (Last Splash) and Smiths (The Smiths).
Q. WHO ARE REALLY ON THE BACK OF THE 'VERSE CHORUS VERSE' BOOKLET?
EÖ. What do you mean? Who are on the back? It's us! Can't you see that? Look, this is me [pointing at a blurred figure on the booklet]! Hey! Ha ha!
Q. I NOTICE YOU'RE WEARING A PUFFIN T-SHIRT...
EÖ. Yes! And there's only one! And this is the one. And no, I wouldn't sell it for anything in the world.
[it's a white t-shirt with "Puffin" in a bent circle on the front and a puffin bird on the back]
Q. WHO SHOULD ONE CONTACT TO GET YOU TO COME AND PLAY?
A. Call Ola at Luger. He takes care of that for us. They're in Sandviken.
Scandinavian Indie Blithe interview 28-sep-95
Scandinavian Indie - your Internet guide to scandinavian independent music
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Snail-mail: Erik Söderström, Björnkärrsg. 13 B:34, 582 51 Linköping, Sweden
This page was last updated Dec 26, 1995 by Erik Söderström