Scandinavian Indie - Puffin Interview
Scandinavian Indie Presents: A short interview with
by Erik Söderström (firstname.lastname@example.org)
after a gig at Herrgår'n, Linköping, Sweden, 06-May-94.
Puffin live were:
Per Helin (vocals, guitar)
Robert Norsten (vocals, guitar)
Jon Rudberg (percussion)
Magnus Åstrom (drums, sampler)
Mattias Jonsson (bass)
Helena Espvall (additional vocals, cello)
Eskil Lövström (trombone)
(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?
PH. The stage was too high and it felt a bit small for all of us. And it swayed a bit too. But the crowd was really, really great. We played 17 songs. Nine from Carnivore [their full-length CD]: 'Sir', 'Elephant Stomp', 'Our Friend Insane', 'Medium Cool', 'Laugh & Die', 'White Nose', 'Kooky', 'A Dream It Seems', and 'Culture Club', three from the Medium Cool E.P.: 'Five Ants', 'Three-Piece' and 'While You're Gone', one from the Life's A Joke compilation: 'Ooh!' and four other ones: 'The Leaves', 'Flipper', 'Sibyl Vane' and 'Femme Fatale'. The two extra numbers were 'White Nose' and 'Kooky', then 'While You're Gone' and 'A Dream It Seems'.
Q. ARE YOU TOURING RIGHT NOW?
A. Sort of. We played in Kalmar yesterday, Linköping today and tomorrow we play at Kalmar Nation [It's like a club for people from the same part of Sweden (in this case, Kalmar) at the universities] in Uppsala together with HappyDeadMen, Sonic Surf City and Cloudberry Jam.
Q. WHEN DID PUFFIN START AND WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
PH. We started as Ultraflesh, then changed to In The Flesh and finally when we recorded our CD, we changed to Puffin. Magnus Åstrom and I started out in a band called Pepperland Acid Waste [I may have heard wrong] about four and a half years ago. When Magnus went to England, Robert Norsten joined and we formed Ultraflesh. (haha) We played dance music like Jesus Jones, you know? We were seven then, but after a while our keyboardist and drummer quit, and about one and a half year ago we got a new bass player [I think the old one was Erik Danielsson]. We're all from Umeå, but Magnus is moving to Stockholm to study Graphic Design this autumn.
Q. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH PUFFIN, AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
A. Did you see the bird we had on one of the speakers? Well, that's a Puffin bird [Lundfågel in swedish], and that's how we picked our name. [someone says: It can hold more than one fish in its mouth at the same time. (haha)]. From Ultraflesh to In The Flesh was just a small change as you can see.
Q. HOW DID YOU GET SIGNED TO THE A WEST SIDE FABRICATION LABEL?
A. Well, we started out on the North Of No South label, and then just moved over to West Side. [After a small discussion about the North Of No South label and the bad move to put a lot of weight behind the release of a full-length CD with Komeda [another swedish indie band] which didn't do well at all, I find that Per Helin and Robert Norsten are the owners of the North Of No South label and that Magnus Åstrom designs their covers.]
Q. HOW ABOUT RELEASES?
PH. We've been on a couple of compilations, released one Mini-CD, one full-length CD and one E.P. The compilations we're on are: "North of No South Compilation One" with 'Snow' and 'Slowtime', "Life's a Joke" [Rainbow Music] with 'Ooh!', "15 Songs of Spring" [West Side] with 'All In Your Mind', and the latest one was "We're All Part Of A Family" [West Side] with 'Surface Earth'. The Mini-CD, "A Dream It Seems" [with 6 songs] was released on the North Of No South label a year ago. And finally, the full-length CD "Carnivore" came out last year, and the E.P. "Medium Cool E.P." a couple of months ago. Now we're going to hit the studio again in June to record a new full-length [out after the summer], and an E.P. after that. We plan to release an E.P. a few months after every full-length we make.
Q. HOW ABOUT INFLUENCES?
A. Don't know really... but Pavement, Sebadoh, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Idaho, Roller Skate Skinny, Mercury Rev.
MJ. I like jazz, John Coltraine, Michael Nyman and so on.
A. Kahlil Elseb from Africa, Monica Zetterlund.
PH. We listened to all albums with ELO when we recorded Carnivore.
A. Can, from Germany, are really good. They made music to the movie "Til The End Of The World". They're Loop's favourite band by the way.
MÅ. Dead Kennedys.
Q. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE BRITISH/AMERICAN INDIE SCENE?
A. The British scene isn't interesting at all anymore, but the american one is. Just take a look at Pavement, American Music Club, Idaho, Red Hot Chili Peppers...
Q. HOW ABOUT OTHER SWEDISH INDIE GROUPS?
A. Well, if they want to call us 'indie', okay... but we think of ourselves as indie too (haha). No, but, Bear Quartet, Meshugga, Blithe.. can't really talk about groups on our own label though (haha).
Q. WHO WRITES THE SONGS?
A. Per writes about 50%, Robert about 40% and the rest 10% are by the rest of the band. Everyone writes. Like on Carnivore, there were songs by all members of the band. Jon writes a lot more nowadays too. He has written two songs so far for the new CD. But like I said, everyone writes. We start with complete songs, then we break them down into pieces and they become new songs. Everyone sits at home composing, but Per and Robert writes most of the songs.
Q. ARE YOU PLAYING FESTIVALS THIS SUMMER?
A. Nothing is planned, and we haven't heard anything, but we will play somewhere. We just don't know yet.
Q. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO TELL ME?
PH. One funny thing about our sound [Boo Radleys are mentioned a lot when people try to describe their sound] - when we had recorded Carnivore and it was a couple of weeks before it was to be released, Boo Radleys came out with their "Giant Steps" and I thought 'oh no, they picked the same style!'.
A. 'White Nose' and 'Our Friend Insane' was played a lot on the finnish radio and got "Heavy Weight" awards.
PH. We got stopped by the police on our way here. They told us the car wasn't built for more than three people. (haha) But it was okay.
Scandinavian Indie Puffin interview 06-May-94
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