One of the nice surprises the year 2009 kept: The twitched banjo, and the gloomily jolting rhythm of the intro – and then, suddenly, the clouds crack, and the look turns upwards – and that’s how beautiful sad songs can be sung, when sadness turns to debauch: “Promise to make a crack in every roof, to let the air and the sunshine”. Of course you’re willing to keep that promise. And then it’s all already gone again.
That’s how Solander’s debut Since We Are Pigeons starts out with the song Berlin… On a sunny day in march, about two years ago, Solander’s self-produced EP fell came across my fingers in a record store in the south of Malmö – and then suddenly, last october, they finally made it into the big wide world: Good news from Malmö.
It all worked out well: The short songs of the album assembled to a dreamy whole – before you got them, the melodies fade away, and the pictures of far-away places and distant feelings remain, twisted together, like a dreamful sleep. Where he catches the impressions, how they are and were put together and what’s up to be expected: Solander’s head and guitar fingers, Fredrik Karlsson, told us.
Fredrik, I think Solander was around for quite while – but it was just some months ago, that days your official debut album has been released. How come it took that long?
Yes, back in 2004 i recorded four songs in Gothenburg. I recorded them with a friend from work called Anders. The songs, i can hear now, were much inspired by Will Oldham, out of tune and freaky folkish. I still have them on a record somewhere. I played those songs for my friend Gustav who said that he would love to play them… t the time we had the coolest drummer, a 70ties rock and roller, called Axel Sjöberg. He later started to play with Graveyard and is now touring worldwide. But for the time being Solander is a five piece band. For the last couple of years i have been involved in several bands here in Malmö so i havent had the time to put the almbum together. But this summer i had two months off so i found myself litterally living in our studio to finish this album, Since we are pigeons.
you recorded the album this summer – and it was released in october! that’s quite quick! have you already stood in contact with the guys of tenderversion, and worked towards that releasedate?
Yeah it sounds a bit quick. But actually it was all well planned. TVR let us play a few support shows here in sweden for their band Sraps of tape and sometime in the spring i got the phone call about them wanting me to record an album. It was a pretty tough schedule but thats the way i like to work. I am playing together with some friends bands so this was all the time i could find. Unforunately the studio was really hot in the day time this summer so i had to record the album during evenings, night and early morning.
Sounds interesting… was that an influence on the album’s sound, working night time and early mornings? I remember swedish summer nights being quite unique, in their feel and atmosphere…
It was not so much an influence as a restriction. I think that the day time was a bigger influence this summer. Every day was spent the same way. Riding my bike down to the ocean, reading Murakami and swimming. After lunch in the afternoon I went to the studio and started working. I think that the soft tiredness you feel from swimming got translated in to music at some point. For the next album I think we will try to get some air conditioning for the studio. Or pay for time at someone elses studio.
Yep, I saw that you mention ‘swimming’ as a soft influence on your page, along with wooden floors, birds and trees… are those aswell a reference to that time? or are these things, impressions, that spill into the songwriting quite generally? how do you write your songs?
I dont have a finite songwriting method, yet. I am always working on one, but as soon as formalize one i find a better one. At the moment i make stop motion films for narratives and then i make music that in some way interpretate the feeling of the film. This is a good method in two aspects. You make movies and you have work for the song. On the downside it is very demanding and takes up to much of my time. In general I am really inspired by things that took a beating. Things that bare the scar of time. Also I am in a somewhat tactile phase right now. So swimming is something i come back to.
talking about things that took a beating: there’s a lot of towns and places appearing in your songs, Berlin, New York, Vagnhärad… are these connected to personal memories and experiences?
The places in our songs is locations that has made a lot of prints in our souls. Especially the swedish town i sing about. The next album will include both my highschool town and my univerity town. It will be a travel as well.
Just a bold guess: Is Vagnhärad your home place then? I think I passed by that place once, on the motorway to Stockholm.
Vagnhärad is the town i grew up in. It is located abuot 60 kilometers south of Stockholm. A real working class town with only 6000 people and one industry. I have really ambivalent feelings about the town and it tends to come back in a lot of our lyrics.
Is music in that respect a way of keeping places and memories near – or, on the other hand, keep them from getting too close?
That was a very direct question Florian. I think you will have to ask my psychoanalyst about that. I guess it is some kind of combination.
and I also got that there are plans for a new album? is there any direction we can expect?
There is a new record coming up. We are on the demo stage at the moment but we are aiming to release the second album this year. Before the fire crackers come back in style. The direction is under discussion, but i think the travelling theme will grow stronger and the storytelling part will definitely get more interesting.
You’re already demoing again, doing films and music – and Solander is not the only band you’re participating in… Looks like art takes up quite a big deal of time in your life… just wondering: can you live on that in Malmö? Or do you have some sort of day-time-job?
I am working a lot at the moment, wit art. For the moment i am two projects full time, Solander and Vit Päls. Me and three others quit/got thrown out of Fredrik due to collaborational problems. So there is some new time on my hands. But I am teacher aswell. But that’s hard to find time for.
And finally: You finished your first headlining europe-tour some weeks ago, right? That made up for some impressions aswell, I guess… Have there been highlights you’re going to remember? There are some on your tour-blog, I know… but if you had to pick one?
Everything in Wurzburg is one big highlight. We have found new friend there and we love playing in that town. We are actually going back there soon, in April. The best dicovery though was this really cool mosaic bath tub at Bernards place in Vienna. Its true art.