1. John, you have been a member of various projects. Being part of Cat Rapes Dog, Machinista and some others, can you tell us how one person can be so diverse, as the projects are diverse in their musical expression.
Guess it´s just a matter of what you like, and the curiosity to try stuff. I’ve been in Goth, hardrock, Metal/hardcore, industrial, postpunk and synthpop-bands. And maybe more genres. I want to do what I like. Now I’m in a project that records kind of ´77 punk.
2. You come from Sweden, a scene which seems to have been blossoming since forever, and it seems that this will never change. Is there something about Swedish people and their music, what’s the secret? Your people have the perfect sense of melody.
Haven´t got the slightest Idea but we have good taste in making music but I can say one thing, people in Sweden have really bad taste in general when it comes to listening to music.
3. Let me focus on this really superb project of yours and your band mate Richard Flow, Machinista. Your first album Xenoglossy had some really great reviews and it was easily recognized. Did you think it would get such a good response when you were releasing it and have you secretly hoped for it?
When we started and had 2 songs we knew that it had something and we had a picture of people liking it. But then you never know for sure what the reaction could be. They liked it and the reviewers have been totally on our side, and we haven´t got ONE bad review of the ep, Xenoglossy or Garmonbozia, and that is kind of insane. But I wouldn´t let that get to my head too much, cuz we got to move on and make more music we like. If we thought too much of ourselves the next album would suck, I’m sure. I’m really humble that we can release 2 albums so fast and get that response. The third album we think will be out in September next year, little longer this time, just to get into it a little bit more.
4. As I won’t label it as a part of any genre, I read somewhere a description “The Cure going synth”. I would not describe it as such as we can always find some influences from some past names who inspired the music of today, but who are your personal inspirational stars in the music sky?
We heard that, and I heard Robert Smith more than 2 times. Guess that´s the haunted screams we both use, haha. Of course I like The Cure a lot but never intended to resemble him at all, or thought I could. I try not to be inspired vocally these days, better have your own voice. Artists or bands I like, The White Stripes and all that Jack does. Jeff Buckley, David Bowie, IAMX, Kent, Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Cocorosie, Slipknot, Deftones, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Red Paintings, Skinny Puppy, etc.
5. As far as Xenoglossy is concerned, I have one lingering feeling while listening to it. It is melodic, it has all the right ingredients for pushing the right buttons of my melancholic soul and I cannot escape the feeling that in spite of being dancy and poppy it is at the same time heavy and melancholic, just the way I like it. What are your own feelings about this album?
Think you pretty much nailed it there, that´s my thought about it. It´s nice to have that melancholy and the pop feeling mixed together. If I could I would probably make it slow and depressed altogether just because I love that. Think Pornography or Disintegration with The Cure, haha. But we are a pop band, that’s our idea of it. But I have to say this about the depressed side of it all. It has hope in there as well. Always.
6. Did anyone tell you that you have a great voice? One of my favourite voices out there is Simon Le Bon’s, I love when clear voices do not go astray, making a point, and yours fits that description. I bet you were never compared to Simon vocally, but there you go, I am paying you a compliment for your vocal performance. Which vocalists do you like out there, if any? As we know your vocal performance for Cat Rapes Dog differs, how was that experience for you?
Thanks a lot for that, he has a great voice. Not a favourite but very good. We actually read DD somewhere but I don´t know if they meant the music or the voice. Vocalists I like, hm. Well, Jack White, Chris Corner, Dave Gahan, Jeff Buckley and Robert Plant amongst others.
7. I must ask, and surely you have been asked this before, as I am a huge fan of Bowie, why “Heroes”? It was a bold decision to go for that song, as I thought only Bowie can pull it off, but never expected that cover version of that song can be even something I could force myself to listen. However you made a great cover and gave a bit of a new dimension to it. So why Heroes?
We are fan of Bowie of course and I just came up with the idea and it´s actually the first song we recorded. It´s not difficult to sing, just did it. Would have been harder to do Life on Mars, one of the best songs ever written. To do that one and do a good Machinista-version of it. Nice that you liked it.
8. „Take comfort in being sad”? Can you really?
Not in a good way. It´s something I could do many years ago and what people often do, just being selfish and dwell in your own shit.
9. You made a video for “Molecules and Carbon”. Why did your choice fall on that particular track? It is indeed one very danceable song I would like to hear in a club on my night out. But the lyrics for this one got me a bit depressed, you know.
It was one of the first 2 songs we did and as a new band we wanted to be seen, simple as that. Haha yes it´s not a happy lyric piece. I like that, the double side of things. There are many songs out there like that, it´s cool.
10. What were you thinking about when writing the lyrics for Xenoglossy?
Hm thinking… Well I write about stuff that has been, shit that I’ve been through, or stuff I just make up. Stories that could have happen. To me or someone else.
11. You have clearly made a shift in sound on your second album Garmonbozia with added guitars. But what remained is the direction and focus, as far as melody, melancholy and a personal point of view in lyrics is concerned. What are your own thoughts about your musical evolution?
There are some guitars on X as well, maybe not as much. In one way it´s the same thing but better, technically concerning music and better vocals. The timespan is not long from the start of writing the first and the second. We started December 2012 and the second album was finished like in April 2015 or little earlier maybe. That´s only 2 years and some months. So with that in mind we have developed a lot. We’ll see what happens ´til summer next year. One song is coming out on a label sampler in January 2016, the sign from the 3rd. The title and the theme for the cover is already stated.
12. It seems you have been reflecting upon your past life experiences in your lyrics a lot, why’s that so?
Hehe what I said up there, old shit coming out. I feel better today but I can write about it for 10 albums, haha. Well I write about other stuff as well, cuz its fun make-up stories and sometimes It looks like it´s LSD dreams or something.
13. I like the one “We are rockets” that starts with: “back in the eighties, screwed up hairdos and painted faces”… So how much are you back in the eighties and how much in present time? As it seems your past is following you both personally and in your work. Do you see yourself as a bit of a nostalgic and what are your feelings towards today’s music scene and life in general?
That´s the only song about the eightes I think. Rockets was something a friend said when some eldery person asked what we were. Kind cool and weird I think. So that´s about me and my friends back then and some thoughts about what came later. I sort of hate nostalgia, it can get you down a lot, cuz you tend to remember good stuff and you were young and everything was possible. And then at the same time it sucked. So I try not to live in the past, just in my lyrics maybe… haha. Music scene, haha. Partially it sucks, like it did back then as well. I meant the mainstream now, haha. But it´s a hard struggle for small band, as back then. And life is good I think. I have a kid, I have music and I have a so called normal job. Just wish that I was 30 again…hahahaha.
14. As Garmonbozia is less “synth-pop” I quite like the closing track “Train”, but I usually like those tracks that can easily go under the radar of others. It has that heavy, dark feel and is not catchy, but has all the right ingredients to get me interested. Can you tell us something more about that particular track, and why did you choose it as a closing one for the album?
We wanted a different kind of track, something slow and little bit industrial. And it was obvious that it would be last on the album, like that would be the start of the next. Is it? Well you got to see for yourself, hehe.
15. Overal, Garmonbozia has a harsher and darker feel to it. Did you go for it deliberately or it just happened as a natural path of exploring more creative sound directions for the project?
Well both of us like the darker stuff so that came all natural. But the pop is there, I think all of the songs have pop refrains, even Train.
16. Where do you see yourself currently in “the scene” regarding Sweden and Europe?
Pretty known but still maybe not. Hard to tell.
17. As we are close to the end of this year, what plans do you have for the next one? Can we expect a new album from Machinista any time soon?
Yes. September 2016.
18. As I sometimes like to ask personal questions, and it is up to you if you wish to answer, I am giving you a couple of those. What is the motivational factor for making music as one of your life choices? Did you ever for once regret it?
Once I started when I was 20 there was no way back. Now 8 albums and several other releases I cant stop, this is the blood that I need!
19. How hard is the life of music and how much do you get from it in return and get to enjoy it?
It´s hard in that way that we struggle to get paid and to get good gigs, but it´s coming, slowly but surely. Thank God.. hahahahaaa!
20. Do you experiment with other aspects of art?
Oh yes. I see art everywhere. I have always seen pictures, everywhere I go. Remember seeing one second stuff and wished to capture that, but didn´t have a camera, and the camera wouldn´t be able to get what I saw anyway, cuz the camera doesn´t have the wideness of the eyesight. But anyway, back then I wish I had the iphone that I have now…I would have taken millions of photos,,hehe. Well I eventually got one and took a million, still take a lot. Everything I see I see in stills. Photographs are often more beautiful than the real world. Except nature, that´s another story.
21. As you state you are actively promoting your project, where can we follow you besides the Official Facebook page and Web site? Share some links with us.
spotify, of course.
www.analoguetrash.co.uk is our label
22. Have you already set some dates for Machinista live in 2016? We will be expecting you. 😉
We have a small festival booked in Lillehammer, Norway, called Nordic Lights Festival on March, 5th. And some other cooking and one festival I cant mention now,,hehe.
Take care people/john
Photos by Nisse Nilsson