CENTRALSTÖDET

7 Oct

There’s perhaps been no greater out-of-nowhere pleasure for our particular listening addiction than the emergence of Centralstödet into our consciousness, in the form of the Sky Lantern Records released cassette entitled, “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj.”

The emergence of Centralstödet came to us not only in a form unacquainted, but completely unknown as well. Who was this mysterious band of Swedes, and where did this insanely, instantly intriguing patch-work collection of cosmic head-crushing jams come from (aside from, y’know, Sweden)? Perfectly described by their label as “garage-proggers” with “the raw, earthen jams of Träd, Gräs och Stenar dipped deep in the cave troll smoke of Sabbath,” the forty-four minutes of “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” (culled from many, many hours of rehearsal room tapes) quickly became our go-to soundtrack, the perfect listen-flip-repeat ritual consuming our ears both night and day.

It’s both the familiar and the unfamiliar in equal parts that contribute to the appeal of Centralstödet to these ears. The warm waves of ambient cymbal washes that define rehearsal room recordings give the band’s highly amplified interstellar examinations the required amount of gravity, a down-to-earth catalogue of out-of-this-world sounds. More directly, “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” effortlessly captured the atmosphere of one of our longtime pieces of worship, the somewhat haphazardly released “Private Tapes” compiled by Ash Ra Tempel guitarist Manuel Gottsching (of which, as you’ll read below, Centralstödet was unaware and unfamiliar – continuing a theme between creator and consumer).

We simply cannot stop listening to Centralstödet and we could not be happier to feature the entire band’s answers to our ridiculous questions below. Enjoy.

Can you think of an album that you completely love despite it having a completely ugly sound – or perhaps more accurately, that you love especially because it has an ugly sound? What is it about that music that makes it so appealing to you? Can you recall the first time you ever consciously realized your passion for music that may reside outside of the status quo?

Baby Grandmothers compiled some of their unreleased material a few years ago and we sure love that. It is raw and energetic and has an incredible vibe to it. As long as you can hear the musicians are playing the asses off you don´t really mind that the recording isn’t  that good. To us it seems like they play stuff just for the fun of it and that they don´t really bother if it has any commercial value or not. We think that they show a great deal of integrity when playing stuff that doesn’t  aim to appeal to everyone. That is encouraging! The first time we heard it we almost thought it was us playing!

When it comes to music the Swedish government offers quite a lot of funds for young people who try to make their own music. That made us start our own bands early on. Individually we found out that the music we enjoy the most isn’t always what you hear on the radio or on TV. Even though we have quite different musical preferences we’ve always shared the interest in alternative music and making it on our own.

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Is there any general mindset or philosophy today behind the music you make that you can definitively say you did not have at the time when you first started playing as Centralstödet? Any thought to how you think these evolutions may impact your work in the future? What has been the biggest change in your life – outside of music specifically – that has most impacted the music you make today?

Being a band that came about just by drinking and talking in a filthy garage we must say that any philosophical analysis we can stand for today is applied afterwards. We didn’t really have plan or a fixed idea how to sound when we started out. It´s clear that we still don´t. Anyway, it took us a year or so to get from the garage to a rehearsal-room and when we got there we just started playing. After a while we thought it was good enough to record it. We have a lot of material from those days back in 2006 in our archives even though we can admit that it has varying quality. We haven´t played continually since then but we have improved musically over the years. By listening to old recordings it´s easier to communicate what we think works and what´s not and when we find stuff that we can agree upon we just try to do more of that.

Changes? -Just realizing that life goes on!

Can you think of an album that has influenced you greatly, despite the album having a title or a “theme” about which you haven’t a real clue about what it truly means?

Elephant9, “Doodoovoodoo.”

Do you enjoy talking to others about Centralstödet’s music if they are interested in it, or would you prefer talking about other artists – or perhaps, about another topic completely? Outside of music, what topic do you like to be engaged in during your free time?

We all like to talk about our band especially when we meet people that share similar affections for old music gear, underground music, partying, concerts, film, photography, -you name it! It´s always nice to find out that other people relate to and get off of the same things as you do!

Outside music Jonas, Daniel and Ulrik restore old cars and motorcycles. Joni is a filmmaker.

Your cassette released through Sky Lantern Records, “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj,” is surely one of our personal favorite musical discoveries of the year, a collection of songs and ideas that truly feels like it is pulsing with life, reminding us nothing so much as the Ash Ra Tempel “Private Tapes” compiled by Manuel Gottsching, though not necessarily sounding like Ash Ra Tempel. Was there anything in particular you were looking to accomplish or communicate with “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” that differed in your mind from your self-titled album? What does the title “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” represent to you?

Ash Ra Tempel is a new experience for us but we sure enjoy it!  “Solkurva, Krök, en Böj” is one of those recurring riffs or themes that we always come back to. Sometimes we start a gig or a jam off with that song just because it´s a piece that we all know well to be able to go off into more unknown territories. Most of the songs on the tape “Solkurva” is actually from one single jam that we edited afterwards. We just decided to name the tape after that one. The title suggests a great day in the sun getting wasted!

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Is there a pace to creating music as Centralstödet that you consciously would like to see accelerate, or is there perhaps more pleasure in the exploration of just seeing how things happen to turn out each time? Is there a perspective in your mind that helps you merge the improvisational elements of Centralstödet with the more riff-based element (for lack of a better term)? Is there a band or artist that hasn’t released anything new for years that you wish would make another album?

We have come to the conclusion that we´re probably at our best when we manage to improvise as freely as possible on a theme that we all know, at least a bit, beforehand. Some of the things we play we can recognize from earlier jams and then we find it quite it quite easy to follow at any given moment. We just try to alter it a bit to make it sound a bit different from the last time. A bit slower, a bit weirder and so on. You can add a new groove to it or a melody that hasn’t been there before. We have tried to arrange our songs from beginning to end but we seem to fail every time. The arrangements don´t come out as we planned!

Sometimes pure improvisation can give you a great buzz but you really have to be on your toes to keep it up and make it interesting. We had a gig once and we didn’t say a word about what to play before we started and it just didn’t happen… It was very frustrating. The riffs are usually a hint to each other that we should change direction and play something else. A clue to get a fresh start with a different tempo or mood etc. We should probably rehearse and play more live to get even more flexible between the two concepts. Riffs vs. improvisation. What you hear on the tape is the result of us playing in a way we can handle.

Fläsket Brinner is another Swedish band we admire. We have seen them live on several occasions but we are still looking forward to a new album!

The short opening of “Två Nyktra Veckor Senare” followed by “Man Över Styr” makes an absolutely perfect entryway into “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj” to these ears. How much thought and discussion went in to the way the songs and ideas are structured on “Solkurva, Krök, En Böj”? Can you think of any first and second song combinations from albums that particularly move you? What is it about the combination of those two songs that make it so memorable to you?

We have to thank Nik Rayne at Sky Lantern Records who decided bring us on and got the compilation together. He asked us about releasing material he had found on the web and made the effort to complete the tape. We have hours of recorded material but we just sent what we were asked for and what´s on the tape is the result of Nik´s work. The thing is that we have vague memories of recording “Man över styr” and we surely don´t know how it went public.

Black Sabbath´s first album is probably the best example we can give you. Maybe it´s a bit too easy to mention that one but it´s at the same time very hard to argue against it!

What were your previous musical experiences that led you to begin Centralstödet?

As mentioned the band-members have quite diverse preferences when it comes to music. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a conflict in the band about what´s cool or not. On the contrary we find it potentially enlightening to discover other genres or concepts that can influence our music to go in new directions. Over the years the band members have played in numerous other bands. When we look back we can recall being part of various punk bands, progressive bands, hard rock bands and even some jazzier outfits. What brings us together though is a mutual interest in music made in the sixties and the seventies.

Was there a single moment that directly inspired you to make Centralstödet sound precisely how you wanted? For that matter – does Centralstödet sound precisely how you would want?

Centralstödet started out as a loud three piece band. Two fuzz guitars and drums. Some of the music we played in the beginning was quite aggressive and spaced-out but sounded a bit thin with only two guitars. We soon realized that we needed to add some bottom to it and Joni joined on bass. Daniel instead started to concentrate on echo-machines and other guitar effects to add a more psychedelic flavor to the music. That is probably the moment when we discovered the sound you hear today.

It´s difficult to say when you´re satisfied with the way you sound. For us it really comes down to how we sound on a specific occasion. Since we don´t sound the same from one time to another it can vary tremendously from day to day. The fact that we have different tastes in music makes it hard for us to say that we sound the way we want to all the time. It´s not easy to make improvisational music that appeals to everyone at the same time. It´s worth mentioning that the other day we jammed for two hours and shared an intense experience. We all felt quite satisfied. That probably contradicts the whole argument!

What bands have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what’s your favorite Tangerine Dream album of all time and why?

We spend a lot of time listening to music and going to concerts. A lot of international bands visit Sweden and some of them made a huge impact on us! Endless Boogie, Wooden Shjips, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Spindrift, Hawkwind and Pentagram, to name a few, have been here in recent years. Dungen, Träd, Gräs Och Stenar and URANgbg are some Swedish equivalents. On record we enjoy Sir Lord Baltimore, Groundhogs, Agitation Free, Stonewall, Peter Green, Harvey Mandel and Captain Beyond at the moment.

We have heard a few of albums of Tangerine Dream that were made in the seventies but we can´t really say that we have any deeper knowledge of what they have done over the years. Their 1972 album “Zeit” is probably the one that stands out the most. The repetitive string arrangements on that record produces a drone-like “soundscape” that is both horrifying and beautiful at the same time. Their work with layers of loops and echoes is awesome! We should copy that! Another thing that comes to mind is that they manage to use their recording equipment with a technique that evokes envy. That is probably what inspires us the most in their music. Centralstödet is unfortunately quite restless when it comes to recording and producing. Most of our recordings are made with two simple microphones which makes after-production more or less impossible. Nowadays we have a solid live sound using old amps and stuff but we should learn from others how to use a recording studio properly.

Carl Jung – who once jammed with Tangerine Dream for seven hours straight, or so we’ve heard – wrote the following in “The Red Book”:

“Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life.”

Your thoughts?

It must be the first time we´ve been confronted with a question like this! It made us laugh quite a bit! But we admit, we’ve certainly had our share of madness. Playing music is a great outlet for it though. The connection between your mood of the day and the way you sound is clear when you play improvisational music. We wouldn’t have sounded the way we do if we hadn’t opened up the channels to our wicked souls! Centralstödet´s music can be angst-ridden, delirious, manic, energetic, aggressive etc.

A proper term for that would probably be amplified madness.

What’s next for Centralstödet?

A Japanese guy who has a psychedelic club in Tokyo has shown interest since the tape was released and he wants us to come over. So far we’ve had difficulties to find dates that suit us all. At the moment we´re scheduled in November. We´re also looking for a recording studio to get some new music on tape. Some friends have semi-professional studios that hopefully will satisfy our needs. Centralstödet would love to release a vinyl and do more gigs in the near future, so if there’s a vinyl record label or booking company reading this, just give us a call!

Wish you all best!!

/Centralstödet

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