THE INTERVIEW: The Soundtrack of Our Lives
The Soundtrack of Our Lives is a progressive, psych-pop band from Sweden who has recorded six studio albums, including 2009’s Communion. While the band is surely no strangers of success, they manage to stay humble, enlightened and hopeful despite the pessimistic and changing record industry and world. Here, I share some thoughts with vocalist Ebbot Lundberg regarding Communion, Nick Drake, psychedelic culture and the future of TSOOL.
Congratulations on the successful release of Communion… How does this album differ from anything you’ve done previously? Did you have a certain theme in mind when writing these songs, and if so, how is it (if at all), related to today’s society, culture or reality?
As always – it deals with the perception of reality with the time that´s been given to you. This album is just another reflection. And it´s the most beautiful and synchronized one; the best album we´ve done so far.
Communion is also your longest album to date. What influenced you to include all 24 songs on this album? (Moreover, what made you choose abundance over scarcity?) Did you record anything that had to be left off of Communion, and will this material be released on any future releases? (Like Origin Vol. 2, for example?)
Twenty-four felt like a perfect number, with twelve songs on each disc. There´s something stellar about the whole thing. There were 30 songs recorded in the session, and we could have done our version of the White Album, (exactly 40 years later) but we did a better one leaving six tracks out. The songs that are now in the closet will in the future see the light of day for sure, like the Immaculate Convergence EP we´ve just released.
Awesome! Now you’ve included a wonderful cover of Nick Drake’s “Fly,” (which I believe is the first cover you’ve recorded for an album.) What made you choose this song for Communion? Are you Nick Drake fans, or did the song simply fit perfectly within the rest of the album’s framework? Everyone loves to see a band’s take on a great song…are there any more covers in your future?
Thanks! Of course we love Nick Drake. Who does not? The fact is that I personally like the energy on the demo version of “Fly” compared to the one John Cale produced. So we decided to do our own version of the song. Like it or not. But Nick Drake’s sister obviously loves it. And in some strange way it just fit into the album.
We sometimes play “Signed D.C” by Love, “Sick of You” by the Stooges or “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag – if we feel like it. And at parties (if we´re invited) – like on our friends weddings – we just play anything like “Last Christmas” “Hong Kong Blue,” “Ace of Spades” or whatever..
Well, you’re invited to a party of mine anytime, and I’d love to hear a Stooges cover… So how is the tour going thus far? (I’m hoping to catch you on the NY or Philly trek!) What’s it like working with Nico Vega? Are you guys scheduled to play any upcoming music festivals?
I know there´s a big concert with Yoko Ono & Friends going on at the same time as we hit New York the 16th, but we´re just looking forward to play no matter how many people show up. Can´t really tell how it ´s gonna be doing the shows with Nico Vega, but hopefully it will be a lot of fun. And there are certainly plans doing some festivals as well…but I don´t know which ones yet.
Collectively, what bands or artists have been of the biggest influence to you? Are there any musicians who you’d hope to collaborate with in the future?
Maybe. There are a lot of interesting musicians and artists still out there, and some of them have, in the past, done things that made you feel less separated, which in itself made an important influence. But I´d love to do something with Will Ferrell when it comes to future collaborations.
Interesting! Now get out your iPod (or MP3, CD player, stereo, vinyl, etc.) What is the last song/artist played? Are there any musicians from Sweden (or from anywhere) that you feel deserve more exposure or that haven’t yet made it big in the US?
I could name a hundred. But that´s not important now, because everything’s available. But to name a few: The Oholics, Johnossi, The Preacher & The Bear and Martin Mcfaul.
What does the word “psychedelic” mean to you today vs. say, ten, twenty or thirty years ago? Moreover, what does it represent to you in terms of music, genre and the impact of culture on rock and roll music?
It´s just a word from a certain period referring to spiritual liberation and the experimenting with new equipment that came out in the middle of the 60´s. Could might as well have been called “Busby Berkeley music”… another more profound translation could be “delicious for the psyche” – or just “mind expanding shortcuts” …but it´s just like calling something “New Wave” or “Krautrock” or whatever. People need to sort things out so there´s a label to everything – helping us not to get lost in the human library of sounds and decades…
And I most definitely think “lost” is an understatement. Now here is a question I ask often, but am particularly curious of your answer… Often musicians come to a crossroads in their career, where they’re forced to choose between living as a starving yet creative artist or selling out to the record industry in order to pay the bills. From your personal experiences, do you feel there is a middle ground between the two? What advice, if any, would you give to up-and-coming bands in the midst of this dilemma?
I think it´s a luxury problem for most of us who grew up in the so-called Western civilization. And the record industry is now in turmoil so things are changing rapidly. For me, the most important thing is to transform a situation that sucks into something better, or at least something interesting, no matter what occupation. Can´t speak for everybody, but I have no problem trying different things by curiosity. Everything might not be the coolest thing to do – especially when you´re in a group or in a team trying to survive. But life is a school – either you deal with it or not. It’s a microcosmic thing that should not be ruled by fear or ego. It´s all about the patience of making a dream come true and following your heart in this life. Because there´s only one of us here.
Patience and heart; it’s rare but refreshing to hear those words in relation to the music industry, and life itself. You guys must have both of those qualities though, as you’ve indeed made your mark on music and have managed to keep pleasing fans and critics alike, without sacrificing band integrity. You guys have been described as psych-pop, progressive, melodic, tenacious and eclectic musicians. You have been compared to Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and The Stooges (to name a few), and are considered pioneers of the “Swedish Invasion.” Of all the compliments you’ve received, what do you consider your biggest accomplishment to this day?
To maintain TSOOL as a group and to try saving the aether from soulless music.
So what does the future hold for TSOOL?
Got no crystal ball, but hopefully we will accomplish our mission helping to raise the global frequency a little bit… simply by releasing new great tunes and doing more spectacular shows. (I know I may sound a little bit “New Age” but it´s my birthday very soon…) Cheers!