Saturday, August 27, 2016

Interview with Truckfighters

The mighty TRUCKFIGHTERS’ own label, Fuzzorama Records, and Century Media Records team up to floor the gas and fuzz pedal.
“Signing to Century Media Records is like kicking in the fuzz pedal with all knobs turned to 11 - maximum energy, maximum output and totally out of control!”, comments the band.
The new album “V” will be released worldwide through Fuzzorama in cooperation with Century Media Records on September 30th, 2016.
Shortly after the album release, the TRUCKFIGHTERS will hit the road again to play an extensive European tour. Exact tour dates and further plans to play the rest of the world will be announced soon. Expect something big. Super fuzz big!
Palace of Rock needed to sort things out with the band´s 4 stringer and lead singer Oskar Cedermalm, here´s what he had to say about Michael Jackson, Phil Lynott and why he loves the 80´s.

Good evening, let´s start with a normal question. Who is the greatest bassplayer in the world in your opinion?
Oskar-Ohh, I really don’t have any opinion on that and I don’t listen that much to the technical skills in a musician, sure I prefer to listen to people who can play their instruments very well, BUT I hate people who are too good, you know these kind of bass players that can play fast and know a lot of theory haha… I usually prefer bassplayers or who ever it might be, guitar players, bass players etc that can put the right note at the right place instead and do it with love and feeling. Also I do listen more to the song structure than the individuals, I mean a very basic song by Black Keys can be so much better than some jazzfusion shit when everybody just play until their fingers bleed.

I must confess that I only own one Truckfighters album on CD, it´s Gravity X so I must indeed do better. But how does it feel to stand right next to Thin Lizzy´s Life and Tygers of Pan Tang´s Crazy nights in my record collection?
Oskar-Haha, no worries, that’s a classic album nowadays, maybe not as classic as Thin Lizzy. The other band I never heard of so you can replace that one with the new Truckfighters album instead haha. Anyway, now you remind me of a good bassplayer, IF you insist getting a name, Phil Lynott was a very good bassplayer, but maybe not because of anything else rather than he knew how to write great songs, and he also knew how to make the bass blend in and play the exact right stuff to add what’s necessary to the song.

Your band has been a trio for a few years now but the first albums are recorded with two guitarists, how do you perform the songs from Gravity X and Phi live that are written for 2 guitars?
Oskar-Our guitarist plays with dual rigs and 4 cabinets hehe. That alone does not replace another guitarist, we know that… but with a Dango in the band we think it’s enough with one of those lunatics. Also we got used to it, the albums after with ”Mania”, ”Universe” and now ”V” have been recorded without an extra guitarist so I guess we now released more stuff in this format than the other.
I’m also one of those people who doesn’t bother if I go and see a band I like live if the live act is a bit different than in the studio, for me it’s two different things. I guess it’s probably awesome for hardcore fans of Dream Theater to go and see them and hear the exact same notes that are on the album, But imagine if that band would jam a bit more and loosen up, go outside the box with improvisations live? The sky is the limit. I would like to have more of that in today´s music where there’s so many bands playing after click track, backing track etc just to make a replica of the studio album… More of Grateful dead (and I’m not talking about the drugs, only the "jams"), and less of backtrack in live music I would say.

The band must have been through more line up changes with different drummers than Spinal Tap, are you guys impossible to work with or what´s the deal?
Oskar-Hmm, probably haha. I guess me and Dango been playing together for 15 years, we do have a very un-Swedish way of working, meaning we are brutally honest and direct to each other, we don’t have time to wrap things up in some phycological mumbojumbo… Not that we are cruel to each other, we are friendly but very professional, telling each other when we think something isn’t up to standard. I guess coming in as a new drummer and we demand them to play good can be tough, but this is what we do, it’s our living and we don’t want to stagnate and get stuck in the same place.. we want to evolve and also move forward for every album we do. With this said, all drummers so far actually quit for different reasons, the last three for an example, Poncho he quit because he got an offer to start playing with Blues Pills who are very close friends to him and also their music is more his style so I don’t blame him, you need to listen to what your heart says.

Enzo quit because he lost inspiration I think, the formal excuse was that he should have time to focus more in ”his” bands… I mean if you jump into a band, is hard I guess, to feel the same soul and the passion like we do. We’ve been sweating, struggling and working really hard with TF for 15 years. But the last drummer, Mr El Dano, we actually fired, yes correct, the drummer on the album is not playing with us anymore. But that was due to prioroties and he never had time to do it 100%, always had to run away to be somewhere else instead of rehearsing and spend the necessary time in studio etc etc.

I think the band´s sound has evolved through the years with the latest album V sounding more atmospheric, are you becoming more progressive with age?
Oskar-Yes definitely, but not on purpose… I guess as you get older you might lose interest in the songs that you easily can pull together on a coffee break, kind of, I’m not saying that is what happened in the past for us… but the older you get, the more you feel like you want to challenge yourself, and you’re not afraid of doing so either. You care less and less about what other people think which is good as well, even though we of course appreciate people digging our music. This doesn’t necessarily mean we will do more and more progressive stuff, it’s more about doing something a bit different each time so we don’t stagnate and do the same album over and over again, because then it will not be as fun as it is right now and probably about time to stop playing instead.

Truckfighters play a lot of live shows every year, what is the most memorable gig so far?
Oskar-We had a few, first time at Hellfest in France was amazing, the biggest crowd we had so far, around 6000 and this was 11.40 Sunday morning!!! Also when we played Wacken in front of even more people was a surreal experience and something you could only dream of when we started the band… But I also remember some of the small, in door club shows where the heat was so intense that it was dripping from the sealing, Swamp room Mania in Munich for an example… That’s a total different experience to get the crowd so close that they are almost falling up on stage… Maybe that’s why we still think it’s so much fun to play live, we get both experiences all the time… If you get too big I guess you only play the venues and arenas where the crowd is a bit too far away, don’t misunderstand me, I love these gigs too.

The new album V is your fifth studio album and like the previous releases, it´s available both on CD, LP and digital. Since the format Compact Cassette is coming back slowly, would you consider to release a Truckfighters album on Cassette?
Oskar-No not really. I mean even if you have a cassette player I really think you also have the other formats as well, a phone/computer, CD, or LP player… I don’t miss the cassettes either, the only thing I miss about it is that you could do mix tapes, you did that all the time, also you borrowed mix tapes from friends and so on, it was a very nice experience when we were young, too bad that died out. 

If you were trapped in one certain year and had to live in it for the rest of your life, watching the films, listening to the records, wear those clothes and see the concerts from that same year.
What year would you choose and why?
Oskar-I guess a lot of people would say the 70´s now, but I think I’m going to say late 80´s perhaps, I would like to say 92-93, when the grunge era came but that was also a bit of depressing times around the world, I remember Sweden at least went through economical crisis at that time, or is my memory not what it used to be haha, maybe it felt that way because I was a teenager haha. Anyway, the 80´s was a time when you could do everything, become who ever you wanted, have an idea, go for it, get rich etc etc… Then maybe I could choose my today´s wardrobe and bring it so I don’t have to wear the nasty clothing at that time haha.

Live in London is your first ever live album, released earlier this year, is it a "real" live album or has it been fixed in the studio afterwards?
Oskar-It is live for real of course, we did just a few tiny tiny details that needed to be done in the studio, but it’s not like some artists that start recording the guitars all over again in the studio haha, I’ve heard stories about Kiss Alive, not sure how much of it that is correct though, maybe just rumours?

If we take a deep look at your own record collection, what album is the one that we would least expect to find in there?
Oskar-Probably Michael Jackson (smiles), I was actually a fan, or still am a little bit… He was an exceptional songwriter and I think I’ve been inspirited more than I can believe of M.J in my own music.  I saw him in 92 when he just released Dangerous and in my opinion, that was the peak of his career, shortly after that, the long tragical spiral wen’t down slowly, I have no idea about the child abuse accusations either, was he just a misunderstood freak or did he actually do these horrible things to the children? Anyway... 

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