Thursday, August 26, 2010

Interview #4 - wHaT iF? [EN]

Deutsche Übersetzung dauert noch ein wenig

The next band who agreed on an Interview with me is wHaTiF? Another band based in Sweden and also part of the upcoming Promo CD with their song Rainy Days. Be sure to check out their other albums if you like their music. Furthermore, they recently put up a video to their single Heart Box.

You are the first band I interview with more than one bandmember. How did you three come together? And how did this result in making music together?

Back in 1980, Pål and Conny started talking about doing something together. They had a plan. “Lets make music!” The only problem was that the plan included Påls yet unknown and unborn daughter, Linnea. So they had to wait. In the years that followed, Conny joined up with experimental film-group “fRa-film” and Pål played in various bands and set up several studios in every basement he lived above. In the year 2005 the time was right. Påls daughter, now well known (and of course, born!), started to sing on Connys forthcoming album. Pål contributed some vocals and guitars. The collaboration expanded to such a degree that the “trinity of creativity” decided that it was time for wHaTiF?

Speaking of your early beginnings.. How did the band name come about? And the decision to write it as wHaTiF? instead of a normal capitalization?

We talked a lot about it and asked our friends for suggestions. We werent't sure about that, but somehow we decided to go with wHaTiF?, wich we took from one of the song titles from the first album. It stands for the spirit of the band, like "What if we do it like this?" or "What if we go this way?". Basically meaning that everything is ok, as long as it sounds good to us. Regarding the capitalization, well...we wanted it to look more like a logotype, and we thought it sort of stand out that way.

While we are at naming conventions: What is the meaning behind the latest album title "the final meltdown"? And since I am always interested in that.. is there a deeper meaning behind the album cover photo?

In the beginning, we realized that we had a number of new compositions that did not really fit together in a particular way (as usual). The problem is how to view a collection of songs as a coherent album, but does it really matter?

Hence the concept of The Final meltdown as a description of the convergence of a series of different ideas without a common denominator. The title got a different significance later in the album recording process when we added the song  A Dream of Peace, which expresses thoughts on difficulties for anyone of us to live without any positive vision of the future. However, our playful way to make music established that we rarely get boxed in with clear messages and this song might be an exception with our normal insanity, or something like that. The cover photo is related to the reports of global warming in general. And it was a picture that we all liked, and the idea to put our faces on the three people in the middle was to good to resist. (The photo is from Connys parents vacation on Iceland)

I already know that Conny has his own solo projects ( he is working on. How about the other two? And how often do you find yourself together to work on music?

Paul and Linlea are working on a Swedish album and they are aiming at live performances at local clubs. As a group we rarely meet in real life. Most of the music is made over the net which sometimes is a challenging process.

Why did you choose to release your music for free? Do try to specifically tell people about your music?

There was a lot of discussion within the band regarding this. Our first album was initially released on iTunes, so we had our hopes that we would be able to sell our music. Working on the second album and talking a lot about what we wanted and what was most important for us, we finally decided to release our music for free. Its more important for us to reach out to people with our music, than to sell it to a few, who are willing to pay for it. And these days its very hard to actually sell your music. At the moment we are working on two new songs for  a release later this year, together with videos for each song.

When working on your music, is there a clear distinction who is responsible for which part? Meaning one bandmember writes the lyrics and another one is working on the general beat and rhythm or is this a balanced collaborative effort? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

Paul and Linnea write all the lyrics and handle the singing, sometimes as a collaboration between them, but many lyrics are written by one person. Paul sometimes even writes text directly for Linnea. Some songs are a collaboration between only two members, perhaps Linnea and Conny. Sometimes there are only texts but often it is music that comes first. During work on the albums, we have all contributed with song ideas and then finished them as a group.  The production however has been more of a responsibility for Conny. While Paul plays guitar, keyboards and drums, Conny ads them into the mix with already finished electronic parts.

I can imagine that if a band is making music for quite some time now(or in your case even living together), that there are individual tics that you get to know about the others. What are the most obvious ones?

All three of us are very headstrong and, knowing what each of us wants, often fight to get the music in a certain direction. Different sound ideals and aspirations are sometimes a reason for heavy discussions. At the same time, our talents are so different that virtually all the songs called for everyones contribution. One problem has been that we do not have the same ways of expression to describe music, which made discussions over the net really hard and frustrating. After a while, you learn to have patience and know that this process needs time. Working on  these three albums for the last four years has made us longing for more work together in the same room. Which is something that is going to be a work  process for the next album.(Editors Note: And apparently, working together for a long time leads to something like this)

I couldn't find any information about live concerts on your blog. Were there some? Is this something you still are considering in the future? Or actual CD's to buy? What are your general plans regarding your music in the future?

We are still struggling to make it happen. We are in contact with some musicians who would love to perform live with us. One problem is to transfer all the ”laptop music files” for live use, or perhaps do a mix of it with real instruments.

What were your individual greatest moments regarding your music?

Conny: When our first album got attention and someone was interested to put it up on iTunes and when we had completed the third album. At that time, I felt we managed to do an album that worked as a whole for me. Every song was good and together they formed a greater good, so to speak.

Linnea: Actually, there have been three moments. The first album, the second and the third. When we listen to the albums in the car and just feel the strength of the music we made ourselves. It's a great feeling to have your own music in mind when doing other things as for example humming the music on the way to work.

Pål: As a drummer and "computercomposer" I have actually never before written lyrics or sung any songs. My main interest has always been instrumental music. When Linnea suddenly developed to a real singer I realized that a hole new world had opened: The world of making pop and beeing in a band or at least a mad trio. Therefore, the first album was a real turningpoint for me.

I cannot believe how many incredibly talented people I find are from Sweden. I bet I easily found thrice the amount of interesting bands from Sweden than any other country (for example Exit Island, from the first interview). Can you explain that to me? You must breathe a different air than the rest of the world or something. :)

Sadly, we dont have any idea why. But this is  a theory that often comes up:

There is a belief that the municipal school of music is the foundation for the success of Swedish popular music worldwide, by performers like ABBA, Roxette, Robyn and others. Others argue that it comes from recreation centers and their rehearsal rooms. However, there is great potential here for basic music education in the music and culture schools.

A question I love to ask since I always love to discover new music: Any other music recommendations you can share with us? Or bands which you think of as too unknown as well?

Well, we have a few bands/artists that we really like:


Fredrik Jonasson & The Hoarse Horses



Any last words?

Thanks for the interest in our music!

Thank you for taking your time!

1 comment:

  1. Ni är förjäkla bra! Vilken produktionshastighet och fräsiga omslag och filmer.
    Keep up the good work! blev det tyska...å vilken knapp ska jag trycka på testar den hä, vad händer..det börjar skaka i rummet och....arghh!!!!!!!