Jens Gustavsson falled down bfore me one day, not personally but the
record came to me and he was like a little brother to Lars Demian and I
liked what I heard once. I was forced to send some questions to him and he
answered fast. This interview took place in the middle of august 2002.
our new allsongleader or?
Please tell me a little about yourself, age, family, interests and so on, earlier bands and so on?
Jens Gustavson, 36, from Östersund, and I have a 2 year old son. attributemaker to the profession but nowdays I work parttime on my girlfriends restaurant- My musical history is really odd. It begins with bands which played Hendrix and Depp Purple covers and there I was with a big Gillancomplex but I hadnīt so much voice and it was hard to do Child in Time in the right way(think of it) I was so nervous before our first gig so I had a total blackout on our first three songs. And after that I was a bassist in "Doggybag bluesband", we played much english rhytm and blues. Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall, Stones and those stuff , it was a fun and fucking crazy period. we played much on bikerclubs and other odd places and it could be maratongigs from ten in the evening to five o clock in the morning , bikers is a really odd public and they always do their best( in that time I donīt know how it is nowadays)
Swedish progressive and political music I had listened for a while but when I heard Stefan Sundströms "En bärs med Nefertite" so I understandf that it not only was good with swedish lyrics I understand that it was a must.I played harmonica in the bluesband "grumligt Vatten" and when I asked my musicans if they wanted to test my own songs on the side of it so was Andras Ungar a fact. That was about 96.
When you do music, which is most important then, to do a good melody, to have refarian that poeple remmebers or to have good lyrics?
Everything actually, but the most impoirtant is to get a really good lyrics which means something and have a history or so. I couldnīt stand for a shitrefrain with a nonsense text. I can admit that I sometimes try to do a political comment but I canīt do it good. Then I give up because it must be a stream in my lyricwriting otherwise itīs not being so good.
Is there any good artists/bands in Sweden right now?
I havenīt got that look nowadays(smallchildrenparent you know) but there must be many good musicans and lyricwriters around and as usual they canīt come forewward. i think the old heroes is really good and thereīs music to hear and i donīt have to hurry.
The smae thing there; Iīm going back in time. I have bought some of Tom Waits old records and itīs fucking good. Nick cave is good, P.J. Harvey, Iggy, Dylan, Neil Young, Patti Smith... Roy Harper heīs an outsider, not always good but never boring. And then there the rest of the no-english talking world as West Africa, Balcan, India and the arabic world, it swings like hell out there..
Who writes the best lyrics in Sweden?
All have their good things but thatīs the old oneīs which is good. Ola Magnell is a really good lyricwrtiter and he can makes really good lyrics. Cornelis he made a whole language, Anders F Rönblom and Plura sometimes, Lundell often and Lars Demian. But I must say that Stefan Sundström is the best one right now. He can write a lyric which it sounds precisly like he took it from the air. His lyrics float and heīs so good at his language.
Please tell me a little about the others?
Tja,Itīs four nice lads which two of them came into the band after a while. Håkan who plays bass I have played with for about ten years in different constellations, he talks so much , a little like Groucho Marx and he have so much logic so he can swep away anybody but not because that hesītalking truth. Uffe - guitar, have been with us from the beginning , he has the blues in him and plays with an acoustic bluesduo which is named Hot Tamales. John plays the piano and heīs a multinstrumentalist and he likes american 70īs music. Ronny is our(exheavy metal) drummer and he played music in the heavier style before.,
When the terrorst attack on 11th of september 2001 was, how did you react, with anger ,fear or what did I say? förvåning eller vad var det jag sa?
I got chocked first but I understand very soon taht these thinsg ahppen once in a while but it got so big publicity because it striked "the free world". to sacrifice innocent people for a thing can never be right even if the things is good. But you must always try to understand why they do it.
Have it changed your life anything?
Not so much and not my view on USA.
How do you see on living in Sweden, what is best and what itīs worst?
Itīs much which is good with Sweden if you compare with other countries and we live a very good life and we have a country with a really nice nature. The boring side is the socialnet which is going to be worser, the hysterical privacything and it does the gap between rich and poor bigger. And itīs hard to be culturecraft nowadays and it will give us higher demands and that does that people burn out themselves.
Your music is a little different if you compare with other singer/songwritersm it feels heavier, what do you think yourself?
Ueah, thatīs true in a way and that depends on that we have so many different musical backgrounds and ideals. Itīs some obvious blues and rockinfluences in the bottom and Johns funky style to play and that I try to put in some ethnic things sometimes. Itīs of course not so easy to do all this but when we do it together itīs a strength. Sometimes itīs a steamtrainfeeling over the whole thing, itīs sweaty, uncontrolled, and fucking fun but we can play beautiful songs when weīre in that mood.
Are you going to vote this fall? Is it important to use the right to vote?
As long as we live in a democratics society and will do we must vote. Itīs the only thing we have to have a talk about how the country will be and I will vote.i
can you do political gigs if itīs anything you believe in? And could you be on only to convince people who donīt think as you do??
Yes, I do, itīs a good way to show what you stand but I donīt think is any use to infiltrate enemies lines and you often play for people who think as you are and I donīt think you can change any peoples mind.
How do you see on the fact that music is put in different styles, it is easier to people to understand what youīre doing then?
Unfortunealy it seems to be so that you must play folk or jazz or trash metal or something specific otherwise people get confused and the people who arrange concerts nervous. Itīs some tendence taht if you canīt put an eyiquette on music so canīt you know what to think about it.You have nothing to compare with. Itīs dull but itīs reality. But as the other side if "folkrock" is good a s a compilationname for our music itīs good because itīs easier to get gigs so. But we must explain how we sound many times.
Home Records, how did you came in contact with them, they often relase more folkoriented styled music?
Gustav heard us on Urkultfestivalen fsome years ago and he said he wanted to test something with us. We recorded in his studio and the whole thing was "Motnot" which is released this august. The folkmusic is dominating Home Records but itīs many other things there too, so I think that Gustav does things that he like...
Is it good?
Absolutely, it was very good and interesting to get some new views on our music. Gustav said much what he thought and the result feels funny and good., det var otroligt nyttigt och intres
How much does a record with Jens Gustavsson sell? What is good for you?
We have done 1000 records first and that I think is good for a debutcd with an unknown band on a small label. I donīt make me any illusions but of course it would have been fun to sell a lot.
I see and I hear some lieknings with Lars Demina, maybe you have heard it before and what other artist are you being compared to?
Lasse Berghagen as you say in your review,hahaha..Otherwise itīs Stefan Sundström seems to come up many times and often Cornlis. I have heard name like Bo Kaspers, Lars Winnerbäck, Thåström, Dan Berglund, Totta...
Futureplans in the music?
To come out of my downperiod of writing which have been since Lucas was born( it hasnīt been so much calm on the last two years) and then write better songs, do more records and play more more more.
As a human being?
To grow up and dare to choose what to do, exercise , fix the car, fix peace on the earth and some things.
Donīt have any, it never works. I donīt think you can learn from other people you must do the mistakes yourself(there came a wisdomword)
Do you care about reviews? Have you never changed something because of the fact of that someone have told you to do it?
I have always been nervous what about they shall write about me in the paper or before a release of a record. Reviews are important becauise they show that youīre around.All the people that didnīt came on the concert or donīt know that the band exist can read about us in the paper. Iīm more sad about
Something to add?
Thanks for me, it was nice mailing. Have a good time and everyone says heloo.Jens
Which is the most peculiar review you ever got?
A really odd review have I never got but they wrote about me in a artchronicle. I was sitting a corner on an artehxibition and had a low profile and I played my songs as backgroundmusic(the audience was there to see the ehxibition). And the day after i could read that the best of the exhibition was to hear Jens Gustavsson do his songs in the cafe. It was really fun and I read it wtih a little curious thought.
How does your audience look like, is there some typical style which are coming on your concerts?
Itīs difficult to say, we have no special audience. Both with the band and when I play alone it comes everything from children to old people. Of course it depends when and where I play but it donīt feels like weīre in a special style or so.
How is a good concert with you by yourself(with the band?
A good concert is when the band is sweaty and people have danced and give us all and Iīm cannot talk afterwards and then its feels like we have been best- Itīs always easier to play for a bigger audience but a little enthusiastic audince can give us the same feeling, itīs much give and take. Itīs difficult to work when people donīt like us from the beginning and that give us the same feelings afterwards. When Iīm by myself itīs a little bit different , then it feels best when the public is with me and they laugh or comment between the songs and are quiet when I play. That they accept me as an entertainer and poet and get something out of my songs.
Itīs very good when I have managed to do a concert without any big wrong things because itīs easier to see those things when you donīt have a band behind you.
Which is most fun, to play with a band or by yourself? Does the audience act different depending on that?
Itīs two different things and it gives me two different satisfactions. You canīt compare it. With the band youīre a team, boys do things together...and the auidience wants rock n roll. alone itīs more like jumping bungyjump, you canīt be sure that the line is going to hold me. The contact is more naked and I can feel really scary feelings before I go on stage myself. l And because of the fact that itīs a differnt style is the audience in a different way. Many concentrate theirselves on my lyrics and then there is people who never can be quiet and talk all the time. My advive to the pubs is to never let those people in again in their whole life.
Please rank your five best record, five best concerts and five most important things in life?
This week itīs like this:
Anders F. Rönnblom - Krig & fred & countrymusic
Roy Harper - Heavy crazy (which is a bootleg ?)
Bob Dylan - Desire
Stefan Sundström - Vitabergspredikan
P.J. Harvey - Rid of me
concerts (I guess the year because I donīt remember)
Ulf Lundell - Östersund -98
Stefan Sundström - Skellefteå -91
Sabbath hela veckan - Urkultfestivalen -97
Hansson & Karlsson - Mosebacke -98
Jimmy Ågren band w. Freddie Wadling - Urkultfestivalen -97
most importand things in life
Respect (for yourself and to other people)
Some new things to the familys car
Next week I think something else...
First, lasta nd most expensive record ever bough?
First: Slade "Slayed"
Latest: Ulf Lundell "12 sånger"
Most esxpensive: Stooges "Funhouse" originalvinyl
Idols when you were small?
It depends what you mean with being small, one of my first idols must be mum and dad, I donīt think I had any concrete idols it was more like I identify myself with people, some sort of people, underdogs. The people who wasnīt so perfect seemed to be so much more interesting than the ideals. I remember a sequence from a bikermovie with Marlon Brando, I thought the longhaired hooligan on the old HD seemed to be more exciting than Brandos beuatiful hero.
Dick Lundberg released a record only for the net, is it something for you to do?
I donīt think so, it doesnīt feel like you do it on real.
What do you think about mp3 and that sort of things, is it killing music or can it help artists?
Itīs difficult to say but for not so known artists they can get out their music but for the big artists who donīt get their royalties. A thing which is sure is that it never can be controlled, piracycopies can you always do , in one way or another. I think the artist must ne paid because itīs so many other people who makes so much money out of the artist. But what can we do about it?
What do you like internet and mail otherwise, the best and the worse with it?
That you can find anythbing is good, look at Dick site to see what I mean. itīs a really good place and meeting place for people to meet which cannot give their music out elsewhere. You can do networks and contacts which is good for everyone. The bad things is too obvious, big open network is easy to use with violentporono or what the shit they do. And then we have virus which not is a problem of that dignity but itīs irritating.