Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Baker's Dozen: Interview with Solander

Imagine it. You are standing with a friend in a completely white room with an altar listening as the stereo belts out repeatedly "Just F***ing kill him." That is what happened to Frederik Karlsson (the man behind Solander) and led him to record his own haunting version of the song which was track number two on our (Buffalo) Wing and a Prayer Mix. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Frederik (via email) as part of our Baker's Dozen series on Write.Click.Cook.Listen.

TB: Your first single contains two tracks "Looking for Gold" and a cover of Shellac's "Prayer to God." What makes these two songs work together?
Sol: I think that it was Tenderversion that put those two together They took two songs they liked and put them together. In my opinion I think they are, in some way, intertextually linked. So for me they fit together like paper and glue.
TB: "Prayer to God" tackles an emotional subject (praying for revenge for an affair). The way you perform it is aurally appealing, yet the pain shines through. What went through your mind while you recorded the track?
Sol: I first heard the song in a friend's room. He is Catholic and his entire room is white, including the altar. When he played the song on the stereo I was swept away. This was, at the time, the essence of belief for me. When you really need help, the prayers come uncensored.
TB: Do you have a philosophy about cover songs? Would you cover any other songs?
Sol: I love playing covers. But they have to different from the original. If the cover version comes too close to the original it loses its sense. I promised that I would record one cover for every 10000 listens on Myspace. At the moment I am behind on the promise. Any song suggestions?
TB: Tell us about Since We Are Pigeons, your new album which was released digitally on the 16th of September.
Sol: It is not only digitally. You can order it from Tenderversion, they will ship it all over the world. Victoria Skoglund made the cover art and I love it. The record contains 11 songs which were recorded during 2009. It doesn't really have a theme except, I recorded everything on my own with my best friend and my lover.
TB: You are also a part of Fredrik and Vit Pals. How does Solander differ from those two outfits?
Sol: Oh I would say the only thing in common is that it would be in the pop section in a record store. FREDRIK is a neo-baroque-folk sextet that explores the essence of beauty with music. Vit Pals is the art of a thriving genius called Carl Johan Lundgren. I'm just a tool which he uses. The love shows with Palsen (Vit Pals) is something you never forget, if you get the chance to see it.
TB: Solander's press release suggests that you may choose to back a song with a string quartet, indie rock band or a cellist. Who are the people that you collaborate with and how do you decide which pieces to incorporate into a song?
Sol: As I mentioned earlier, the musicians I collaborate with are friends and a lover. Very often it is Klas and Anja and I who put the frames and then let people stop by the studio and paint with whatever they are using at the time.
TB: You have contributed music to at least two films (En Dod Kraka and Hata Goteborg). How did Solander become a part of these projects? Did you have any say in how the songs were used?
Sol: Not with"Hata Goteborg." The producer liked what we do so I sent them some songs. They could pick and choose as they like. With "En Dod Kraka" some of the songs were originally recorded for that movie. Some other songs just felt good by coincident.
TB: In 2006 you relocated from Gothenberg to Malmo. Why the move? How has it benefited Solander?
Sol: Malmo is a town with less distress and more freedom. It went from this really heavy industrial city to a college town in the last ten years. A lot of studios are being put up and the food is cheap. For me it, Malmo, means more time and more musicians. Also, I love that the sea is really close by.
TB: If someone were visiting Malmo, what are the "must sees"?
Sol: I like the beach called Ribbersborg. They have a big wooden bathing house there which I go to as often as I can.
TB: What are your live shows like?
Sol: Right now there are four of us. Klas, Anja, Hannes, and me. Some synthesizers, drums, guitars, and always Anja's fantastic cello. We try to make the audience travel as we play. We invite them into our songs so they can experience something beyond recorded music. Also we tend to make a lot of conversation. I don't know why really.
TB: What are Solander's plans, now that Since We Are Pigeons has been released?
Sol: Three European tours. All in all about 50 shows. After that we are planning on making new music for a new decay!
TB: You mentioned that you do some cooking (via my Myspace page). Any recipes you care to share?
Sol: I have a really good cannelloni recipe I'd like to share. (Find it here).
TB: Anything else you would like to say?
Sol: I hope to see everyone that reads this on the road and share some new recipes and songs with them.

To download Solander's "Looking for Gold" go here. To purchase the debut album Since We Are Pigeons stop here. You can check out a video of Solander performing live here.