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AMERICAN LEAD GUITAR // AUTUMN IN MAY // BALLHAUS OST // Kay Berthold // Armin Bings // Wil Borgmann & Antek Pistole // Hallgrímur Helgason // KAIZER & Kaiserchen // Stephanie Kath // Sebastian Keller // Jóhannes Kjartansson // Jürgen Kruse // VAGUE ANGEL'S Chris Leo // LETTERS TO THE FAR REACHES // LOGH // Lost in Bärunes // Wolfram Lotz // Florian Ricken // Mario Schulte // SLEFBERI // THOUGHTS PAINT THE SKY

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LOGH

You receive a fancy letter in the mail. An invitation to a cocktail party. A few days later you find yourself poolside with a colorful, yet not too colorful, drink in your hand. A bit too drunk, involved in a conversation a bit too deep about the new David Lynch movie; a documentary about the dark December days around a concert in Berlin, featuring a super group made up by VANGELIS, Roy ORBISON, Kate BUSH and Jim O'ROURKE…

LOGH's fourth record sounds somewhat like that. If you want it to.

Since the members of LOGH are so bullheaded and always have to do everything the other way around and since their last record was recorded in just one day, they decided for the recording of their new album to remain in the studio for way too long. Someone called it the longest indie recording in world history. While this may be a slight exaggeration, the recording really did take a long, long time.

There wasn't really supposed to be a new LOGH record within a foreseeable future but then, in January 2006, the band headed out on their umpteenth European tour. A tour which proved to be so much fun and so successful that a spark was lit. That spark was enough to keep the band writing and recording non-stop until the album was done, 10 months later.

After a few months in the studio the file sizes of the Pro Tools sessions had reached dizzying heights as the band continued on their quest of finding something that no one quite knew what it looked like. When the time had finally come for Pelle Gunnerfeldt to mix the record, he probably laughed, or cried, quietly to himself when he opened the files and witnessed the mess. However, with the help of the iconic image of Mark KNOPFLER projected in 3D above the mixing console Pelle somehow managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

// WWW.MYSPACE.COM/LOGH // WWW.LOGH.SE

Interview

Interviewing LOGHs Mattias Friberg

Some weeks ago Leander wrote the name of a swedish band on a sugar packet and handed it over to a guy he had studied with. Lately he received a fancy e-mail actually using the band's own lyrics by saying: “I've turned my mind.” The name on the sugar packet was: LOGH.

The story begins in late December of 2004, when a friend asked us to come and see LOGH playing in Oberhausen. I had never heard of them before, but my friend was pretty sure I would like it. I was suffering from a very bad headache that particular day and it even increased when we were driving over to Oberhausen. Only when we arrived the venue, I started to let it all go. LOGH were supported by José GONZÁLEZ back then and listening to him, I could hardly imagine that the evening was going to get any better. But right then LOGH appeared on stage and evening turned into night – a brandnew world.

Three years, a few more shows and two albums later I get the chance to interview LOGH's singer and guitarist Mattias Friberg. Asking questions about music is a tricky thing to do and sometimes not very entertaining for both sides, I guess. Obviously enough I'm not a music journalist – so how to prepare?

As we finally met in Cologne at cosy Ibis Hotel, I started out by telling Mattias that I had absolutely no idea what to ask him. The hell of a start, isn't it? But gladly enough Mattias was nice and totally alright with that. When I listenend to the recording the next day, I realized that the first thing on tape is actually: „We wanna sound like a popband.“ That seems like a pretty good start to me. Here we go.

Hm, there was a song that reminded me a bit of DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, if that is a good sign. (Never make any conclusions from snippets…)

I wanna play popmusic, but I don't listen to it. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE is a great band, but I wouldn't put on their record at home. I hardly put on any records at home and when I do it's not popmusic.

So why would you want to sound like one?!?

I wanted to somehow simplify our music. In the sence of bringing the main points of the music into the light. That's, I guess, what popmusic is about: destilling the ideas.

People say that your sound is very minimalistic, that's what it has always been. I wonder if NORTH is still so minimalistic…or is it a step into another direction?

It's a step in another direction in one way. I mean if you compare it to the first album it's much less minimalistic, but we still care very much about every single note that we play. There is a lot of thought behind everything and we don't but in stuff just because it is supposed to be there. There is a point to every instrument and every chord. So I guess that's minimalistic in a sence but we're tired of being…we couldn't have gone on being a four piece-band: two guitars, a base and drums playing the same music for years.

Is this what people expect from you? I mean, people who like THE RAGING SUN a lot will sure ask: Where are the dark sounds and stuff? But I always thought that THE RAGING SUN, if you listen to it as a whole album, is not really that dark and desperate, it's just…I don't know. Help me out.

To me that's the darkest album. We were in a very bad state when we recorded it. So to me it's just complete darkness. When it was recorded and released I tried to fool myself that it was somehow bright, but I don't think it is. It's just…that's darkness.

Well, so maybe it's only what I bring to it.

Yeah. But I mean as far as expectations go: everybody has expectactions and they are all different from another.

Is that tiring?

No, it's just the way it is. It's ok. There are like a few thousand people that like EVERY TIME A BELL RINGS most. And a few thousand like THE RAGING SUN most, some like A SUNSET PANORAMA and some like this…You can't satisfy everyone, you just have to do what you like. And if other people like it, then: cool. If they don't, then that's fine too.

"The ghost is LOGH."

People I normally interview are writers, so there will be a lot about the lyrics. I thought it is very much about escape, starting new, leaving things behind…

This one? The new one?

This one. The new one.

It is.

It is?

Yeah. It is. (pauses) You want me to explain? (laughing)

No. (more laughing) „Saturday Nightmares“ which is the first single reminded me of a typical script of a horror film, you know: somebody, haunted by a ghost and by the time he recognizes the ghost in a way, it helps to understand things…

Yeah, that's about it. But the ghost is LOGH. It's about the band. We've had hard troubles on the way. And it's about those problems within the band.

(somehow relieved) But you made it.

So it's just a tribute…It's a very personal lyric anyway. It's just a tribute to the other boys.

It opens up the album…

Yes.

And the album ends with a song that is called „A New Hope“. That seemed to me…like a confession?

Well, „A New Hope“ is just about drinking.

Oh. Ok.

People can put whatever they like into it, but it's just about the frustration when the bar closes at one and you wanna go and party.

Hm, I just saw the title. I think I didn't ever hear the song. Or did you maybe play it live when you went on the promo-tour?

Yeah, we did.

Well, then I may have heard it once but I… (As it turns out that I don’t have the record, he hands me one over. Through this I could check “Thieves in the Palace” in full length later that day – doesn’t really sound like DEATH CAB anymore…)

"Most often bars."

So tell me something about the recording. It seems to be important that it took ten months…

The actual recording didn't take ten months, it took four months, but even that's a long time. The first five months I spent writing. But the actual recording took place in the summer, we started in July I think. It was the plan from the beginning to have the recording in the summer, because we wanted to have a good atmosphere, not like darkness…snow and cold. And the summer, I suppose, was great here too, but in Sweden it was so warm, it's never been so warm for so long. And we swam in the ocean every day and had nice dinners in the evenings…Of course recording with these people is always kind of hard, we have a lot of different opinions all the time but everything around the actual recordings was very good.

You have two, can't say new members, because they've already joined the band last year. Last year?

Yep, perhaps a year ago.

So did it enlarge your opportunities musically?

Yeah

You know I'm talking about the piano man…

Of course. It's much about the piano, because Karl is amazing. And of course it brought new possibilities. But to me…I mean those two guys had been playing with us for a while but they became official members of the band.

They went on tour with you, right?

Yes, but to me the main thing about them joining is that they kind of…somehow they even out all the…everything that could be a problem, when we were just the original four. They help to even out the differences somehow. It makes our time together much better. They illume, they get things together. So to me it's more a personal thing.

Looking at the schedule of the fourthcoming tour is like it always was: Alright LOGH are back on the road, travelling long, long distances all across Europe. The questions is: How do you (lacking the right word)… how do you, how do you? Like sitting in a car for hours, then play, being tired and going to bed or drinking – cause the bars normally don't close an one…

Most often: bars. (laughing)

That may be pretty hard if you spend weeks on tour – I mean the whole thing. Isn't it sometimes exhausting or maybe causing problems within the band?

It's happend before. But, first of all we've been doing it for so long, so it's not really a problem, you don't get tired…you can get used to anything, I guess. And then, actually the last tour we did in January last year was the tour that made us want to record a new album. Because we had so much fun…

…and people appreciated it so much?

Of course, that too. But it was mostly because we had so much fun in the bus.

There are not so many bands travelling the whole thing like Spain and Portugal, I guess.

Maybe not. We like to do it in that way, like being on adventure. That's what it is supposed to be. To us the most important thing is we want to feel like on a holiday, like a bunch of friends on holiday in a bus. You see different places, you go out drinking, and as a bonus you get to play shows. You even get money for it.

(Acoustical interferences at Ibis)

Don't get money for it?

No, we even get money for it…

Alright.

The most important thing is: we're friends and we're having fun together. And the crew that travels with us they're friends too. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to do it.

See, we're sometimes kidding the only producer in Sweden is actually Pelle Gunnerfeldt. Because every record we get from Sweden there… (laughing)

He does a lot.

Does he sleep? No.

No, he doesn't. He actually didn't produce our new album, we produced it ourselves but he mixed it and did a wonderful job.

And the promo-text says it was hard work for him to mix the album.

(laughs) Yeah.

'Cause you messed it up.

We had so much stuff in there, so he had to pull things out of there. But he has a young son and a studio to take care of, and he has a lot of work and too little time, I guess.

Having a young son means being up very early in the morning and starting to work?

Exactly.

See, sometimes when I describe the sound of other bands I say: They sound a bit like LOGH. But I never say: LOGH sound like – whatever. Is it because it's so hard to describe what your sound is like?

I think it's because we try very hard not to sound like anyone else. We don't have the influences of the music of today, what's hip or enemy or whatever. I mean on this album, this time we had proper influences we could name.

Hm, I couldn't really believe this when I read it…Roy ORBINSON, Kate BUSH…

VANGELIS was the most important influence this time. And second Roy ORBISON. Mainly those two.

You seem to be very good at this. I mean I heard your SLAYER-Cover and I couldn't really believe that it was actually a SLAYER-Song. I had to listen to the original sounds and then I slowly realized that it was the same song.

Well, we like music. All kinds of music. We try to pick as widespread stuff as possible. We try not to be influended, but when we're listening to it, of course it colours what we do…

"To most people silence is the most disturbing thing along."

But I conclude from your words that you're not starting out with the loud thing and put it down, what to minimalize means in a way – cause we were talking about minimalism. It seems to me as if you generate it out of silence.

Mmm.

You know the directions I'm talking about?

Yeah. Mmm. What's it like really? (spends some time thinking) I don't know. That's a hard one. I' ve never thought of it that way.

I think that people, especially after THE RAGING SUN, they always thought you're actually coming from this Postcore-Indie-kind of scene, from this loud corner. But listening to the songs you sometimes realize that silence is first in a way.

We try to use silence, I mean as much as we can. If you see someone performing there is a lot of noise and sound and action. If the performers would suddenly be still and quiet for a minute, people would react…they would start shouting and screaming or whatever. It's the powerful means of getting people's attention. Because to most people silence is the most disturbing thing along.

Because one has to stand it?

Yes.

So that's maybe why some people are talking all the time when they get to see shows. I always get into real fights with people talking. It seems to me they want to be entertained in a way and when it's quiet it is pausing of entertainment to them.

I mean: Our job is to entertain.

Wow, that is something to write down.

But it is. It's the most important thing. If you're going around playing shows to people your job is to entertain. It's a tricky thing to do that. We have our way of doing this and silence is a very important part of that. And if people can't appreciate that as entertainment, then that’s fine.

No, it's not fine. Because I get into fights with them.

No, it's not fine for you. For the rest of the audience it's not good. To us it's…we don't care, but we understand that to the rest of the audience it’s disturbing. We understand that some people cannot appreciate it that way. But I see what you mean about bringing things down instead of up. We've had these strange labels on us for a long time. It's been Emo and all these genres that end with a -core, supposing we would come from a Hardcore-background, which is not true. None of us has ever been in a band playing Hardcore.

Your SWITCHBLADE-appearance maybe gave a hint…

But they are like Post-Metal. (laughing) Or whatever. I mean, I grew up on Heavy-Metal.

(laughs) You don't look like you grew up on Heavy-Metal.

(showing a wide smile) I kind of changed styles a few times. Anyway: we have nothing to do with that scene, whatever this scene is.

So you feel comfortable if people are saying it's popmusic?

Yeah, more comfortable than Emo. What I see as Emo to me is really horrible. That doesn't mean that every band that is called Emo is horrible, it's just: when I think of that part it gives me shivers.

What is the most annoying question asked by music-journalists?

There are a few. One is like: What is most important: the music or the lyrics? Perhaps it's not a bad question, it's just a classic one. What else? Hmm. What can we expect from your live show? (laughs) That's a hard one.

And you're lying and saying…

Fireworks.

Oil barrels on stage like KAIZERS ORCHESTRA have. And a question you would like to answer but is never asked?

Most often when you do these interviews you don't wanna talk about the band or about the music. You wanna talk about good food or whatever. I mean more personal stuff.

So there was no need to be nervous for me, because I was afraid of asking too (many) personal questions…

No, that's the fun part.

Guess what: He was right. I stopped the recording and we got into talk about how to pay the rent. So this is what I learned about interviews like this: First: Thank God, I'm not a music-journalist. Second: Keep up with what we do, talking about people's intentions, hopes and fears, about motivation and failure. Third: Absolutely no need to be nervous when interviewing LOGH. Great band. Nice people. I hope you take your chance to see them playing live. It may turn your minds.

Sixpack

Traditionally closing with a sixpack, that Mattias answered some days later via e-mail.

Question 1: What was the last movie you watched?

Casino Royale.

Question 2: How did you like it?

Loved it. I liked some of the old James Bond movies but this is far above every one of those. Everything was great except Chris Cornell’s Bond theme. What happened to Chris Cornell? He used to write cool songs and not wear tank tops and not spend most of his time in the tanning salon. But I guess that was 15 years ago…

Question 3: Name five CDs you currently tend to listen to.

VANGELIS – Bladerunner Soundtrack. Roy ORBISON – Best of Roy Orbison. Andrew W.K. – The Wolf. Julio IGLESIAS – 3 Gold Records. Kate BUSH – Hounds of Love

Question 4: Where should people go on holiday in summer, if they have the money?

They should go to Sweden. We have these animals called elks, you know. Very fascinating. Like horses with horns. Right now the world’s biggest elk is being built. It’s like an elk with a conference centre inside. Check it out. // LOOK

Question 5: Do you read a book at the moment? If yes, which one?

“A heartbreaking work of staggering genius”. By Dave Eggers. As the title explains, it’s a very sad story written by a very clever guy. Horrible but hilarious.

Question 6: What should we abolish to make the world a (little) better place?

Spiders (not evil but extremely scary). Tabloids (true evil). Speaker systems in public places. They never work properly. Have you ever heard what anyone is saying in the P.A. at a train station? Moving on – traditional/religious people that sneer at you when you wash your clothes on Sundays. If these people like to believe in God then that’s OK with me but they should let me wash any time I please. The new hand luggage rules should also go.

Annika Hetberg