Roger: Thanks to Jan Erik Liljeström of Anekdoten for giving us his time to do this short interview, no doubt taking time off from rehearsing for the upcoming European tour. (Go here for full gig listing) Speaking of which how are the rehearsals going, as I assume it is some time since you played together?
Jan Erik: Normally we meet regularly, typically once a week, but the focus for quite some time has been on trying to come up with stuff for the new album. We had a long summer vacation and the last thing we did on stage was a support gig to Meshuggah on Easter Sunday. We only played 6 songs then, so we had quite a lot of catching up to do. We have rehearsed 18 songs from our back catalogue and some of it haven’t been played for more than 3 years. This was evident in the first rehearsals, but now we are back on track and ready to rock!
Roger: Will there be any of the new material in the set? When do you think the new album will be ready?
Jan Erik: We discussed how we should go regarding this, but we came to the conclusion that it would be better for the overall quality of the shows if we concentrated on getting our old songs to sound really good, instead of dabbling with the final arrangements of new songs. The situation today with things surfacing on Youtube also made us reluctant to present our most innocent little babies to the world in an uncontrolled way.
There won’t be a new album in 2011, but we will hopefully start recording by the end of this year.
Roger: I suppose you can’t really answer this beyond Yes or No, but will the encores contain any surprise cover versions? Your version of Easy Money was great!
Jan Erik: No. It would have been great to do a surprise cover or two, but our own material will be prioritised.
Roger: Nicklas has been busy with the fab My Brother The Wind project, and his El Ultimo soundtrack, but what have the others been up to musically since the band last played together, day jobs allowing of course!
Jan Erik: Well, I’ve had 2 kids since “A Time Of Day”, so that’s what has kept me busy!
Roger: I’ll bet!
Roger: I’ve followed the band since Nucleus, which of course led me back to Vemod, and in that time you’ve released some mighty music, and played all over mainland Europe and Japan and the USA, but you’ve never, as far as I know, played in the UK before. I hope you’re all looking forward to visiting London’s Camden Underworld on 6th October (Go here for tickets – quick, before they sell out!).
Jan Erik: England is actually the white spot that we are most eager to finally explore. We’ve played in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris etc, but it’s been nagging us that we’ve never come over to England. We will most likely lose money playing in London, but when the opportunity came we felt that we had to do it this time around.
Roger: In my humble opinion the double Official Bootleg, Live In Japan CD is one of the best live albums I’ve heard, the sound is simply immense! Any plans to record the shows of the upcoming tour? A lot of bands now make live recordings of gigs available as downloads, it would be great to think you would do the same.
Jan Erik: No, we won’t do it on this tour. What has been discussed is a dvd at some point, but that project will also have to wait a while longer.
Roger: Have you got any plans for future vinyl releases? I really liked the Vemod LP reissue, it was a high quality piece of work.
Jan Erik: This year we’ve put out Vemod and Nicklas’ soundtrack album on LP and they’ve both been very successful so there will definitely be more vinyl releases on our label in the future. Regarding re-releases Nucleus feels like the logical next step.
Roger: Is the songwriting a group effort, or do individual members bring their own songs to the band? I think it’s always interesting to read how a band construct their songs.
Jan Erik: Nicklas comes up with all of the basic ideas for songs, but all members contribute with some riffs and melodies.
Roger: What music are you into at the moment?
Jan Erik: Not that much prog actually, but I like Fleet Foxes “Helplessness Blues” a lot.
Roger: Yes, they are rather good – a sort of 21st Century CS&N!
Roger: I seem to recall reading a while back that another group had “borrowed” your Mellotron and forgot to return it! Did you ever get it back?
Jan Erik: No, we got it back
Roger: Glad to hear that…:)
Roger: I always like to end on a food related question, so what culinary delights will you be looking forward to sampling in multi-cultural Camden when you come over?
Jan Erik: I’d love to go to a really good Indian restaurant if possible. London marks the end of this small tour, so hopefully we’ll have time for a few pints as well.
Roger: I’ve a good mate in London, I’ll ask him if he can recommend anywhere, hopefully we can meet up. In the meantime good luck with the tour and we all look forward to seeing you and the band in Camden on 6th October!