BEARDFISH’s RIKARD SJÖBLOM Talks Upcoming Solo Album “The Unbendable Sleep”

Rikard Sjoblom

Beardfish mainman Rikard Sjöblom will release his second solo studio album titled “The Unbendable Sleep” in February. The album is available for pre-order from Rikard’s official website. He recently gave us a bit of his time to talk about the upcoming album.

Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life is good – and hectic! I’ve got two kids, we’re moving to a new place in march, my solo album is coming out in February, I’m finishing my parts for the new Big Big Train album in January, laying the final touches on a new album with our organ/drums duo Bootcut in the next few weeks so that will be out in the spring as well and finally I’ve been writing songs for the next Beardfish album so we’ll start rehearsing those and book some studio time for the summer.

Speaking of new music, you have a new album. What can people expect from “The Unbendable Sleep”?

Well it’s a pretty consistent collection of songs in my personal opinion. The first time I listened through the final song order I thought “well, that’s nice” and I’m really happy with the result. It’s bookended by the two parts of “Love and War” which sort of sets the mood, I guess, and it also tells quite a lot about the lyrical theme for the album which deals with self-asteem and mirrors. I thought it could be kind of interesting to toy with the idea that your mirror image is an entity of its own, forever stuck behind that glass, waiting for you to show yourself. I had a couple of songs that weren’t really in the prog vein but more pop/rock but I still wanted them on the album so I had to figure out the running order to make it flow as an album.

The Unbendable Sleep

What was it like working on the album?

It was fun and it was tough too. It’s been a while since I was alone in a studio, just working by myself, but I really enjoy that process and I’ve been waiting to do it again since 2010 when I recorded “Lamentations” as Gungfly. I already knew that I wanted the drummer and bass player (Petter Diamant and Rasmus Diamant) from Gungfly playing on some of the songs but I also knew that I wanted to record most of the instruments by myself, just because I love doing it – it’s a very selfish thing. [laughs] I also had fun with a couple of new toys I’ve acquired since last time I recorded, a 12-string electric guitar, a Clavinet and a Arp Odyssey synth – they’re all featured quite heavily on the album! I had most of the songs written before I started recording because they were working projects that had been laying around for a while so once I actually started recording it didn’t take very long before I was finished!

Are there any touring plans in support to “The Unbendable Sleep”?

There are, yes! I’ll be over in England in May playing some acoustic shows by myself, but I can’t say anything specific, sorry… I’m gonna book some shows with a band as well, maybe as a trio, news will be up at www.rikardsjoblom.com later!

While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour? I suppose that you would give advantage to places you haven’t toured before with Beardfish.

I just love touring Europe actually and we’ve been to quite a lot of places with Beardfish, yes. So I think Australia could be cool, because we’ve never been there. I’ve also had some great times in USA, but mainly on the east coast so there’s a lot of space left to cover over there!

Who and what inspires you the most?

I get inspired by playing, by myself and with others. I also get inspired by discovering new music. But in general I don’t know where it comes from, all of sudden it’s there: a melody or a chord progression that I just HAVE to get out of my head. Usually it comes when I least expect it, like in the car or something, and I have to sing the melody into my phone to remember it for later! [laughs]

What other genres of music do you listen to?

I listen to all kinds of stuff and I can find something I like in almost every genre. I am however a sucker for that late 60’s, early 70’s sound, both in prog, pop and heavy rock – the sweet saturated sounds of drums and guitars recorded a bit too loud to tape always gets me going!

Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

I would say almost all of them have left impressions on my style, for instance this past year I’ve been playing quite a lot of Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Little Feat and so on in different cover band situations. They’re not the same of course, but their styles have been influential for me and I’ve fallen in love with the Fender Stratocaster more than I’ve ever been before!

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

No, not more than that I really hope you’re gonna like “The Unbendable Sleep,” I’ve poured my heart and soul into it. Stay tuned to my website and Facebook page for news on gigs and so on! Cheers – Rikard Sjöblom

Pre-order Rikard Sjöblom’s “The Unbendable Sleep” here.

Cover photo by Simon Hogg

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