Roine Stolt

Nick: Hello, Roine. How are you doing? Transatlantic tour is almost done, there’s still a concert on High Voltage Festival in July, but I guess it would be all. Are you satisfied how this tour turned to be? Do you have in plan releasing a DVD?

Roine: Tour has been fantastic – audiences everywhere have been beyond amazing – band get along and we had boatloads of fun – what more can you ask for.

Nick: I am sure that now after having The Whirlwind and of course previous two albums, it was difficult and tedious for you guys to do more than 3 hours gigs. Has Daniel maybe cursed you for making all those epics, as he’s the one who probably is not accustomed to that, hehe? I have to say that I admire to all of you to making this out.

Roine: Being the oldest member of the band I’m proud to say that I was probably the one that stood the test – I felt very relaxed and did not feel exhausted at all – it was an easy ride and I’d be glad to play even 25 more shows. 3 hours is a bit long – not exhausting really – cause we had a break of 15 min. but I think maybe a bit too much music and maybe a bit loud – but fans seemed to love it – and Daniel did good.

Nick: I wanted to ask you how did you get in touch with Neal and Mike back then when you formed Transatlantic? You were pretty much active then with The Flower Kings. Guess that Mike and Neal has knew each other before, but I’m interested to know how did you get to know them and do you feel any kind of pressure by knowing that people label you as a super group?

Roine: I did know Neal a bit before because we met briefly in Los Angels around 1997 – and Mike emailed me and asked if I wanted to join them for an album. I didn’t feel any pressure really.

Nick: It has been 6 years or so since you’ve last time toured with TA and many people probably thought, as me though, that there are no chances for Transatlantic’s new material, but you didn’t think that way. Was that Neal who has initiated TA’s return? I wonder how did you see your status after that tour back in 2003, have you been formally disbanded or everything was just put “on hold”?

Roine: The halt was a bit abrupt and I think no one really understood what went down – cause we were successful and did get along pretty well back then too, but looking back now it really doesn’t matter – we’re here and we are enjoying it and are more successful than ever.

Nick: Would you try to compare The Whirlwind with SMPT:e and Bridge Across Forever? In your opinion, where does it stand? I look on Transatlantic albums as they are given to be listened for years, if anyone wants to get to its core. Do you agree?

Roine: For me personally “The Whirlwind” is a more complete album and more experimental but yet accessible – so I guess in a few years it will be looked at as a prog classic and Transatlantic’s best.

Nick: I feel some kind of burden about asking that question, but I cannot avoid it. Thus, do you know for sure there is going to be another TA album in the future? Probably, you don’t think about that and you’d say “Whaaat?! We just gave you that big gulp called The Whirlwind and you ask for more!” :) But, you know, I just can’t control my curiosity, hehe.

Roine: I think chances are big for a new album within next few years. We have a great team and a winning formula and so much fun doing it so I cannot see why we shouldn’t.

Nick: I hope that you will not complain for asking too much questions about TA, but since I got green light for making this interview out, I knew that it will be divided in 3 parts with additional subquestions aside, and as this tour with TA is most recent thing happened to you, it seemed logical for me to start from there. So, which venue was most fun to play? Where that was the hardest? Tell us about something interesting that happened to you or the other guys? I could see some of the photos from Madrid where you were, well not literary, in stampede of FC Atletico Madrid fans.

Roine: I enjoyed just about every show – but a few favourites were Luxembourg, Milano, Paris, London, Tilburg, Madrid, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, and also the High Voltage Festival in London Victoria Park.

Nick: The other interesting thing for all of us, I bet, was in Milano if I’m not wrong, when you’ve decided to do a short homage to Ronnie James Dio, who sadly passed away. Was that Mike who proposed this jamming? You kept your position, but was interesting to see Mike on bass, Pete on keys and Neal on drums. Fans do not have so many chances to see you in such situation(s).

Roine: Yes we just try to put in a bit of insanity and silly fun – as most of the set is quite serious – so we don’t plan much – what happens is just improvised and depending on each specific venue or crowd.

Nick: I mentioned Dio’s death, and I have to mention Bo Hansson, who also passed away a month ago or so. Not that I have any specific question about this, but how do you feel about that? Do you find Bosse’s work influential for you and if so, what do you have to say on his albums?

Roine: I like his work mostly with “Hansson& Karlsson” that was a psychedelic organ jazz group from around late 60′s.

Nick: I’m coming to an end of these series of Transatlantic questions and I wanted to ask you what are your opinions on other guys bands/projects? What are your favorite albums of Dream Theater, Neal Morse, Marillion and Pain of Salvation, as Daniel is practically a member of TA live line-up?

Roine : Dream Theater: “Scenes From A Memory”, Neal Morse: “Questionmark”, Marillion: don’t know… They’re all good but I much prefer the Hogarth era. Pain Of Salvation: “Be”.

Nick: That was Mr. Stolt of Transatlantic, now we are here with Mr. Stolt of The Flower Kings. So, what’s going on with TFK? Long time  no hear & see. Is there any chance you guys record something new at some point in the future? You’ve been doing on Agents of Mercy, about which we’ll talk a bit later, Hasse works on his own project, other guys are also involved in other projects and I’m just trying to find place for something new coming from TFK.

Roine: It is definitely most likely a new Flowerkings album coming within next few years – who knows maybe already 2011.

Nick: Your last activity with TFK was playing live back in 2008 on Ecco Prog Fest. Do you miss playing live with TFK, honestly? I guess there is some sense of nostalgia and it seems like it’s been ages since The Sum of No Evil has been released.

Roine: I don’t miss it so much – but I’m sure it will be fun. If or when we do it again – I think a break was a very good move. In fact we plan a release beginning of next year of a DVD from the 2007 tour we did in Europe – with Pat Mastelotto.

Nick: Let’s go back in the past, back in 70′s. After your departure from Kaipa in 1979, the same year you’ve been recorded “Fantasia”, and this album is kind of logical continuation of your previous works with Kaipa. Why did you leave Kaipa? What has been happening with you then?

Roine: I was just fed up with the situation and felt outside the band – where I wanted to move on and most of the band were not that serious about new developments and more concerned about partying.

Nick: In the recent interview with Lalle Larsson, I asked him did he have clear vision of his music, his career and I’m gonna ask you the same question. So, as a solo artist in the end of 70′s, did you know in which direction your music will go?

Roine: No I don’t think I knew at the time – I just wanted to play with serious musicians and try to better my music.

Nick: Before forming The Flower Kings in 1994, you’ve released 4 solo albums, including “The Flower King” which practically has announced the beginning of TFK. Did you want to start something that would be a band in the real meaning of the word where would the others contribute with their ideas? Although, you released later two more albums under the name of Roine Stolt, Hydrophonia and Wallstreet Voodoo.

Roine: I think I definitely saw the possibility of forming a band around the music of “The Flower Kings” – I just felt it was time to play prog rock again. Hydrophonia and WallStreet Voodoo were more works of a “side project” type – because I had written so much new material.

Nick: Speaking of Wallstreet Voodoo, that album showed you in pretty much different issue than your previous works, as you perform blues this time, what tells that you have really eclectic taste when it comes to music. Would you tell us a bit more about this record? Neal Morse has contributed on that one playing Hammond and singing, but there are some musicians which are hiding behind pseudonyms.

Roine: I view myself really as a blues guitarist that happened to start writing more prog rock things – but I started as a teenager playing blues and were influenced by people like Peter Green, Robin Trower and Duane Allman.

Nick: It’s well known that you are a big fan of Genesis, you’ve been covered them as live, as on studio releases. What’s your favorite album of them? How did you see Peter Gabriel’s replacement by Phil Collins then?

Roine: My favourite albums are definitely the Gabriel era albums – in particular Nursery Cryme – Foxtrot – Selling England – Lamb Lies Down. Phil Collins is a great drummer and I like his singing too but he did never capture the magic and enigma of Peter Gabriel.

Nick: Flower Power has brought nearly 60-minutes long piece called “Garden of Dreams”. Was that your intention to produce such a long track and surpass yourself and certainly others, or you just let the imagination does the thing?

Roine: We just kept writing and this is what came out – the idea being NO restrictions – just go with whatever good idea comes up.

Nick: I’m trying to avoid generic questions as much as it’s possible, but I have to ask you what’s your favorite TFK album? Which was the most fun making and which one toughest? TFK music itself is very complex, but which song is the most difficult for you to play live? Guess that there’s no song that hard for you to play, hehe.

Roine: My favorites are probably “Stardust We Are” and “Unfold The Future” – but “Sum Of No Evil” is great too and was really fun doing. The most difficult songs to play live were “Devils Playground” and “One More Time”.

Nick: Adam & Eve is probably one of your most diverse albums released under TFK name. It brought different approach in some particular elements, such arrangements and vocals and this album is one of my favorites besides The Rainmaker and Unfold the Sorrow. The use of Gildenlow’s vocals on this record is perfect. What are your notes on this album?

Roine: I like it quite a bit – I think if the last half would be as good as the first half it would be a top TFK album. However it did divide our audience – some newer fans loved it while the older fans saw it as a not so good album.

Nick: Besides involvement in Transatlantic with the arrival of new millennium, you’ve joined Hans Lundin in rebirth of Kaipa. How were you feeling to start up again the band which I guess was important for your musical maturation and development back in 70′s?

Roine: Well I tried to make the best as always – and I think “Keyholder” is a good album but all in all Kaipa felt too much restricted for me and I felt sad that Hans Lundin refused to play the music live – as I felt it was almost a dream team with Morgan Ågren, Jonas Reingold, Patrick etc. It could have been killer – but the fact is the band didn’t even meet recording – so all parts recorded separate – it too much of sequencer and too little living music.

Nick: The way new Kaipa has traced with Notes from the Past is more similar to your work with TFK and TA in comparison with stuff you’ve been doing in 70′s. How do you see that new direction of Kaipa and have you checked new album “In the Wake of Evolution”?

Roine: I also wanted to take the band back more to the 70′s style – but that never happened – so I left. I have heard In The Wake and it sounds well produced but still lack the real band vibe – it’s a bit clinical to my ears – but a few new nice folky melodies so all is not lost. I hope he (Hans) follow that line more and let the band play the music live next time.

Nick: The next in the row is your involvement with The Tangent, what makes me think that you own shares in more than 70% of today’s progressive rock scene, haha. How has it been to work with Mr. Tillison and how do you see that albums now? Also, have you listened “Down and Out in Paris and London”? If so, what’s your opinion about it?

Roine: The Tangent was a project I was asked to play on and I did so for 2 studio albums and a live record – but I never planned to be in that band and I guess my idea of music is a bit too far away from Andy’s – so I left – again – don’t get me wrong – the music is ok and Andy is a nice bloke and very serious about what he does – but it’s not my style.

Nick: The last, but not least is the project you started with Nad Sylvan, which has become now as a full time band by its structure. I had an opportunity to talk with Nad about upcoming album, but I’m interested to know more from Agents of Mercy mainman. What can we expect with new album and how’s it in comparison with The Fading Ghosts of Twilight?

Roine: Being in the middle of it I probably cannot see it clearly – but my guess is that it’s a more direct progrock – classic rock/pop album – but also with more upbeat and rocking numbers – a bit more aggressive I guess and some darker themes coming up too. The album is produced more as if it was 1972 and it’s because we love that vinyl era and are not so happy with much of the prog that is released today as it sounds “too perfect” and to edited and “produced” – we wanted it to sound more like a live band. But of course there are overdubs here and there – but more as if it was Abbey Road, Relayer or Selling England By The Pound.

Nick: You’ve had a tour with Karmakanic and AoM, so called The Power of Two venture, and there’s a live album which is great, by the way. Are there any plans for doing something like that again at some point in the future? You’re going to have new album and Jonas works on new Karmakanic record, so maybe next year there might be organized tour like that. What are you saying?

Roine: We’re going out already for a few “try out” shows” in October starting October 3rd. But yes, we plan a longer tour or at least many more shows beginning of 2011.

Nick: Nad told me that it was you who has chosen that Nixon-Mao picture for the art cover of The Power of Two. What does it symbolize? I see it as the connection of two big forces, in this case we have Karmakanic and AoM and you do handshake. Am I on a good way?

Roine: I just found it interesting and symbolic for what a handshake can do – that people can build bridges if they work together and shape the future. So I painted that picture from a classic photo – I just felt it was a bit bizarre and that kind of weirdness give me a kick.

Nick: Together with Jonas Reingold and Lalle Larsson you’ve done a project 3rd World Electric, playing fusion jazz. There’s an album called “Kilimanjaro Secret Brew”, would you tell us about this record? What has been inspired you to start this one and who has taken a role of being main composer?

Roine: I just found that I had a few songs that were too jazzy to fit into any other band i was in – and also that Jonas had a sleeping Jaco Pastorious in him so I offered to help start a new project and 3rd World Electric is the result. I really hope we can take it to the stage some day.

Nick: There’s a feeling of Afro jazz approach on KSB album, right? Which are your fusion jazz favorite artists/albums? Weather Report or Return to Forever? What’s your opinion on Mahavishnu Orchestra?

Roine: That’s part of my history and this album was kind of my homage to the late great Joe Zawinul. I like the early Return To Forever albums and Mahavishnu – Inner Mounting Flame was a great kick for me in 1970 just as it inspired many musicians around the planet – I dare say that Yes – Close to the Edge wouldn’t sound the same without the Inner Mounting Flame.

Nick: Have you been thinking about making another 3rd World Electric Album? By knowing you, especially your potential and skills, I’m sure that you will start some other project in some time in the future. Am I right?

Roine: Definitely – and we’ve talked about making it raw and funky this time so maybe less sophisticated and more grind and meat, more Hendrix guitar etc.

Nick: What’s your opinion on today’s progressive rock scene, bands, and market in general? Do you think we live through hyperproductive era of music? Also what’s your opinion on Canterbury scene, do you have favorite bands/albums and which are they?

Roine: I did enjoy Hatfield & The North a bit and Soft Machine – mostly Bundles with Allan Holdsworth – but don’t listen much to bands like Egg or National Health these days – but enjoy it if it’s played.

Nick: Do you think there is something like Svensk Prog? My colleague Dan considers there is such “label”, and as representatives he mentions Samla Mammas Manna, Beardfish, as Klotet. What are you saying? By the way, do you know Klotet? They are one of my recent revelations and they are great.

Roine: Samla Mannas Manna were great – very unique – I saw them many many times live and it was mesmerizing – one of the greatest Swedish bands. Bands like Änglagård didn’t work that well for me – they played great but were sadly lacking in composition- felt like “prog for progs sake”. Bands I like are Ritual, Anekdoten on a good day, Mats & Morgan.

Nick: Sweden’s got very strong and very organized music scene and I’ve made a joke recently by saying that there’s amount of bands which exceed whole country population. People say that in Brazil parents give a football to their newborns and I guess that in Sweden parents give instruments, haha. What’s the secret?

Roine: No – but we have pretty good music schools and the economy is good.

Nick: As far as I am concerned you have two sons. Do they show any interest in making music?

Roine: Every now and then they play – in fact today my oldest son Sebastian asked to borrow my amp to play a bit of bass, and Gabriel practice guitar and try learn songs by himself, by ear.

Nick: Do you have time for listening to new music besides all of your work? What have you been listening to recently?

Roine: Enjoy the Paul McCartney live at Citifields CD/DVD – also latest Porcupine tree -Incident and I am still floored by the beauty of Vangelis – Mythodea. And I really like Pat Metheny – Orchestion album. Then I go back to Beatles remasters and just about any Joni Mitchell album.

Nick: We mentioned Transatlantic being a supergroup and I guess that you already know that Mike Portnoy is involved in project with Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree and Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. What do you think about that and do you have any expectations? Also, I wondered what’s your opinion on Opeth? Do you have favorite album? Mikael is an amazing musician, extremely talented.

Roine: I like Opeth quite a bit – I like the latest album – yes, Michael is very talented and they are all great musicians – I like the sound. About the project I have no Idea – don’t know if it will ever happen – we will see.

Nick: The mentality of Swedish people is often being considered somehow eccentric and cold, somehow egoistic. Why’s that?

Roine: Have no Idea – I know a lot of great people here – so I guess I’m lucky.

Nick: What are your next plans?

Roine: To start rehearsing the new Agents Of Mercy material – for live shows – really looking forward to that – it’s fabulous album.

Nick: Is there anything you would like to add, as I’m out of questions?

Roine: Don’t think so – I’m happy.

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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