hard to believe it but the band known as Øresund Space Collective
have released 20 albums since 2006, while the band actually started
in 2004. The band strikes space-rock gold on their 2015 double CD
set entitled Different Creatures. Released on
the bands own Space Rock Productions label, Different Creatures
features a wide range of instrumental, improvised psychedelic
sounds that captures the essence of this bold and exciting music ensemble.
At the helm of Øresund Space Collective is synthesist Scott
Heller, who also goes by the name of Dr. Space. Featuring
two CDs of sprawling, electronica and space-rock freakouts, Different
Creatures a number of gifted musicians from Sweden, Norway and
the U.S. who convened in Copenhagen in late 2014 to record this latest
Øresund Space Collective release. Some of the other musicians
featured on this 2015 Øresund Space Collective album include
Alex (drums), Hasse (bass), Jonas (Hammond, synths,
piano), KG (sitar), with Mats and Mathias (guitars).
Also on hand is Jonathan, from acclaimed rockers Camper Van
Beethoven, adding guitar, violin, theremin and electric mandolin.
Scott Heller lists all the artists and credits as well as writing
the Different Creatures CD liner notes. Musically, it's more
than fitting to compare Øresund Space Collective to mid period
Gong, especially the You era band with Daevid Allen and Steve
Hillage. Being all-instrumental, Øresund Space Collectives
Different Creatures dives into a wide range of free form jams
and space-based freakouts that will appeal to fans of Gong, early
Grateful Dead and even early Pink Floyd. Its pretty impressive
that Different Creatures was recorded live in the studio as
theres hardly an off note throughout. The spirit of primo late
60s / early 70s progressive space-rock is alive and well
on Øresund Space Collectives double album masterpiece,
Different Creatures. www.oresundspacecollective.com
mwe3.com presents an interview
Scott Heller of Øresund Space Collective
I couldnt believe that Different Creatures is actually
the 20th album by Øresund Space Collective. Where have you
guys been hiding and why did it take so long to find you?
Scott Heller: We have been hanging out in Copenhagen and Malmö,
Sweden mostly. We have been pretty active playing over 100 concerts
in 10 different European countries but it is difficult to reach the
audience in the USA without any distribution or label support in the
USA so our fanbase in the USA has mainly been through word of mouth
in the Space-Rock community, where we are well known and also through
zines like Aural Innovations.
mwe3: Where are you from originally and how did you decide
to live and work in Copenhagen? Its such a beautiful city. Whats
Copenhagen and Denmark like as far as a place to live and work? Space
rock was big in Scandinavia in the 70s, so whats the scene
like today in your estimation? Did you learn to speak and write Danish?
Its similar to Swedish except for those planetary symbols! Ø
looks like the planet Saturn to me!
Scott Heller: For the last 22 years I had been doing diabetes
research and prior to being recruited for a job in Denmark at Novo
Nordisk, I worked at the Harvard Medical school in Boston. Work brought
me to Denmark. Denmark is a great place to work and so was Novo Nordisk.
I retired from full time work this year. We get good pay, 6 weeks
of paid vacation, good health insurance, etc. Denmark, despite electing
a terrible government this year, is still a well functioning country
and society, although I see the decline in front of them if they follow
through with the policies of the new right wing, pro-capitalist, anti-enviromental
path they are taking.
As for the space rock scene, it was really small until recently. In
the late 1990s when I arrived we had Dark Sun in Finland, Darxtar,
Pseudo Sun, the Spacious Mind all in Sweden and basically Mantric
Muse in Denmark playing space rock. Since then the scene has really
exploded with bands from all the countries and ØSC, I would
like to think has helped this. Although the Danish language is very
difficult to learn, I have learned to read, write and speak it but
not like a native. I can get by in society but I will always have
English as my main language. Danish is similar to Swedish in the sense
that you can read both languages if you know one but the spoken language
is very different! I have a very hard time to understand spoken Swedish
but I can read some of it.
How is this latest Øresund Space Collective CD an evolution
of your earlier album releases? What did you set out to achieve with
Different Creatures, from both a sound and compositional perspective
and why do you call the album Different Creatures?
Scott Heller: The recording sessions in October 2014 that
lead to the Different Creatures CD/LP were unique in the sense
that I specifically put together a group of musicians that I really
wanted to play with and how I felt would have a really unique chemistry.
We had never had electric violin before and Simon House, who I really
admire, had never answered my requests!
I had known Jonathan Segel since the late 1980s when I would go see
his band, Hiernomyus Firebrain, who were a great live band and made
three cool CDs. I had followed his solo music career as well. Hasse,
from the Norwegian band Tangle Edge, I had also been friends with
since the late 1990s and I knew one day we would make music together.
Alex, the drummer in the session is someone I also admired from his
band, Gösta Berlings Saga and felt he would work great with us.
The rest of the guys in the studio session had all played live or
in the studio with ØSC before but this group of 8 musicians
had not ever been in the same room together. Also, in this session,
we spoke more about what style of jam we would have to try to mix
up different styles and to see what might happen, whereas in the past,
we did not do much besides choose a key and start jamming. Nothing
was composed, everything was totally improvised. As for the name,
it was a name that came to me due to that we are all from different
places, lots of Swedish musicians, two from the USA and one from Norway.
We are different Creatures. This also worked well as a concept for
the amazing artwork by Mårdøn Smet!
Some music fans are comparing Øresund Space Collective to early
Gong and possibly Syd-era Pink Floyd, although there were also some
great bands from Sweden in the late 60s and early 70s
too that were breaking ground for instrumental space-jazz like Älgarnas
Trädgård. Where do you get your musical inspirations from
and what artists helped you formulate your sonic perspectives so to
speak? Where does ØSC fit in the current Prog music revival?
Scott Heller: I dont know about the early Syd Barrett
era Pink Floyd but certainly we would fit in with the vibe of Saucerful
Of Secrets, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,
Echoes era Pink Floyd and certainly, we all love Gong. I am
a big fan of the Swedish band, The Spacious Mind. They were the coolest
space rock band from Sweden. I also dig Älgarnas
as well and so many of the cool Swedish prog-space bands from the
70s as well like Träd
Grås och Stenar, Fläsket Brinner, Kebnekajse, Life, Lotus,
Panta Rei, etc.
My influences come a lot from early Hawkwind, Alien Planetscapes,
Allman Brothers, early 70s Miles Davis and bands like that.
As for the prog revival, I think we attract a lot of progressive rock
fans due to the high level of musicianship in the band. I have been
really lucky to find such amazingly talented people to make improvised
music with. The music fits into no specific genre really as we cross
prog, world music, space-rock, jazz, and whatever we feel like playing
at the moment.
mwe3: Who else plays with you on the new Øresund Space
Collective CD set? You only mention their first names in the Different
Creatures CD album art. Who is playing guitar, where did you find
the players and how did Jonathan Segel from Camper Van Beethoven join
the band? Does he bring another layer to the OSC sonic onion?
Heller: The others that were involved, were Mats, a local bass/guitar
player from Malmö, Sweden, who I share an interest in similar
music and now has played live with us a few times. Amazing musician.
Jonas, who played synthesizer, organ and also guitar on one jam, is
from the Swedish band Agusa and has also played live with ØSC
on a few occasions. KG Westman, previously played with Swedish roots
rock band, Siena Root and has been playing on and off with the band
and myself since 2008.
ØSC also played concerts with Siena Root in Denmark and Sweden
in 2006, 07 and 08. Jonathan, being an amazing multi instrumentalist,
played guitar, violin, theremin, organ and mandolin at the session
and also mixed the record with guidance from Hasse and myself.
mwe3: Can you tell us something about the way the new album
was recorded? Was it all cut live in the studio and were all the musicians
together in the studio when it was recorded? Jonathans mixing
of the album is very impressive too. How long did it take to create
and who does your artwork?
Scott Heller: The music on Different Creatures was created
over 3 days in late October 2014. We spent most of the Friday setting
up the equipment and recording on Saturday and Sunday. We all set
up in the large studio room and we ran all the keyboards and synthesizers
through some studio monitors so no one had to wear headphones. It
was very much like a live concert without the audience. We had discussions
before staring the jams as to what sort of style or feel or groove
we wanted to try and then just jammed! We created 13 jams ranging
from around 15 minutes to 55 minutes in length. Jams 10, 11, 13, 15,
and 20 made up this record.
mwe3: Are you somewhat of a gear head? Tell us about your synths
and other keyboards and instruments that you play on the new album
and what other instruments do you play? Whats the gear scene
like in Denmark?
Scott Heller: I try to be reasonable but I do like to collect
some old synthesizers. On the new record I played the OSCar, Octave
Cat SRMII, Korg Monotron, Yamaha CS.10 and my custom built modular
synthesizer with modules from Make Noise, Wizard, Cwjeman and Analoque
Systems (UK). I own a few other synthesizers as well like a Nord Lead
2 and Roland D-50. There is a lot of gear in Denmark for sale on sites
like Den Blå Avis (http://www.dba.dk)
but you pay quite high prices but usually get good quality as well.
Blocket in Sweden is a great site for find gear as well.
mwe3: For those who have never seen Øresund Space Collective,
what are your live shows like? What kinds of crowds do you get attending
the shows? The original psychedelic music fans are now in their 70s
and some of the original guys are dying, like Edgar Froese of Tangerine
Scott Heller: We have quite a diverse audience at our concerts.
It is a mix of people and often folks over 50 into prog rock and a
good psychedelic experience and younger stoners who dig the cool light
shows and spaced out jams that we construct live. The live show is
really variable as you never know what the sound will be like on the
stage and how the crowd will be. This affects the performance a lot.
For example, our last show in 2015 at the Copenhagen Psych Fest was
inside a meat locker freezer and half the band could not hear the
other half of the band and the show was really bizarre from our point
of view on the stage but listening back to the recording I was blown
away at how cool a show we actually played. Sound man did a great
job and the audience was really into it as well. The outdoor festivals
are almost always really great.
mwe3: What are your plans for writing, recording, touring in
2016 and how can you bring Øresund Space Collectives
music into the future and turn on a whole new generation of music
Heller: The plans for ØSC in 2016 include about 4 or 5
releases. The first new release will be Ode To The Black Hole,
which is one long doom drone jam also recorded at the October 2014
studio session but mixed by me. We hope this comes out in later March
or April. A Norwegian label will release a concert we played in Trondheim,
Norway in 2007 on a double vinyl release, limited to 400 copies. We
plan to release Inside Your Head on a double vinyl as well.
This was originally released in 2008 on the Sulatron label out of
Germany. Organic Earthly Flotation will come out on a CD with
an extra track. This was released back in 2012 only on vinyl and is
sold out. Finally, Jonathan will mix another double vinyl/CD from
the October 2014 session and this could come out in the fall next
As for concerts, we will visit Athens, Greece for the first time on
February 14th. We have the Northern Discomfort festival in Copenhagen,
where we will play a doom drone set in May. Later in May we are trying
to set up a two week European tour and to play Switzerland for the
first time and maybe Hungary and Czech Republic as well. This is hard.
Rumor has it we might play a special festival in the states, our first
trip ever to the USA. This is not confirmed yet.
As for the future of music... you have to work the internet. It is
all about connections. That is the only way to reach people these
days with the help of great people like mwe3.com, we can slowly expand
fanbase. No one makes money from ØSC. It is a music collective,
all the money is turned back into the collective to pay for studio
sessions, the mixing, making cool merch, producing the records...
it would be nice if I could pay the musicians, but there is so little
money, it all just goes back into the pot to make the whole thing
keep on running. Thanks to everyone for their fantastic support! Peace.