group from Sweden, Trettioåriga Kriget returns from the
ashes of 1981 with a 2015 / 2016 CD called Seaside Air.
Arriving during the heyday of the historic Euro-rock invasion
of the mid to late 1970s, Trettioåriga Krigettranslated
as 30 Years War in Englishcombined post-punk rock energy
with a more progressive, mellotron-flavored rock sung in their native
Swedish. With TK's latest music, featuring English lyrics and vocals,
group bassist / composer Stefan Fredin is joined by a great
sounding band including co-founder Dag Lundquist, long time
members Christer Åkerberg (lead guitar) and Robert
Zima (co-lead vocals), as well as Mats Lindberg (keys).
Speaking to mwe3.com about this first album with English lyrics and
English vocals, TK co-founder Stefan Fredin explains, "We
actually recorded a pre-debut album in 1971, that was not released
until 2004, called Glorious War, which has English lyrics, although
very amateurish. But, of course, all the main Trettioåriga Kriget
albums have Swedish lyrics. One other reason apart from trying something
new, was that we know that we have fans in many countries all over
the world and it would be nice if they could also understand the lyrics."
With extended tracks flowing perfectly together, on Seaside Air
Fredins haunting melodies are truly memorable and the band blends
a dramatic rock-based progressive sound adding in all types of Swedish-flavored
progressive rock and even, dare I say, strong, pop-infused melodies
that would make ABBA smile. Trettioåriga Kriget are back
in a big way and clearly, Seaside Air is time well spent for
fans of classic, 20th and 21st century progressive rock. www.facebook.com
mwe3.com presents an interview
Stefan Fredin of
Can you tell the readers what city or town youre from originally
and where you live now and what you like best about it? How would
you compare Sweden musically or otherwise to its Nordic neighbors
and other countries in the region?
Stefan Fredin: We grew up and formed the band in a seaside
resort 15 km southeast of Stockholm called Saltsjöbaden. In fact
Olle, our lyricist and myself still live here while the others has
moved closer to the center of Stockholm. I think Sweden compared to
its Nordic neighbors has a more diverse music scene. One other difference
is that Sweden has had many internationally successful artists of
course all starting with ABBA!
mwe3: The albums you have made with Trettioåriga Kriget
are quite renowned among rock and prog-rock fans. What was involved
in the decision to record and release Seaside Air, which is
the first Trettioåriga Kriget sung in English and why did it
take s long to release a Trettioåriga Kriget album with English
lyrics? The album will no doubt broaden interest in the band!
Stefan Fredin: Basically it has to be my and Olles decision
since I write most of the music and he writes the lyrics. But already
making the first album after our reunion in 2003 we had this idea
of an album trilogy with Swedish lyrics. So we followed this idea
through and released Elden Av År (2004), I
Början Och Slutet (2007) and Efter Efter (2011). After
completing this trilogy we felt that all doors were open and it was
time to try something new. Though to be really precise, we actually
recorded a pre-debut album in 1971, but not released until 2004, called
Glorious War which has English lyrics, although very amateurish.
But, of course, all the main Trettioåriga Kriget albums have
Swedish lyrics. One other reason apart from trying something new,
was that we know that we have fans in many countries all over the
world and it would be nice if they could also understand the lyrics.
mwe3: Tell us about the chemistry of the members of Trettioåriga
Kriget and what band members are on Seaside Air from the original
band going back to the 1970s?
Stefan Fredin: From the original band in 1970 there are only
me and Dag left as playing members, Though Olle who played harmonica
and guitar in the original lineup now is the lyricist and Johan who
played drums in the original lineup now does all the bands artwork.
Of the other other members Robert joined in 1971, Chris in 1972 and
Mats in 1977. So Mats is not playing on the first two TK albums.
Our creative process normally starts with me playing a musical idea
to Olle. If he likes it and approves he takes it home and writes the
lyrics to the song. I then take the song to the band which at this
stage of the process consists of me, Dag, and Chris. We arrange the
song together and record a demo. If it is a song Robert will sing
we then rehearse with him. Normally Mats does his keyboards when the
final recording has been done. Basically I write the music, Olle the
lyrics and Dag produces the musicall three of us being founder
members of the band.
What do you remember most about the great Swedish progressive rock
heyday of the 1970s and how has the Trettioåriga Kriget sound
evolved since those heady late 1970s days? It seems sad that so many
of the great Swedish prog pioneers are gone now like Bo Hansson and
Lasse Hollmer. Were you influenced by Bo and Lasse and do you feel
Swedish prog-rock never received the proper recognition it deserves?
Stefan Fredin: Of course I remember the progressive scene in
the late 1960s and early 70s, which produced so much great music!
The scene was mostly centered around Stockholm. I was a bit too young
to attend all clubs and concerts then but I bought the records and
heard the music on the radio. No
.we were not influenced particularly
by Bo Hansson or Lasse Hollmer but we wanted more or less the same
typical Swedish melancholy in our music. And of course we were influenced
by the new musical scene in Sweden in general. Actually we shared
the stage at Bo Hanssons last performance at the Melloboat
festival in, was it 2008? Maybe the Swedish progressive rock scene
did not get the recognition it deserved at the time, but I think it
really has gotten it in later years.
mwe3: The first track on the new album is called The
Photograph. Is the song autobiographical and does it reflect
memories of growing up in Sweden? How do you write music with your
lyricist Olle Thörnvall, music or lyrical ideas first, and was
it more of a challenge to compose and/or sing with English lyrics?
Fredin: Nowadays I usually make the music first and then present
it on my acoustic guitar and sing the melody to Olle. If he thinks
it good enough he walks home and tries to find the words. Sometimes
its easy and sometimes not so easy. The Photograph
is, in a way, semi-autobiographical. It is written around photos of
the end station for the train from Stockholm to Saltsjöbaden
a hundred years ago. That station was torn down before our time, but
Olle and I actually grew up just where it had been situated. As children
we could still see some faint traces of it. Olle definitely found
it a challenge to write in English, but Robert and I did not find
awkward in any way to sing the resulting lyrics.
mwe3: The title track Seaside Air is one of the
great pop-rock songs of the year. That track and The Photograph
speak about The Grand Hotel. Hoe does The Grand Hotel fit into the
Trettioåriga Kriget history? Did you set out to write a classic
rock song with Seaside Air. The song also speaks about
hearing the Beatles music for the first time. Do you feel its
been like a 50-year dream and are you amazed at how much people still
speak about The Beatles as a huge 20th century influence? Robert Zimas
vocals on that track are excellent too.
Stefan Fredin: From the very start, the Grand Hotel was situated
close by the old train station and the hotel still is there. So Olle
and I grew up with that as a daily sight. In fact, my maternal grandfather
worked at the hotel. Concerning Seaside Air, we set out
with the same aim as always, to write as good a song as we could.
I am glad you like Roberts vocals because he worked a lot on
that one. The Beatles are to us the most important thing that have
happened in popular or contemporary music. We all loved them from
the start and we still do. So from our point of view, there is nothing
amazing in people still speaking about them.
Track 3 is Forgotten Garden is a track that features your
lead vocals. The mellotron flutes are a great intro. Is Forgotten
Garden also a look back at childhoods end and fleeting
images we conjure in our mind? Sounds like a dream song filled with
subliminal imagery of forgotten times. I was thinking the song had
some sonic ties to the Canterbury sound of Caravan
joy of living, and then the loss
we live on in the
Stefan Fredin: Here I dont have much to add, you have
captured the essence of the song. Its definitely autobiographical,
very autobiographical for Olle. About Caravan, the time is right although
none of us thought especially about them when doing the song. But
as a matter of fact, Olle and I saw them at the Marquee Club in London
in the summer of 1970!
mwe3: Track 4 Snow dates back to 1976, which is
the date under the song title in the Seaside Air booklet. Snow
is one of the more dramatic sounding songs on the CD. Its amazing
how you compare a snowstorm with unrest and longing. Is that a song
that you could only write from a Swedish perspective? There is something
bleak and worrisome about a blizzard or is it those long dark Swedish
Stefan Fredin: Once again you captured the essence of the song
perfectly. As a matter of fact, Olle had a severe breakdown a month
later in February 1977 and was taken to the hospital. It took a year
for him to recover.
Billy is about English pop star Billy Fury? Dag wrote
that song? What influence did Billy Fury have on your music? He didnt
really make a big splash in the U.S. but astute music fans know him.
Theres some great mellotron sounds on that track. Do you have
some further info on Billy Fury? What did you like best about the
Mersey Beat sound of the early 1960s? Its amazing how contagious
that sound was all over the world back then. Where did you come up
with the play it cool line in the song?
Stefan Fredin: Oh
you know in 2013 me, Dag and Olle made
a trip to Liverpool visiting The Cavern, Johns and
Pauls childhood homes and other places connected with The Beatles
in Liverpool. But Olle had also listened a lot to Billy Fury who of
course came from Liverpool. He knew there had to be a statue of him
somewhere in Liverpool and after a few days we finally found it on
the bank of the Mersey River. So the song is about Billy Fury and
our search for him in Liverpool.
The phrase play it cool is the name of a movie Billy made
in 1961 or 1962. But no
I would not say we are influenced in
the least by him. To us, the beginning was The Beatles, and they came
slightly later than Fury whom none of us heard at the time. Fury was
an Elvis copy, whereas The Beatles started something completely new.
Still, Fury wrote some of his own material and early on, The Beatles
were turned down as his backing group on a tour in England.
mwe3: Dreaming Of Vermeer was written by guitarist
Chris Åkerberg? I had no idea what a big influence Vermeers
paintings were on musicians. How would you describe that influence?
Is that song kind of a paean to the port of Amsterdam? Amsterdam has
such a rich artistic history. Any favorite Vermeer paintings you could
Stefan Fredin: I think apart from being the subjects of two
songs, respectively, neither Fury or Vermeer had any influence on
the band as a whole. Perhaps on Olle, who is more into those things.
But we played in Holland and afterwards spent some days together in
Amsterdam where we saw some pictures by Vermeer. Olle got the idea
for the lyrics then. Olles favorite paintings by Vermeer are
The Music Lesson, The Milkmaid, A View
Of Delft and The Artist Or The Painter.
The Seaside Air closer is Behold The Pilot. Is
that the centerpiece of the album? How did you decide to dedicate
this track to a figure in Roman mythology? I saw Trettioåriga
Kriget is also credited on the Palinurus page on Wikipedia! The guitar
solo / mellotron in the middle of the song is very effective. How
was Palinurus an influence, as you say on Trettioåriga Kriget
when they first started?
Stefan Fredin: In the original line up of Trettioåriga
Kriget when Johan and Olle still played in the band, Johan came to
one of our first rehearsals with a small book called The Unquiet
Grave by someone called Palinurus. Olle borrowed the book and
got hooked! He found out more about the original Palinurus in Roman
mythology. The ghost of Palinurus suited Olles sense of mystery
and so the story grew. But of course it has something to do with growing
up by the water, as we did in Saltsjöbaden. There will be a book
by Olle and with Johans pictures called Behold the Pilot
released the next year, although the Swedish title is Se Styrmannen.
mwe3: The Seaside Air album was released on CD by the
Mellotronen label. Can you tell us something about this label and
how you joined them for the new release? Also I remember Peter from
Mistlur Records. Tell us something about Mistlur and the other labels
you have recorded on with Trettioåriga Kriget.
Stefan Fredin: Well you know the Mellotronen label is run by
Stefan Dimle. He first contacted me in 1992 and wanted to release
the Krigssang album on CD, He then persuaded me, Dag and Robert
to do an acoustic set at the release party for the album. Chris did
not wanna play that gig so he was replaced by Reine Fiske from Dungen
and Landmark fame. It is the only gig we have done without Chris since
Dag and Chris started to play together again in the 1990s, with Olle
as sole listener. In 2003 we then recorded the come back album Elden
av år and it seemed natural to release it on the Mellotronen
label since Stefan has played such a big part in our reunion. In fact
he stills plays a big part in Trettioåriga Kriget, always putting
in good vibes and new ides. Our deal with him is that we own and record
our albums ourselves . But is seems nice and appropriate to have all
our albums on Stefans Mellotronen label. Our first two albums
were recorded on the CBS label, which is now Sony and we then switched
to the small independent label Mistlur, which was ran by Peter Yngen,
as you say. We did our last three albums there before the break up
mwe3: You were talking about how the internet has helped rekindle
interest in Trettioåriga Kriget. Are you happy with the internet
model weve been living with for the past 15 year and how do
you feel the net could be improved to help artists and musicians make
Stefan Fredin: For sure the Internet has been very, very important
to us, helping us to communicate directly with the fans without any
middle hands. The downside of course being that the value of recorded
music now is almost zero. People expect it to be almost free. I really
have no idea how it could be improved to increase the income of artists
and bands. Something clearly needs to be done but so far no one has
managed to come up with a sustainable idea.
I have to say that we are lucky having fans who want the whole package
with cover and lyrics and all, so we are still selling physical albums.
But of course we are affected too and royalty payment from streaming
services like Spotify is a joke. Its not much better than illegal
With Seaside Air out and making inroads, have you given thought
to future plans for Trettioåriga Kriget regarding concerts and
writing and future recordings? I hope you will consider making more
English lyrics songs on upcoming albums so those of us outside Sweden
can fully appreciate the Trettioåriga Kriget legacy!
Stefan Fredin: Right now we are all enjoying a summer holiday,
in and out of Sweden. Future plans are definitely some more concerts
to promote this new album. Me and Olle are discussing a new album,
maybe with a bit more emphasis on the instrumental side of TK. I have
talked to the others as well and we are all of the same mind.