late 2019, singer-songwriters Joakim Lövgren and Åke Strömberg
(first name pronounced like the word Ókay), released the self-titled
album debut by their band Mudfish. Upon first hearing it, another
recent Swedish band called Bonefish came to mind as both bands are
from Sweden, are friends with each other and share a great exuberance
for the joys of modern day rock filled with a catchy, yet edgy pop
side. In the past decade, Sweden has embraced an affinity for Americana
and West Coast pop and rock sounds, evidenced in part by a number
of bands and artists that both Joakim and Åke have worked with
through their Paraply Records record company. With hooks a-plenty
and an upbeat rock attitude, Mudfish reveals yet another side to the
Paraply label with this first Mudfish album. After all, the word Paraply
translates to umbrella in English and at least from a
label perspective, its good to be inclusive of a range of music
that covers different musical genres. Speaking about the unique history
of their acclaimed label, Mudfish explain, The first proper
release was Carried Away with Klas Qvist in 2004. Up till today we
have issued 30 albums/EPs on Paraply Records. The closest to a label
M.O. might be "music we like" or "acts we find interesting".
If we dont agree to a release, there will be no deal.
Theres a kind of a Rolling Stones inspired party atmosphere
on the Mudfish album, with a sound that also brings back the upbeat
energy of the post-Beatles, late 1970s Euro-rock era espoused by bands
like Boomtown Rats and Hollands great alt-rock legends Gruppo
Sportivo. On this 2019 Mudfish album, Joakim and Åke receive
fine support from their Mudfish bandmates and, with nine tracks clocking
in around 33 minutes, the six-piece band strikes a chord for the modern
day, post-punk and power pop genres. As the owners of the internationally
acclaimed Paraply label, Joakim and Åke are seasoned pros on
the 21st century Swedish music scene and they bring that same high
level and approach forward on the debut album from Mudfish. www.paraplyrecords.se
mwe3.com presents an interview with
How did you come up with the name Mudfish? Is there an aquatic
connection in the name?
Mudfish: We wanted a name that had a ring to it as the music
we knew we would like to write and play. Among numerous wild suggestions
we unanimously chose Mudfish. The connotations to the zoological entity
of mudfish though, would be a creature that during a drought
silently survives under the riverbed, clay and dregs, until the day
the rains fill the river and the mudfish come out to mate and multiply;
just like our band again and again returns from silence and oblivion
to move the audience with another chunk of pop & soul.
mwe3: Who is in the Mudfish lineup of 2020 and who plays what
instruments and who are the main songwriters and when was the band
Mudfish: The band was formed in 1997 from the ruins of Detektiverna
(The Detectives). Åke and Joakim have played and made music
together since 1980. In Mudfish, Åke is responsible for most
music and Joakim for most lyrics. In the 2020 lineup we have Christer
Rudmyr (electric guitar), Johan Novenius (bass), Anders Nilsson (keyboards),
Ulf Svedberg (drums), Åke Strömberg (acoustic guitar) and
Joakim Lövgren (lead vocals, harmonica and percussion). Backing
vocals are mainly by Åke, Anders and Johan.
We have played with Christer and Anders in different constellations
since 1980 and with Johan since 1991. Ulf is a friend from way back
that joined the band when Mudfish emerged anew in 2013. Åke
had been the drummer originally but attending a live performance with
Deadman in 2011 convinced us to adjust the lineup and add an acoustic
guitar. Åke, being the composer, was the evident choice. Mudfish
performed on stage in March 2014 in this new appearance and we felt
this was much closer to the idea of the Mudfish-Song expression
that we had been looking for.
What year and era of music did you grow up in, and what were your
first main musical exposures and influences? Were you influenced more
by music from the US and UK than from Sweden's music?
Joakim: I was born in 1959 and I had a lot of Beatles, Rolling
Stones, glam-rock, soul, Bowie from the start. Dad being a jazz-musician
contributed with quite a bit of Miles, Chet, Duke, Coltrane and Erroll.
Through Brit-prog and Swedish progressive, American West Coast and
Zappa and Talking Heads. I came to Bruce Springsteen
and Swedish pop acts like Eldkvarn in the 1980s.
Åke: I was born in 1964 with a guitar and harmonica playing
Father who filled the house with Elvis, Johnny Cash and Owe Thörnqvist,
a Swedish rock pioneer. Among my first single records were the Sweets
Ballroom Blitz and Gary Glitters Leader Of
The Gang. Later on Swedish punk legends Ebba Grön, among
other Swedish bands of the 1980s, Dag Vag and Eldkvarn, Reeperbahn
and Docenterna as well as Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Blur and
Oasis from the UK and Bruce and Southside Johnny from the US. And
yes, we had lots of good music when we grew up. The Eldkvarn concerts
in the early 1980s were a great inspiration.
mwe3: When and how did you start Paraply Records? What was
the first CD release and how many albums have been issued on Paraply.
Does the label have an M.O., or a modus operandi?
Mudfish: Around 2000 we got a studio of our own. We recorded
a couple of songs and by the time of release a friend, who also had
a studio in our town , came up with the idea to join forces in order
to make an impact. So 2 different independent studios released 3 EPs
in a package. Not a label, but a collaboration. We called it Paraply
Records. The first proper release was Carried Away with Klas
Qvist (Citizen K) in 2004. Up till today we have issued 30 albums/EPs
on Paraply Records. The closest to a label M.O. might be music
we like or acts we find interesting. If we dont
agree to release, there will be no deal.
Our first label slogan was Music from Borås, i.e.
locally produced music. When Peter Holmstedt came onboard and widened
our perspectives, we embraced all kinds of acts that wanted in under
the 'Umbrella', as long as we found them agreeable, funny, nice, interesting,
Who's idea is it to press the CD with a black vinyl look? I can't
remember the first label to do that but you're right up there. How
is that done and where do you press the CDs? It's a very cool thing
Mudfish: When Peter and Michael were designing the first Hemifrån
compilation I Like It Better Here Music From Home, they
aimed at a worn LP cover look. To have the compact disc
look like a vinyl record would of course be very cool. Peter checked
with Dicentia and they had such a design. As record-lovers our first
love was, of course vinyl. To be able to connect to that original
idea of what a record is, should be and look like was an easy choice
mwe3: What's the current mood in Sweden for both music and
politics? I under stand there will be another political firestorm
in the age of Trump and now this crazy virus called Corona.
Mudfish: As you put it, Corona has moved practically everything
else off the table. For now
Politically we have had a huge change
the last two decades where our community now is showing gaps. Hopefully
we will soon detect signs of a new common understanding, given the
crisis of global warming and the pandemic horrors. Musically, the
live scene has really come to life last couple of years. Not only
festivals and cover bands, as was the case for too many years.
mwe3: Tell us about the upcoming releases on Paraply and what
are you hoping for and looking forward to for the label?
Mudfish: Upcoming releases on Paraply:
Mikael Ramel Band Till Dej : The Bäst Band Lajv 2019
Greg Copeland : The Tango Bar (PARAPLY 034)
Mannish Boy : Last Ticket To RockNRoll Land
Redux The Tour Edition (PARAPLY 035)
Råttorna : (PARAPLY 036)
Blues Escape Featuring Johanna Lillvik (PARAPLY 037)
Safari Season : A New Future (PARAPLY 038)
Meadow Creek : Pieces Of Driftwood (PARAPLY 039)
A.K & The Brotherhood : Oh Sedona! (PARAPLY)
are hoping for a new Mudfish release coming this Autumn. We hope for
a lot of happy moments meeting and releasing new music from people
who find our label agreeable. We are hoping for a lot of magical moments
with our music...
Photos courtesy of Peter Holmstedt @ www.hemifran.com