It is rare that I am so involved with a band that I continuously await their next release and patiently comb through their gig dates in the hope that they are playing near me, but Jeniferever ever have been one of the select few bands I’ve heard that I deem important enough to place in such high esteem. Debut album ‘Choose a Bright Morning' was seeped in Scandanavian tinged psychadelic ambience and heartfelt emotion that unsurprisingly won them fans from the post-rock genre leading them to gain a comparison to Sigur Rós. It’s long awaited follow up (long awaited to me anyway) ‘Spring Tides' saw the band create a darker, more aggressive and immediate sound that while still had hints of their trademark sound, was a world away from what I had come to expect from the band (and thus, it gained a very impressive review from myself on this website). I met up with Martin Sandström on the cusp of the release of their latest album ‘Silesia’ and an extensive tour to ask where the inspiration for the album came from, how they feel it holds up in competition to their previous efforts and most importantly, why are there so many fantastic Swedish acts.
Your new album will shortly hit the shelves, any hint of nerves creeping in, how do you think people will react to the record?
I think the reactions so far have been good. Mostly. I think we hopefully once and for all can wash away that post- rock tag people always tend to put on us. I mean I like some of the bands people refer to as post- rock, but some of them really suck in my opinion. Not that my opinion matters that much, but I just feels stupid to be compared to for example instrumental bands that have 10 minute tracks consisting of one long build- up. That’s not what we do or try to do. We’re a rock band. So basically I think a lot of people will enjoy this album for what it is, and sadly a lot of people want us to be something we’re not (and never were).
Can you tell us about the album, what inspired the album, how did you go about the creation of it, etc?
This time we wrote pretty much all the album, b- sides and stuff in about six months, which is faster than we’ve ever worked before. After coming off touring last album we figured we should only have a few weeks break and then start working hard on the new album. We had our ups and downs and doubts about being able to do it this fast, but I think it turned out good. We the recorded basic tracks live together in the great Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg. Everything was recorded on tape and through an old mixing desk that has been used by David Bowie and Queen etc. So i guess you could say we got to use a lot of really good recording equipment. It was quite rewarding to go back home after four or five days of recording and have all your basic tracks recorded. Of course we spent a lot of time in our own studio doing overdubs and stuff later, but it all came together a lot quicker and easier this time to everyone´s liking.
If you could describe and sell the album to listeners in one sentence, what would it be?
I’m afraid I can’t do that. It would have to depend on who I was selling it to I guess. What references that person or that group of persons have. I mean describing music depends totally on what references you have. I mostly say we play some sort of epic rock whatever that means. I think we’re a rock band, but not conventional and not stupid. At the same time we’re not this very arty or experimental band that we’ve been tagged as quite a lot before. There are a of instrumental so called ‘post-rock’ bands that we’ve been compared to. Apart from the fact that we have vocals and that we sound nothing like most of them it’s ok. I just think that we in general move more and more towards something else than this playing the same riff for ten minutes and just changing the dynamics. Not that we ever really did that. But some of the bands we get compared to do.
I’ve been a huge fan since the release of your debut album, how do you feel you have grown as a band since that album?
I think we’ve moved in many directions. I think Spring Tides was more of the lengthy rich sounding album. I mean the first two albums were both just about one hour long and the new one is about ten minutes shorter. But I think Spring Tides feels like a lengthy album whereas this new one feels a bit shorter and more direct. There are a lot of layers of sound on this one too, but there’s more space than before in general. With this album I think we just wrote the songs without thinking too much. We just more let the songs happen maybe.
Sweden seems to be somehow massively successful in its breeding of successful musicians, why do you think this is and what other Swedish artists would you recommend?
I think it’s partly because the government helps with a little bit of money for rehearsal spaces and also the ‘communal music school’ is cheap so that pretty much anyone can have their kids go and learn an instrument when they’re quite young. Also I guess because of the lack of fun things to do and the depressing autumn and winter when it’s easy to lock yourself up in the rehearsal room. I think people in Sweden generally are very unhappy and that produces good music.
You seem to forever be on tour around Europe and often play England, London imparticular, where are your favourite places to tour and is there anything you enjoy about playing England at all?I think the UK is special to us since this is where we first started touring. Germany, especially the eastern parts, is also good. I mean we enjoy playing anywhere but I have to say Spain is also very nice. Just recently we did our first shows in Ukraine and Russia and it was great. I loved Moscow.
You’ve changed record labels since your early days, how has your relationship with Monotreme helped you not only creatively but also in terms of touring and selling records?Working with Kim who runs Monotreme is so easy and good. She’s so very hard working and so are we and we’re all in it for the right reasons. We are music fans who plays in a band and runs a record label.
The music industry is a strange place these days, obviously you have a tour to support this album but what comes after that, are there ever thoughts on giving up music and getting a general job?We all have to work when we’re home. We’ve never been able to live off the band. It’s hard but somehow it works. But mostly we work quite shitty jobs to be able to do this.
Back to the album, it is more immediate and perhaps mainstream friendly than previous releases, was it a conscious idea to do this or just a natural progression?I’m not sure. I think it’s more just what happened. But maybe we thought it’d be good to have a few songs that could attract more people. And if it is like that it’s ok. I really hate when people talk about bands selling out and stuff, I mean sometimes I can understand it, but mostly it’s just a band changing direction and if they do that to get more listeners that’s totally fine. I want us to sell millions of records haha.
In terms of the tour, I see that you have some dates from April onwards, can you tell us about the tour, what can fans expect from your shows, how many tracks from the new record can we expect to hear live?We started touring mid march and we keep going until a week into june. So far we’ve basically played the same set but with a few songs swapped from day to day. We play a lot of the new albums as we think people should get to hear it live, but of course we do at least some songs from the older albums. In general we’re quite loud, but I guess the vibe of the set varies depending on the venue and maybe the audience.
Thanks a lot Martin, and good luck with the new album…
Jeniferever are touring Europe right now and their new album ‘Silesia’ can be purchased via their website at http://www.jeniferever.com/