If you haven't yet had the chance to hear the intoxicating sounds of Swedish instrumental act My Brother the Wind, you really are missing out on some fantastic music. Their latest album for the Laser's Edge Free Electric Sound is titled Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One, and it contains 9 mesmerizing tracks that blend progressive rock, krautrock, space rock, and psychedelia, created by band members Mathias Danielsson, Ronny Eriksson, Nicklas Barker, and Daniel Fridlund Brandt. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo caught up with both Nicklas & Mathias to talk about their fascinating band and the wonderful new CD.
SoT: The band is made up of notable musicians from other known acts; can you talk a little bit about these other bands, and how you all came together to form My Brother the Wind?
Mathias: Me and Ronny met 14 years ago at a music school and 2008 we started to talk about the possibilities of making a psychedelic album the way they were made way back when. Ronny's brother Tomas was brought in as the drummer and Ronny suggested that we should invite Nicklas, whom Ronny knew about from Anekdoten, to the project. Said and done, we all met in the studio and the rest is history. Tomas has since then left the band and Daniel is playing the drums on the new album.
SoT: Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One is the name of the new album, which is a very intriguing title. Can you talk a little about the meaning of the album's title?
Mathias: It can be referred to several things and I like to leave it to the listeners to make up their own meanings. But let's just say that one way to interpret it could be that since the music is improvised, the minds of the four members are connected through deep focus which made time and space appear as one.
SoT: You are signed to The Laser's Edge 'Free Electric Sound' label. How did you come in contact with Ken Golden's label, and do you find that you are good fit there?
Mathias: Nicklas had been in contact with Ken many years ago when he wanted to sign Anekdoten, and Mathias has released an album called Makajodama on The Laser's Edge label in 2009.
SoT: The new CD just drips with classic rock, space rock, psychedelia, and Krautrock elements. What are some of your musical influences, such as bands, musicians, and musical styles?
Nicklas: We listen to a lot of different kinds of music, prog, psych, folk, country, jazz, avantgarde etc....
Mathias' favorites right now are Sturgill Simpson, Robbie Basho, Love, Mu, Michael Yonkers and John Coltrane.
Nicklas: I'm into a lot of minimalistic music like Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Elaine Radique and so on. Also German kosmische stuff like Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream. I think that shines through in our music.
SoT: Lots of vintage styled sounds permeate the album-what types of equipment & instruments were used on the recording?
Mathias: Electric 6-strings and acoustic 12-string guitars, tenor recorder, mellotron, electric bass, drums, bells and finger cymbals were used. Vintage Gibsons and fuzz pedals, Ibanez and Fender...
Nicklas: We also recorded on an old Ampex 2" 16 track machine from 1969. It sounds absolutely gorgeous. We use only analog gear as plate reverbs, tape echoes and flangers to achive our sound.
SoT: At times when listening to the album, you can almost close your eyes and imagine that you are hearing instrumental outtakes from the Pink Floyd 'Live at Pompeii' film. Is that kind of what a My Brother the Wind live experience is like?
Mathias: Well, it's hard to beat performing in the ruins of Pompeii. I guess we perform in the ruins of our minds.
Nicklas: Pink Floyd – Live at Pompeii was one of my earliest influences when I left the heavy metal music in 1986. still a huge influence. We are best at nice settings. We played on a beach at Duna Jam in Sardinia last year while the sun was going down behind us. Also we try to use visuals when it's possible. It kinda makes us better.
SoT: Speaking of live experiences, does the band play live much, and do you anticipate live dates in support of the new CD?
Mathias: We play when the flow is right and a good deal is offered. We look forward to promote the new album as well as the Roadburn live album that just been released, recorded last April in Holland.
Nicklas: Yes we are a very spontaneous band when it comes to live gigs. We hope to tour this album as soon as it's possible. We do have some great gigs booked for the next year.
SoT: What are some current bands/artists that inspire the band or that you follow closely?
Nicklas: Well I do love Motorpsycho, Earth and OM. I think Motorpsycho's impro stuff has inspired me a lot. I'm mostly into old bands though.
SoT: Writing dramatic instrumental music that doesn't meander and keeps the listener's focused can sometimes be a challenge. How hard (or easy) was it to put together some of these pieces on the new album, which, in my view, flow very nicely from track to track.
Mathias: It requires an open mind and two good ears, since all our records are improvised it process is rather easy though it takes some experience to pull it off.
Nicklas: As we only improvise there's seldom a plan. We just hook up to each other and let it happen. All of the stuff we recorded on all our albums are improvised from scratch. With this band it often works and I think it's impossible to write this kind of music. It has to be spontaneous so to say.
SoT: The final track on the CD, "Epilogue" is just gorgeous, and features some of the most haunting Mellotron passages I've heard in some time. How proud are you of that piece, and have you gotten good feedback from prog fans on that one?
Mathias: We're equally proud of every piece we recorded, the record is gonna be released October 14th so most of the feedback is yet to come.
Nicklas: Yes it turned out nice. Mellotron is such an great instrument to use in this kind of band. I see many people like this track.
SoT: If you could plan a lengthy tour with 2 other current bands for a hot triple bill, what would those bands be and what countries would you most like to visit and play for?
Nicklas: I'd love to play with Earth and Om. My love for those bands is endless.
(Click here to read our reviews of Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One )