Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Name: Tvärvägen
Latest release: Sånger från Tvärvägen [2008]
File under: Singer-songwriter

Yet again juxtoposed to the last entry, here we have some twee, folky, singer-songwriter stuff from Sweden.

Tvärvägen is one chap making delightful and happy music, in both English and Swedish. He reminds me of Sufjan Stevens, except he knows when to end a song rather than let it drag on and on. "September" is the phenomenal song that got me into this guy - go and listen to it on his Myspace. His debut album, Sånger från Tvärvägen, is packaged in a delightful manner, in a knitted pouch and an obviously lovingly handcrafted cardboard sleeve. More of this, please.


Who are you, where are you from and what is your role in Tvärvägen?
Henrik: "I am Henrik. I'm originally from the north of Sweden, but now situated just outside of Stockholm. I am Tvärvägen's only member."

What does Tvärvägen translate to in English? Babelfish doesn't have Swedish yet.
Henrik: "Tvärvägen is a common streetname in Sweden. In direct translation to English it means "crossroad". And that's the name of the street crossing the one where I live."

"September" was one of my favourite songs of 2008. What is the song about?
Henrik: "Thank you! I'd rather leave it to the listener to interpret the songs, hope you don't mind. That's how I like listening to music myself as well. To be able to fill in the gaps in what you hear with yourself and your own feelings."

You write lyrics in both English and Swedish. Which are you more comfortable with and what are your views on language barriers in music?
Henrik: "When I listen to music myself, I almost never remebember the lyrics. When it comes to most of my favourite songs, I haven't got a clue what they're about. But at the same time I can't stand bad lyrics. That can really ruin a whole song. At the same time, I can really appreciate music in languages I don't know; for example I really like French hip-hop, even though I don't know a word of French. So with that in mind I can appreciate the melody of the words rather than the meaning. Myself, I'm more comfortable when I write in English - that's maybe why my Swedish lyrics are so short. And also, I'd rather make an instrumental song than put lyrics on it just for the sake of it. The vocals should blend together with the rest of the music naturally."

There are lots of famous musical artists from Sweden, from ABBA to Opeth. Which is your favourite?
Henrik: "There's a lot of good things going on, here's a few of them in no particular order:"


"And, of course, the other bands band I'm involved with:"


Tack så mycket, Henrik.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Name: At the Soundawn
Latest release: Red Square: We Come in Waves [2008]
File under: Post-rock/metal

As you can tell by the juxtaposition of the artists I've featured on this blog so far I like music with a range of emotions. So now we come to a genre that gets me hating everybody, especially you - the much maligned genre of "post-metal".

At the Soundawn know how to craft this kind of stuff, thankfully without going on for several minutes too long. The awkwardly titled Red Square: We Come in Waves is a steamroller of melodic guitars, pounding drums and harsh/clean vocals compacted into a half-hour. It's probably nothing you haven't heard before, but it's done really, really well. There's a new album on the way too, this year hopefully.


Who are you, where are you from and what is your role in At the Soundawn?
Andrea: "My name is Andrea, I am from Modena (Italy) and I am one of the guitarists."

How would you describe your music? You're one of those bands with no obvious genre...
Andrea: "I would say that our music is heavily emotional and with this I don't mean emo at all! Indeed we try to avoid easy melodies and harmonies, looking for something more personal, something that could have more to say than the usual happily-sad melodies...you know what I am talking about."

I'm sorry for such a dull question but where does you bandname come from? It reminds me of Red Sparowes album "At the Soundless Dawn".
Andrea: "Well actually, our name is taken from that album, but it's not a tribute to Red Sparowes. It's just that we had their CD in our hands when we were thinking about a suitable name for the band. At the Soundawn sounded good and seemed to fit perfectly with the way we conceive music: as an emotional flow, a primitive pulse you cannot oppose to."

You are the kind of band I like to put on when I'm angry. Do you think your music is angry?
Andrea: "I think our music carries many different moods and emotions, but anger is not really among them. I'd rather say that we often get to release a feeling, that can be provided with heavy guitars and yelling vocals. This is the same feeling that I'm looking for, as a listener, when I am angry and I need to cool down with some music."

What other Italian bands should people check out?
Andrea: "Italy has many good bands, often involved in extreme genres...or at least more extreme than us. I would suggest you check out Donkey Breeder (we fucking love them!), Up There: The Clouds, Lento, The Orange Man Theory, Last Minute To Jaffna, Zippo, Three Steps to the Ocean and many more I actually don't remember right now."

Grazie, Andrea.