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Interview: The Mary Onettes vs. Sambassadeur

Interview: The Mary Onettes vs. Sambassadeur

14 March 2013, 15:00

- The Mary Onettes

Music is, more often than not, a family affair. It’s a craft which places artists within circles of like minded souls, and provides a way of creating links between people that may not have stumbled upon each other otherwise. From bands and collectives through to festivals and labels, connections are forged based upon a shared passion, and at Sweden’s Labrador Records, these connections are often more apparent than elsewhere.

Featuring a roster of wide eyed new artists alongside the talents of more established musicians, Labrador Records is one of the most engaging labels to be heard in Sweden at the moment. To understand their family vibe a bit better, we got two of the label’s artists to sit down and discuss each other’s opinion on questions that they find interesting. So, in the week that they release their third album Hit The Waves, we asked The Mary Onettes to catch up with Gothenburg natives and Labrador label mates Sambassadeur. Here’s what happened.

Sambassadeur vs. Philip of The Mary Onettes:

Sambassadeur: Philip, when did you first start playing music?

Philip: I was 11 years old. It was old school hard rock like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Metallica, The name of the band was Young Boyz. I was really into Cliff Burton in Metallica.

Your older brother Henrik is in The Mary Onettes with you, have you always played together?

Philip: I started playing with Henrik when I was 12 years old. He had a punk band called The Beerbellys and I got to play with them. I really looked up to my brother. When he was not around I ran into his room and listened to his records, I never forget listening to Nevermind by Nirvana for the first time, it was amazing. Every band I listened to then came from him.

How is it to be in the same band as your brother?

Philip: It can be hard and somewhat complicated. We’re brothers and get into fights and say unnecessary things to each other, I imagine that it could be tiresome for the other guys sometimes. For the most part it’s amazing being on tour. We laugh a lot and do silly things. I think a lot of people have this preconceived notion about us being very serious and melancholic, they should see us on tour!

We’re not only labelmates, we also share a somewhat skeptical attitude towards travelling by plane. How has this flight anxiety affected your band? Touring etc.

Philip: Not so much really. We had a couple of tours cancelled due to this, but I try to go by plane if I can. I try to read a lot about flying, different planes and engines, statistics, everything! Understanding how flying and airplanes work really helps… Alcohol helps as well!

I used to watch plane crashes on YouTube before a flight, which is extremely unhelpful, that never happens to you?

Philip: Of course I’ve done that. I even listened to the black box recordings that you find on the Internet. That was a huge mistake, I was miserable for weeks after that.

On our latest tour to Brazil, our father decided to come with us, which is strange since he is very afraid of flying. It was so much fun watching him on the plane, all quiet, drinking vodka and coke, starring into the seat in front of him!

Do you like playing live?

Philip: Absolutely, we love playing live and consider ourselves as a live band. There’s no better feeling than after a really good show.

And in the studio recording songs?

Philip: I’m quite stubborn when it comes to recording songs and I know exactly how I want us to sound so it can be quite hard working with a producer, especially if the producer is as determined as we are.

I don’t think working with well known producers is the best option for a band. It’s easy to be disappointed due to high expectations and so on. I think working with a unknown producer is more exciting. My favourite producers often made their best albums early in their careers, when they weren’t as famous and well respected.

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Sambassadeur

Philip of The Mary Onettes vs. Sambassadeur:

Philip: Do you always have the same influences or do you try to find new sources of inspiration for each album ?

Joachim: No, they are basically the same. It feels like you stop looking when you are around 27-28 years old… we’d rather find a new sound and new instrumentation for each album rather than new inspiration.

Philip: When it comes to the process of making music, do you find it hard to make music or is it easy?

Joachim: Well, the hard part is finding the right amount of time for it. The more time you have the easier it gets to make music…

Philip: But is it hard to make an album ?

Daniel: Usually when we enter the studio, Daniel and Joachim bring demos that are pretty much the album. It makes it easier for us to record and overdub when we have the demos as guidelines.

Joachim: The hard part isn’t to record the album, it is to find variety in what you do… And every time we’ve finished an album, I think to my self that I will probably never make an album again!

Philip: Is music the most important thing in life ?

Joachim: Hmm… It becomes more and more important for me. If you would have asked me a couple of years ago I would probably have said that it’s less important. It’s not the most important thing in life but it’s a way to connect with friends and it’s very nice to hang out with them (and my wife) and play music.

Philip: And for you Daniel ?

Daniel: No, it’s not the most important thing. We have done this together for quite some time now and of course it’s a thing that always follows you in life… It brings good friends together.

Joachim: Almost everyone we know is making music one way or another, so it becomes a state of belonging.

Philip: Are you slavishly following what’s happening with Sambassaduer on the Internet ?

Joachim: Only when we’re releasing new material. The couple of weeks that follow a release, we’re all pretty much hooked on what people write and what is happening with the records. It’s fun! But after a while you lose interest.

Daniel: Joachim is pretty fast on sending updating texts to us all. That’s good! It’s nice to read people’s thoughts about a new release on the Internet… Often the regular papers give a more flat view on a new release, with less sense and personality.

Philip : So finally, what’s the difference between the new album the old ones ?

Joachim: We have replaced a lot of organic instruments such as acoustic guitar sand strings and such. This album has a more classic rock line up with drums guitar, bass and vocals, a bit more like our first album actually. And it’s a bit more softer than our previous ones. Not so up-tempo.

The Mary Onettes’ album Hit the Waves and Sambassadeur’s entire back catalogue are available now through Labrador Records.

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