Unmistakably Nordic in flavor, Sofia Talvik somehow still conforms to American interpretations of her own original music, a North Sea siren blending sparkle and melancholy, creating a special niche of folk music.
This has been a great year with lots of stuff happening. I made 4 EP albums with 4 different producers, the wonderful guys in my backing band. And all of you chipped in and funded the releases so that we were able to finish the project. 4 ass-kicking metal bands did 4 ass-kicking cover albums of my EPs and one of them actually released a video too (or rather will release in a few days so I’m cheating by telling you now) Badmouth made a video of their cover of my song “To watch the bridges burn”, check it out here!
Throughout the year I have worked hard to get an artist visa to the US, and thanks again to my wonderful fans who helped out with house concert contracts and letters of recommendation I finally got my visa and packed my things and went to Florida in November. In December my big “Drivin’ & Dreaming tour” took off and I’ve now been all around Florida playing in different venues. One unexpected thing that I experienced is that I had at least a few loyal fans show up for every gig. I didn’t know there’s be so many of you!
Throughout the tour we’ve had the RV break down and fixed, nothing major yet thank God. We’ve been invited to have dinner with Greg and Michelle of The Refinery, Tampa, for southern shrimps and grits at Sian and Otis’ in St Petes and to stay the night in a really cool A frame cottage with Doris in Melrose to mention a few of all the lovely people we’ve encountered along the way.
It’s now time to say good bye to Florida and head up to South Carolina and Georgia for January. Many new experiences are to come, many new shows to be played. We’re heading into new states and a new year. In January my new album “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” will be released and I hope you will continue to support my tour as I go through America in my old RV – Drivin’ and Dreaming.
The last part of the H.A.T.E saga is coming to en end. Swedish rockers Akribi is releasing the EP “E – Part Four of H.A.T.E” December 1st and a year of music has gone by. I’ve had such a great time hearing my songs in new suits. First with all the L.O.V.E EPs which were each produced by one of the guys in my band and ranged from acoustic to pop to electronica to americana. And then the biggest difference of all with the awesome four metal bands Ball of Mayhem, G.A.I.N, Badmouth and Akribi who turned my songs into thundering hard rock! It proves that a song never has to be stuck in one genre – at least if it’s a good song 😉
You can listen to all the EPs HERE and pre-order Akribi’s EP HERE!
Soon the last part of H.A.T.E will be released by Swedish metal band Akribi. We managed to keep them still for a few minutes to ask them some questions about the meaning of life and metal…
Hi Akribi! You guys are doing “E – Part Four of H.A.T.E”. How has the experience been so far? Definitely different. We’re not at all used to interpreting other musician’s materials, nor working with such tight deadlines, but it’s been a very fun and rewarding experience so far.
Great! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? We’re a female-fronted progressive metal band based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The band started out back in 2003, based on the idea of playing ambitious metal with strong songwriting. It’s an ideal that has remained intact through countless lineup changes over the years. As a consequence of this, we like to work with a slightly expanded palette of scales, chords and time signatures in our music. Oh, and let’s just get one very common misconception out of the way… “female-fronted” in this case does not mean “gothic” or “operatic”.
Just like Badmouth you’re releasing this EP only a few months after your album release. Are you always this productive? Given the right circumstances, sure. As hinted above, the band has had a bit of a rough history with lineup changes and whatnot. We have begun writing the next album and it’s going surprisingly fast so maybe we’ve learnt a thing or two about efficiency.
Did you think it was hard to interpret Sofia’s songs into your own style or did you get ideas straight away? We decided to transcribe the chords and scales that Sofia used. After we had done that we stopped listening to Sofia’s versions and began working. We sent note sheets with ideas to each other; “Could this be something?”, “Would this passage sound better if we changed scales to Lydian?”, “What happens if we add this chord there?” and so on and then we tried playing the ideas. We changed a lot, added riffs and details to make it more Akribi. It took us about a month and then we recorded it, sent it to our mixing guys in Brazil and voilà.
Which of the songs are you most pleased with and why? It’s difficult to pick a song. It sounds weird but when you live with a song in the intense way that’s required for writing and recording it it sort of becomes your baby. The song we play the most often nowadays is The Garden. The guitar solos are great and Alexander gets to play his Chapman Stick and that always makes him happy. Our songs are usually pretty long and that makes set lists tricky to do so it’s good to have a shorter-than-four-minutes-song up our sleeve.
What’s your favorite gig memory? That must be the first time we were on stage and the audience sang along with our song Carry the Rain. It’s an incredible feeling. But if you’re looking for an awkward anecdote it must be when the guards didn’t let our drummer back into the building after a sound check. He tried to convince them that he was in the band but the guards told him “yeah right, that’s what everybody says”. The rest of us were backstage ready to go on stage not knowing where he was.
Can you tell us a little bit about the recording sessions and what was most fun with being a part of this project? Well, the recording workflow was the same that we always follow. When we’ve written the chord progressions, melodies and overall structure of a song, we record (or in this particular case, program) a drum track and have everyone record their parts individually to that. All recordings are then assembled in a sequencer and a rough pre-mix is done. Feedback is sent out, obscene words are exchanged, and adjustments are made. When everyone is sufficiently satisfied, the tracks are sent away for mixing. The most interesting and fun part of this project was that is was far out of the realm of what we usually do. Apart from on a few auditions, we don’t play or record external material. Oh, and we finally got to put a growling part in a song, courtesy of Rafael Basso of “Unlit Face”.
What’s next on the agenda for Akribi this winter? In October we got a new drummer and we’re in the process of getting to know each other musically and he’s learning all our songs. Parallel to this we’re in contact with booking agents and promoters around Europe. Music is always better live and life on stage is great so we’ll play live as much as possible.
If you would record a Christmas metal album, which three songs would be on your list? Hey, we’re a metal band! We don’t do Christian things 😉
Thanks for hanging out! We look forward to hearing the songs 🙂
If you want to catch Badmouth and all these awesome songs live – get your ass over to RoQ in Stockholm, Sweden this Friday for their releaseparty. And if you can’t wait – get their EP WHICH IS RELEASED TODAY!!!! here: Sofia’s music store, Itunes, Amazon
We caught a few moments with Chris LeMon from Badmouth to hear what his thoughts about their new EP “T – Part Three of H.A.T.E” are. “T – Part Three of H.A.T.E” will be released November 1st and you can pre-listen and pre-order it here!
Hi Badmouth! You’re making “T – Part Three of H.A.T.E” would you start by telling us a little bit about your music and your band? Badmouth started 4 years ago, we released our debut album in 2008 and our second album this summer, which is produced by Chips Kiesbye. When we got the offer to do this EP we just couldn’t resist, such a cool thing to be part of, so even though we just released the album we called Chips and he was up for it … Badmouth is rock’n’roll, its about having a good time, we are having a great time and we want the crowd to smile as they see us live, its all about the love for music …
You’re usually writing your own songs, so what did you think was the hardest part of making Sofia’s songs feel like your own? Actually nothing was hard … haha … It’s great songs! The hardest one was “To watch the bridges burn” we had a different version going first but it was just strange … haha … but then we tried the way it is now and it sounds great! So it has only been a lot of fun!
Which one are you most happy with and why? I guess it depends who you ask in the band, for me personally I would say Jonestown, I think the arrangement turned out great and it is truly a great song, but I also think Bridges turned out great in a different way, to me its a radio hit! I think it’s cool that all four songs turned out so different from each other so I would say I am really happy about all four ...
Rumor has it you’re on tour with Gilby Clarke from Guns & Roses, how did that come about? Totally true, actually sitting in the tour bus right now on our way to the last show, it’s been a great tour, 8 shows in Sweden … Well, I also work as a booking agent and I booked this tour and Gilby needed a band and it wasn’t hard for me to suggest the best band to him 😉
What’s your all time favorite tour memory? There’s a lot, and some things that shouldn’t be mentioned here 😉 But right now I would say this tour, to be on a stage with Gilby Clarke is truly a dream come true!
Making rock music out of singer/songwriter tunes isn’t something bands do every day. What did you think about the experience and would you do it again? I would love to do it again, this shows that good songs are good songs no matter which category you place them in … We actually said that if this EP becomes a hit we will have Sofia write our next album! 😉
What’s your recipe for success? Be yourself and love what you do!
What’s in store for you this fall? Well, the release of the EP is the next thing and we have a release party for it in Stockholm on November 4th at RoQ. As soon as we are back from the road we will start planning the next tour, the main goal is to play live as much as possible and get out the word of BADMOUTH!
Thanks for chatting with us, can you tell us your three favorite songs right now? Thank you! Wow that’s difficult but right now I would say “Jonestown”, “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” (Badmouth) and “Tijuana Jail” (Gilby Clarke)