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.
I’ve had a pretty fab first week touring. We’ve been on the west coast of Florida and it’s been great. Not to mention the RV life. The RV turned out so nice after we fixed it up and it really feels like a home now. Especially since we got the brand new queen size bed and the cozy king size duvet. And it’s so nice to wake up to different places every day too. One day it’s on the beach, the next in a fruit tree garden. I’ve even overcome my fear of driving the beast.
This week I played at the Independent in Tampa and St Petersburg. Got invited to a real southern lunch at Otis and Sian’s place and was treated to a great massage at the Warm Mineral Springs where I did a sold out intimate concert at the spa café. Yesterday was a long day with two gigs. One in the daytime at the Flamingo Flea Market in Bonita Springs and later on a house concert followed by a bluegrass jam. Bluegrass seems to be the melody of this neighborhood and even though I tried to pitch in, I think I’d better stick to folk music. But Roger Borg who set me up with the gig treated us all to some awesome Swedish meatballs, so I felt right at home anyway.
Thanks to all who came out to see me this week. To everyone who has been so kind to invite us to their homes and to all the venues!
Don’t miss out on downloading me free Christmas single and support ActionAid in their fight against poverty 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 🙂
I’ve just started booking my US tour, starting in Florida in December, and first of all I have to say how amazed I am by these quadrillion of music venues. It seems like every café, restaurant, library and music lover hosts concerts. I’m also amazed how many of them are folk venues, or at least host folk music as well as other genres.
In Sweden nobody even knows what folk music is, here it’s fiddles and Orsa spelmän (if you all want to know what happened to ABBA after the 80’s). (I guess I’m not being totally fair because people here have heard Fleet Foxes and mostly the folk genre is called singer/songwriter here though I don’t think it’s totally right.)
Once in an interview the reporter asked me how I would define my music, and I answered “americana/folk”. When I read the published interview my answer was American funk. That says something about Sweden and folk music. But in the US, folk music almost seems like a cult. And here I am ordering feather hair extensions tuning my Luna guitar. I will probably fit right in!
So anyways, coming from a country that may be small but is really big when it comes to music export (again with the ABBA) I must say that Sweden is a puny country when it comes to live music. I was wondering the other day how many people would actually be confident enough to host a house concert here in Sweden. To actually let musicians and other people into their homes.. I mean what would the neighbors say???
So it’s really uplifting to see how many venues there are to chose from in the US. Unfortunately I’m not alone with this knowledge and I’m competing with so many bands. I just have to pray that I stand out in the crowd and that all these people will find it in their hearts to invite me to their homes, their cafés, libraries, galleries and what not.
So I’ve spent my first night here in LA. Me and Warren met up with his lovely friend Kristin and she took us to the Hotel Café where a bunch of people played live. It was awsome but I was a partypooper and wanted to get some sleep. Anyway, when we were about to leave I spotted Aqualung in the audience. I managed to work up some nerves to speak to him, and he seemed to think I was some annoying fan (which I am). But there were like a couple of showcases at SXSW that I didn’t want to miss and one of them was Aqualung’s. I only managed to stay for a few songs but he was really good. I joked to my cellist Christian that Aqualung could be his gay little brother (I don’t even know if he’s gay, and if he would read this he would probably hate me) they do look a little bit alike.. just check this out:
… blev det igår på Fredsgatan 12 terrassen! Wow säger jag bara! När jag bokade in mig där hade jag sett framför mig hur det skulle vara 25 grader varmt och en underbar sensommarkväll. Istället öste regnet ner igår som en tropisk monsun! Men precis när klockan slog 7 och gästerna började komma så slutade det regna. Så himla roligt att så många kom och jag och bandet ville egentligen aldrig sluta spela. Jag säger bara tack tack tack till F12 som ordnade det så himla fint för oss och tack tack alla som kom och firade. Här är några sköna bilder från partajset. Men så här jäkla fint blev det sen!!
Och vissa påstår att de inte blir bra på kort…
Celebert gästbesök från Jonna Lee som också varit med på mina myspace-videos! Se videon här!
Hmm.. jag vet inte om fotografen försökte ta kort på min snygga klänning eller min snygga gitarr. Det var uppenbarligen inte på mitt ansikte i alla fall 😉