BONEFISH
Atoms
(S-Rock / Fishbone Music)

 

Led by singer-songwriter Bie Karlsson, Bonefish released their self-titled CD back in 2014 and they return in 2017 with an album of all new material called Atoms. The eleven cut CD was produced by Max Lorentz and features a wealth of pop-rock and harder edged mainstream rock packed with memorable, melodic arrangements. As has been noted on a number of albums released these past few years, Scandinavian pop musicians of the early 21st century have proven resourceful and imaginative in their emulation of both English and American pop heroes. Bonefish is touting “Fallen In Love” on their web site but “Another Day” and the Atoms closer “Crappy Eyes” are telling as to their rock roots and all would make great radio airplay. This line up of Bonefish is the best one yet with Bie Karlsson’s lead vocals and guitars getting support from Matte Norberg (lead guitar, backing vocals), Rasmus Rasmusson (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Anders Nylle Thoor (bass, lead vocals). Speaking about the band he has led over these past few years, Bie Karlsson adds, "Bonefish is a musical project and my lyrics are a good part of it since I always write music and lyrics together. To me they are contemplations over the time we live in and if they are in some way accurate or if anyone finds comfort in listening to them or reading them, then it will make me happy. I never present a song to the band if I’m not satisfied with the lyrics. You can never choose your path. You can only try your best." Searing electric guitar is a focal point throughout the album making Karlsson's and Norberg's fretboard work also worth hearing. With one catchy, upbeat track after the next, Atoms is a solid rock album that brings out Karlsson’s finest singer-songwriter proclivities. Bonefish creates sheer rock energy on the kinetic sounding, 21st century sonic groove of Atoms. www.bonefishswe.com






mwe3.com presents an interview with
Bie Karlsson of BONEFISH


mwe3
: I was thinking Atoms is dramatically different sounding than the last Bonefish album from 2014. Did you set out to revamp your sound and how did you meet Max Lorentz and what did he bring to the album's sound and vision?

Bie Karlsson: We have been working with Max Lorentz since 2012 when we met him at a club in Stockholm where we were support act to a band he played with. I invited him to play keyboards on our debut and later he joined us on tour. We had agreed on to use a different producer for Atoms other than myself, mainly for me to be able to focus on musical performance, and we saw no reason to ask anyone else. He spent a lot of time listening to demo recordings of the twenty three songs we had ready. In the end we recorded thirteen and eleven of them made it to the album. Some songs like the title song “Atoms” and “Fallen In Love” are very different from what they sounded like on the demo stage. And overall Max has done a fantastic job modeling each song to reach its potential.

mwe3: Where was the Atoms album recorded and what were the sessions like? Did the band record the tracks together and/or was there overdubbing.

Bie Karlsson: The album was recorded in the legendary Rockfield studio in Wales, in the UK, where hundreds of world-class bands have made albums. Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was recorded there and we used Rockfield's famous grand piano for a couple of songs. The recording process was basically us playing and Max in the control room. The first day we recorded four songs mostly in one or two takes, second day five songs and then we had to struggle a couple of days with the remaining four.

mwe3: The vocal sound is amazing. How many singers are on the album? Max is playing on the CD too?

Bie Karlsson: Most lead and backing vocals were done in Rockfield too, as well as almost all guitars. Max worked with editing and adding keyboards at his studio in Ullna, just north of Stockholm.

mwe3: Who else is in the current Bonefish lineup? There’s some excellent guitar work on the album. Who’s playing the guitar solos?

Bie Karlsson: Our new member Matte Norberg is playing most of the solos on the album and he has greatly contributed to our recent evolvement. And I think everybody took some extra steps during the recording. Lead vocals are mostly me but Nylle sings on three songs and all are singing background as well as some overdubbing. On “Potential Loss Of Faith” we overdubbed at least five times in the beautifully sounding rehearsal room of the Rockfield Quadrangle studio.

mwe3: Where are you living these days and what’s the news from Stockholm? Different world compared to 2014!

Bie Karlsson: We still all live in Stockholm and have just recently ended a short tour in Sweden. Next we will make a couple of videos and for spring 2018 we hope to visit Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands for gigs. In the summer we will do as many festivals as possible since we love playing music festivals!

mwe3: The concept of the song “Atoms” is spelled out in the lyrics. Are you being scientific or is something else going on lyrically? I was thinking with threats of hydrogen bombs in the air it’s perfect timing! The song sound is kind of prog Americana and I'll bet Phil Spector would like this!

Bie Karlsson: “Atoms” is a song about living in this world between the atoms and the stars. It almost didn’t make it to the recording sessions and strangely it comes out as one of the strongest and also provided the album title. It was Matte’s favorite and when Max wanted to scrap it he objected. Then Max went and rearranged it totally creating the Spector-esque crescendo in the later part of the song.

mwe3: The fatalistic vibe of the “Atoms” song is offset by “Another Day” which kind of makes fun of making it through another day. The song has a great guitar solo. It contrasts nicely with the “other day” you sing about. I think prog rock fans with an open mind or a sense of dark humor would like it.

Bie Karlsson: I agree about the guitar solo! Matte really blew us off the chairs when we recorded it. The lyrics are about a couple separated by some sort of disaster, perhaps war. The “other day” is the day you will never remember.

mwe3: “Fallen In Love” is a positive song right? Another song with a hot guitar solo in it. Do you think this would make a good single? Is there a single from Atoms?

Bie Karlsson: Well… positive… If you fall in love so hard that you consider yourself “fallen” in love it might not necessarily be a altogether pleasant experience. We have discussed releasing “Fallen In Love” as a single but since Swedish radio only plays music from major labels, and we are on a small label called S-Rock so we agreed on not to do it. Glad you like the guitar solo, it’s me!

mwe3: Is “Old Town Fisherman Blues” a Swedish blues? Is this based on some story or legend from Sweden? Seems like the bigger corporations put the small guys out of business even in the local fish business.

Bie Karlsson: This song has a bit of a meta history to it: A friend wrote on his facebook wall about science fiction author Robert Charles Wilson who, in his 2005 novel Spin had the Scandinavians mixed up when writing about rioting cod fishermen in Stockholm. More of an Norwegian thing really… I wrote this song about what could have caused that riot, should there have been any fishermen here. We actually played it for the first time in Gamla Stan in a small art gallery that was about to get evicted. I tried to get the old painters and sculptors to wave their imaginary tridents in the air along with the lyrics, but they never got it.

mwe3: “Baby De Mar” / "Potential Loss Of Faith" sounds like an old Cab Calloway song played heavy metal style. Did you try to bring an old rip-Roaring Twenties kind of blues into the 21st century? Anyway, the vocal sound is great. How many layers of vocals are on that track? Another hot guitar solo.

Bie Karlsson: Well, the heavy style is much to thank our engineer Tim Lewis (Thighpaulsandra). He re-amped the bass and put a lot of distortion on it thus completely changing the vibe of the song. The chorus was overdubbed at least 5 times with all band and Max singing and me on the guitar solo again!

mwe3: Is “Sister” an experimental track with minimalistic lyrics? Cool mid break with a Stones like guitar / harp thing… Scary track right and what’s the gun / war connection?

Bie Karlsson: Yes, we have been doing this live for a couple of years and the lyrics are inspired by a story told to me by a friend who once hitchhiked with a veteran from the 1990s Balkan war. His driving style was to go very fast in the middle of the road, kind of between the two lanes and forcing oncoming traffic out on the fringe. He couldn’t feel anything, he explained. My friend certainly could.

mwe3: Speaking of guns and war, “Kissing In The Rain” has got to be the strangest and my favorite song on the album. Who are the guys with the guns and the knives?

Bie Karlsson: The lyrics are a kind of Romeo and Juliet adaptation for a modern society where hate and misogyny have spread to an extent that love between people from different racial / cultural / religious domains are no longer permitted. Sometimes I enjoy using contrast in my lyrics. In this song, the loving couple starts off kissing in a weather phenomenon while ending up running for their lives in a very different and potentially lethal rain. The bad guys are the misogynists who can’t accept, for example interracial or same-sex love.

mwe3: “I See Your Heart” brings the atmosphere down to earth. Are you trying to humanize life? After all there are a lot of risks these days. The whistling effect is funny, is that real whistling or a mellotron sample? Another disarming yet totally effective Bonefish track!

Bie Karlsson: Whistling is real! But live we have to use a keyboard. Lyrics is about marketing companies and AI / VR soon will create virtual buddies that you can hang out with instead of your boring regular mates. But watch out… They will have an agenda!

mwe3: “Hey Hi Ho” sounds like a modern day Viking song. The Vikings sound disappointed yet the chorus pleads to “hold on”. You don’t think there’s a little Nordic mystery about that song?

Bie Karlsson: Yes, I agree on the Viking reference! But I think Rasmus’ lyrics are perhaps more about how we treat each other in humanity.

mwe3: “Salt And Chrome” is confounding. I can’t figure it out. Can you shed some light on it? Is the lyric very abstract because it sounds like an old Pete Seeger song played by U2. Very effective definitely a cool prog / metal track. Is this the heaviest track Bonefish have done?

Bie Karlsson: Yes, it's as heavy as it gets as far as Bonefish is concerned! The lyrics are like a passage
between two dreams. I wrote it in one piece in just ten minutes. Sometimes I do that and I make a lot of changes afterwards, but this time it felt so mystic and dreamlike, I let it stay virtually unchanged.

mwe3: So with “Crappy Eyes” you save the best track for last. It really says it all doesn’t it? It almost makes you wonder how we can survive this century, although it might be all different in ten years. Is that possible? Is the song proactive or a rallying cry? “Change is no excuse for atrocity”, well said…

Bie Karlsson: I wrote it as a protest song and that was even before the Brexit and Trump era! Things have kind of escalated since then and there are bigger challenges to mankind ahead. But I’m an optimist... we will go through it, as species, but the price in suffering and human lives will be very high.

mwe3: So this Atoms album should have long legs. I think pop fans will like it, prog-rock fans who stop complaining will like it and hard rock / heavy metal fans would like it. Is that the way you see it and where do you want to take Bonefish next, another album this good will make a fine challenge!

Bie Karlsson: Well, it’s too early to say what we want do next. With this band it’s a constantly evolving thing and we want to take it as far as we can as long it is worth the effort. But sadly the climate for our kind of music has worsened in Sweden the past years and we have difficulties having our expenses covered when we tour. It is also extremely difficult to get on national media since it has been completely encapsulated by the international music industry. We will now try some new markets in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

mwe3: Tell us what you want people to know about Atoms and why it’s an important album, especially for this day and age. It’s rare an album makes you think as much about the times and music of this era.

Bie Karlsson: Bonefish is a musical project and my lyrics are a good part of it since I always write music and lyrics together. To me they are contemplations over the times we live in and if they are in some way accurate or if anyone finds comfort in listening to them or reading them, then it will make me happy. I never present a song to the band if I’m not satisfied with the lyrics. You can never choose your path. You can only try your best.





 

 
   
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