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 Karlssons 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 Im 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 Karlssons 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
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. Queens 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.
Who else is in the current Bonefish lineup? Theres some excellent
guitar work on the album. Whos 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 whats 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 its 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 didnt make
it to the recording sessions and strangely it comes out as one of
the strongest and also provided the album title. It was Mattes
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.
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
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, its 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!
Is Sister an experimental track with minimalistic lyrics?
Cool mid break with a Stones like guitar / harp thing
track right and whats 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 couldnt feel anything, he explained. My friend certainly
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 cant 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
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 dont think theres a little Nordic mystery
about that song?
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 cant
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 doesnt 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 Im
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, its too early to say what we want
do next. With this band its 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
mwe3: Tell us what you want people to know about Atoms and
why its an important album, especially for this day and age.
Its rare an album makes you think as much about the times and
music of this era.
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 Im not satisfied with the lyrics. You can never choose your
path. You can only try your best.