VARIOUS ARTISTS
Home Is Where The Heart Is
(Paraply Records /
Hemifrån)

 

Sweden was always a legendary hub of pop, rock and jazz music. Although known to informed international music fans for their amazing instrumental rock fusion and jazz-rock artists, Sweden continues to be an epic source of 21st century pop and rock. The best of Sweden’s current indy artists are compiled on a 17 track, 70 minute 2014 compilation from the powerhouse label team of Hemifrån and Paraply Records. Home Is Where The Heart Is features a wide range of established as well as promising pop and rock artists. Kicking off with a guitar instrumental by Pontus Swanberg, the CD moves quickly onto the latest pop classic from renowned Swedish pop pundit Klas Qvist, and his Citizen K outfit, called “Our Town”. Also here is a fine new track entitled “Spiders”, from an interesting band called A Sister Or Two. Home Is Where The Heart Is does a fine job representing a wide range of pop artists from Sweden and obviously says a lot about the state of the art of 21st century pop music from the Scandinavian stronghold. Home Is Where The Heart Is closes out with another instrumental, this time by an artist called Berra Karlsson, while Berra’s sister, singer Cina Samuelson is also featured on this CD with a fine country-pop track, “This Country Girl”, that sounds like it came straight out of Nashville. The CD packaging of this compilation album is first rate with its unconventional yet highly effective artwork and insert. Scandinavian and international music fans, don’t miss the unique and catchy pop-rock experience of Home Is Where The Heart Is. www.hemifran.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
Åke Strömberg and Joakim Lövgren
of Paraply Records




mwe3: What inspired the new Hemifrån / Paraply Records compilation CD Home Is Where The Heart Is? Sounds like you pulled out all the stops on this one! Is there a concept running through this album and who were the producers and executive producers? Did you have a clear direction as far as what artists you wanted on the CD?

Paraply: The initial idea came from our dear friend and companion Peter Holmstedt, the master of compilations. He suggested we put together an album consisting solely of contributions from Borås musicians. The idea was, as always, to include previously unreleased music. So we started mailing and calling people that we liked and thought would be appropriate for the album, people like Cina Samuelson, Ulrik Arturén, Andreas Filipsson, the Liljegren sisters (A Sister Or 2) etc.

There is no specific concept running through the CD. It might even appear a bit sketchy as a whole, but that’s the point. The sound of Borås is varied and broad. The tracks are mainly produced or co-produced by the artists themselves. Tobias Walka did all the mastering, making the project cohesive.

mwe3: The first track on Home Is Where The Heart Is is an instrumental by Pontus Swanberg. Can you tell us about him? Why only one instrumental on this CD? Is there a place for more instrumental music in the world of both Hemifrån and Paraply Records?

Paraply: There’s two actually. The closing track, Berra Karlsson’s contribution, has no vocals on it. Absolutely! We’re open to anything as long as it’s good music, with or without words.

Pontus is something of a showman. Every sound he creates, percussive sounds, terrific baselines and piano-like chords, he does with an acoustic guitar and some amplification. That’s it. His tunings are idiosyncratic to say the least.

mwe3: The Citizen K track on Home Is Where The Heart Is, “Our Town” is about his hometown Borås. Can you tell us something more about Borås and the connection on this CD and is Klas planning to release his new album anytime soon? What kind of direction is Klas planning to take his music next? How are you planning to make his music more popular, is there a strategy?

Paraply: Borås has always been a town with high musical activity. But opportunities outside Borås have mostly been limited. There are many musicians; instrumentalists, singers, songwriters etc, but the entrepreneurship among the musicians is, unfortunately, virtually nil. Over the years, there’s been tons of good music that simply ended up on bad cassette tapes in people’s living rooms in Borås.

The only actual connection throughout the CD is that every player has lived or still lives in Borås.

There’s no release date for a Citizen K album yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done and it’s a slow and painful process. The record will contain more of everything, wider mood swings. It’s the double album to end all double albums. If Citizen K finds a more satisfactory method of working, he might continue. Then we can start talking about directions.

mwe3: Another interesting track here is a song by a pair of singers who call themselves A Sister Or Two. Can you tell us about A Sister Or Two? I was thinking about the “Lovely Rita” connection! Didn’t Klas Qvist have a hand on A Sister Or 2?

Paraply: Yes indeed. Klas is the producer and he plays a number of instruments. You’re absolutely right about the “Lovely Rita” connection. When Klas got in touch with the two sisters, a third sister drifted in and out of the picture – sometimes a member, sometimes not a member. Therefore, Klas came up with the name A Sister Or 2, consciously picked from a verse of “Lovely Rita” since the girls were knocked-out Beatles fans. They liked the name and started using it.

mwe3: Can you tell us about Paraply Records? When was it formed and is there a musical ethic that is followed when the Paraply signs or record an artist? Paraply means Umbrella in English. Is Paraply an “umbrella” label for artists? A safety net?

Paraply: Paraply was formed in 2002 as a network for three different studios to help launch a bunch of demos. There was no record company worth mentioning in Borås, so when releasing the Carried Away album by Klas Qvist in 2004 Paraply Records emerged as the only “Music from Borås alternative”.

The only ethic we can think of in this case is that we like and believe intensely in everything we release. We seldom, if ever, think of the commercial value of it, just the artistic value. Consequently, we’re not exactly rolling in dollars, not even close to.

mwe3: What are the most recent Paraply CD releases and also what CD titles do you have planned for 2014 and 2015? Also can you tell us something about the very cool artwork on Home Is Where The Heart Is and also something about that very cool black vinyl looking CD pressings! Are the black vinyl looking Paraply CDs pressed in Sweden or elsewhere?

Paraply: Fairly recently, roughly a year ago, Mikael Persson released an EP and an album on Paraply. Then, there was Citizen K’s EP and The Golden Demon. We also released Ulrik Arturén’s debut, a 4-track EP earlier this year.

We’re planning Pelle Johanson’s debut as a recording artist due for release next year. Hopefully, Citizen K will be ready next year too, but it’s not down to him or the label. It’s down to his producer.

Peter Holmstedt and Mikael Persson are the men responsible for the artwork. They just stumbled upon the black vinyl CD when it came time to do the artwork for Meet Citizen K. A CD plant, maybe even here in Borås, offered the vinyl thing and it has sort of stuck with us ever since.

mwe3: How are you planning to bring the names of these artists on Home Is Where The Heart Is more into the public ear and what fresh and new musical directions and trends are you looking for and hoping for in Sweden and all over the world as we move towards 2020?

Paraply: The promotional side of things always leaves a lot to be desired. To coincide with the release of the compilation, Paraply and Hemifrån in association with a couple of others, have arranged a series of gigs around Borås, mainly to present the artists live. Once a month, from February through to April for instance, there was an event built as Minstrel In The Gallery, named so because it was a selection of the album’s artists, playing intimate, mainly acoustic sets in a newly opened fashion gallery. That could easily be seen as the biggest Paraply-related event so far.

We’re also planning to present a number of Borås’ best and brightest singers, songwriters and bands at Live At Heart 2015 in Örebro, sort of the Swedish equivalence to South By South West.

For Paraply, there’s a lot more to be done in order to present our music outside Borås. A compilation, a couple of releases of the artists themselves and the odd promotional gig is just the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be done here.

We foresee a huge tsunami of progressive and psychedelic music washing the whole world, and as 2020 approaches, backward guitars, Hammond organs and mellotrons will dominate the sonic landscape. There might be some hip-hop, house and radio-friendly country around, but it’s mostly for the older and nostalgic listeners.


Photo credits (from top): Åke Strömberg (left) and Joakim Lövgren (center) of Paraply, Pontus Swanberg, Klas Qvist, A Sister Or Two, Cina Samuelson, Pelle Johanson and Peter Holmstedt.

Thanks to Peter Holmstedt of Hemifrån and Åke Strömberg and Joakim Lövgren of Paraply Records

 

 
   
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