Meet Citizen K


In Sweden the word paraply means umbrella. Paraplyet means the umbrella. Just a little Swedish trivia back in the old country! Anyway smart-ass critics aside, the fantastic and gifted Swedes strike more Engelsk (Swedish for English) pop-rock gold with the 2009 CD from Citizen K entitled Meet Citizen K. Subtitled, Somewhere Up North, the sixteen track CD features Citizen K himself, Klas Qvist performing on a number instruments—from guitars through vintage keyboards—while backed up a fine drummer called Kim Gunneriusson and there’s even a trumpet player to add in some impressive Beatle style textures. Qvist is a fine guitarist and his keyboard arsenal—including some ethereal mellotron textures—would impress Beatles protege’s like Jason Falkner. A modern pop masterpiece, Meet Citizen K is excellent and a true joy to behold from start to finish. The 16 cut album is further enhanced by brilliant production by Qvist and Mats-Ola Tranella sound that no doubt takes a cue from Brian Wilson’s immaculate work on SMiLE and Pet Sounds and beyond. Fittingly, Klas is also a big fan of recent albums from Brian Wilson and The Wondermints including the revival of SMiLE in 2004. Isn’t it amazing how guys who were taught to say the words: prata du svenska? (do you speak Swedish?) and tack så mycket (thanks so much) could sing so well in English! Track two, “Same Old Sun” will impress fans of the Fab Four and their Apple label signings Badfinger, a band possibly inspiring the essence of track 2, also called "Badfinger." Pete Ham would have no doubt loved Klas' amazing pop work. Another Qvist influence, Jackson Browne is noticeable not only in the music (kind of, but painlessly!) but also (strangely) on the CD cover art, which basically reinvents Browne’s Saturate Before Using album art with a cool Citizen K twist that takes this CD somewhere up north indeed! Is Meet Citizen K the most perfect pop album since Odessey And Oracle? Buy the great "black vinyl CD edition" of the album (available Stateside from long time pop maven Bruce Brodeen's Not Lame sell site and from Village Records) and find out!

MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents

Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!

Musical Background

Early 70’s, that’s when I learned the piano. This was pre school. Piano was my main instrument for many years. I picked up the guitar when I was 12 and then, gradually, the keyboards sort of fell into the background. I also play the bass, some percussion and other string instruments such as autoharp and mandolin.

It’s only now, after years of playing behind other people or in countless groups and projects, that I seem to have started something resembling a career on my own. I was inactive for a couple of years when I concentrated on studies and family life etc, but since 2001, I’ve written and recorded on a more regular basis. In 2004, I released a CD under my real name, then switched to Citizen K to make it seem more like a cross between a solo performer and a band, and to avoid the singer-songwriter trap. The CD of 2009 can therefore be seen as a second debut.

New CD

A friend of mine came up with the album title. I had thousands of titles I thought I might use, but we eventually settled on my friend’s suggestion, Meet Citizen K Somewhere Up North. It was recorded between May 2007 and July 2009 in a studio in Borås, the town in Sweden where I was born and where I’m living right now. The album is digitally recorded. The initial idea was to use an analogue 24-track tape machine, but we ended up using Logic. We spent the first couple of sessions recording very stripped versions of every song on the album with me, playing the acoustic guitar and laying down some guide vocals to a click track. Then, we pretty much spent the following sessions on all the other instruments, like the drums for instance. All the drums were recorded in a session that went on for a couple of hours. My friend Kim did a fantastic job. Kim, Michael on trumpet and my girlfriend Annika on tin whistle and backing vocals are the only outside players on the album. It’s a reflection of a whole number of things—events in my life and musical influences. I’ve been listening to folk, country, pop, psychedelia and classical music and I wanted to put as much of it as possible into the mix. I’m a follower of the artistry where the listener doesn’t know what to expect through the duration of the record. This is something that most of today’s albums lack. It’s all mass production and run of the mill mentality, which, in the long run, has damaged the music and the adventure behind it severely. And my guitar style? Very hard for me to explain. It’s a melting pot of a number of things I’ve picked up over the years.

Favorite Guitars

I used my old Fender Stratocaster, my second ever electric guitar which I bought in 1983. I also used a 12-string Eagle (an electric guitar), two acoustic Furch jumbo guitars—one 6-string and one 12-string—and an acoustic 6-string Landola. I used D’Addario strings. The acoustic guitars were recorded with two microphones in order to pick up as much of the sound as possible. I can’t remember exactly what mikes we used for the acoustic guitars, so I prefer to just leave it. Then we made either two or four guitar tracks that we spread throughout the mix. Sometimes we used a stereo setup, for example on “Not Enough Time” on which I overdubbed the 6-string and then the 12-string to create the illusion of two guitarists playing together in one room, but it’s actually just me.

For the electric guitars, we mostly had a Music Man with a Marshall 4X10 that someone seemed to have left behind in the studio. Sometimes, we used the original Logic plug-ins, which upset my engineer Mats-Ola Tranell a great deal, since he still, to this day, refuses to accept that the plug-ins might sound just as good as (or sometimes even better than) the Music Man. For one of the songs, “Stitchy’s tune”, I needed a volume pedal for my Strat, but when I left the store, I had bought an entire Boss multi-effect board.

Musical Influences

My influences can mainly be found in the music made between 1965 and 1975—The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Tim Buckley, Traffic, 10CC, early Queen and many others. I’ve always liked artists who look for inspiration outside the rock genre, even if they produce fairly simple and straight forward music themselves. My favorite guitarists are David Crosby, George Harrison, Roger McGuinn and Richard Thompson. If I were to pick just one guitarist, Thompson wins without a doubt. He’s absolutely unique and unmistakable. In my teens, when I had purchased the Strat I’m still using, I was heavily into Ritchie Blackmore. I think you can still here it in some of my solos. I know there are some people who make fun of him for his behavior onstage, the way he treats his old band mates and stuff, but I think he’s great.

My most influential albums? Well, if I were to pick one, it must be one of The Beach Boys’ albums, Surf’s Up, simply because I associate it so strongly with where I was the first time I heard it and it will stay with me for the rest of my life and I’ve glanced towards that album more than once when I’ve written, arranged and recorded my own stuff.

Upcoming Plans

Hopefully, I’ll do some live work this year, but since I want the time between albums to be as short as possible, I’ll go into the studio again soon.

Web Site

Please visit for more information. You can read my blog where I, among other things, comment on recent and forthcoming events in my life and career. Don’t be afraid to provide comments. See you there!


Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by
Send to
: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249
CD Reviews Feature Reviews & Features Archive Photo Archive Contact MWE3 Home


Copyright 2000-2010, Inc. All Rights Reserved