Behind the music of: Urtidsdjur (SWE)


Im Rahmen des Albumreleases einer unserer absoluten Lieblingsband aus Schweden im Moment, gibt es eine Premiere:

Im einem Interviewmixtape erzählen Urtidsjur von dem Kennenlernen, den Studioaufnahmen und einem Mofaknattern. Des Weiteren zu hören, Musik die die Band inspiriert hat uwm.. Also, viel Spaß!

Question: Introduce yourself

Emil: I can start, my name is Emil Niklasson. I play guitar and sing in Urtidsdjur. I write the most of the lyrics as well.

Kettil: My name is Kettil, I play drums.

Gustaf: My name is Gustaf, I play guitar and sing backup vocals.

Alfred: My name is Alfred and I play the base guitar. We are Urtidsdjur.

Question: How did Urtidsdjur start?

Kettil: We started, me and Gustaf met over an ad I put up on a bandfinder page for bandless musicians. I had just moved to Uppsala and needed someone to play with and Gustaf answered my ad. 

Gustaf: And then we put out an ad looking for a base player and Emil answered that ad. It turned out that he was also a good guitar player and a good songwriter so he switched to that role in the band. In the end we also found Alfred on one of those types of ads looking for bandless band members. 

Kettil: Emil actually went rogue and tried to recruit a saxophone player and that’s Alfred.

Gustaf: Yeah, that’s true.

Kettil: We weren’t sure that it would fit the band at the moment

Alfred: No, it didn’t. 

Kettil: We knew he played base as well and when we lost our second bassist, we thought that we should call Alfred. He’s a funny dude.

Alfred: You didn’t even try me, you just, here’s the gig dates.

Kettil: Yeah, we were desperate. 

Question: Do you remember the first time that you met? 

Emil: Well, I remember the first time that I met up with Kettil and Gustaf. We met at a very infamous pub here in Uppsala called Baren Baren, sadly no longer existing but it was a fine place. We met there over a beer, just talking about music. So that was the first time I met them and then Alfred, as you have heard before, he tried out with Urtidsdjur when he played saxophone and that was the first time I met him. When we tried out.

Alfred: No, we actually drank coffee, you and me first. Somewhere.

Emil: Oh, we did, somewhere.

Gustaf: We always start with a date in this band. 

Emil: Yeah, for me it was like I wanted to, I was having my kind of small solo project thingies going on and didn’t really have a band to play with so I was looking for a band at the moment. The opportunity came up to play with these guys, to play music and to sing in Swedish. It wasn’t something we had spoken about at first but when we first jammed and when we had talked about influences and such it became clear that we should sing in Swedish.

Question: Why did you choose this band name? 

Kettil: I don’t remember the other alternatives. It dosen’t come from our music or anything. It’s just at one point when you wrote some songs and you got a gig, you need a name. So we just brainstormed and name dropped stuff. It’s just a funny word, Urtidsdjur. It means prehistoric animal.

Alfred: I think it’s very hard for people outside of Sweden to pronounce because it actually have four consonants in a row. That’s very unusual even for being Swedish. 

Kettil: Yeah,

Gustaf: My Spanish friend has a lot of trouble pronouncing it for example. 

Alfred: I didn’t realize it until we started to promoting our new songs and I wrote a few people outside of Sweden. Everyone asked ”How are you able to pronounce this? How should it sound?”

Kettil: It never crossed my mind outside of Sweden would even pronounce it, that they would actually hear us. 

Alfred: Fair point.

Question: If someone has never ever heard of Urtidsdjur, which song should they listen to first? 

Emil: I guess we all have different answers to that question but in my opinion I think they should listen to ”Sven” at first. It got that groovy Urtidsdjur vibe, it got some spacey stuff going on as well. Yeah, all over just a very, very good song. 

Alfred: I think it’s easy, it’s just to take the latest single and then, after that, you listen to the rest of the songs also. 

Emil: And then you can’t decide which is best because they are all best. 

Question: In the song ”Sven” you can hear a moped or something like that, how come? 

Gustaf: Yeah, that was my idea. In the lyrics there is a line about driving a moped and I just thought of these old, like 80s, hard rock songs where you can hear really cool engines in the background. I thought it would be funny if we did it but with a moped instead. I borrowed my sister’s old moped from the 70s and just recorded when I did some burnouts. That’s how it came about. 

Emil: It fits very well, it’s really hard to imagine the song ”Sven” without the moped in it. 

Alfred: Bring in a moped player in the band.

Emil: That’s probably harder to find then a new base player.

Gustaf: It was a Puch Dakota. It’s a very, actually very weak moped from the 70s and it has not been trimmed either which is quite unique.

Kettil: Yeah, it’s from Austria. 

Question: What is the most defining moment in Urtidsdjur’s history to date? 

Alfred: When me and Gustaf was trying to eqing the rehearsal room for 40 minutes and it was going along pretty well until we realized that we hadn’t turned on the equalizer. That says a lot about us. 

Gustaf: I think it sounds a bit better, yeah.

Alfred: Or when we did the cover art for the vinyl LP and no one had noticed that I misspelled ”Vandringssång” with two d until we were finished with everything. It was a little bit of a surprise. Now I’m just telling bad things about us.

Emil: We’re going to talk about something that is not bad, something that is good. I think

Kettil: Or musically.

Emil: Or musically, yes. I think that it’s not just one moment but it’s like the latest gigs we had when we played this Neil Young cover called ”Gå på” in Swedish, it’s ”Walk on” in English and you can’t really tell it is a Neil Young song because it sounds more Urtidsdjur. I feel like that can be one of those defining moments. Another one is when we were recording our album and you play the last note in the last song and you know, now it’s finished. That’s one of those defining moments as well. 

Alfred: Yeah, I agree.

Question: In terms of sound we often hear parallells to Den Stora Vilan in your music, is it just us or are you related to their music? 

Gustaf: It was one of those bands that Kettil put in the ad from the beginning I think, right? So it was kind of defining the type of music we would want to play from the start. 

Kettil: Definitely, I’m always trying to steer us towards Den Stora Vilan. It’s my top three favorite bands of all times.

Alfred: I had actually never heard of them before I started to play with you.

Emil: Me neither. I hadn’t heard of Den Stora Vilan. Now I dig them.

Question: You can also hear psychedelic influences from the 60s and 70s in your songs, how would you describe your sound?

Alfred: I think that when we recorded Gustav was very eager to have a really analog sound that sounded pure and natural. I think that is the sound of the 60s music. 

Gustaf: Yeah, I guess that’s my sound ideal. That everything should sound kind of natural. In terms of the music I think we all listen to quite varied types of music but everyone in this band likes 60s and 70s rock also. At least for me that’s the sound that I’m going for.

Emil: Yeah, I agree and the psychedelic aspect of Urtidsdjur’s music, it’s fun to have it since you can experiment with stuff and sounds and different kinds of ways of playing stuff. That lets you find stuff that you never thought that you could find.

Kettil: Yeah and a lot of times I don’t think that we play psychedelic music. It’s just that we play around with sounds and effects, we experiment, and it manifests as psychedelic music or psychedelic rock. 

Gustaf: We’re trying to experiment with sounds and different moods I guess.

Kettil: Yeah and it automatically makes it sound like psychedelic.

Question: Are you more of a studio- or live band?

Emil: I think that to me Urtidsdjur is all about playing live but that is perhaps because that’s what I prefer to do. Studio, well, it’s fun as well. It’s two different things. If I have to choose one of them it will be live.

Kettil: Live definitely. I don’t mind having recordings but I don’t like doing them. Not in the studio environment, I don’t get the technical stuff, I wish I did. It sounds fun the way you nerd out, Gustaf and Affe. For me it’s live totally. 

Alfred: I was all about live until we recorded, now I’m mixed between them. I had such fun recording this album.

Gustaf: I really love recording but I think I like playing live just as much actually, which is a bummer now that we haven’t been able to do in such a long time. Let’s hope that we can do it very soon again. 

Alfred: So then we decide that Urtidsdjur is a live band, ok?

Emil: At least for now.

Alfred: Then we made that clear. Now I know.

Emil: It’s hard being a bass player.

Alfed: Yeah, I know. Tell me all about it. 

Question: Your current single is called ”Vandringssång” (Wandering song), an unusual title for this time. How did you develop the song and the lyrics? 

Emil: I had this guitar melody that I had been working on for a while and I wanted to do something with it. I wanted to write a song that wasn’t fixed: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break, chorus and outro. I decided to write a song without any chorus, just verses. Then I tried this melody that I had with the idea in mind and it just popped up in my head that the song should be about walking, going somewhere. 

Alfred: I always thought it was a flirt with Swedish folk melodies like ”Äppelbo gånglåt”, it’s the same theme and it’s a folk melody. 

Gustaf: Yeah, it’s a classic thing in Swedish folk music to be walking, right? For some reason.

Emil: Everybody’s going somewhere, I don’t know why. 

Alfred: Always going away from cold Sweden.

Emil: Yeah, absolutely, it got that folk element to it as well.

Kettil: Swedish folk music, it’s often quite melancholy and I think ”Vandringssång” captured the Swedish folk music melancholy quite well.  

Question: Why did you decide to sing in Swedish? 

Emil: As we said before, it wasn’t something we had thought of except for Kettil who had thought of it before all of us other did. 

Kettil: Because Den Stora Vilan does.

Emil: It was just something that came naturally when we started jamming.

Question: How important part of your music is improvisation?

Emil: It’s a very important part of Urtidsdjur. All of our songs starts with that a person has an idea or a concept that the person takes to the rehearsal space and then we jam on it for some time and then it eventually ends up as an Urtidsdjur song. 

Question: Tell us about the process of recording the songs for the album.

Emil: I think that we came to the point where we had released a single, we had released an EP and we just had to do an album because we wanted to do an album. We had the songs so it was like, what’s the next step? We need to find somewhere to record this album. We couldn’t do it where we rehearse because there’s other bands rehearsing next doors, to much noise. Then Kettil had a very useful connection.

Kettil: We borrowed a small chapel out on the countryside and we spent three intense days where we recorded all the instruments.

Gustaf: We recorded all of the vocals in our rehearsal space and we also did some, or actually a lot of experimenting with different sounds adding synthesizers, percussion and stuff like that to make the sound a bit more interesting. Then Alfred and me sat and mixed the whole thing also in our rehearsal studio.

Alfred: Yeah, we did it for quite a long time or half a year almost. Half of the time was just playing around with percussion and having a good time I think. 

Gustaf: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. 

Alfred: We have done everything ourselves except for the mastering which we hired a person to do. 

Question: The current Corona situation is turning everything upside down, how is Urtidsdjur affected?

Gustaf: For once we can’t play live, we haven’t done that in a year now I guess.

Kettil: We haven’t rehearsed in almost a year.

Alfred: We haven’t rehearsed since our last live show and that was in January.

Kettil: We’re quite lucky to have recorded last summer. We have had all these songs to work on, we have had quite a lot to do instead of playing live. That’s the good thing.

Emil: So we had something to do with ourselves. I can’t imagine myself not playing music or not doing something that has to do with music.

Question: Do you have plans to play live outside of Sweden?

Emil: After Corona it would be very fun, of course, to play live outside of Sweden. We don’t have any plans or anything booked at the moment but of course that would be suoer duper funny. 

Alfred; Yeah, that would be really funny. We didn’t quite expect that people outside of Sweden to be interested in Urtidsdjur so we haven’t given it a thought really.

Gustaf: A pleasant surprise that it might be interesting for people, for example in Germany, so maybe we will do a German tour. That would be great.

Emil: That would be fun.

Question: Your album will also be released on Som Sverker Recordings, how did this cooperation come about?

Alfred: They wrote us and really liked our music and they got to listen to the album before anyone else. They were interested in working with us on the vinyl so we decided to release the physical vinyl through them.

Question: What kind of music are you listening to right now?

Emil: I have started listening to Daniel Romano’s latest record. I think that he has released another one now as well but this album called ”How ill thy world is ordered”. I’ve been listening to Daniel Romano for a while and I really like his albums, they’re well written and well produced. This one is not as good as my favorite Romano record called ”Mosey” but it’s still a very good album. Then I started listening to this Swedish band called Death Breath again, which is metal and really good. 

Gustaf: I am really struggling to find new music right now so I’ll take any tips from you other guys.

Alfred: I’ve been promoting Urtidsdjur so much so a lot of other people, when I ask them to listen to our music, are asking me to listen to their new music. I’ve been listening to a lot of other bands that people I know from other places, their kind of music. It’s been very mixed so a lot of Swedish music lately, a lot of punk.

Question: Which old or new Swedish bands do you recommend for our playlist?

Gustaf: I guess we have to give a shoutout to Slowgold, right? Maybe you know about them but that was the thing that Kettil and I had in common that made me answer the ad in the first place. 

Kettil: They call it dream rock or prairie rock. Kebnekajse, a Swedish 70s or 60s folk music and psychedelic rock band. They’re a national treasure. 

Alfred: I only have punk rock bands to recommend but I don’t know if it fits this podcast or not. I can give a shoutout to my friends in The Sensitives who has a single out that also Gustaf has mixed. They will play in Germany a lot and have cancelled four tours in Germany this year I think.

Emil: I could recommend a thousand bands, I think. If you’re looking for something kind of similar to Urtidsdjur it would be like Nynningen for example. A Swedish prog band active during the 70s. I think they are about to release a new album as well some time soon. You’ve got newer bands like Orkan from Gothenburg.

Question: What’s the plan for the future of Urtidsdjur?

Emil: Since you can’t play live I guess that we will go back to our rehearsal space and try to write new material for the second album.

Question: Any parting words?

Emil: Listen to Urtidsdjur, it’s a nice band.

Gustaf: Wash your hands.