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Trad, Gras och Stenar (Träd, Gräs och Stenar)

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Dean View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 25 2012 at 19:47
Träd, Gräs och Stenar

Formed in the Summer of '69, Träd, Gräs och Stenar have been a part of the Swedish Prog scene since the very invention of Progressive/Psyche rock and are still touring and recording. To find out more about the band Torodd Fuglesteg sent a few questions to drummer Thomas Mera Gartz and guitarist Jakob Sjöholm:
 
Your biography has been covered in your ProgArchives profile so let's bypass the biography details. But which bands were you influenced by, why did you choose that name and what does it means in English ?
We go back some 45 years! When Pärson Sound started playing (1967) one main influence was Terry Riley. Bo Anders was one of the musicians performing Riley’s In C, the first performance ever in Stockholm. Bo Anders idea then was to create some organic kind of music, opposed to the linear way of industrial economic thinking, but of biological or natural way - a growing and changing coming from a small seed - like a repetitive bass figure. Our music at that time was very long - one tune could be 45 minutes.
 
At that time all in the group had a lot of favorite music, some different from one another. But some was more common among us, like Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, John Cage - and Indian ragas, Balinese gamelang and African pygmy music, and Swedish folk fiddle music. One of our first tunes was called To India.
 
Of course we listen to other bands when we are on tour, we are very often playing at the same stage. We hear wonderful music from other musicians. We sometimes jam with them. Our ears is not deaf. But - we have our way… That’s why they respect us. Thank You!
 
Nowadays there is no real influence in our music from other bands. The basic forms have been founded long ago. Our music have its own path to take, depending on how the members go deep in the tradition of how to play together in the TGS way. The basic is improvisation around some simple forms of repetitions or sounds or chords, the drums and bass can play the same things for a long time, with variations of course, and then suddenly take it all away for the guitars to fall down the unfathomable abyss! Ha! Wow!
 
No, we try to be in the present all the time and see if there will be any music. So we are very modern, up to now all the time. If we miss, it sounds bad or uninteresting. But that is how it is, that’s life. I  (Mera) don’t think we have much more to say today - than being in the musical now. Of course we are both political and spiritual in our lives - but we don’t sing about it so much anymore - we just play and get our voices out sometimes. Perhaps we express some heartfelt view of the world by this.
 
Some say we play timeless music.
 
Träd Gräs och Stenar, the name, was created in an moment when we were trying to fetch something three word-like, like ”Blood, Sweat and Tears” and suddenly these words come up - Trees Grass and Stones. Very natural at that moment, we had a strong feeling of moving out to the nature, countryside, from the bright lights, big city. Perhaps that was some desperate wish to come away from the cold concrete world and the capitalistic stealing of our society, at that time hidden by a social democratic bureaucracy. Now we live in a right wing openly capitalistic time - they say it is ”the only way” and they say they are ”the workers party”. They even steal the words! The next day they will steal ”Solidarity” too. We say - Occupy Everything!
 
How is the music scene in Sweden now ?
I (Mera) feel to old to follow the new scene (I’m 67 yrs), so I don’t know. Some few times I am involved in a situation to play with much younger musicians in an experimental happening. But as far as my children say - computers ruling the world - dance music and electronic sounds taking over the youngsters.
 
I think it is as everywhere else - a lot of bands trying to be heard and seen. The music industry ruling the festivals and bigger places - and thousands of bands and DJ’s trying to find their own ways in spite of the companies control. Thank you Internet.
 
This is an archive based interview also intended for the fans you get well after both you and I have passed away so let's go straight to your albums. Please tell us more about.....
 
Träd, Gräs och Stenar from 1970
This one is the first and only one of all of our records recorded in a regular recording studio.The first International Harvester/Harvester records were mostly recorded with two mikes in in a concert hall and a meeting hall.
 
Rock för Kropp och Själ from 1972
The last record from that era of the band when all of us was involved in the production of it. One side of the record made in the old Decibel Studio in Stockholm. The other side is a live recording made up in the north of Sweden one summer night in a field down by the river Vindeln.
 
Two more records were later produced, ”Djungelns lag” and ”Mors mors”, by the guitarist Jakob Sjöholm and the the guy who made the recordings on our tours, Per Gud.
 
Ajn Schvajn Draj from 2002
Well, I (Mera) am not listening to any of our records. They are gone, the past, this one is to close in time to be an ”old yellow photo” from the beginning of time like the records from  the 60ties and 70ties.
 
This was in a way our comeback record, made on our old record label Silence. We did  the job ourselves with the recordings and Silence was supposed to help us with the cover work. We had a disagreement that finally ended in changing the name of the record from "Alla Sover" (Everyone's Sleeping") to Ajn Schvajn….
 
Johan Forsman in Gothenburg help us mixing and came up with some new ideas with backwards guitars among under things.
 
Homeless Cats from 2009
I (Mera) remember this one in my ears is better, better music. Perhaps because I was working with it a so much, listening in detail, mixing the whole record. I also mixed Ajn Swaj Draj at first, then Johan Forsman took over. Perhaps this is why I don’t have the same feeling for it.
 
This is the first record we made completely on our own, from the very beginning all the way through the process and released on our own label Gåshud (Goose Flesh/Pimplets)
 
Your DVD From Möja to Minneapolis from 2009
A video is much more fun to see.
 
This is like a 2 hour long diary from those years and also have some moments of great music. It is made by a guy named Micke Högström (in cowork with the band), that after a show just walked up to us and told us that he had filmed most part of that show and asked if we would like to look at it and from that day he become a genuine follower of our band. Neither he or we had any real experience of filming, but we struggled on and with Micke's extreme patience with those old stubborn men, there was finally a dvd after 3 years.
 
and your four live albums
Djungelns Lag
recorded in Sweden and Norway summer and fall 1971. Recordings made by Per Gud Odeltorp on a Revox with two mikes.
 
Mors Mors
recorded on tour in sweden and Denmark 1972. Recordings made by Per Gud Odeltorp on a Revox with two mikes.
 
How would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?
See above.
Comparison is not really what you are doing when you are playing, you are just trying to play so good as you can, so fair and honestly and true to the moment expression of the musicians involved.
 
You had a long break, 30 years to be precise, between the second and the third album. (What do you mean with second and third?) What were you up to during that time ?
 
This is of course a long history, impossible to tell here. It would be a novel. We all tried to survive in different ways. Some of us were playing in other groups and working in other ways.
 
I (Mera) was living at the island Gotland in the Baltic Sea for ten years, made a couple of solo records, then playing with many groups and working as a sound tech… got two children…  etc etc…   something like this for each of us…
 
How is the creative processes in your band from coming up with an idea to it's being recorded ?
A lot of the material we have released since we restarted sometime around 1990 is from jam sessions from our rehearsal place, which is situated 30 minutes drive outside Stockholm. The first years our closest neighbors were two horses. When we find some interesting parts of the music, we try to refine it. We try to examine it from different views and different tempos and try to work us back into the feeling the music originally expressed.
 
When it comes down to songs, someone comes up with  some lyric lines and often some riff or harmonies and then we try to get the tempo and beat settled and then it grows from there. But we want to try to keep a kind of jamming atmosphere even to the songs.
 
What is your current status and what is your plans for this year and beyond ?
Once again we try to make this old machine start rolling again. After that Torbjörn, our bassplayer so sadly passed away, we were so lucky to find Sigge Krantz, a long time friend both to Mera and me (Jakob). With a new bassplayer and new guitarist (Reine Fiske replaced Bo Anders in 2008 when Bo Anders felt to old to continue, no ideas anymore and hated to go by airplane) is of course gonna have some effect of the music coming out (I do hope) but surprisingly much of the attitude towards life and music is still intact within the band.
 
Though the band has gone through both dialysis and blood transfusion and changed some vital organs the soul is somewhat the same and the heart is still pumping for those endless beats and celestial dissonance harmonies and unpredictable syncopes.
 
This year we will start touring in Sweden and maybe will do a tour to the UK also.
We have started to talk and think of putting together a new record, but this is a long and slow process with this band, so if we are lucky we will come up with something by the end of this year, but more likely sometime next year.
And then after that we just hope to be able to go out and continue to play where ever people want us to come.
 
To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
Thank you for wanting to know!
 
Thomas Mera Gartz and Jakob Sjöholm
 
(with thanks to Torodd Fuglesteg for the interview)


Edited by Dean - February 26 2012 at 03:20


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Eetu Pellonpää View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Eetu Pellonpää Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2012 at 03:08
Clap Sadly didn't manage to get cheap ferry & lodging from the Stockholmin order to see them perform @ Stranden some time ago
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mellotron Storm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2012 at 12:24
Good to hear from these guys, and especially that they are inspired musically again.
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