Interview - Molosser

Country music

Molosser's music moves across an acoustic soundscape where blues, jazz and soul all find places to grow and blossom on rocky ground. All those influences, old and new, have found a home in a Swedish rural landscape of dense woodlands and wide, open fields, where the music adopts a touch of Nordic melancholia and Scandinavian minimalism. Let's have a chat with them about their music.

- Hi guys and welcome to this interview. Tell us about Ellesmere Island.
Hi! Ellesmere Island is the final track of our debut album, Appear, that was released in May this year. It’s also the last of the official music videos for the album – all of the nine tracks have got their own! But Ellesmere actually has two – we figured that not everyone might be in for a one minute long guitar intro (actually it’s a first verse without vocals, but that’s far from obvious) so we made a radio edit single that goes straight to the chorus, and a video version to match. There’s still four minutes left of the song, so … Anyway, now you can choose which one you want to watch/listen to. Or both.
Musically, Ellesmere Island is the most minimalistic of the songs on the album, and like all the others it’s built around the interplay of our two downtuned, acoustic guitars and melodic vocals. It’s a song about loss and to come back from it.

- How would you describe your sound?
We want to call it acoustic rock, because it’s really from the noisier side of rock music we come, with riffs as a base for the construction of the sound, but since we chose the acoustic format, many seem to place it in the “folk” genre. We don’t much care what anyone calls it, as long as they listen, but the influences come more from rock, blues and improvised, modal jazz. Anyway, working more with basslines, riffs and melodies on the acoustic guitars than strumming or fingerpicking gives a rather special sound.

- What do you write about?

The songs always have their root in a strong personal thought or emotion, but they are written in an open-ended way so that they can mean different things for different people. Also, they work both on a personal and a wider plane, so a phrase can mean several things at the same time. Maybe this sounds more arty-farty than it actually is, but we don’t see any point in telling people how to interpret the lyrics.

- What do you listen to when you are home?
Molosser. No, of course we listen to other stuff as well. Unsane, Kyuss, Soundgarden, P J Harvey are a few on the rock side, Albert Ayler, Thelonious Monk, Jan Johansson on the jazz side. Son House, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Belfour in blues. Just to name a few. And a lot of other things. Bartok’s string quartets pop up from time to time. Spotify’s “Weekly discoveries” algorithm can actually be quite entertaining sometimes and dish out both real gems and totally confounding things. You can see that little robot thinking: “OK, you like jazz. And you like rock. Then you must love jazz rock!”

- Your favourite live performance so far?
- Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage
Well, our studio work is a strictly DIY enterprise, but we do have a bunch of “helpers” in the form of our cats, who sometimes can get a bit too engaged in the projects. One of them in particular, Zombie, likes to do background vocals that can be heard when you play back what you otherwise thought was a pretty neat take. But they´re great company and love to be in the room when we play.

- Your favourite albums?
Oh, there’s too many to pick from and it changes from day to day.

- A musician you would like to meet for a beer?
Well, we don’t do beer (we draw the line at coffee and chocolate), but wouldn’t mind if the (remaining) guys from Soundgarden had some when we meet for a chat. Clutch seem to be a pretty mellow bunch as well, and Them Crooked Vultures would be welcome to join in and share their creative energy.

- What would you ask backstage if you were the most important band on earth?
Organic green tea, Licorice Allsorts and some peace and quiet. Yep, that’s how cool we are.

- What are your plans for the next future?
We have recorded “barebones” versions of some of the songs from Appear – just the two guitars and vocals, straight in, one take – and will release them along with videos during December and January. Then we have a truckload of new songs that we are rehearsing, demoing and pre-producing for the next album. It will be a rougher, bluesier sound, and we can’t wait to get it out.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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