Facts & Figures | with Johan Angergård of Acid House Kings, Poprace, Club 8, Pallers and The Legends
Warmer Climes: How did you become interested in music?
Johan Angergård: I grew up with music all around me. My parents were always playing records at home and I especially got to hear a lot of Elvis as my father is a very big fan of him. So, music has always been a natural part of life. When I started listening to synth pop like Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk around 9 years age I wanted to make my own music and got a keyboard. I didn't come very far with that though. When I started listening to guitar pop like The Smiths and The Jesus And Mary Chain when I was 13 year old I wanted to learn how to play guitar so I could make music myself. That was the start of my music career I think! I played with my best friend Joakim first and then with my older brother Niklas too. The first years we sang in Swedish and called ourselves En Regnig Dag (means A Rainy Day) and then we changed to English and became Acid House Kings.
What advice would you have for other aspiring artists trying to get noticed in the big industry?
I think they should concentrate on making honest and good music first and not care so much about the world around them. If they tried to hard to get noticed they might loose sight of what's really important, i.e. the music and what and give you to make it. If they want to make money or something it's better to sell computers, work at a bank or something and not do music...
How did you learn to be perfect?
I'm far from perfect, but I always aim at making my music as close to the visions in my head as possible. The feeling when I've just written a new song and think it's great is exterely satisfying and rewarding. I listen a lot to my own music...
What is a perfect song to you?
Something that really moves me or takes me to new places. Most of the time it takes a lovely pop melody to do that, but not always.
Your new stuff sounds more noisey…Is this a backlash to your more pure sounding pop?
I only follow my heart and what I want to do in this very moment and with The Legends, which is only me, it's easy to make sudden changes in style to adjust the music after my state of mind. 2008 kind of sucked on a personal level so I needed noise to distract me from myself. Also, it seems like each album, each new album, tends to be a bit of a reaction to the previous one. The last one was clean and electronic so that probably inspired me to do someting dirty, noisy and full of guitars. And it's always most fun to do something I've never done before and exploit new types of sounds.
Are you political?
I'm not active politically, no. But I vote of course and agree and disagree with a lot of things. The Legends is not a political band though.
How do you begin a song? How do you know it's good enough to finish?
If I want to listen to it over and over again after I've made a first demo I know it's good enough to finish. I usually have an idea of what I want to do before I go to the studio, but I don't start writing anything before I go there. Once there I start experimenting with drums, bass and maybe a guitar to capture the mood I had in mind. Sometimes it becomes what I had in mind, sometimes something completely different but maybe even better. I try out a lot of things and experiment before I settle with a certain style or melody for a song.
Why aren't The Legends the biggest band in the world?
Because too many people have bad taste in music perhaps?
What is your favourite song? From The Legends? From other artists?
Right now it might be Heartbeats from Over And Over, but it depends on what kind of mood I'm in. That's perhaps the most emotional song I've recorded, but some days I'm more into noise and prefer Always The Same or Recife. I Know It's Over by The Smiths is the best song ever.
Was there a driving concept behind your new album?
Noise can clean and distract a troubled mind like few other things. There's a particular type of harmony that can be found in the noise, it's like all these layers of distortion, feedback and fuzz has a life of it's own in which you can sink into. So, that's how the making of the album started. As life started to suck a bit less the music became a bit happier. Monday To Saturday was the last song I wrote for the album and that definitely has a lighter sound and it's about everyday life and the troubles about living together with someone.
What's the most exciting part of the music-making process for you?
The first stages of making new song.
If you could pick a dream band to open for, past or present, who would it be?
Do you have direct writing influences? Someone special for you?
How do you fit into the Swedish music scene? What's it like at the moment?
I feel close, at least on one level, to the bands on Labrador as it's my label and I think they're all great bands. But when it comes to music style The Legends is like an island and I'm sort of living my own life and I'm not really part of any scene here. At least that's how I see it.
How would you describe your music to somebody who wants to listen ?
Hypnotic washes of distorted synthesizers and sweet bouncy melodies echoes under walls of feedback and crushingly loud shimmering guitars in modern mix of white noise, 60’s girls pop, indie and krautrock. And I'd add that I'd give to the new album (Over And Over) 9.0 out of 10!
Who or what inspires you to make music?
My own life and the music I listen to. It's that simple I'm afraid.
What is one thing a musician cannot be without?
For me, a computer.
What was your most memorable concert moment?
My very first Morrissey concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1991 was truly amazing. And I even got a piece of the shirt he threw out to the audience with me back home! My Bloody Valentine in Lund the same year was also amazing. When they played You Made Me Realize it was like a jet plane starting in your head. I couldn't hear for days.
It's good! It makes it easier to compete with larger labels when distribution can be dealt with so easily. And also promotion becomes easier.
Do you have a favorite new band?
Perhaps not a favourite band that can compete with The Smiths and Television Personalities, but Little Big Adventure are really wonderful.
Mention 5 (or more) records that had been influencing you until now?
I think the ones that have affected me the most are all albums I bought before I turned 16 or something. So it might be something like these...
The Smiths | The Queen Is Dead
Various Artists | Shadow Factory
Depeche Mode | Speak And Spell
The Jesus And Mary Chain | Psychocandy
Fad Gadget | The Fad Gadget Singles
What do you love to do when you're not singing?
I like elements of nature like water and snow. So I like going swimming, try surfing (but I suck at it), waterskiing, skiing, snowboarding or just do nothing by the water or in the snow.
Any of the songs from your debut that you particularly enjoy performing live?
Everything You Say. Especially in the very first gigs. It was the first song I wrote for The Legends and it marked a start of something brand new.
Did anybody told you that you are a genius?
It has happened. But it's difficult for me to take that in - to say the least!
What's your biggest wish? …For the world, for yourself…
I'd wish that something nice and bright awaited me when I'm dead and not eternal darkness. For the world, I just wish people were kinder.
How is to be a part of magic Labrador? You look like a big family…Anyway, all Swedish music gives this impression…
It's a small label so I do most of the things on the label. So, it's a bit like a part of myself. I still enjoy it just as much as I've ever done and it's still my overall goal to make as many people listen to the same music as I listen to. I do meet some of the bands on the label quite often and it's very important for me to like not only the music the bands put out but also the people behind it. So, in a way it's a bit like big family.
Do you have fears?
Death is the major one which makes all other fears looks small and un-important.
What is music for you?
It's an escape, revelation, fun, a chance to be together with people I like, I way to express myself, a way to feel ok with myself, something that keeps me busy and curious...It means the world to me.