Why aren’t we living in Sweden? While the prospect of great bands coming from there is hardly new, it would seem that 2010 will be the year of the Swedish invasion once again. Mono Stereo aim to be on board for the voyage and will certainly find their way into your heart. Shimmering guitars, throbbing bass lines and vocals that manage to rise above the beauty to add an atmosphere of dreamy bliss. While they rightfully acknowledge their Ride and My Bloody Valentine influences, we hear Postcard and Loop references that set them apart from the crowd. Legendary producer Kramer (Galaxie 500 among others) is set to produce their debut record. In the meantime, the group took time out to answer a few questions about impending fame.
We start you off with the brilliant, “A Matter Of Confusion”
TDOA: To start, why don’t you tell us a bit about how the band formed?
MS: The band started in the summer of 2006, but we knew each other a long time before then. Then it was Geggan, Jakub, Kjell and a guy called Jonas on bass. Jonas left the band in early 2007, and then Gunnar joined on bass. Kjell and Gunnar had previously played in a band together. Jonas is still very much involved with the band though, sometimes joining us on live shows.
TDOA: You firmly embraced the shoegaze tag that some bands try to deny ever hearing of. What bands influenced you?
MS: First of all we like 80′s and 90′s bands like Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Stone Roses, Spacemen 3, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Oasis, and also a lot of 60′s bands as Byrds, Rolling Stones and many psychedelic bands from that era.
TDOA: What do you say to those that think the shoegaze revival has been overdone?
MS: We don’t really care if people think it’s overdone or not. We have a genuine love for that type of music and think it’s timeless. To us the fact that more and more bands playing this music appear is only positive. R ‘n B – that’s overdone!
TDOA: You’re the 3rd or 4th Swedish band we’ve interviewed in the past month and each group sounds different than the rest. Certainly Sweden has had a great music scene for a while, but is it growing again or are we just catching on over here?
MS: We haven’t really noticed the scene here growing, but of course there are a few bands from here that we really like, bands like the Early Days and Dinah Wants Religion. Maybe it’s easier for us than bands from other non English speaking countries since our English is generally good and we are all exposed to British and American culture from an early age.
TDOA: You’re recording your first album with the legendary producer Kramer. What’s the story behind that brilliant development?
MS: We became friends with him on MySpace and he immediately wrote back to us saying he would love to work with us if we wanted to. The initial idea was for him to mix and master our second EP, but when he got a copy of our first one he changed his mind and said he really wanted to produce a full length album instead. We are very excited! We will start recording with him in early February.
TDOA: How did you come to make the Orange Is Green video? Who directed it and did you enjoy the process? We hear so many bands complain about the prospect of having to make videos, so we’d like to hear your feelings.
MS: It was our first bass player Jonas who made that video actually. He had some ideas about making it in black and white and use photos as a way of telling a story. We shot it on the very coldest day of last year, but besides that it was an enjoyable experience for us. It’s great working with someone you trust and know very well.
TDOA: For the guitar geeks who read our site, can you tell us about your setup? Guitars, amps, pedals?
MS: To be honest we don’t have great knowledge when it comes to equipment. We usually don’t know what people are talking about when they try to start a conversation with us about technical stuff. The gear we use though are Gretch and Epiphone Hollow Body’s with Fender and Music Man amps. The pedals we usually use are different types of delay and fuzz. The bass is a 65 Höfner President, also Hollow Body. The Hollow Body’s tend to produce a powerful and resonating feedback which is important to us.
TDOA: Do you have most of the material for your new record already written or will you do some in the studio?
MS: All the songs for the album are already written and we are very pleased with all of them.
TDOA: To what extent would you let a producer like Kramer “change” your songs, whether it’s changing the arrangement, adding instruments, etc.?
MS: We have been been working very hard on getting the songs exactly like we want them, but we are also open to suggestions from him. After all, it’s supposed to be a collaboration between us and Kramer.
TDOA: What plans does the band have for 2010 once the album is finished?
MS: We will be releasing a 7¨ single on the American label mpls ltd. in the spring. The album will hopefully be released in the beginning of summer, and besides that we will hopefully be playing a lot of shows all over Europe. A trip to the US later this year is also being planned. And remember 2010 is mono time!
TDOA: We heard you played a couple of shows in London at the end of last year to support your debut EP – how did they go ?
MS: We had three shows and we especially loved playing at Proud Galleries in Camden. Great venue and great atmosphere. We played with a band from New York City called Violens who were great guys and they invited us to play in the US with them.
mono stereo’s debut EP Space Out is available online and they still have some limited edition physical copies left. You can get in touch with them through their website, from where you can follow links to other communities. You can also join their mailing list. You’ll get a free four track live EP if you do!