Trummor och Orgel

Wolf recently caught up with Trummor and Orgel, the musical brother duo Staffan and Anders Ljunggren, and legendary front man and vocalist Ebbot Lundberg, from Soundtrack of Our Lives, after their show at Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg. Wolf has experienced the energy of Trummor & Orgel’s live performances in the past, and when the guys decided to conduct an intimate show at the self proclaimed ‘house of culture’ in Helsingborg, we couldn’t resist getting to know the guys a little bit better. With Staffan on drums and Anders on organ, their sound is electric and makes you feel like you just stepped into a time warp of late 60’s inspired acid jazz. We know from the first time Wolf saw the Trummor & Orgel play that they inadvertently draw you into a genre of music that doesn’t get as much play time as it deserves! On their own they are ground breaking, and with Ebbot, front man of the infamous Swedish band The Soundtrack of Our Lives, musical magic is achieved. Soundtrack of Our Lives was literally the soundtrack for a lot of Swedish Gen X and Y’s throughout their teenage years, if you’re Australia, think Powderfinger, but with a million times more charisma and way better songs. His booming voice and humor while on stage makes the whole experience easy going, engaging and, well, fun. Chatting over a few Indian Pale Ales and low candle lighting, Wolf finds out how Ebbot came onto the scene, what it's like to play together and why vinyl is the medium of choice for the Trummor och Orgel sound.

As a perfect prelude to the interview: Ebbot is approached by a fan and asked if he can pose in a selfie.

Wolf: Do you get that a lot, Ebott?
Ebbot: Yeah (laughs). No but I usually don’t go out that much since the TV show. There nothing wrong with it, no accidents so far….
Ebbot has just been involved with the Swedish reality TV show, Så Mycket Battre (So Much Better) where those on the show perform the songs of the showcased band or singer to see who can do it better while all living in the same, highly surveillance house.

W: You guys have just played at Psych Fest in Copenhagen, how was that, especially compared to tonight’s show?
Dunkers Kulturhus is foremost an art gallery, and it was a sit down show. Last time Wolf saw the band play it was at Babel, a club in Malmö, late in the evening where we were getting lost in the disco lights and dancing the night away:
Staffan: Different, different in all ways! First of all the arrangements that we played today were quite structured. Shows like today are really well organised, but festivals are always different.
Anders: Yeah different… We didn’t have a proper sound check because it was a festival and the crowd was just yelling and screaming the whole time, it was really funny!

W: Do you do a lot of shows that are more formal like the one tonight?
A: Yeah we have done…
E: Mmm now I am trying to think of the shows we have done…
A: Normally we play at quite small places, like a bar or hotel lobby. We played at pop festival in Germany last summer, Haldern Pop.
E: It makes me think that it would be good to go and play a few shows in London… and Bristol and South Hampton..
A: And Brighton.. We have been playing together for seven years, and we’ve played a lot of different shows and it just works, everywhere! Surprisingly well! At after parties in hotels, down in the sewers (laughs) no but basically everywhere…

 W: How did you all come together…Well we know how you two got together - (Staffan and Anders) you’re brothers - so that was pretty easy….
A: Yeah you found me...
S: Yeah exactly, there is he is!
E: There was a guy Fredrik at Counter who had signed these guys, an old friend of mine who gave me their CD and said ’do you want to help produce’ so when they were doing the second album, I had a couple of ideas, and I was like ‘wow, I have some lyrics for these guys’. I just recorded some vocals and then we had a live show and release… A shitty record label release party with all kinds of genres but when we played, it was actually something kind of cool.
Everybody laughs and agrees
E: Yeah it was just good and we were like yeah why not, and we just rehearsed some cover songs, and did that, even now we don’t really play together that much, we don’t even rehearse and when we go up and play everything just falls into place… It’s really.. Pretty cool! We actually have discussed making a proper album together..
A: We have been saying that for seven years…
S: Yeah, but it has never been this close!

W: What has stopped you in the past?
All: Time!
S: Getting together, we live in different parts of Sweden, Anders and I live in Uppsala and Ebbot lives outside of Goteborg, and we meet when we play. Sometimes we take a few more days to record or rehearse something.
A: (Laughs) One time! But yeah it’s very close… 

W: Will the album be new songs, or things you have written together in the past?
E: It has to be new stuff, or rearranged songs as well but not too many, the plan is to do something new...
S: Yeah, never heard before!

W: On vinyl as well?
E: Of course!
A: Perhaps not cassette though!
Looks to Ebbot because of the large number of limited edition cassette tapes he has in his bag, one of which he kindly shares with Wolf.

W: That picture is amazing! Do you usually put your music out on cassette?
The cassette tape cover has a Photoshop-ped picture of a pregnant Ebbot walking in the woods.
E: Actually I started out making cassettes a long time ago, and I thought why not, and this record company loves putting out cassettes.

W: Have you guys released anything on cassette, and would you now that Ebbot has paved the way?
A: No, never, and absolutely not! It’s difficult because vinyl is somehow the most beautiful and its the nicest format for music, because it has a natural pause in it, you need to think about how to make the album, it’s not like putting up 17 songs on Spotify. You really need to think about how to match the songs so they work together and to have a nice side A and B. Vinyl is something that people are asking for, at least in Sweden. But streaming music isn’t that fun, its just convenient.
E: I realised when listening to their music on vinyl that it was a real mistake they had not used vinyl from the beginning, because now their records are like a masterpiece, it’s like ‘Shit, this is too good to be true!’
A: You can’t place the songs really, it's a journey..

W: We’ve heard that you were original harassed into making vinyls?
S: (Laughs) Yeah basically!
A: We just decided that of course we needed to do this, and our label wasn’t really into it…
S: So we had to do the pressing ourselves.
A: But it was so worth it. Especially with our third album.
Trummor & Orgel have recently released all of their albums on vinyl.

W: It seems vinyls are a social experience too, as you say the natural pause makes you get up and change the record and talk about the music…
A: Yeah, I grew up with CDs and I like that format as well, but with vinyl you have to be more careful…
S: Its more organic…
A: Yeah I mean you can actually see the songs too..

W: They become almost like an heirloom, passed down from you parents…
S: Yeah and I still remember the smell of the records, from the cardboard!
A: When the vinyl is really worn and you listen to it, it might not be as good the next time, so every time you listen to a vinyl it’s special…. Unlike streaming when everything is the same, every time. 
A: I think that our music is something that should be experienced live, because of the visual thing - we are only two people with this much sound, and are able to show that is possible to make this sort of music with just two people. If you just listen to the record you don’t see the band and it’s perhaps not so special, but if you see it, its like the third degree of Trummor & Orgel. 

W: Do you notice the difference in the crowd with and without Ebbot?
S: It is quite similar actually, if we compare playing in clubs and if we play with or without a singer. I would say it’s the same type of interaction with the crowd...
A: Usually we play these two sets, which means we can play our songs first and then the audience becomes familiar with us…. so its kind of the same response in that way.
S: But on the other hand Ebbot has this kind of magnetic personality so he always lifts the crowd at least one-step up from what we can do. So obviously the gigs are better with Ebbot!
A: (Laughs) The crowds are better with Ebbot!
E: I think the best shows are when I just sing a couple of songs and then I shut up, and then you play (laughs)!
A: It helps if the crowd is a little bit loose!
E: Yeah we need to pump in some more heavy smells or something so people get more into it… its hard here in Sweden.
S: Yeah, it is hard in Sweden.

W: Why is that?
S: I would say it’s different for different cities…
A: In Stockholm it’s much better now than it was, people were so stiff they would just be chatting and looking at each other, not at the musicians.. It was like they were a bit scared of showing their true feelings. In Stockholm you sort of have to be accepted … but somehow in smaller cities the crowd are less scared…
S: But when you play in smaller towns, everyone is always drunk so it’s easier (laughs)!

W: Have you mainly been touring around Scandinavia?
A: Basically Sweden really…
E: Denmark, Norway…. They really should be playing in Europe; I know they would have a huge audience.

W: You should come to Australia, Wolf thinks people would be really into what you guys are doing…
S: Yeah we should do it, and do this Abba thing, go there and get huge!
E: We were in Melbourne in 2006 (with his band Sound Track of Our Lives), and that was when The Tote was going to close down. Richie Malone, do you know that guy? (Unfortunately Wolf didn’t) He was one of the guys who owned the Tote, that place was his life, and he was going through this depression because the bar was closing down, so we ended up playing like a five hour set there, it was a great place! It was kind of curious, and we also played at Meredith…

W: Ah Meredith! That is Wolf’s favourite Australian festival…
E: Yeah it was great, out in the middle of nowhere, and only one stage, everybody is there and you can see everybody. I had this black kaftan on and at one point I told everybody in the audience to sit down, and it was a really magical moment, everybody sat down, apart from one guy! A bearded guy, and he had a white kaftan! And I had the black, and I was like what is this? Yeah he looked just like me…. He was totally off his head!

W: What’s your plan for summer?
A: We have this tour now, it’s going throughout the whole summer…. But we are going to play a few shows together…Ebbot’s touring and so are we; sometimes we overlap so we will meet on the road.
All: Yep!

Trummor och Orgel tour: 
May 24, 2014 – Västerås | I Lasses kvarter
June 5, 2014 – Göteborg, Sweden | Friday I’m in Love @ Pusterviksbaren
June 7, 2014 – Kalmar, Sweden | Söderport
August 12, 2014 – Gütersloh, Germany | Festival of Small Art
August 15, 2014 – Falkenberg, Sweden | Stålboms
August 16, 2014 – Kumla, Sweden | Sjöslaget
Read more about Trummor & Orgel

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, live at the Meredith Music Festival 2006. 

Interview & words: Ash Francisco
Photography: Karim Helgstrand Nour