The Quill’s bassist bassist Roger Nilsson answers the questions as the band release their new album ‘Tiger Blood’ and tour the UK in November…
What are you currently up to?
Right now we’re on a short vacation. We just finished a couple of hard weeks of work when we did a big one-off event here in Sweden. In this The Quill played together with a 50 piece choir in true Metallica-fashion. It was an amazing experience to hear our songs boosted with the raw power of 50 voices. We’re doing a couple of festivals this summer but the real “Tiger Blood” campaign will kick in later this autumn when we will embark on a European tour together with Aussies Mammoth-Mammoth. We’ll visit Wolverhampton, Manchester and London mid-November if I’m correctly informed.
Ed’s note - he is indeed correctly informed as the band play:
Nov 12th GWolverhampton – Slade Rooms
Nov 13th Manchester – NQ Live
Nov 14th London – 02 Islington Academy 2
2. Could you take us through the new album ‘Tiger Blood’ e.g. recording process, ideas behind the songs.
“Tiger Blood” was recorded in two parts, we did 10 days of basic-tracks in the town where I live and close to where Jolle and Christian lives. After that we moved ship to Magnus hometown and did the vocals and some overdubs there. All in all it was a rather smooth experience, no computer breakdowns or band drama at all.
When it comes to writing songs they’re born in different ways. Jolle and Christian are the two main writers when it comes to music. Usually they have an idea for a song which the three of us then work on in the rehearsal-room. When we have a rough arrangement we then record it with guide-vocals and send it to our singer Magnus to keep him up to speed. He lives roughly 500 kilometers from us so he has a hard time making every rehearsal…;) But every once in a while he travels down to us and we work on songs for a couple of days straight.
Other times songs are born differently. For example, the track “Land of Gold and Honey” on our latest album started with a piece of lyrics I wrote. Christian got a hold of it, liked it and decided to write music to it. There’s also one song each that Magnus and I wrote by ourselves and brought to the band as more or less finished pieces. The idea for the song I wrote called Purgatory Hill came from watching a news-segment on the economical crises right now. Everything is based on economical-growth these days and I’m not a fan of a world were money is the only measure of human development.
3. When it comes to making new music do the band perhaps feel restricted
at times as your fans expect a certain sound each time?
I can’t say that we do, usually we discuss what kind of album we want to make and take it from there. Every new album is somehow a reaction to the previous one but more from our point of view than our audience.
4. What was it like having bassist Roger Nilsson come to rejoin the band
Well, since I’m the one answering these questions I can’t answer how the others feel, perhaps they all hate me? :) On my behalf I can honestly say it felt like coming back home. When I left the band back in 2005 it was not due to any bad blood but more ‘cause I was kind of burnt out on touring and recording and had lost the hunger. During my “lost” years I stayed in contact with the guys and continued playing around the area where we live as a sort of guns-for-hire type of guy. It was fun for a while but somehow The Quill always felt like unfinished business. So when they called me about a year ago and asked how I would feel about rejoining I felt that spark again. First rehearsal was like I never left, it was like putting on an old pair of jeans you’ve found in the attic – it was an instant fit.
5. The Quill tour a lot and do you find the band make more on the road
from merchandise/CD sales than the traditional way bands funded
themselves with album sales?
Yeah, the whole business model has completely changed during the last 10 years. Previously you could get huge advances from record labels which you spent on a lot of unnecessary stuff. Stupid when you look back at how much money we spent on albums like Voodoo Caravan and Hooray! It’s a Deathtrip. Now merchandise and touring is the main income for most bands which you easily can see even when you look at bigger bands. They’re constantly touring and putting out new and different types of merchandise since that’s the only way for them to make money. Going into a liquor-store here in Sweden these days is like going into a record-store 15 years ago – you see the same brands such as Kiss, Motörhead and Ac/Dc but these days the names aren’t printed on cd’s or lp’s – it’s printed on wine-bottles. Since when did Angus Young become a winemaker and not a guitarist? J
6. How is the current rock and metal music scene in Sweden? A lot of
rock bands come from Sweden but is there a decent live music scene?
Both yes and no. It’s a rather moody business were conditions change quickly. During the last ten years different types of town-festivals have exploded here in Sweden. Every little city has to have their own festival. But usually all of these want family-friendly entertainment which mainly means the latest radio-stars. There are also a lot of different rock-festivals all over the country but the competition between bands to play at them are absolutely killing. But all these festivals also face a lot of completion themselves since Sweden is quite a small country populations-wise. There are basically too many festivals for such a small country. Just a few weeks ago the biggest festival here in Sweden for the last few years (55.000 visitors last year) went bankrupt so it’s a hard for everyone to make ends meet. The same goes for the club-circuit, clubs pop up and disappear at break-neck speed. So as I said, it’s a rather moody business with quite a few shady characters.
7. How important is social media like Facebook, Twitter etc for the band
in getting your music out there and communicating with your fans?
It’s extremely important – it’s an easy and convenient way of communicating directly with your fans and spreading the word. The tricky thing is to keep it interesting and unique – we’ve all seen one too many photos of backstage dinner….
8. What have been the live highlights for you and why?
The first comeback-show last year was really special to me on a personal level. Just being up on stage with the guys again was a great rush. Then feeling that we still had a common musical language was even greater. I’d know where Jolle would go with a fill and could enhance it instantly.
On a band-level we’ve done some amazing shows as well, the big festivals are always great fun. We’ve done Sweden Rock Festival a couple of times which is always nice. We also did Wacken Open Air a couple of years ago which was kind of bizarre. We shared backstage-area with one of these face-painted black-metal bands. They may look scary in the darkness but in broad daylight they looked like a couple of lost pandas.
Playing the Sheperd’s Bush Empire in London on the Monster Magnet-tour was also special knowing what other acts having stood on that stage. It was the last show on a loooong seven week tour so it was a great feeling of accomplishment entering the stage. It was definitely a high-point in the bands career.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
Just your typical Viking things – looting, drinking mead and scaring other nationalities. I.e. nothing special.
10. Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Check out our latest album “Tiger Blood” on Metalville Records and be sure not to miss us when we hit the UK in November. Come by and we may even offer you some mead! Check http://www.thequill.se or http://www.facebook.com/thequillsweden for all the latest news and tour-dates.
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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
Power Plays w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)
COLLATERAL Mr Big Shot (Roulette Media Records)
BABY HUSBAND Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (indie)
OF ALLIES Off The Map (indie)
EXPLORING BIRDSONG The River (indie)
MARISA AND THE MOTHS – Slave (indie)
CATTLE AND CANE I Wish I Knew Jesus (Like I Do)
KING VOODOO Creep (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Big Blue World (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REDLINE Gods & Monsters (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 WILDWOOD KIN (Silvertone/Sony)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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