Interview: Truckfighters do their thing
Sweden-based stoner/progressive-rockers Truckfighters are in the midst of an Australian tour, after which they are hitting up Europe. Courtney Dabb speaks to them to find out more:
Thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. I have to begin with the Truckfighters documentary, which is not only a great piece of film but has Josh Homme from Kyuss/QOTSA saying that “Truckfighters were not just the best band I have ever seen but the best band that has ever existed.” That is a staggering compliment and must have made you feel immensely proud of your work and your sphere of influence.
Yeah of course. I don’t know how we ended up there, it is an amazing quote.
Have you had the privilege of working with Josh yet?
No, we have meet him twice but that’s it. We are not really good friends or anything like that.
Europe has a huge hard rock scene of which you are a part, but how have you found the wider global reaction to your music?
It’s very similar all over the world I guess, but in some places people are more into rock than other places. In Australia for example, it seems people really like rock and they are not afraid to let loose. In The States I think some places have a problem letting go and not getting into the vibe. In Europe it is different depending where you play, but in general I don’t think it’s that different. When we play, people groove around.
What was it like growing up Örebro Sweden and how did this come to shape your brand of music?
Growing up somewhere obviously makes you the person who you are but it’s hard to pinpoint what happens or wh. One of the things that has been good was that it had a good live music scene with lots bands playing and after a few years it went down a bit but we kept going (laughs). There were there or four clubs that had music constantly coming and they were really good when we were 18 or 20 years old, but in Sweden rock music isn’t very big compared to a lot of electronic stuff unfortunately.
You have some epic tracks like Mastodont, which builds up over a 13 minutes. In your opinion, is the energy created from this type of progressive build up greater than that which can be generated from a brutal three-minute explosive track?
I don’t know. I like all the songs of course, but maybe the longer ones a little bit better (laughs), so I guess I prefer it. It builds up more as you say and is a bit deeper.
You record most of your work yourselves, is it a big jump from musician to producer?
We do produce everything ourselves as you said, and try to do it a little bit different from last time so it has a new touch, to keep it interesting for ourselves. I guess and we have been producing music for years, so it just comes naturally. This time on [latest album] Universe, we had the opportunity to have another guy mix the songs as we thought maybe we could try one of these super professional famous mixing guys, but we really didn’t think he was worth the money that he wanted. So we ended up doing it ourselves in the end. At least we have the experience from that now so next time it will be easier (laughs).
You also do a lot of behind the scenes work for Truckfighters, where most bands would leave this to management. Is having complete control of what the band does and how they do it helpful or a hindrance?
We tried to get management to do it but we fired them (laughs). We like to have control and feel that we are good at what we are doing and can do it the way we want. With the industry, if you don’t have the contacts you have to work really hard and managing a band takes a lot of your time. Nowadays we don’t really have the time to do everything we should do, so at this point we still don’t have anyone to help us out. We haven’t found the right person I guess. If you find someone who has good connections and does a good job, that’s good, but it costs a lot of money to have them working for you and people don’t work for free. Even if they start out working for free, after a while they will want to get properly paid so that’s why it’s good to do it yourself.
Truckfighters have had quite a few members come and go, has it been hard to maintain the true Truckfighters sound when the line-up changes?
No, for us the sound comes naturally and we don’t really think we should do something in one way or another. What comes out comes out and we do our thing. Not follow any current trend or anything like that, so in that sense it’s not hard at all, we do what we feel like and what sounds good. We try not to be too effected by everything else in the world.
You are touring on the back of your new album Universe. How is this different from your previous work?
Well I think on Gravity X it was more classic stoner sound even though we never had that ambition, but now we just let it come as we feel it. Over the years we have progressed the development of the sound and song writing so it goes from classic stoner sound to more alternative heavy rock with very much progressive vibe to it.
This album has taken twice as long to produce than your previous albums, so have you changed the way you create and make music over the years?
Not really. The thing that has changed is the drummers and when we wrote both Mania and Universe we didn’t really have a proper fixed drummer, so it meant I wrote everything more or less. The first two were more like the whole band and that was different I would say.
You have a strong belief in people expressing themselves and not being curtailed by societal expectations, is this what drew you to music as an outlet of expression and freedom?
Yeah I think so. Music is feelings and hard to say why. I don’t remember why I started playing guitar more than 20 years ago but for me it’s the emotion and feeling coming out. It’s everything you know.
Does the audience and their reaction play a large role in your live shows or do you tend to play the same if it were a small venue or sold out stadium?
No, normally we just do our thing. Maybe we are a little affected by the circumstances but in general it’s no major difference if it’s a small stage or a big stage.
Where do you draw your inspiration from and what is your creative process?
The creative process is that we usually record loose ideas, short riffs or anything that comes up and then we have to set a time where we go through the ideas of what seems good and bad and see what we can make songs out of. Sometimes we will record bass and guitars straight to our computer.
Your worldwide recognition and fan base is forever growing and testament to that is touring with desert rock legends Dozer and Fu Manchu. As a band, it must be very humbling to play with such acts. Does make you feel that you have reached the level of success you always wanted to achieve?
You always want to see a progression musically and also in the organisation of the band and everything helps. I don’t know if we thought from the start that we want to be this big or this amount of people coming, I think we just wanted to keep moving forward and for it to be interesting for us.
What can we expect from your upcoming Sydney show and tour of Australia?
You can expect a very crazy, crazy band on this show and for the rest of this tour. We love to play live and peoplego crazy when they see us.
Truckfighters play at The Roller Den in Sydney TONIGHT and at a bunch of other Aus venues after that. Once they are done in Australia, they are hitting up Europe. Go to their website for those dates.
Saturday, 17th January 2015 – Baker St, Gosford NSW
Sunday, 18th January 2015 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW
Wednesday, 21st January 2015 – Ramsgate Hotel, Adelaide SA
Friday, 23rd January 2015 – Cherry, Melbourne VIC
Saturday, 24th January 2015 – Yah Yah’s, Fitzroy VIC
Interview by Courtney Dabb.