Monday, March 9, 2009

6 Questions with the Rockaphones Klas Eriksson

In January, I happened upon a Swedish band called the Rockaphones. I listened to the songs they have available online and became intrigued. Now, I've listened to other artists from Sweden before ... ABBA, Sahara Hotnights and some others. But, none of them involves a banjo! This is something that immediately made me curious. So, my curiosity led me to Klas Eriksson (bass, vocals, trombone) who was kind enough to answer my questions and tell me a bit about the Rockaphones.

Quirky NY Chick (QNYC): I came across your music on Amie Street but I don’t know much about you. Tell me a bit about the band. How did you come together?

Klas Eriksson (KE): We met at the music store in Bålsta, north of Stockholm. Marcus [Filipsson] owned the store first and Thomas [Björklund] bought it from him a couple of years later. I was just the regular customer. Thomas and Marcus wanted to start a band with an acoustic sound and they needed a bass player who could bring some outside influences, so they asked me and we started jamming and arranging some song ideas by Thomas. Both Thomas and Marcus had a background in rock and I came from the jazz and reggae direction. It all landed in some crazy country/rock/reggae with acoustic guitars. We played original songs by Thomas and we did some rearranging of covers too. We started playing together in 2001 and in 2007 we finally found Fredrik [Dermer], a drummer we could consider a genuine member of the band.

(QNYC): Who came up with the name Rockaphones and is there a story behind it?

(KE): It was me and Marcus during a midsummer eve with a lot of vodka helping to form a decision. We actually tried to come up with another name during a whole year but we gave up and now we're all kind of glad we did. The name didn't mean anything in particular at first, but now it kind of relates to the fact that I always wear headphones during gigs. Plus it has a nice rockabilly ring to it.

(QNYC): I've listened to "I Try" and "Molly." You mix together a variety of musical styles. For those of us who aren't familiar with the Swedish music scene, perhaps you could describe it a bit. Is it as eclectic as your music?

(KE): The music scene in Sweden is very diverse and it's not the same in all of the country. I'm only familiar with Stockholm music wise and I think you can find most styles of music here. Very few bands mix styles together as much as we do though.

(QNYC): Who are some of your influences?

(KE): Before the band we all had very different musical references. I had listened and played mostly jazz, reggae and soul while Marcus came from rock and blues. Thomas was more into acoustic singer/songwriter music and his taste, being the main songwriter in the band, had the most impact in our music. To mention a few influences for all of us: Alison Krauss + Union Station, The Meters and Jack Johnson.

(QNYC): What's playing on your music player of choice?

(KE): For the moment I would say Crooked Still and Sara Tavares.

(QNYC): Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. In parting, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?

(KE): I have just recently learned that we have fans at all and it almost makes me speechless. We appreciate all the support and nice comments. I can promise you there will be more songs during the next few months.

I'd like to thank Klas once again for taking the time to answer my questions.