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15 March 2016

[The 60's-70's Vault] [Interview] Björn Inge (November)

Έχοντας κάνει σχετικό αφιέρωμα στους November, όντας από τα πλέον αγαπημένα σκανδιναβικά συγκροτήματα των 70s, η στήλη βρήκε την ευκαιρία να στείλει κάποιες ερωτήσεις στον drummer Björn Inge, ο οποίος συμμετείχε στη μπάντα από την αρχή της δημιουργίας της και σε όλους τους δίσκους. Αποτελεί σίγουρα έναν από τους πιο στιβαρούς drummer της γενιάς του, προσέχοντας συν τοις άλλοις και τον ήχο που έβγαινε από το kit του. Ο ίδιος, μαθαίνοντας το όνομα της σελίδας, είπε ότι οι November ήταν το πρώτο σουηδικό συγκρότημα που δοκίμασε να χαμηλώσει το κούρδισμα. Η συνέντευξη θα αναρτηθεί στα αγγλικά για να κρατηθεί η αυθεντικότητα και η αμεσότητα του κειμένου.

- Hello and welcome to Downtuned Magazine and Radio. It is a pleasure to host a member of a great 70s band on "The 60s -70s Vault". Can you tell us a few words about the formation of November?
- November grew out of another band called ”Train” which featured Snowy White (England) on guitar and Christer Stålbrandt on bass. When their drummer quit, Christer asked me to join, we had played together earlier in a band called “Imps” where he was the lead singer. After some time, Snowy went back to England and we asked my friend Richard Rolf to join the group on guitar. We only played original material from that point on, mostly written by Christer. What was new (at that time) was that the lyrics were in Swedish, coupled with this type of music. We were the first, that I know of, doing this in Sweden. There was another artist, Pugh Rogefeldt, who released a record at the same time in Swedish, but his music (although very good) was not as heavy as November.

- Is it true that you've got your band name after a show with Fleetwood Mac that took place on November 1st, 1969?
- We were playing under the name Train (half a year?) up until November 1st 1969, when we shared the stage with Fleetwood Mac in Gothenburg. Christer had grown increasingly tired of people thinking we were an English band and being confused when we sang in Swedish, so he came up with the name “November” which would work in both languages. It was inspired by the fact that we shared the stage with Peter Greens Fleetwood, who where heroes to us.

- As a power trio band, playing in a hard rock - heavy psych style, what were your influences?
- Our influences where Fleetwood, Cream, Hendrix, Albert King (and all the other kings) and John Mayall´s Bluesbreakers.

- Your lyrics were written in your mother tongue. Was it a conscious decision? Tell us about what they were about.
- The Swedish lyrics where a very conscious decision. It seemed strange to us to sing in English when it is so much easier to express yourself in your native tongue. The contents of the texts are dealing with life, it would take forever to translate them into something coherent to someone who doesn´t know Swedish. The references are there in the common cultural heritage, expressions, hints at events and so on, that are common to your own language, hence the decision to write in Swedish. There are no “baby, baby, push, push…” in the lyrics.

- Your first album "En ny tid är här..." was released in 1970. Were you already experienced with live performances before entering the studio?
- What we did on the first album is basically all the songs we were performing live at that time, most takes are “first takes”, very little, if any, overdubbing is done to the basic tracks.

- What was the reaction in Sweden after the release of your first album? Did you get attention from the media and the fans?
- The first album exploded on the market when it was released. We (and Pugh Rogefeldt) filled a vacuum that existed when everyone had grown tired of pop groups imitating what was already in the charts. The fact that we sang in Swedish made people listen to the texts and thereby having an opinion about them, so the media was saturated with us. We went from obscurity to top of the list in six months… Yes, we got the attention of the media and fans.

- You were quite popular in England. What was the reason according to you? Was it because the album was well promoted by your label, because of friends you had there?
- I didn´t know that we were popular in England at the time. We toured there and went down quite well, but we still sang in Swedish. The tour was organized by collaboration between our management and the record company. The most memorable gigs were The Marquee club, and The Speakeasy. The Speakeasy was a small “musicians” club, so the audience consisted of The Who, Jeff Beck, Faces, Clapton, Mick Taylor, etc. Quite daunting actually…

- What can you tell us about the gear you were using?
- I played both Premier and Hayman drums. Mostly double 26” bass drum kits with Zildjian cymbals. The bass used Weber 4x12” speaker cabinets (Marshall-type stack), either Marshall 100w or Vox solid state 100w amps, Fender Precision or Gibson EB3 bass guitar. The guitar used Weber 4 x12” stack, Marshall 100W, Vox cry-baby wah-wah pedal, Les Paul 1959 sunburst and Les Paul 1961 (SG-type). PA-system was Ackuset (Swedish manufacturer).

- Your next albums were released by the same label, Sonet. Did they support all your decisions or maybe they pushed you to change direction?
- Sonet Records let us, after the success of the first record, do whatever we wanted in the studio. They were always very supportive, gave us good producers and never asked us anything other than to make sure we were happy.

- What were the reasons behind your disbandment at the end of 1972?
- We were tired of touring, our schedule was extremely intense and we were pulling in different directions musically. We should have taken a holiday instead, but… Christer went on and made a record of songs he had already written, with a new band he formed, called Saga, and then quit music. Richard went to Oslo and joined a band called “Bash” with guitarist Terje Rypdahl (if I remember correctly) played in many different bands and now is a builder of fine instruments. I went on to play with a fusion band called “Energy” (record on EMI label) and then became a professional musician for twenty years. Christer has reformed Saga, Richard is building guitars and is playing mostly acoustic (he has a record out “Richard Rolf” on the “Fairground” label). I still play, my most recent recordings are with a band called “Mårran”, (four albums on S-Records) now disbanded.

- You put the band together again in 2007 and played some shows. Did you consider recording any new material?

- When we played in 2007, there was a talk of recording new material, but it came to nothing in the end. We had some new things we worked on, but very soon our different tastes in music appeared again and we couldn´t agree on the direction. It was a pity, but history has a way of repeating itself…

- Thank you for your time, the last words are yours.
-In conclusion, I think fondly of the band, and I´m proud of what we did. But it was a very long time ago…

By Pijo


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